There was one upon a time a great war, and when it came to an end,
many soldiers were discharged. Then brother lustig also received his dismissal, and with
it nothing but a small loaf of ammunition-bread, and four kreuzers in money, with which he
St. Peter, however, had placed himself in his way in the form of a
poor beggar, and when brother lustig came up, he begged alms of him. Brother lustig
replied, dear beggar-man, what am I to give you. I have been a soldier, and have received
my dismissal, and have nothing but this little loaf of ammunition-bread, and four kreuzers
of money. When that is gone, I shall have to beg as well as you. Still I will give you
Thereupon he divided the loaf into four parts, and gave the apostle
one of them, and a kreuzer likewise. St. Peter thanked him, went onwards, and threw
himself again in the soldier's way as a beggar, but in another shape, and when he came up
begged a gift of him as before.
Brother lustig spoke as he had done before, and again gave him a
quarter of the loaf and one kreuzer. St. Peter thanked him, and went onwards, but for the
third time placed himself in another shape as a beggar in the road, and spoke to brother
lustig. Brother lustig gave him also the third quarter of bread and the third kreuzer. St.
Peter thanked him, and brother lustig went onwards, and had but a quarter of the loaf, and
With that he went into an inn, ate the bread, and ordered one
kreuzer's worth of beer. When he had had it, he journeyed onwards, and then St. Peter, who
had assumed the appearance of a discharged soldier, met and spoke to him thus. Good day,
comrade, can you not give me a bit of bread, and a kreuzer to get a drink. Where am I to
procure it, answered brother lustig. I have been discharged, and I got nothing but a loaf
of ammunition-bread and four kreuzers in money. I met three beggars on the road, and I
gave each of them a quarter of my bread, and one kreuzer. The last quarter I ate in the
inn, and had a drink with the last kreuzer. Now my pockets are empty, and if you also have
nothing we can go a-begging together.
No, answered St. Peter, we need not quite do that. I know a little
about medicine, and I will soon earn as much as I require by that. Indeed, said brother
lustig, I know nothing of that, so I must go and beg alone. Just come with me, said St.
Peter, and if I earn anything, you shall have half of it.
All right, said brother lustig, and they went away together. Then
they came to a peasant's house inside which they heard loud lamentations and cries. So
they went in, and there the husband was lying sick unto death, and very near his end, and
his wife was crying and weeping quite loudly. Stop that howling and crying, said St.
Peter, I will make the man well again, and he took a salve out of his pocket, and healed
the sick man in a moment, so that he could get up, and was in perfect health.
In great delight the man and his wife said, how can we reward you.
What shall we give you. But St. Peter would take nothing, and the more the peasant folks
offered him, the more he refused. Brother lustig, however, nudged St. Peter, and said,
take something. Sure enough we are in need of it.
At length the woman brought a lamb and said to St. Peter that he
really must take that, but he would not. Then brother lustig gave him a poke in the side,
and said, do take it, you stupid fool. We are in great want of it. Then St. Peter said at
last, well, I will take the lamb, but I won't carry it. If you insist on having it, you
must carry it. That is nothing, said brother lustig. I will easily carry it, and took it
on his shoulder.
Then they departed and came to a wood, but brother lustig had begun
to feel the lamb heavy, and he was hungry, so he said to St. Peter, look, that's a good
place, we might cook the lamb there, and eat it. As you like, answered St. Peter, but I
can't have anything to do with the cooking. If you will cook, there is a kettle for you,
and in the meantime I will walk about a little until it is ready. But you must not begin
to eat until I have come back. I will come at the right time. Well, go, then, said brother
lustig. I understand cookery, I will manage it.
Then St. Peter went away, and brother lustig killed the lamb,
lighted a fire, threw the meat into the kettle, and boiled it. When the lamb, however, was
quite ready, and the apostle peter had not come back, brother lustig took it out of the
kettle, cut it up, and found the heart. That is said to be the best part, said he, and
tasted it, but at last he ate it all up. At length St. Peter returned and said, you may
eat the whole of the lamb yourself, I will only have the heart, give me that.
Then brother lustig took a knife and fork, and pretended to look
anxiously about amongst the lamb's flesh, but not to be able to find the heart, and at
last he said abruptly, there is none here. But where can it be, said the apostle. I don't
know, replied brother lustig, but look, what fools we both are, to seek for the lamb's
heart, and neither of us to remember that a lamb has no heart. Oh, said St. Peter, that is
something quite new. Every animal has a heart, why is a lamb to have none. No, be assured,
my brother, said brother lustig, that a lamb has no heart. Just consider it seriously, and
then you will see that it really has none. Well, it is all right, said St. Peter. If there
is no heart, then I want none of the lamb. You may eat it alone.
