The Three Apprentices
A deal with the devil initially costs 3 craftsmen dearly, but maybe it turns out well. Curious?
There were three craftsmen who had agreed to stay together on their wanderings and always work in one town. For a time, however, they found no more income from their masters, so that finally they were completely torn down and had nothing to live on. Then one said, "What shall we do? we can't stay here any longer, we want to go hiking again, and if we can't find work in the town where we're going, we'll arrange with the inn manager that we can write to him where we're staying and that we can get news from each other, and then we want to separate;" that also seemed the best thing to the others. As they were leaving, a richly dressed man met them on the way and asked who they were. "We are craftsmen and are looking for work: we have kept together up to now, but if we can't find any more, then we want to separate." you should not lack money and work; yes, you shall become great lords and drive in carriages." One said, "if it does not harm our soul and happiness, then we will do it well." "No," answered the man, "I have no part in you." The other but had looked at his feet, and when he saw a horse's foot and a man's foot there, he would not have anything to do with him. But the devil said, "Be content, it is not aimed at you, but at another  soul, who is already half mine, and whose measure should only be full." Now that they were sure, they consented, and the devil told them what he asked, the first to answer every question "all three of us," the second "about the money," the third "and that was right." not say a word, and if they disobeyed the law, all the money would be gone at once: but so long as they obeyed, their pockets should always be full. At first he gave them as much as they could carry and told them to go into town to such and such an inn. They went in, the innkeeper came towards them and asked, "Do you want something to eat?" The first answered, "All three of us." "Yes," said the innkeeper, "I mean that too." The second "about the money." "Of course," said the landlord. The third "and that was right." "Yes, it was right," said the host. Good food and drink was now brought to them, and they were well looked after. After the meal the payment had to be made, so the landlord held out the bill to one of them, who said, "All three of us," the second, "about the money," the third, "and that was right." "Of course it's right," he said Wirth, "all three pay, and I can't give anything without money." But they paid even more than he had asked for. The guests saw this and said, "The people must be great." "Yes, they are, too," said the innkeeper, "they aren't very clever." So they stayed in the inn for a while and didn't talk to anyone else word as "all three of us, for the money, and that was right." But they saw and knew everything that was going on. It so happened that a big merchant came with a lot of money, who said, "Mr. Wirth, save my money for me, there are three foolish tradesmen who want to steal it from me." The innkeeper did it. As he carried the sack into his room, he felt that it was heavy with gold. Then he gave the three craftsmen a bed downstairs, but the merchant went upstairs to a special room. When it was midnight and the innkeeper thought they were all asleep, he came with his wife and they had a wooden ax and killed the rich merchant; after the murder was accomplished they went back to sleep. When it was day there was a great noise, the merchant lay dead in his bed and was swimming in his blood. Then all the guests ran together, but the innkeeper said, "The three great craftsmen did it." The guests confirmed it and said, "It can't have been anyone else." The innkeeper called them and said to them, "You have the merchant killed?” “All three of us,” said the first, “for money,” the second, “and that was right,” the third. "Now you hear it," said the innkeeper, "they confess themselves." So they were taken to prison and were to be judged. When they now saw that things were going so seriously, they became afraid, but at night the devil came and said, "Just hold out for one more day and don't waste your luck, not a hair will be harmed." The next morning they were brought before the court: the judge said, "Are you the murderers?" "All three of us." "Why did you kill the merchant?" "For money." Have you shied away from sin?” “And that was right.” “You have confessed and are still stubborn,” said the judge, “will lead you straight to death.” So they were taken out, and the innkeeper had to join the circle. When they were now seized by the executioners and led up to the top of the scaffolding where the executioner was standing with his sword bare, suddenly a carriage pulled by four blood-red foxes came and drove so that fire sprang out of the stones, but one of them waved from the window a white cloth. Then the executioner said, "Mercy is coming," and the chariot also said, "Mercy! Mercy!” shouted. Then the devil stepped out as a very distinguished gentleman, splendidly dressed, and said, “You three are innocent; you may speak now, say what you saw and heard.” Then the eldest said, “we didn't kill the merchant, the murderer is standing there in the circle” and pointed to the innkeeper, “go to the landmark in his cellar, there hang many others whom he killed.” Then the judge sent the executioner's servants, who found it, as was said, and when they had reported this to the judge, he had the innkeeper led upstairs and his head cut off. Then the devil said to the three, "Now I have the soul I wanted, but you are free and have money for your lifetime.