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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

The Devil disappeared and Peter, stuffing the magic bag in his pocket, walked to the nearest village.

His appearance created a panic. On sight of him the children ran screaming home, crying out:

"The Devil! The Devil is coming!"

Mothers and fathers ran out of the houses to see what was the matter but on sight of Peter they ran in again, barred all the doors and windows, and making the sign of the cross prayed God Almighty to protect them.

Peter went on to the tavern. The landlord and his wife were standing in the doorway. As Peter came toward them, they cried out in fright:

"O Lord, forgive us our sins! The Devil is coming!"

They tried to run away but they tripped over each other and fell down, and before they could scramble to their feet Peter stood before them.

He looked at them for a moment and laughed. Then he went inside the tavern, sat down, and said:

"Landlord, bring me a drink!"

Quaking with fright the landlord went to the cellar and drew a pitcher of beer. Then he called the little herd who was working in the stable.

"Yirik," he said to the boy, "take this beer into the house. There's a man in there waiting for it. He's a little strange looking but you needn't be afraid. He won't hurt you."

Yirik took the pitcher of beer and started in. He opened the door and then, as he caught sight of Peter, he dropped the pitcher and fled.

The landlord scolded him angrily.

"What do you mean," he shouted, "not giving the gentleman his beer? And breaking the pitcher, too! The price of it will be deducted from your wages! Draw another pitcher of beer and place it at once before the gentleman."

Yirik feared Peter but he feared the landlord more. He was an orphan, poor lad, and served the landlord for his keep and three dollars a year.

So with trembling fingers he drew a pitcher of beer and then, breathing a prayer to his patron saint, he slowly dragged himself into the tavern.

"There, there, boy," Peter called out kindly. "You needn't be afraid. I'm not going to hurt you.

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