I don’t think I will ever forget this story. It was in Ribe,Denmark. And this how how it goes.
I believe it was 1944.The Nazis had taken over Denmark as best they could. They didn’t have a lot of soldiers left so they used young Hitler Youth soldiers to guard their outposts.The Nazis tended to preserve older towns by making the most beautiful cities their “headquarters”.That is why, for example, Krakow was never bombed nor targeted.
Anyway, four year old Nick and his friend Pele were standing outside this post office, fooling around, sticking their tongues out at the very nervous, shaky 14 year soldier boys. One particular soldier was trying to “shoe” the kids away, and he inadvertently “shot” off his gun.He shot Nick. There was blood everywhere. But actually Nick was only shot in the lower leg.
There was screaming, howling, people running:someone scooped up Nick and took him to a makeshift hospital. However all the 14 year old boy thought was “Oh my God, I have killed that little boy”. The 14 year old soldier thought exactly that for most of his life.
Around 25 years later, the same Nick, was re-telling this tale to a group of men in a pub. They all laughed saying
“Oh Nick you are such a liar!”. Nick rolled up his trouser legs, and who should walk in but his old friend Pele, who now lived in the neighbouring town of Olgod.
Nick said “Pele, please tell them it is true about the Nazi soldier boy shooting me!”
Pele said “Of course it is true, I was there with you!”
Many, many years later, around the year 2004, Nick was standing outside of his furniture shop in Ribe.He had owned this shop since he was a young man.
He had a morning ritual of standing outside his furniture shop, drinking an espresso and watching license plates of cars passing by. He just liked doing that. One Saturday morning in 2004, he saw a car with a German license plate approaching him. For some reason the car stopped, and out of it came an older gentleman, a man at least 10 years older than Nick. Also out of the car came an old lady and her three daughters. The old man said to Nick:
“Excuse me, are you from Ribe?
“Yes, of course”, said Nick. This is my shop.”
The older man paused for a moment and then said:
“Well have you lived here a long time?
“All my life, said Nick”.
“Hmmmm, well, I know this is a ridiculous question, the man continued, but by any chance do you remember an incident where a little boy was shot over here by the post office and was killed?”
Nick said, ” Yes the boy was shot in the leg, but he lived, and actually, that’s me!
Nick rolled up his trouser legs and showed the older gentleman his bullet wound still visible after all these years.
The German man, fell back a bit, as if to faint, his wife steadying him.
“Oh my God, said the old man, I thought you were dead for all these years. I thought I had killed you, and I have come back to find the truth”. I am so sorry for what I did to you!”
Everyone cried and embraced. Nick said “It’s ok now, you don’t have to feel bad any longer. I am fine!”
What are the chances of this happening? And yet it did happen. Sometimes God plans it just right, that old mistakes can be mended and forgiven.