There was a man in the city of Worms whose widowed mother died without leaving a will. Now he knew very well that she had been wealthy, and he searched everywhere in the house but he could not find where her fortune was hidden. The matter became an obsession to him. He searched through everything again and again. He looked between the pages of each and every book she owned. Nothing. Then he dug up the yard to a depth of three feet. Still nothing. After then he began to tear out the floors, in case the money was hidden there. It was not.
At last he realised that he simply could not find it on his own. So he decided to go to a witch for help.
Now this witch was famous for the power of her spells. She said, “yes, yes, I can find it, if you are willing to pay the price – one half of the inheritance.”
The desperate man said, “One half is better than nothing.”
Then the witch said, “Good. Now you must leave, for no one can be present when I work my magic.” And when he was gone she took out a knife and said a spell over it. Then she hid the knife beneath her pillow and went to sleep. That night the witch dreamed that a demon came to her who had a knife in his heart. The demon cried out to the witch, “Take the knife out of my heart!”
And the witch said, “No! Not until you bring me this man’s mother and she reveals where she hid her inheritance. Until then the knife will stay exactly where it is!” At that she woke up, and she felt beneath the pillow – and the knife was gone. And she smiled to herself.
The next night the witch dreamed that the same demon came back to her the knife still in his heart. He was accompanied by a younger demon and the man’s mother. The young demon said, “Take the knife out of my father’s heart!”
“No,” the witch replied, “not until she reveals where she hid her fortune.”
“That I will never do!” The woman said.
“Why not?” Asked the witch. “After all, you are dead; what good will it do you now?” And the woman replied, “If I had wanted him to know where the money was, I would have told him. I don’t want him to know.” With that the dream came to an end and the witch awoke. And the knife was still gone.
The third night the demon came back, in the same company, the knife still in his heart. He looked feeble and unable to speak. His son spoke for him and begged the witch to remove the knife. The witch insisted she would not take it out until the woman revealed the secret. Then the demon’s son begged the woman to take heed of the suffering of his father and to speak, and at last she relented saying, “To spare you any more suffering I will reveal this much, and this much only; the money is hidden in a box.” At that the dream ended.
When the witch awoke the first thing she did was to pronounce another spell. Then she put her hand beneath the pillow and found that the knife was there. So she knew that the demon no longer had the knife in his heart. Then she hurried off to the home of the man and told him the hint she had wrenched out of his mother. This clue astonished him, because he had looked in all the boxes first, and several times thereafter, and he had found nothing. That is what he told the witch, and the witch replied, “Look in the boxes. And when you find the inheritance remember half of it belongs to me.” And she turned and left.
Now the minute the witch went away, the man took each and every box apart, and in this way he found one with a false bottom, with the fortune hidden beneath it. Now that the reluctant inheritance was his, the man decided to leave town at once, for he had no intention of sharing the money with the witch. This he did, and on the third day the witch came back to his house and discovered that he had gone. But she was not worried. And that night she placed the knife under her pillow again.
The Universal Storyteller www.facebook/thedivineatplay