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Main > Czechoslovak folktale > Fairy tale "The Shoemaker's Apron: The Story of the Man Who Sits Near the Golden Gate"

The Shoemaker's Apron: The Story of the Man Who Sits Near the Golden Gate

"In the meantime you sit down here on my stool and rest yourself."

The devil who had been walking up and down the earth since sunrise was tired and so was glad enough to sit down.

After supper the little shoemaker said:

"Now then, I'm ready. Come on."

The devil tried to stand up but of course he couldn't. He pulled this way and that. He stretched, he rolled from side to side until his bones ached, but all to no avail. He could not get up from the stool.

"Brother!" he cried in terror, "help me off this cursed stool and I'll give you seven more years—I swear I will!"

At that promise the shoemaker allowed the devil to stand up, and the devil scurried off as fast as he could.

He was true to his word. He didn't come back for seven years. When he did come he was too clever to risk sitting down again on the cobbler's stool. He didn't even venture inside the cottage door. Instead, he stood at the window and called out:

"Ho, shoemaker, here I am again! Your time has come! Are you ready?"

"I'll be ready in a moment," the shoemaker said, "Just let me put a last stitch in these shoes."

When the shoemaker had finished sewing the shoes, he put aside his work, bade his wife good-bye, and said to the devil:

"Now then, I'm ready. Let us go."

But the devil when he tried to move away from the window found that he was held fast. It was as if his feet had been soldered to the earth. In great fright he cried out:

"Oh, my dear little shoemaker, help me! I can't move!"

"What's this trick you're playing on me?" the shoemaker said. "Now I'm ready to go and you aren't! What do you mean by making a fool of me this way?"

"Just help me to get free," the devil cried, "and I'll do anything in the world for you! I'll give you seven more years! I swear I will!"

"Very well," the shoemaker said, "then I'll help you this time. But never again! Now remember: I won't let you make a fool of me a third time!"

So the shoemaker freed the devil from the window and the devil without another word scurried off.

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