Saturday, October 30, 2010

The Devil as Advocate

Grimm’s Saga No. 211: The Devil as Advocate

Once a farmhand living in the Mark gave his landlord money for safekeeping. When he asked for it again, the landlord said he had never received it in the first place. When the farmhand could not convince his host to return the money, he stormed out of the house. The landlord sent out men to catch him because he wanted to be rid of him once and for all so that he could keep the money. He accused the farmhand as the very one, down to his skin, hair, neck and belly, who had broken the peace of his house. The devil came to the farmhand in prison and said: Tomorrow they shall bring you in front of the court and chop off your head because you disturbed the peace of the house. But if you give me your life and soul, I shall help you.”

But the farmhand would not hear of it. The devil replied: “Do as I say when you enter court and they accuse you. Insist that you gave the landlord the money and say you were ill-advised, one should grant you an advocate to talk on your behalf. I won’t be standing far away. You will recognize me in my blue hat with white feather. I will then take over and represent your interests.”

And so it happened. But because the landlord was so obstinate in his lying, the farmhand’s barrister in the blue hat said: “Dear landlord. How can you deny it! The money is lying in your bed under the master post: Judge and bailiff go out and you will find the money lying there.”

The landlord then reflected on this turn of events and spoke “If I did receive the money, may the devil take me away!

When the money was found and brought before the judge, the man in the blue hat with white feather said “I knew I would get one of them! Either the landlord or his tenant!” With that he twisted off the head of the landlord and carried him off through the air.

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