The Poor Devil,
translated by Frederick H. Martens
Once upon a time there was a peasant, who led
his cow to pasture in the spring, and prayed
God to have her in His care.
The evil one was sitting in a bush, heard him, and
said to himself: "When things turn out well, they
thank God for it; but if anything goes wrong, then
I am always to blame!"
A few days later the cow strayed into a swamp.
And when the peasant came and saw her he said:
"Look at that! The devil has had his finger in the
"Just what I might have expected," thought the
devil in his bush. Then the peasant went off to
fetch people to help drag the cow out. But in the
meantime the devil slipped from his bush and helped
out the cow, for he thought:
"Now he will have something to thank me for,
But when the peasant came back and saw the
cow on dry land, he said: "Thank God, she's out
The little story of "The Poor Devil." (Bondeson, p. 212. From
Smaland) which shows him attempting to rival God, is at once
humorous and philosophical.