从前，一对老夫妇刚干完一天的活，正坐在他们的破屋前，突然远处驶来了一架漂亮的马车，马车由四匹黑马拉着，车上下来了一位衣着华丽的人。 农夫站起身来，走到大人物跟前，问他需要什么，可否为他效劳。 陌生人向老人伸出了一只手，说："我不要别的，只想吃一顿农家的便饭，就像平常一样给我弄一顿土豆，到时我会到桌上放开肚皮吃一顿。"农夫笑道："你准是个伯爵或侯爵，要么就是位公爵，高贵的老爷们常有这种欲望，不过我会满足你的。"于是老婆子便开始下厨洗刷土豆，并按乡下人的方式把它削成米团子。 就在她一个人忙得起劲的时候，只听农夫对陌生人说："跟我到花园来，那儿我还有些活要干。"他在花园里挖好了一些坑，现在要在里面种上树。 "你可有儿女？"陌生人问，"他们可以帮你干点活啊！""没有，"农夫答道，"确切地说，我曾有过一个儿子，但很久前他就离家出走了。他以前不务正业，人虽聪明机灵，却不学无术，脑子里全是鬼主意，最后还是离我们走了，从此便杳无音讯。"
One day an old man and his wife were sitting in front of a miserable house resting a while from their work. Suddenly a splendid carriage with four black horses came driving up, and a richly-dressed man descended from it. The peasant stood up, went to the great man, and asked what he wanted, and in what way he could be useful to him? The stranger stretched out his hand to the old man, and said, "I want nothing but to enjoy for once a country dish; cook me some potatoes, in the way you always have them, and then I will sit down at your table and eat them with pleasure." The peasant smiled and said, "You are a count or a prince, or perhaps even a duke; noble gentlemen often have such fancies, but you shall have your wish." The wife went into the kitchen, and began to wash and rub the potatoes, and to make them into balls, as they are eaten by the country-folks. Whilst she was busy with this work, the peasant said to the stranger, "Come into my garden with me for a while, I have still something to do there." He had dug some holes in the garden, and now wanted to plant some trees in them. "Have you no children," asked the stranger, "who could help you with your work?" - "No," answered the peasant, "I had a son, it is true, but it is long since he went out into the world. He was a ne'er-do-well; sharp, and knowing, but he would learn nothing and was full of bad tricks, at last he ran away from me, and since then I have heard nothing of him."
老人拾起一株小树，栽入坑中，在树旁插上桩，又铲进些泥土，再用脚踩紧，然后用绳子把树的上、中、下三处扎在桩上。 "不过你能否告诉我，"陌生人说，"那边有棵弯曲的树快垂地了，为什么不把它也靠在桩上，让它也长直呢？"农夫笑道："老爷，你说的和你知道的是一样多，显然你对园艺业一窍不通。那株树年岁已久，已生结疤，现在已无法弄直了，树要从小就精心培植。""你的儿子也和这树一样，"陌生人说，"如果从小就对他好好管教，他就不会离家出走。现在他一定长硬，并生了结疤。""那是肯定的，"老人说，"他出走这么久一定早变了。""如果他再回来，你会认出他吗？"陌生人问。 "外貌肯定认不出，"农夫说，"不过他有个标记，在他的肩上有粒胎记，有蚕豆粒般大小。"等他说完，只见陌生人脱下上衣，露出肩膀，让农夫瞧那颗豆大的胎记。 "天啊！"老人大叫："你真是我的儿！"爱子之心油然而生，老人一时心乱如麻。 "不过，"他又说，"你已是位富贵高雅的尊敬的大老爷，怎么可能是我的儿子呢？""哦，爹，"儿子答道，"幼苗不用桩来靠就会长歪，现在我已太老，再也伸不直了。你问我是怎样变成这样的，因为我已做了小偷。别惊讶，我可是个偷盗高手，对我来说世上没有什么铁锁或门闩，我想要的就是我的。千万别把我想成个下三流的小偷，我只把富人多余的东西借来一用，穷人则是安全的，我只会接济他们，决不会去取他们丝毫之物。而且那些不费脑力、不动脑子、不施巧计就能得到的东西，我连碰都不碰。""唉呀！儿子，"父亲说，"我却不喜欢，小偷终究是小偷，他们最终是会遭报应的。"老父把儿子带到母亲跟前，等她得知那就是她的亲生儿子时，高兴得哭起来了；但知道他是个偷盗高手时，眼泪又唰地流了出来。 最后只听她说："即使做了小偷，但他终究是我的儿子，我总算又瞧见他了。"
The old man took a young tree, put it in a hole, drove in a post beside it, and when he had shovelled in some earth and had trampled it firmly down, he tied the stem of the tree above, below, and in the middle, fast to the post by a rope of straw. "But tell me," said the stranger, "why you don't tie that crooked knotted tree, which is lying in the corner there, bent down almost to the ground, to a post also that it may grow straight, as well as these?" The old man smiled and said, "Sir, you speak according to your knowledge, it is easy to see that you are not familiar with gardening. That tree there is old, and mis-shapen, no one can make it straight now. Trees must be trained while they are young." - "That is how it was with your son," said the stranger, "if you had trained him while he was still young, he would not have run