The jew among thorns


Jøden i tornebusken

There was once a rich man, who had a servant who served him diligently and honestly: He was every morning the first out of bed, and the last to go to rest at night; and, whenever there was a difficult job to be done, which nobody cared to undertake, he was always the first to set himself to it. Moreover, he never complained, but was contented with everything, and always merry.
When a year was ended, his master gave him no wages, for he said to himself, "That is the cleverest way; for I shall save something, and he will not go away, but stay quietly in my service. The servant said nothing, but did his work the second year as he had done it the first; and when at the end of this, likewise, he received no wages, he made himself happy, and still stayed on.

When the third year also was past, the master considered, put his hand in his pocket, but pulled nothing out. Then at last the servant said, "Master, for three years I have served you honestly, be so good as to give me what I ought to have, for I wish to leave, and look about me a little more in the world."

"Yes, my good fellow," answered the old miser; "you have served me industriously, and, therefore, you shall be cheerfully rewarded;" And he put his hand into his pocket, but counted out only three farthings, saying, "There, you have a farthing for each year; that is large and liberal pay, such as you would have received from few masters."

The honest servant, who understood little about money, put his fortune into his pocket, and thought, "Ah! now that I have my purse full, why need I trouble and plague myself any longer with hard work!" So on he went, up hill and down dale; and sang and jumped to his heart's content. Now it came to pass that as he was going by a thicket a little man stepped out, and called to him, "Whither away, merry brother? I see you do not carry many cares." - "Why should I be sad?" answered the servant; "I have enough; three years' wages are jingling in my pocket." - "How much is your treasure?" the dwarf asked him. "How much? Three farthings sterling, all told." - "Look here," said the dwarf, "I am a poor needy man, give me your three farthings; I can work no longer, but you are young, and can easily earn your bread."

And as the servant had a good heart, and felt pity for the old man, he gave him the three farthings, saying, "Take them in the name of Heaven, I shall not be any the worse for it."

Then the little man said, "As I see you have a good heart I grant you three wishes, one for each farthing, they shall all be fulfilled."

"Aha?" said the servant, "you are one of those who can work wonders! Well, then, if it is to be so, I wish, first, for a gun, which shall hit everything that I aim at; secondly, for a fiddle, which when I play on it, shall compel all who hear it to dance; thirdly, that if I ask a favor of any one he shall not be able to refuse it."

"All that shall you have," said the dwarf; and put his hand into the bush, and only think, there lay a fiddle and gun, all ready, just as if they had been ordered. These he gave to the servant, and then said to him, "Whatever you may ask at any time, no man in the world shall be able to deny you."

"Heart alive! What can one desire more?" said the servant to himself, and went merrily onwards. Soon afterwards he met a Jew with a long goat's-beard, who was standing listening to the song of a bird which was sitting up at the top of a tree. "Good heavens," he was exclaiming, "that such a small creature should have such a fearfully loud voice! If it were but mine! If only someone would sprinkle some salt upon its tail!"

"If that is all," said the servant, "the bird shall soon be down here;" And taking aim he pulled the trigger, and down fell the bird into the thorn-bushes. "Go, you rogue," he said to the Jew, "and fetch the bird out for yourself!"

"Oh!" said the Jew, "leave out the rogue, my master, and I will do it at once. I will get the bird out for myself, as you really have hit it." Then he lay down on the ground, and began to crawl into the thicket.

When he was fast among the thorns, the good servant's humor so tempted him that he took up his fiddle and began to play. In a moment the Jew's legs began to move, and to jump into the air, and the more the servant fiddled the better went the dance. But the thorns tore his shabby coat from him, combed his beard, and pricked and plucked him all over the body. "Oh dear," cried the Jew, "what do I want with your fiddling? Leave the fiddle alone, master; I do not want to dance."

But the servant did not listen to him, and thought, "You have fleeced people often enough, now the thorn-bushes shall do the same to you;" and he began to play over again, so that the Jew had to jump higher than ever, and scraps of his coat were left hanging on the thorns. "Oh, woe's me! cried the Jew; I will give the gentleman whatsoever he asks if only he leaves off fiddling a purse full of gold." - "If you are so liberal," said the servant, "I will stop my music; but this I must say to your credit, that you dance to it so well that it is quite an art;" and having taken the purse he went his way.

