Mrs. Richter once had to go away for a whole day. She instructed Henry to stay home until she returned. Henry did not have a problem with that. Around noon, his friend Peter came and asked him to come along with him to gather nuts. But Henry answered him: “Sorry, I cannot come with you because my mother told me to stay home.”
Peter described to him how much fun they would have gathering nuts and said: “No one will ever know that you went away.” Then he laughed at him because he was always wanting to obey his mother. But Henry remained firm.
When Peter left, he dragged Henry along to the gate and begged him one more time to come along. The gate was open, and the little woods looked so wonderfully inviting. Peter talked about the little black-eyed squirrels that ran around so quickly and about the brown nuts that fell so abundantly to the ground. “Come, Henry,” Peter said, “you only need to take one step and you’ve left the house. If you stand where I’m standing, you’ve left the house. Then you’ve done what your Mother had forbidden you to do. And what’s wrong with that? A short little jog and we are in the woods and can have fun there for a while.” With that, he grabbed Henry’s hand to pull him out.
At that moment, Henry, who had started to waver, pulled himself together: “No, no, I will not take the first forbidden step. Because who knows how many other forbidden steps I will take then!” With that, he ran back into the house, up into his room and knelt by the side of his bed to thank God for protecting him from the first forbidden step.