away; now he too must have grown hard and mis-shapen." - "Truly it is a long time since he went away," replied the old man, "he must have changed." - "Would you know him again if he were to come to you?" asked the stranger. "Hardly by his face," replied the peasant, "but he has a mark about him, a birth-mark on his shoulder, that looks like a bean." When he had said that the stranger pulled off his coat, bared his shoulder, and showed the peasant the bean. "Good God!" cried the old man, "Thou art really my son!" and love for his child stirred in his heart. "But," he added, "how canst thou be my son, thou hast become a great lord and livest in wealth and luxury? How hast thou contrived to do that?" - "Ah, father," answered the son, "the young tree was bound to no post and has grown crooked, now it is too old, it will never be straight again. How have I got all that? I have become a thief, but do not be alarmed, I am a master-thief. For me there are neither locks nor bolts, whatsoever I desire is mine. Do not imagine that I steal like a common thief, I only take some of the superfluity of the rich. Poor people are safe, I would rather give to them than take anything from them. It is the same with anything which I can have without trouble, cunning and dexterity I never touch it." - "Alas, my son," said the father, "it still does not please me, a thief is still a thief, I tell thee it will end badly." He took him to his mother, and when she heard that was her son, she wept for joy, but when he told her that he had become a master-thief, two streams flowed down over her face. At length she said, "Even if he has become a thief, he is still my son, and my eyes have beheld him once more." They sat down to table, and once again he ate with his parents the wretched food which he had not eaten for so long. The father said, "If our Lord, the count up there in the castle, learns who thou art, and what trade thou followest, he will not take thee in his arms and cradle thee in them as he did when he held thee at the font, but will cause thee to swing from a halter." - "Be easy, father, he will do me no harm, for I understand my trade. I will go to him myself this very day." When evening drew near, the master-thief seated himself in his carriage, and drove to the castle. The count received him civilly, for he took him for a distinguished man. When, however, the stranger made himself known, the count turned pale and was quite silent for some time. At length he said, "Thou art my godson, and on that account mercy shall take the place of justice, and I will deal leniently with thee. Since thou pridest thyself on being a master-thief, I will put thy art to the proof, but if thou dost not stand the test, thou must marry the rope-maker's daughter, and the croaking of the raven must be thy music on the occasion." - "Lord count," answered the master-thief, "Think of three things, as difficult as you like, and if I do not perform your tasks, do with me what you will." The count reflected for some minutes, and then said, "Well, then, in the first place, thou shalt steal the horse I keep for my own riding, out of the stable; in the next, thou shalt steal the sheet from beneath the bodies of my wife and myself when we are asleep, without our observing it, and the wedding-ring of my wife as well; thirdly and lastly, thou shalt steal away out of the church, the parson and clerk. Mark what I am saying, for thy life depends on it."
