THE YOUTH WHO COULD NOT
" Ah ! yes, you are the plague of my life," said his father. " Now go out of my sight, and never let me see you more."
" Yes, father, I will go right willingly to-morrow, and then if I learn to shiver and shake, I shall acquire knowledge that will enable me to earn my living at all events."
"Learn what you like,1' said his father, "it's all the same to me. There are fifty crowns, take them and go out into the world when you please; but don't tell any one where you come from, or who is your father, for I am ashamed to own you." I "Father," said Hans, "I will do just as you tell me; your orders are very easy to perform."
At daybreak the next morning, the youth put the fifty crowns into his pocket, and went out into the high road, saying to himself as he walked on, " When shall I learn to shiver and shake,— when shall I learn to be afraid ?"
Presently a man met him on the road, overheard what he said, and saw at once that the young man was fearless. He quickly joined him, and they walked a little way together till they came to a spot where they could see a gallows.
"Look," he said, "there is a tree where seven men have been married with the rope-maker's daughter, and have learnt how to swing; if you only sit down here and watch them till night comes on, I'll answer for it you will shiver and shake before morning."
" I never had a better opportunity," answered the youth. " That is very easily done. You come to me again early to-morrow morning, and if it teaches me to shiver and shake, you shall have my fifty crowns."
Then the young man went and seated himself under the gallows and waited till the evening, and feeling cold he lighted a fire; but at midnight the wind rose and blew so fiercely and chill, that even a large fire could not warm him.
The high wind, u. well as being cold, made the bodies of the murderers swing to and fro, and he thought to himself, if I am so cold down here by the fire, they must be frozen up there; and after pitying them for some time he climbed up, untied the ropes and brought down all the seven bodies, stirred the fire into a blaze, and seated them round it so close, that their clothes caught fire. Finding they did not move, he said to them, " Sit farther