200. Der goldene Schluessel
200. The golden key.
Once, when a deep snow lay on the ground in winter, a poor young boy had to go out and fetch wood on a sled. When he had found and gathered the wood and loaded it on to the sled, he did not want to return immediately to his house because he was frozen through. Instead he made a fire to warm himself a bit. He scraped the snow away from the ground and when he had cleared the earth he found a golden key. Now this boy believed that where you find a key, there must also be the matching lock and so he dug in the earth and found a small iron box. “If only the key would fit inside,” he thought, “there are certainly precious things in this little chest.” He looked but could not find a key hole. Finally he discovered a hole but it was so tiny that he could hardly see it at all. He tried and the key fit happily inside. He turned the key around in the lock but now we must wait until the key is completely turned and the lid opened. Then we will find out what wonderful things are hidden in the chest.
Nr. 7 Muttergottesglaeschen
No. 7 The cup of the Mother of God
There was once a driver who drove his wagon into the ditch. The wagon was heavily laden with wine and stuck so fast that he could not free it from the mud, try as he may. Just at that moment the Mother of God was walking down the road and when she saw the trouble of the poor man, she spoke to him: “I am tired and thirsty, give me a glass of your wine and I will free the wagon.”
“Gladly,” the driver answered, “but I have no glass to give you any wine”.
The Mother of God broke off a white flower with a red stripe, which is called field bindweed and looks very much like a glass. She gave it to the driver. He filled it with wine and the Mother of God drank it and in that moment the wagon was free and the driver could continue on his journey. Today the little flower is still called the cup of the Mother of God.
Nr. 9 Die himmlische Hochzeit
No. 9 The heavenly wedding
Once a poor farm boy heard in church what the vicar said “whoever wants to enter the Kingdom of Heaven, must always take the straight and narrow path.” He got up and walked in a straight line all the time, without changing, through mountain and valley. Finally, his path led him to a large city and in the center he came upon a church, where the service was just being held. As he now gazed upon all the majesty he believed he had reached heaven. He sat down and rejoiced greatly. When the church service was over and the verger told him to leave he answered, “No, I will never leave, I am so happy that I am finally in heaven.” The verger went to the vicar and said there was a child in church, who didn’t want to leave because he believed he was in heaven. The vicar spoke “If he believes it, we will leave it at that.” He went to the boy and asked him if he wanted to work. “Yes,” answered the boy, he was used to working, but he was not going to leave heaven ever again. He stayed in the church and when he saw how the people came, knelt and prayed before the Mother of God with the Christ Child, which was carved out of wood, he thought, “This is the dear God himself,” and he spoke, “Oh my dear God, how thin you are! The people are letting you starve: I will bring you half of my food every day.” From then on he brought the statue half of his food and the statue began to enjoy the food. After a few weeks the people noticed that the statue was gaining weight, becoming heavier and stronger and they were very surprised. The vicar could not understand it and stayed in church and followed the boy. He saw how the lad brought his bread to the Mother of God and shared it with her and how she took the food.
After some time, the boy became sick and could not leave his bed for eight days; but when he could get up again, the first thing he did was to bring food to the Mother of God. The vicar followed him and listened as he said “Dear God, please don’t be angry that it’s been so long since I brought you something: I was sick and could not get out of bed.” The statue answered him and said: “I saw your good will; that is enough; next Sunday you will accompany me to the wedding.” The boy rejoiced and told the vicar, who asked him to go to the statue and ask if he could come along too. “No,” the statue responded, “only you alone may come.” The vicar wanted to prepare the boy for the wedding and give him dinner, but the boy was already satisfied; and the next Sunday, when he received his dinner, he fell over and was dead and passed on to the eternal wedding.
Nr. 10 The hazel branch
One afternoon the Christ Child lay down in his cradle and when he was asleep, his mother come and watched him full of joy. She spoke “Have you fallen asleep, my child? Sleep softly, I want to go into the forest and pick a handful of strawberries for you; I know you will enjoy them when you wake up.” Outside in the wood she found a place with the most beautiful strawberries. When she bent over to pick them, an adder jumped up out of the grass. She was startled, left the berries and hurried away. The adder shot after her, but the Mother of God, as you can well imagine, knew what to do and hid behind a hazel bush and stayed there until the adder had slithered away. She then went back to collect the berries and when she was on her way home, she spoke “As the hazel bush has been my protection now, so shall it protect others in the future.” For this reason since ancient times a green hazel branch is the most certain protection against adders, snakes and everything else that creeps on the earth.
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