他们一家仨口围坐在桌旁，他又和父母一起吃起了那粗糙的饭，他有很久没有吃这种饭了。 这时父亲开口道："要是城里的伯爵老爷得知你是谁，以及你所干的行当，他可不会像给你洗礼时那样把你抱在怀里，他会把你送上绞架的。""别担心，爹，他可伤不着我，我有一套呢。今晚我就去登门拜访伯爵大人。"天黑时，神偷坐上马车驶向了城堡。 伯爵客气地接待了他，还以为这是个大人物，可当他道明身份后，伯爵的脸唰的一下白了，一时竟说不出话来。 最后他总算开口了，说："你是我的教子，出于这一点，我不会对你无情无义的，我会对你宽大的。既然你夸口自己是个神偷，就露几手给我瞧瞧。如果不堪一试，你得自讨一副绳索，到时乌鸦会来哇哇给你奏乐的。""伯爵老爷，"神偷答道，"尽量想三桩难题，如果我不能做到，到时我会听凭你的处罚。"伯爵想了一会儿说："第一件是，你得从我的马厩里把我的马盗出来；第二件是，趁我和夫人睡觉时，你得从我们身下把褥子偷去，而不让我们察觉，还有我夫人的结婚戒指；最后一件是，你得从教堂里把牧师和执事偷出来。记住我说的，以后就看你的造化了。"
神偷来到最临近的城里，买了一套老农妇的衣服穿在身上，然后又把脸涂成棕色，再在上面画上皱纹。 他还把一个小酒桶装满匈牙利酒，并向里面撒了些蒙汗药。 于是他便拖着缓慢的步子 ，踉踉跄跄地走向伯爵的城堡。 等他赶到城里时，天已黑了，他在院中一块石头上坐下，便开始咳嗽起来，样子酷似一位患哮喘病的老妇人。 他擦了擦手，像是冷得不得了。 就在马厩的门前，一些士兵正围着一堆火坐在地上。 其中的一个瞧见了妇人，便对她喊道："过来吧，老大妈。到我们旁边来暖暖身子吧。想必你连过夜的地方也没有，你可以在这儿将就一宿。"老妇人踉跄地走了过去，请他们帮忙把身上的酒桶取下来，然后在他们身边的火旁坐了下来。 "桶里装的是什么，老太婆？"一个问道。 "几口上好的酒，"她答道，"我靠做点生意过日子，只要话说得好，价钱合理，我倒会让你来一杯的。""那我就在这里喝吧。"那士兵说着，先要了一杯，说："只要酒好，我还要来一杯。"说完就自己倒了一杯，其他的人也学着他的样倒了就喝。 "喂，伙计们，"其中的一个向马厩里的士兵喊道，"这有一位老婆子，她的陈年老酒和她的年龄差不多，来喝一口吧！暖暖身子，它可比烤火管用得多。"老妇人提着桶子进了马厩，只见里面一个士兵坐在马鞍子上，一个手握缰绳，另一个抓着马的尾巴。
The master-thief went to the nearest town; there he bought the clothes of an old peasant woman, and put them on. Then he stained his face brown, and painted wrinkles on it as well, so that no one could have recognized him. Then he filled a small cask with old Hungary wine in which was mixed a powerful sleeping-drink. He put the cask in a basket, which he took on his back, and walked with slow and tottering steps to the count's castle. It was already dark when he arrived. He sat down on a stone in the court-yard and began to cough, like an asthmatic old woman, and to rub his hands as if he were cold. In front of the door of the stable some soldiers were lying round a fire; one of them observed the woman, and called out to her, "Come nearer, old mother, and warm thyself beside us. After all, thou hast no bed for the night, and must take one where thou canst find it." The old woman tottered up to them, begged them to lift the basket from her back, and sat down beside them at the fire. "What hast thou got in thy little cask, old lady?" asked one. "A good mouthful of wine," she answered. "I live by trade, for money and fair words I am quite ready to let you have a glass." - "Let us have it here, then," said the soldier, and when he had tasted one glass he said, "When wine is good, I like another glass," and had another poured out for himself, and the rest followed his example. "Hallo, comrades," cried one of them to those who were in the stable, "here is an old goody who has wine that is as old as herself; take a draught, it will warm your stomachs far better than our fire." The old woman carried her cask into the stable. One of the soldiers had seated himself on the saddled riding-horse, another held its bridle in his hand, a third had laid hold of its tail. She poured out as much as they wanted until the spring ran dry. It was not long before the bridle fell from the hand of the one, and he fell down and began to snore, the other left hold of the tail, lay down and snored still louder. The one who was sitting in the saddle, did remain sitting, but bent his head almost down to the horse's neck, and slept and blew with his mouth like the bellows of a forge. The soldiers outside had already been asleep for a long time, and were lying on the ground motionless, as if dead. When the master-thief saw that he had succeeded, he gave the first a rope in his hand instead of the bridle, and the other who had been holding the tail, a wisp of straw, but what was he to do with the one who was sitting on the horse's back? He did not want to throw him down, for he might have awakened and have uttered a cry. He had a good idea, he unbuckled the girths of the saddle, tied a couple of ropes which were hanging to a ring on the wall fast to the saddle, and drew the sleeping rider up into the air on it, then he twisted the rope round the posts, and made it fast. He soon unloosed the horse from the chain, but if he had ridden over the stony pavement of the yard they would have heard the noise in the castle. So he wrapped the horse's hoofs in old rags, led him carefully out, leapt upon him, and galloped off.
