THE MAGIC FIDDLE.
quite calmly he ascended the steps to the scaffold, but on the last step he turned round and said to the judge, " Grant me but one request before I die."
He replied, " You must not ask for your life, any other request I will accede to,"
"I shall not ask for my life," replied the prisoner, "I only request to be allowed once more to play on my violin."
Up sprang the Jew, with a loud outcry. " I beg, I entreat you not to allow it; pray, pray don't," he almost howled in his terror.
But the judge said : " Why should we not grant him this short pleasure T it is the last he will have, therefore it is granted."
Indeed the judge could not have refused the young man because of the power which had been \ ;iven him by the dwarf in the wood. No sooner was permission gra ited, however, than the Jew cried : " Oh, oh ! bind me tight, tie me fast."
But it was too late, the young man had quickly turned his violin round, and at the first chord, the man who was going to bind the Jew let the rope fall, the judge, the clerk, and the officers of the court began to move and to tremble, and presently, as the full tones of the violin struck out, they all jumped up and began dancing with all their might; even the hangman dropped the rope and joined in the dance, and lie, with the judge and the Jew were the chief performers.
Soon the sounds of the fiddle reached the market-place, and many who came from curiosity to listen were soon among the dancers, fat and lean, young and old, capering madly away among the rest Even the dogs who ran by stood upon their hind legs and began dancing about; and the longer he played the faster they all danced and the higher they sprung in the air, till at last they knocked each other's heads together and began to scream and cry out. At length the judge, quite out of breath, cried : " I will give you your life, if you will stop your fiddling."
The young man on hearing this was quite ready to stop his playing, and hanging his violin again on his neck, he stepped down from the ladder, and approaching the Jew, who lay panting on the ground, he said : " You rascal, now confess where you got that purse of money that you gave me, or I "*! begin fiddling again."
" Oh me, oh me, I stole it, I stole it." cued the Jew, " ancl you earned it honestly."