DANSK

Dødens sendebud

ENGLISH

Death's messengers


For mange, mange år siden vandrede en kæmpe hen ad landevejen. Pludselig sprang en fremmed mand henimod ham og råbte: "Holdt, ikke et skridt videre." - "Hvad for noget," sagde kæmpen, "du lille fyr, som jeg kan knuse mellem fingrene, vover at træde i vejen for mig. Hvem er du, siden du tør tale så dristigt." - "Jeg er døden," svarede manden, "ingen kan modstå mig. Også du må adlyde mine befalinger." Men kæmpen nægtede det og begyndte at kæmpe med døden. Det var en lang, voldsom kamp, men til sidst fik kæmpen overhånd og gav døden sådan et slag, at den sank om ved siden af en sten. Kæmpen gik sin vej, og døden var så mat, at den ikke kunne rejse sig. "Hvad skal det blive til, hvis jeg bliver liggende her," sagde den, "så dør der jo ingen, og verden vil blive så fuld af mennesker, at de ikke kan røre sig." Lidt efter kom et ungt menneske hen ad vejen, frisk og rask, mens han sang og så sig om. Da han så døden ligge afmægtig der, fik han ondt af ham, gik hen og hjalp ham op, gav ham noget styrkende at drikke og ventede, til han kom til kræfter. "Ved du nu også, hvem det er, du har hjulpet?" spurgte den fremmede så og rejste sig op. "Nej, jeg kender dig ikke," svarede den unge mand. "Jeg er døden. Jeg skåner ingen og kan heller ikke gøre en undtagelse med dig. Men for at vise dig min taknemmelighed lover jeg dig, at jeg ikke skal komme bag på dig. Førend jeg henter dig, skal jeg sende bud til dig." - "Ja, ja," sagde den unge mand, "det er jo altid en fordel, at jeg ved, hvornår du kommer, og indtil da kan være ganske sikker for dig." Derpå drog han videre lystig og glad, og tænkte ikke på den dag i morgen. Men hans ungdom og sundhed varede kun kort. Han blev syg, og smerterne plagede ham om dagen og holdt ham vågen om natten. "Dø skal jeg da ikke," tænkte han, "døden sender mig jo først bud. Jeg ville bare ønske, at denne slemme sygdom var forbi." Så snart, han var blevet rask, begyndte han igen at leve på sin gamle, lystige vis. En dag var der pludselig en, der slog ham på skulderen, og da han vendte sig om, stod døden der. "Følg mig," sagde den, "nu slår den time, hvor du må sige farvel til denne verden." - "Hvad for noget," sagde mennesket. "Du lovede jo, at du ville sende mig bud, før du selv kom. Det har du jo ikke gjort." - "Ti stille," sagde døden. "Har jeg ikke sendt det ene bud efter det andet. Kom ikke feberen og rystede dig og kastede dig på dit leje. Har dit hovede ikke smertet. Har gigten ikke faret dig igennem alle lemmer. Hørte du ikke en susen for dine ører. Mærkede du ikke, hvor dine tænder smertede. Blev det ikke sort for dine øjne. Og frem for alt, har ikke min bror søvnen hver aften mindet dig om mig. Lå du ikke hver nat, som om du allerede var død?" Mennesket vidste ikke, hvad han skulle svare, føjede sig i sin skæbne og gik bort med døden.
In ancient times a giant was once travelling on a great highway, when suddenly an unknown man sprang up before him, and said, "Halt, not one step farther!" - "What!" cried the giant, "a creature whom I can crush between my fingers, wants to block my way? Who art thou that thou darest to speak so boldly?" - "I am Death," answered the other. "No one resists me, and thou also must obey my commands. But the giant refused, and began to struggle with Death. It was a long, violent battle, at last the giant got the upper hand, and struck Death down with his fist, so that he dropped by a stone. The giant went his way, and Death lay there conquered, and so weak that he could not get up again. "What will be done now," said he, "if I stay lying here in a corner? No one will die in the world, and it will get so full of people that they won't have room to stand beside each other." In the meantime a young man came along the road, who was strong and healthy, singing a song, and glancing around on every side. When he saw the half-fainting one, he went compassionately to him, raised him up, poured a strengthening draught out of his flask for him, and waited till he came round. "Dost thou know," said the stranger, whilst he was getting up, "who I am, and who it is whom thou hast helped on his legs again?" - "No," answered the youth, "I do not know thee." - "I am Death," said he. "I spare no one, and can make no exception with thee, but that thou mayst see that I am grateful, I promise thee that I will not fall on thee unexpectedly, but will send my messengers to thee before I come and take thee away." - "Well," said the youth, "it is something gained that I shall know when thou comest, and at any rate be safe from thee for so long." Then he went on his way, and was light-hearted, and enjoyed himself, and lived without thought. But youth and health did not last long, soon came sicknesses and sorrows, which tormented him by day, and took away his rest by night. "Die, I shall not," said he to himself, "for Death will send his messengers before that, but I do wish these wretched days of sickness were over." As soon as he felt himself well again he began once more to live merrily. Then one day some one tapped him on the shoulder. He looked round, and Death stood behind him, and said, "Follow me, the hour of thy departure from this world has come." - "What," replied the man, "wilt thou break thy word? Didst thou not promise me that thou wouldst send thy messengers to me before coming thyself? I have seen none!" - "Silence!" answered Death. "Have I not sent one messenger to thee after another? Did not fever come and smite thee, and shake thee, and cast thee down? Has dizziness not bewildered thy head? Has not gout twitched thee in all thy limbs? Did not thine ears sing? Did not tooth-ache bite into thy cheeks? Was it not dark before thine eyes? And besides all that, has not my own brother Sleep reminded thee every night of me? Didst thou not lie by night as if thou wert already dead? The man could make no answer; he yielded to his fate, and went away with Death.





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