What I can't eat now, I will carry away in my knapsack, said brother
lustig, and he ate half the lamb, and put the rest in his knapsack.
They went farther, and then St. Peter caused a great stream of water
to flow right across their path, and they were obliged to pass through it. Said St. Peter,
do you go first. No, answered brother lustig, you must go first, and he thought, if the
water is too deep I will stay behind. Then St. Peter strode through it, and the water just
reached to his knee. So brother lustig began to go through also, but the water grew deeper
and reached to his throat. Then he cried, brother, help me.
St. Peter said, then will you confess that you have eaten the lamb's
heart. No, said he, I have not eaten it. Then the water grew deeper still and rose to his
mouth. Help me, brother, cried the soldier. St. Peter said, then will you confess that you
have eaten the lamb's heart. No, he replied, I have not eaten it. St. Peter, however,
would not let him be drowned, but made the water sink and helped him through it.
Then they journeyed onwards, and came to a kingdom where they heard
that the king's daughter lay sick unto death. Hi, there, brother, said the soldier to St.
Peter, this is a chance for us. If we can heal her we shall be provided for, for life.
But St. Peter was not half quick enough for him. Come, lift your
legs, my dear brother, said he, that we may get there in time. But St. Peter walked slower
and slower, though brother lustig did all he could to drive and push him on, and at last
they heard that the princess was dead. Now we are done for, said brother lustig. That
comes of your sleepy way of walking.
Just be quiet, answered St. Peter, I can do more than cure sick
people. I can bring dead ones to life again. Well, if you can do that, said brother
lustig, it's all right, but you should earn at least half the kingdom for us by that. Then
they went to the royal palace, where everyone was in great grief, but St. Peter told the
king that he would restore his daughter to life. He was taken to her, and said, bring me a
kettle and some water, and when that was brought, he bade everyone go out, and allowed no
one to remain with him but brother lustig. Then he cut off all the dead girl's limbs, and
threw them in the water, lighted a fire beneath the kettle, and boiled them. And when the
flesh had fallen away from the bones, he took out the beautiful white bones, and laid them
on a table, and arranged them together in their natural order. When he had done that, he
stepped forward and said three times, in the name of the holy trinity, dead woman, arise.
And at the third time, the princess arose, living, healthy and beautiful.
Then the king was in the greatest joy, and said to St. Peter, ask
for your reward. Even if it were half my kingdom, I would give it. But St. Peter said, I
want nothing for it. Oh, you tomfool, thought brother lustig to himself, and nudged his
comrade's side, and said, don't be so stupid. If you have no need of anything, I have. St.
Peter, however, would have nothing, but as the king saw that the other would very much
like to have something, he ordered his treasurer to fill brother lustig's knapsack with
Then they went on their way, and when they came to a forest, St.
Peter said to brother lustig, now, we will divide the gold. Yes, he replied, we will. So
St. Peter divided the gold, and divided it into three heaps. Brother lustig thought to
himself, what crazy idea has he got in his head now. He is making three shares, and there
are only two of us. But St. Peter said, I have divided it exactly. There is one share for
me, one for you and one for him who ate the lamb's heart.
Oh, I ate that, replied brother lustig, and hastily swept up the
gold. You may trust what I say. But how can that be true, said St. Peter, when a lamb has
no heart. Eh, what, brother, what can you be thinking of. Lambs have hearts like other
animals, why should only they have none. Well, so be it, said St. Peter, keep the gold to
yourself, but I will stay with you no longer. I will go my way alone. As you like, dear
brother, answered brother lustig. Farewell.
Then St. Peter went a different road, but brother lustig thought, it
is a good thing that he has taken himself off, he is certainly a strange saint. Then he
had money enough, but did not know how to manage it, squandered it, gave it away, and and
when some time had gone by, once more had nothing. Then he arrived in a certain country
where he heard that a king's daughter was dead.
Oh, ho, thought he, that may be a good thing for me. I will bring
her to life again, and see that I am paid as I ought to be. So he went to the king, and
offered to raise the dead girl to life again. Now the king had heard that a discharged
soldier was traveling about and bringing dead persons to life again, and thought that
brother lustig was the man. But as he had no confidence in him, he consulted his
councillors first, who said that he might give it a trial as his daughter was dead.
