The Seventh Father of the House
Once upon a time there was a man who was out travelling. Then he finally arrived at a large and beautiful farm. It was a manor house so gilded that it could just as well had been a small castle. “Here it shall be good to get well rested” he said to himself as he came inside the gate. Close by stood an old man with gray hair and a beard and chopped wood. “Good evening, father,” said the vagabond; “can I get shelter here tonight?” “I am not the father of the house,” said the old man; “Go into the kitchen and speak to my father!”
The vagabond entered the kitchen; there he met a man who was even older, and he was on his knees in front of the fireplace blowing on the heat.
“Good evening, father, can I get shelter here tonight?” said the vagabond.
“I am not the father of the house,” said the old man; “but go in and speak to my father; he is sitting by the table in the living room.”
The vagabond then went into the living room and spoke to the person sitting by the table; he was much older than both of the others, and he sat and gritted his teeth, shaking and trembling, and was reading from a large book, almost like a little child.
“Good evening, father, will you give me shelter tonight?” said the man.
“I am not the father of the house; but speak to my father, he who is sitting on the bench.” said the man who was sitting by the table and gritted his teeth and was shaking and trembling.
Then the vagabond went to him who was sitting on the bench, and he was about to get himself a pipe of tobacco: but he was so hunched over, and his hands were shaking so bad that he could barely hold on to the pipe.
“Good evening, father,” said the vagabond again. “Can I get shelter here tonight.”
“I am not the father of the house,” the old crouched man replied; “but speak to my father who is lying in bed.”
The vagabond went to the bed, and there lay an old, old man who had nothing living about him except for a pair of big eyes.
“Good evening father, can I get shelter here tonight?” said the vagabond.
“I am not the father of the house; but speak to my father, who is lying in the cradle,” said the man with the big eyes.
Yes, the vagabond then went to the cradle; there lay an ancient man, so huddled that he was no bigger than an infant, and he could not tell that he was alive on anything other than the sounds that came from his throat every once in a while.
“Good evening father, can I get shelter here tonight?” the man said.
It took a long time before he got an answer, and even longer before the old man was finished; he said like the others that he was not the father of the house, “but speak to my father, he is hanging in the horn on the wall.”
The vagabond glared up at the walls, and finally he caught sight of the horn as well, but when he looked for the one who hung in it, he did not look anything different than a skin who had the resemblance of a human face.
Then he became so aghast that he cried out loudly: “Good evening, father! Will you give me shelter here tonight?” It squeaked from the horn, and it was just enough that he could understand that it was supposed to be the same as: “Yes, my child!”
And now a table appeared which was covered with the most expensive dishes and with beer and spirits, and when he was finished eating and drinking, a nice bed with reindeer calf skins came in, and the vagabond was very happy with that finally he had found the right father of the house.
© Familieforlaget as, 2022