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...
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