Where it was, there it was, a certain village there was, in which lived a father with three sons. One of them was silly, and always sat in the chimney corner, but the other two were considered clever. One of these went out to service in a village not far off. His mother put on his back a wallet full of cakes baked under the ashes. He went into a house and made an engagement with the master upon the terms that whichever got angry first was to have his nose cut off. The servant went to thresh. He was not called by his master either to breakfast or to dinner. His master asked him: ‘Well, Mishek, are you angry?’ ‘What have I to be angry for?’
Evening came, and supper was cooked; again they did not ask Mishek. His master asked him: ‘Well, Mishek, are you angry?’ ‘What have I to be angry for?’ He wasn’t angry, for the cakes from home still held out. But during the second and third day the wallet was emptied, and again he wasn’t summoned to dinner. His master asked him: ‘Mishek, are you not angry?’ ‘Wouldn’t even the devil be angry, when you are thus killing me with hunger?’
Then his master pulled out a knife and cut off Mishek’s nose. He hastened home noseless, and complained to his father and brothers of his wicked master. ‘You simpleton!’ said the next brother, Pavko. ‘Stay, I’ll go! Hey, mother, bake some cakes under the ashes!’ Pavko started off and went straight to the same village and to the same house, and made an engagement with the same master, on the terms that whichever was the first to become angry was to have his nose cut off. They set him, too, to thresh for three days, but neither on the first, nor on the second, nor on the third day, did they call him to take a meal. ‘Pavko, are you not angry?’ ‘Wouldn’t even devils be angry with you? My belly has already grown to my backbone.’ Thereupon his master pulled out a knife and cut off Pavko’s nose. Pavko went home noseless, and said to his elder brother: ‘That’s a cruel house of entertainment; the devil’s got my nose.’ Then Adam, the youngest, shouted from the chimney-corner: ‘You are idiots! I’ll go, and you’ll see that I shall make a good job of it.’ He went with cakes baked under the ashes in his wallet, and hit right upon the same village in which his brothers had been, and engaged himself with the same master upon the terms that whichever got angry first should have his nose cut off. But Adam knew how to proceed intelligently.
When his master didn’t call him to dinner, he went to the public-house with what he had threshed and pawned it all. His master came and didn’t see a grain of corn. Adam then asked him: ‘Master, are you angry?’ ‘Why should I be angry?’ This occurred several times, and his master always said that he wasn’t angry, for fear of losing his nose. Once there came a day on which the master and mistress were obliged to be from home, and they ordered Adam by their return to kill the first sheep that looked at him when he entered the stable, to dress it and boil it in a caldron, putting parsley with it. Adam went into the stable with great banging and noise, so that all the sheep looked at him at once, whereupon he slaughtered them all. One he dressed and put in the caldron, but instead of parsley he threw in a dog called by that name. His master and mistress came and asked Adam whether he had done everything properly?
He said: ‘I’ve slaughtered the sheep and thrown Parsley into the caldron till I saw his feet. Now, master, are you angry?’ ‘What have I to be angry about?’ he replied, for he preferred keeping his nose. On Christmas Eve, when they had to go to church, it was very dark. Adam’s master said to him: ‘It would be a good thing if somebody would light us as far as the church.’ ‘Go! go! I’ll light you.’ He took fire and set the roof on fire, till the whole house was in flames. The master hurried up, and Adam said to him: ‘Master, are you angry?’ ‘Why should I be angry?’ said he; for his nose was dearer to him than his house.
But what was he to do without a house, without everything? They went into the world, master, mistress, and servant. They wanted to put him to death; and planned together, that when he was asleep his master should throw him into the water. But Adam was up to this; he didn’t lie down on the side nearest the water, but got up in the night and threw his mistress, who was on that side, into the water. His master woke, and saw that his wife was gone; and began to cry out. But Adam asked him: ‘Well, master, are you angry?’ ‘Wouldn’t even the devil be angry, now that you’ve done me out of everything?’ Adam took a knife and cut off his master’s nose. He then took to his heels, went home, and said to his brothers: ‘Now you see, you wiseacres, that I’ve earned the nose.’