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"Gutten og fanden" is a Norwegian fairy tale collected by Asbjørnsen and Moe in the 1840s. The original, Norwegian text was found at Project Runeberg, and then translated by me. Enjoy!


Once upon a time, there was a boy walking along a road cracking nuts. Then he found one eaten by a worm, and just then he met the Devil.

"Is it true, what they say" said the boy, "that the Devil can make himself as small as he wants, and force his way through the eye of a needle?"

"Yes!" answered the Devil.

"Oh, let me see, and crawl into this nut!" said the boy; and the Devil did.

When he had crawled in through the worm hole, the boy stuck a twig in it. "Now I've got you," he said, and put the nut in his pocket.

When he had walked for a while, he came to a smithy; he went in, and asked the smith to destroy the nut for him.

"Yes, that will be easy," answered the smith, and took his smallest hammer, put the nut on the anvil and hit it; but it wouldn't break. Then he took a slightly larger hammer, but that wasn't heavy enough either; he took an even bigger one, but that didn't do either. Now the smith got angry, and fetched his large sledgehammer. "I'll break you yet -!" he said and hit as hard as he could; and the nut broke, so half the smithy's roof flew off, and the cabin shook as if it would collapse.

"I'd say the Devil was in that nut!" said the smith.

"Yes, he was," said the boy.

More fairy tales, please!

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