The demon’s share


One day a demon came to see a farmer who was working in his field. “These fields belonged to my father’s father,” said the demon. “I will take half of whatever you grow in these fields.”

The farmer was frightened but he kept his wits about him.

“You can take whatever grows above the ground, your Excellency,” he said. The demon agreed and went away.

That year the farmer grew potatoes in his field. When the demon came for his share he got the stems and leaves of the plant but not a single potato since it grows underground.

“Next time I’ll take whatever grows under the ground!” he growled.

When he came again some months later the farmer was harvesting corn. He had planted wheat and had got a bumper harvest. “Where’s my share?” screamed the demon.

“Your share is under the ground, your Excellency,” said the farmer. You can take the roots away whenever you want.”
The demon, ashamed at being outwitted by a farmer, turned around without another word and walked away. The farmer never saw him again.