Infomotions, Inc.Mary Schweidler, $b the amber witch. $c The most interesting trial for witchcraft ever known. / Meinhold, Wilhelm, 1797-1851



Author: Meinhold, Wilhelm, 1797-1851
Title: Mary Schweidler, $b the amber witch. $c The most interesting trial for witchcraft ever known.
Publisher: Project Gutenberg
Tag(s): dom; hereupon; sheriff; old paasch; whereupon; constable; consul; lizzie; old lizzie; straightway; lizzie kolken; item; witch; wherefore; child; old ilse; maid; old seden; lord; daughter
Contributor(s): Duff Gordon, Lucie, Lady, 1821-1869 [Translator]
Versions: original; local mirror; HTML (this file); printable
Services: find in a library; evaluate using concordance
Rights: GNU General Public License
Size: 70,878 words (short) Grade range: 13-15 (college) Readability score: 59 (average)
Identifier: etext8743
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Title: The Amber Witch

Author: Wilhelm Meinhold

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THE AMBER WITCH

by

Wilhelm Meinhold


The most interesting trial for witchcraft ever known. Printed from an
imperfect manuscript by her father Abraham Schweidler, the pastor of
Coserow, in the Island of Usedom.

Translated from the German by Lady Duff Gordon.

Original publication date: 1846.




PREFACE


In laying before the public this deeply affecting and romantic trial,
which I have not without reason called on the title-page the most
interesting of all trials for witchcraft ever known, I will first give
some account of the history of the manuscript.

At Coserow, in the Island of Usedom, my former cure, the same which was
held by our worthy author some two hundred years ago, there existed
under a seat in the choir of the church a sort of niche, nearly on a
level with the floor. I had, indeed, often seen a heap of various
writings in this recess; but owing to my short sight, and the darkness
of the place, I had taken them for antiquated hymn-books, which were
lying about in great numbers. But one day, while I was teaching in the
church, I looked for a paper mark in the Catechism of one of the boys,
which I could not immediately find; and my old sexton, who was past
eighty (and who, although called Appelmann, was thoroughly unlike his
namesake in our story, being a very worthy, although a most ignorant
man), stooped down to the said niche, and took from it a folio volume
which I had never before observed, out of which he, without the slightest
hesitation, tore a strip of paper suited to my purpose, and reached it to
me. I immediately seized upon the book, and, after a few minutes' perusal,
I know not which was greater, my astonishment or my vexation at this
costly prize. The manuscript, which was bound in vellum, was not only
defective both at the beginning and at the end, but several leaves had
even been torn out here and there in the middle. I scolded the old man as
I had never done during the whole course of my life; but he excused
himself, saying that one of my predecessors had given him the manuscript
for waste paper, as it had lain about there ever since the memory of man,
and he had often been in want of paper to twist round the altar candles,
etc. The aged and half-blind pastor had mistaken the folio for old
parochial accounts which could be of no more use to any one.[1]

No sooner had I reached home than I fell to work upon my new acquisition,
and after reading a bit here and there with considerable trouble, my
interest was powerfully excited by the contents.

I soon felt the necessity of making myself better acquainted with the
nature and conduct of these witch trials, with the proceedings, nay,
even with the history of the whole period in which these events occur.
But the more I read of these extraordinary stories, the more was I
confounded; and neither the trivial Beeker (_die bezauberte Welt_, the
enchanted world), nor the more careful Horst (_Zauberbibliothek_, the
library of magic), to which, as well as to several other works on the
same subject, I had flown for information, could resolve my doubts, but
rather served to increase them.

Not alone is the demoniacal character, which pervades nearly all these
fearful stories, so deeply marked, as to fill the attentive reader with
feelings of alternate horror and dismay, but the eternal and unchangeable
laws of human feeling and action are often arrested in a manner so
violent and unforeseen, that the understanding is entirely baffled. For
instance, one of the original trials which a friend of mine, a lawyer,
discovered in our province, contains the account of a mother, who, after
she had suffered the torture, and received the holy Sacrament, and was
on the point of going to the stake, so utterly lost all maternal feeling,
that her conscience obliged her to accuse as a witch her only dearly-loved
daughter, a girl of fifteen, against whom no one had ever entertained a
suspicion, in order, as she said, to save her poor soul. The court, justly
amazed at an event which probably has never since been paralleled, caused
the state of the mother's mind to be examined both by clergymen and
physicians, whose original testimonies are still appended to the records,
and are all highly favourable to her soundness of mind. The unfortunate
daughter, whose name was Elizabeth Hegel, was actually executed on the
strength of her mother's accusation.[2]

The explanation commonly received at the present day, that these
phenomena were produced by means of animal magnetism, is utterly
insufficient. How, for instance, could this account for the deeply
demoniacal nature of old Lizzie Kolken as exhibited in the following
pages? It is utterly incomprehensible, and perfectly explains why the
old pastor, notwithstanding the horrible deceits practised on him in
the person of his daughter, retained as firm a faith in the truth of
witchcraft as in that of the Gospel.

During the earlier centuries of the middle ages little was known of
witchcraft. The crime of magic, when it did occur, was leniently
punished. For instance, the Council of Ancyra (314) ordained the whole
punishment of witches to consist in expulsion from the Christian
community. The Visigoths punished them with stripes, and Charlemagne,
by advice of his bishops, confined them in prison until such time as
they should sincerely repent.[3] It was not until very soon before
the Reformation, that Innocent VIII. lamented that the complaints of
universal Christendom against the evil practices of these women had
become so general and so loud, that the most vigorous measures must be
taken against them; and towards the end of the year 1489, he caused the
notorious Hammer for Witches (_Malleus Maleficarum_) to be published,
according to which proceedings were set on foot with the most fanatical
zeal, not only in Catholic, but, strange to say, even in Protestant
Christendom, which in other respects abhorred everything belonging
to Catholicism. Indeed, the Protestants far outdid the Catholics in
cruelty, until, among the latter, the noble-minded Jesuit, J. Spee, and
among the former, but not until seventy years later, the excellent
Thomasius, by degrees put a stop to these horrors.

After careful examination into the nature and characteristics of
witchcraft, I soon perceived that among all these strange and often
romantic stories, not one surpassed my 'amber witch' in lively interest;
and I determined to throw her adventures into the form of a romance.
Fortunately, however, I was soon convinced that her story was already in
itself the most interesting of all romances; and that I should do far
better to leave it in its original antiquated form, omitting whatever
would be uninteresting to modern readers, or so universally known as to
need no repetition. I have therefore attempted, not indeed to supply
what is missing at the beginning and end, but to restore those leaves
which have been torn out of the middle, imitating, as accurately as I
was able, the language and manner of the old biographer, in order that
the difference between the original narrative and my own interpolations
might not be too evident.

This I have done with much trouble, and after many ineffectual attempts;
but I refrain from pointing out the particular passages which I have
supplied, so as not to disturb the historical interest of the greater
part of my readers. For modern criticism, which has now attained to a
degree of acuteness never before equalled, such a confession would be
entirely superfluous, as critics will easily distinguish the passages
where Pastor Schweidler speaks from those written by Pastor Meinhold.

I am, nevertheless, bound to give the public some account of what I have
omitted, namely,--

1st. Such long prayers as were not very remarkable for Christian unction.

2d. Well-known stories out of the Thirty Years' War.

3d. Signs and wonders in the heavens, which were seen here and there,
and which are recorded by other Pomeranian writers of these fearful
times; for instance, by Micraelius.[4] But when these events formed part
of the tale itself, as, for instance, the cross on the Streckelberg, I,
of course, allowed them to stand.

4th. The specification of the whole income of the church at Coserow,
before and during the terrible times of the Thirty Years' War.

5th. The enumeration of the dwellings left standing, after the
devastations made by the enemy in every village throughout the parish.

6th. The names of the districts to which this or that member of the
congregation had emigrated.

7th. A ground plan and description of the old Manse.

I have likewise here and there ventured to make a few changes in the
language, as my author is not always consistent in the use of his words
or in his orthography. The latter I have, however, with very few
exceptions, retained.

And thus I lay before the gracious reader a work, glowing with the fire
of heaven, as well as with that of hell.

MEINHOLD.

[1] The original manuscript does indeed contain several accounts which
at first sight may have led to this mistake; besides, the handwriting
is extremely difficult to read, and in several places the paper is
discoloured and decayed.

[2] It is my intention to publish this trial also, as it possesses very
great psychological interest.

[3] Horst, _Zauberbibliothek_, vi. p. 231.

[4] _Vom Alten Pommerlande_ (of old Pomerania), book v.




INTRODUCTION


The origin of our biographer cannot be traced with any degree of
certainty, owing to the loss of the first part of his manuscript. It is,
however, pretty clear that he was not a Pomeranian, as he says he was in
Silesia in his youth, and mentions relations scattered far and wide, not
only at Hamburg and Cologne, but even at Antwerp; above all, his south
German language betrays a foreign origin, and he makes use of words which
are, I believe, peculiar to Swabia. He must, however, have been living for
a long time in Pomerania at the time he wrote, as he even more frequently
uses Low-German expressions, such as occur in contemporary native
Pomeranian writers.

Since he sprang from an ancient noble family, as he says on several
occasions, it is possible that some particulars relating to the
Schweidlers might be discovered in the family records of the seventeenth
century which would give a clew to his native country; but I have sought
for that name in all the sources of information accessible to me, in vain,
and am led to suspect that our author, like many of his contemporaries,
laid aside his nobility and changed his name when he took holy orders.

I will not, however, venture on any further conjectures; the manuscript,
of which six chapters are missing, begins with the words "Imperialists
plundered," and evidently the previous pages must have contained an
account of the breaking out of the Thirty Years' War in the island of
Usedom. It goes on as follows:--

"Coffers, chests, and closets were all plundered and broken to pieces,
and my surplice also was torn, so that I remained in great distress and
tribulation. But my poor little daughter they did not find, seeing that
I had hidden her in the stable, which was dark, without which I doubt
not they would have made my heart heavy indeed. The lewd dogs would even
have been rude to my old maid Ilse, a woman hard upon fifty, if an old
cornet had not forbidden them. Wherefore I gave thanks to my Maker when
the wild guests were gone, that I had first saved my child from their
clutches, although not one dust of flour, nor one grain of corn, one
morsel of meat even of a finger's length was left, and I knew not how I
should any longer support my own life, and my poor child's. _Item_, I
thanked God that I had likewise secured the _vasa sacra_, which I had
forthwith buried in the church in front of the altar, in presence of the
two churchwardens, Hinrich Seden and Claus Bulken, of Uekeritze,
commending them to the care of God. And now because, as I have already
said, I was suffering the pangs of hunger, I wrote to his lordship the
Sheriff Wittich V. Appelmann, at Pudgla, that for the love of God and
his holy Gospel he should send me that which his highness' grace
Philippus Julius had allowed me as _praestanda_ from the convent at
Pudgla, to wit, thirty bushels of barley and twenty-five marks of
silver, which, howbeit his lordship had always withheld from me hitherto
(for he was a very hard inhuman man, as he despised the holy Gospel and
the preaching of the Word, and openly, without shame, reviled the
servants of God, saying that they were useless feeders, and that Luther
had but half cleansed the pigstye of the Church--God mend it!). But he
answered me nothing, and I should have perished for want if Hinrich
Seden had not begged for me in the parish. May God reward the honest
fellow for it in eternity! Moreover, he was then growing old, and was
sorely plagued by his wicked wife Lizzie Kolken. Methought when I
married them that it would not turn out over well, seeing that she was
in common report of having long lived in unchastity with Wittich
Appelmann, who had ever been an arch-rogue, and especially an arrant
whoremaster, and such the Lord never blesses. This same Seden now
brought me five loaves, two sausages, and a goose, which old goodwife
Paal, at Loddin, had given him; also a flitch of bacon from the farmer
Jack Tewert. But he said I must shield him from his wife, who would have
had half for herself, and when he denied her she cursed him, and wished
him gout in his head, whereupon he straightway felt a pain in his right
cheek, and it was quite hard and heavy already. At such shocking news I
was affrighted, as became a good pastor, and asked whether peradventure
he believed that she stood in evil communication with Satan, and could
bewitch folks? But he said nothing, and shrugged his shoulders. So I
sent for old Lizzie to come to me, who was a tall, meagre woman of about
sixty, with squinting eyes, so that she could not look any one in the
face; likewise with quite red hair, and indeed her goodman had the same.
But though I diligently admonished her out of God's Word, she made no
answer until at last I said, 'Wilt thou unbewitch thy goodman (for I
saw from the window how that he was raving in the street like a madman),
or wilt thou that I should inform the magistrate of thy deeds?' Then,
indeed, she gave in, and promised that he should soon be better (and so
he was); moreover she begged that I would give her some bread and some
bacon, inasmuch as it was three days since she had a bit of anything to
put between her lips, saving always her tongue. So my daughter gave her
half a loaf, and a piece of bacon about two handsbreadths large; but she
did not think it enough, and muttered between her teeth; whereupon my
daughter said, 'If thou art not content, thou old witch, go thy ways and
help thy goodman; see how he has laid his head on Zabel's fence, and
stamps with his feet for pain.' Whereupon she went away, but still kept
muttering between her teeth, 'Yea, forsooth, I will help him and thee
too.'"




_The Seventh Chapter_


HOW THE IMPERIALISTS ROBBED ME OF ALL THAT WAS LEFT, AND LIKEWISE BROKE
INTO THE CHURCH AND STOLE THE _VASA SACRA_; ALSO WHAT MORE BEFELL US

After a few days, when we had eaten almost all our food, my last cow fell
down dead (the wolves had already devoured the others, as mentioned
above), not without a strong suspicion that Lizzie had a hand in it,
seeing that the poor beast had eaten heartily the day before; but I leave
that to a higher judge, seeing that I would not willingly calumniate any
one; and it may have been the will of God, whose wrath I have well
deserved. _Summa_, I was once more in great need, and my daughter Mary
pierced my heart with her sighs, when the cry was raised that another
troop of Imperialists was come to Uekeritze, and was marauding there more
cruelly than ever, and, moreover, had burnt half the village. Wherefore I
no longer thought myself safe in my cottage; and after I had commended
everything to the Lord in a fervent prayer, I went up with my daughter and
old Ilse into the Streckelberg, where I already had looked out for
ourselves a hole like a cavern, well grown over with brambles, against the
time when the troubles should drive us thither. We therefore took with us
all we had left to us for the support of our bodies, and fled into the
woods, sighing and weeping, whither we soon were followed by the old men,
and the women and children; these raised a great cry of hunger when they
saw my daughter sitting on a log and eating a bit of bread and meat, and
the little things came with their tiny hands stretched out and cried "Have
some too, have some too." Therefore, being justly moved by such great
distress, I hindered not my daughter from sharing all the bread and meat
that remained among the hungry children. But first I made them pray--"The
eyes of all wait upon thee"; upon which words I then spake comfortably to
the people, telling them that the Lord, who had now fed their little
children, would find means to fill their own bellies, and that they must
not be weary of trusting in him.

This comfort did not, however, last long; for after we had rested within
and around the cavern for about two hours, the bells in the village began
to ring so dolefully that it went nigh to break all our hearts, the more
as loud firing was heard between-whiles; _item_, the cries of men and the
barking of dogs resounded, so that we could easily guess that the enemy
was in the village. I had enough to do to keep the women quiet, that they
might not by their senseless lamentations betray our hiding-place to the
cruel enemy; and more still when it began to smell smoky, and presently
the bright flames gleamed through the trees. I therefore sent old Paasch
up to the top of the hill, that he might look around and see how matters
stood, but told him to take good care that they did not see him from the
village, seeing that the twilight had but just begun.

This he promised, and soon returned with the news that about twenty
horsemen had galloped out of the village towards the Damerow, but that
half the village was in flames. _Item_, he told us that by a wonderful
dispensation of God a great number of birds had appeared in the
juniper-bushes and elsewhere, and that if we could catch them they would be
excellent food for us. I therefore climbed up the hill myself, and having
found everything as he had said, and also perceived that the fire had, by
the help of God's mercy, abated in the village; _item_, that my cottage
was left standing, far beyond my merits and deserts; I came down again and
comforted the people, saying, "The Lord hath given us a sign, and he will
feed us, as he fed the people of Israel in the wilderness; for he has sent
us a fine flight of fieldfares across the barren sea, so that they whirr
out of every bush as ye come near it. Who will now run down into the
village, and cut off the mane and tail of my dead cow which lies out behind
on the common?" (for there was no horsehair in all the village, seeing that
the enemy had long since carried off or stabbed all the horses). But no one
would go, for fear was stronger even than hunger, till my old Ilse spoke,
and said, "I will go, for I fear nothing, when I walk in the ways of God;
only give me a good stick." When old Paasch had lent her his staff, she
began to sing, "God the Father be with us," and was soon out of sight among
the bushes. Meanwhile I exhorted the people to set to work directly, and to
cut little wands for springes, and to gather berries while the moon still
shone; there were a great quantity of mountain-ash and elder-bushes all
about the mountain. I myself and my daughter Mary stayed to guard the
little children, because it was not safe there from wolves. We therefore
made a blazing fire, sat ourselves around it, and heard the little folks
say the Ten Commandments, when there was a rustling and crackling behind
us, and my daughter jumped up and ran into the cavern, crying, "_Proh dolor
hostis_!" But it was only some of the able-bodied men who had stayed behind
in the village, and who now came to bring us word how things stood there. I
therefore called to her directly, "_Emergas amici_" whereupon she came
skipping joyously out, and sat down again by the fire, and forthwith my
warden Hinrich Seden related all that had happened, and how his life had
only been saved by means of his wife Lizzie Kolken; but that Jurgen Flatow,
Chim Burse, Claus Peer, and Chim Seideritz were killed, and the last named
of them left lying on the church steps. The wicked incendiaries had burned
down twelve sheds, and it was not their fault that the whole village was
not destroyed, but only in consequence of the wind not being in the quarter
that suited their purpose. Meanwhile they tolled the bells in mockery and
scorn, to see whether any one would come and quench the fire; and that when
he and the three other young fellows came forward they fired off their
muskets at them, but, by God's help, none of them were hit. Hereupon his
three comrades jumped over the paling and escaped; but him they caught, and
had already taken aim at him with their firelocks, when his wife Lizzie
Kolken came out of the church with another troop and beckoned to them to
leave him in peace. But they stabbed Lene Hebers as she lay in childbed,
speared the child, and flung it over Claus Peer's hedge among the nettles,
where it was yet lying when they came away. There was not a living soul
left in the village, and still less a morsel of bread, so that unless the
Lord took pity on their need they must all die miserably of hunger.

(Now who is to believe that such people can call themselves Christians!)

I next inquired, when he had done speaking (but with many sighs, as any
one may guess), after my cottage; but of that they knew nought save that
it was still standing. I thanked the Lord therefore with a quiet sigh;
and having asked old Seden what his wife had been doing in the church, I
thought I should have died for grief when I heard that the villains came
out of it with both the chalices and patens in their hands. I therefore
spoke very sharply to old Lizzie, who now came slinking through the
bushes; but she answered insolently that the strange soldiers had forced
her to open the church, as her goodman had crept behind the hedge, and
nobody else was there; that they had gone straight up to the altar, and
seeing that one of the stones was not well fitted (which, truly, was an
arch-lie), had begun to dig with their swords till they found the chalices
and patens; or somebody else might have betrayed the spot to them, so I
need not always to lay the blame on her, and rate her so hardly.

Meanwhile the old men and the women came with a good store of berries;
_item_, my old maid, with the cow's tail and mane, who brought word that
the whole house was turned upside down, the windows all broken, and the
books and writings trampled in the dirt in the midst of the street, and
the doors torn off their hinges. This, however, was a less sorrow to me
than the chalices; and I only bade the people make springes and snares,
in order next morning to begin our fowling, with the help of Almighty God.
I therefore scraped the rods myself until near midnight; and when we had
made ready a good quantity, I told old Seden to repeat the evening
blessing, which we all heard on our knees; after which I wound up with
a prayer, and then admonished the people to creep in under the bushes
to keep them from the cold (seeing that it was now about the end of
September, and the wind blew very fresh from the sea), the men apart, and
the women also apart by themselves. I myself went up with my daughter and
my maid into the cavern, where I had not slept long before I heard old
Seden moaning bitterly because, as he said, he was seized with the colic.
I therefore got up and gave him my place, and sat down again by the fire
to cut springes, till I fell asleep for half an hour; and then morning
broke, and by that time he had got better, and I woke the people to
morning prayer. This time old Paasch had to say it, but could not get
through with it properly, so that I had to help him. Whether he had forgot
it, or whether he was frightened, I cannot say. _Summa_. After we had all
prayed most devoutly, we presently set to work, wedging the springes into
the trees, and hanging berries all around them; while my daughter took
care of the children, and looked for blackberries for their breakfast. Now
we wedged the snares right across the wood along the road to Uekeritze;
and mark what a wondrous act of mercy befell from gracious God! As I
stepped into the road with the hatchet in my hand (it was Seden his
hatchet, which he had fetched out of the village early in the morning), I
caught sight of a loaf as long as my arm, which a raven was pecking, and
which doubtless one of the Imperial troopers had dropped out of his
knapsack the day before, for there were fresh hoofmarks in the sand by it.
So I secretly buttoned the breast of my coat over it, so that none should
perceive anything, although the aforesaid Paasch was close behind me;
_item_, all the rest followed at no great distance. Now, having set the
springes so very early, towards noon we found such a great number of birds
taken in them that Katy Berow, who went beside me while I took them out,
scarce could hold them all in her apron; and at the other end old Pagels
pulled nearly as many out of his doublet and coat pockets. My daughter
then sat down with the rest of the womankind to pluck the birds; and
as there was no salt (indeed it was long since most of us had tasted
any), she desired two men to go down to the sea, and to fetch a little
salt-water in an iron pot borrowed from Staffer Zuter; and so they did. In
this water we first dipped the birds, and then roasted them at a large
fire, while our mouths watered only at the sweet savour of them, seeing it
was so long since we had tasted any food.

And now when all was ready, and the people seated on the earth, I said,
"Behold how the Lord still feeds his people Israel in the wilderness with
fresh quails: if now he did yet more, and sent us a piece of manna bread
from heaven, what think ye? Would ye then ever weary of believing in him,
and not rather willingly endure all want, tribulation, hunger and thirst,
which he may hereafter lay upon you according to his gracious will?"
Whereupon they all answered and said, "Yea, surely!" _Ego_: "Will you then
promise me this in truth?" And they said again, "Yea, that will we!" Then
with tears I drew forth the loaf from my breast, held it on high, and
cried, "Behold, then, thou poor believing little flock, how sweet a manna
loaf your faithful Redeemer hath sent ye through me!" Whereupon they all
wept, sobbed and groaned; and the little children again came running up
and held out their hands, crying, "See, bread, bread!" But as I myself
could not pray for heaviness of soul, I bade Paasch his little girl say
the _Gratias_ the while my Mary cut up the loaf and gave to each his
share. And now we all joyfully began to eat our meat from God in the
wilderness.

Meanwhile I had to tell in what manner I had found the blessed manna
bread, wherein I neglected not again to exhort them to lay to heart this
great sign and wonder, how that God in his mercy had done to them as of
old to the prophet Elijah, to whom a raven brought bread in his great need
in the wilderness; as likewise this bread had been given to me by means of
a raven, which showed it to me, when otherwise I might have passed it by
in my heaviness without ever seeing it.

When we were satisfied with food, I said the thanksgiving from Luke xii.
24, where the Lord saith, "Consider the ravens: for they neither sow nor
reap; which neither have storehouse nor barn; and God feedeth them:
how much more are ye better than the fowls?" But our sins stank before
the Lord. For old Lizzie, as I afterwards heard, would not eat her
birds because she thought them unsavoury, but threw them among the
juniper-bushes; whereupon the wrath of the Lord was kindled against us as
of old against the people of Israel, and at night we found but seven birds
in the snares, and next morning but two. Neither did any raven come again
to give us bread. Wherefore I rebuked old Lizzie, and admonished the
people to take upon themselves willingly the righteous chastisement of the
Most High God, to pray without ceasing, to return to their desolate
dwellings, and to see whether the all-merciful God would peradventure give
them more on the sea. That I also would call upon him with prayer night
and day, remaining for a time in the cavern with my daughter and the maid
to watch the springes, and see whether his wrath might be turned from us.
That they should meanwhile put my manse to rights to the best of their
power, seeing that the cold was become very irksome to me. This they
promised me, and departed with many sighs. What a little flock! I counted
but twenty-five souls where there used to be above eighty: all the rest
had been slain by hunger, pestilence, or the sword. I then abode a while
alone and sorrowing in the cave, praying to God, and sent my daughter with
the maid into the village to see how things stood at the manse; _item_, to
gather together the books and papers, and also to bring me word whether
Hinze the carpenter, whom I had straightway sent back to the village, had
knocked together some coffins for the poor corpses, so that I might bury
them next day. I then went to look at the springes, but found only one
single little bird, whereby I saw that the wrath of God had not yet passed
away. Howbeit, I found a fine blackberry bush, from which I gathered
nearly a pint of berries, and put them, together with the bird, in Staffer
Zuter his pot, which the honest fellow had left with us for a while, and
set them on the fire for supper against my child and the maid should
return. It was not long before they came through the coppice and told me
of the fearful devastation which Satan had made in the village and manse
by the permission of all-righteous God. My child had gathered together a
few books, which she brought with her, above all, a _Virgilius_ and a
Greek Bible. And after she had told me that the carpenter would not have
done till next day, and we had satisfied the cravings of hunger, I made
her read to me again, for the greater strengthening of my faith, the
_locus_ about the blessed raven from the Greek of Luke, at the twelfth
chapter; also, the beautiful _locus parallelus_, Matt. vi. After which the
maid said the evening blessing, and we all went into the cave to rest for
the night. When I awoke next morning, just as the blessed sun rose out the
sea and peeped over the mountain, I heard my poor hungry child already
standing outside the cave reciting the beautiful verses about the joys of
paradise which St. Augustine wrote and I had taught her. She sobbed for
grief as she spoke the words:--

  Uno pane vivunt cives utriusque patriae;
  Avidi et semper pleni, quod habent desiderant.
  Non sacietas fastidit, neque fames cruciat;
  Inhiantes semper edunt, et edentes inhiant.
  Flos perpetuus rosarum ver agit perpetuum;
  Candent lilia, rubescit crocus, sudat balsamum,
  Virent prata, vernant sata, rivi mellis influunt;
  Pigmentorum spirat odor liquor et aromatum,
  Pendent poma floridorum non lapsura nemorum.
  Non alternat luna vices, sol vel cursus syderum.
  Agnus est faelicis urbis lumen inocciduum.

At these words my own heart was melted; and when she ceased from speaking,
I asked, "What art thou doing, my child?" Whereupon she answered, "Father,
I am eating." Thereat my tears now indeed began to flow, and I praised her
for feeding her soul, as she had no meat for her body. I had not, however,
spoken long, before she cried to me to come and look at the great wonder
that had risen out of the sea, and already appeared over the cave. For
behold a cloud, in shape just like a cross, came over us, and let great
heavy drops, as big or bigger than large peas, fall on our heads, after
which it sank behind the coppice. I presently arose and ran up the
mountain with my daughter to look after it. It floated on towards the
Achterwater, where it spread itself out into a long blue streak, whereon
the sun shone so brightly that it seemed like a golden bridge on which, as
my child said, the blessed angels danced. I fell on my knees with her and
thanked the Lord that our cross had passed away from us; but, alas! our
cross was yet to come, as will be told hereafter.




