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THERE is a certain country where the inhabitants have heads but no bodies. The Heads move about by jumping along the ground, but they never go very far.
One of the Heads desired to see the world, so he set out one morning secretly. When he had gone some distance, he saw an old woman looking out of the door of a hut, and he asked her if she would kindly lend him a body.
The old woman willingly lent him the body of her slave, and the Head thanked her and went on his way.
Later he came upon a young man sleeping under a tree, and asked him if he p. 39 would kindly lend him a pair of arms, as he did not appear to be using them. The young man agreed, and the Head thanked him and went on his way.
Later still he reached a river-bank where fishermen sat singing and mending their cone-shaped net. The Head asked if any one of them would lend him a pair of legs, as they were all sitting and not walking. One of the fishermen agreed, and the Head thanked him and went on his way.
But now he had legs, arms, and a body, and so appeared like any other man.
In the evening he reached a town and saw maidens dancing while the onlookers threw coins to those they favoured. The Head threw all his coins to one of the dancers, and she so much admired his handsome form that she consented to marry him and go to live with him in his own country.
Next day they set out, but when they came to the river-bank, the stranger took off his legs and gave them back to the fisherman. Later they reached the young p. 40 man, who still lay sleeping under the tree, and to him the Head gave back his arms. Finally they came to the cottage, where the old woman stood watching, and here the stranger gave up his body.
When the bride saw that her husband was merely a Head, she was filled with horror, and ran away as fast as she could go.
Now that the Head had neither body, arms, nor legs, he could not overtake her, and so lost her for ever.