她给这三个人倒了许多酒，直到酒桶见底为止。 不多久，缰绳就从那个士兵的手中掉了下来，士兵也跟着倒下，并开始打起鼾来。 另一个也松开了马尾巴，倒在地上，呼噜声一个高过一个。 骑在马上的人仍坐在上面，不过头几乎弯到了马脖上，他也睡熟了，嘴角儿出气儿，就像是在拉风箱。 外面的士兵早就睡熟了，一个个就像死尸般躺在那儿，一动也不动。 神偷见自己已得手，拿了根绳子换下了那个士兵手中的缰绳，拿一把稻草换下另一士兵手中的马尾，不过马鞍上那个该怎办呢？ 他不想把他推下来，这样会把他弄醒使他大喊大叫起来。 他想了个好主意，只见他把马肚下的马鞍带子解开，用几根绳子把马鞍牢牢地拴在了墙上的吊环上，然后再把那位睡熟了的骑士吊在空中，又把绳子绕在柱子上，牢牢扎紧。 然后他迅速地把马链解开，但如果他就这样骑着马走在院中的石板路上，里面的人肯定会听见，于是他用破布把马蹄包好，小心翼翼地牵出马厩，然后一跃而上，飞奔而去。
天亮了，神偷骑着盗来的马来到城堡。 伯爵刚刚起床，正在往外望。 "早上好，伯爵老爷，"小偷向他叫道，"马在这里，我已幸运地把它从马厩里牵了出来。瞧，你的士兵躺在那里一个个睡得多美啊！如果你乐意到马厩去，你会发现你的守卫有多舒服。"伯爵忍不住笑了起来，只听他说："这次得逞了，下此休想那么侥幸，我警告你如果给我逮住，我会把你当贼来处置。"
When day broke, the master galloped to the castle on the stolen horse. The count had just got up, and was looking out of the window. "Good morning, Sir Count," he cried to him, "here is the horse, which I have got safely out of the stable! Just look, how beautifully your soldiers are lying there sleeping; and if you will but go into the stable, you will see how comfortable your watchers have made it for themselves." The count could not help laughing, then he said, "For once thou hast succeeded, but things won't go so well the second time, and I warn thee that if thou comest before me as a thief, I will handle thee as I would a thief." When the countess went to bed that night, she closed her hand with the wedding-ring tightly together, and the count said, "All the doors are locked and bolted, I will keep awake and wait for the thief, but if he gets in by the window, I will shoot him." The master-thief, however, went in the dark to the gallows, cut a poor sinner who was hanging there down from the halter, and carried him on his back to the castle. Then he set a ladder up to the bedroom, put the dead body on his shoulders, and began to climb up. When he had got so high that the head of the dead man showed at the window, the count, who was watching in his bed, fired a pistol at him, and immediately the master let the poor sinner fall down, and hid himself in one corner. The night was sufficiently lighted by the moon, for the master to see distinctly how the count got out of the window on to the ladder, came down, carried the dead body into the garden, and began to dig a hole in which to lay it. "Now," thought the thief, "the favourable moment has come," stole nimbly out of his corner, and climbed up the ladder straight into the countess's bedroom. "Dear wife," he began in the count's voice, "the thief is dead, but, after all, he is my godson, and has been more of a scape-grace than a villain. I will not put him to open shame; besides, I am sorry for the parents. I will bury him myself before daybreak, in the garden that the thing may not be known, so give me the sheet, I will wrap up the body in it, and bury him as a dog burries things by scratching." The countess gave him the sheet. "I tell you what," continued the thief, "I have a fit of magnanimity on me, give me the ring too, -- the unhappy man risked his life for it, so he may take it with him into his grave." She would not gainsay the count, and although she did it unwillingly she drew the ring from her finger, and gave it to him. The thief made off with both these things, and reached home safely before the count in the garden had finished his work of burying.