Then brother lustig ordered water to be brought to him in a kettle,
bade every one go out, cut the limbs off, threw them in the water and lighted a fire
beneath, just as he had seen St. Peter do. The water began to boil, the flesh fell off,
and then he took the bones out and laid them on the table, but he did not know the order
in which to lay them, and placed them all wrong and in confusion. Then he stood before
them and said, in the name of the most holy trinity, dead maiden, I bid you arise, and he
said this thrice, but the bones did not stir. So he said it thrice more, but also in vain.
Confounded girl that you are, get up, cried he, get up, or it shall be the worse for you.
When he had said that, St. Peter suddenly appeared in his former
shape as a discharged soldier. He entered by the window and said, godless man, what are
you doing. How can the dead maiden arise, when you have thrown about her bones in such
confusion. Dear brother, I have done everything to the best of my ability, he answered.
This once, I will help you out of your difficulty, but one thing I tell you, and that is
that if ever you undertake anything of the kind again, it will be the worse for you, and
also that you must neither demand nor accept the smallest thing from the king for this.
Thereupon St. Peter laid the bones in their right order, said to the
maiden three times, in the name of the most holy trinity, dead maiden, arise, and the
king's daughter arose, healthy and beautiful as before. Then St. Peter went away again by
the window, and brother lustig was rejoiced to find that all had passed off so well, but
was very much vexed to think that after all he was not to take anything for it. I should
just like to know, thought he, what fancy that fellow has got in his head, for what he
gives with one hand he takes away with the other - there is no sense whatever in it.
Then the king offered brother lustig whatsoever he wished to have,
but he did not dare to take anything. However, by hints and cunning, he contrived to make
the king order his knapsack to be filled with gold for him, and with that he departed.
When he got out, St. Peter was standing by the door, and said, just look what a man you
are. Did I not forbid you to take anything, and there you have your knapsack full of gold.
How can I help that, answered brother lustig, if people will put it in for me. Well, I
tell you this, that if ever you set about anything of this kind again you shall suffer for
it. All right, brother, have no fear, now I have money, why should I trouble myself with
washing bones. Faith, said St. Peter, a long time that gold will last. In order that after
this you may never tread in forbidden paths, I will bestow on your knapsack this property,
namely, that whatsoever you wish to have inside it, shall be there. Farewell, you will now
never see me more. Good-bye, said brother lustig, and thought to himself, I am very glad
that you have taken yourself off, you strange fellow. I shall certainly not follow you.
But of the magical power which had been bestowed on his knapsack, he thought no more.
Brother lustig traveled about with his money, and squandered and
wasted what he had as before. When at last he had no more than four kreuzers, he passed by
an inn and thought, the money must go, and ordered three kreuzers, worth of wine and one
kreuzer's worth of bread for himself. As he was sitting there drinking, the smell of roast
goose made its way to his nose.
Brother lustig looked about and peeped, and saw that the host had
two geese roasting in the oven. Then he remembered that his comrade had said that
whatsoever he wished to have in his knapsack should be there, so he said, oh, ho. I must
try that with the geese. So he went out, and when he was outside the door, he said, I wish
those two roasted geese out of the oven and in my knapsack, and when he had said that, he
unbuckled it and looked in, and there they were inside it. Ah, that's right, said he, now
I am a made man, and went away to a meadow and took out the roast meat.
When he was in the midst of his meal, two journeymen came up and
looked at the second goose, which was not yet touched, with hungry eyes. Brother lustig
thought to himself, one is enough for me, and called the two men up and said, take the
goose, and eat it to my health. They thanked him, and went with it to the inn, ordered
themselves a half bottle of wine and a loaf, took out the goose which had been given them,
and began to eat.
The hostess saw them and said to her husband, those two are eating a
goose. Just look and see if it is not one of ours, out of the oven. The landlord ran
thither, and behold the oven was empty. What, cried he, you thievish crew, you want to eat
goose as cheap as that. Pay for it this moment, or I will wash you well with green
hazel-sap. The two said, we are no thieves, a discharged soldier gave us the goose,
outside there in the meadow. You shall not throw dust in my eyes that way. The soldier was
here, but he went out by the door, like an honest fellow. I looked after him myself. You
are the thieves and shall pay. But as they could not pay, he took a stick, and cudgeled
them out of the house.
