ENGLISH

The wicked prince

DANSK

Den onde fyrste


There lived once upon a time a wicked prince whose heart and mind were set upon conquering all the countries of the world, and on frightening the people; he devastated their countries with fire and sword, and his soldiers trod down the crops in the fields and destroyed the peasants' huts by fire, so that the flames licked the green leaves off the branches, and the fruit hung dried up on the singed black trees. Many a poor mother fled, her naked baby in her arms, behind the still smoking walls of her cottage; but also there the soldiers followed her, and when they found her, she served as new nourishment to their diabolical enjoyments; demons could not possibly have done worse things than these soldiers! The prince was of opinion that all this was right, and that it was only the natural course which things ought to take. His power increased day by day, his name was feared by all, and fortune favoured his deeds. He brought enormous wealth home from the conquered towns, and gradually accumulated in his residence riches which could nowhere be equalled. He erected magnificent palaces, churches, and halls, and all who saw these splendid buildings and great treasures exclaimed admiringly: "What a mighty prince!" But they did not know what endless misery he had brought upon other countries, nor did they hear the sighs and lamentations which rose up from the debris of the destroyed cities.
Der var engang en ond og overmodig fyrste, hvis hele tanke gik ud på at vinde alle verdens lande og indjage skræk ved sit navn. Han fór frem med ild og sværd. Hans soldater nedtrådte kornet på marken, de antændte bondens hus, så den røde lue slikkede bladene af træerne, og frugten hang stegt på de sorte, sviede grene. Mangen stakkels moder skjulte sig med sit nøgne, diende barn bag ved den rygende mur, og soldaterne søgte hende, og fandt de hende og barnet, da begyndte deres djævelske glæde. Onde ånder kunne ikke handle værre, men fyrsten syntes just det gik som det skulle. Dag for dag voksede hans magt, hans navn blev frygtet af alle, og lykken fulgte ham i al hans gerning. Fra de erobrede byer førte han guld og store skatte, der opdyngedes i hans kongestad en rigdom, hvortil der ikke fandtes mage på noget andet sted. Nu lod han bygge prægtige slotte, kirker og buegange, og hver, som så disse herligheder, sagde: "hvilken stor fyrste!" de tænkte ikke på den nød, han havde bragt over andre lande, de hørte ikke de suk og den jammer, der lød fra de afbrændte byer.


The prince often looked with delight upon his gold and his magnificent edifices, and thought, like the crowd: "What a mighty prince! But I must have more– much more. No power on earth must equal mine, far less exceed it." He made war with all his neighbours, and defeated them. The conquered kings were chained up with golden fetters to his chariot when he drove through the streets of his city. These kings had to kneel at his and his courtiers' feet when they sat at table, and live on the morsels which they left.
Fyrsten så på sit guld, så på sine prægtige bygninger og tænkte da, som mængden: "hvilken stor fyrste! men jeg må have mere! meget mere! Ingen magt må nævnes lig, end sige større, end min!" og han gik i krig med alle sine naboer og han besejrede dem alle. De overvundne konger lod han, med guldkæder, lænke til sin vogn, når han kørte gennem gaderne. Og sad han til bords, da måtte de ligge ved hans og hoffolkenes fødder og tage de stykker brød, man dér kastede til dem.


At last the prince had his own statue erected on the public places and fixed on the royal palaces; nay, he even wished it to be placed in the churches, on the altars, but in this the priests opposed him, saying: "Prince, you are mighty indeed, but God's power is much greater than yours; we dare not obey your orders."
Nu lod fyrsten sin billedstøtte oprejse på torvene og i de kongelige slotte, ja han ville at den skulle stå i kirkerne foran Herrens alter, men præsterne sagde: "Fyrste, du er stor, men Gud er større, vi vover det ikke."


