Grimm's Household Tales with the
translated by Margaret Hunt
THREE hundred years before the birth
of the Lord Christ, there lived a mother who had twelve sons, but was
so poor and needy that she no longer knew how she was to keep them alive
at all. She prayed to God daily that he would grant that all her sons
might be on the earth with the Redeemer who was promised. When her necessity
became still greater she sent one of them after the other out into the
world to seek bread for her. The eldest was called Peter, and he went
out and had already walked a long way, a whole day's journey, when he
came into a great forest. He sought for a way out, but could find none,
and went farther and farther astray, and at the same time felt such great
hunger that he could scarcely stand. At length he became so weak that
he was forced to lie down, and he believed death to be at hand. Suddenly
there stood beside him a small boy who shone with brightness, and was
as beautiful and kind as an angel. The child smote his little hands together,
until Peter was forced to look up and saw him. Then the child said, "Why
art thou sitting there in such trouble?" "Alas!" answered
Peter, "I am going about the world seeking bread, that I may yet
see the dear Saviour who is promised, that is my greatest desire."
The child said, "Come with me, and thy wish shall be fulfilled."
He took poor Peter by the hand, and led him between some cliffs to a great
cavern. When they entered it, everything was shining with gold, silver,
and crystal, and in the midst of it twelve cradles were standing side
by side. Then said the little angel, "Lie down in the first, and
sleep a while, I will rock thee." Peter did so, and the angel sang
to him and rocked him until he was al seep. And when he was asleep, the
second brother came also, guided thither by his guardian angel, and he
was rocked to sleep like the first, and thus came the others, one after
the other, until all twelve lay there sleeping in the golden cradles.
They slept, however, three hundred years, until the night when the Saviour
of the world was born. Then they awoke, and were with him on earth, and
were called the twelve apostles.
Grimm, Jacob and Wilhelm. Household Tales. Margaret Hunt, translator. London: George Bell, 1884, 1892. 2 volumes.