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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

With the first breath of warm weather all the pests and insects of the summer before revived, for not one of them had been killed by the winter cold. And the eggs they had laid all hatched out until the earth and the air and the water swarmed with living creatures. Birds and rats and grasshoppers, insects and bugs and vermin of every kind, covered the fields and ate up every green thing. The meadows looked as if a fire had swept them clean. The orchards were stripped bare of every leaf and blossom.

Such hordes of fish and frogs and water creatures filled the lakes and the rivers that the water was polluted and it was impossible for man to drink it.

Water and land alike were swarming with living creatures not one of which could be killed. Even the air was thick with clouds of mosquitoes and gnats and flies.

Men and women walked about looking like tormented ghosts. They had no desire to live on but they had to live on for they could not die.

The blacksmith came at last to a realization of all the misery which his foolish wish was bringing upon the world.

"I see now," he said, "that God Almighty did well when He sent Death to the world. She has her work to do and I am wrong to hold her prisoner."

So he released Death from the stool and made no outcry when she put her bony fingers to his throat.

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