IN LOFER, a hamlet on the Tyrolian frontier towards Salzburg, lived a rich peasant who on his death left behind him three daughters, of whom the youngest was totally blind. The mother was long since dead, and so, after the demise of their father, the three orphans set about dividing the money and property which he had left to them. They found so large a treasure in the old man’s coffers that they were obliged to divide it by means of a sieve, by which the two eldest girls shamefully took advantage of the infirmity of their poor sister to cheat her of her share. Each time the blind sister’s turn came round they reversed the sieve and covered only the bottom with money, so that the poor deluded girl in placing her hand upon it should be convinced that she received her right share.
In this way, of course, she never got even a hundredth part of what was her due, and after the division was finished the avaricious sisters hid their unjustly gained wealth in a secret hole in a rock on the mountain. But the All-seeing Eye of Heaven remains ever open, and on the death of the two sisters they were condemned to lie in the form of black ferocious dogs in the cavern and to guard their hidden and ill-gotten treasure. There they are chained until their unholy wealth is exhausted by those who succeed in approaching it and take of it only so much as they really want; for all who attempt to carry off more are immediately seized upon by the infuriated guardians and torn into atoms. But as there are few in the world who are contented with real necessities, the treacherous sisters will doubtless be compelled to sit over their unjustly-gained wealth for many ages to come.