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Main > Czechoslovak folktale > Fairy tale "The Blacksmith's Stool: The Story of a Man Who Found that Death was Necessary"

The Blacksmith's Stool: The Story of a Man Who Found that Death was Necessary


St. Peter laughed at this, but Lord Jesus nodded and said:

"This wish, too, will be fulfilled."

So they parted, Lord Jesus and blessed St. Peter going on their way, and the blacksmith returning home to his forge.

Things came to pass as Lord Jesus had promised they should. Work in plenty flowed into the blacksmith's shop. The years went by but they made no impression on the blacksmith. He was as young as ever and as vigorous. His friends grew old and one by one died. His children grew up, married, and had children of their own. These in turn grew up. The years brought youth and maturity and old age to them all. The blacksmith alone remained unchanged.

A hundred years is a long time but at last even it runs out.

One night as the blacksmith was putting away his tools, there came a knock at the door. The blacksmith stopped his singing to call out:

"Who's there?"

"It is I, Death," a voice answered. "Open the door, blacksmith. Your time has come."

The blacksmith threw open the door.

"Welcome," he said to the woman standing there. "I'll be ready in a moment when I put away my tools." He smiled a little to himself. "Won't you sit down on this stool, dear lady, and rest you for a moment? You must be weary going to and fro over the earth."

Death, suspecting nothing, seated herself on the stool.

The blacksmith burst into a loud laugh.

"Now I have you, my lady! Stay where you are until I release you!"

Death tried to stand up but could not. She squirmed this way and that. She rattled her hollow bones. She gnashed her teeth. But do what she would she could not arise from the stool.

Chuckling and singing, the blacksmith left her there and went about his business.

But soon he found that chaining up Death had unexpected results. To begin with, he wanted at once to celebrate his escape with a feast. He had a hog which had been fattening for some time. He would slaughter this hog and chop it up into fine spicy sausages which his neighbors and friends would help him eat.

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Category: Scandinavian folktales
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