The Jew stood still and watched the servant quietly until he was far off and out of sight, and then he screamed out with all his might, "You miserable musician, you beer-house fiddler! wait till I catch you alone, I will hunt you till the soles of your shoes fall off! You ragamuffin! just put five farthings in your mouth, and then you may be worth three halfpence!" and went on abusing him as fast as he could speak. As soon as he had refreshed himself a little in this way, and got his breath again, he ran into the town to the justice.

"My lord judge," he said, "I have come to make a complaint; see how a rascal has robbed and ill-treated me on the public highway! a stone on the ground might pity me; my clothes all torn, my body pricked and scratched, my little all gone with my purse, good ducats, each piece better than the last; for God's sake let the man be thrown into prison!"

"Was it a soldier," said the judge, "who cut you thus with his sabre?" - "Nothing of the sort!" said the Jew; "it was no sword that he had, but a gun hanging at his back, and a fiddle at his neck; the wretch may easily be known."

So the judge sent his people out after the man, and they found the good servant, who had been going quite slowly along, and they found, too, the purse with the money upon him. As soon as he was taken before the judge he said, "I did not touch the Jew, nor take his money; he gave it to me of his own free will, that I might leave off fiddling because he could not bear my music." - "Heaven defend us!" cried the Jew, "his lies are as thick as flies upon the wall."

But the judge also did not believe his tale, and said, "This is a bad defence, no Jew would do that." And because he had committed robbery on the public highway, he sentenced the good servant to be hanged. As he was being led away the Jew again screamed after him, "You vagabond! you dog of a fiddler! now you are going to receive your well-earned reward!" The servant walked quietly with the hangman up the ladder, but upon the last step he turned round and said to the judge, "Grant me just one request before I die."

"Yes, if you do not ask your life," said the judge. "I do not ask for life," answered the servant, "but as a last favor let me play once more upon my fiddle." The Jew raised a great cry of "Murder! murder! for goodness' sake do not allow it! Do not allow it!" But the judge said, "Why should I not let him have this short pleasure? it has been granted to him, and he shall have it." However, he could not have refused on account of the gift which had been bestowed on the servant.

Then the Jew cried, "Oh! woe's me! tie me, tie me fast!" while the good servant took his fiddle from his neck, and made ready. As he gave the first scrape, they all began to quiver and shake, the judge, his clerk, and the hangman and his men, and the cord fell out of the hand of the one who was going to tie the Jew fast. At the second scrape all raised their legs, and the hangman let go his hold of the good servant, and made himself ready to dance. At the third scrape they all leaped up and began to dance; the judge and the Jew being the best at jumping. Soon all who had gathered in the market-place out of curiosity were dancing with them; old and young, fat and lean, one with another. The dogs, likewise, which had run there got up on their hind legs and capered about; and the longer he played, the higher sprang the dancers, so that they knocked against each other's heads, and began to shriek terribly.

At length the judge cried, quite of breath, "I will give you your life if you will only stop fiddling." The good servant thereupon had compassion, took his fiddle and hung it round his neck again, and stepped down the ladder. Then he went up to the Jew, who was lying upon the ground panting for breath, and said, "You rascal, now confess, whence you got the money, or I will take my fiddle and begin to play again." - "I stole it, I stole it! cried he; "but you have honestly earned it." So the judge had the Jew taken to the gallows and hanged as a thief.
Der var engang en rig mand. Han havde en karl, som tjente ham trofast og ærligt, hver morgen var han først på benene og han holdt altid længst ud om aftenen. Når der var et vanskeligt arbejde, og ingen anden ville til det, tog han altid først fat. Han klagede aldrig over noget, men var altid tilfreds og i godt humør. Da et år var gået, gav hans husbond ham ingen løn. "Det er det klogeste," tænkte han, "så sparer jeg det, og så går fyren ikke sin vej, men bliver pænt i sin tjeneste." Karlen sagde ikke noget og gjorde sit arbejde som det første år. Da det andet år var gået, fik han heller ingen løn, men han fandt sig i det og blev. Da det tredie år var gået, betænkte husbonden sig lidt, stak hånden i lommen, men tog ikke noget op. Så sagde karlen: "Nu har jeg tjent jer tro i tre år. Jeg vil gerne have den løn, der tilkommer mig. Jeg har lyst til at se mig om i verden." - "Ja, du har været en flink karl," sagde den gerrige mand, "derfor skal du også blive lønnet godt." Han stak hånden i lommen, gav karlen tre skilling, en for en, og sagde: "Der har du tre skilling. Så god en løn havde du ikke fået ret mange steder." Den skikkelige karl havde ingen forstand på penge, puttede dem i lommen og tænkte: "Nu har jeg alt, hvad jeg behøver. Nu vil jeg såmænd ikke mere plage mig med sådan strengt arbejde."

