Sir Twardowski

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This Polish tale takes us to Krakow. There we find a nobleman whose curiosity for learning new and exciting things ends up bringing him face to face with the devil himself. The clever nobleman manages to turn the devil’s powers to good use, helping those around him. Although the devil tries to put an end to his good deeds, the nobleman’s prayers eventually free him from the devil’s clutches.

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Sir Twardowski
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Long ago in the city of Krakow there lived a respectable nobleman. His name was John Twardowski and everyone called him Sir Twardowski. He was very erudite and loved reading books. Whenever he heard about a book he hadn’t read, he had to get hold of it. He was interested in all sorts of things, but he was especially fascinated by alchemy and magic. Of course, he knew that magic really only exists in fairy tales, but he was still keen to learn more about it.

One day, Sir Twardowski was sitting, as usual, in his library. He was beginning to read a new book of spells and magic formulae and as he read through the first chapter, he decided to try out what it would be like to say one of the incantations out loud.

All of a sudden, right in the middle of the library a tall thin figure appeared. It had small horns on its head, sharp claws and hooves where its feet should have been. It was grinning and Sir Twardowski could see that it had very sharp teeth. It was the devil himself.

“How may I be of help, Sir Twardowski?” the devil asked.

For a moment, the nobleman was completely speechless. But when it became clear that the devil was not going to hurt him, he plucked up his courage and said:

“You have no idea how much I would love to learn to do magic! Magic that really works!”

The devil laughed. “Why, I shall teach you willingly, dear sir, on one very small condition.” And he explained that he would teach Sir Twardowski whatever he wanted as long as he sold him his soul.

Sir Twardowski was no fool and he knew very well…

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