Myths and Legends of All Nations Famous Stories from the Greek, German, English, Spanish, Scandinavian, Danish, French, Russian, Bohemian, Italian and other sources

Page: 121

"Twardowski, the time of our pact is over, and I command you to fulfill your promise and go to Rome."

"What shall I do there?"

"Give me your immortal soul," was the answer.

"Do you think I am a fool?" asked Twardowski.

"You gave me your promise to go to Rome after seven years."

"That I have already done," said Twardowski, "and I did not promise to stay in Rome."

"Noble deceiver!" exclaimed the Evil One.

"Stupid devil!" cried Twardowski.

Then after a struggle the devil vanished and Twardowski returned home.

For over a year he pored incessantly over his books of magic, until at last he found a formula for warding off death. Then he called his disciple Famulus to him and explained that he was going to test the formula.

"You have always obliged me without question," said Twardowski, "and I expect you to now. Take this knife and thrust it into my heart."

"God forbid!" cried Famulus.

"Why are you frightened? I know what I am doing. Take the knife and kill me, as the parchment directs."

"I cannot."

"You must," insisted Twardowski.

"It is impossible!"

"No more exclamations. Do as I tell you."

"Oh, oh, oh!" wailed Famulus.

"Strike!" thundered Twardowski, "or I will kill you this instant."

Then Famulus did as he was bid and forced the blade into his master's heart.

[Pg 240] Twardowski uttered a low cry, fell, and was soon dead.

Famulus dropped trembling into a chair and covered his face with his hands. Then he remembered that he must read the remainder of the parchment in order to find out what he must do to restore the body to life.

Then he set about the task, severed the limbs of the dead body, and worked and brewed and distilled until the elixir described in the parchment was prepared.

With the elixir he rubbed the members of the master's body, put them together, and laid the corpse in a coffin. This he buried on the following night, explaining to Twardowski's friends that such had been the master's wish.

Now the parchment stated that the body must remain in the grave seven years, seven months, seven days and seven hours; so Famulus could do nothing but wait. At last the time had expired, and on a snowy, cold December night he found his way to the grave. He dug out the coffin, brushed off the snow and earth, opened the casket and found—not the body of Twardowski, but that of a child who lay sleeping in a bed of fragrant violets.

"The child is like Twardowski," Famulus thought, and he gathered him up under his cloak and carried him home. The next morning the child was the size of a twelve-year old; and after seven weeks he was a full-grown man.

Twardowski, who now seemed quite himself, only younger, and stronger, thanked Famulus and resumed again his study of magic. He desired, above all things, to be freed forever from his compact with the devil. This, he read in one of the books, he might do if he would brave the terrors of the underworld.