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Not so long ago in a village near Bozen, there lived a boy who refused to wash. No amount of scolding or coaxing by his parents helped and as he grew up, the boy got dirtier and dirtier every day. His family and his friends tried to warn him that if he didn't wash one day the devil might come to claim his soul but he didn't believe them and happily carried on living his filthy existence until one night, a little before his 13th birthday, he suddenly disappeared, leaving neither hide nor grubby hair behind.
Seven years passed and the boy had almost been completely forgotten by his family and the people of his village when one afternoon in early spring, he reappeared, walking alone into the village square and stopping at the fountain to drink. The villagers and his family where overjoyed to see the boy again, but he was so changed and aged beyond his years that they barely recognised him. His skin was burnt and scarred, his hair unkempt and he barely spoke - except for the words he feverishly repeated over and over again to the children of the village. He told them he had fallen under the devil's spell because of his grubbiness and had been dragged down to the underworld where he had been made to serve as the gatekeeper to the gates of hell for seven long years. There he had seen the sum of human misery in the faces of those who had entered through the fiery gates,. Rich and poor, noble and lowly, men and women, all had passed before him, After seven years the devil had released him and he was able to return to his village, but his unwashed skin was permanently burnt by the fires of hell.
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