The Blacksmith's Stool: The Story of a Man Who Found that Death was Necessary
A long time ago when Lord Jesus and the blessed St. Peter walked about together on earth, it happened one evening that they stopped at a blacksmith's cottage and asked for a night's lodging.
"You are welcome," the blacksmith said. "I am a poor man but whatever I have I will gladly share with you."
He threw down his hammer and led his guests into the kitchen. There he entertained them with a good supper and after they had eaten he said to them:
"I see that you are tired from your day's journey. There is my bed. Lie down on it and sleep until morning."
"And where will you sleep?" St. Peter asked.
"I? Don't think of me," the blacksmith said. "I'll go out to the barn and sleep on the straw."
The next morning he gave his guests a fine breakfast, and then sent them on their way with good wishes for their journey.
As they were leaving, St. Peter plucked Lord Jesus by the sleeve and whispered:
"Master, aren't you going to reward this man? He is poor but yet has treated us most hospitably."
Lord Jesus answered Peter:
"The reward of this world is an empty reward. I was thinking to prepare him a place in heaven. However, I will grant him something now."
Then he turned to the blacksmith and said:
"Ask what you will. Make three wishes and they will be fulfilled."
The blacksmith was overjoyed. For his first wish he said:
"I should like to live for a hundred years and always be as strong and healthy as I am this moment."
Lord Jesus said:
"Very well, that will be granted you. What is your second wish?"
The blacksmith thought for a moment. Then he said:
"I wish that I may prosper in this world and always have as much as I need. May work in my shop always be as plentiful as it is today."
"This, too, will be granted you," Lord Jesus said. "Now for your third wish."
Our blacksmith thought and thought, unable at first to decide on a third wish. At last he said:
"Grant that whoever sits on the stool where you sat last night at supper may be unable to get up until I release him.