"Fanden og futen" is a Norwegian fairy tale from Asbjørnsen and Moe's Norwegian Folk Tales (1841-1844). As usual, the original, Norwegian text is taken from Project Runeberg and translated to English by me.


There was once a bailiff, a real fleecer of the worst kind. One day, the devil came to get him. "I never hear anything," he said, "but people saying: 'I wish the devil had that bailiff!' and you are so nasty as well, that I don't think you can become any nastier and worse than you are; so now you have to come with me," said the devil.

"Yes, if you always listen to what people say, you have to fly more than you have time for," said the bailiff; "but if you are always so nice that you do whatever people tell you, I guess you'll let me off this time, too," he said.

Yes, the bailiff spoke well for himself, so in the end they agreed that they would walk together for a while, and the first person they met that someone asked the devil to take, he would be taken instead of the bailiff. But the devil said it had to come from the heart.

First they came to a cottage; the wife was churning butter; but when she saw strangers, she was distracted. Meanwhile, her indoor pig sat its snout into the churn; it fell over and the pig started licking the cream.

"Are there any worse pests than such a pig?" yelled the wife. "I wish the devil had you!" she said.

"So take the pig!" said the bailiff.

"Do you really think she welcome me to take her pork away?" said the devil. "What would she eat this winter? No, that wasn't from her heart!"

So they walked on until they reached another cottage. Here, the little child had been bad. "Right now I'm fed up with you," said the wife, "I don't have time to do anything but clean up the mess from that ugly kid. I wish the devil had you," she said.

"So take the kid!" said the bailiff.

"Oh, it's not from the heart when a mother curses her child," said the devil.

They walked another while; then they met two peasants.

"There's our bailiff, do you see?" said one.

"I wish the devil took'm alive, that peasant fleecer!" said the other.

"That came straight from the heart," said the devil; "so come with me!" he said.

This time the bailiff couldn't talk his way out of it.

More fairy tales, please!