"GOODMAN," said the goodwife, "you must go out into the forest and gather sticks for the fire. To-morrow will be Sunday, and we have no wood to burn."
"Yes, goodwife," answered the goodman, "I will go to the forest."
He did go to the forest, but he sat on a mossy rock and fished till it was dark, and so he brought home no wood. "The goodwife shall not know it," he thought. "I will go to the forest to-morrow morning and gather sticks."
When morning came, he crept softly out of the house when it was hardly light, and went to the forest. Soon he had as many sticks as he could carry, and he was starting for home when a voice called sternly, "Put those sticks down." He looked to the right, to the left, before him, behind him, and over his head. There was no one to be seen.
"Put those sticks down," said the voice again.
"Please, I do not dare to put them down," replied the goodman, trembling with fear. "They are to burn, and my wife cannot cook the dinner without them."
"You will have no dinner to-day," said the voice.
"The goodwife will not know that I did not gather them last night, and she will let me have some dinner. I am almost sure she will," the goodman replied.
"You must not gather sticks to-day," said the voice more sternly than ever. "It is Sunday. Put them down."
"Indeed, Mr. Voice, I dare not," whispered the goodman; and afar off he thought he heard his wife calling, "Goodman, where are you? There is no wood to burn."
"Will you put them down, or will you carry them forever?" cried the voice angrily.
"Truly, I cannot put them down, for I dare not go home without them," answered the goodman, shaking with fear from head to foot. "The goodwife would not like it."
"Then carry them forever," said the voice. "You care not for Sunday, and you shall never have another Sunday."
The goodman could not tell how it came about, but he felt himself being lifted, up, up, up, sticks and all, till he was in the moon.
"Here you shall stay," said the voice sternly. "You will not keep Sunday, and here you need not. This is the moon, and so it is always the moon's day, or Monday, and Monday it shall be with you always. Whenever any one looks up at the moon, he will say, 'See the man with the sticks on his back. He was taken to the moon because he gathered wood on Sunday.'"
"Oh dear, oh dear," cried the goodman, "what will the goodwife say?"