The old man made young again



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.
当我们的主还在地上巡视时,有一天晚上,他带着圣彼得到一个铁匠家投宿,铁匠倒还乐意。 这时碰巧来了位乞丐,年迈体弱,精神不振,样子十分可怜,他求铁匠施舍点东西给他,圣彼得很同情他,说:"主呀,如果你愿意,请帮他治一下病吧,让他能够自己挣得食物。"上帝非常和蔼地说:"师傅,请把你的铁炉借我用一下,加些炭在里面,我要把这老乞丐炼得年轻些。"铁匠非常乐意,圣彼得便拉起风箱,上帝把乞丐推进炉火中的最旺处,老人在里面烧得像玫瑰般通红,口里还大声赞美着上帝。 过了一会儿,上帝踏到水槽前,把这烧红的人放了进去浸在水中,等他冷却后,上帝就向他祝福。 过了一会儿,那小个子老人一跃而出,面目一新了,他显得那样挺直、健康,就像一位二十岁的小伙子。 铁匠在一旁仔细地瞧着,请他们一起吃了晚饭。 铁匠有位半瞎背驼的老岳母,她走到年轻人的跟前,仔细地瞧着,问他炉火可曾烧了他。 那人告诉他从来没有这般舒服过,立在炉火中,就像沐浴在清凉的露水中一样。 那年青人的话在老妇人的耳边响了一整夜。 第二天早上,上帝准备上路了,他感谢了铁匠,铁匠认为他也能把自己的老岳母变得年轻些,因为昨天的一切他都看在眼里。 于是他问岳母是否也想变成个十八岁的少女跳来跳去。 她说:"我太想了。"于是铁匠生起了一炉大火,把老妇人推了进去。 她在里面翻来覆去,叫得十分可怕。 "安静地坐着,你又叫又跳干什么?"铁匠对她叫道。 说完他又重新拉风箱,把老妇人的破衣服都烧了个精光。 老妇人还是叫不绝口,铁匠便怀疑道:"难到我手艺没学到家?"于是把她拖了出来,扔进水槽里。 老人又是一阵尖叫,连住在楼上的铁匠的妻子和老人的媳妇都听见了,她们一齐跑下楼梯来。 只见老婆子在水槽里卷成一团,号啕大哭,她的脸已起皱,烧得不成样子了。 那两个人正怀着孩子,由于受了惊吓,那天晚上就生下了两个小孩,不像人,而像猴子。 后来他们跑进了森林,从此地上就有了猴子。

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