当晚伯爵夫人睡觉时，手里紧紧握住那只结婚戒指，只听伯爵说："所有的门都已锁上闩好，我一夜不睡等着小偷，如果他从窗户进来 ，我就开枪打死他。 "此刻神偷趁着夜色来到了刑场的绞架下，他一刀割下绞索，放下罪犯，然后扛着回到了城里。他在卧室下架起一把梯子，肩上扛着死尸就向上爬。等他爬到一定的高度时，死尸的脑袋正好在窗前露出，守候在床上的伯爵拔枪就射，神偷应声松开了手，可怜的罪犯摔下了地，他立刻爬下梯子，躲进了墙角里。那天夜晚月色分外明亮，月光里伯爵爬到窗外，顺着梯子爬了下来，把地上的死尸扛向花园，在那里开始挖坑掩埋尸体。神偷把这一切看得一清二楚，"现在机会来了！ "神偷想。于是他机灵地从墙脚下溜了出来，爬上梯子，径直走进伯爵夫人的卧室，装着伯爵的声音说："亲爱的夫人，小偷已死了，但他毕竟是我的教子，他最多只是淘气，算不了什么坏人，我不想公开出他的丑，而且我也同情他那可怜的父母，天亮前我想把他在花园埋了，这样也无人知晓。 给我褥子，把他裹起来，这样埋起来就不会像条狗一样。 "伯爵夫人给了他褥子。"而且我说，"小偷继续说道，"为了表明我的宽宏大量，再把戒指给我，这位不幸的人为之付出了生命，就让他带进坟墓吧！ "伯爵夫人不敢违背丈夫，尽管不乐意，还是把戒指退了下来，递给了伯爵。小偷拿到两样东西后就走了，赶在伯爵在花园里埋完尸体前平平安安地回到了家。
第二天上午，神偷送来了褥子和戒指，伯爵的脸儿拉得可长啦！ "难道你会法术？"他说，"是谁把你从坟墓中弄出来的？明明是我亲手埋掉了你，是谁让你起死回生的？""你埋的可不是我，"小偷说，"而是已处决的罪犯。"然后他又把一切原原本本地讲给伯爵听了。 伯爵不由得也承认他是个聪明狡猾的小偷。 "不过还没完呢！"他又说道，"你还剩一件事未干，如果到时不成，一切均是枉然。"神偷笑而不答地回家了。
What a long face the count did pull when the master came next morning, and brought him the sheet and the ring. "Art thou a wizard?" said he, "Who has fetched thee out of the grave in which I myself laid thee, and brought thee to life again?" - "You did not bury me," said the thief, "but the poor sinner on the gallows," and he told him exactly how everything had happened, and the count was forced to own to him that he was a clever, crafty thief. "But thou hast not reached the end yet," he added, "thou hast still to perform the third task, and if thou dost not succeed in that, all is of no use." The master smiled and returned no answer. When night had fallen he went with a long sack on his back, a bundle under his arms, and a lantern in his hand to the village-church. In the sack he had some crabs, and in the bundle short wax-candles. He sat down in the churchyard, took out a crab, and stuck a wax-candle on his back. Then he lighted the little light, put the crab on the ground, and let it creep about. He took a second out of the sack, and treated it in the same way, and so on until the last was out of the sack. Hereupon he put on a long black garment that looked like a monk's cowl, and stuck a gray beard on his chin. When at last he was quite unrecognizable, he took the sack in which the crabs had been, went into the church, and ascended the pulpit. The clock in the tower was just striking twelve; when the last stroke had sounded, he cried with a loud and piercing voice, "Hearken, sinful men, the end of all things has come! The last day is at hand! Hearken! Hearken! Whosoever wishes to go to heaven with me must creep into the sack. I am Peter, who opens and shuts the gate of heaven. Behold how the dead outside there in the churchyard, are wandering about collecting their bones. Come, come, and creep into the sack; the world is about to be destroyed!" The cry echoed through the whole village. The parson and clerk who lived nearest to the church, heard it first, and when they saw the lights which were moving about the churchyard, they observed that something unusual was going on, and went into the church. They listened to the sermon for a while, and then the clerk nudged the parson and said, "It would not be amiss if we were to use the opportunity together, and before the dawning of the last day, find an easy way of getting to heaven." - "To tell the truth," answered the parson, "that is what I myself have been thinking, so if you are inclined, we will set out on our way." - "Yes," answered the clerk, "but you, the pastor, have the precedence, I will follow." So the parson went first, and ascended the pulpit where the master opened his sack. The parson crept in first, and then the clerk. The master immediately tied up the sack tightly, seized it by the middle, and dragged it down the pulpit-steps, and whenever the heads of the two fools bumped against the steps, he cried, "We are going over the mountains." Then he drew them through the village in the same way, and when they were passing through puddles, he cried, "Now we are going through wet clouds." And when at last he was dragging them up the steps of the castle, he cried, "Now we are on the steps of heaven, and will soon be in the outer court." When he had got to the top, he pushed the sack into the pigeon-house, and when the pigeons fluttered about, he said, "Hark how glad the angels are, and how they are flapping their wings!" Then he bolted the door upon them, and went away.
