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The Miseräbelchen
Short measure

     A tradition lingers in the valley of the Ahr of how St. Peter, the heavenly porter, once forgot his key in Walporzheim. There is a second tale told about the holy apostle of how he was punished for his infidelity to his Lord, when accused by the maiden in the high priest's palace. It runs thus:  – 

     Our Lord was displeased at the want of faith in the Jews and came to the valley of the Moselle to preach the word of God to the heathens of the country instead.

     The rough, but upright and honest people living along this winding river were very hospitable to our Lord and his disciples, but the mountains and hills were not to their taste, and their long journeys in the hot weather made the travellers extremely tired.

     Once they all sat down in a shady spot, and the Lord with a gentle smile said to St. Peter, "Go over there, Peter, to the village, and fetch us a small bottle of wine. It will do us good."

     St. Peter did not require to be told twice. With a twinkle in his eye, he hurried to the village as fast as his legs would carry him, in spite of the burning sun and the dusty road.

     A cup of wine which was offered to him in a wooden goblet was most refreshing, and the thirsty Apostle drank it off in one draught, which was certainly no sin, for he always had a very dry throat. Then the bumper was filled again, and, having fully relished it he Set out on his return, thinking of the pleasure he would bring his Master and companions.

     But the sun was so overpowering, and it was so difficult to walk along with a brimming cup in his tired hands, that it was impossible to prevent some drops of the precious liquid from falling to the ground. The Apostle regretted the waste of this good gift of God, and feeling he ought to prevent it, he just sipped a little to prevent it running over.

     Unfortunately he had taken a little more than was absolutely necessary. What was he now to do? An idea struck him. Seizing the wooden cup he cleverly cut off the upper part so that it again appeared full. He then hurried along, quite pleased, but still some drops were being spilt. St. Peter considered, and rightly too, that this precious wine was only lost on the hard stones, and again took a good sip. This time he perceived to his dismay that there was only a little remaining in the cup.

     Seeing how matters stood, he tried the same experiment as before, and again the cup, though of a reduced size, appeared full.

     St. Peter felt rather awkward when he reached the place where the Lord sat. His master glanced at him questioningly. The perplexed disciple looked about him helplessly, and then said, "Master, this cup seems to Thee to contain miserably short measure. It is a proof of how wretchedly small measures are in this country. But I thought that Thou who hadst fed the five thousand with three barley loaves and two small fishes, couldst also, if it be Thy will, quench our thirst with this miserable little cupful." The long-forbearing Master raised his finger, and smiled gently.

     "I will refresh you willingly in spite of the miserably short measure which thou hast brought us, every one to his heart's content, but thou hast already had thy share."

     Since that time the measures in the Moselle country have been very small, and this is the origin of the word, "Miseräbelchen."

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