Thursday, 28 April 2016

The Story of a Parson

This tale was collected by Moltke Moe:

The Story of a Parson

Once upon a time, there was a parson who was so miserly that it was abominable, but rich was he: he had both a house in the town and a farm in the country. Once he sent his servant off—it was one he had recently employed—to help the reapers and spur them on; but he might have well not bothered, for the people worked by themselves. Early in the morning, they would get up and go out.

“Oh no,” said the boy. “Let us lie in a while; we don’t have any business being up at eight o’clock.”

“Tut, tut, boy!” said the others. “Imagine if we lay in longer! Think how miserly the parson is, and how angry he would be!”

“Bah!” said the boy. “I will manage this; I will free both you and myself,” he said; and then he got them to lie in until luncheon, and to doze and laze around the whole day. In the evening, the boy returned to town again. He had a big new purse; and on the way home, he found a wasp’s nest. He took it, and stuffed the purse full of wasps. When he had done so, he went home to the parson.

“Right then, we have reaped as you required,” he said. “We have done nearly two days’ work in one.”

“That is good,” said the parson.

“And when I crossed the bridge, I found a purse full of silver,” said the boy.

“It is mine,” said the parson.

“Well, well. But if it not be the parson’s, by right and justice, then may every shilling in the purse turn into a wasp, and every straw that we have cut today, rise again tomorrow,” he said. And with that, the boy laid the purse on the table, and left.

The parson took and opened the purse; but it was not open before the wasps streamed out and swarmed him. This is a horrible purse, thought the parson, and then he began to reflect on it all.

The following day, he did not dare wake the boy; but he sent off one of the maids. She was to see if the field had raised itself again. She arrived at the farms as the sun was rising; and as it rose, the dew lifted off the fields. The girl flew back again, as quickly as she could go.

“When I approached the sheaves, the harvest began to rise again, and now the field appears as though there never has been a scythe in it,” she said.

Moltke Moe listening to and recording the tales of Liv Brattefud at Bø in Telemark, 1878. Moe recorded this tale from Brattefud’s neighbour, Ola Skjelbreihaugen, in the course of the same journey.

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