Han drog så af sted, op og ned ad bakke, og sang og sprang af hjertenslyst. En dag, da han kom forbi et krat, kom en lille mand ud af det og råbte: "Hvor skal du hen, bror lystig? Du er nok ikke videre tynget af livets sorger." - "Hvorfor skulle jeg være bedrøvet," sagde karlen, "jeg har tre års løn i lommen." - "Hvor meget er det?" spurgte den lille mand. "Det er såmænd hele tre skilling." - "Hør engang," sagde dværgen, "jeg er en stakkels fattig mand, og kan ikke mere bestille noget. Giv mig de tre skilling. Du er ung, du kan let fortjene dit brød." Karlen havde et godt hjerte, og fik ondt af manden. "Der har du dem i Guds navn," sagde han og rakte manden de tre skilling, "jeg klarer mig vel nok endda." - "Du har et godt hjerte," sagde den lille mand, "du skal få tre af dine ønsker opfyldt, et for hver skilling." - "Du kan nok mere end dit fadervor," sagde karlen. "Men lad gå. Så ønsker jeg mig for det første en fuglebøsse, som rammer alt, hvad jeg sigter på, for det andet en violin, der er sådan, at alle må danse, når jeg spiller på den, og for det tredie, at ingen må kunne sige nej til, hvad jeg beder om." - "Du skal få det altsammen," sagde den lille mand. Han stak hånden ind i busken, og der lå allerede fuglebøssen og violinen parat. Han gav karlen dem og sagde: "Intet menneske skal kunne sige nej til dig, hvad du end beder om."

"Hvad kan jeg forlange mere," tænkte karlen og drog glad videre. Lidt efter mødte han en jøde med et langt skæg, han stod og lyttede til en fugl, som sad højt oppe i et træ og sang. "Det er dog et guds under," råbte han, "hvordan kan sådan et lille dyr have så stor en stemme. Bare det var min fugl. Gid jeg kunne komme til at strø salt på halen af den." - "Er der ikke andet i vejen," sagde karlen, "den skal vi snart få ned." Han lagde bøssen til kinden og ramte fuglen, som faldt ned i tjørnehækken. "Gå så ind og hent fuglen, din lurendrejer," sagde han. "Siden I engang har skudt den, vil jeg tage den," sagde jøden, lagde sig ned på jorden og begyndte at kravle ind i busken. Da han var kommet midt ind i tornene, tog karlen i et anfald af kådhed sin violin og gav sig til at spille. Straks begyndte jøden at lette på benene og springe og hoppe, og jo mere karlen gned, jo lystigere gik dansen. Men tornene flåede hans lurvede frakke, rev i hans gedebukkeskæg og stak og prikkede ham over hele kroppen. "Hold op," råbte han, "hold op med at spille. Jeg har slet ikke lyst til at danse." Men karlen brød sig ikke om, hvad han sagde. Du har flået så mange folk, nu kan tornene gøre det samme ved dig," tænkte han og spillede videre, så jøden sprang højt i vejret, og pjalterne af hans frakke blev hængende på tornene. "Av, av," råbte han, "jeg vil give dig alt, hvad du forlanger, når du vil holde op med at spille, selv om du vil have en hel pose fuld af guld." - "Når du er så flot, skal jeg nok holde op," sagde karlen, "men det må man lade dig, du kan ordentlig få benene med dig." Derpå tog han pengene og gik sin vej.

