One day the devil met Kitta Grau:
"Where have you been, old man?" asked Kitta Grau, for she recognized him.
"Well," said the evil one, "I have been out on the farmstead where the newly wedded couple live. This is the third time I have tried to sow dissension between them; but they think so much of each other that it is a sheer impossibility."
"You talk like a real stupid. That is something I could bring about the very first time I went there," said Kitta Grau.
"If you can do that, you shall have a splendid pair of shoes," was the evil one's reply.
"Mind you keep your word!" said Kitta, and turned toward the farmstead.
There the woman was home alone; for her husband had gone to the forest. Kitta said to the young wife:
"You really have a splendid husband."
"And that is the truth," the woman replied, "for he grants my every wish before it is spoken."
"But take my word for it," said Kitta, "there is still a bit of deceit in him. He has a pair of long hairs under his chin—if you could get at them with a razor, and cut them off while he is asleep, then he would be altogether without malice."
"Well," said the woman, "if that will help, I will be sure to keep an eye open after dinner and attend to it, for then he always takes a little noon-day nap."
Then Kitta Grau went out into the forest to the husband and bade him good-day.
"You really have a very good wife," said Kitta.
"She could not be bettered," replied the husband.
"Well you might be mistaken for all that," said Kitta. "When you come home, be on your guard, for when you go to take your noon-day nap, she has in mind to cut your throat. So be sure not to go to sleep."
The husband did not think much of the matter; but still he thanked Kitta Grau for her trouble.
Then he went home and ate his dinner, laid down and pretended to fall asleep at once.
Thereupon his wife went to his shaving-kit, took out his razor, went softly up to him and took hold of his chin with her hand.
Up flew the man.
"Do you want to murder me?" he cried, and gave his wife such a thump that she measured her full length on the floor.
And from that day forward there was no peace in the house. Now Kitta Grau was to receive her reward from the evil one. But he was so afraid of her that he did not venture to give her the shoes until he stood on one side of a stream, while she stood on the other, and then he passed them over to her on a long pole.
"You are ever so much worse than I am," he told Kitta Grau.
The black man had made a bargain with a merchant. He had promised him that all goods which he might buy he should sell again within three weeks' time at a handsome profit. But, if he had prospered, after seven years had passed he was to be the devil's own. And he did prosper; for no matter what manner of old trash the merchant bought, and if it were no more than an old worn-out fur coat, he was always able to sell it again, and always at a profit.
Kitta Grau came into his shop and showed him the handsome shoes the evil one had given her.
So the merchant said:
"May heaven keep me from him! He will surely fetch me when the time comes; for I have made a pact with him; and I have been unable to buy anything without selling it again in three weeks' time."
Then Kitta Grau said: "Buy me, for I am sure no one will buy me from you!" And that is what the merchant did. He bought Kitta, had her disrobe and cover herself with tar, and roll in a pile of feathers. Then he put her in a glass cage as though she were a bird.
Now the first week went by, and the second week went by, and the third week went by, and no one appeared who wanted to buy the curious bird. And then, in due time, came the evil one, and wanted to fetch his merchant.
"Have patience," said the merchant, "I still have something I have bought, but have not been able to sell again in three weeks' time."
"That is something I'd like to see," said the black man. Then the merchant showed him Kitta Grau, sitting in her glass cage. But no sooner had the evil one seen the handsome bird than he cried:
"Oh, I see! It is you Kitta Grau! No one who knows you would buy you!"
And with that he hurried on his way.
Thus Kitta Grau could help do evil, and help do good.
The story of "The Evil One and Kitta Grau." (Bondeson, p. 206. From Halland) shows that it is child's play for an evil woman to accomplish what the devil himself cannot do. Yet some one has made an addition which redounds to Kitta's credit, and which makes her one of the heroines of fairy-tale who know how to take advantage of the evil one.
Notes: Contains 28 Swedish folktales.
Editor: Clara Stroebe
Translator: Frederick H. Martens
Publisher: Frederick A. Stokes Company