The Man Who Died on Holy Innocents' Day

Once upon a time there was a man named Kalle Kula. He was a wild fellow, and had committed many a grievous crime during his life. When he came to die, and his wife took up the Bible to pray for him as he was lying there, he said, "No, this is Holy Innocents' Day, and it is not worth while reading from the Bible for me. You had better go into the kitchen instead, and bake waffles. I shall die this very day, and then you must lay a bundle of waffles in my coffin." The woman went into the kitchen and baked the waffles; but when she came back to him again he was dead. So Kalle Kula was laid in the coffin with a bundle of waffles beside him.

Then he came to the gates of Paradise with his little bundle of waffles under his arm and knocked. But St. Peter said to him: "You have no business here, with all the crimes you have committed." "Yes, that may well be so, but I died on Holy Innocents' Day," said Kalle Kula, "so at least I may look in and see the innocent children?" St. Peter could not refuse him, and opened the door a little way. Kalle Kula took advantage of the moment and cried: "Come, you little holy innocents, you shall have waffles!" And as they had not been given any waffles in Paradise, they all came rushing up, so that the door flew wide open, and then Kalle Kula crept in.

But St. Peter went to our Lord, told him what had happened, and asked what was to be done. "The best thing is to let your lawyer attend to it," said our Lord, "because lawyers usually know all about evicting people." St. Peter searched everywhere, but could not find a lawyer. Then he went back to our Lord and reported to him that it was impossible to find a single lawyer in all Paradise, and Kalle Kula was allowed to remain where he was.

If you tie a thief and a miller and a lawyer together and roll the whole bundle down a hill—no matter how you roll it—you can always be sure that whoever is on top is a thief.

NOTE

This story, part fairy-tale, part legend, "The Man Who Died on Holy Innocents' Day" (communicated by Dr. v. Sydow-Lund) has a Danish variant. Its innocently malicious humor is worthy of Gottfried Keller.