The Devil's Little Brother-in-law: The Story of a Youth Who Couldn't Find Work
But only to be his sister-in-law—ha! ha!—what does that amount to?"
And they laughed with amusement and made nasty evil jokes until poor little Linka had to put her hands to her ears not to hear them.
The next day Peter came to the castle. The older sisters when they saw how black he was were glad enough they had refused to marry him. As for Linka, the moment she looked at him she fainted dead away.
When she revived the prince led her over to Peter and gave Peter her hand. She was trembling violently and her hand was cold as marble.
"Don't be afraid, little princess," Peter whispered to her gently. "I know how awful I look. But perhaps I won't always be so ugly. I promise you, if you marry me, I shall always love you dearly."
Linka was greatly comforted by the sound of his pleasant voice, but each time she looked at him she was terrified anew.
Peter saw this and made his visit short. He handed out to the prince as much money as he needed and then, after agreeing to return in eight days for the wedding, he hurried off.
He went to the place where he had met the Devil the first time and called him by name with all his might.
The Devil instantly appeared.
"What do you want, little brother-in-law?"
"I want to look like myself again," Peter said. "What good will it do me to marry a sweet little princess and then have the poor girl faint away every time she looks at me!"
"Very well, brother-in-law. If that is how you feel about it, come along with me and I'll soon make you into a handsome young man."
Peter leaped on the Devil's back and off they flew over mountains and forests and distant countries.
They alighted in a deep forest beside a bubbling spring.
"Now, little brother-in-law," the Devil said, "wash in this water and see how handsome you'll soon be."
Peter threw off his clothes and jumped into the water and when he came out his skin was as beautiful and fresh as a girl's. He looked at his own reflection in the spring and it made him so happy that he said to the Devil:
"Brother-in-law, I'm more grateful to you for this than for all the money you've given me.