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Main > German folktales > Fairy tale "The Jew in the Bush"

The Jew in the Bush

The judge sent out his bailiffs to bring up the man whenever they should find him. The countryman was soon caught, and brought up to be tried.

The Jew began his tale, and said he had been robbed of his money.

"Robbed, indeed!" said the countryman; "why, you gave it me for playing you a tune, and teaching you to dance."

The judge said that was not likely; that the Jew, he was sure, knew better what to do with his money; and he cut the matter short by sending the countryman off to the gallows.

Away he was taken, but as he stood at the foot of the ladder, he said—

"My Lord Judge, may it please your worship to grant me but one boon?"

"Anything but thy life," replied the other.

"No," said he; "I do not ask my life. Only let me play upon my fiddle for the last time."

The Jew cried out—

"Oh, no! no! no! for heaven's sake don't listen to him! don't listen to him!"

But the judge said—

"It is only for this once, poor fellow! He will soon have done."

The fact was he could not say no, because the dwarf's third gift enabled the countryman to make every one grant whatever he asked.

Then the Jew said—

"Bind me fast, bind me fast, for pity's sake!"

The countryman seized his fiddle and struck up a merry tune, and at the first note judge, clerks, and jailer were set agoing. All began capering, and no one could hold the Jew. At the second note the hangman let his prisoner go and danced also, and by the time the first bar of the tune was played all were dancing together—judge, court, Jew, and all the people who had followed to look on. At first the thing went merrily and joyously enough, but when it had gone on a while, and there seemed to be no end of either playing or dancing, all began to cry out and beg the countryman to leave off. He stopped, however, not a whit the more for their begging, till the judge not only gave him his life, but paid him back the hundred crowns.

Then the countryman called the Jew, and said—

"Tell us now, you rogue, where you got that gold, or I shall play on for your amusement only.

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