_The Eighth Chapter_


HOW OUR NEED WAXED SORER AND SORER, AND HOW I SENT OLD ILSE WITH ANOTHER
LETTER TO PUDGLA, AND HOW HEAVY A MISFORTUNE THIS BROUGHT UPON ME

Next day, when I had buried the poor corpses amid the lamentations of the
whole village (by the same token that they were all buried under where the
lime-tree overhangs the wall), I heard with many sighs that neither the
sea nor the Achterwater would yield anything. It was now ten days since
the poor people had caught a single fish. I therefore went out into the
field, musing how the wrath of the just God might be turned from us,
seeing that the cruel winter was now at hand, and neither corn, apples,
fish nor flesh to be found in the village, nor even throughout all the
parish. There was indeed plenty of game in the forests of Coserow and
Uekeritze; but the old forest ranger, Zabel Nehring, had died last year of
the plague, and there was no new one in his place. Nor was there a musket
nor a grain of powder to be found in all the parish; the enemy had robbed
and broken everything: we were therefore forced, day after day, to see
how the stags and the roes, the hares and the wild boars, _et cet_., ran
past us, when we would so gladly have had them in our bellies, but had no
means of getting at them: for they were too cunning to let themselves be
caught in pit-falls. Nevertheless, Claus Peer succeeded in trapping a roe,
and gave me a piece of it, for which may God reward him. _Item_, of
domestic cattle there was not a head left; neither was there a dog, nor
a cat, which the people had not either eaten in their extreme hunger,
or knocked on the head or drowned long since. Albeit old farmer Paasch
still owned two cows; _item_, an old man in Uekeritze was said to have
one little pig:--this was all. Thus, then, nearly all the people lived on
blackberries and other wild fruits: the which also soon grew to be scarce,
as may easily be guessed. Besides all this, a boy of fourteen was missing
(old Labahn his son) and was never more heard of, so that I shrewdly think
that the wolves devoured him.

And now let any Christian judge by his own heart in what sorrow and
heaviness I took my staff in my hand, seeing that my child fell away like
a shadow from pinching hunger; although I myself, being old, did not, by
the help of God's mercy, find any great failing in my strength. While I
thus went continually weeping before the Lord, on the way to Uekeritze, I
fell in with an old beggar with his wallet, sitting on a stone, and eating
a piece of God's rare gift, to wit, a bit of bread. Then truly did my poor
mouth so fill with water that I was forced to bow my head and let it run
upon the earth before I could ask, "Who art thou? and whence comest thou?
seeing that thou hast bread." Whereupon he answered that he was a poor man
of Bannemin, from whom the enemy had taken all; and as he had heard that
the Lieper Winkel had long been in peace, he had travelled thither to beg.
I straightway answered him, "Oh, poor beggar-man, spare to me, a sorrowful
servant of Christ, who is poorer even than thyself, one little slice of
bread for his wretched child; for thou must know that I am the pastor of
this village, and that my daughter is dying of hunger. I beseech thee by
the living God not to let me depart without taking pity on me, as pity
also hath been shown to thee!" But the beggar-man would give me none,
saying that he himself had a wife and four children, who were likewise
staggering towards death's door under the bitter pangs of hunger; that the
famine was sorer far in Bannemin than here, where we still had berries;
whether I had not heard that but a few days ago a woman (he told me her
name, but horror made me forget it) had there killed her own child, and
devoured it from hunger? That he could not therefore help me, and I might
go to the Lieper Winkel myself.

I was horror-stricken at his tale, as is easy to guess, for we in our own
trouble had not yet heard of it, there being little or no traffic between
one village and another; and thinking on Jerusalem, and sheer despairing
because the Lord had visited us, as of old that ungodly city, although we
had not betrayed or crucified him, I almost forgot all my necessities, and
took my staff in my hand to depart. But I had not gone more than a few
yards when the beggar called me to stop, and when I turned myself round he
came towards me with a good hunch of bread which he had taken out of his
wallet, and said, "There! but pray for me also, so that I may reach my
home; for if on the road they smell that I have bread, my own brother
would strike me dead, I believe." This I promised with joy, and instantly
turned back to take to my child the gift hidden in my pocket. And behold,
when I came to the road which leads to Loddin, I could scarce trust my
eyes (before I had overlooked it in my distress) when I saw my glebe,
which could produce seven bushels, ploughed, sown, and in stalk; the
blessed crop of rye had already shot lustily out of the earth a finger's
length in height. I could not choose but think that the Evil One had
deceived me with a false show, yet, however hard I rubbed my eyes, rye it
was and rye it remained. And seeing that old Paasch his piece of land
which joined mine was in like manner sown, and that the blades had shot up
to the same height, I soon guessed that the good fellow had done this
deed, seeing that all the other land lay waste. Wherefore, I readily
forgave him for not knowing the morning prayer; and thanking the Lord for
so much love from my flock, and earnestly beseeching him to grant me
strength and faith to bear with them steadfastly and patiently all the
troubles and adversities which it might please him henceforward to lay
upon us, according to his divine pleasure, I ran rather than walked back
into the village to old Paasch his farm, where I found him just about to
kill his cow, which he was slaughtering from grim hunger. "God bless
thee," said I, "worthy friend, for sowing my field; how shall I reward
thee?" But the old man answered, "Let that be, and do you pray for us";
and when I gladly promised this and asked him how he had kept his corn
safe from the savage enemy, he told me that he had hidden it secretly in
the caves of the Streckelberg, but that now all his store was used up.
Meanwhile he cut a fine large piece of meat from the top of the loin, and
said, "There is something for you, and when that is gone you can come
again for more." As I was then about to go with many thanks, his little
Mary, a child nearly seven years old, the same who had said the _Gratias_
on the Streckelberg, seized me by the hand and wanted to go to school to
my daughter; for since my _Custos_, as above mentioned, departed this life
in the plague, she had to teach the few little ones there were in the
village; this, however, had long been abandoned. I could not, therefore,
deny her, although I feared that my child would share her bread with her,
seeing that she dearly loved the little maid, who was her godchild; and so
indeed it happened; for when the child saw me take out the bread, she
shrieked for joy, and began to scramble up on the bench. Thus she also got
a piece of the slice, our maid got another, and my child put the third
piece into her own mouth, as I wished for none, but said that I felt no
signs of hunger and would wait until the meat was boiled, the which I now
threw upon the bench. It was a goodly sight to see the joy which my poor
child felt when I then also told her about the rye. She fell upon my neck,
wept, sobbed, then took the little one up in her arms, danced about the
room with her, and recited as she was wont, all manner of Latin _versus_,
which she knew by heart. Then she would prepare a right good supper for
us, as a little salt was still left in the bottom of a barrel of meat
which the Imperialists had broken up. I let her take her own way, and
having scraped some soot from the chimney and mixed it with water, I tore
a blank leaf out of _Virgilius_, and wrote to the _Pastor Liepensis_, his
reverence Abraham Tiburtius, praying that for God his sake he would take
our necessities to heart, and would exhort his parishioners to save us
from dying of grim hunger, and charitably to spare to us some meat and
drink, according as the all-merciful God had still left some to them,
seeing that a beggar had told me that they had long been in peace from
the terrible enemy. I knew not, however, wherewithal to seal the letter,
until I found in the church a little wax still sticking to a wooden
altar-candlestick, which the Imperialists had not thought it worth their
while to steal, for they had only taken the brass ones. I sent three
fellows in a boat with Hinrich Seden, the churchwarden, with this letter
to Liepe.

First, however, I asked my old Ilse, who was born in Liepe, whether she
would not rather return home, seeing how matters stood, and that I, for
the present at least, could not give her a stiver of her wages (mark that
she had already saved up a small sum, seeing that she had lived in my
service above twenty years, but the soldiers had taken it all). Howbeit, I
could nowise persuade her to this, but she wept bitterly, and besought me
only to let her stay with the good damsel whom she had rocked in her
cradle. She would cheerfully hunger with us if it needs must be, so that
she were not turned away. Whereupon I yielded to her, and the others went
alone.

Meanwhile the broth was ready, but scarce had we said the _Gratias_, and
were about to begin our meal, when all the children of the village, seven
in number, came to the door, and wanted bread, as they had heard we had
some from my daughter her little godchild. Her heart again melted, and
notwithstanding I besought her to harden herself against them, she
comforted me with the message to Liepe, and poured out for each child a
portion of broth on a wooden platter (for these also had been despised by
the enemy), and put into their little hands a bit of meat, so that all our
store was eaten up at once. We were, therefore, left fasting next morning,
till towards mid-day, when the whole village gathered together in a meadow
on the banks of the river to see the boat return. But, God be merciful to
us, we had cherished vain hopes! six loaves and a sheep, _item_, a quarter
of apples, was all they had brought. His reverence Abraham Tiburtius wrote
to me that after the cry of their wealth had spread throughout the island,
so many beggars had flocked thither that it was impossible to be just to
all, seeing that they themselves did not know how it might fare with them
in these heavy troublous times. Meanwhile he would see whether he could
raise any more. I therefore with many sighs had the small pittance carried
to the manse, and though two loaves were, as _Pastor Liepensis_ said in
his letter, for me alone, I gave them up to be shared among all alike,
whereat all were content save Seden his squint-eyed wife, who would have
had somewhat _extra_ on the score of her husband's journey, which,
however, as may be easily guessed, she did not get; wherefore she again
muttered certain words between her teeth as she went away, which, however,
no one understood. Truly she was an ill woman, and not to be moved by the
word of God.

Any one may judge for himself that such a store could not last long; and
as all my parishioners felt an ardent longing after spiritual food, and
as I and the churchwardens could only get together about sixteen
farthings in the whole parish, which was not enough to buy bread and
wine, the thought struck me once more to inform my lord the Sheriff of
our need. With how heavy a heart I did this may be easily guessed, but
necessity knows no law. I therefore tore the last blank leaf out of
_Virgilius_, and begged that, for the sake of the Holy Trinity, his
lordship would mercifully consider mine own distress and that of the
whole parish, and bestow a little money to enable me to administer the
holy sacrament for the comfort of afflicted souls; also, if possible,
to buy a cup, were it only of tin, since the enemy had plundered us of
ours, and I should otherwise be forced to consecrate the sacred elements
in an earthen vessel. _Item_, I besought him to have pity on our bodily
wants, and at last to send me the first-fruits which had stood over for
so many years. That I did not want it for myself alone, but would
willingly share it with my parishioners, until such time as God in his
mercy should give us more.

Here a huge blot fell upon my paper; for the windows being boarded up, the
room was dark, and but little light came through two small panes of glass
which I had broken out of the church, and stuck in between the boards;
this, perhaps, was the reason why I did not see better. However, as I
could not anywhere get another piece of paper, I let it pass, and ordered
the maid, whom I sent with the letter to Pudgla, to excuse the same to his
lordship the Sheriff, the which she promised to do, seeing that I could
not add a word more on the paper, as it was written all over. I then
sealed it as I had done before.

But the poor creature came back trembling for fear and bitterly weeping,
and said that his lordship had kicked her out of the castle-gate, and had
threatened to set her in the stocks if she ever came before him again.
"Did the parson think that he was as free with his money as I seemed to be
with my ink? I surely had water enough to celebrate the Lord's supper
wherewithal. For if the Son of God had once changed the water into wine,
he could surely do the like again. If I had no cup, I might water my flock
out of a bucket, as he did himself"; with many more blasphemies, such as
he afterwards wrote to me, and by which, as may easily be guessed, I was
filled with horror. Touching the first-fruits, as she told me he said
nothing at all. In such great spiritual and bodily need the blessed Sunday
came round, when nearly all the congregation would have come to the Lord's
table, but could not. I therefore spoke on the words of St. Augustine,
_crede et manducasti_, and represented that the blame was not mine, and
truly told what had happened to my poor maid at Pudgla, passing over much
in silence, and only praying God to awaken the hearts of magistrates for
our good. Peradventure I may have spoken more harshly than I meant. I know
not, only that I spoke that which was in my heart. At the end I made all
the congregation stay on their knees for nearly an hour, and call upon the
Lord for his holy sacrament; _item_, for the relief of their bodily wants,
as had been done every Sunday, and at all the daily prayers I had been
used to read ever since the heavy time of the plague. Last of all I led
the glorious hymn, "When in greatest need we be," which was no sooner
finished than my new churchwarden, Claus Bulk of Uekeritze, who had
formerly been a groom with his lordship, and whom he had now put into a
farm, ran off to Pudgla, and told him all that had taken place in the
church. Whereat his lordship was greatly angered, insomuch that he
summoned the whole parish, which still numbered about 150 souls, without
counting the children, and dictated _ad protocollum_ whatsoever they could
remember of the sermon, seeing that he meant to inform his princely grace
the Duke of Pomerania of the blasphemous lies which I had vomited against
him, and which must sorely offend every Christian heart. _Item_, what an
avaricious wretch I must be to be always wanting something of him, and to
be daily, so to say, pestering him in these hard times with my filthy
letters, when he had not enough to eat himself. This he said should break
the parson his neck, since his princely grace did all that he asked of
him, and that no one in the parish need give me anything more, but only
let me go my ways. He would soon take care that they should have quite a
different sort of parson from what I was.

(Now I would like to see the man who could make up his mind to come into
the midst of such wretchedness at all.)

This news was brought to me in the selfsame night, and gave me a great
fright, as I now saw that I should not have a gracious master in his
lordship, but should all the time of my miserable life, even if I could
anyhow support it, find in him an ungracious lord. But I soon felt some
comfort, when Chim Krueger from Uekeritze, who brought me the news, took a
little bit of his sucking-pig out of his pocket and gave it to me.
Meanwhile old Paasch came in and said the same, and likewise brought me a
piece of his old cow; _item_, my other warden, Hinrich Seden, with a slice
of bread, and a fish which he had taken in his net, all saying they wished
for no better priest than me, and that I was only to pray to the merciful
Lord to bestow more upon them, whereupon I should want for nothing.
Meanwhile I must be quiet and not betray them. All this I promised, and my
daughter Mary took the blessed gifts of God off the table and carried them
into the inner chamber. But, alas! next morning, when she would have put
the meat into the caldron, it was all gone. I know not who prepared this
new sorrow for me, but much believe it was Hinrich Seden his wicked wife,
seeing he can never hold his tongue, and most likely told her everything.
Moreover, Paasch his little daughter saw that she had meat in her pot next
day; _item_, that she had quarrelled with her husband, and had flung the
fish-board at him, whereon some fresh fish-scales were sticking: she had,
however, presently recollected herself when she saw the child. (Shame on
thee, thou old witch, it is true enough, I dare say!) Hereupon nought was
left us but to feed our poor souls with the word of God. But even our
souls were so cast down that they could receive nought, any more than our
bellies; my poor child, especially, from day to day grew paler, greyer,
and yellower, and always threw up all her food, seeing she ate it without
salt or bread. I had long wondered that the bread from Liepe was not yet
done, but that every day at dinner I still had a morsel. I had often
asked, "Whence comes all this blessed bread? I believe, after all, you
save the whole for me, and take none for yourself or the maid." But they
both then lifted to their mouths a piece of fir-tree bark, which they had
cut to look like bread, and laid by their plates; and as the room was
dark, I did not find out their deceit, but thought that they, too, were
eating bread. But at last the maid told me of it, so that I should allow
it no longer, as my daughter would not listen to her. It is not hard to
guess how my heart was wrung when I saw my poor child lying on her bed of
moss struggling with grim hunger. But things were to go yet harder with
me, for the Lord in his anger would break me in pieces like a potter's
vessel. For behold, on the evening of the same day, old Paasch came
running to me, complaining that all his and my corn in the field had been
pulled up and miserably destroyed, and that it must have been done by
Satan himself, as there was not a trace either of oxen or horses. At these
words my poor child screamed aloud and fainted. I would have run to help
her, but could not reach her bed, and fell on the ground myself for bitter
grief. The loud cries of the maid and old Paasch soon brought us both to
our senses. But I could not rise from the ground alone, for the Lord had
bruised all my bones. I besought them, therefore, when they would have
helped me, to leave me where I was; and when they would not, I cried out
that I must again fall on the ground to pray, and begged them all save my
daughter to depart out of the room. This they did, but the prayer would
not come. I fell into heavy doubting and despair, and murmured against the
Lord that he plagued me more sorely than Lazarus or Job. Wretch that I
was, I cried, "Thou didst leave to Lazarus at least the crumbs and the
pitiful dogs, but to me thou hast left nothing, and I myself am less in
thy sight even than a dog; and Job thou didst not afflict until thou hadst
mercifully taken away his children, but to me thou hast left my poor
little daughter, that her torments may increase mine own a thousandfold.
Behold, then, I can only pray that thou wilt take her from the earth, so
that my grey head may gladly follow her to the grave! Woe is me, ruthless
father, what have I done? I have eaten bread, and suffered my child to
hunger! Oh, Lord Jesu, who hast said, 'What man is there of you, whom if
his son ask bread will he give him a stone?' Behold I am that man!--behold
I am that ruthless father! I have eaten bread and have given wood to my
child! Punish me; I will bear it and lie still. Oh, righteous Jesu, I have
eaten bread, and have given wood to my child!" As I did not speak, but
rather shrieked these words, wringing my hands the while, my child fell
upon my neck, sobbing, and chid me for murmuring against the Lord, seeing
that even she, a weak and frail woman, had never doubted his mercy, so
that with shame and repentance I presently came to myself, and humbled
myself before the Lord for such heavy sin.

Meanwhile the maid had run into the village with loud cries to see if she
could get anything for her poor young mistress, but the people had already
eaten their noontide meal, and most of them were gone to sea to seek their
blessed supper; thus she could find nothing, seeing that old wife Seden,
who alone had any victuals, would give her none, although she prayed her
by Jesu's wounds.

She was telling us this when we heard a noise in the chamber, and
presently Lizzie her worthy old husband, who had got in at the window by
stealth, brought us a pot of good broth, which he had taken off the fire
whilst his wife was gone for a moment into the garden. He well knew that
his wife would make him pay for it, but that he did not mind, so the young
mistress would but drink it, and she would find it salted and all. He
would make haste out of the window again, and see that he got home before
his wife, that she might not find out where he had been. But my daughter
would not touch the broth, which sorely vexed him, so that he set it down
on the ground cursing, and ran out of the room. It was not long before his
squint-eyed wife came in at the front door, and when she saw the pot still
steaming on the ground, she cried out, "Thou thief, thou cursed thieving
carcass!" and would have flown at the face of my maid. But I threatened
her, and told her all that had happened, and that if she would not believe
me she might go into the chamber and look out of the window, whence she
might still, belike, see her good man running home. This she did, and
presently we heard her calling after him, "Wait, and the devil shall tear
off thine arms; only wait till thou art home again!" After this she came
back, and, muttering something, took the pot off the ground. I begged her,
for the love of God, to spare a little to my child; but she mocked at me
and said, "You can preach to her, as you did to me," and walked towards
the door with the pot. My child indeed besought me to let her go, but I
could not help calling after her, "For the love of God, one good sup, or
my poor child must give up the ghost: wilt thou that at the day of
judgment God should have mercy on thee, so show mercy this day to me and
mine!" But she scoffed at us again, and cried out, "Let her cook herself
some bacon," and went out at the door. I then sent the maid after her with
the hour-glass which stood before me on the table, to offer it to her for
a good sup out of the pot; but the maid brought it back, saying that she
would not have it. Alas, how I wept and sobbed, as my poor dying child
with a loud sigh buried her head again in the moss! Yet the merciful God
was more gracious to me than my unbelief had deserved; for when the
hard-hearted woman bestowed a little broth on her neighbour, old Paasch,
he presently brought it to my child, having heard from the maid how it
stood with her; and I believe that this broth, under God, alone saved her
life, for she raised her head as soon as she had supped it, and was able
to go about the house again in an hour. May God reward the good fellow for
it! Thus I had some joy in the midst of my trouble. But while I sat by the
fireside in the evening musing on my fate, my grief again broke forth, and
I made up my mind to leave my house, and even my cure, and to wander
through the wide world with my daughter as a beggar. God knows I had cause
enough for it; for now that all my hopes were dashed, seeing that my field
was quite ruined, and that the Sheriff had become my bitter enemy;
moreover, that it was five years since I had had a wedding, _item_, but
two christenings during the past year, I saw my own and my daughter's
death staring me in the face, and no prospect of better times at hand. Our
want was increased by the great fears of the congregation; for although
by God's wondrous mercy they had already begun to take good draughts of
fish both in the sea and the Achterwater, and many of the people in the
other villages had already gotten bread, salt, oatmeal, etc., from the
Polters and Quatzners, of Anklam and Lassan in exchange for their fish;
nevertheless, they brought me nothing, fearing lest it might be told at
Pudgla, and make his lordship ungracious to them. I therefore beckoned my
daughter to me, and told her what was in my thoughts, saying that God in
his mercy could any day bestow on me another cure if I was found worthy in
his sight of such a favour, seeing that these terrible days of pestilence
and war had called away many of the servants of his word, and that I had
not fled like a hireling from his flock, but on the contrary, till _datum_
shared sorrow and death with it. Whether she were able to walk five or ten
miles a day; for that then we would beg our way to Hamburg, to my departed
wife her step-brother, Martin Behring, who is a great merchant in that
city.

This at first sounded strange to her, seeing that she had very seldom been
out of our parish, and that her departed mother and her little brother lay
in our churchyard. She asked, "Who was to make up their graves and plant
flowers on them? _Item_, as the Lord had given her a smooth face, what I
should do if in these wild and cruel times she were attacked on the
highways by marauding soldiers or other villains, seeing that I was a weak
old man and unable to defend her; _item_, wherewithal should we shield
ourselves from the frost, as the winter was setting in and the enemy had
robbed us of our clothes, so that we had scarce enough left to cover our
nakedness?" All this I had not considered, and was forced to own that she
was right; so after much discussion we determined to leave it this night
to the Lord, and to do whatever he should put into our hearts next
morning. At any rate, we saw that we could in nowise keep the old maid any
longer; I therefore called her out of the kitchen, and told her she had
better go early next morning to Liepe, as there still was food there,
whereas here she must starve, seeing that perhaps we ourselves might leave
the parish and the country to-morrow. I thanked her for the love and faith
she had shown us, and begged her at last, amid the loud sobs of my poor
daughter, to depart forthwith privately, and not to make our hearts still
heavier by leave-taking; that old Paasch was going a-fishing to-night on
the Achterwater, as he had told me, and no doubt would readily set her on
shore at Gruessow, where she had friends, and could eat her fill even
to-day. She could not say a word for weeping, but when she saw that I was
really in earnest she went out of the room. Not long after we heard the
house-door shut to, whereupon my daughter moaned, "She is gone already,"
and ran straight to the window to look after her. "Yes," cried she, as she
saw her through the little panes, "she is really gone"; and she wrung her
hands and would not be comforted. At last, however, she was quieted when I
spoke of the maid Hagar, whom Abraham had likewise cast off, but on whom
the Lord had nevertheless shown mercy in the wilderness; and hereupon we
commended ourselves to the Lord, and stretched ourselves on our couches of
moss.




_The Ninth Chapter_


HOW THE OLD MAID-SERVANT HUMBLED ME BY HER FAITH, AND THE LORD YET BLESSED
ME HIS UNWORTHY SERVANT

"Bless the Lord, O my soul; and all that is within me, bless his holy
name. Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits. Who
forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases; who
redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with loving
kindness and tender mercies" (Psalm ciii.).

Alas! wretched man that I am, how shall I understand all the benefits and
mercies which the Lord bestowed upon me the very next day? I now wept for
joy, as of late I had done for sorrow; and my child danced about the room
like a young roe, and would not go to bed, but only cry and dance, and
between-whiles repeat the 103rd Psalm, then dance and cry again until
morning broke. But as she was still very weak, I rebuked her presumption,
seeing that this was tempting the Lord; and now mark what had happened.

After we had both woke in the morning with deep sighs, and called upon the
Lord to manifest to us in our hearts what we should do, we still could not
make up our minds. I therefore called to my child, if she felt strong
enough, to leave her bed and light a fire in the stove herself, as our
maid was gone; that we would then consider the matter further. She
accordingly got up, but came back in an instant with cries of joy, because
the maid had privately stolen back into the house, and had already made
a fire. Hereupon I sent for her to my bedside, and wondered at her
disobedience, and asked what she now wanted here but to torment me and
my daughter still more, and why she did not go yesterday with old Paasch?
But she lamented and wept so sore that she scarce could speak, and I
understood only thus much--that she had eaten with us, and would likewise
starve with us, for that she could never part from her young mistress,
whom she had known from her cradle. Such faithful love moved me so, that I
said almost with tears, "But hast thou not heard that my daughter and I
have determined to wander as beggars about the country; where, then, wilt
thou remain?" To this she answered that neither would she stay behind,
seeing it was more fitting for her to beg than for us; but that she could
not yet see why I wished to go out into the wide world; whether I had
already forgotten that I had said in my induction sermon that I would
abide with my flock in affliction and in death? That I should stay yet
a little longer where I was, and send her to Liepe, as she hoped to get
something worth having for us there from her friends and others. These
words, especially those about my induction sermon, fell heavy on my
conscience, and I was ashamed of my want of faith, since not my daughter
only, but yet more even my maid, had stronger faith than I, who
nevertheless professed to be a servant of God's word. I believed that the
Lord--to keep me, poor fearful hireling, and at the same time to humble
me--had awakened the spirit of this poor maid-servant to prove me, as the
maid in the palace of the high-priest had also proved the fearful St.
Peter. Wherefore I turned my face towards the wall, like Hezekiah, and
humbled myself before the Lord, which scarce had I done before my child
ran into the room again, with a cry of joy; for behold, some Christian
heart had stolen quietly into the house in the night, and had laid in the
chamber two loaves, a good piece of meat, a bag of oatmeal, _item_, a bag
of salt, holding near a pint. Any one may guess what shouts of joy we all
raised. Neither was I ashamed to confess my sins before my maid; and in
our common morning prayer, which we said on our knees, I made fresh vows
to the Lord of obedience and faith. Thus we had that morning a grand
breakfast, and sent something to old Paasch besides; _item_, my daughter
again sent for all the little children to come, and kindly fed them with
our store before they said their tasks; and when in my heart of little
faith I sighed thereat, although I said nought, she smiled, and said,
"Take therefore no thought for the morrow, for the morrow shall take
thought for the things of itself."

The Holy Ghost spoke by her, as I cannot but believe, nor thou either,
beloved reader: for mark what happened. In the afternoon she (I mean my
child) went up the Streckelberg to seek for blackberries, as old Paasch
had told her, through the maid, that a few bushes were still left. The
maid was chopping wood in the yard, to which end she had borrowed old
Paasch his axe, for the Imperialist thieves had thrown away mine, so that
it could nowhere be found; and I myself was pacing up and down in the
room, meditating my sermon; when my child, with her apron full, came
quickly in at the door, quite red and with beaming eyes, and scarce able
for joy to say more than "Father, father, what have I got?" "Well," quoth
I, "what hast thou got, my child?" Whereupon she opened her apron, and I
scarce trusted my eyes when I saw, instead of the blackberries which she
had gone to seek, two shining pieces of amber, each nearly as big as a
man's head, not to mention the small pieces, some of which were as large
as my hand, and that, God knows, is no small one. "Child of my heart,"
cried I, "how camest thou by this blessing from God?" As soon as she could
fetch her breath, she told me as follows:--

That while she was seeking for blackberries in a dell near the shore she
saw somewhat glistening in the sun, and on coming near she found this
wondrous godsend, seeing that the wind had blown the sand away from off a
black vein of amber. That she straightway had broken off these pieces with
a stick, and that there was plenty more to be got, seeing that it rattled
about under the stick when she thrust it into the sand, neither could she
force it farther than, at most, a foot deep into the ground; _item,_ she
told me that she had covered the place all over again with sand, and swept
it smooth with her apron, so as to leave no traces.

