Page:Grimm's household tales, volume 2 (1884).djvu/115

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[Tale 110.
101
THE JEW AMONG THORNS.

"Heaven defend us!" cried the Jew, "his lies are as thick as flies upon the wall."

But the judge also did not believe his tale, and said, "This is a bad defence, no Jew would do that." And because he had committed robbery on the public highway, he sentenced the good servant to be hanged. As he was being led away the Jew again screamed after him, "Yon vagabond! you dog of a fiddler! now you are going to receive your well-earned reward!" The servant walked quietly with the hangman up the ladder, but upon the last step he turned round and said to the judge, "Grant me just one request before I die."

"Yes, if you do not ask your life," said the judge.

"I do not ask for life," answered the servant, "but as a last favour let me play once more upon my fiddle." The Jew raised a great cry of "Murder! murder! for goodness' sake do not allow it! Do not allow it!" But the judge said, "Why should I not let him have this short pleasure? it has been granted to him, and he shall have it." However, he could not have refused on account of the gift which had been bestowed on the servant.

Then the Jew cried, "Oh! woe's me! tie me, tie me fast!" while the good servant took his fiddle from his neck, and made ready. As he gave the first scrape, they all began to quiver and shake, the judge, his clerk, and the hangman and his men, and the cord fell out of the hand of the one who was going to tie the Jew fast. At the second scrape all raised their legs, and the hangman let go his hold of the good servant, and made himself ready to dance. At the third scrape they all leaped up and began to dance; the judge and the Jew being the best at jumping. Soon all who had gathered in the market-place out of curiosity were dancing with them; old and young, fat and lean, one with another. The dogs, likewise, which had run there got up on their hind legs and capered about; and the longer he played, the higher sprang the dancers, so that they knocked against each other's heads, and began to shriek terribly.

At length the judge cried, quite out of breath, "I will give you your life if you will only stop fiddling." The good servant thereupon had compassion, took his fiddle