DANSK

Alfernes gave

ENGLISH

The little folks' presents


En skrædder og en guldsmed var engang på vandring sammen, og en aften, da solen var sunket bag bjergene, klang der fra det fjerne musik, som stadig blev tydeligere. Den lød så besynderlig, men var dog så smuk, at de glemte al deres træthed og gik raskt af sted. Månen var allerede stået op, da de kom til en høj, hvor de fik øje på en mængde små mænd og kvinder, som holdt hinanden i hænderne og sprang rundt i en lystig dans. De sang selv dertil, og det var den musik, vandringsmændene havde hørt i det fjerne. I midten sad en gammel mand, noget større end de andre. Han havde en broget frakke på, og hans grå skæg hang ham langt ned over brystet. De blev forundret stående og så på dansen. Den gamle vinkede, at de skulle komme nærmere, og de små fyre åbnede venligt kredsen for dem. Guldsmeden, som havde en pukkel og var stor på det som alle pukkelryggede, trådte frem, men skrædderen holdt sig først lidt tilbage. Men da han så, hvor lystigt det gik til, tog han mod til sig og fulgte efter. Kredsen lukkede sig nu igen, og de små dansede videre med deres vilde spring. Den gamle tog imidlertid en stor kniv, som han havde i bæltet, sleb den, og da den var blevet skarp nok, så han sig om efter de to fremmede. De blev bange men de fik ikke tid til at tænke sig om, for den gamle greb i en fart fat i guldsmeden og ragede hans skæg og hår af, og det gik skrædderen ligesådan. Men deres angst forsvandt, da den gamle derpå venligt klappede dem på skulderen, som om han ville sige, at det var pænt af dem, at de slet ikke havde strittet imod, men ganske rolig fundet sig i det. Han pegede nu på en håndfuld kul, som lå ved siden af, og betydede dem, at de skulle fylde deres lommer med dem. De adlød begge to, skønt de ikke vidste, hvad de skulle bruge kullene til, og gik så videre for at finde nattely. Da de kom ned i dalen, hørte de et ur slå tolv. Øjeblikkelig forstummede sangen, alt forsvandt, og højen lå ensom og forladt i måneskinnet.

De to vandringsmænd kom ind i en kro, lagde sig på strålejet og dækkede sig til med deres frakker, men de var så trætte, at de glemte at tage kullet ud af lommen. Næste morgen vågnede de tidligere end sædvanligt, fordi det var ligesom der lå sådan noget tungt ovenpå dem. De stak hånden ned i lommen, men ville ikke tro deres egne øjne, da de så at den var fuld af det pure guld. Der var også både hovedhår og skæg, så meget som de kunne ønske sig. De var nu rige folk, men guldsmeden, der var en gerrig rad og havde fyldt sine lommer bedst, var dobbelt så rig som skrædderen. Men mere vil altid have mere, og guldsmeden foreslog skrædderen at blive der endnu en dag og så om aftenen gå ud på højen hos de gamle for at få fat i nogle flere skatte. Men skrædderen ville ikke. "Jeg er tilfreds med det, jeg har fået," sagde han, "nu nedsætter jeg mig, gifter mig med min elskede genstand (sådan kaldte han sin kæreste), og så er jeg en lykkelig mand." For at føje guldsmeden lovede han dog at blive der endnu en dag. Om aftenen hængte guldsmeden et par poser over skuldrene for rigtigt at kunne skrabe til sig, og gik ud til højen. Det gik ligesom aftenen før. Den gamle ragede ham igen og gjorde tegn til ham, at han skulle tage noget kul med sig. Han betænkte sig ikke, men stoppede sine lommer fulde, vendte så glad hjem og dækkede sig til med frakken. "Selv om det guld trykker, vil jeg dog nok finde mig i det," tænkte han og sov ind i den søde forvisning om, næste morgen at vågne som en knaldrigmand. Da han slog øjnene op, rejste han sig i en fart for at undersøge sine lommer, men hvor forbavset blev han ikke, da der ikke var andet end det sorte kul, hvor ofte han end stak hånden derned. "Jeg har endnu det guld, som jeg har fået forrige nat," tænkte han og tog det frem, men blev meget forskrækket, da han så, at det også var blevet til kul. Han slog sig med sin sortsmudsede hånd for panden, og da følte han, at hans hovede var skaldet og glat som hans ansigt. Men det var ikke nok med den ulykke. Han mærkede nu, at han foran på brystet havde fået en pukkel, der var dobbelt så stor som den, han havde på ryggen. Da indså han, at han var blevet straffet for sin begærlighed, og begyndte at græde højt. Den gode skrædder, som var blevet vækket derved, trøstede ham så godt, han kunne og sagde: "Du har været min kammerat på vandringen. Du skal blive hos mig og også bruge af mine penge." Han holdt ord, men den stakkels guldsmed måtte hele sit liv beholde de to pukler og skjule sit skaldede hoved med en kalot.
A tailor and a goldsmith were travelling together, and one evening when the sun had sunk behind the mountains, they heard the sound of distant music, which became more and more distinct. It sounded strange, but so pleasant that they forgot all their weariness and stepped quickly onwards. The moon had already arisen when they reached a hill on which they saw a crowd of little men and women, who had taken each other's hands, and were whirling round in the dance with the greatest pleasure and delight.
They sang to it most charmingly, and that was the music which the travellers had heard. In the midst of them sat an old man who was rather taller than the rest. He wore a parti-coloured coat, and his iron-grey beard hung down over his breast. The two remained standing full of astonishment, and watched the dance. The old man made a sign that they should enter, and the little folks willingly opened their circle. The goldsmith, who had a hump, and like all hunchbacks was brave enough, stepped in; the tailor felt a little afraid at first, and held back, but when he saw how merrily all was going, he plucked up his courage, and followed. The circle closed again directly, and the little folks went on singing and dancing with the wildest leaps. The old man, however, took a large knife which hung to his girdle, whetted it, and when it was sufficiently sharpened, he looked round at the strangers. They were terrified, but they had not much time for reflection, for the old man seized the goldsmith and with the greatest speed, shaved the hair of his head clean off, and then the same thing happened to the tailor. But their fear left them when, after he had finished his work, the old man clapped them both on the shoulder in a friendly manner, as much as to say, they had behaved well to let all that be done to them willingly, and without any struggle. He pointed with his finger to a heap of coals which lay at one side, and signified to the travellers by his gestures that they were to fill their pockets with them. Both of them obeyed, although they did not know of what use the coals would be to them, and then they went on their way to seek a shelter for the night. When they had got into the valley, the clock of the neighbouring monastery struck twelve, and the song ceased. In a moment all had vanished, and the hill lay in solitude in the moonlight.

