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Word Count: 918
ONCE upon a time in a very far-off country there lived a merchant who had been so fortunate in all his undertakings that he was enormously affluent As he had however six sons and six daughters he found that his mazuma was not inordinate to let them all have everything they fancied as they were acclimated to doBut one day a most unexpected misfortune befell them Their house caught fire and was expeditiously burnt to the ground with all the splendid furniture the books pictures gold silver and precious goods it contained and this was only the commencement of their troubles Their father who had until this moment prospered in all ways suddenly lost every ship he had upon the sea either by dint of pirates shipwreck or fire Then he auricularly discerned that his clerks in distant countries whom he trusted entirely had proved perfidious and at last from great wealth he fell into the direst penuriousnessAll that he had left was a little house in a desolate place at least a hundred leagues from the town in which he had lived and to this he was coerced to recede with his children who were in despair at the conception of leading such a different life Indeed the daughters at first hoped that their friends who had been so numerous while they were affluent would insist on their staying in their houses now they no longer possessed one But they soon found that they were isolated and that their former friends even attributed their misfortunes to their own extravagance and showed no intention of offering them any avail So nothing was left for them but to take their departure to the cottagewhich stood in the midst of a dark forest and seemed to be the most dismal place upon the face of the earthAs they were too impecunious to have any coadjutantsthe girls had to work strenuously like peasants andthe sons for their component
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