The Six Companions French folktale

Six peasants were gathered one evening.

"I have always wanted to go and see the sea," said one, "but have not found time to do it until recently. Would you all like to leave with me tomorrow to see this great mass of water that people have told so many marvels told about?"

All the peasants agreed, and the next day they set out. They soon came to a great plain filled with corn. The wind made the corn sway in waves in front of them.

"The sea! the sea!" exclaimed the six companions at once, and threw themselves on their stomachs into the corn field to swim.

They reached a deep well. Fearing that one of them might have fallen into it, they counted. "One, two, three, four, five," said one, forgetting to count himself. "There's one in the well. What to do? Look, I'll call him. Hey! Thomas, are you there?"

They thought they heard a "Yes". In order to get to the bottom to lift up their comrade, they laid a stake across the well. Then Jacques, the strongest of the band, hung himself by the stake. Another clung to his feet, then another, to the last.

"Do you see him?" "Jacques cried to him," Hurry up! My hands hurt!"

"I don't see him."

"My grip slowly slips. I will soon be unable to hold on to the stake any longer. Stay where you are while I spit in my hands to get a better grip."

The peasant dropped the stake and fell with his companions to the bottom of the muddy water.