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Main > German folktales > Fairy tale "The Monks at the Ferry"

The Monks at the Ferry

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"Here, ahoy! here, most reverend father!" answered the poor ferryman. "What would ye have with me?"

"I would that you ferry me across the Rhine to yonder shore of the river," replied the monk. "I come from the Convent of St. Thomas, and I go afar on a weighty mission. Now, be ye quick, my good friend, and run me over."

"Most willingly, reverend father," said the ferryman. "Most willingly. Step into my boat, and I'll put you across the current in a twinkling."

The dark-looking monk entered the boat, and the ferryman shoved off from the bank. They soon reached the opposite shore. The ferryman, however, had scarce time to give his fare a good-evening ere he disappeared from his sight, in the direction of the Devil's House. Pondering a little on this strange circumstance, and inwardly thinking that the dark monk might as well have paid him his fare, or, at least, bade him good-night before he took such unceremonious leave, he rowed slowly back across the stream to his abode at Andernach.

"Hilloa! ferry," once more resounded from the margin of the river as he approached, "hilloa!"

"Here, ahoy!" responded the ferryman, but with some strange sensation of fear. "What would ye?"

He rowed to the shore, but he could see no one for a while, for it was now dark. As he neared the landing-place, however, he became aware of the presence of two monks, garbed exactly like his late passenger, standing together, concealed by the shadow of the massive ruins.

"Here! here!" they cried.

"We would ye would ferry us over to yonder shore of the river," said the foremost of the twain. "We go afar on a weighty errand from the Convent of St. Thomas, and we must onwards this night. So be up quick, friend, and run us over soon."

"Step in, then," said the ferryman, not over courteously, for he remembered the trick played on him by their predecessor.

They entered the boat, and the ferryman put off. Just as the prow of the boat touched the opposite bank of the river, both sprang ashore, and disappeared at once from his view, like him who had gone before them.

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