The Devil And His Grandmother (By the Brothers Grimm)
Once Upon A Time, there is this huge war, and the captain of this army doesn't pay his soldiers. Two soldiers, tired of being nearly killed just to be paid nothing a day, abandon camp, kidnapping the drummer boy, since he threatened to squeal on 'em.
You see, there's an entire awesome chase scene implied in these simple actions. I'm picturing snow mobiles and jumping from planes with a screaming boy and the cursing captain and helpers closing in on them.
The tired soldiers camp in a cornfield intending to escape at dawn. But the next morning, they find that they are surrounded by their comrad soldiers.
I'm thinking their plan had a few flaws.
The soldiers stay their three days, and are extremely hungry.
Understatement of the Year.
Suddenly, Beelzebub appears and gives them a magic whip saying that in three years he would come back and ask them some riddles and if they don't answer them right, their souls are his. Then he transports them into a far away village.
Okay, the big scene was much longer than how I summarized it. PS. Beelzebub is the Jewish Prince of Hell. Basically the Devil's best friend.
The three soldiers take turns using the magic whip. Every time they use it, a pound of cash appears in front of them.
Could I please borrow that whip?
Right before the three years are up, Beelzebub comes back to the soldiers and reminds them of the deal they had. The drummer boy, still the smartest of the group, goes down to Hell. There he meets Beelezebub's grandma.
I love the idea of a demon's grandmother as a character. What does she think of her grandson's occupation? Does she boast about him to the ladies at the senior center? Does she still have the crayon drawings that he did in preschool? Does she knit him embarrassing sweaters for the holidays? (Do any grandmothers actually do that outside of novels?)
The grandmother is sweet and tells the boy to hide in the cellar. At noon, Beelzebub comes home and Granny asks him about the riddles. He tells Granny the answers, and the drummer boy eavesdrops. When Beelzebub goes to bed, the boy goes back home. When Beelzebub comes and gives the riddles, the boy answers and answers correctly. The soldiers, happy they beat the Demon Prince, whip up cash until the earth spews golden magma.
They all live happily ever after.
Except Beelzebub, who is plotting revenge on the soldiers' descendents.