The two travellers found an inn, and covered themselves up on their straw-beds with their coats, but in their weariness forgot to take the coals out of them before doing so. A heavy weight on their limbs awakened them earlier than usual. They felt in the pockets, and could not believe their eyes when they saw that they were not filled with coals, but with pure gold; happily, too, the hair of their heads and beards was there again as thick as ever.

They had now become rich folks, but the goldsmith, who, in accordance with his greedy disposition, had filled his pockets better, was as rich again as the tailor. A greedy man, even if he has much, still wishes to have more, so the goldsmith proposed to the tailor that they should wait another day, and go out again in the evening in order to bring back still greater treasures from the old man on the hill. The tailor refused, and said, "I have enough and am content; now I shall be a master, and marry my dear object (for so he called his sweetheart), and I am a happy man." But he stayed another day to please him. In the evening the goldsmith hung a couple of bags over his shoulders that he might be able to stow away a great deal, and took the road to the hill. He found, as on the night before, the little folks at their singing and dancing, and the old man again shaved him clean, and signed to him to take some coal away with him. He was not slow about sticking as much into his bags as would go, went back quite delighted, and covered himself over with his coat. "Even if the gold does weigh heavily," said he, "I will gladly bear that," and at last he fell asleep with the sweet anticipation of waking in the morning an enormously rich man.

When he opened his eyes, he got up in haste to examine his pockets, but how amazed he was when he drew nothing out of them but black coals, and that howsoever often he put his hands in them. "The gold I got the night before is still there for me," thought he, and went and brought it out, but how shocked he was when he saw that it likewise had again turned into coal. He smote his forehead with his dusty black hand, and then he felt that his whole head was bald and smooth, as was also the place where his beard should have been. But his misfortunes were not yet over; he now remarked for the first time that in addition to the hump on his back, a second, just as large, had grown in front on his breast. Then he recognized the punishment of his greediness, and began to weep aloud. The good tailor, who was wakened by this, comforted the unhappy fellow as well as he could, and said, "Thou hast been my comrade in my travelling time; thou shalt stay with me and share in my wealth." He kept his word, but the poor goldsmith was obliged to carry the two humps as long as he lived, and to cover his bald head with a cap.




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