The Smith Who Could Not Go to Hell

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The Smith Who Could Not Get Into Hell

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

future to...
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