天黑了，他肩背一只长长的大袋子，腋下携着个包裹，手中提着一只灯笼来到村里的教堂。 他袋中装的是螃蟹，包裹里盛的是蜡烛。 到了教堂的院内，他坐在地上，掏出了一只螃蟹，在它背上粘上蜡烛，然后又点上小蜡烛，把它放在地上，让它自己四处乱爬。 接着他又掏出了另一只，同样地摆弄一番，他如此这般地忙着，直到袋内一只不剩。 这时他又披上一件黑色的同神甫的僧衣没有什么两样的外衣，并在下巴上粘上花白胡子，直到最后无人再能认出他来，他才提着那只装螃蟹的袋子走进教堂，登上了神坛。 这时头顶上的钟声正好敲响了十二点，当最后一声钟敲完后，他便放声高喊起来，声音尖锐刺耳："听着！听着！谁想和我一起进天堂，马上爬进这袋中，我是看守天堂大们的彼得。看啦外面的死尸正在四处游荡，拾着他们的尸骨。快来！快来！赶快爬进这袋中，世界就要毁于一旦了。"叫声响彻整个村庄，久久回荡不已。 牧师和执事住得离教堂最近，最先听到；这时他们又看到一些灯火在教堂里移动，觉得事情有点不对劲，便来到了教堂。 他们听了好一会儿布道，只见执事用手肘轻轻推着牧师，说："世界末日到来前，能轻而易举地进入天堂，此机不用更待何时。""说实在的，"牧师说，"这正合我意，如果你愿意，我们一块走吧。""好！"执事答道，"牧师您先请，我随后就来。"于是牧师在先，执事在后，登上了神坛，那儿神偷正张开那只袋子。 牧师先爬了进去，接着执事也跟着进去了。 神偷随即把袋口扎紧，拦腰抓起，拖下了神坛。 每当两个傻瓜脑袋碰在阶梯上，他就高声说："我们正在穿山越岭呢！"到了村口时他也是这样拖着，当他横过泥坑时就大声说："我们正在腾云驾雾呢！"最后神偷把他们拖上了城堡的石级，他又大叫："我们正在上天堂的台阶，很快就要到天堂的前院了。"等他到达上面时，就把袋子推入鸽子笼，鸽子纷纷地飞了出来，他又说："听，天使们有多高兴，他们正在展翅飞舞呢！"说完就插上门走了。
第二天早上他再次来到伯爵的跟前，告诉他完成了第三项任务，并已把牧师和执事扛出了教堂。 "你把他们放在哪儿？"伯爵问。 "他们正躺在楼上的鸽子笼内的口袋中，他们以为自己正在天堂呢！"伯爵亲自登上城楼，证实了神偷所说的是实话。 当他把牧师和执事放出来后 ，说："你确实是个通天神偷，你赢了。这次你又安然无恙地逃脱了，但从此你得离开我的领地，如果你胆敢再踏进此地一步，我就会把你送上西天。"通天神偷于是辞别了父母，再次走入大千世界，从此便再无音讯。
Next morning he went to the count, and told him that he had performed the third task also, and had carried the parson and clerk out of the church. "Where hast thou left them?" asked the lord. "They are lying upstairs in a sack in the pigeon-house, and imagine that they are in heaven." The count went up himself, and convinced himself that the master had told the truth. When he had delivered the parson and clerk from their captivity, he said, "Thou art an arch-thief, and hast won thy wager. For once thou escapest with a whole skin, but see that thou leavest my land, for if ever thou settest foot on it again, thou may'st count on thy elevation to the gallows." The arch-thief took leave of his parents, once more went forth into the wide world, and no one has ever heard of him since.
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