Moreover, that no stranger was at all likely to go thither, seeing that no
blackberries grew very near, and she had gone to the spot, moved by
curiosity and a wish to look upon the sea, rather than from any need; but
that she could easily find the place again herself, inasmuch as she had
marked it with three little stones. What was our first act after the
all-merciful God had rescued us out of such misery, nay, even, as it
seemed, endowed us with great riches, any one may guess. When we at length
got up off our knees, my child would straightway have run to tell the maid
our joyful news. But I forbade her, seeing that we could not be sure that
the maid might not tell it again to her friends, albeit in all other
things she was a faithful woman and feared God; but that if she did that,
the Sheriff would be sure to hear of it, and to seize upon our treasure
for his princely highness the Duke--that is to say, for himself; and that
nought would be left to us but the sight thereof, and our want would begin
all over again; that we therefore would say, when folks asked about the
luck that had befallen us, that my deceased brother, who was a councillor
at Rotterdam, had left us a good lump of money; and, indeed, it was true
that I had inherited near two hundred florins from him a year ago, which,
however, the soldiery (as mentioned above) cruelly robbed me of; _item,_
that I would go to Wolgast myself next day and sell the little bits as
best I might, saying that thou hadst picked them up by the seaside; thou
mayest tell the maid the same, if thou wilt, but show the larger pieces to
no one, and I will send them to thy uncle at Hamburg to be turned into
money for us; perchance I may be able to sell one of them at Wolgast, if I
find occasion, so as to buy clothes enough for the winter for thee and for
me, wherefore thou, too, mayst go with me. We will take the few farthings
which the congregation have brought together to pay the ferry, and thou
canst order the maid to wait for us till eventide at the water-side to
carry home the victuals. She agreed to all this, but said we had better
first break off some more amber, so that we might get a good round sum for
it at Hamburg; and I thought so too, wherefore we stopped at home next
day, seeing that we did not want for food, and that my child, as well as
myself, both wished to refresh ourselves a little before we set out on our
journey; _item_, we likewise bethought us that old Master Rothoog, of
Loddin, who is a cabinetmaker, might knock together a little box for us to
put the amber in, wherefore I sent the maid to him in the afternoon.
Meanwhile we ourselves went up the Streckelberg, where I cut a young
fir-tree with my pocket-knife, which I had saved from the enemy, and
shaped it like a spade, so that I might be better able to dig deep
therewith. First, however, we looked about us well on the mountain, and,
seeing nobody, my daughter walked on to the place, which she straightway
found again. Great God! what a mass of amber was there! The vein was hard
upon twenty feet long, as near as I could feel, and the depth of it I
could not sound. Nevertheless, save four good-sized pieces, none, however,
so big as those of yesterday, we this day only broke out little splinters,
such as the apothecaries bruise for incense. After we had most carefully
covered and smoothed over the place, a great mishap was very near
befalling us; for we met Witthan her little girl, who was seeking
blackberries, and she asked what my daughter carried in her apron, who
straightway grew red, and stammered so that our secret would have been
betrayed if I had not presently said, "What is that to thee? She has got
fir-apples for firing," which the child believed. Wherefore we resolved in
future only to go up the mountain at night by moonlight, and we went home
and got there before the maid, and hid our treasure in the bedstead, so
that she should not see it.




_The Tenth Chapter_


HOW WE JOURNEYED TO WOLGAST, AND MADE GOOD BARTER THERE

Two days after, so says my daughter, but old Ilse thinks it was three
(and I myself know not which is true), we at last went to the town,
seeing that Master Rothoog had not got the box ready before. My daughter
covered it over with a piece of my departed wife her wedding-gown, which
the Imperialists had indeed torn to pieces, but as they had left it
lying outside, the wind had blown it into the orchard, where we found
it. It was very shabby before, otherwise I doubt not they would have
carried it off with them. On account of the box, we took old Ilse with
us, who had to carry it, and, as amber is very light ware, she readily
believed that the box held nothing but eatables. At daybreak, then, we
took our staves in our hands and set out with God. Near Zitze, a hare
ran across the road before us, which they say bodes no good. Well-a-day!
When we came near Bannemin I asked a fellow if it was true that here a
mother had slaughtered her own child from hunger, as I had heard. He
said it was, and that the old woman's name was Zisse; but that God had
been wroth at such a horrid deed, and she had got no good by it, seeing
that she vomited so much upon eating it that she forthwith gave up the
ghost. On the whole, he thought things were already going rather better
with the parish, as Almighty God had richly blessed them with fish, both
out of the sea and the Achterwater. Nevertheless a great number of
people had died of hunger here also. He told us that their vicar,
his reverence Johannes Lampius, had had his house burnt down by the
Imperialists, and was lying in a hovel near the church. I sent him
my greeting, desiring that he would soon come to visit me (which the
fellow promised he would take care to deliver to him), for the reverend
Johannes is a pious and learned man, and has also composed sundry Latin
_Chronosticha_ on these wretched times, in _metrum heroicum_, which, I
must say, please me greatly. When we had crossed the ferry we went in at
Sehms his house, on the Castle Green, who keeps an ale-house; he told us
that the pestilence had not yet altogether ceased in the town; whereat I
was much afraid, more especially as he described to us so many other
horrors and miseries of these fearful times, both here and in other
places, _e.g._ of the great famine in the island of Ruegen, where a
number of people had grown as black as Moors from hunger; a wondrous
thing if it be true, and one might almost gather therefrom how the first
blackamoors came about. But be that as it may. _Summa_. When Master
Sehms had told us all the news he had heard, and we had thus learnt,
to our great comfort, that the Lord had not visited us only in these
times of heavy need, I called him aside into a chamber and asked him
whether I could not here find means to get money for a piece of amber
which my daughter had found by the sea. At first he said "No"; but then
recollecting, he began, "Stay, let me see, at Nicolas Graeke's, the inn
at the castle, there are two great Dutch merchants--Dieterich von
Pehnen and Jacob Kiekebusch--who are come to buy pitch and boards,
_item_ timber for ships and beams; perchance they may like to cheapen
your amber too; but you had better go up to the castle yourself, for I
do not know for certain whether they still are there." This I did,
although I had not yet eaten anything in the man's house, seeing that I
wanted to know first what sort of bargain I might make, and to save the
farthings belonging to the church until then. So I went into the
castle-yard. Gracious God! what a desert had even his Princely Highness'
house become within a short time! The Danes had ruined the stables and
hunting-lodge, Anno 1628; _item_, destroyed several rooms in the castle;
and in the _locamentum_ of his Princely Highness Duke Philippus, where,
Anno 22, he so graciously entertained me and my child, as will be told
further on, now dwelt the innkeeper Nicolas Graeke; and all the fair
tapestries, whereon was represented the pilgrimage to Jerusalem of his
Princely Highness Bogislaus X, were torn down and the walls left grey
and bare. At this sight my heart was sorely grieved; but I presently
inquired for the merchants, who sat at the table drinking their parting
cup, with their travelling equipments already lying by them, seeing that
they were just going to set out on their way to Stettin; straightway one
of them jumped up from his liquor--a little fellow with a right noble
paunch and a black plaster on his nose--and asked me what I would of
them? I took him aside into a window, and told him I had some fine
amber, if he had a mind to buy it of me, which he straightway agreed to
do. And when he had whispered somewhat into the ear of his fellow, he
began to look very pleasant, and reached me the pitcher before we went
to my inn. I drank to him right heartily, seeing that (as I have already
said) I was still fasting, so that I felt my very heart warmed by it in
an instant. (Gracious God, what can go beyond a good draught of wine
taken within measure!) After this we went to my inn, and told the maid
to carry the box on one side into a small chamber. I had scarce opened
it and taken away the gown, when the man (whose name was Dieterich von
Pehnen, as he had told me by the way) held up both hands for joy, and
said he had never seen such wealth of amber, and how had I come by it? I
answered that my child had found it on the sea-shore; whereat he
wondered greatly that we had so much amber here, and offered me three
hundred florins for the whole box. I was quite beside myself for joy at
such an offer, but took care not to let him see it, and bargained with
him till I got five hundred florins, and I was to go with him to the
castle and take the money forthwith. Hereupon I ordered mine host to
make ready at once a mug of beer and a good dinner for my child, and
went back to the castle with the man and the maid, who carried the box,
begging him, in order to avoid common talk, to say nothing of my good
fortune to mine host, nor, indeed, to any one else in the town, and to
count out the money to me privately, seeing that I could not be sure
that the thieves might not lay in wait for me on the road home if they
heard of it, and this the man did; for he whispered something into the
ear of his fellow, who straightway opened his leathern surcoat, _item_
his doublet and hose, and unbuckled from his paunch a well-filled purse,
which he gave to him. _Summa_. Before long I had my riches in my pocket,
and, moreover, the man begged me to write to him at Amsterdam whenever I
found any more amber, the which I promised to do. But the worthy fellow
(as I have since heard) died of the plague at Stettin, together with his
companion--truly I wish it had happened otherwise. Shortly after I was
very near getting into great trouble; for, as I had an extreme longing
to fall on my knees, so that I could not wait until such time as I
should have got back to my inn, I went up three or four steps of the
castle stairs and entered into a small chamber, where I humbled myself
before the Lord. But the host, Nicolas Graeke, followed me, thinking I
was a thief, and would have stopped me, so that I knew not how to excuse
myself by saying that I had been made drunken by the wine which the
strange merchants had given to me (for he had seen what a good pull I
had made at it), seeing I had not broken my fast that morning, and that
I was looking for a chamber wherein I might sleep a while, which lie he
believed (if, in truth, it were a lie, for I was really drunken, though
not with wine, but with love and gratitude to my Maker), and accordingly
he let me go.

But I must now tell my story of his Princely Highness, as I promised
above. Anno 22, as I chanced to walk with my daughter, who was then a
child of about twelve years old, in the castle-garden at Wolgast, and was
showing her the beautiful flowers that grew there, it chanced that as we
came round from behind some bushes we espied my gracious lord the Duke
Philippus Julius, with his Princely Highness the Duke Bogislaff, who lay
here on a visit, standing on a mount and conversing, wherefore we were
about to return. But as my gracious lords presently walked on toward the
drawbridge, we went to look at the mount where they had stood; of a sudden
my little girl shouted loudly for joy, seeing that she found on the earth
a costly signet-ring, which one of their Princely Highnesses doubtless
had dropped. I therefore said, "Come and we will follow our gracious lords
with all speed, and thou shall say to them in Latin, '_Serenissimi
principes, quis vestrum hunc annulum deperdidit_?' (for, as I have
mentioned above, I had instructed her in the Latin tongue ever since her
seventh year); and if one of them says '_Ego_,' give to him the ring.
_Item_.--Should he ask thee in Latin to whom thou belongest, be not
abashed, and say '_Ego sum filia pastoris Coserowiensis_'; for thou wilt
thus find favour in the eyes of their Princely Highnesses, for they are
both gracious gentlemen, more especially the taller one, who is our
gracious ruler, Philippus Julius himself." This she promised to do; but as
she trembled sorely as she went, I encouraged her yet more and promised
her a new gown if she did it, seeing that even as a little child she would
have given a great deal for fine clothes. As soon, then, as we were come
into the courtyard, I stood by the statue of his Princely Highness Ernest
Ludewig, and whispered her to run boldly after them, as their Princely
Highnesses were only a few steps before us, and had already turned toward
the great entrance. This she did, but of a sudden she stood still, and
would have turned back, because she was frightened by the spurs of their
Princely Highnesses, as she afterwards told me, seeing that they rattled
and jingled very loudly.

But my gracious lady the Duchess Agnes saw her from the open window
wherein she lay, and called to his Princely Highness, "My lord, there is a
little maiden behind you, who, it seems, would speak with you," whereupon
his Princely Highness straightway turned him round, smiling pleasantly, so
that my little maid presently took courage, and, holding up the ring,
spoke in Latin as I had told her. Hereat both the princes wondered beyond
measure, and after my gracious Duke Philippus had felt his finger, he
answered, "_Dulcissima puella, ego perdidi_"; whereupon she gave it to
him. Then he patted her cheek, and again asked, "_Sed quaenam es, et unde
venis?_" whereupon she boldly gave her answer, and at the same time
pointed with her finger to where I stood by the statue; whereupon his
Princely Highness motioned me to draw near. My gracious lady saw all that
passed from the window, but all at once she left it. She, however,
came back to it again before I had time even humbly to draw near to my
gracious lord, and beckoned to my child, and held a cake out of the window
for her. On my telling her, she ran up to the window, but her Princely
Highness could not reach so low nor she so high above her as to take it,
wherefore my gracious lady commanded her to come up into the castle, and
as she looked anxiously round after me, motioned me also, as did my
gracious lord himself, who presently took the timid little maid by the
hand and went up with his Princely Highness the Duke Bogislaff. My
gracious lady came to meet us at the door, and caressed and embraced my
little daughter, so that she soon grew quite bold and ate the cake. When
my gracious lord had asked me my name, _item_, why I had in so singular a
manner taught my daughter the Latin tongue, I answered that I had heard
much from a cousin at Cologne of Maria Schurman, and as I had observed a
very excellent _ingenium_ in my child, and also had time enough in my
lonely cure, I did not hesitate to take her in hand, and teach her from
her youth up, seeing I had no boy alive. Hereat their Princely Highnesses
marvelled greatly, and put some more questions to her in Latin, which she
answered without any prompting from me. Whereupon my gracious lord Duke
Philippus said in the vulgar tongue, "When thou art grown up and art one
day to be married, tell it to me, and thou shall then have another ring
from me, and whatsoever else pertains to a bride, for thou hast this day
done me good service, seeing that this ring is a precious jewel to me, as
I had it from my wife." Hereupon I whispered her to kiss his Princely
Highness' hand for such a promise, and so she did.

(But alas! most gracious God, it is one thing to promise, and quite
another to hold. Where is his Princely Highness at this time? Wherefore
let me ever keep in mind that "thou only art faithful, and that which thou
hast promised thou wilt surely hold." Psalm xxxiii. 4. Amen.)

_Item_. When his Princely Highness had also inquired concerning myself
and my cure, and heard that I was of ancient and noble family, and my
_salarium_ very small, he called from the window to his chancellor,
D. Rungius, who stood without, looking at the sun-dial, and told him that
I was to have an addition from the convent at Pudgla, _item_ from the
crown-lands at Ernsthoff, as I mentioned above; but, more's the pity, I
never have received the same, although the _instrumentum donationis_ was
sent me soon after by his Princely Highness' chancellor.

Then cakes were brought for me also, _item_, a glass of foreign wine in a
glass painted with armorial bearings, whereupon I humbly took my leave,
together with my daughter.

However, to come back to my bargain, anybody may guess what joy my child
felt when I showed her the fair ducats and florins I had gotten for the
amber. To the maid, however, we said that we had inherited such riches
from my brother in Holland; and after we had again given thanks to the
Lord on our knees, and eaten our dinner, we bought in a great store of
bread, salt, meat, and stock-fish: _item_, of clothes, seeing that I
provided what was needful for us three throughout the winter from the
cloth-merchant. Moreover, for my daughter I bought a hair-net and a
scarlet silk bodice, with a black apron and white petticoat, _item_, a
fine pair of earrings, as she begged hard for them; and as soon as I had
ordered the needful from the cordwainer we set out on our way homewards,
as it began to grow very dark; but we could not carry nearly all we had
bought. Wherefore we were forced to get a peasant from Bannemin to help
us, who likewise was come into the town; and as I found out from him
that the fellow who gave me the piece of bread was a poor cotter called
Pantermehl, who dwelt in the village by the roadside, I shoved a couple of
loaves in at his house-door without his knowing it, and we went on our way
by the bright moonlight, so that by the help of God we got home about ten
o'clock at night. I likewise gave a loaf to the other fellow, though truly
he deserved it not, seeing that he would go with us no further than to
Zitze. But I let him go, for I, too, had not deserved that the Lord should
so greatly bless me.




_The Eleventh Chapter_


HOW I FED ALL THE CONGREGATION:
_ITEM_, HOW I JOURNEYED TO THE HORSE FAIR AT GUeTZKOW, AND WHAT BEFELL
ME THERE

Next morning my daughter cut up the blessed bread, and sent to every one
in the village a good large piece. But as we saw that our store would
soon run low, we sent the maid with a truck, which we bought of Adam
Lempken, to Wolgast to buy more bread, which she did. _Item_, I gave
notice throughout the parish that on Sunday next I should administer the
blessed sacrament, and in the meantime I bought up all the large fish
that the people of the village had caught. And when the blessed Sunday
was come I first heard the confessions of the whole parish, and after
that I preached a sermon on Matt. xv. 32--"I have compassion on the
multitude ... for they have nothing to eat." I first applied the same to
spiritual food only, and there arose a great sighing from both the men
and the women, when, at the end, I pointed to the altar, whereon stood
the blessed food for the soul, and repeated the words, "I have compassion
on the multitude ... for they have nothing to eat." (N.B.--The pewter
cup I had borrowed at Wolgast, and bought there a little earthenware
plate for a paten till such time as Master Bloom should have made ready
the silver cup and paten I had bespoke.) Thereupon as soon as I had
consecrated and administered the blessed sacrament, _item_, led the
closing hymn, and every one had silently prayed his "Our Father" before
going out of church, I came out of the confessional again, and motioned
the people to stay yet a while, as the blessed Saviour would feed not
only their souls, but their bodies also, seeing that he still had the
same compassion on his people as of old on the people at the Sea of
Galilee, as they should presently see. Then I went into the tower and
fetched out two baskets which the maid had bought at Wolgast, and which I
had hidden there in good time; set them down in front of the altar, and
took off the napkins with which they were covered, whereupon a very loud
shout arose, inasmuch as they saw one filled with broiled fish and the
other with bread, which we had put into them privately. Hereupon, like
our Saviour, I gave thanks and brake it, and gave it to the churchwarden
Hinrich Seden, that he might distribute it among the men, and to my
daughter for the women. Whereupon I made application of the text, "I have
compassion on the multitude ... for they have nothing to eat," to the
food of the body also; and walking up and down in the church, amid great
outcries from all, I exhorted them alway to trust in God's mercy, to pray
without ceasing, to work diligently, and to consent to no sin. What was
left I made them gather up for their children and the old people who were
left at home.

After church, when I had scarce put off my surplice, Hinrich Seden his
squint-eyed wife came and impudently asked for more for her husband's
journey to Liepe; neither had she had anything for herself, seeing she had
not come to church. This angered me sore, and I said to her, "Why wast thou
not at church? Nevertheless, if thou hadst come humbly to me thou shouldst
have gotten somewhat even now, but as thou comest impudently, I will give
thee nought: think on what thou didst to me and to my child." But she stood
at the door and glowered impudently about the room till my daughter took
her by the arm and led her out, saying, "Hear'st thou, thou shalt come back
humbly before thou gett'st anything, but when thou comest thus, thou also
shalt have thy share, for we will no longer reckon with thee an eye for an
eye, and a tooth for a tooth; let the Lord do that if such be his will, but
we will gladly forgive thee!" Hereupon she at last went out at the door,
muttering to herself as she was wont; but she spat several times in the
street, as we saw from the window.

Soon after I made up my mind to take into my service a lad, near upon
twenty years of age, called Claus Neels, seeing that his father, old
Neels of Loddin, begged hard that I would do so, besides which the lad
pleased me well in manners and otherwise. Then, as we had a good harvest
this year, I resolved to buy me a couple of horses forthwith, and to sow
my field again; for although it was now late in the year, I thought that
the most merciful God might bless the crop with increase if it seemed
good to him.

Neither did I feel much care with respect to food for them, inasmuch as
there was a great plenty of hay in the neighbourhood, seeing that all the
cattle had been killed or driven away (as related above). I therefore made
up my mind to go in God's name with my new ploughman to Guetzkow, whither a
great many Mecklenburg horses were brought to the fair, seeing that times
were not yet so bad there as with us. Meanwhile I went a few more times up
the Streckelberg with my daughter at night, and by moonlight, but found
very little; so that we began to think our luck had come to an end, when,
on the third night, we broke off some pieces of amber bigger even than
those the two Dutchmen had bought. These I resolved to send to my wife's
brother, Martin Behring, at Hamburg, seeing that the schipper Wulff of
Wolgast intends, as I am told, to sail thither this very autumn, with
pitch and wood for shipbuilding. I accordingly packed it all up in a
strong chest, which I carried with me to Wolgast when I started with my
man on my journey to Guetzkow. Of this journey I will only relate thus
much, that there were plenty of horses and very few buyers in the market.
Wherefore I bought a pair of fine black horses for twenty florins apiece;
_item_, a cart for five florins; _item_, twenty-five bushels of rye, which
also came from Mecklenburg, at one florin the bushel, whereas it is hardly
to be had now at Wolgast for love or money, and costs three florins or
more the bushel. I might therefore have made a good bargain in rye at
Guetzkow if it had become my office, and had I not, moreover, been afraid
lest the robbers, who swarm in these evil times, should take away my corn,
and ill-use and perchance murder me into the bargain, as has happened to
sundry people already. For, at this time especially, such robberies were
carried on after a strange and frightful fashion on Strellin heath at
Guetzkow; but by God's help it all came to light just as I journeyed
thither with my man-servant to the fair, and I will here tell how it
happened. Some months before a man had been broken on the wheel at
Guetzkow, because, being tempted of Satan, he murdered a travelling
workman. The man, however, straightway began to walk after so fearful a
fashion, that in the evening and night-season he sprang down from the
wheel in his gallows' dress whenever a cart passed by the gallows, which
stands hard by the road to Wolgast, and jumped up behind the people, who
in horror and dismay flogged on their horses, and thereby made a great
rattling on the log embankment which leads beside the gallows into a
little wood called the Kraulin. And it was a strange thing that on the
same night the travellers were almost always robbed or murdered on
Strellin heath. Hereupon the magistrates had the man taken down from the
wheel and buried under the gallows, in hopes of laying his ghost. But it
went on just as before, sitting at night snow-white on the wheel, so that
none durst any longer travel the road to Wolgast. Until at last it
happened that, at the time of the above-named fair, young Ruediger von
Nienkerken of Mellenthin, in Usedom, who had been studying at Wittenberg
and elsewhere, and was now on his way home, came this road by night with
his carriage. Just before, at the inn, I myself had tried to persuade him
to stop the night at Guetzkow on account of the ghost, and to go on his
journey with me next morning, but he would not. Now as soon as this young
lord drove along the road, he also espied the apparition sitting on the
wheel, and scarcely had he passed the gallows when the ghost jumped down
and ran after him. The driver was horribly afraid, and lashed on the
horses, as everybody else had done before, and they, taking fright,
galloped away over the log-road with a marvellous clatter. Meanwhile,
however, the young nobleman saw by the light of the moon how that the
apparition flattened a ball of horse-dung whereon it trod, and straightway
felt sure within himself that it was no ghost. Whereupon he called to the
driver to stop; and as the man would not hearken to him, he sprang out of
the carriage, drew his rapier, and hastened to attack the ghost. When the
ghost saw this he would have turned and fled, but the young nobleman gave
him such a blow on the head with his fist that he fell upon the ground
with a loud wailing. _Summa_: the young lord, having called back his
driver, dragged the ghost into the town again, where he turned out to be a
shoemaker called Schwelm.

I also, on seeing such a great crowd, ran thither with many others to
look at the fellow. He trembled like an aspen leaf; and when he was
roughly told to make a clean breast, whereby he might peradventure save
his own life, if it appeared that he had murdered no one, he confessed
that he had got his wife to make him a gallows' dress, which he had
put on, and had sat on the wheel before the dead man, when, from the
darkness and the distance, no one could see that the two were sitting
there together; and this he did more especially when he knew that a
cart was going from the town to Wolgast. When the cart came by, and he
jumped down and ran after it, all the people were so affrighted that
they no longer kept their eyes upon the gallows, but only on him,
flogged the horses, and galloped with much noise and clatter over the
log embankment. This was heard by his fellows in Strellin and Dammbecke
(two villages which are about three-fourths on the way), who held
themselves ready to unyoke the horses and to plunder the travellers
when they came up with them. That after the dead man was buried he
could play the ghost more easily still, etc. That this was the whole
truth, and that he himself had never in his life robbed, still less
murdered, any one; wherefore he begged to be forgiven: that all the
robberies and murders which had happened had been done by his fellows
alone. Ah, thou cunning knave! But I heard afterwards that he and his
fellows were broken on the wheel together, as was but fair.

And now to come back to my journey. The young nobleman abode that night
with me at the inn, and early next morning we both set forth; and as we
had grown into good-fellowship together, I got into his coach with him,
as he offered me, so as to talk by the way, and my Claus drove behind
us. I soon found that he was a well-bred, honest, and learned gentleman,
seeing that he despised the wild student life, and was glad that he had
now done with their scandalous drinking-bouts: moreover, he talked his
Latin readily. I had therefore much pleasure with him in the coach.
However, at Wolgast the rope of the ferry-boat broke, so that we were
carried down the stream to Zeuzin, and at length we only got ashore with
great trouble. Meanwhile it grew late, and we did not get into Coserow
till nine, when I asked the young lord to abide the night with me, which
he agreed to do. We found my child sitting in the chimney-corner, making
a petticoat for her little god-daughter out of her own old clothes. She
was greatly frighted, and changed colour when she saw the young lord
come in with me, and heard that he was to lie there that night, seeing
that as yet we had no more beds than we had bought for our own need from
old Zabel Nehring the forest ranger his widow, at Uekeritze. Wherefore
she took me aside: What was to be done? My bed was in an ill plight, her
little god-child having lain on it that morning; and she could nowise
put the young nobleman into hers, although she would willingly creep in
by the maid herself. And when I asked her why not? she blushed scarlet
and began to cry, and would not show herself again the whole evening, so
that the maid had to see to everything, even to the putting white sheets
on my child's bed for the young lord, as she would not do it herself. I
only tell this to show how maidens are. For next morning she came into
the room with her red silk bodice, and the net on her hair, and the
apron; _summa_, dressed in all the things I had bought her at Wolgast,
so that the young lord was amazed, and talked much with her over the
morning meal. Whereupon he took his leave, and desired me to visit him
at his castle.

[Illustration: The Gallows Ghost]




_The Twelfth Chapter_


WHAT FURTHER JOY AND SORROW BEFELL US:
_ITEM_, HOW WITTICH APPELMANN RODE TO DAMEROW TO THE WOLFHUNT, AND WHAT HE
PROPOSED TO MY DAUGHTER

The Lord blessed my parish wonderfully this winter, inasmuch as not only a
great quantity of fish were caught and sold in all the villages, but in
Coserow they even killed four seals: _item_, the great storm of the 12th
of December threw a goodly quantity of amber on the shore, so that many
found amber, although no very large pieces, and they began to buy cows and
sheep from Liepe and other places, as I myself also bought two cows;
_item_, my grain which I had sown, half on my own field and half on old
Paasch's, sprang up bravely and gladly, as the Lord had till _datum_
bestowed on us an open winter; but so soon as it had shot up a finger's
length, we found it one morning again torn up and ruined, and this time
also by the devil's doings, since now, as before, not the smallest trace
of oxen or of horses was to be seen in the field. May the righteous God,
however, reward it, as indeed he already has done. Amen.

