Literature / Bearskin

Bearskin is a German Fairy Tale collected by The Brothers Grimm.

A soldier can not return home after he leaves the army, and can not find a job. Finally, he makes a deal with the devil, who gives him a purse of gold that's always full. But he must wear a bearskin and neither pray nor wash nor cut his hair for seven years. If he survives, he can keep the purse freely, but he loses his soul if he dies.

The soldier went about giving away gold and asking all the poor people to pray for him. He rescues an old man from prison for debt, and the man says that one of his daughters will marry him. The older two reject him, but the younger concludes that only a good man would have rescued her father. He gives her half of a ring, and tells her that he will return in three years, or be dead, in which case she is free.

He survives and cleans himself up before visiting the old man again. Everyone is taken by how handsome he is, though the youngest daughter sits quietly in the corner. When he says he will marry one of them, the older girls go to pretty themselves up. Then he shows the youngest the other half of the ring. They get married. The older sisters kill themselves in fury and envy, and the devil is pleased: he got two souls, not one, out of this.

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