"Well," said the prince. "Then I will conquer God too." And in his haughtiness and foolish presumption he ordered a magnificent ship to be constructed, with which he could sail through the air; it was gorgeously fitted out and of many colours; like the tail of a peacock, it was covered with thousands of eyes, but each eye was the barrel of a gun. The prince sat in the centre of the ship, and had only to touch a spring in order to make thousands of bullets fly out in all directions, while the guns were at once loaded again. Hundreds of eagles were attached to this ship, and it rose with the swiftness of an arrow up towards the sun. The earth was soon left far below, and looked, with its mountains and woods, like a cornfield where the plough had made furrows which separated green meadows; soon it looked only like a map with indistinct lines upon it; and at last it entirely disappeared in mist and clouds. Higher and higher rose the eagles up into the air; then God sent one of his numberless angels against the ship. The wicked prince showered thousands of bullets upon him, but they rebounded from his shining wings and fell down like ordinary hailstones. One drop of blood, one single drop, came out of the white feathers of the angel's wings and fell upon the ship in which the prince sat, burnt into it, and weighed upon it like thousands of hundredweights, dragging it rapidly down to the earth again; the strong wings of the eagles gave way, the wind roared round the prince's head, and the clouds around– were they formed by the smoke rising up from the burnt cities?– took strange shapes, like crabs many, many miles long, which stretched their claws out after him, and rose up like enormous rocks, from which rolling masses dashed down, and became fire-spitting dragons. The prince was lying half-dead in his ship, when it sank at last with a terrible shock into the branches of a large tree in the wood.
"Vel," sagde den onde fyrste, "så overvinder jeg Gud med!" og i sit hjertes overmod og tåbelighed lod han bygge et kunstigt skib, hvormed han kunne gennemfare luften. Det var broget som påfuglens hale og syntes besat med tusinde øjne, men hvert øje var en bøssepibe. Fyrsten sad midt i skibet, han behøvede kun at trykke på en fjeder, da fløj tusinde kugler ud, og bøsserne var igen ladt som før. Hundrede stærke ørne spændtes foran skibet, og således fløj han nu mod solen. Jorden lå dybt nede. Først syntes den, med sine bjerge og skove, kun som en oppløjet ager, hvor det grønne titter frem fra den væltede græstørv, siden lignede den det flade landkort, og snart var den ganske skjult i tåge og skyer. Højere og højere fløj ørnene op ad. Da udsendte Gud en eneste af sine utallige engle, og den onde fyrste lod tusinde kugler flyve imod ham, men kuglerne faldt som hagl tilbage fra englens skinnende vinger. En bloddråbe, kun en eneste, dryppede fra den hvide vingefjer, og denne dråbe faldt på skibet, hvori fyrsten sad. Den brændte sig fast, den tyngede som tusinde centner bly og rev skibet i styrtende fart ned mod jorden. Ørnenes stærke vinger knækkedes, vinden susede om fyrstens hoved, og skyerne rundt om, de var jo skabt af de afbrændte byer, formede sig i truende skikkelser, som milestore krebs, der strakte deres stærke klo ud efter ham, som rullende klippestykker og ildspyende drager. Halvt død lå han i skibet, der til sidst blev hængende mellem skovens tykke trægrene.


"I will conquer God!" said the prince. "I have sworn it: my will must be done!" And he spent seven years in the construction of wonderful ships to sail through the air, and had darts cast from the hardest steel to break the walls of heaven with. He gathered warriors from all countries, so many that when they were placed side by side they covered the space of several miles. They entered the ships and the prince was approaching his own, when God sent a swarm of gnats– one swarm of little gnats. They buzzed round the prince and stung his face and hands; angrily he drew his sword and brandished it, but he only touched the air and did not hit the gnats. Then he ordered his servants to bring costly coverings and wrap him in them, that the gnats might no longer be able to reach him. The servants carried out his orders, but one single gnat had placed itself inside one of the coverings, crept into the prince's ear and stung him. The place burnt like fire, and the poison entered into his blood. Mad with pain, he tore off the coverings and his clothes too, flinging them far away, and danced about before the eyes of his ferocious soldiers, who now mocked at him, the mad prince, who wished to make war with God, and was overcome by a single little gnat.
"Jeg vil besejre Gud!" sagde han, "jeg har svoret det, min vilje skal ske!" og han lod i syv år bygge kunstige skibe, til at gennemfare luften med, han lod smede lynstråler af det hårdeste stål, thi han ville sprænge himlens befæstning. Fra alle sine lande samlede han store krigshære, de bedækkede en omkreds af flere mil, da de stod opstillet mand ved mand. De besteg de kunstige skibe, kongen selv nærmede sig sit, da udsendte Gud en myggesværm, en eneste lille myggesværm, den surrede om kongen og stak hans ansigt og hænder. Han drog i harme sit sværd, men slog kun i den tomme luft, myggene kunne han ikke ramme. Da bød han at der skulle bringes kostelige tæpper. Disse måtte man vikle om ham, der kunne ingen myg trænge igennem med sin brod, og man gjorde, som han bød, men én eneste myg satte sig på det inderste tæppe, den krøb ind i kongens øre og stak ham dér. Det brændte som ild, giften slog op i hans hjerne, han rev sig løs, sled tæpperne af sig, sønderrev sine klæder og dansede nøgen for de rå, vilde soldater, som nu spottede den gale fyrste, der ville bestorme Gud og straks var overvundet af en eneste lille myg.





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