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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

I'm not the Devil. I'm only his little brother-in-law."

Yirik took heart and placed the beer in front of Peter. Then he stood still, not daring to raise his eyes.

Peter began asking him about himself, who he was, how he came to be working for the landlord, and what kind of treatment he was receiving. Yirik stammered out his story and as he talked he forgot his fear, he forgot that Peter looked like a devil, and presently he was talking to him freely as one friend to another.

Peter was touched by the orphan's story and, pulling out his magic money bag, he filled Yirik's cap with golden ducats. The boy danced about the room with delight. Then he ran outside and showed the landlord and the people who had gathered the present which the strange gentleman had made him.

"And he says he's not the Devil," Yirik reported, "but only his brother-in-law."

When the landlord heard that Peter really hadn't any horns or a flaming tongue, he picked up courage and going inside he begged Peter to give him, too, a few golden ducats. But Peter only laughed at him.

Peter stayed at the tavern overnight. Just as he fell asleep some one shook his hand and, as he opened his eyes, he saw his old master standing beside him.

"Quick!" the Devil whispered. "Get up and hurry out to the shed! The landlord is about to murder the orphan for his money."

Peter jumped out of bed and ran outside to the shed where Yirik slept. He burst open the door just as the landlord was ready to stab the sleeping boy with a dagger.

"You sinner!" Peter cried. "I've caught you at last! Off to hell you go with me this instant to stew forever in boiling oil!"

The landlord fainted with terror. Peter dragged him senseless into the house. When he came to himself he fell on his knees before Peter and begged for mercy. He offered Peter everything he possessed if only Peter would grant him another chance and he solemnly vowed that he would repent and give up his evil ways.

At last Peter said:

"Very well. I'll give you another chance provided that, from this time on, you treat Yirik as your son.

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