In the days when our Lord and St. Peter walked on earth, they came, once upon a time,
to a smith who had bargained with the devil to belong to him after seven years if during
that time he could be the master of all other smiths; and both the smith and the devil
had signed their names to this contract. That was why the smith had set up over his
smithy door a big sign which read: “Here lives the master of all masters!”
When our Lord came along and saw this, he went in.
“Who are you?” he said to the smith.
“Read what’s over the door,” said the smith, “and if you can’t read, you’ll have to wait till
someone comes along to help you.”
Before our Lord could answer, a man came along leading a horse which he wanted the
smith to shoe.
“Won’t you let me shoe him?” said our Lord.
“You can try,” said the smith. “You can’t do it so badly but I can’t fix it again.”
So our Lord went out and cut off one of the horse’s forelegs, put it in the forge,
made the leg glowing hot, sharpened the calks and nails and drove them home and
then put the leg, whole and perfect, back on the horse. When that was done, he took
the other front leg and did the same, and after putting that leg back, took the two hind
legs, fight the right and then the left, put them in the forge till the shoes were white with
heat, sharpened calks and nails and drove them in and finally put these legs, too, back
on the horse.
The smith stood by all the time watching him.
“You are not such a bad smith, after all,” he said.
“Do you think so?” said our Lord.
Soon after, the smith’s mother came to tell him dinner was ready. She was old
and wrinkled, bent double, barely able to walk.
“Now you mark carefully what you see,” said our Lord and he took the old woman, put
her into the forge, and changed her into a beautiful young girl.
Then the smith
tried to out matched the Lord
and copied what the Lord did and cut off the leg of the horse but end up making the
horse bleed and dead. And then he took a old lady but it went no good either.
Then the Lord gave him three wishes and the smith wished, that whenever he tells
someone to climb up into the pear tree outside the smithy wall he would have to
stay there till he tell him to go down again, the second wish is that when he beg
anyone to sit in the armchair in the workroom he will have stay there until he,
himself begs him to get up again, and the last is that whenever he someone to
creep into the steel mesh purse he have in his pocket, he will have to stay there till
he give him leave to creep out again.
One day the devil made a deal to the smith and then the smith kept fooling the
devil in his own ways by the use of his wishes. Then the devil gave up and then he
had nowhere to go.
The smith couldn't even go to heaven or hell.
Title: The Smith who could not get into hell
Author: Peter Asbjornsen - born in Christiania (now Oslo) and was descended from a
family originating in Otta inGudbrandsdal, which is believed to have come to an end with
his death. He became a student at the University of Oslo in 1833, but as early as 1832,
in his twentieth year, he had begun to collect and write down fairy tales and legends. He
later walked on foot the length and breadth of Norway, adding to his stories.
Jørgen Moe, who was born in Ringerike, met Asbjørnsen first when he was fourteen
years old, while they were both attending high school at Norderhov rectory. The building
is today the site of the local museum for the Ringerike region, and contains memorabilia
from both Asbjørnsen and Moe. They developed a lifelong friendship. In 1834
Asbjørnsen discovered that Moe had started independently on a search for the relics of
national folklore; the friends eagerly compared their results, and determined for the