“Well, then, I wish, first, that whenever I tell someone to climb up into the pear tree outside the smithy wall, he will have to stay there till I tell him he may come down again,” said the smith. “Next, I wish that when I beg anyone to sit down in the armchair in the workroom, he will have to stay there till I myself beg him to get up again, and, lastly, whenever I ask someone to creep into the steel mesh purse I have in my pocket, he will have to stay there till I give him leave to creep out again.”
“You’ve wished very foolishly,” said St. Peter; “first of all, you should have asked for God’s grace and friendship.”
“I didn’t dare ask for anything so great,” said the smith, whereupon Our Lord and St. Peter bade him good-bye and left.
Well, time wore on, and when the seven years were up, the devil came, according to the terms of the contract, to fetch the smith.
“Are you ready?” he asked, poking his nose in at the smithy door.
“Well, first I should really like to make a head to this nail,” answered the smith. “Meanwhile you just climb up into the pear tree and pick a pear to munch on. You must be both hungry and thirsty after your trip.”
The devil thanked him for the kind offer, and climbed up into the pear tree.
Consider this job
“Well, now, as I consider this job,” said the smith, “I’m afraid it will take me at least four years to make a head to this nail, for the iron is as hard as the deuce; all that time you can’t come down, but you’ll get a good rest sitting up there.”
The devil begged and implored for all he was worth to be allowed to come down, but it did no good. At last he had to promise to da as the smith said and not to come back for four vears.
“Now you may come down again,” said the smith.
When the time was up, there was the devil again to fetch the smith.
“Now you must be ready,” said the devil. “You must have made a head on that nail by this time.”
“Yes, I’ve got the head on,” said the smith, “but you’ve come a little too soon all the same, for I haven’t sharpened the point yet. While I’m sharpening the nail, you may sit down in my armchair and rest, for I am sure you must be tired.”