"En prestehistorie" is a Norwegian fairy tale, collected by Asbjørnsen and Moe in the early 1840s. The original, Norwegian text was found at Project Runeberg and is translated to English by me for E2.


There was once a priest who was incredibly avaricious, but he was rich, he had a house in town and a farm in the country. Once he sent his servant boy away - it was one he recently employed - to help the harvest people. His job was to drive them; but he didn't have to, because the people drove themselves. Early in the morning they wanted to get up and out. "Oh no!" said the boy, "let us lie; we have no need to get up at the crack of dawn."

"Oh no, boy!" said the others; "no, we don't dare lying in any longer, imagine the greed of the priest, and how mad he will be." "Oh, that's nothing," said the boy, "I'll deal with it and get you and me off the hook," he said, and he made them lie in until lunch, and to be lazy all throughout the day. In the evening the boy went back to town. He had a large, new pouch for money, and on the way home he found a wasp's nest; he took it and filled the pouch with wasps. When he had done so, he went home to the priest.

"Now we've harvested like never before," he said; "we've almost done two days' work in one day."

"That is good," said the priest.

"But when I crossed the bridge, I found a pouch filled with silver coins," said the boy.

"It's mine!" snapped the priest.

"Ok, but if does not really belong to the priest in full honesty, then I wish every coin in the pouch turns into a wasp, and every straw we cut today stands up tomorrow," he said, then left.

The priest picked up the pouch and opened it; but as soon as he got it open, the wasps swarmed out around him. What a scary guy, thought the priest, and thought long about this. The next day, he didn't dare to wake the boy, but sent a maid instead; she would check whether the harvest had stood up. She got to the farm just as the sun got up, and as it rose, the cereal started rising as the heavy dew evaporated. The girl ran back as fast as she could. "When I got there, the cereal started rising, and now it looks like there's never been a scythe near it," she said.

More fairy tales, please!