Meanwhile, however, something uncommon happened. For one morning, as I
have heard, when Lord Wittich saw out of the window that the daughter of
his fisherman, a child of sixteen, whom he had diligently pursued, went
into the coppice to gather dry sticks, he went thither too; wherefore, I
will not say, but every one may guess for himself. When he had gone some
way along the convent mound, and was come to the first bridge, where the
mountain-ash stands, he saw two wolves coming towards him; and as he had
no weapon with him, save a staff, he climbed up into a tree; whereupon the
wolves trotted round it, blinked at him with their eyes, licked their
lips, and at last jumped with their fore-paws up against the tree,
snapping at him; he then saw that one was a he-wolf, a great fat brute
with only one eye. Hereupon in his fright he began to scream, and the
long-suffering of God was again shown to him, without, however, making him
wiser; for the maiden, who had crept behind a juniper-bush in the field
when she saw the Sheriff coming, ran back again to the castle and called
together a number of people, who came and drove away the wolves, and
rescued his lordship. He then ordered a great wolf-hunt to be held next
day in the convent wood, and he who brought the one-eyed monster, dead or
alive, was to have a barrel of beer for his pains. Still they could not
catch him, albeit they that day took four wolves in their nets, and killed
them. He therefore straightway ordered a wolf-hunt to be held in my
parish. But when the fellow came to toll the bell for a wolf-hunt, he did
not stop a while, as is the wont for wolf-hunts, but loudly rang the bell
on, _sine mora_, so that all the folk thought a fire had broken out, and
ran screaming out of their houses. My child also came running out (I
myself had driven to visit a sick person at Zempin, seeing that walking
began to be wearisome to me, and that I could now afford to be more at
mine ease); but she had not stood long, and was asking the reason of the
ringing, when the Sheriff himself, on his grey charger, with three
cart-loads of toils and nets following him, galloped up and ordered the
people straightway to go into the forest and to drive the wolves with
rattles. Hereupon he, with his hunters and a few men whom he had picked
out of the crowd, were to ride on and spread the nets behind Damerow,
seeing that the island is wondrous narrow there, and the wolf dreads the
water. When he saw my daughter he turned his horse round, chucked her
under the chin, and graciously asked her who she was, and whence she came?
When he had heard it, he said she was as fair as an angel, and that he had
not known till now that the parson here had so beauteous a girl. He then
rode off, looking round at her two or three times. At the first beating
they found the one-eyed wolf, who lay in the rushes near the water. Hereat
his lordship rejoiced greatly, and made the grooms drag him out of the net
with long iron hooks, and hold him there for near an hour, while my lord
slowly and cruelly tortured him to death, laughing heartily the while,
which is a _prognosticon_ of what he afterwards did with my poor child,
for wolf or lamb is all one to this villain. Just God! But I will not be
beforehand with my tale.

Next day came old Seden his squint-eyed wife, limping like a lame dog, and
put it to my daughter whether she would not go into the service of the
Sheriff; praised him as a good and pious man; and vowed that all the world
said of him were foul lies, as she herself could bear witness, seeing that
she had lived in his service for above ten years. _Item_, she praised the
good cheer they had there, and the handsome beer-money that the great
lords who often lay there gave the servants which waited upon them; that
she herself had more than once received a rose-noble from his Princely
Highness Duke Ernest Ludewig; moreover, many pretty fellows came there,
which might make her fortune, inasmuch as she was a fair woman, and might
take her choice of a husband; whereas here in Coserow, where nobody ever
came, she might wait till she was old and ugly before she got a curch on
her head, etc. Hereat my daughter was beyond measure angered, and
answered, "Ah! thou old witch, and who has told thee that I wish to go
into service to get a curch on my head? Go thy ways, and never enter the
house again, for I have nought to do with thee." Whereupon she walked away
again, muttering between her teeth.

Scarce had a few days passed, and I was standing in the chamber with the
glazier, who was putting in new windows, when I heard my daughter scream
in the kitchen. Whereupon I straightway ran in thither, and was shocked
and affrighted when I saw the Sheriff himself standing in the corner with
his arm round my child her neck; he, however, presently let her go, and
said: "Aha, reverend Abraham, what a coy little fool you have for a
daughter! I wanted to greet her with a kiss, as I always use to do, and
she struggled and cried out as if I had been some young fellow who had
stolen in upon her, whereas I might be her father twice over." As I
answered nought, he went on to say that he had done it to encourage her,
seeing that he desired to take her into his service, as indeed I knew,
with more excuses of the same kind which I have forgot. Hereupon I pressed
him to come into the room, seeing that after all he was the ruler set over
me by God, and humbly asked what his lordship desired of me. Whereupon he
answered me graciously that it was true he had just cause for anger
against me, seeing that I had preached at him before the whole
congregation, but that he was ready to forgive me, and to have the
complaint he had sent in _contra me_ to his Princely Highness at Stettin,
and which might easily cost me my place, returned to him if I would but do
his will. And when I asked what his Lordship's will might be, and excused
myself as best I might with regard to the sermon, he answered that he
stood in great need of a faithful housekeeper whom he could set over the
other women-folk; and as he had learnt that my daughter was a faithful and
trustworthy person, he would that I should send her into his service. "See
there," said he to her, and pinched her cheek the while, "I want to lead
you to honour, though you are such a young creature, and yet you cry out
as if I were going to bring you to dishonour. Fie upon you!" (My child
still remembers all this _verbotenus_; I myself should have forgot it a
hundred times over in all the wretchedness I since underwent.) But she was
offended at his words, and, jumping up from her seat, she answered
shortly, "I thank your lordship for the honour, but will only keep house
for my papa, which is a better honour for me"; whereupon he turned to me
and asked what I said to that. I must own that I was not a little
affrighted, inasmuch as I thought of the future and of the credit in which
the Sheriff stood with his Princely Highness. I therefore answered with
all humility that I could not force my child, and that I loved to have her
about me, seeing that my dear huswife had departed this life during the
heavy pestilence, and I had no child but only her. That I hoped therefore
his lordship would not be displeased with me that I could not send her
into his lordship's service. This angered him sore, and after disputing
some time longer in vain he took leave, not without threats that he would
make me pay for it. _Item_, my man, who was standing in the stable, heard
him say as he went round the corner, "I will have her yet, in spite of
him!"

I was already quite disheartened by all this, when, on the Sunday
following, there came his huntsman Johannes Kurt, a tall, handsome fellow,
and smartly dressed. He brought a roebuck tied before him on his horse,
and said that his lordship had sent it to me for a present, in hopes that
I would think better of his offer, seeing that he had been ever since
seeking on all sides for a housekeeper in vain. Moreover, that if I
changed my mind about it his lordship would speak for me to his Princely
Highness, so that the dotation of Duke Philippus Julius should be paid to
me out of the princely _aerarium_, etc. But the young fellow got the same
answer as his master had done, and I desired him to take the roebuck away
with him again. But this he refused to do; and as I had by chance told him
at first that game was my favourite meat, he promised to supply me with it
abundantly, seeing that there was plenty of game in the forest, and that
he often went a-hunting on the Streckelberg; moreover, that I (he meant my
daughter) pleased him uncommonly, the more because I would not do his
master's will, who, as he told me in confidence, would never leave any
girl in peace, and certainly would not let my damsel alone. Although I had
rejected his game, he brought it notwithstanding, and in the course of
three weeks he was sure to come four or five times, and grew more and more
sweet upon my daughter. He talked a vast deal about his good place, and
how he was in search of a good huswife, whence we soon guessed what
quarter the wind blew from. _Ergo_, my daughter told him that if he was
seeking for a huswife she wondered that he lost his time in riding to
Coserow to no purpose, for that she knew of no huswife for him there,
which vexed him so sore that he never came again.

And now any one would think that the grapes were sour even for the
Sheriff; nevertheless he came riding to us soon after, and without more
ado asked my daughter in marriage for his huntsman. Moreover, he promised
to build him a house of his own in the forest; _item_, to give him pots
and kettles, crockery, bedding, etc., seeing that he had stood god-father
to the young fellow, who, moreover, had ever borne himself well during
seven years he had been in his service. Hereupon my daughter answered that
his lordship had already heard that she would keep house for nobody but
her papa, and that she was still much too young to become a huswife.

This, however, did not seem to anger him, but after he had talked a long
time to no purpose, he took leave quite kindly, like a cat which pretends
to let a mouse go, and creeps behind the corners, but she is not in
earnest, and presently springs out upon it again. For doubtless he saw
that he had set to work stupidly; wherefore he went away in order to begin
his attack again after a better fashion, and Satan went with him, as
whilom with Judas Iscariot.




_The Thirteenth Chapter_


WHAT MORE HAPPENED DURING THE WINTER:
_ITEM_, HOW IN THE SPRING WITCHCRAFT BEGAN IN THE VILLAGE

Nothing else of note happened during the winter, save that the merciful
God bestowed a great plenty of fish, both from the Achterwater and the
sea, and the parish again had good food; so that it might be said of us,
as it is written, "For a small moment have I forsaken thee; but with great
mercies will I gather thee." Wherefore we were not weary of praising the
Lord; and the whole congregation did much for the church, buying new
pulpit and altar cloths, seeing that the enemy had stolen the old ones.
_Item_, they desired to make good to me the money I had paid for the new
cups, which, however, I would not take.

There were still, however, about ten peasants in the parish who had not
been able to buy their seed-corn for the spring, inasmuch as they had
spent all their earnings on cattle and corn for bread. I therefore made an
agreement with them that I would lend them the money for it, and that if
they could not repay me this year, they might the next, which offer they
thankfully took; and we sent seven waggons to Friedland, in Mecklenburg,
to fetch seed-corn for us all. For my beloved brother-in-law, Martin
Behring, in Hamburg, had already sent me by the schipper Wulf, who had
sailed home by Christmas, 700 florins for the amber: may the Lord prosper
it with him!

Old Thiemcke died this winter in Loddin, who used to be the midwife in the
parish, and had also brought my child into the world. Of late, however,
she had had but little to do, seeing that in this year I only baptized two
children, namely, Jung his son in Uekeritze, and Lene Hebers her little
daughter, the same whom the Imperialists afterwards speared. _Item_, it
was now full five years since I had married the last couple. Hence any one
may guess that I might have starved to death had not the righteous God so
mercifully considered and blessed me in other ways. Wherefore to him alone
be all honour and glory. Amen.

Meanwhile, however, it so happened that, not long after the Sheriff had
last been here, witchcraft began in the village. I sat reading with my
child the second book of _Virgilius_ of the fearful destruction of the
city of Troy, which was more terrible even than that of our own village,
when a cry arose that our old neighbour Zabel his red cow, which he had
bought only a few days before, had stretched out all-fours and seemed
about to die; and this was the more strange as she had fed heartily but
half an hour before. My child was therefore begged to go and pluck three
hairs from its tail, and bury them under the threshold of the stall; for
it was well known that if this was done by a pure maid the cow would get
better. My child then did as they would have her, seeing that she is the
only maid in the whole village (for the others are still children); and
the cow got better from that very hour, whereat all the folks were amazed.
But it was not long before the same thing befell Witthahn her pig, whilst
it was feeding heartily. She too came running to beg my child for God's
sake to take compassion on her, and to do something for her pig, as ill
men had bewitched it. Hereupon she had pity on her also, and it did as
much good as it had done before. But the woman, who was _gravida_, was
straightway taken in labour from the fright; and my child was scarce out
of the pigsty when the woman went into her cottage, wailing and holding by
the wall, and called together all the woman of the neighbourhood, seeing
that the proper midwife was dead, as mentioned above; and before long
something shot to the ground from under her; and when the women stooped
down to pick it up, the devil's imp, which had wings like a bat, flew up
off the ground, whizzed and buzzed about the room, and then shot out of
the window with a great noise, so that the glass clattered down into the
street. When they looked after it nothing was to be found. Any one may
judge for himself what a great noise this made in all the neighbourhood;
and the whole village believed that it was no one but old Seden his
squint-eyed wife that had brought forth such a devil's brat.

But the people soon knew not what to believe. For that woman her cow got
the same thing as all the other cows; wherefore she too came lamenting,
and begged my daughter to take pity on her, as on the rest, and to cure
her poor cow for the love of God. That if she had taken it ill of her that
she had said anything about going into service with the Sheriff, she could
only say she had done it for the best, etc. _Summa_, she talked over my
unhappy child to go and cure her cow.

Meanwhile I was on my knees every Sunday before the Lord with the whole
congregation, praying that he would not allow the Evil One to take from us
that which his mercy had once more bestowed upon us after such extreme
want. _Item_, that he would bring to light the _auctor_ of such devilish
works, so that he might receive the punishment he deserved.

But all was of no avail. For a very few days had passed when the mischief
befell Stoffer Zuter his spotted cow, and he, too, like all the rest, came
running to fetch my daughter; she accordingly went with him, but could do
no good, and the beast died under her hands.

_Item_, Katy Berow had bought a little pig with the money my daughter had
paid her in the winter for spinning, and the poor woman kept it like a
child, and let it run about her room. This little pig got the mischief,
like all the rest, in the twinkling of an eye; and when my daughter was
called it grew no better, but also died under her hands; whereupon the
poor woman made a great outcry and tore her hair for grief, so that my
child was moved to pity her, and promised her another pig next time my sow
should litter. Meantime another week passed over, during which I went on,
together with the whole congregation, to call upon the Lord for his
merciful help, but all in vain, when the same thing happened to old wife
Seden her little pig. Whereupon she again came running for my daughter
with loud outcries, and although my child told her that she must have seen
herself that nothing she could do for the cattle cured them any longer,
she ceased not to beg and pray her and to lament till she went forth to do
what she could for her with the help of God. But it was all to no purpose,
inasmuch as the little pig died before she left the sty. What think you
this devil's whore then did? After she had run screaming through the
village she said that any one might see that my daughter was no longer a
maid, else why could she now do no good to the cattle, whereas she had
formerly cured them? She supposed my child had lost her maiden honour on
the Streckelberg, whither she went so often this spring, and that God only
knew who had taken it! But she said no more then, and we did not hear the
whole until afterwards. And it is indeed true that my child had often
walked on the Streckelberg this spring, both with me and also alone, in
order to seek for flowers and to look upon the blessed sea, while she
recited aloud, as she was wont, such verses out of _Virgilius_ as pleased
her best (for whatever she read a few times, that she remembered).

Neither did I forbid her to take these walks, for there were no wolves now
left on the Streckelberg, and even if there had been they always fly
before a human creature in the summer season. Howbeit, I forbade her to
dig for amber. For as it now lay deep, and we knew not what to do with the
earth we threw up, I resolved to tempt the Lord no further, but to wait
till my store of money grew very scant before we would dig any more.

But my child did not do as I had bidden her, although she had promised she
would, and of this her disobedience came all our misery. (Oh, blessed
Lord, how grave a matter is thy holy fourth commandment!) For as his
reverence Johannes Lampius, of Crummin, who visited me this spring, had
told me that the Cantor of Wolgast wanted to sell the _Opp. St.
Augustini_, and I had said before her that I desired above all things to
buy that book, but had not money enough left, she got up in the night
without my knowledge to dig for amber, meaning to sell it as best she
might at Wolgast, in order secretly to present me with the _Opp. St.
Augustini_ on my birthday, which falls on the 28th _mensis Augusti_. She
had always covered over the earth she cast up with twigs of fir, whereof
there were plenty in the forest, so that no one should perceive anything
of it.

Meanwhile, however, it befell that the young _nobilis_ Ruediger of
Nienkerken came riding one day to gather news of the terrible witchcraft
that went on in the village. When I had told him all about it he shook his
head doubtingly, and said he believed that all witchcraft was nothing but
lies and deceit; whereat I was struck with great horror, inasmuch as I had
hitherto held the young lord to be a wiser man, and now could not but see
that he was an Atheist. He guessed what my thoughts were, and with a smile
he answered me by asking whether I had ever read Johannes Wierus, who
would hear nothing of witchcraft, and who argued that all witches were
melancholy persons who only imagined to themselves that they had a
_pactum_ with the devil; and that to him they seemed more worthy of pity
than of punishment? Hereupon I answered that I had not indeed read any
such book (for say, who can read all that fools write?), but that the
appearances here and in all other places proved that it was a monstrous
error to deny the reality of witchcraft, inasmuch as people might then
likewise deny that there were such things as murder, adultery, and theft.

But he called my _argumentum_ a _dilemma_, and after he had discoursed a
great deal of the devil, all of which I have forgotten, seeing it savoured
strangely of heresy, he said he would relate to me a piece of witchcraft
which he himself had seen at Wittenberg.

It seems that one morning, as an Imperial captain mounted his good charger
at the Elstergate in order to review his company, the horse presently
began to rage furiously, reared, tossed his head, snorted, kicked, and
roared, not as horses used to neigh, but with a sound as though the voice
came from a human throat, so that all the folks were amazed, and thought
the horse bewitched. It presently threw the captain, and crushed his head
with its hoof, so that he lay writhing on the ground, and straightway set
off at full speed. Hereupon a trooper fired his carabine at the bewitched
horse, which fell in the midst of the road, and presently died. That he,
Ruediger, had then drawn near, together with many others, seeing that the
colonel had forthwith given orders to the surgeon of the regiment to cut
open the horse and see in what state it was inwardly. However, that
everything was quite right, and both the surgeon and army physician
testified that the horse was thoroughly sound; whereupon all the people
cried out more than ever about witchcraft. Meanwhile he himself (I mean
the young _nobilis_) saw a thin smoke coming out from the horse's
nostrils, and on stooping down to look what it might be, he drew out a
match as long as my finger, which still smouldered, and which some wicked
fellow had privately thrust into its nose with a pin. Hereupon all
thoughts of witchcraft were at an end, and search was made for the
culprit, who was presently found to be no other than the captain's own
groom. For one day that his master had dusted his jacket for him he swore
an oath that he would have his revenge, which indeed the provost-marshal
himself had heard as he chanced to be standing in the stable. _Item_,
another soldier bore witness that he had seen the fellow cut a piece off
the fuse not long before he led out his master's horse. And thus thought
the young lord, would it be with all witchcraft if it were sifted to the
bottom; like as I myself had seen at Guetzkow, where the devil's apparition
turned out to be a cordwainer, and that one day I should own that it was
the same sort of thing here in our village. By reason of this speech I
liked not the young nobleman from that hour forward, believing him to be
an Atheist. Though, indeed, afterwards, I have had cause to see that he
was in the right, more's the pity; for had it not been for him what would
have become of my daughter?

But I will say nothing beforehand.--_Summa_: I walked about the room in
great displeasure at his words, while the young lord began to argue with
my daughter upon witchcraft, now in Latin, and now in the vulgar tongue,
as the words came into his mouth, and wanted to hear her mind about it.
But she answered that she was a foolish thing, and could have no opinion
on the matter; but that, nevertheless, she believed that what happened in
the village could not be by natural means. Hereupon the maid called me out
of the room (I forget what she wanted of me); but when I came back again
my daughter was as red as scarlet, and the nobleman stood close before
her. I therefore asked her, as soon as he had ridden off, whether anything
had happened, which she at first denied, but afterwards owned that he had
said to her while I was gone that he knew but one person who could
bewitch; and when she asked him who that person was, he caught hold of her
hand and said, "It is yourself, sweet maid; for you have thrown a spell
upon my heart, as I feel right well!" But that he said nothing further,
but only gazed on her face with eager eyes, and this it was that made her
so red.

But this is the way with maidens; they ever have their secrets if one's
back is turned but for a minute; and the proverb

  To drive a goose and watch a maid
  Needs the devil himself to aid

is but too true, as will be shown hereafter, more's the pity!




_The Fourteenth Chapter_


HOW OLD SEDEN DISAPPEARED ALL ON A SUDDEN:
_ITEM_, HOW THE GREAT GUSTAVUS ADOLPHUS CAME TO POMERANIA, AND TOOK THE
FORT AT PEENEMUeNDE

We were now left for some time in peace from witchcraft; unless, indeed, I
reckon the caterpillars, which miserably destroyed my orchard, and which
truly were a strange thing; for the trees blossomed so fair and sweetly
that one day as we were walking under them, and praising the almighty
power of the most merciful God, my child said, "If the Lord goes on to
bless us so abundantly, it will be Christmas Eve with us every night of
next winter!" But things soon fell out far otherwise; for all in a moment
the trees were covered with such swarms of caterpillars (great and small,
and of every shape and colour) that one might have measured them by the
bushel, and before long my poor trees looked like brooms, and the blessed
fruit--which was so well set--all fell off, and was scarce good enough for
the pigs. I do not choose to lay this to any one, though I had my own
private thoughts upon the matter, and have them yet. However, my barley,
whereof I had sown about three bushels out on the common, shot up bravely.
On my field I had sown nothing, seeing that I dreaded the malice of Satan.
Neither was corn at all plentiful throughout the parish--in part because
they had sown no winter crops, and in part because the summer crops did
not prosper. However, in all the villages a great supply of fish was
caught by the mercy of God, especially herring; but they were very low in
price. Moreover, they killed many seals; and at Whitsuntide I myself
killed one as I walked by the sea with my daughter. The creature lay on a
rock close to the water, snoring like a Christian. Thereupon I pulled off
my shoes and drew near him softly, so that he heard me not, and then
struck him over his nose with my staff (for a seal cannot bear much on his
nose), so that he tumbled over into the water; but he was quite stunned,
and I could easily kill him outright. It was a fat beast, though not very
large; and we melted forty pots of train-oil out of his fat, which we put
by for a winter store.

Meanwhile, however, something seized old Seden all at once, so that he
wished to receive the holy sacrament. When I went to him he could give no
reason for it; or perhaps he would give none for fear of his old Lizzie,
who was always watching him with her squinting eyes, and would not leave
the room. However, Zuter his little girl, a child near twelve years old,
said that a few days before, while she was plucking grass for the cattle
under the garden-hedge by the road, she heard the husband and wife
quarrelling violently again, and that the goodman threw in her teeth that
he now knew of a certainty that she had a familiar spirit, and that he
would straightway go and tell it to the priest. Albeit this is only a
child's tale, it may be true for all that, seeing that children and fools,
they say, speak the truth.

But be that as it may. _Summa_, my old warden grew worse and worse; and
though I visited him every morning and evening--as I use to do to my
sick--in order to pray with him, and often observed that he had somewhat
on his mind, nevertheless he could not disburthen himself of it, seeing
that old Lizzie never left her post.

This went on for a while, when at last one day, about noon, he sent to beg
me to scrape a little silver off the new sacramental cup, because he had
been told that he should get better if he took it mixed with the dung of
fowls. For some time I would not consent, seeing that I straightway
suspected that there was some devilish mischief behind it; but he begged
and prayed, till I did as he would have me.

And lo and behold, he mended from that very hour; so that when I went to
pray with him at evening, I found him already sitting on the bench with a
bowl between his knees, out of which he was supping broth. However, he
would not pray (which was strange, seeing that he used to pray so gladly,
and often could not wait patiently for my coming, insomuch that he sent
after me two or three times if I was not at hand, or elsewhere employed);
but he told me he had prayed already, and that he would give me the cock
whose dung he had taken for my trouble, as it was a fine large cock, and
he had nothing better to offer for my Sunday's dinner. And as the poultry
was by this time gone to roost, he went up to the perch which was behind
the stove, and reached down the cock, and put it under the arm of the
maid, who was just come to call me away.

Not for all the world, however, would I have eaten the cock, but I turned
it out to breed. I went to him once more, and asked whether I should give
thanks to the Lord next Sunday for his recovery; whereupon he answered
that I might do as I pleased in the matter. Hereat I shook my head, and
left the house, resolving to send for him as soon as ever I should hear
that his old Lizzie was from home (for she often went to fetch flax to
spin from the Sheriff). But mark what befell within a few days! We heard
an outcry that old Seden was missing, and that no one could tell what had
become of him. His wife thought he had gone up into the Streckelberg,
whereupon the accursed witch ran howling to our house and asked my
daughter whether she had not seen anything of her goodman, seeing that she
went up the mountain every day. My daughter said she had not; but, woe is
me, she was soon to hear enough of him; for one morning, before sunrise,
as she came down into the wood on her way back from her forbidden digging
after amber, she heard a woodpecker (which no doubt was old Lizzie
herself) crying so dolefully, close beside her, that she went in among the
bushes to see what was the matter. There was the woodpecker sitting on the
ground before a bunch of hair, which was red, and just like what old
Seden's had been, and as soon as it espied her it flew up, with its beak
full of the hair and slipped into a hollow tree. While my daughter still
stood looking at this devil's work, up came old Paasch--who also had heard
the cries of the woodpecker, as he was cutting roofing shingles on the
mountain, with his boy--and was likewise struck with horror when he saw
the hair on the ground. At first they thought a wolf must have eaten him,
and searched all about, but could not find a single bone. On looking up
they fancied they saw something red at the very top of the tree, so they
made the boy climb up, and he forthwith cried out that here, too, there
was a great bunch of red hair stuck to some leaves as if with pitch, but
that it was not pitch, but something speckled red and white, like
fishguts; _item_, that the leaves all around, even where there was no
hair, were stained and spotted, and had a very ill smell. Hereupon the
lad, at his master's bidding, threw down the clotted branch, and they two
below straightway judged that this was the hair and brains of old Seden,
and that the devil had carried him off bodily, because he would not pray
nor give thanks to the Lord for his recovery. I myself believed the same,
and told it on the Sunday as a warning to the congregation. But further on
it will be seen that the Lord had yet greater cause for giving him into
the hands of Satan, inasmuch as he had been talked over by his wicked wife
to renounce his Maker in the hopes of getting better. Now, however, this
devil's whore did as if her heart was broken, tearing out her red hair by
whole handsful when she heard about the woodpecker from my child and old
Paasch, and bewailing that she was now a poor widow, and who was to take
care of her for the future, etc.

Meanwhile we celebrated on this barren shore, as best we could and might,
together with the whole Protestant Church, the 25th day _mensis Junii_,
whereon, one hundred years ago, the Estates of the holy Roman Empire laid
their confession before the most high and mighty Emperor Carolus V., at
Augsburg; and I preached a sermon on Matt. x. 32, of the right confession
of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, whereupon the whole congregation
came to the Sacrament. Now, towards the evening of the selfsame day, as I
walked with my daughter by the sea-shore, we saw several hundred sail of
ships, both great and small, round about Ruden, and plainly heard firing,
whereupon we judged forthwith that this must be the most high and mighty
King Gustavus Adolphus, who was now coming, as he had promised, to the aid
of poor persecuted Christendom. While we were still debating, a boat
sailed towards us from Oie wherein was Kate Berow her son, who is a farmer
there, and was coming to see his old mother. The same told us that it
really was the king, who had this morning run before Ruden with his fleet
from Ruegen; that a few men of Oie were fishing there at the time, and saw
how he went ashore with his officers, and straightway bared his head and
fell upon his knees.

Thus, then, most gracious God, did I thy unworthy servant enjoy a still
greater happiness and delight that blessed evening than I had done on the
blessed morn; and any one may think that I delayed not for a moment to
fall on my knees with my child, and to follow the example of the king. And
God knows I never in my life prayed so fervently as that evening, whereon
the Lord showed such a wondrous sign upon us as to cause the deliverer of
his poor Christian people to come among them on the very day when they had
everywhere called upon him, on their knees, for his gracious help against
the murderous wiles of the Pope and the devil. That night I could not
sleep for joy, but went quite early in the morning to Damerow, where
something had befallen Vithe his boy. I supposed that he, too, was
bewitched; but this time it was not witchcraft, seeing that the boy had
eaten something unwholesome in the forest. He could not tell what kind of
berries they were; but the _malum_, which turned all his skin bright
scarlet, soon passed over. As I therefore was returning home shortly
after, I met a messenger from Peenemuende, whom his Majesty the high and
mighty King Gustavus Adolphus had sent to tell the Sheriff that on the
29th of June, at ten o'clock in the morning, he was to send three guides
to meet his Majesty at Coserow, and to guide him through the woods to
Swine, where the Imperialists were encamped. _Item_, he related how his
Majesty had taken the fort at Peenemuende yesterday (doubtless the cause of
the firing we heard last evening), and that the Imperialists had run away
as fast as they could, and played the bushranger properly; for after
setting their camp on fire they all fled into the woods and coppices, and
part escaped to Wolgast and part to Swine.

