The Lord's animals and the Devil's



The Lord God had created all animals, and had chosen out the wolf to be his dog, but he had forgotten the goat. Then the Devil made ready and began to create also, and created goats with fine long tails. Now when they went to pasture, they generally remained caught in the hedges by their tails, then the Devil had to go there and disentangle them, with a great deal of trouble. This enraged him at last, and he went and bit off the tail of every goat, as may be seen to this day by the stump. Then he let them go to pasture alone, but it came to pass that the Lord God perceived how at one time they gnawed away at a fruitful tree, at another injured the noble vines, or destroyed other tender plants. This distressed him, so that in his goodness and mercy he summoned his wolves, who soon tore in pieces the goats that went there. When the devil observed this, he went before the Lord and said, "Thy creatures have destroyed mine." The Lord answered, "Why didst thou create things to do harm?" The Devil said, "I was compelled to do it: inasmuch as my thoughts run on evil, what I create can have no other nature, and thou must pay me heavy damages." - "I will pay thee as soon as the oak leaves fall; come then, thy money will then be ready counted out." When the oak-leaves had fallen, the Devil came and demanded what was due to him. But the Lord said, "In the church of Constantinople stands a tall oak-tree which still has all its leaves." With raging and curses, the Devil departed, and went to seek the oak, wandered in the wilderness for six months before he found it, and when he returned, all the oaks had in the meantime covered themselves again with green leaves. Then he had to forfeit his indemnity, and in his rage he put out the eyes of all the remaining goats, and put his own in instead.
This is why all goats have devil's eyes, and their tails bitten off, and why he likes to assume their shape.
上帝造完所有的动物后,挑了狼做他的狗,却单单忘了造山羊。 于是魔鬼就做好了准备,要创造一种尾巴细长的山羊。 当这种山羊在牧场上吃草时,长尾巴老是挂在了篱笆上,魔鬼又得马上去解开,费尽了周折。 魔鬼最后也火了,他干脆咬断了所有的羊尾巴,现在我们还能看到羊身上余下来的那一截。
后来魔鬼就让它们自己去吃草,但上帝正巧打那里经过,看见了这些羊,发现一只正在啃吃一棵果树,一只在损坏葡萄树,一只在摧残别的弱小植物,上帝很伤心。 本着慈悲为怀的心愿,上帝唤来了狼,眨眼间狼就把那些山羊咬得稀烂了。 魔鬼知道了这件事,便来到了上帝的跟前说:"你的畜生咬死了我的山羊。"上帝反问道:"你为何创造那些东西来作孽呢?"魔鬼申辩说:"我也没办法,因为我脑子里总想着要干坏事,我不能创造别种性质的东西,你得重重地赔偿我。""好的,等橡树叶落光后我再赔你。那时你来,我会如数把钱赔给你。"等橡树落叶时,魔鬼来讨债了。 但上帝说:"君士坦丁教堂里还有一棵橡树叶子仍在。""魔鬼愤怒异常,口中诅咒着,便去寻找那棵橡树。他在杳无人烟的荒野游荡了六个月,最后总算找到了那棵树。当他回来时,枯木又逢了春,所有的橡树又披上绿装了。魔鬼只得放弃了他的债,盛怒之下,挖掉了所有山羊的眼睛,把自己的眼睛给塞了进去。

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