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  1. The Lawyer and the Devil

The Lawyer and the Devil

A man had three sons and wanted to make something of them, but did not have the money. So he sold himself to the Devil for the sake of getting money to school the three boys. One was to become a priest, the other a doctor and the third one a lawyer. The Devil gave him the money to pay for their education.

At the end of seven years the Devil showed up to claim the old man and take him down to hell. The man had a son with him when the Devil came. It was the priest. He began to pray and beg and appeal to the Devil to spare his father, and in the end the Devil gave in and gave the old father a few years more to live.

When that time was up and the Devil came again, the doctor was there and appealed to the Devil to spare the old man, and he got still more years from him.

When the Devil came the third time to claim the old fellow, the lawyer was there. The lawyer says to the Devil:

"You have spared my father two times already, and I do not expect you to do it again. But will you let him live until that candle has burnt down?"

He pointed to the candle that was burning on the table.

The Devil said he would; it was only a butt of a candle and would not last very long. He would neither touch it nor blow at it, he said.

At that the lawyer picked up the candle butt, blew it out and put it in his pocket. And that was that! The lawyer held on to the butt of a candle, and the Devil had to keep to his bargain and be off without the old man.

[Glassie 1985:116. Retold.]

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