Straightway I resolved in my joy to invent a _carmen gratulatorium_ to his
Majesty, whom, by the grace of Almighty God, I was to see, the which my
little daughter might present to him.

I accordingly proposed it to her as soon as I got home, and she
straightway fell on my neck for joy, and then began to dance about the
room. But when she had considered a little, she thought her clothes were
not good enough to wear before his Majesty, and that I should buy her a
blue silk gown, with a yellow apron, seeing that these were the Swedish
colours, and would please his Majesty right well. For a long time I would
not, seeing that I hate this kind of pride; but she teased me with her
kisses and coaxing words, till I, like an old fool, said yes, and ordered
my ploughman to drive her over to Wolgast to-day to buy the stuff.
Wherefore I think that the just God, who hateth the proud, and showeth
mercy on the humble, did rightly chastise me for such pride. For I myself
felt a sinful pleasure when she came back with two women who were to help
her to sew, and laid the stuff before me. Next day she set to work at
sunrise to sew, and I composed my _carmen_ the while. I had not got very
far in it when the young Lord Ruediger of Nienkerken came riding up, in
order, as he said, to inquire whether his Majesty were indeed going to
march through Coserow. And when I told him all I knew of the matter,
_item_ informed him of our plan, he praised it exceedingly, and instructed
my daughter (who looked more kindly upon him to-day than I altogether
liked) how the Swedes use to pronounce the Latin, as _ratscho_ pro _ratio,
uet_ pro _ut, schis_ pro _scis_, etc., so that she might be able to answer
his Majesty with all due readiness. He said, moreover, that he had held
much converse with Swedes at Wittenberg, as well as at Griepswald,
wherefore if she pleased they might act a short _colloquium_, wherein he
would play the king. Hereupon he sat down on the bench before her, and
they both began chattering together, which vexed me sore, especially when
I saw that she made but small haste with her needle the while. But say,
dear reader, what was I to do? Wherefore I went my ways, and let them
chatter till near noon, when the young lord at last took leave. But he
promised to come again on Tuesday, when the king was here, and believed
that the whole island would flock together at Coserow. As soon as he was
gone, seeing that my _vena poetica_ (as may be easily guessed) was still
stopped up, I had the horses put to and drove all over the parish,
exhorting the people in every village to be at the Giant's Stone by
Coserow at nine o'clock on Tuesday, and that they were all to fall on
their knees as soon as they should see the king coming and that I knelt
down; _item_, to join at once in singing the Ambrosian hymn of praise,
which I should lead off as soon as the bells began to ring. This they all
promised to do; and after I had again exhorted them to it on Sunday in
church, and prayed to the Lord for his Majesty out of the fulness of my
heart, we scarce could await the blessed Tuesday for joyful impatience.




_The Fifteenth Chapter_


OF THE ARRIVAL OF THE HIGH AND MIGHTY KING GUSTAVUS ADOLPHUS AND WHAT
BEFELL THEREAT

Meanwhile I finished my _carmen_ in _metrum elegiacum_, which my daughter
transcribed (seeing that her handwriting is fairer than mine) and
diligently learned, so that she might say it to his Majesty. _Item_, her
clothes were gotten ready, and became her purely; and on Monday she went
up to the Streckelberg, although the heat was such that the crows gasped
on the hedges; for she wanted to gather flowers for a garland she designed
to wear, and which was also to be blue and yellow. Towards evening she
came home with her apron filled with all manner of flowers; but her hair
was quite wet, and hung all matted about her shoulders. (My God, my God,
was everything to come together to destroy me, wretched man that I am!) I
asked, therefore, where she had been that her hair was so wet and matted:
whereupon she answered that she had gathered flowers round the Koelpin, and
from thence she had gone down to the sea-shore, where she had bathed in
the sea, seeing that it was very hot and no one could see her. Thus, said
she, jesting, she should appear before his Majesty to-morrow doubly a
clean maid. This displeased me at the time, and I looked grave, although I
said nought.

Next morning at six o'clock all the people were already at the Giant's
Stone, men, women, and children. _Summa_, everybody that was able to walk
was there. At eight o'clock my daughter was already dressed in all her
bravery, namely, a blue silken gown, with a yellow apron and kerchief, and
a yellow hair-net, with a garland of blue and yellow flowers round her
head. It was not long before my young lord arrived, finely dressed, as
became a nobleman. He wanted to inquire, as he said, by which road I
should go up to the Stone with my daughter, seeing that his father, Hans
von Nienkerken, _item_ Wittich Appelmann and the Lepels of Gnitze, were
also going, and that there was much people on all the high roads, as
though a fair was being held. But I straightway perceived that all he
wanted was to see my daughter, inasmuch as he presently occupied himself
about her, and began chattering with her in the Latin again. He made her
repeat to him the _carmen_ to his Majesty; whereupon he, in the person of
the king, answered her: "_Dulcissima et venustissima puella, quae mihi in
coloribus caeli, ut angelus Domini appares utinam semper mecum esses,
nunquam mihi male caderet_"; whereupon she grew red, as likewise did I,
but from vexation, as may be easily guessed. I therefore begged that his
lordship would but go forward toward the Stone, seeing that my daughter
had yet to help me on with my surplice; whereupon, however, he answered
that he would wait for us the while in the chamber, and that we might then
go together. _Summa_, I blessed myself from this young lord; but what
could I do? As he would not go, I was forced to wink at it all; and before
long we went up to the Stone, where I straight-way chose three sturdy
fellows from the crowd, and sent them up the steeple, that they might
begin to ring the bells as soon as they should see me get up upon the
Stone and wave my napkin. This they promised to do, and straightway
departed; whereupon I sat down on the Stone with my daughter, thinking
that the young lord would surely stand apart, as became his dignity;
albeit he did not, but sat down with us on the Stone. And we three sat
there all alone, and all the folk looked at us, but none drew near to see
my child's fine clothes, not even the young lasses, as is their wont to
do; but this I did not observe till afterwards, when I heard how matters
stood with us even then. Towards nine o'clock Hans von Nienkerken and
Wittich Appelmann galloped up, and old Nienkerken called to his son in an
angry voice: and seeing that the young lord heard him not, he rode up to
the Stone, and cried out so loud that all the folk might hear, "Canst thou
not hearken, boy, when thy father calls thee?" Whereupon Ruediger followed
him in much displeasure, and we saw from a distance how the old lord
seemed to threaten his son, and spat out before him; but knew not what
this might signify: we were to learn it soon enough, though, more's the
pity! Soon after the two Lepels of Gnitze came from the Damerow; and the
noblemen saluted one other on the green sward close beside us, but without
looking on us. And I heard the Lepels say that nought could yet be seen of
his Majesty, but that the coastguard fleet around Ruden was in motion, and
that several hundred ships were sailing this way. As soon as this news was
known, all the folk ran to the sea-shore (which is but a step from the
Stone); and the noblemen rode thither too, all save Wittich, who had
dismounted, and who, when he saw that I sent old Paasch his boy up into a
tall oak-tree to look out for the king, straightway busied himself about
my daughter again, who now sat all alone upon the Stone: "Why had she not
taken his huntsman? and whether she would not change her mind on the
matter and have him now, or else come into service with him (the Sheriff)
himself? for that if she would not, he believed she might be sorry for it
one day." Whereupon she answered him (as she told me), that there was but
one thing she was sorry for, namely, that his lordship would take so much
useless pains upon her; whereupon she rose with all haste and came to
where I stood under the tree, looking after the lad who was climbing up
it. But our old Ilse said that he swore a great curse when my daughter
turned her back upon him, and went straightway into the alder-grove close
by the high road, where stood the old witch Lizzie Kolken.

Meanwhile I went with my daughter to the sea-shore, and found it quite
true that the whole fleet was sailing over from Ruden and Oie towards
Wollin, and several ships passed so close before us that we could see the
soldiers standing upon them and the flashing of their arms. _Item_, we
heard the horses neigh and the soldiery laugh. On one ship, too, they were
drumming, and on another cattle lowed and sheep bleated. Whilst we yet
gazed we saw smoke come out from one of the ships, followed by a great
noise, and presently we were aware of the ball bounding over the water,
which foamed and splashed on either side, and coming straight towards us.
Hereupon the crowd ran away on every side with loud cries, and we plainly
heard the soldiery in the ships laugh thereat. But the ball flew up and
struck into the midst of an oak hard by Paasch his boy, so that nearly two
cartloads of boughs fell to the earth with a great crash, and covered all
the road by which his Majesty was to come. Hereupon the boy would stop no
longer in the tree, however much I exhorted him thereto, but cried out to
us as he came down that a great troop of soldiers was marching out of the
forest by Damerow, and that likely enough the king was among them.
Hereupon the Sheriff ordered the road to be cleared forthwith, and this
was some time a-doing, seeing that the thick boughs were stuck fast in the
trees all around; the nobles, as soon as all was made ready, would have
ridden to meet his Majesty, but stayed still on the little green sward,
because we already heard the noise of horses, carriages, and voices close
to us in the forest.

It was not long before the cannons broke through the brushwood with the
three guides seated upon them. And seeing that one of them was known to me
(it was Stoffer Krauthahn of Peenemuende), I drew near and begged him that
he would tell me when the king should come. But he answered that he was
going forward with the cannon to Coserow, and that I was only to watch for
a tall dark man, with a hat and feather and a gold chain round his neck,
for that that was the king, and that he rode next after the great standard
whereon was a yellow lion.

Wherefore I narrowly watched the procession as it wound out of the forest.
And next after the artillery came the Finnish and Lapland bowmen, who went
clothed all in furs, although it was now the height of summer, whereat I
greatly wondered. After these there came much people, but I know not what
they were. Presently I espied over the hazel-tree which stood in my way so
that I could not see everything as soon as it came forth out of the
coppice, the great flag with the lion on it, and behind that the head of a
very dark man with a golden chain round his neck, whereupon straightway I
judged this must be the king. I therefore waved my napkin toward the
steeple, whereupon the bells forthwith rang out, and while the dark man
rode nearer to us, I pulled off my skull-cap, fell upon my knees, and led
the Ambrosian hymn of praise, and all the people plucked their hats from
their heads and knelt down on the ground all around, singing after me;
men, women, and children, save only the nobles, who stood still on the
green sward, and did not take off their hats and behave with attention
until they saw that his Majesty drew in his horse. (It was a coal-black
charger, and stopped with its two fore-feet right upon my field, which I
took as a sign of good fortune.) When we had finished, the Sheriff quickly
got off his horse, and would have approached the king with his three
guides, who followed after him; _item_, I had taken my child by the hand,
and would also have drawn near to the king. Howbeit, his Majesty motioned
away the Sheriff and beckoned us to approach, whereupon I wished his
Majesty joy in the Latin tongue, and extolled his magnanimous heart,
seeing that he had deigned to visit German ground for the protection and
aid of poor persecuted Christendom; and praised it as a sign from God that
such had happened on this the high festival of our poor church, and I
prayed his Majesty graciously to receive what my daughter desired to
present to him; whereupon his Majesty looked on her and smiled pleasantly.
Such gracious bearing made her bold again, albeit she trembled visibly
just before, and she reached him a blue and yellow wreath, whereon lay the
_carmen_, saying, "_Accipe hanc vilem coronam et haec_" whereupon she
began to recite the _carmen_. Meanwhile his Majesty grew more and more
gracious, looking now on her and now on the _carmen_, and nodded with
especial kindness towards the end, which was as follows:--

  Tempus erit, quo tu reversus ab hostibus ultor
    Intrabis patriae libera regna meae;
  Tunc meliora student nostrae tibi carmina musae,
    Tunc tua, maxime rex, Martia facta canam.
  Tu modo versiculis ne spernas vilibus ausum
    Auguror et res est ista futura brevi!
  Sis foelix, fortisque diu, vive optime princeps,
    Omnia, et ut possis vincere, dura. Vale!

As soon as she held her peace, his Majesty said, "_Propius accedas, patria
virgo, ut te osculer_"; whereupon she drew near to his horse, blushing
deeply. I thought he would only have kissed her forehead, as potentates
commonly use to do, but not at all! he kissed her lips with a loud smack,
and the long feathers on his hat drooped over her neck, so that I was
quite afraid for her again. But he soon raised up his head, and taking off
his gold chain, whereon dangled his own effigy, he hung it round my
child's neck with these words: "_Hocce tuce pulchritudim! et si favente
Deo redux fuero victor, promissum carmen et praeterea duo oscula
exspecto_."

Hereupon the Sheriff with his three men again came forward and bowed down
to the ground before his Majesty. But as he knew no Latin, _item_ no
Italian nor French, I had to act as interpreter. For his Majesty inquired
how far it was to Swine, and whether there was still much foreign soldiery
there: And the Sheriff thought there were still about 200 Croats in the
camp; whereupon his Majesty spurred on his horse, and nodding graciously,
cried "_Valete_!" And now came the rest of the troops, about 3000 strong,
out of the coppice, which likewise had a valiant bearing, and attempted no
fooleries, as troops are wont to do, when they passed by us and the women,
but marched on in honest quietness, and we followed the train until the
forest beyond Coserow, where we commended it to the care of the Almighty,
and every one went on his way home.




_The Sixteenth Chapter_


HOW LITTLE MARY PAASCH WAS SORELY PLAGUED OF THE DEVIL, AND THE WHOLE
PARISH FELL OFF FROM ME

Before I proceed any further I will first mark that the illustrious King
Gustavus Adolphus, as we presently heard, had cut down the 300 Croats at
Swine, and was thence gone by sea to Stettin. May God be for ever gracious
to him! Amen.

But my sorrows increased from day to day, seeing that the devil now played
pranks such as he never had played before. I had begun to think that the
ears of God had hearkened to our ardent prayers, but it pleased him to try
us yet more hardly than ever. For, a few days after the arrival of the
most illustrious King Gustavus Adolphus, it was bruited about that my
child her little god-daughter was possessed of the Evil One, and tumbled
about most piteously on her bed, insomuch that no one was able to hold
her. My child straightway went to see her little god-daughter, but
presently came weeping home. Old Paasch would not suffer her even to come
near her, but railed at her very angrily, and said that she should never
come within his doors again, as his child had got the mischief from the
white roll which she had given her that morning. It was true that my child
had given her a roll, seeing that the maid had been the day before to
Wolgast and had brought back a napkin full of them.

Such news vexed me sore, and after putting on my cassock I went to old
Paasch his house to exorcise the foul fiend and to remove such disgrace
from my child. I found the old man standing on the floor by the cockloft
steps weeping; and after I had spoken "The peace of God," I asked him
first of all whether he really believed that his little Mary had been
bewitched by means of the roll which my child had given her? He said,
"Yes!" And when I answered that in that case I also must have been
bewitched, _item_ Pagel his little girl, seeing that we both had eaten of
the rolls, he was silent, and asked me with a sigh, whether I would not go
into the room and see for myself how matters stood. I then entered with
"The peace of God," and found six people standing round little Mary her
bed; her eyes were shut, and she was as stiff as a board; wherefore Kit
Wells (who was a young and sturdy fellow) seized the little child by one
leg and held her out like a hedgestake, so that I might see how the devil
plagued her. I now said a prayer, and Satan, perceiving that a servant of
Christ was come, began to tear the child so fearfully that it was pitiful
to behold; for she flung about her hands and feet so that four strong men
were scarce able to hold her: _item_ she was afflicted with extraordinary
risings and fallings of her belly, as if a living creature were therein,
so that at last the old witch Lizzie Kolken sat herself upon her belly,
whereupon the child seemed to be somewhat better, and I told her to repeat
the Apostles' Creed, so as to see whether it really were the devil who
possessed her. She straightway grew worse than before, and began to gnash
her teeth, to roll her eyes, and to strike so hard with her hands and feet
that she flung her father, who held one of her legs, right into the middle
of the room, and then struck her foot so hard against the bedstead that
the blood flowed, and Lizzie Kolken was thrown about on her belly as
though she had been in a swing. And as I ceased not, but exorcised Satan
that he should leave her, she began to howl and to bark like a dog, _item_
to laugh, and spoke at last, with a gruff bass voice, like an old man's,
"I will not depart." But he should soon have been forced to depart out of
her, had not both father and mother besought me by God's holy Sacrament to
leave their poor child in peace, seeing that nothing did her any good, but
rather made her worse. I was therefore forced to desist, and only
admonished the parents to seek for help, like the Canaanitish woman, in
true repentance and incessant prayer, and with her to sigh in constant
faith, "Have mercy upon me, O Lord, Thou Son of David, my daughter is
grievously vexed of a devil," Matthew xv.; that the heart of our Lord
would then melt, so that he would have mercy on their child, and command
Satan to depart from her. _Item_, I promised to pray for the little child
on the following Sunday with the whole congregation, and told them to
bring her, if it were any ways possible, to the church, seeing that the
ardent prayer of the whole congregation has power to rise beyond the
clouds. This they promised to do, and I then went home sorely troubled,
where I soon learned that she was somewhat better; thus it still is sure
that Satan hates nothing so much, after the Lord Jesus, as the servants of
the Gospel. But wait, and I shall even yet "bruise thy head with my heel"
(Genesis, chap, iii.); nought shall avail thee.

Howbeit before the blessed Sunday came, I perceived that many of my people
went out of my way, both in the village and elsewhere in the parish, where
I went to visit sundry sick folks. When I went to Uekeritze to see young
Tittlewitz, there even befell me as follows:--Claus Pieper the peasant
stood in his yard chopping wood, and on seeing me he flung the axe out of
his hand so hastily that it stuck in the ground, and he ran towards the
pigsty, making the sign of the cross. I motioned him to stop, and asked
why he thus ran from me, his confessor? Whether, peradventure, he also
believed that my daughter had bewitched her little god-child? "_Ille_.
Yes, he believed it, because the whole parish did. _Ego_. Why, then, had
she been so kind to her formerly, and kept her like a sister through the
worst of the famine? _Ille_. This was not the only mischief she had done.
_Ego_. What, then, had she done besides? _Ille_. That was all one to me.
_Ego_. He should tell me, or I would complain to the magistrate. _Ille_.
That I might do, if I pleased." Whereupon he went his way insolently. Any
one may guess that I was not slow to inquire everywhere what people
thought my daughter had done; but no one would tell me anything, and I
might have grieved to death at such evil reports. Moreover not one child
came during this whole week to school to my daughter; and when I sent out
the maid to ask the reason she brought back word that the children were
ill, or that the parents wanted them for their work. I thought and
thought, but all to no purpose, until the blessed Sunday came round when I
meant to have held a great Sacrament, seeing that many people had made
known their intention to come to the Lord's table. It seemed strange to me
that I saw no one standing (as was their wont) about the church door; I
thought, however, that they might have gone into the houses. But when I
went into the church with my daughter, there were not more than six people
assembled, among whom was old Lizzie Kolken; and the accursed witch no
sooner saw my daughter follow me than she made the sign of the cross and
ran out of the door under the steeple; whereupon the five others, among
them mine own church-warden Claus Bulken (I had not appointed any one in
the room of old Seden), followed her. I was so horror-struck that my blood
curdled, and I began to tremble, so that I fell with my shoulder against
the confessional. My child, to whom I had as yet told nothing, in order to
spare her, then asked me, "Father, what is the matter with all the people;
are they, too, bewitched?" Whereupon I came to myself again and went into
the churchyard to look after them. But all were gone save my churchwarden,
Claus Bulken, who stood under the lime-tree, whistling to himself. I
stepped up to him and asked what had come to the people? Whereupon he
answered he could not tell; and when I asked him again why, then, he
himself had left the church, he said, What was he to do there alone,
seeing that no collection could be made? I then implored him to tell me
the truth, and what horrid suspicion had arisen against me in the parish?
But he answered, I should very soon find it out for myself; and he jumped
over the wall and went into old Lizzie her house, which stands close by
the churchyard.

My child had made ready some veal broth for dinner, for which I mostly use
to leave everything else; but I could not swallow one spoonful, but sat
resting my head on my hand, and doubted whether I should tell her or no.
Meanwhile the old maid came in ready for a journey, and with a bundle in
her hand, and begged me with tears to give her leave to go. My poor child
turned pale as a corpse, and asked in amaze what had come to her? but she
merely answered, "Nothing!" and wiped her eyes with her apron. When I
recovered my speech, which had well-nigh left me at seeing that this
faithful old creature was also about to forsake me, I began to question
her why she wished to go; she who had dwelt with me so long, and who would
not forsake us even in the great famine, but had faithfully borne up
against it, and, indeed, had humbled me by her faith, and had exhorted me
to stand out gallantly to the last, for which I should be grateful to her
as long as I lived. Hereupon she merely wept and sobbed yet more, and at
length brought out that she still had an old mother of eighty living in
Liepe, and that she wished to go and nurse her till her end. Hereupon my
daughter jumped up and answered with tears, "Alas, old Ilse, why wilt thou
leave us, for thy mother is with thy brother? Do but tell me why thou wilt
forsake me, and what harm have I done thee, that I may make it good to
thee again." But she hid her face in her apron and sobbed and could not
get out a single word; whereupon my child drew away the apron from her
face, and would have stroked her cheeks to make her speak. But when Ilse
saw this she struck my poor child's hand and cried, "Ugh!" spat out before
her, and straightway went out at the door. Such a thing she had never done
even when my child was a little girl, and we were both so shocked that we
could neither of us say a word.

Before long my poor child gave a loud cry, and cast herself upon the
bench, weeping and wailing, "What has happened, what has happened?" I
therefore thought I ought to tell her what I had heard--namely, that she
was looked upon as a witch. Whereat she began to smile instead of weeping
any more, and ran out of the door to overtake the maid, who had already
left the house, as we had seen. She returned after an hour, crying out
that all the people in the village had run away from her when she would
have asked them whither the maid was gone. _Item_, the little children,
for whom she had kept school, had screamed, and had hidden themselves from
her; also no one would answer her a single word, but all spat out before
her, as the maid had done. On her way home she had seen a boat on the
water, and had run as fast as she could to the shore, and called with
might and main after old Ilse, who was in the boat. But she had taken no
notice of her, not even once to look round after her, but had motioned her
to be gone. And now she went on to weep and to sob the whole day and the
whole night, so that I was more miserable than even in the time of the
great famine. But the worst was yet to come, as will be shown in the
following chapter.




_The Seventeenth Chapter_


HOW MY POOR CHILD WAS TAKEN UP FOR A WITCH, AND CARRIED TO PUDGLA

The next day, Monday, the 12th July, at about eight in the morning, while
we sat in our grief, wondering who could have prepared such great sorrow
for us, and speedily agreed that it could be none other than the accursed
witch Lizzie Kolken, a coach with four horses drove quickly up to the
door, wherein sat six fellows, who straightway all jumped out. Two went
and stood at the front, two at the back door, and two more, one of whom
was the constable Jacob Knake, came into the room, and handed me a warrant
from the Sheriff for the arrest of my daughter, as in common repute of
being a wicked witch, and for her examination before the criminal court.
Any one may guess how my heart sank within me when I read this. I dropped
to the earth like a felled tree, and when I came to myself my child had
thrown herself upon me with loud cries, and her hot tears ran down over my
face. When she saw that I came to myself, she began to praise God therefor
with a loud voice, and essayed to comfort me, saying that she was
innocent, and should appear with a clean conscience before her judges.
_Item_, she repeated to me the beautiful text from Matthew, chap. v.:
"Blessed are ye when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall
say all manner of evil against you falsely for my sake."

And she begged me to rise and to throw my cassock over my doublet, and go
with her, for that without me she would not suffer herself to be carried
before the Sheriff. Meanwhile, however, all the village--men, women, and
children--had thronged together before my door; but they remained quiet,
and only peeped in at the windows, as though they would have looked right
through the house. When we had both made us ready, and the constable, who
at first would not take me with them, had thought better of it, by reason
of a good fee which my daughter gave him, we walked to the coach; but I
was so helpless that I could not get up into it.

Old Paasch, when he saw this, came and helped me up into the coach,
saying, "God comfort ye! Alas, that you should ever see your child to come
to this!" and he kissed my hand to take leave.

A few others came up to the coach, and would have done likewise; but I
besought them not to make my heart still heavier, and to take Christian
charge of my house and my affairs until I should return. Also to pray
diligently for me and my daughter, so that the Evil One, who had long gone
about our village like a roaring lion, and who now threatened to devour
me, might not prevail against us, but might be forced to depart from me
and from my child as from our guileless Saviour in the wilderness. But to
this none answered a word; and I heard right well, as we drove away, that
many spat out after us, and one said (my child thought it was Berow her
voice), "We would far sooner lay fire under thy coats than pray for thee."
We were still sighing over such words as these when we came near to the
churchyard, and there sat the accursed witch Lizzie Kolken at the door of
her house with her hymn-book in her lap, screeching out at the top of her
voice, "God the Father, dwell with us," as we drove past her; the which
vexed my poor child so sore that she swounded, and fell like one dead upon
me. I begged the driver to stop, and called to old Lizzie to bring us a
pitcher of water; but she did as though she had not heard me, and went on
to sing so that it rang again. Whereupon the constable jumped down, and at
my request ran back to my house to fetch a pitcher of water; and he
presently came back with it, and the people after him, who began to say
aloud that my child's bad conscience had stricken her, and that she had
now betrayed herself. Wherefore I thanked God when she came to life again,
and we could leave the village. But at Uekeritze it was just the same, for
all the people had flocked together, and were standing on the green before
Labahn his house when we went by.

Nevertheless, they were quiet enough as we drove past, albeit some few
cried, "How can it be, how can it be?" I heard nothing else. But in the
forest near the watermill the miller and all his men ran out and shouted,
laughing, "Look at the witch, look at the witch!" Whereupon one of the men
struck at my poor child with the sack which he held in his hand, so that
she turned quite white, and the flour flew all about the coach like a
cloud. When I rebuked him, the wicked rogue laughed and said, that if no
other smoke than that ever came under her nose, so much the better for
her. _Item_, it was worse in Pudgla than even at the mill. The people
stood so thick on the hill, before the castle, that we could scarce force
our way through, and the Sheriff caused the death-bell in the castle-tower
to toll as an _avisum_. Whereupon more and more people came running out of
the ale-houses and cottages. Some cried out, "Is that the witch?" Others,
again, "Look at the parson's witch! the parson's witch!" and much more,
which for very shame I may not write. They scraped up the mud out of the
gutter which ran from the castle-kitchen and threw it upon us; _item_, a
great stone, the which struck one of the horses so that it shied, and
belike would have upset the coach had not a man sprung forward and held it
in. All this happened before the castle-gates, where the Sheriff stood
smiling and looking on, with a heron's feather stuck in his grey hat. But
so soon as the horse was quiet again, he came to the coach and mocked at
my child, saying, "See, young maid, thou wouldst not come to me, and here
thou art nevertheless!" Whereupon she answered, "Yea, I come; and may you
one day come before your judge as I come before you"; whereunto I said,
Amen, and asked him how his lordship could answer before God and man for
what he had done to a wretched man like myself and to my child? But he
answered, saying, Why had I come with her? And when I told him of the rude
people here, _item_, of the churlish miller's man, he said that it was not
his fault, and threatened the people all around with his fist, for they
were making a great noise. Thereupon he commanded my child to get down and
to follow him, and went before her into the castle; motioned the
constable, who would have gone with them, to stay at the foot of the
steps, and began to mount the winding staircase to the upper rooms alone
with my child.

