Once upon a time . . . they lived happily ever after . . .    Once upon a time . . . they lived happily ever after . . .

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Grimm's Fairy Tales.

The Old Man Made Young Again

At the time when our Lord still walked this earth, he and St.
Peter stopped one evening at a smith's and received free
quarters. Then it came to pass that a poor beggar, hard pressed
by age and infirmity, came to this house and begged alms of the
smith. St. Peter had compassion on him and said, Lord and
master, if it please you, cure his torments that he may be able
to win his own bread. The Lord said kindly, smith, lend me your
forge, and put on some coals for me, and then I will make this
ailing old man young again. The smith was quite willing, and
St. Peter blew the bellows, and when the coal fire sparkled up
large and high our Lord took the little old man, pushed him in
the forge in the midst of the red-hot fire, so that he glowed like
a rose-bush, and praised God with a loud voice. After that the
Lord went to the quenching tub, put the glowing little man into
it so that the water closed over
him, and after he had carefully cooled him, gave him his blessing,
when behold the little man sprang nimbly out, looking fresh,
straight, healthy, and as if he were but twenty. The smith, who
had watched everything closely and attentively, invited them
all to supper. He, however, had an old half-blind crooked,
mother-in-law who went to the youth, and with great earnestness
asked if the fire had burnt him much. He answered that he had never
felt more comfortable, and that he had sat in the red heat
as if he had been in cool dew. The youth's words echoed in the
ears of the old woman all night long, and early next morning,
when the Lord had gone on his way again and had heartily thanked
the smith, the latter thought he might make his old mother-in-law
young again likewise, as he had watched everything so carefully,
and it lay in the province of his trade. So he called to ask her
if she, too, would like to go bounding about like a girl of
eighteen. She said, with all my heart, as the youth has come
out of it so well. So the smith made a great fire, and thrust
the old woman into it, and she writhed about this way and that,
and uttered terrible cries of murder. Sit still. Why are
you screaming and jumping about so, cried he, and as he spoke
he blew the bellows again until all her rags were burnt. The
old woman cried without ceasing, and the smith thought to himself,
I have not quite the right art, and took her out and threw her
into the cooling-tub. Then she screamed so loudly that the smith's
wife upstairs and her daughter-in-law heard it, and they both
ran downstairs, and saw the old woman lying in a heap in the
quenching-tub, howling and screaming, with her face wrinkled and
shriveled and all out of shape. Thereupon the two, who were
both with child, were so terrified that that very night two
boys were born who were not made like men but apes, and they ran
into the woods, and from them sprang the race of apes.


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