Torre Jeppe





In a church-nave a specter sat night by night, and the specter's name

was Torre Jeppe. He was a dried-up corpse that could not decay. One

night three tailors were working at a farmstead in the neighborhood.

They were laughing and joking, and among other things they asked the

girl in the house, who was known to be brave, what they would have to

give her to go to church and fetch back Torre Jeppe. She could trust

herself to do it, was her answer; but they must give her a dress of

home-spun wool for her trouble. That she should surely have, said the

tailors, for they did not believe the girl would dare such a venture.

Yet she took the tailors at their word and really went.



When she reached the church, she took Torre Jeppe on her back, carried

him home and sat him down on the bench beside the tailors. They

timidly moved away; but Torre Jeppe moved after them, and looked at

them with his big eyes until they nearly lost their reason. In their

terror they begged the girl in the name of God to deliver them from

the specter. They would gladly give her another dress if she would

only carry the dead man away again. They had no need to tell her

twice, for she took Torre Jeppe on her back, and dragged him away

again.



But when she tried to set him down in the place where she had found

him, he did not want to let her go; but clasped his arms firmly about

her neck. In vain she said to him several times: "Torre Jeppe, let me

go!" At last he said: "I will not let you go until you promise me that

you will go this very night to the brook and ask three times: 'Anna

Perstochter, do you forgive Torre Jeppe?'" The girl promised to do as

he said, and he at once released her. The brook was a good mile off;

but she went there and asked three times in a loud voice, as she had

promised: "Anna Perstochter, do you forgive Torre Jeppe?" And when she

had called the third time a woman's voice replied from out of the

water: "If God has forgiven him, then I, too, forgive him!"



When the girl came back to the church Torre Jeppe asked eagerly: "What

did she say?" "Well, if God has forgiven you, then she, too, will

forgive you!" Then Torre Jeppe thanked her and said: "Come back again

before sunrise, and you shall receive your reward for the service you

have done me." The girl went back at sunrise, and in the place where

the phantom had been sitting she found a bushel of silver coin. In

addition she received the two dresses promised her by the tailors. But

Torre Jeppe was never seen again.





NOTE



"Torre Jeppe" (retold and communicated by Dr. v. Sydow-Lund,

after mss. version of Hylten-Cavallius and Stephens) is a

ghost-story founded on the old belief that a wrong done

torments the doer even after death, that he tried to atone for

it, and that then only can he enter on his eternal rest.





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