But she whispered me privately, "Do not leave me, father"; and I presently
followed softly after them. Hearing by their voices in which chamber they
were, I laid my ear against the door to listen. And the villain offered to
her that if she would love him nought should harm her, saying he had power
to save her from the people; but that if she would not, she should go
before the court next day, and she might guess herself how it would fare
with her, seeing that he had many witnesses to prove that she had played
the wanton with Satan, and had suffered him to kiss her. Hereupon she was
silent, and only sobbed, which the arch-rogue took as a good sign, and
went on: "If you have had Satan himself for a sweetheart, you surely may
love me." And he went to her and would have taken her in his arms, as I
perceived; for she gave a loud scream, and flew to the door; but he held
her fast, and begged and threatened as the devil prompted him. I was about
to go in when I heard her strike him in the face, saying, "Get thee behind
me, Satan," so that he let her go. Whereupon she ran out at the door so
suddenly that she threw me on the ground, and fell upon me with a loud
cry. Hereat the Sheriff, who had followed her, started, but presently
cried out, "Wait, thou prying parson, I will teach thee to listen!" and
ran out and beckoned to the constable who stood on the steps below. He
bade him first shut me up in one dungeon, seeing that I was an
eavesdropper, and then return and thrust my child into another. But he
thought better of it when we had come halfway down the winding-stair, and
said he would excuse me this time, and that the constable might let me go,
and only lock up my child very fast, and bring the key to him, seeing she
was a stubborn person, as he had seen at the very first hearing which he
had given her.

Hereupon my poor child was torn from me, and I fell in a swound upon the
steps. I know not how I got down them; but when I came to myself, I was in
the constable his room, and his wife was throwing water in my face. There
I passed the night sitting in a chair, and sorrowed more than I prayed,
seeing that my faith was greatly shaken, and the Lord came not to
strengthen it.




_The Eighteenth Chapter_


OF THE FIRST TRIAL, AND WHAT CAME THEREOF

Next morning, as I walked up and down in the court, seeing that I had many
times asked the constable in vain to lead me to my child (he would not
even tell me where she lay), and for very disquietude I had at last begun
to wander about there; about six o'clock there came a coach from Uzdom,
wherein sat his worship, Master Samuel Pieper, _consul dirigens_, _item_,
the _camerarius_ Gebhard Wenzel, and a _scriba_, whose name, indeed, I
heard, but have forgotten it again; and my daughter forgot it too, albeit
in other things she has an excellent memory, and, indeed, told me most of
what follows, for my old head well-nigh burst, so that I myself could
remember but little. I straightway went up to the coach, and begged that
the worshipful court would suffer me to be present at the trial, seeing
that my daughter was yet in her nonage, but which the Sheriff, who
meanwhile had stepped up to the coach from the terrace, whence he had seen
all, had denied me. But his worship Master Samuel Pieper, who was a little
round man, with a fat paunch, and a beard mingled with grey hanging down
to his middle, reached me his hand, and condoled with me like a Christian
in my trouble: I might come into court in God's name; and he wished with
all his heart that all whereof my daughter was filed might prove to be
foul lies. Nevertheless I had still to wait two hours before their
worships came down the winding stair again. At last towards nine o'clock
I heard the constable moving about the chairs and benches in the
judgment-chamber; and as I conceived that the time was now come, I went in
and sat myself down on a bench. No one, however, was yet there, save the
constable and his young daughter, who was wiping the table, and held a
rosebud between her lips. I was fain to beg her to give it me, so that I
might have it to smell to; and I believe that I should have been carried
dead out of the room that day if I had not had it. God is thus able to
preserve our lives even by means of a poor flower, if so he wills it!

At length their worships came in and sat round the table, whereupon _Dom.
Consul_ motioned the constable to fetch in my child. Meanwhile he asked
the Sheriff whether he had put _Rea_ in chains, and when he said No, he
gave him such a reprimand that it went through my very marrow. But the
Sheriff excused himself, saying that he had not done so from regard to her
quality, but had locked her up in so fast a dungeon that she could not
possibly escape therefrom. Whereupon _Dom. Consul_ answered that much is
possible to the devil, and that they would have to answer for it should
_Rea_ escape. This angered the Sheriff, and he replied that if the devil
could convey her through walls seven feet thick, and through three doors,
he could very easily break her chains too. Whereupon _Dom. Consul_ said
that hereafter he would look at the prison himself; and I think that the
Sheriff had been so kind only because he yet hoped (as, indeed, will
hereafter be shown) to talk over my daughter to let him have his will of
her.

And now the door opened, and my poor child came in with the constable, but
walking backwards, and without her shoes, the which she was forced to
leave without. The fellow had seized her by her long hair, and thus
dragged her up to the table, when first she was to turn round and look
upon her judges. He had a vast deal to say in the matter, and was in every
way a bold and impudent rogue, as will soon be shown. After _Dom. Consul_
had heaved a deep sigh, and gazed at her from head to foot, he first asked
her her name, and how old she was; _item_, if she knew why she was
summoned before them? On the last point she answered that the Sheriff had
already told her father the reason; that she wished not to wrong any one,
but thought that the Sheriff himself had brought upon her the repute of a
witch, in order to gain her to his wicked will. Hereupon she told all his
ways with her, from the very first, and how he would by all means have had
her for his housekeeper; and that when she would not (although he had many
times come himself to her father his house), one day, as he went out of
the door, he had muttered in his beard, "I will have her, despite of all!"
which their servant Claus Neels had heard, as he stood in the stable; and
he had also sought to gain his ends by means of an ungodly woman, one
Lizzie Kolken, who had formerly been in his service; that this woman,
belike, had contrived the spells which they laid to her charge: she
herself knew nothing of witchcraft; _item_, she related what the Sheriff
had done to her the evening before, when she had just come, and when he
for the first time spoke out plainly, thinking that she was then
altogether in his power: nay, more, that he had come to her that very
night again, in her dungeon, and had made her the same offers, saying that
he would set her free if she would let him have his will of her; and that
when she denied him, he had struggled with her, whereupon she had screamed
aloud, and had scratched him across the nose, as might yet be seen,
whereupon he had left her; wherefore she would not acknowledge the Sheriff
as her judge, and trusted in God to save her from the hand of her enemies,
as of old he had saved the chaste Susannah.--

When she now held her peace amid loud sobs, _Dom. Consul_ started up after
he had looked, as we all did, at the Sheriff's nose, and had in truth
espied the scar upon it, and cried out in amaze, "Speak, for God his sake,
speak, what is this that I hear of your lordship?" Whereupon the Sheriff,
without changing colour, answered that although, indeed, he was not called
upon to say anything to their worships, seeing that he was the head of the
court, and that _Rea_, as appeared from numberless _indicia_, was a wicked
witch, and therefore could not bear witness against him or any one else;
he, nevertheless, would speak, so as to give no cause of scandal to the
court; that all the charges brought against him by this person were foul
lies; it was, indeed, true, that he would have hired her for a
housekeeper, whereof he stood greatly in need, seeing that his old Dorothy
was already growing infirm; it was also true that he had yesterday
questioned her in private, hoping to get her to confess by fair means,
whereby her sentence would be softened, inasmuch as he had pity on her
great youth; but that he had not said one naughty word to her, nor had he
been to her in the night; and that it was his little lap-dog, called
Below, which had scratched him, while he played with it that very morning;
that his old Dorothy could bear witness to this, and that the cunning
witch had only made use of this wile to divide the court against itself,
thereby and with the devil's help, to gain her own advantage, inasmuch as
she was a most cunning creature, as the court would soon find out.

Hereupon I plucked up a heart, and declared that all my daughter had said
was true, and that the evening before I myself had heard, through the
door, how his lordship had made offers to her, and would have done
wantonness with her; _item_, that he had already sought to kiss her once
at Coserow; _item_, the troubles which his lordship had formerly brought
upon me in the matter of the first-fruits.

Howbeit the Sheriff presently talked me down, saying, that if I had
slandered him, an innocent man, in church, from the pulpit, as the whole
congregation could bear witness, I should doubtless find it easy to do as
much here, before the court; not to mention that a father could, in no
case, be a witness for his own child.

But _Dom. Consul_ seemed quite confounded, and was silent, and leaned his
head on the table, as in deep thought. Meanwhile the impudent constable
began to finger his beard from under his arm; and _Dom. Consul_ thinking
it was a fly, struck at him with his hand, without even looking up; but
when he felt the constable his hand, he jumped up and asked him what he
wanted? Whereupon the fellow answered, "Oh, only a louse was creeping
there, and I would have caught it."

At such impudence his worship was so exceeding wroth that he struck the
constable on the mouth, and ordered him, on pain of heavy punishment, to
leave the room.

Hereupon he turned to the Sheriff, and cried, angrily, "Why, in the name
of all the ten devils, is it thus your lordship keeps the constable in
order? and truly, in this whole matter, there is something which passes my
understanding." But the Sheriff answered, "Not so; should you not
understand it all when you think upon the eels?"

Hereat _Dom. Consul_ of a sudden turned ghastly pale, and began to
tremble, as it appeared to me, and called the Sheriff aside into another
chamber. I have never been able to learn what that about the eels could
mean.--

Meanwhile _Dominus Camerarius_ Gebhard Wenzel sat biting his pen, and
looking furiously--now at me, and now at my child, but said not a word;
neither did he answer _Scriba_, who often whispered somewhat into his ear,
save by a growl. At length both their worships came back into the chamber
together, and _Dom. Consul_, after he and the Sheriff had seated
themselves, began to reproach my poor child violently, saying that she had
sought to make a disturbance in the worshipful court; that his lordship
had shown him the very dog which had scratched his nose, and that,
moreover, the fact had been sworn to by the old housekeeper.

(Truly _she_ was not likely to betray him, for the old harlot had lived
with him for years, and she had a good big boy by him, as will be seen
hereafter.)

_Item_, he said that so many _indicia_ of her guilt had come to light,
that it was impossible to believe anything she might say; she was
therefore to give glory to God, and openly to confess everything, so as to
soften her punishment; whereby she might perchance, in pity for her youth,
escape with life, etc.

Hereupon he put his spectacles on his nose, and began to cross-question
her, during near four hours, from a paper which he held in his hand. These
were the main articles, as far as we both can remember:

_Quaestio_. Whether she could bewitch?

_Responsio_. No; she knew nothing of witchcraft.

_Q_. Whether she could charm?

_R_. Of that she knew as little.

_Q_. Whether she had ever been on the Blocksberg?

_R_. That was too far off for her; she knew few hills save the
Streckelberg, where she had been very often.

_Q_. What had she done there?

_R_. She had looked out over the sea, or gathered flowers; _item_, at
times carried home an apronful of dry brushwood.

_Q_. Whether she had ever called upon the devil there?

_R_. That had never come into her mind.

_Q_. Whether, then, the devil had appeared to her there, uncalled?

_R_. God defend her from such a thing.

_Q_. So she could not bewitch?

_R_. No.

_Q_. What, then, befell Kit Zuter his spotted cow, that it suddenly died
in her presence?

_R_. She did not know; and that was a strange question.

_Q_. Then it would be as strange a question, why Katie Berow her little
pig had died?

_R_. Assuredly; she wondered what they would lay to her charge.

_Q_. Then she had not bewitched them?

_R_. No; God forbid it.

_Q_. Why, then, if she were innocent, had she promised old Katie another
little pig, when her sow should litter?

_R_. She did that out of kind-heartedness. (And hereupon she began to weep
bitterly, and said she plainly saw that she had to thank old Lizzie Kolken
for all this, inasmuch as she had often threatened her when she would not
fulfil all her greedy desires, for she wanted everything that came in her
way; moreover, that Lizzie had gone all about the village when the cattle
were bewitched, persuading the people that if only a pure maid pulled a
few hairs out of the beasts' tails they would get better. That she pitied
them, and knowing herself to be a maid, went to help them; and indeed, at
first it cured them, but latterly not.)

_Q_. What cattle had she cured?

_R_. Zabel his red cow; _item_, Witthan her pig, and old Lizzie's own cow.

_Q_. Why could she afterwards cure them no more?

_R_. She did not know, but thought--albeit she had no wish to fyle any
one--that old Lizzie Kolken, who for many a long year had been in common
repute as a witch, had done it all, and bewitched the cows in her name and
then charmed them back again, as she pleased, only to bring her to
misfortune.

_Q_. Why, then, had old Lizzie bewitched her own cow, _item_, suffered her
own pig to die, if it was she that had made all the disturbance in the
village, and could really charm?

_R_. She did not know; but belike there was some one (and here she looked
at the Sheriff) who paid her double for it all.

_Q_. It was in vain that she sought to shift the guilt from off herself;
had she not bewitched old Paasch his crop, nay, even her own father's, and
caused it to be trodden down by the devil, _item_, conjured all the
caterpillars into her father's orchard?

_R_. The question was almost as monstrous as the deed would have been.
There sat her father, and his worship might ask him whether she ever had
shown herself an undutiful child to him. (Hereupon I would have risen to
speak, but _Dom. Consul_ suffered me not to open my mouth, but went on
with his examination; whereupon I remained silent and downcast.)

_Q_. Whether she did likewise deny that it was through her malice that the
woman Witthan had given birth to a devil's imp, which straight-way started
up and flew out at the window, so that when the midwife sought for it it
had disappeared?

_R_. Truly she did; and indeed she had all the days of her life done good
to the people instead of harm, for during the terrible famine she had
often taken the bread out of her own mouth to share it among the others,
especially the little children. To this the whole parish must needs bear
witness, if they were asked; whereas witches and warlocks always did evil
and no good to men, as our Lord Jesus taught (Matt. xii.), when the
Pharisees blasphemed him, saying that he cast out devils by Beelzebub the
prince of the devils; hence his worship might see whether she could in
truth be a witch.

_Q_. He would soon teach her to talk of blasphemies; he saw that her
tongue was well hung; but she must answer the questions he asked her, and
say nothing more. The question was not _what_ good she had done to the
poor, but _wherewithal_ she had done it; she must now show how she and her
father had of a sudden grown so rich that she could go pranking about in
silken raiment, whereas she used to be so very poor?

Hereupon she looked towards me, and said, "Father, shall I tell?"
Whereupon I answered, "Yes, my child, now thou must openly tell all, even
though we thereby become beggars." She accordingly told how, when our need
was sorest, she had found the amber, and how much we had gotten for it
from the Dutch merchants.

_Q_. What were the names of these merchants?

_R_. Dieterich von Pehnen and Jakob Kiekebusch; but, as we have heard from
a schipper, they since died of the plague at Stettin.

_Q_. Why had we said nothing of such a godsend?

_R_. Out of fear of our enemy the Sheriff, who, as it seemed, had
condemned us to die of hunger, inasmuch as he forbade the parishioners,
under pain of heavy displeasure, to supply us with anything, saying, that
he would send them a better parson.

Hereupon _Dom. Consul_ again looked the Sheriff sharply in the face, who
answered that it was true he had said this, seeing that the parson had
preached at him in the most scandalous manner from the pulpit; but that he
knew very well, at the time, that they were far enough from dying of
hunger.

_Q_. How came so much amber on the Streckelberg? She had best confess at
once that the devil had brought it to her.

_R_. She knew nothing about that. But there was a great vein of amber
there, as she could show to them all that very day; and she had broken out
the amber, and covered the hole well over with fir-twigs, so that none
should find it.

_Q_. When had she gone up the Streckelberg; by day or by night?

_R_. Hereupon she blushed, and for a moment held her peace; but presently
made answer, "Sometimes by day, and sometimes by night."

_Q_. Why did she hesitate? She had better make a full confession of all,
so that her punishment might be less heavy. Had she not there given over
old Seden to Satan, who had carried him off through the air, and left only
a part of his hair and brains sticking to the top of an oak?

_R_. She did not know whether that was his hair and brains at all, nor how
it came there. She went to the tree one morning because she heard a
woodpecker cry so dolefully. _Item_, old Paasch, who also had heard the
cries, came up with his axe in his hand.

_Q_. Whether the woodpecker was not the devil himself, who had carried off
old Seden?

_R_. She did not know: but he must have been dead some time, seeing that
the blood and brains which the lad fetched down out of the tree were quite
dried up.

_Q_. How and when, then, had he come by his death?

_R_. That Almighty God only knew. But Zuter his little girl had said, that
one day, while she gathered nettles for the cows under Seden his hedge,
she heard the goodman threaten his squint-eyed wife that he would tell the
parson that he now knew of a certainty that she had a familiar spirit;
whereupon the goodman had presently disappeared. But that this was a
child's tale, and she would fyle no one on the strength of it.

Hereupon _Dom. Consul_ again looked the Sheriff steadily in the face, and
said, "Old Lizzie Kolken must be brought before us this very day": whereto
the Sheriff made no answer; and he went on to ask,

_Q_. Whether, then, she still maintained that she knew nothing of the
devil?

_R_. She maintained it now, and would maintain it until her life's end.

_Q_. And nevertheless, as had been seen by witnesses, she had been
re-baptized by him in the sea in broad daylight.--Here again she blushed,
and for a moment was silent.

_Q_. Why did she blush again? She should for God his sake think on her
salvation, and confess the truth.

_R_. She had bathed herself in the sea, seeing that the day was very hot;
that was the whole truth.

_Q_. What chaste maiden would ever bathe in the sea? Thou liest; or wilt
thou even yet deny that thou didst bewitch old Paasch his little girl with
a white roll?

_R_. Alas! alas! she loved the child as though it were her own little
sister; not only had she taught her as well as all the other children
without reward, but during the heavy famine she had often taken the bit
from her own mouth to put it into the little child's. How, then, could she
have wished to do her such grievous harm?

_Q_. Wilt thou even yet deny?--Reverend Abraham, how stubborn is your
child! See here, is this no witches' salve, which the constable fetched
out of thy coffer last night? Is this no witches' salve, eh?

_R_. It was a salve for the skin, which would make it soft and white, as
the apothecary at Wolgast had told her, of whom she bought it.

_Q_. Hereupon he shook his head, and went on: How! wilt thou then lastly
deny that on this last Saturday the both July, at twelve o'clock at night,
thou didst on the Streckelberg call upon thy paramour the devil in
dreadful words, whereupon he appeared to thee in the shape of a great
hairy giant, and clipped thee and toyed with thee?

At these words she grew more pale than a corpse, and tottered so that she
was forced to hold by a chair: and I, wretched man, who would readily have
sworn away my life for her, when I saw and heard this, my senses forsook
me, so that I fell down from the bench, and _Dom. Consul_ had to call in
the constable to help me up.

When I had come to myself a little, and the impudent varlet saw our common
consternation, he cried out, grinning at the court the while, 'Is it all
out? is it all out? has she confessed?' Whereupon _Dom. Consul_ again
showed him the door with a sharp rebuke, as might have been expected; and
it is said that this knave played the pimp for the Sheriff, and indeed I
think he would not otherwise have been so bold.

_Summa_: I should well-nigh have perished in my distress, but for the
little rose, which by the help of God's mercy kept me up bravely; and now
the whole court rose and exhorted my poor fainting child, by the living
God, and as she would save her soul, to deny no longer, but in pity to
herself and her father to confess the truth.

[Illustration: The Apparition on the Streckelberg]

Hereupon she heaved a deep sigh, and grew as red as she had been pale
before, insomuch that even her hand upon the chair was like scarlet, and
she did not raise her eyes from the ground.

_R_. She would now then confess the simple truth, as she saw right well
that wicked people had stolen after and watched her at nights. That she
had been to seek for amber on the mountain, and that to drive away fear
she had, as she was wont to do at her work, recited the Latin _carmen_
which her father had made on the illustrious King Gustavus Adolphus: when
young Ruediger of Nienkerken, who had ofttimes been at her father's house
and talked of love to her, came out of the coppice, and when she cried out
for fear, spoke to her in Latin, and clasped her in his arms. That he wore
a great wolf's-skin coat, so that folks should not know him if they met
him, and tell the lord his father that he had been on the mountain by
night.

At this her confession I fell into sheer despair, and cried in great
wrath, "O thou ungodly and undutiful child, after all, then, thou hast a
paramour! Did not I forbid thee to go up the mountain by night? What didst
thou want on the mountain by night?" and I began to moan and weep and
wring my hands, so that _Dom. Consul_ even had pity on me, and drew near
to comfort me. Meanwhile she herself came towards me, and began to defend
herself, saying, with many tears, that she had gone up the mountain by
night, against my commands, to get so much amber that she might secretly
buy for me, against my birthday, the _Opera Sancti Augustim_, which the
Cantor at Wolgast wanted to sell. That it was not her fault that the young
lord lay in wait for her one night; and that she would swear to me, by the
living God, that nought that was unseemly had happened between them there,
and that she was still a maid.

And herewith the first hearing was at end, for after _Dom. Consul_ had
whispered somewhat into the ear of the Sheriff, he called in the constable
again, and bade him keep good watch over _Rea_; _item_, not to leave her
at large in her dungeon any longer, but to put her in chains. These words
pierced my very heart, and I besought his worship to consider my sacred
office, and my ancient noble birth, and not to do me such dishonour as to
put my daughter in chains. That I would answer for her to the worshipful
court with my own head that she would not escape. Whereupon _Dom. Consul_,
after he had gone to look at the dungeon himself, granted me my request,
and commanded the constable to leave her as she had been hitherto.




_The Nineteenth Chapter_


HOW SATAN, BY THE PERMISSION OF THE MOST RIGHTEOUS GOD, SOUGHT ALTOGETHER
TO RUIN US, AND HOW WE LOST ALL HOPE

The same day, at about three in the afternoon, when I was gone to Conrad
Seep his alehouse to eat something, seeing that it was now nearly two days
since I had tasted aught save my tears, and he had placed before me some
bread and sausage, together with a mug of beer, the constable came into
the room and greeted me from the Sheriff, without, however, so much as
touching his cap, asking whether I would not dine with his lordship; that
his lordship had not remembered till now that I belike was still fasting,
seeing the trial had lasted so long. Hereupon I made answer to the
constable that I already had my dinner before me, as he saw himself, and
desired that his lordship would hold me excused. Hereat the fellow
wondered greatly, and answered; did I not see that his lordship wished me
well, albeit I had preached at him as though he were a Jew? I should think
on my daughter, and be somewhat more ready to do his lordship's will,
whereby peradventure all would yet end well. For his lordship was not such
a rough ass as _Dom. Consul_, and meant well by my child and me, as
beseemed a righteous magistrate.

After I had with some trouble rid myself of this impudent fox, I tried to
eat a bit, but nothing would go down save the beer. I therefore soon sat
and thought again whether I would not lodge with Conrad Seep, so as to be
always near my child; _item_, whether I should not hand over my poor
misguided flock to M. Vigelius, the pastor of Benz, for such time as the
Lord still should prove me. In about an hour I saw through the window how
that an empty coach drove to the castle, and the Sheriff and _Dom. Consul_
straightway stepped thereinto with my child; _item_, the constable climbed
up behind. Hereupon I left everything on the table and ran to the coach,
asking humbly whither they were about to take my poor child; and when I
heard they were going to the Streckelberg to look after the amber, I
begged them to take me also, and to suffer me to sit by my child, for who
could tell how much longer I might yet sit by her! This was granted to me,
and on the way the Sheriff ordered me to take up my abode in the castle
and to dine at his table as often as I pleased, and that he would,
moreover, send my child her meat from his own table. For that he had a
Christian heart, and well knew that we were to forgive our enemies. But I
refused his kindness with humble thanks, as my child did also, seeing we
were not yet so poor that we could not maintain ourselves. As we passed by
the watermill the ungodly varlet there again thrust his head out of a hole
and pulled wry faces at my child; but, dear reader, he got something to
remember it by; for the Sheriff beckoned to the constable to fetch the
fellow out, and after he had reproached him with the tricks he had twice
played my child, the constable had to take the coachman his new whip and
to give him fifty lashes, which, God knows, were not laid on with a
feather. He bellowed like a bull, which, however, no one heard for the
noise of the mill-wheels, and when at last he did as though he could not
stir, we left him lying on the ground and went on our way.

As we drove through Uekeritze a number of people flocked together, but
were quiet enough, save one fellow who, _salva venia_, mocked at us with
unseemly gestures in the midst of the road when he saw us coming. The
constable had to jump down again, but could not catch him, and the others
would not give him up, but pretended that they had only looked at our
coach and had not marked him. May be this was true! And I am therefore
inclined to think that it was Satan himself who did it to mock at us; for
mark, for God's sake, what happened to us on the Streckelberg! Alas!
through the delusions of the foul fiend, we could not find the spot where
we had dug for the amber. For when we came to where we thought it must be,
a huge hill of sand had been heaped up as by a whirlwind, and the
fir-twigs which my child had covered over it were gone. She was near
falling in a swound when she saw this, and wrung her hands and cried out
with her Saviour, "My God, my God! why hast thou forsaken me!"

Howbeit, the constable and the coachman were ordered to dig, but not one
bit of amber was to be found, even so big as a grain of corn, whereupon
_Dom. Consul_ shook his head and violently upbraided my child. And when I
answered that Satan himself, as it seemed, had filled up the hollow in
order to bring us altogether into his power, the constable was ordered to
fetch a long stake out of the coppice which we might thrust still deeper
into the sand. But no hard _objectum_ was anywhere to be felt,
notwithstanding the Sheriff, _Dom. Consul_, and myself in my anguish did
try everywhere with the stake.

Hereupon my child besought her judges to go with her to Coserow, where she
still had much amber in her coffer which she had found here, and that if
it were the gift of the devil it would all be changed, since it was well
known that all the presents the devil makes to witches straightway turn to
mud and ashes.

But, God be merciful to us, God be merciful to us! when we returned to
Coserow, amid the wonderment of all the village, and my daughter went to
her coffer, the things therein were all tossed about, and the amber gone.
Hereupon she shrieked so loud that it would have softened a stone, and
cried out: "The wicked constable hath done this! when he fetched the salve
out of my coffer, he stole the amber from me, unhappy maid." But the
constable, who stood by, would have torn her hair, and cried out, "Thou
witch, thou damned witch, is it not enough that thou hast belied my lord,
but thou must now belie me too?" But _Dom. Consul_ forbade him, so that he
did not dare lay hands upon her. _Item_, all the money was gone which she
had hoarded up from the amber she had privately sold, and which she
thought already came to about ten florins.

But the gown which she had worn at the arrival of the most illustrious
King Gustavus Adolphus, as well as the golden chain with his effigy which
he had given her, I had locked up, as though it were a relic, in the chest
in the vestry, among the altar and pulpit cloths, and there we found them
still; and when I excused myself therefore, saying that I had thought to
have saved them up for her there against her bridal day, she gazed with
fixed and glazed eyes into the box, and cried out, "Yes, against the day
when I shall be burnt; O Jesu, Jesu, Jesu!" Hereat _Dom. Consul_ shuddered
and said, "See how thou still dost smite thyself with thine own words! For
the sake of God and thy salvation, confess, for if thou knowest thyself to
be innocent, how, then, canst thou think that thou wilt be burnt?" But she
still looked him fixedly in the face, and cried aloud in Latin,
"_Innocentia, quid est innocentia? Ubi libido dominatur, innocentia leve
praesidium est_."

