PATTY the Milkmaid was going to market carrying her milk in a Pail on her head. As she went along she began calculating what she would do with the money she would get for the milk. “I’ll buy some fowls from Farmer Brown,” said she, “and they will lay eggs each morning, which I will sell to the parson’s wife. With the money that I get from the sale of these eggs I’ll buy myself a new dimity frock and a chip hat; and when I go to market, won’t all the young men come up and speak to me! Polly Shaw will be that jealous; but I don’t care. I shall just look at her and toss my head like this. As she spoke she tossed her head back, the Pail fell off it, and all the milk was spilt. So she had to go home and tell her mother what had occurred.
“Ah, my child,” said the mother,
“Do not count your chickens before they are hatched.”
Has become popular through La Fontaine's Perrette. Derived from India, as has been shown by Benfey in his Einleitung. Panchatantra, §209. Professor Max Müller has expanded this in his admirable essay on the Emigration of Fables, Selected Essays, i. pp. 500-576. The story of Alnaschar, the Barber's Fifth Brother in the Arabian Nights, also comes from the same source. La Fontaine's version, which has made the fable so familiar to us all, comes from Bonaventure des Periers, Contes et Nouvelles, who got it from the Dialogus Creaturarum of Nicholaus Pergamenus, who derived it from the Sermones of Jacques de Vitry (see Prof. Crane's edition, no. ii.), who probably derived it from the Directorium Humana Vitæ of John of Capua, a converted Jew, who translated it from the Hebrew version of the the Arabic Kalilah wa Dimnah, which was itself derived from the old Syriac version of a Pehlevi translation of the original Indian work.
No Perry classification/number
Milkmaid and Her Pail, The
Fables of Aesop, The
Aesop & Jacobs, Joseph
Macmillan & Co.
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ATU 1430: The Man and His Wife Build Air Castles