I’m sorry to say, things didn’t go tickety-boo in the graveyard last night.

I’d come to take the soul of a hard-hearted farmer who never did any good with his money. When I came whistling in (like the evil wind I am), who do I find at the grave but two scoundrels! 

“The man in that grave belongs to me!” I shouted. “Be off or I’ll wring your necks!”

One of the men, a soldier, said: “Sir, you may wear a red feather in your cap, but you are not my captain. I have no need to obey you, and you can’t threaten me because I have not yet learned what fear is.”

I decided to offer money in exchange for the farmer’s soul and we agreed that I’d get enough to fill one of the soldier’s boots. I poured gold coins into the boot, but no matter how many I brought, I couldn’t fill it. When the first ray of sun broke from the sky, I fled, shrieking, and the farmer’s soul was saved.

I’d like to say I’m coming back for the soul of that tricky soldier, but if he doesn’t know what fear is, I doubt he’ll ever make the list.

Devil with the Red Feather in The Grave-Mound, Grimms. Illustration by John B. Gruelle.

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