The Devil and the Teacher

In Reinsfeld, there once was a teacher who was able to summon the Devil. During one night he did so at the request of four merry fellows, and commanded the Devil to bring 15 new thaler coins for each of them. Before that, he put the four of them in the middle of a chamber around a table, on which a blessed candle was burning. He also made a circle around them and commanded them not to leave it. The teacher himself had sat down in a corner next to the door so that he was able to use the light to read in his book. When the clock struck twelve o’clock, he started to read, and soon there was knocking on the door. The teacher invited the knocker, and the Devil appeared in hideous form. He was brimmed with fire so that the flames shot out of his ribs.

The teacher commanded him to return in the form of a huntsman. The Devil immediately did so, and asked for what task he had been summoned. “You shall bring each of the four people sitting there 15 new thalers and put it into the bucket”, the teacher replied. The Devil vanished and immediately jingling could be heard from the bucket. He poured in two portions. When he poured in the third portion, he had to arrange a portion of the thalers carefully, and for the fourth portion he had to unpack the coins and put them on top with great care. But he was soon finished with the task, for he knew very well how to count money. At the same time, he entered the chamber and made a lot of noise: He pierced a hole into the floor behind each of them so that it was possible to see all the way down to hell; he removed the ceiling and the roof from the house so that it was possible to see the stars in the sky; he took a millstone and hung it up above the table at a hazel branch, fastening it with a thread of twine, and then put a tailor on the millstone who was forced to cut at the thread with his scissors, but all of this could not frighten the four witnesses. Then he fetched an entire wagon full of straw and burned it around the four - all in vain. Finally, as the clock was almost about to strike one o’clock, he exclaimed: “But I must have one of you! Whom shall I take? The one with the red bib?” Then the one with the red bib lost his nerve and shouted: “No, take the magister!” With a tearing noise, the Devil vanished with the money and left only a stench behind. On the road the bucket was found torn apart, and to the north a whole heap of horse’s dung was scattered.


Source: Zeitschrift für deutsche Mythologie und Sittenkunde. Erster Band, 1853. Dieterichsche Buchhandlung. p. 190f.