Brother lustig went his way and came to a place where there was a
magnificent castle, and not far from it a wretched inn. He went to the inn and asked for a
night's lodging, but the landlord turned him away, and said, there is no more room here,
the house is full of noble guests. It surprises me that they should come to you and not go
to that splendid castle, said brother lustig. Ah, indeed, replied the host, but it is no
slight matter to sleep there for a night. No one who has tried it so far, has ever come
out of it alive.
If others have tried it, said brother lustig, I will try it too.
Leave it alone, said the host, it will cost you your neck. It won't kill me at once, said
brother lustig, just give me the key, and some good food and wine. So the host gave him
the key, and food and wine, and with this brother lustig went into the castle, enjoyed his
supper, and at length, as he was sleepy, he lay down on the ground, for there was no bed.
He soon fell asleep, but during the night was disturbed by a great noise, and when he
awoke, he saw nine ugly devils in the room, who had made a circle, and were dancing around
Brother lustig said, well, dance as long as you like, but none of
you must come too close. But the devils pressed continually nearer to him, and almost
stepped on his face with their hideous feet. Stop, you devils, ghosts, said he, but they
behaved still worse. Then brother lustig grew angry, and cried, stop. You'll soon see how
I can make you quiet, and got the leg of a chair and struck out into the midst of them
with it. But nine devils against one soldier were still too many, and when he struck those
in front of him, the others seized him behind by the hair, and tore it unmercifully.
Devils, crew, cried he, this is too much, but just wait. Into my
knapsack, all nine of you. In an instant they were in it, and then he buckled it up and
threw it into a corner. After this all was suddenly quiet, and brother lustig lay down
again, and slept till it was bright day.
Then came the inn-keeper, and the nobleman to whom the castle
belonged, to see how he had fared. But when they perceived that he was merry and well they
were astonished, and asked, have the spirits done you no harm, then. The reason why they
have not, answered brother lustig, is because I have got the whole nine of them in my
You may once more inhabit your castle quite tranquilly, none of them
will ever haunt it again. The nobleman thanked him, made him rich presents, and begged him
to remain in his service, and he would provide for him as long as he lived. No, replied
brother lustig, I am used to wandering about, I will travel farther.
Then he went away, and entered into a smithy, laid the knapsack,
which contained the nine devils on the anvil, and asked the smith and his apprentices to
strike it. So they smote with their great hammers with all their strength, and the devils
uttered howls which were quite pitiable. When he opened the knapsack after this, eight of
them were dead, but one which had been lying in a fold of it, was still alive, slipped
out, and went back again to hell.
Thereupon brother lustig traveled a long time about the world, and
those who know, can tell many a story about him. But at last he grew old, and thought of
his end, so he went to a hermit who was known to be a pious man, and said to him, I am
tired of wandering about, and want now to behave in such a manner that I shall enter into
the kingdom of heaven. The hermit replied, there are two roads, one is broad and pleasant,
and leads to hell, the other is narrow and rough, and leads to heaven. I should be a fool,
thought brother lustig, if I were to take the narrow, rough road.
So he set out and took the broad and pleasant road, and at length
came to a great black door, which was the door of hell. Brother lustig knocked, and the
door-keeper peeped out to see who was there. But when he saw brother lustig, he was
terrified, for he was the very same ninth devil who had been shut up in the knapsack, and
had escaped from it with a black eye.
So he pushed the bolt in again as quickly as he could, ran to the
highest devil, and said, there is a fellow outside with a knapsack, who wants to come in,
but as you value your lives don't allow him to enter, or he will wish the whole of hell
into his knapsack. He once gave me a frightful hammering when I was inside it.
So they called out to brother lustig that he was to go away again,
for he should not get in there. If they won't have me here, thought he, I will see if I
can find a place for myself in heaven, for I must stay somewhere.
So he turned about and went onwards until he came to the door of
heaven, where he knocked. St. Peter was sitting hard by as door-keeper. Brother lustig
recognized him at once, and thought, here I find an old friend, I shall get on better. But
St. Peter said, I can hardly believe that you want to come into heaven. Let me in,
brother. I must get in somewhere. If they would have taken me into hell, I should not have
come here. No, said St. Peter, you shall not enter. Then if you will not let me in, take
your knapsack back, for I will have nothing at all from you. Give it here, then, said St.
Peter. Then brother lustig gave him the knapsack into heaven through the bars, and St.
Peter took it, and hung it beside his seat. Then said brother lustig, and now I wish
myself inside my knapsack, and in a second he was in it, and in heaven, and St. Peter was
forced to let him stay there.