Thursday, 23 June 2016

The Boy and the Devil

I have been busy this week, writing about the kraken; however, here is a short tale from Asbjørnsen and Moe.

The Boy and the Devil

Once upon a time, a boy walked down a road, cracking nuts. Then he found one with a worm hole in it. And straightway, he met the devil.

“Is it true,” said the boy, “what they say, that the devil may make himself as small as he will, and press himself through the eye of a needle?”

“Yes,” answered the devil.

“Oh, let me see it, and creep into this nut,” said the boy; and the devil did so.

When he had crept well in through the worm hole, the boy stuck a stick in it. “Now I have you there,” he said, and put the nut into his pocket.

When he had walked some way, he came to a forge. He entered and asked the smith if he would crack the nut for him.

“Yes, that should be easily done,” the smith replied. He took the smallest of his hammers, laid the nut on the anvil, and hit it; but it would not crack. So he took a larger hammer, but neither was that heavy enough. He took an even bigger one, but that did not work, either. Then the smith grew angry, and took out his big sledgehammer.

“I will crack you yet!” he said, and struck with all his might; and then the nut cracked, so that half of the roof of the forge flew off, and the noise was as if the cabin would fall down.

“I think the devil was in that nut,” said the smith.

“Yes, he was,” said the boy.

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