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Main > Czechoslovak folktale > Fairy tale "The Devil's Little Brother-in-law: The Story of a Youth Who Couldn't Find Work"

The Devil's Little Brother-in-law: The Story of a Youth Who Couldn't Find Work

Once upon a time there was a youth named Peter. He was the son of a rich farmer but on his father's death his stepmother robbed him of his inheritance and drove him out into the world, penniless and destitute.

"Begone with you now!" she shouted. "Never let me see your face again!"

"Where shall I go?" Peter asked.

"Go to the Devil, for all I care!" the stepmother cried and slammed the door in his face.

Peter felt very sad at being driven away from the farm that had always been his home, but he was an able-bodied lad, industrious and energetic, and he thought he would have no trouble making his way in the world.

He tramped to the next village and stopped at a big farmhouse. The farmer was standing at the door, eating a great hunk of buttered bread.

Peter touched his hat respectfully and said:

"Let every one praise Lord Jesus!"

With his mouth stuffed full, the farmer responded:

"Until the Day of Judgment!" Then in a different tone he demanded: "What do you want?"

"I'm looking for work," Peter said. "Do you need a laborer?"

Peter was well dressed for he had on the last clothes his kind father had given him. The farmer looked him over and sneered.

"A fine laborer you would make! You would do good work at meals—I see that, and spend the rest of your time at cards and teasing the maids! I know your kind!"

Peter tried to tell the farmer that he was industrious and steady but with an oath the farmer told him to go to the Devil. Then stepping inside the house he slammed the door in Peter's face.

In the next village he applied for work at the bailiff's house. The bailiff's wife answered his knock.

"The master is playing cards with two of his friends," she said. "I'll go in and ask him if he has anything for you to do."

Peter heard her speak to some one inside and then a rough voice bellowed out:

"No! How often have I told you not to interrupt me when I'm busy! Tell the fellow to go to the Devil!"

Without waiting for the bailiff's wife, Peter turned away. Tired and discouraged he took a path into the woods and sat down.

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