Hereupon _Dom. Consul_ again shuddered, so that his beard wagged, and
said, "What, dost thou indeed know Latin? Where didst thou learn the
Latin?" And when I answered this question as well as I was able for
sobbing, he shook his head and said, "I never in my life heard of a woman
that knew Latin." Upon this he knelt down before her coffer, and turned
over everything therein, drew it away from the wall, and when he found
nothing he bade us show him her bed, and did the same with that. This, at
length, vexed the Sheriff, who asked him whether they should not drive
back again, seeing that night was coming on. But he answered, "Nay, I must
first have the written paction which Satan has given her"; and he went on
with his search until it was almost dark. But they found nothing at all,
although _Dom. Consul_, together with the constable, passed over no hole
or corner, even in the kitchen and cellar. Hereupon he got up again into
the coach, muttering to himself, and bade my daughter sit so that she
should not look upon him.

And now we once more had the same _spectaculum_ with the accursed old
witch Lizzie Kolken, seeing that she again sat at her door as we drove by,
and began to sing at the top of her voice, "We praise thee, O Lord." But
she screeched like a stuck pig, so that _Dom. Consul_ was amazed thereat,
and when he had heard who she was, he asked the Sheriff whether he would
not that she should be seized by the constable and be tied behind the
coach to run after it, as we had no room for her elsewhere; for that he
had often been told that all old women who had red squinting eyes and
sharp voices were witches, not to mention the suspicious things which
_Rea_ had declared against her. But he answered that he could not do this,
seeing that old Lizzie was a woman in good repute and fearing God as _Dom.
Consul_ might learn for himself; but that, nevertheless, he had had her
summoned for the morrow, together with the other witnesses.

Yea, in truth, an excellently devout and worthy woman!--for scarcely were
we out of the village, when so fearful a storm of thunder, lightning,
wind, and hail burst over our heads, that the corn all around us was
beaten down as with a flail, and the horses before the coach were quite
maddened; however, it did not last long. But my poor child had to bear all
the blame again, inasmuch as _Dom. Consul_ thought that it was not old
Lizzie, which, nevertheless, was as clear as the sun at noonday! but my
poor daughter who brewed the storm;--for, beloved reader, what could it
have profited her, even if she had known the black art? This, however, did
not strike _Dom. Consul_, and Satan, by the permission of the
all-righteous God, was presently to use us still worse; for just as we got
to the Master's Dam, he came flying over us in the shape of a stork, and
dropped a frog so exactly over us that it fell into my daughter her lap:
she gave a shrill scream, but I whispered her to sit still, and that I
would secretly throw the frog away by one leg.

But the constable had seen it, and cried out, "Hey, sirs! hey, look at the
cursed witch! what has the devil just thrown into her lap?" Whereupon the
Sheriff and _Dom. Consul_ looked round and saw the frog, which crawled in
her lap, and the constable after he had blown upon it three times, took it
up and showed it to their lordships. Hereat _Dom. Consul_ began to spew,
and when he had done, he ordered the coachman to stop, got down from the
coach, and said we might drive home, that he felt qualmish, and would go
afoot and see if he got better. But first he privately whispered to the
constable, which, howbeit, we heard right well, that when he got home he
should lay my poor child in chains, but not so as to hurt her much; to
which neither she nor I could answer save by tears and sobs. But the
Sheriff had heard it too, and when his worship was out of sight he began
to stroke my child her cheeks from behind her back, telling her to be
easy, as he also had a word to say in the matter, and that the constable
should not lay her in chains. But that she must leave off being so hard to
him as she had been hitherto, and come and sit on the seat beside him,
that he might privately give her some good advice as to what was to be
done. To this she answered, with many tears, that she wished to sit only
by her father, as she knew not how much longer she might sit by him at
all; and she begged for nothing more save that his lordship would leave
her in peace. But this he would not do, but pinched her back and sides
with his knees; and as she bore with this, seeing that there was no help
for it, he waxed bolder, taking it for a good sign. Meanwhile _Dom.
Consul_ called out close behind us (for being frightened he ran just after
the coach), "Constable, constable, come here quick; here lies a hedgehog
in the midst of the road!" whereupon the constable jumped down from the
coach.

This made the Sheriff still bolder; and at last my child rose up and said,
"Father, let us also go afoot; I can no longer guard myself from him here
behind!" But he pulled her down again by her clothes, and cried out
angrily, "Wait, thou wicked witch, I will help thee to go afoot if thou
art so wilful; thou shalt be chained to the block this very night."
Whereupon she answered, "Do you do that which you cannot help doing; the
righteous God, it is to be hoped, will one day do unto you what He cannot
help doing."

Meanwhile we had reached the castle, and scarcely were we got out of the
coach, when _Dom. Consul_, who had run till he was all of a sweat, came up
together with the constable, and straightway gave over my child into his
charge, so that I had scarce time to bid her farewell. I was left standing
on the floor below, wringing my hands in the dark, and hearkened whither
they were leading her, inasmuch as I had not the heart to follow, when
_Dom. Consul_, who had stepped into a room with the Sheriff, looked out at
the door again, and called after the constable to bring _Rea_ once more
before them. And when he had done so, and I went into the room with them,
_Dom. Consul_ held a letter in his hand, and, after spitting thrice, he
began thus: "Wilt thou still deny, thou stubborn witch? Hear what the old
knight, Hans von Nienkerken, writes to the court!" Whereupon he read out
to us that his son was so disturbed by the tale the accursed witch had
told of him that he had fallen sick from that very hour, and that he, the
father, was not much better. That his son Ruediger had indeed at times,
when he went that way, been to see Pastor Schweidler, whom he had first
known upon a journey; but that he swore that he wished he might turn black
if he had ever used any folly or jesting with the cursed devil's whore his
daughter; much less ever been with her by night on the Streckelberg, or
embraced her there.

At this dreadful news we both (I mean my child and I) fell down in a
swound together, seeing that we had rested our last hopes on the young
lord; and I know not what further happened. For when I came to myself, my
host, Conrad Seep, was standing over me, holding a funnel between my
teeth, through which he ladled some warm beer down my throat, and I never
felt more wretched in all my life; insomuch that Master Seep had to
undress me like a little child, and to help me into bed.




_The Twentieth Chapter_


OF THE MALICE OF THE GOVERNOR AND OF OLD LIZZIE:
_ITEM_, OF THE EXAMINATION OF WITNESSES

The next morning my hairs, which till _datum_ had been mingled with grey,
were white as snow, albeit the Lord otherwise blessed me wondrously. For
near daybreak a nightingale flew into the elder-bush beneath my window,
and sang so sweetly that straightway I thought it must be a good angel.
For after I had hearkened a while to it, I was all at once able again to
pray, which since last Sunday I could not do; and the spirit of our Lord
Jesus Christ began to speak within me, "Abba, Father"; and straightway I
was of good cheer, trusting that God would once more be gracious unto me
his wretched child; and when I had given him thanks for such great mercy,
I fell into a refreshing slumber, and slept so long that the blessed sun
stood high in the heavens when I awoke.

And seeing that my heart was still of good cheer, I sat up in my bed, and
sang with a loud voice, "Be not dismayed, thou little flock": whereupon
Master Seep came into the room, thinking I had called him. But he stood
reverently waiting till I had done; and after marvelling at my snow-white
hair, he told me it was already seven; _item_, that half my congregation,
among others my ploughman, Claus Neels, were already assembled in his
house to bear witness that day. When I heard this, I bade mine host
forthwith send Claus to the castle, to ask when the court would open, and
he brought word back that no one knew, seeing that _Dom. Consul_ was
already gone that morning to Mellenthin to see old Nienkerken, and was not
yet come back. This message gave me good courage, and I asked the fellow
whether he also had come to bear witness against my poor child? To which
he answered, "Nay, I know nought save good of her, and I would give the
fellows their due, only--"

These words surprised me, and I vehemently urged him to open his heart to
me. But he began to weep, and at last said that he knew nothing. Alas! he
knew but too much, and could then have saved my poor child if he had
willed. But from fear of the torture he held his peace, as he since owned;
and I will here relate what had befallen him that very morning.

He had set out betimes that morning, so as to be alone with his
sweetheart, who was to go along with him (she is Steffen of Zempin his
daughter, not farmer Steffen, but the lame gouty Steffen), and had got to
Pudgla about five, where he found no one in the ale-house save old Lizzie
Kolken, who straightway hobbled up to the castle; and when his sweetheart
was gone home again, time hung heavy on his hands, and he climbed over the
wall into the castle garden, where he threw himself on his face behind a
hedge to sleep. But before long the Sheriff came with old Lizzie, and
after they had looked all round and seen no one, they went into an arbour
close by him, and conversed as follows:--

_Ille_. Now that they were alone together, what did she want of him?

_Illa_. She came to get the money for the witchcraft she had contrived in
the village.

_Ille_. Of what use had all this witchcraft been to him? My child, so far
from being frightened, defied him more and more; and he doubted whether he
should ever have his will of her.

_Illa_. He should only have patience; when she was laid upon the rack she
would soon learn to be fond.

_Ille_. That might be, but till then she (Lizzie) should get no money.

_Illa_. What! Must she then do his cattle a mischief?

_Ille_. Yes, if she felt chilly, and wanted a burning fagot to warm her
_podex_, she had better. Moreover, he thought that she had bewitched him,
seeing that his desire for the parson's daughter was such as he had never
felt before.

_Illa_. (Laughing.) He had said the same thing some thirty years ago, when
he first came after her.

_Ille_. Ugh! thou old baggage, don't remind me of such things, but see to
it that you get three witnesses, as I told you before, or else methinks
they will rack your old joints for you after all.

_Illa_. She had the three witnesses ready, and would leave the rest to
him. But that if she were racked she would reveal all she knew.

_Ille_. She should hold her ugly tongue, and go to the devil.

_Illa_. So she would, but first she must have her money.

_Ille_. She should have no money till he had had his will of my daughter.

_Illa_. He might at least pay her for her little pig which she herself had
bewitched to death, in order that she might not get into evil repute.

_Ille_. She might choose one when his pigs were driven by, and say she had
paid for it. Hereupon, said my Claus, the pigs were driven by, and one ran
into the garden, the door being open, and as the swineherd followed it,
they parted; but the witch muttered to herself, "Now help, devil, help,
that I may--" but he heard no further.

The cowardly fellow, however, hid all this from me, as I have said above,
and only said, with tears, that he knew nothing. I believed him, and sat
down at the window to see when _Dom. Consul_ should return; and when I saw
him I rose and went to the castle, where the constable, who was already
there with my child, met me before the judgment-chamber. Alas! she looked
more joyful than I had seen her for a long time, and smiled at me with her
sweet little mouth: but when she saw my snow-white hair, she gave a cry,
which made _Dom. Consul_ throw open the door of the judgment-chamber, and
say, "Ha, ha! thou knowest well what news I have brought thee; come in,
thou stubborn devil's brat!" Whereupon we stepped into the chamber to him,
and he lift up his voice and spake to me, after he had sat down with the
Sheriff, who was by.

He said that yestereven, after he had caused me to be carried like one
dead to Master Seep his ale-house, and that my stubborn child had been
brought to life again, he had once more adjured her, to the utmost of his
power, no longer to lie before the face of the living God, but to confess
the truth; whereupon she had borne herself very unruly, and had wrung her
hands and wept and sobbed, and at last answered that the young _nobilis_
never could have said such things, but that his father must have written
them, who hated her, as she had plainly seen when the Swedish king was at
Coserow. That he, _Dom. Consul_, had indeed doubted the truth of this at
the time, but as a just judge had gone that morning right early with the
_scriba_ to Mellenthin, to question the young lord himself.

That I might now see myself what horrible malice was in my daughter. For
that the old knight had led him to his son's bedside, who still lay sick
from vexation, and that he had confirmed all his father had written, and
had cursed the scandalous she-devil (as he called my daughter) for seeking
to rob him of his knightly honour. "What sayest thou now?" he continued;
"wilt thou still deny thy great wickedness? See here the _protocollum_
which the young lord hath signed _manu propria_!" But the wretched maid
had meanwhile fallen on the ground again, and the constable had no sooner
seen this than he ran into the kitchen, and came back with a burning
brimstone match, which he was about to hold under her nose.

But I hindered him, and sprinkled her face with water, so that she opened
her eyes, and raised herself up by a table. She then stood a while,
without saying a word or regarding my sorrow. At last she smiled sadly,
and spake thus: That she clearly saw how true was that spoken by the Holy
Ghost, "Cursed be the man that trusteth in man"; and that the
faithlessness of the young lord had surely broken her poor heart if the
all-merciful God had not graciously prevented him, and sent her a dream
that night, which she would tell, not hoping to persuade the judges, but
to raise up the white head of her poor father.

"After I had sat and watched all the night," quoth she, "towards morning I
heard a nightingale sing in the castle-garden so sweetly that my eyes
closed, and I slept. Then methought I was a lamb, grazing quietly in my
meadow at Coserow. Suddenly the Sheriff jumped over the hedge and turned
into a wolf, who seized me in his jaws, and ran with me towards the
Streckelberg, where he had his lair. I, poor little lamb, trembled and
bleated in vain, and saw death before my eyes, when he laid me down before
his lair, where lay the she-wolf and her young. But behold a hand, like
the hand of a man, straightway came out of the bushes and touched the
wolves, each one with one finger, and crushed them so that nought was left
of them save a grey powder. Hereupon the hand took me up, and carried me
back to my meadow."

Only think, beloved reader, how I felt when I heard all this, and about
the dear nightingale too, which no one can doubt to have been the servant
of God. I clasped my child with many tears, and told her what had happened
to me, and we both won such courage and confidence as we had never yet
felt, to the wonderment of _Dom. Consul_, as it seemed; but the Sheriff
turned as pale as a sheet when she stepped towards their worships and
said, "And now do with me as you will, the lamb fears not, for she is in
the hands of the Good Shepherd!" Meanwhile _Dom. Camerarius_ came in with
the _scriba_, but was terrified as he chanced to touch my daughter's apron
with the skirts of his coat; and stood and scraped at his coat as a woman
scrapes a fish. At last, after he had spat out thrice, he asked the court
whether it would not begin to examine witnesses, seeing that all the
people had been waiting some time both in the castle and at the ale-house.
Hereunto they agreed, and the constable was ordered to guard my child in
his room, until it should please the court to summon her. I therefore went
with her, but, we had to endure much from the impudent rogue, seeing he
was not ashamed to lay his arm round my child her shoulders and to ask for
a kiss _in mea presentia_. But, before I could get out a word, she tore
herself from him, and said, "Ah, thou wicked knave, must I complain of
thee to the court; hast thou forgotten what thou hast already done to me?"
To which, he answered, laughing, "See, see! how coy"; and still sought to
persuade her to be more willing, and not to forget her own interest; for
that he meant as well by her as his master; she might believe it or not;
with many other scandalous words besides which I have forgot; for I took
my child upon my knees and laid my head on her neck, and we sat and wept.




_The Twenty-first Chapter_


DE CONFRONTATIONE TESTIUM

When we were summoned before the court again, the whole court was full of
people, and some shuddered when they saw us, but others wept; my child
told the same tale as before. But when our old Ilse was called, who sat on
a bench behind, so that we had not seen her, the strength wherewith the
Lord had gifted her was again at an end, and she repeated the words of our
Saviour, "He that eateth bread with me hath lift up his heel against me":
and she held fast by my chair. Old Ilse, too, could not walk straight for
very grief, nor could she speak for tears, but she twisted and wound
herself about before the court like a woman in travail. But when Dom.
Consul threatened that the constable should presently help her to her
words, she testified that my child had very often got up in the night and
called aloud upon the foul fiend.

_Q_. Whether she had ever heard Satan answer her?

_R_. She never had heard him at all.

_Q_. Whether she had perceived that _Rea_ had a familiar spirit, and in
what shape? She should think upon her oath, and speak the truth.

_R_. She had never seen one.

_Q_. Whether she had ever heard her fly up the chimney?

_R_. Nay, she had always gone softly out at the door.

_Q_. Whether she never at mornings had missed her broom or pitch-fork?

_R_. Once the broom was gone, but she had found it again behind the stove,
and may be left it there herself by mistake.

_Q_. Whether she had never heard _Rea_ cast a spell or wish harm to this
or that person?

_R_. No, never; she had always wished her neighbours nothing but good, and
even in the time of bitter famine had taken the bread out of her own mouth
to give it to others.

_Q_. Whether she did not know the salve which had been found in _Rea_ her
coffer?

_R_. Oh, yes! her young mistress had brought it back from Wolgast for her
skin, and had once given her some when she had chapped hands, and it had
done her a vast deal of good.

_Q_. Whether she had anything further to say?

_R_. No, nothing but good.

Hereupon my man Claus Neels was called up. He also came forward in tears,
but answered every question with a "Nay," and at last testified that he
had never seen nor heard anything bad of my child, and knew nought of her
doings by night, seeing that he slept in the stable with the horses; and
that he firmly believed that evil folks--and here he looked at old
Lizzie--had brought this misfortune upon her, and that she was quite
innocent.

When it came to the turn of this old limb of Satan, who was to be the
chief witness, my child again declared that she would not accept old
Lizzie's testimony against her, and called upon the court for justice, for
that she had hated her from her youth up, and had been longer by habit and
repute a witch than she herself.

But the old hag cried out, "God forgive thee thy sins; the whole village
knows that I am a devout woman, and one serving the Lord in all things";
whereupon she called up old Zuter Witthahn and my church-warden Claus
Bulk, who bore witness hereto. But old Paasch stood and shook his head;
nevertheless when my child said, "Paasch, wherefore dost thou shake thy
head?" he started, and answered, "Oh, nothing!"

Howbeit, _Dom. Consul_ likewise perceived this, and asked him, whether he
had any charge to bring against old Lizzie; if so, he should give glory to
God, and state the same; _item_, it was competent to every one so to do;
indeed the court required of him to speak out all he knew.

But from fear of the old dragon, all were still as mice, so that you might
have heard the flies buzz about the inkstand. I then stood up, wretched as
I was, and stretched out my arms over my amazed and faint-hearted people
and spake, "Can ye thus crucify me together with my poor child? Have I
deserved this at your hands? Speak, then; alas, will none speak?" I heard,
indeed, how several wept aloud, but not one spake; and hereupon my poor
child was forced to submit.

And the malice of the old hag was such that she not only accused my child
of the most horrible witchcraft, but also reckoned to a day when she had
given herself up to Satan to rob her of her maiden honour; and she said
that Satan had, without doubt, then defiled her when she could no longer
heal the cattle, and when they all died. Hereupon my child said nought,
save that she cast down her eyes and blushed deep, for shame at such
filthiness; and to the other blasphemous slander which the old hag uttered
with many tears, namely, that my daughter had given up her (Lizzie's)
husband, body and soul, to Satan, she answered as she had done before. But
when the old hag came to her re-baptism in the sea, and gave out that
while seeking for strawberries in the coppice she had recognised my
child's voice, and stolen towards her, and perceived these devil's doings,
my child fell in smiling, and answered, "Oh, thou evil woman! how couldst
thou hear my voice speaking down by the sea, being thyself in the forest
upon the mountain? surely thou liest, seeing that the murmur of the waves
would make that impossible." This angered the old dragon, and seeking to
get out of the blunder she fell still deeper into it, for she said, "I saw
thee move thy lips, and from that I knew that thou didst call upon thy
paramour the devil!" for my child straight-way replied, "Oh, thou ungodly
woman! thou saidst thou wert in the forest when thou didst hear my voice;
how then up in the forest couldst thou see whether I, who was below by the
water, moved my lips or not?"--

Such contradictions amazed even _Dom. Consul_, and he began to threaten
the old hag with the rack if she told such lies; whereupon she answered
and said, "List, then, whether I lie! When she went naked into the water
she had no mark on her body, but when she came out again I saw that she
had between her breasts a mark the size of a silver penny, whence I
perceived that the devil had given it her, although I had not seen him
about her, nor, indeed, had I seen any one, either spirit or child of man,
for she seemed to be quite alone."

Hereupon the Sheriff jumped up from his seat, and cried, "Search must
straightway be made for this mark"; whereupon _Dom. Consul_ answered,
"Yea, but not by us, but by two women of good repute," for he would not
hearken to what my child said, that it was a mole, and that she had had it
from her youth up, wherefore the constable his wife was sent for, and
_Dom. Consul_ muttered somewhat into her ear, and as prayers and tears
were of no avail, my child was forced to go with her. Howbeit, she
obtained this favour, that old Lizzie Kolken was not to follow her, as she
would have done, but our old maid Ilse. I, too, went in my sorrow, seeing
that I knew not what the women might do to her. She wept bitterly as they
undressed her, and held her hands over her eyes for very shame.

Well-a-day, her body was just as white as my departed wife's; although in
her childhood, as I remember, she was very yellow, and I saw with
amazement the mole between her breasts, whereof I had never heard aught
before. But she suddenly screamed violently and started back, seeing that
the constable his wife, when nobody watched her, had run a needle into the
mole, so deep that the red blood ran down over her breasts. I was sorely
angered thereat, but the woman said that she had done it by order of the
judge, which, indeed, was true; for when we came back into court, and the
Sheriff asked how it was, she testified that there was a mark of the size
of a silver penny, of a yellowish colour, but that it had feeling, seeing
that _Rea_ had screamed aloud when she had, unperceived, driven a needle
therein. Meanwhile, however, _Dom. Camerarius_ suddenly rose, and,
stepping up to my child, drew her eyelids asunder, and cried out,
beginning to tremble, "Behold the sign which never fails": whereupon the
whole court started to their feet, and looked at the little spot under her
right eyelid, which in truth had been left there by a stye, but this none
would believe. _Dom. Consul_ now said, "See, Satan hath marked thee on
body and soul! and thou dost still continue to lie unto the Holy Ghost;
but it shall not avail thee, and thy punishment will only be the heavier.
Oh, thou shameless woman! thou hast refused to accept the testimony of old
Lizzie; wilt thou also refuse that of these people, who have all heard
thee on the mountain call upon the devil thy paramour, and seen him appear
in the likeness of a hairy giant, and kiss and caress thee?"

Hereupon old Paasch, goodwife Witthahn, and Zuter came forward and bare
witness, that they had seen this happen about midnight, and that on this
declaration they would live and die; that old Lizzie had awakened them one
Saturday night about eleven o'clock, had given them a can of beer, and
persuaded them to follow the parson's daughter privately, and to see what
she did upon the mountain. At first they refused but in order to get at
the truth about the witchcraft in the village, they had at last, after a
devout prayer, consented, and had followed her in God's name.

They had soon through the bushes seen the witch in the moonshine; she
seemed to dig, and spake in some strange tongue the while, whereupon the
grim arch-fiend suddenly appeared, and fell upon her neck. Hereupon they
ran away in consternation, but, by the help of the Almighty God, on whom
from the very first they had set their faith, they were preserved from the
power of the Evil One. For, notwithstanding he had turned round on hearing
a rustling in the bushes, he had had no power to harm them.

Finally, it was even charged to my child as a crime, that she had fainted
on the road from Coserow to Pudgla, and none would believe that this had
been caused by vexation at old Lizzie her singing, and not from a bad
conscience, as stated by the judge.

When all the witnesses had been examined, _Dom. Consul_ asked her whether
she had brewed the storm, what was the meaning of the frog that dropped
into her lap, _item_, the hedgehog which lay directly in his path? To all
of which she answered, that she had caused the one as little as she knew
of the other. Whereupon _Dom. Consul_ shook his head, and asked her, last
of all, whether she would have an advocate, or trust entirely in the good
judgment of the court. To this she gave answer that she would by all means
have an advocate. Wherefore I sent my ploughman, Claus Neels, the next day
to Wolgast to fetch the _Syndicus_ Michelsen, who is a worthy man, and in
whose house I have been many times when I went to the town, seeing that he
courteously invited me.

I must also note here that at this time my old Ilse came back to live with
me; for after the witnesses were gone she stayed behind in the chamber,
and came boldly up to me, and besought me to suffer her once more to serve
her old master and her dear young mistress; for that now she had saved her
poor soul, and confessed all she knew. Wherefore she could no longer bear
to see her old masters in such woeful plight, without so much as a
mouthful of victuals, seeing that she had heard that old wife Seep, who
had till _datum_ prepared the food for me and my child, often let the
porridge burn; _item_, oversalted the fish and the meat. Moreover, that I
was so weakened by age and misery, that I needed help and support, which
she would faithfully give me, and was ready to sleep in the stable, if
needs must be; that she wanted no wages for it, I was only not to turn her
away. Such kindness made my daughter to weep, and she said to me, "Behold,
father, the good folks come back to us again; think you, then, that the
good angels will forsake us for ever? I thank thee, old Use; thou shall
indeed prepare my food for me, and always bring it as far as the
prison-door, if thou mayest come no further; and mark, then, I pray thee,
what the constable does therewith."

This the maid promised to do, and from this time forth took up her abode
in the stable. May God repay her at the day of judgment for what she then
did for me and for my poor child!




_The Twenty-second Chapter_


HOW THE _SYNDICUS DOM._ MICHELSEN ARRIVED AND PREPARED HIS DEFENCE OF MY
POOR CHILD

The next day, at about three o'clock P.M., _Dom. Syndicus_ came driving
up, and got out of his coach at my inn. He had a huge bag full of books
with him, but was not so friendly in his manner as was usual with him, but
very grave and silent. And after he had saluted me in my own room, and had
asked how it was possible for my child to have come to such misfortune, I
related to him the whole affair, whereat, however, he only shook his head.
On my asking him whether he would not see my child that same day, he
answered, "Nay"; he would rather first study the _acta_. And after he had
eaten of some wild duck-which my old Ilse had roasted for him, he would
tarry no longer, but straightway went up to the castle, whence he did not
return till the following afternoon. His manner was not more friendly now
than at his first coming, and I followed him with sighs when he asked me
to lead him to my daughter. As we went in with the constable, and I, for
the first time, saw my child in chains before me--she who in her whole
life had never hurt a worm--I again felt as though I should die for very
grief. But she smiled and cried out to _Dom. Syndicus_, "Are you indeed
the good angel who will cause my chains to fall from my hands, as was done
of yore to St. Peter?" To which he replied, with a sigh, "May the Almighty
God grant it"; and as, save the chair whereon my child sat against the
wall, there was none other in the dungeon (which was a filthy and stinking
hole, wherein were more wood-lice than ever I saw in my life), _Dom.
Syndicus_ and I sat down on her bed, which had been left for her at my
prayer; and he ordered the constable to go his ways until he should call
him back. Hereupon he asked my child what she had to say in her
justification; and she had not gone far in her defence when I perceived,
from the shadow at the door, that some one must be standing without. I
therefore went quickly to the door, which was half open, and found the
impudent constable, who stood there to listen. This so angered _Dom.
Syndicus_ that he snatched up his staff in order to hasten his going, but
the arch-rogue took to his heels as soon as he saw this. My child took
this opportunity to tell her worshipful defensor what she had suffered
from the impudence of this fellow, and to beg that some other constable
might be set over her, seeing that this one had come to her last night
again with evil designs, so that she at last had shrieked aloud and beaten
him on the head with her chains; whereupon he had left her. This _Dom.
Syndicus_ promised to obtain for her; but with regard to the _defensio_,
wherewith she now went on, he thought it would be better to make no
further mention of the _impetus_ which the Sheriff had made on her
chastity. "For," said he, "as the princely central court at Wolgast has to
give sentence upon thee, this statement would do thee far more harm than
good, seeing that the _praeses_ thereof is a cousin of the Sheriff, and
ofttimes goes a-hunting with him. Besides, thou being charged with a
capital crime hast no _fides_, especially as thou canst bring no witnesses
against him. Thou couldst, therefore, gain no belief even if thou didst
confirm the charge on the rack, wherefrom, moreover, I am come hither to
save thee by my _defensio_." These reasons seemed sufficient to us both,
and we resolved to leave vengeance to Almighty God, who seeth in secret,
and to complain of our wrongs to him, as we might not complain to men. But
all my daughter said about old Lizzie--_item_, of the good report wherein
she herself had, till now, stood with everybody--he said he would write
down, and add thereunto as much and as well of his own as he was able, so
as, by the help of Almighty God, to save her from the torture. That she
was to make herself easy and commend herself to God; within two days he
hoped to have his _defensio_ ready and to read it to her. And now, when he
called the constable back again, the fellow did not come, but sent his
wife to lock the prison, and I took leave of my child with many tears:
_Dom. Syndicus_ told the woman the while what her impudent rogue of a
husband had done, that she might let him hear more of it. Then he sent the
woman away again and came back to my daughter, saying that he had
forgotten to ascertain whether she really knew the Latin tongue, and that
she was to say her _defensio_ over again in Latin, if she was able.
Hereupon she began and went on therewith for a quarter of an hour or more,
in such wise that not only _Dom. Syndicus_ but I myself also was amazed,
seeing that she did not stop for a single word, save the word
"hedgehog," which we both had forgotten at the moment when she asked us
what it was.--_Summa. Dom. Syndicus_ grew far more gracious when she had
finished her oration, and took leave of her, promising that he would set
to work forthwith.

