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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

Don't forget!"

So Peter began working for the Devil and the treatment he received was so much better than that which he had had on earth that, sometimes, it seemed to him he was in heaven rather than hell. He had plenty of good food and drink and, as the Devil had promised him, the work was not heavy.

For companions he had the young apprentice devils, a merry black crew, who told droll stories and played amusing pranks.

Time passed quickly. Peter was faithful at his work and never once peeped under the lids of his three cauldrons.

At last he began to grow homesick for the world and one day he asked the Devil how much longer he had still to serve.

"Tomorrow," the Devil told him, "your seven years are up."

The next day while Peter was piling fresh logs under the cauldrons, the Devil came to him and said:

"Today, Peter, you are free. You have served me faithfully and well and I am going to reward you handsomely. Money would be too heavy for you to carry, so I am going to give you this bag which is a magic bag. Whenever you open it and say: 'Bag, I need some ducats,' the bag will always have just as many as you need. Good luck go with you, Peter. However, I don't believe you'll have a very good time at first for people will think you're a devil. You know you do look pretty black for you haven't washed for seven years and you haven't cut your hair or nails."

"That's true," said Peter. "I just remember I haven't washed ever since I've been down here. I certainly must take a bath and get my hair cut and my nails trimmed."

The Devil shook his head.

"No, Peter, one bath won't do it. Water won't wash off the kind of black you get down here. I know what you must do but I won't tell you just yet. Go up into the world as you are and, if ever you need me, call me. If the people up there ask you who you are, tell them you're the Devil's little brother-in-law. This isn't a joke. It's true as you'll find out some day."

Peter then took leave of all the little black apprentices and the Devil, lifting him on his back, whisked him up to earth and set him down in the forest on exactly the same spot where they had met seven years before.

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