Jøden blev stående og så efter ham, og da karlen var så langt borte, at man ikke kunne se ham, råbte han af alle livsens kræfter: "Du elendige spillemand, du rørfidler, vent du bare, til jeg får fat på dig. Jeg skal jage dig af sted, så skosålerne skal falde af fødderne på dig. Put en tiøre i munden, for at du kan være fem skilling værd." Han blev ved at bruge mund, så længe han kunne finde på nye skældsord. Da han havde skaffet sig luft på denne måde, og var blevet noget roligere, løb han ind i byen og gik hen til dommeren. "Se engang, hr. dommer," sagde han, "se, hvordan en slyngel har udplyndret og mishandlet mig midt på den åbne landevej. Det måtte kunne røre en sten. Se, hvor mine klæder er pjaltede, og hvor jeg er revet og kradset. Min stakkels smule penge er væk, alle mine dukater, den ene blankere end den anden. Se for guds skyld at få fat i den skurk, og lad ham sætte i fængsel." - "Er det en soldat, som har hugget løs på dig med din sabel?" spurgte dommeren. "Nej, gud bevares," svarede jøden, "skarpe våben havde han ikke, men han havde en bøsse på bagen og en violin om halsen. Den fyr er nem nok at kende." Dommeren sendte sine folk af sted, og de fandt den skikkelige karl, som ganske langsomt var draget videre og guldpengene havde han jo også. Da han blev stillet for domstolen sagde han: "Jeg har ikke rørt jøden eller taget hans penge. Han har af egen fri vilje tilbudt mig dem for at holde op med at spille, for han kunne ikke lide min musik." - "Gud fri og bevare os," råbte jøden, " han lyver da lige så stærkt som en hest kan rende." Dommeren troede ham heller ikke og sagde: "Det er en dårlig undskyldning. Sådan bærer ingen jøde sig ad." Han dømte, at karlen skulle hænges, fordi han havde begået rov på åben gade. Da han blev ført ud til galgen råbte jøden efter ham: "Nu får du din velfortjente løn, din landstryger, din hundemusikant." Karlen gik ganske roligt op ad stigen med bøddelen. På det sidste trin vendte han sig om og sagde til dommeren: "Vil I opfylde mig en bøn, inden jeg dør." - "Ja, når du ikke beder om dit liv," sagde dommeren. "Det gør jeg ikke. Jeg beder kun om for sidste gang at få lov til at spille på min violin." Jøden udstødte et rædselsskrig: "Giv ham for guds skyld ikke lov til det." - "Hvorfor skulle jeg ikke unde ham den fornøjelse," sagde dommeren, "jeg har sagt ja, og derved bliver det." Han kunne jo heller slet ikke sige nej til det, på grund af den evne, karlen havde fået. "Ak ve mig," råbte jøden, "bind mig fast." Karlen tog nu sin violin, lagde den til rette, og da han havde gjort det første strøg begyndte de alle at trippe og hoppe, både dommeren, skriveren og retsbetjenten. Tovet faldt ud af hånden på ham, der ville binde jøden. Ved det andet strøg løftede de allesammen benene, bøddelen slap karlen og belavede sig på at danse, og ved det tredie strøg sprang de allesammen i vejret og begyndte at danse, jøden og dommeren forrest, og de sprang bedst. Alle de, der af nysgerrighed var kommet hen på torvet, unge og gamle, tykke og tynde, måtte danse med, ja selv hundene satte sig på bagbenene og begyndte at hoppe rundt. Jo længere han spillede, jo højere sprang de, og tit stødte de hovederne mod hinanden og skreg ynkeligt. Til sidst råbte dommeren åndeløs: "Jeg skænker dig dit liv, når du kun vil holde op med at spille." Karlen lod sig overtale, hængte violinen om halsen og gik ned ad stigen. Han gik lige hen til jøden, som lå på jorden og snappede efter vejret. "Vil du nu tilstå, hvor du har pengene fra, din skurk, ellers tager jeg min violin og begynder at spille igen." - "Jeg har stjålet dem, jeg har stjålet dem," råbte han, "men du har ærligt fortjent dem." Dommeren lod så jøden føre til galgen og klynge op som en tyv.

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