ENGLISH

The old man made young again

DANSK

Manden, der blev ung igen


In the time when our Lord still walked this earth, he and St. Peter stopped one evening at a smith's and received free quarters. Then it came to pass that a poor beggar, hardly pressed by age and infirmity, came to this house and begged alms of the smith. St. Peter had compassion on him and said, "Lord and master, if it please thee, cure his torments that he may be able to win his own bread." The Lord said kindly, "Smith, lend me thy forge, and put on some coals for me, and then I will make this ailing old man young again." The smith was quite willing, and St. Peter blew the bellows, and when the coal fire sparkled up large and high our Lord took the little old man, pushed him in the forge in the midst of the red-hot fire, so that he glowed like a rose-bush, and praised God with a loud voice. After that the Lord went to the quenching tub, put the glowing little man into it so that the water closed over him, and after he had carefully cooled him, gave him his blessing, when behold the little man sprang nimbly out, looking fresh, straight, healthy, and as if he were but twenty. The smith, who had watched everything closely and attentively, invited them all to supper. He, however, had an old half-blind crooked, mother-in-law who went to the youth, and with great earnestness asked if the fire had burnt him much. He answered that he had never felt more comfortable, and that he had sat in the red heat as if he had been in cool dew. The youth's words echoed in the ears of the old woman all night long, and early next morning, when the Lord had gone on his way again and had heartily thanked the smith, the latter thought he might make his old mother-in-law young again likewise, as he had watched everything so carefully, and it lay in the province of his trade. So he called to ask her if she, too, would like to go bounding about like a girl of eighteen. She said, "With all my heart, as the youth has come out of it so well." So the smith made a great fire, and thrust the old woman into it, and she writhed about this way and that, and uttered terrible cries of murder. "Sit still; why art thou screaming and jumping about so?" cried he, and as he spoke he blew the bellows again until all her rags were burnt. The old woman cried without ceasing, and the smith thought to himself, "I have not quite the right art," and took her out and threw her into the cooling-tub. Then she screamed so loudly that the smith's wife upstairs and her daughter-in-law heard, and they both ran downstairs, and saw the old woman lying in a heap in the quenching-tub, howling and screaming, with her face wrinkled and shrivelled and all out of shape. Thereupon the two, who were both with child, were so terrified that that very night two boys were born who were not made like men but apes, and they ran into the woods, and from them sprang the race of apes.
Engang, da den gode Gud endnu vandrede på jorden, tog han en aften sammen med St. Peter ind til en smed, der modtog dem gæstfrit. Mens de var der, kom der en tigger forbi, som var hårdt medtaget af alder og skrøbelighed, og bad om en almisse. Peter fik ondt af ham og sagde til Vorherre: " Hvis du synes, så gør ham rask igen, så han selv kan fortjene sit brød." Vorherre vendte sig da til smeden og sagde: "Læg kul på essen, så vil jeg forynge den gamle mand." Smeden gjorde det, Peter trak blæsebælgen og da ilden brændte klart, satte Gud manden ned i flammerne, og han sad rødglødende derinde og priste Gud. Derpå lagde han manden i vandtruget, og da han var blevet afkølet, gav han ham sin velsignelse, og straks sprang han op, rask og rørig, som da han var tyve år. Smeden, der havde set det hele, indbød dem derpå til at spise til aften. Han havde imidlertid en gammel, halvblind, pukkelrygget svigermor, som listede sig hen til den unge mand og spurgte, om han havde brændt sig meget derinde. Men han svarede, at han havde aldrig befundet sig så godt. Ilden havde været så forfriskende, som morgenens dug.

Disse ord lød hele natten for den gamles øre, og da Vorherre næste morgen havde sagt farvel og tak til smeden og var draget videre, troede denne, at han også kunne gøre sin gamle svigermor ung, da han jo havde set, hvordan det hele gik til, og det dog egentlig faldt ind under hans håndværk. Han spurgte hende derfor, om hun havde lyst til at danse af sted som en pige på atten år. Hun tænkte på, hvad den unge mand havde sagt, og sagde ja. Smeden tændte derfor et vældigt bål og puffede den gamle derind. Hun vuggede frem og tilbage og skreg af alle livsens kræfter. "Hvad hyler du for?" sagde smeden, og gav sig til at træde bælgen igen, så flammerne slog helt sammen om hende. Da hun blev ved at skrige, tænkte han: "Der må være noget galt ved det," og tog hende ud og kastede hende i vandtruget. Da vrælede hun så højt, at smedens kone og svigerdatter hørte det og kom løbende ned ad stigen. De fandt den gamle liggende helt indskrumpet i truget, og hendes ansigt var ganske forvredet og rynket. De skulle begge to om nogen tid have et barn, men ved dette skrækkelige syn blev de så forfærdede, at de samme nat fødte to drenge, der ikke så ud som mennesker, men som aber. De løb så ud i skoven, og fra dem stammer alle aber.




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