Thursday, 5 May 2016

Our Lord and St. Peter Out Wandering

1.

Once, when Our Lord and St. Peter went awandering here on the earth, they came to a wife who stood washing clothes. They were whole and good clothes, but when Our Lord asked what she was standing washing, she said—perhaps she was afraid they would ask her for a garment:

“Oh, these are just some tattered things.”

“Oh, if they are tattered, then let them be tattered,” said Our Lord; and so they became tattered.

When they had wandered a little further, they came again to a wife who stood washing by a brook, and they were some sorry rags she was beating. But when Our Lord asked what she was standing washing, she said:

“I am standing washing clothes for my children; they are not much, God save us! but they will be clean.”

“Yes, if they are clothes, then let them be clothes,” said Our Lord, and straightway the rags became whole, good clothes.

2.

Another time, Our Lord and St. Peter came in to a wife who was so poor, so poor. She had not a crumb of food to give her children, and they were so hungry, and sobbed and wept for food. And then she thought she might tempt them to be quiet. She hung up the couldron, filled it with water, and dropped into it a fistful of small round pebbles from the river, instead of peas.1

“Lay yourselves so beautifully to sleep until the pottage is boiled, and then I will wake you,” she said. And thus she quietened them.

Just as the children had fallen asleep, Our Lord and St. Peter came. The wife sat and wept so tenderly.

“You should stir your peas,” said Our Lord.

“Oh God help me with such peas!” said the wife; “they are nothing but pebbles I hung up, to quieten the children.”

“You should try to stir them anyway,” said Our Lord.

The wife answered again that it would do no good; but when Our Lord said for a third time that she should stir the peas, then she went and stirred with the wooden spoon in the cauldron. And she could hardly believe her own eyes, when she saw that they were the finest peas that anybody could wish for.

With a joyful heart, she thanked God; and woke the children; and gave them pottage, as she had promised.


  1. The same motif may be found in “White Bear King Valemon”, although there the plight of the poor woman is resolved by using an enchanted tablecloth, instead of by divine intervention. It is also interesting to note that this tale was collected by Jørgen Moe, whilst “White Bear King Valemon” was collected by Peter Christen Asbjørnsen, from a different region. 

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