After this I did not see him again till the morning of the third day at
ten o'clock, seeing that he sat at work in a room at the castle, which the
Sheriff had given him, and also ate there, as he sent me word by old Ilse
when she carried him his breakfast next day.

At the above-named time he sent the new constable for me, who, meanwhile,
had been fetched from Uzdom at his desire. For the Sheriff was exceeding
wroth when he heard that the impudent fellow had attempted my child in the
prison, and cried out in a rage, "S'death, and 'ouns, I'll mend thy
coaxing!" Whereupon he gave him a sound thrashing with a dog-whip he held
in his hand, to make sure that she should be at peace from him.

But, alas! the new constable was even worse than the old, as will be shown
hereafter. His name was Master Koeppner, and he was a tall fellow with a
grim face, and a mouth so wide that at every word he said the spittle ran
out at the corners, and stuck in his long beard like soap-suds, so that my
child had an especial fear and loathing of him. Moreover, on all occasions
he seemed to laugh in mockery and scorn, as he did when he opened the
prison-door to us, and saw my poor child sitting in her grief and
distress. But he straightway left us without waiting to be told, whereupon
_Dom. Syndicus_ drew his defence out of his pocket, and read it to us; we
have remembered the main points thereof, and I will recount them here, but
most of the _auctores_ we have forgotten.

1. He began by saying that my daughter had ever till now stood in good
repute, as not only the whole village, but even my servants bore witness;
_ergo_, she could not be a witch, inasmuch as the Saviour hath said, "A
good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring
forth good fruit" (Matt. vii.).

2. With regard to the witchcraft in the village, that belike was the
contrivance of old Lizzie, seeing that she bore a great hatred towards
_Rea_, and had long been in evil repute, for that the parishioners dared
not to speak out, only from fear of the old witch; wherefore Zuter, her
little girl, must be examined, who had heard old Lizzie her goodman tell
her she had a familiar spirit, and that he would tell it to the parson;
for that notwithstanding the above-named was but a child, still it was
written in Psalm viii., "Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings hast thou
ordained strength...."; and the Saviour himself appealed (Matt. xxi.) to
the testimony of little children.

3. Furthermore, old Lizzie might have bewitched the crops, _item_, the
fruit-trees, inasmuch as none could believe that _Rea_, who had ever shown
herself a dutiful child, would have bewitched her own father's corn, or
made caterpillars come on his trees; for no one, according to Scripture,
can serve two masters.

_Item_, she (old Lizzie) might very well have been the woodpecker that was
seen by _Rea_ and old Paasch on the Streckelberg, and herself have given
over her goodman to the Evil One for fear of the parson, inasmuch as
Spitzel _De Expugnatione Orci_ asserts; _item_, the _Malleus Maleficarum_
proves beyond doubt that the wicked children of Satan ofttimes change
themselves into all manner of beasts, as the foul fiend himself likewise
seduced our first parents in the shape of a serpent (Gen. iii.).

5. That old Lizzie had most likely made the wild weather when _Dom.
Consul_ was coming home with _Rea_ from the Streckelberg, seeing it was
impossible that _Rea_ could have done it, as she was sitting in the coach,
whereas witches when they raise storms always stand in the water, and
throw it over their heads backwards; _item_, beat the stones soundly with
a stick, as Hannold relates. Wherefore she too, may be, knew best about
the frog and the hedgehog.

6. That _Rea_ was erroneously charged with that as a _crimen_ which ought
rather to serve as her justification, namely, her sudden riches. For the
_Malleus Maleficarum_ expressly says that a witch can never grow rich,
seeing that Satan, to do dishonour to God, always buys them for a vile
price, so that they should not betray themselves by their riches.
Wherefore that as _Rea_ had grown rich, she could not have got her wealth
from the foul fiend, but it must be true that she had found amber on the
mountain; that the spells of old Lizzie might have been the cause why they
could not find the vein of amber again, or that the sea might have washed
away the cliff below, as often happens, whereupon the top had slipped
down, so that only a _miraculum naturale_ had taken place. The proof which
he brought forward from Scripture we have quite forgotten, seeing it was
but middling.

7. With regard to her re-baptism, the old hag had said herself that she
had not seen the devil or any other spirit or man about _Rea_, wherefore
she might in truth have been only naturally bathing, in order to greet the
King of Sweden next day, seeing that the weather was hot, and that bathing
was not of itself sufficient to impair the modesty of a maiden. For that
she had as little thought any would see her as Bathsheba the daughter of
Eliam, and wife of Uriah the Hittite, who in like manner did bathe
herself, as is written (2 Sam. xi. 2), without knowing that David could
see her. Neither could her mark be a mark given by Satan, inasmuch as
there was feeling therein; _ergo_, it must be a natural mole, and it was a
lie that she had it not before bathing. Moreover, that on this point the
old harlot was nowise to be believed, seeing that she had fallen from one
contradiction into another about it, as stated in the _acta_.

8. Neither was it just to accuse _Rea_ of having bewitched Paasch his
little daughter; for as old Lizzie was going in and out of the room, nay,
even sat herself down on the little girl her belly when the pastor went to
see her, it most likely was that wicked woman (who was known to have a
great spite against _Rea_) that contrived the spell through the power of
the foul fiend, and by permission of the all-just God; for that Satan was
"a liar and the father of it," as our Lord Christ says (John viii.).

9. With regard to the appearance of the foul fiend on the mountain in the
shape of a hairy giant, that indeed was the heaviest _gravamen_, inasmuch
as not only old Lizzie, but likewise three trustworthy witnesses, had seen
him. But who could tell whether it was not old Lizzie herself who had
contrived this devilish apparition in order to ruin her enemy altogether;
for that notwithstanding the apparition was not the young nobleman, as
_Rea_ had declared it to be, it still was very likely that she had not
lied, but had mistaken Satan for the young lord, as he appeared in his
shape; _exemplum_, for this was to be found even in Scripture: for that
all _Theologi_ of the whole Protestant Church were agreed that the vision
which the witch of Endor showed to King Saul was not Samuel himself, but
the arch-fiend; nevertheless, Saul had taken it for Samuel. In like manner
the old harlot might have conjured up the devil before _Rea_, who did not
perceive that it was not the young lord, but Satan, who had put on that
shape in order to seduce her; for as _Rea_ was a fair woman, none could
wonder that the devil gave himself more trouble for her than for an old
withered hag, seeing he has ever sought after fair women to lie with them.

Lastly, he argued that _Rea_ was in nowise marked as a witch, for that she
neither had bleared and squinting eyes nor a hooked nose, whereas old
Lizzie had both, which Theophrastus Paracelsus declares to be an unfailing
mark of a witch, saying, "Nature marketh none thus unless by abortion, for
these are the chiefest signs whereby witches be known whom the spirit
_Asiendens_ hath subdued unto himself."

When _Dom. Syndicus_ had read his _defensio_, my daughter was so rejoiced
thereat that she would have kissed his hand, but he snatched it from her
and breathed upon it thrice, whereby we could easily see that he himself
was nowise in earnest with his _defensio_. Soon after he took leave in an
ill-humour, after commending her to the care of the Most High, and begged
that I would make my farewell as short as might be, seeing that he
purposed to return home that very day, the which, alas! I very unwillingly
did.




_The Twenty-third Chapter_


HOW MY POOR CHILD WAS SENTENCED TO BE PUT TO THE QUESTION

After _acta_ had been sent to the honourable the central court, about
fourteen days passed over before any answer was received. My lord the
Sheriff was especially gracious toward me the while, and allowed me to see
my daughter as often as I would (seeing that the rest of the court were
gone home), wherefore I was with her nearly all day. And when the
constable grew impatient of keeping watch over me, I gave him a fee to
lock me in together with my child. And the all-merciful God was gracious
unto us, and caused us often and gladly to pray, for we had a steadfast
hope, believing that the cross we had seen in the heavens would now soon
pass away from us, and that the ravening wolf would receive his reward
when the honourable high court had read through the _acta_, and should
come to the excellent _defensio_ which _Dom. Syndicus_ had constructed for
my child. Wherefore I began to be of good cheer again, especially when I
saw my daughter her cheeks growing of a right lovely red. But on Thursday,
25th _mensis Augusti_, at noon, the worshipful court drove into the
castle-yard again as I sat in the prison with my child, as I was wont; and
old Ilse brought us our food, but could not tell us the news for weeping.
But the tall constable peeped in at the door, grinning, and cried, "Oh,
ho! they are come, they are come, they are come; now the tickling will
begin": whereat my poor child shuddered, but less at the news than at
sight of the fellow himself. Scarce was he gone than he came back again to
take off her chains and to fetch her away. So I followed her into the
judgment-chamber, where _Dom. Consul_ read out the sentence of the
honourable high court as follows:--That she should once more be questioned
in kindness touching the articles contained in the indictment; and if she
then continued stubborn she should be subjected to the _peine forte et
dure_, for that the _defensio_ she had set up did not suffice, and that
there were _indicia legitima praegnantia et sufficientia ad torturam
ipsam_; to wit--

1. _Mala fama_.

2. _Maleficium, publice commissum_.

3. _Apparitio daemonis in monte_.

Whereupon the most honourable central court cited about 20 _auctores_,
whereof, howbeit, we remember but little. When _Dom. Consul_ had read out
this to my child, he once more lift up his voice and admonished her with
many words to confess of her own free-will, for that the truth must now
come to light.

Hereupon she steadfastly replied, that after the _defensio_ of _Dom.
Syndicus_ she had indeed hoped for a better sentence; but that, as it was
the will of God to try her yet more hardly, she resigned herself
altogether into His gracious hands, and could not confess aught save what
she had said before, namely, that she was innocent, and that evil men had
brought this misery upon her. Hereupon _Dom. Consul_ motioned the
constable, who straightway opened the door of the next room, and admitted
_Pastor Benzensis_ in his surplice, who had been sent for by the court to
admonish her still better out of the word of God. He heaved a deep sigh,
and said, "Mary, Mary, is it thus I must meet thee again?" Whereupon she
began to weep bitterly, and to protest her innocence afresh. But he heeded
not her distress, and as soon as he had heard her pray, "Our Father," "The
eyes of all wait upon thee," and "God the Father dwell with us," he lift
up his voice and declared to her the hatred of the living God to all
witches and warlocks, seeing that not only is the punishment of fire
awarded to them in the Old Testament, but that the Holy Ghost expressly
saith in the New Testament (Gal. v.), "That they which do such things
shall not inherit the kingdom of God"; but "shall have their part in the
lake which burneth with fire and brimstone, which is the second death"
(Apocal. xxi.). Wherefore she must not be stubborn nor murmur against the
court when she was tormented, seeing that it was all done out of Christian
love, and to save her poor soul. That, for the sake of God and her
salvation, she should no longer delay repentance, and thereby cause her
body to be tormented, and give over her wretched soul to Satan, who
certainly would not fulfil those promises in hell which he had made her
here upon earth; seeing that "He was a murderer from the beginning--a liar
and the father of it" (John viii.). "Oh!" cried he, "Mary, my child, who
so oft hast sat upon my knees, and for whom I now cry every morning and
every night unto my God, if thou wilt have no pity upon thee and me, have
pity at least upon thy worthy father, whom I cannot look upon without
tears, seeing that his hairs have turned snow-white within a few days, and
save thy soul, my child, and confess! Behold, thy Heavenly Father grieveth
over thee no less than thy fleshly father, and the holy angels veil their
faces for sorrow that thou, who wert once their darling sister, art now
become the sister and bride of the devil. Return therefore, and repent!
This day thy Saviour calleth thee, poor stray lamb, back into His flock,
'And ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan hath
bound ... be loosed from this bond?' Such are His merciful words (Luke
xiii.); _item_, 'Return, thou backsliding Israel, saith the Lord, and I
will not cause mine anger to fall upon you, for I am merciful' (Jer.
iii.). Return then, thou back-sliding soul, unto the Lord thy God! He who
heard the prayer of the idolatrous Manasseh when 'he besought the Lord his
God and humbled himself' (2 Chron. xxxiii.); who, through Paul, accepted
the repentance of the sorcerers at Ephesus (Acts xix.), the same merciful
God now crieth unto thee as unto the angel of the church of Ephesus,
'Remember, therefore, from whence thou art fallen, and repent' (Apocal.
ii.). Oh, Mary, Mary, remember, my child, from whence thou art fallen, and
repent!"

Hereupon he held his peace, and it was some time before she could say a
word for tears and sobs; but at last she answered, "If lies are no less
hateful to God than witchcraft, I may not lie, but must rather declare, to
the glory of God, as I have ever declared, that I am innocent."

Hereupon _Dom. Consul_ was exceeding wroth, and frowned and asked the tall
constable if all was ready, _item_, whether the women were at hand to
undress _Rea_; whereupon he answered with a grin, as he was wont, "Ho, ho,
I have never been wanting in my duty, nor will I be wanting to-day; I will
tickle her in such wise that she shall soon confess."

When he had said this, _Dom. Consul_ turned to my daughter, and said,
"Thou art a foolish thing, and knowest not the torment which awaits thee,
and therefore is it that thou still art stubborn. Now, then, follow me to
the torture-chamber, where the executioner shall show thee the
_instrumenta_; and thou mayest yet think better of it when thou hast seen
what the question is like."

Hereupon he went into another room, and the constable followed him with my
child. And when I would have gone after them, _Pastor Benzensis_ held me
back, with many tears, and conjured me not to do so, but to tarry where I
was. But I hearkened not unto him, and tore myself from him, and swore
that so long as a single vein should beat in my wretched body I would
never forsake my child. I therefore went into the next room, and from
thence down into a vault, where was the torture-chamber, wherein were no
windows, so that those without might not hear the cries of the tormented.
Two torches were already burning there when I went in, and although _Dom.
Consul_ would at first have sent me away, after a while he had pity upon
me, so that he suffered me to stay.

And now that hell-hound the constable stepped forward, and first showed my
poor child the ladder, saying with savage glee, "See here! first of all
thou wilt be laid on that, and thy hands and feet will be tied. Next, the
thumb-screw here will be put upon thee, which straightway will make the
blood to spirt out at the tips of thy fingers; thou mayest see that they
are still red with the blood of old Gussy Biehlke, who was burnt last
year, and who, like thee, would not confess at first. If thou still wilt
not confess, I shall next put these Spanish boots on thee, and should they
be too large, I shall just drive in a wedge, so that the calf, which is
now at the back of thy leg, will be driven to the front, and the blood
will shoot out of thy feet, as when thou squeezest blackberries in a bag.

"Again, if thou wilt not yet confess--holla!" shouted he, and kicked open
a door behind him, so that the whole vault shook, and my poor child fell
upon her knees for fright. Before long two women brought in a bubbling
caldron, full of boiling pitch and brimstone. This caldron the hell-hound
ordered them to set down on the ground, and drew forth, from under the red
cloak he wore, a goose's wing, wherefrom he plucked five or six quills,
which he dipped into the boiling brimstone. After he had held them a while
in the caldron he threw them upon the earth, where they twisted about and
spirted the brimstone on all sides. And then he called to my poor child
again, "See! these quills I shall throw upon thy white loins, and the
burning brimstone will presently eat into thy flesh down to the very
bones, so that thou wilt thereby have a foretaste of the joys which await
thee in hell."

[Illustration: The Torture Chamber]

When he had spoken thus far, amid sneers and laughter, I was so overcome
with rage that I sprang forth out of the corner where I stood leaning my
trembling joints against an old barrel, and cried, "O, thou hellish dog!
sayest thou this of thyself, or have others bidden thee?" Whereupon,
however, the fellow gave me such a blow upon the breast that I fell
backwards against the wall, and _Dom. Consul_ called out in great wrath,
"You old fool, if you needs must stay here, at any rate leave the
constable in peace, for if not I will have you thrust out of the chamber
forthwith. The constable has said no more than is his duty; and it will
thus happen to thy child if she confess not, and if it appear that the
foul fiend have given her some charm against the torture." Hereupon this
hell-hound went on to speak to my poor child, without heeding me, save
that he laughed in my face: "Look here! when thou hast thus been well
shorn, ho, ho, ho! I shall pull thee up by means of these two rings in the
floor and the roof, stretch thy arms above thy head, and bind them fast to
the ceiling; whereupon I shall take these two torches, and hold them under
thy shoulders, till thy skin will presently become like the rind of a
smoked ham. Then thy hellish paramour will help thee no longer, and thou
wilt confess the truth. And now thou hast seen and heard all that I shall
do to thee, in the name of God, and by order of the magistrates."

And now _Dom. Consul_ once more came forward and admonished her to confess
the truth. But she abode by what she had said from the first; whereupon he
delivered her over to the two women who had brought in the caldron, to
strip her naked as she was born, and to clothe her in the black
torture-shift; after which they were once more to lead her barefooted up
the steps before the worshipful court. But one of these women was the
Sheriff his housekeeper (the other was the impudent constable his wife),
and my daughter said that she would not suffer herself to be touched save
by honest women, and assuredly not by the housekeeper, and begged _Dom.
Consul_ to send for her maid, who was sitting in her prison reading the
Bible, if he knew of no other decent woman at hand. Hereupon the
housekeeper began to pour forth a wondrous deal of railing and ill words,
but _Dom. Consul_ rebuked her, and answered my daughter that he would let
her have her wish in this matter too, and bade the impudent constable his
wife call the maid hither from out of the prison. After he had said this,
he took me by the arm, and prayed me so long to go up with him, for that
no harm would happen to my daughter as yet, that I did as he would have
me.

Before long she herself came up, led between the two women, barefooted,
and in the black torture-shift, but so pale that I myself should scarce
have known her. The hateful constable, who followed close behind, seized
her by the hand, and led her before the worshipful court.

Hereupon the admonitions began all over again, and _Dom. Consul_ bade her
look upon the brown spots that were upon the black shift, for that they
were the blood of old wife Bichlke, and to consider that within a few
minutes it would in like manner be stained with her own blood. Hereupon
she answered, "I have considered that right well, but I hope that my
faithful Saviour, who hath laid this torment upon me, being innocent, will
likewise help me to bear it, as he helped the holy martyrs of old; for if
these, through God's help, overcame by faith the torments inflicted on
them by blind heathens, I also can overcome the torture inflicted on me by
blind heathens, who, indeed, call themselves Christians, but who are more
cruel than those of yore; for the old heathens only caused the holy
virgins to be torn of savage beasts, but ye which have received the new
commandment, 'That ye love one another; as your Saviour hath loved you,
that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are his
disciples' (St. John xiii.); yourselves will act the part of savage
beasts, and tear with your own hands the body of an innocent maiden, your
sister, who has never done aught to harm you. Do, then, as ye list, but
have a care how ye will answer it to the highest Judge of all. Again, I
say, the lamb feareth nought, for it is in the hand of the good Shepherd."

When my matchless child had thus spoken, _Dom. Consul_ rose, pulled off
the black skull-cap which he ever wore, because the top of his head was
already bald, bowed to the court, and said, "We hereby make known to the
worshipful court that the question ordinary and extraordinary of the
stubborn and blaspheming witch, Mary Schweidler, is about to begin, in the
name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen."

Hereupon all the court rose save the Sheriff, who had got up before, and
was walking uneasily up and down in the room. But of all that now follows,
and of what I myself did, I remember not one word, but will relate it all
as I have received it from my daughter and other _testes_, and they have
told me as follows:--

That when _Dom. Consul_ after these words had taken up the hour-glass
which stood upon the table, and walked on before, I would go with him,
whereupon _Pastor Benzensis_ first prayed me with many words and tears to
desist from my purpose, and when that was of no avail my child herself
stroked my cheeks, saying, "Father, have you ever read that the Blessed
Virgin stood by when her guileless Son was scourged? Depart, therefore,
from me. You shall stand by the pile whereon I am burned, that I promise
you; for in like manner did the Blessed Virgin stand at the foot of the
cross. But, now, go; go, I pray you, for you will not be able to bear it,
neither shall I."

And when this also failed, _Dom. Consul_ bade the constable seize me, and
by main force lock me into another room; whereupon, however, I tore myself
away, and fell at his feet, conjuring him by the wounds of Christ not to
tear me from my child; that I would never forget his kindness and mercy,
but pray for him day and night; nay, that at the day of judgment I would
be his intercessor with God and the holy angels if that he would but let
me go with my child; that I would be quite quiet, and not speak one single
word, but that I must go with my child, etc.

This so moved the worthy man that he burst into tears, and so trembled
with pity for me that the hour-glass fell from his hands and rolled right
before the feet of the Sheriff, as though God himself would signify to him
that his glass was soon to run out; and, indeed, he understood it right
well, for he grew white as any chalk when he picked it up and gave it back
to _Dom. Consul_. The latter at last gave way, saying that this day would
make him ten years older; but he bade the impudent constable (who also
went with us) lead me away if I made any _rumor_ during the torture. And
hereupon the whole court went below, save the Sheriff, who said his head
ached, and that he believed his old _malum_, the gout, was coming upon him
again, wherefore he went into another chamber; _item, Pastor Benzensis_
likewise departed.

Down in the vault the constable first brought in tables and chairs,
whereon the court sat, and _Dom. Consul_ also pushed a chair toward me,
but I sat not thereon, but threw myself upon my knees in a corner. When
this was done they began again with their vile admonitions, and as my
child, like her guileless Saviour before His unrighteous judges, answered
not a word, _Dom. Consul_ rose up and bade the tall constable lay her on
the torture-bench.

She shook like an aspen leaf when he bound her hands and feet; and when he
was about to bind over her sweet eyes a nasty old filthy clout wherein my
maid had seen him carry fish but the day before, and which was still all
over shining scales, I perceived it, and pulled off my silken neckerchief,
begging him to use that instead, which he did. Hereupon the thumb-screw
was put on her, and she was once more asked whether she would confess
freely, but she only shook her poor blinded head and sighed with her dying
Saviour, "Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?" and then in Greek, "Thee mou, Thee
mou, iuati me egkatelipes"; Whereat _Dom. Consul_ started back, and made
the sign of the cross (for inasmuch as he knew no Greek, he believed, as
he afterwards said himself, that she was calling upon the devil to help
her), and then called to the constable with a loud voice, "Screw!"

But when I heard this I gave such a cry that the whole vault shook; and
when my poor child, who was dying of terror and despair, had heard my
voice she first struggled with her bound hands and feet like a lamb that
lies dying in the slaughter-house, and then cried out, "Loose me, and I
will confess whatsoe'er you will." Hereat _Dom. Consul_ so greatly
rejoiced, that while the constable unbound her, he fell on his knees, and
thanked God for having spared him this anguish. But no sooner was my poor
desperate child unbound, and had laid aside her crown of thorns (I mean my
silken neckerchief), than she jumped off the ladder, and flung herself
upon me, who lay for dead in a corner in a deep swound.

This greatly angered the worshipful court, and when the constable had
borne me away, _Rea_ was admonished to make her confession according to
promise. But seeing she was too weak to stand upon her feet, _Dom. Consul_
gave her a chair to sit upon, although _Dom. Camerarius_ grumbled thereat,
and these were the chief questions which were put to her by order of the
most honourable high central court, as _Dom. Consul_ said, and which were
registered _ad protocollum_.

_Q_. Whether she could bewitch?

_R_. Yes, she could bewitch.

_Q_. Who taught her to do so?

_R_. Satan himself.

_Q_. How many devils had she?

_R_. One devil was enough for her.

_Q_. What was this devil called?

_Illa_ (considering). His name was _Disidaemonia_.

Hereat _Dom. Consul_ shuddered, and said that that must be a very terrible
devil indeed, for that he had never heard such a name before, and that she
must spell it, so that _Scriba_ might make no _error_; which she did, and
he then went on as follows:--

_Q_. In what shape had he appeared to her?

_R_. In the shape of the Sheriff, and sometimes as a goat with terrible
horns.

_Q_. Whether Satan had re-baptized her, and where?

_R_. In the sea.

_Q_. What name had he given her?

_R_.--.

_Q_. Whether any of the neighbors had been by when she was re-baptized,
and which of them?

_R_. Hereupon my matchless child cast up her eyes towards heaven, as
though doubting whether she should file old Lizzie or not, but at last she
said, "No."

_Q_. She must have had sponsors; who were they? and what gift had they
given her as christening money?

_R_. There were none there save spirits; wherefore old Lizzie could see no
one when she came and looked on at her re-baptism.

_Q_. Whether she had ever lived with the devil?

_R_. She never had lived anywhere save in her father's house.

She did not choose to understand. He meant whether she had ever played the
wanton with Satan, and known him carnally? Hereupon she blushed, and was
so ashamed that she covered her face with her hands, and presently began
to weep and to sob: and as, after many questions, she gave no answer, she
was again admonished to speak the truth, or that the executioner should
lift her up on the ladder again. At last she said, "No!" which, howbeit,
the worshipful court would not believe, and bade the executioner seize her
again, whereupon she answered, "Yes!"

_Q_. Whether she had found the devil hot or cold?

_R_. She did not remember which.

_Q_. Whether she had ever conceived by Satan, and given birth to a
changeling, and of what shape?

_R_. No, never.

_Q_. Whether the foul fiend had given her any sign or mark about her body,
and in what part thereof?

_R_. That the mark had already been seen by the worshipful court.

She was next charged with all the witchcraft done in the village, and
owned to it all, save that she still said that she knew nought of old
Seden his death, _item_, of little Paasch her sickness, nor, lastly, would
she confess that she had, by the help of the foul fiend, raked up my crop
or conjured the caterpillars into my orchard. And albeit they again
threatened her with the question, and even ordered the executioner to lay
her on the bench and put on the thumb-screw to frighten her, she remained
firm and said, "Why should you torture me, seeing that I have confessed
far heavier crimes than these, which it will not save my life to deny?"

Hereupon the worshipful court at last were satisfied, and suffered her to
be lifted off the torture-bench, especially as she confessed the
_articulus principals_; to wit, that Satan had really appeared to her on
the mountain in the shape of a hairy giant. Of the storm and the frog,
_item_, of the hedgehog, nothing was said, inasmuch as the worshipful
court had by this time seen the folly of supposing that she could have
brewed a storm while she quietly sat in the coach. Lastly, she prayed that
it might be granted to her to suffer death clothed in the garments which
she had worn when she went to greet the King of Sweden; _item_, that they
would suffer her wretched father to be driven with her to the stake, and
to stand by while she was burned, seeing that she had promised him this in
the presence of the worshipful court.

Hereupon she was once more given into the charge of the tall constable,
who was ordered to put her into a stronger and severer prison. But he had
not led her out of the chamber before the Sheriff his bastard, whom he had
had by the housekeeper, came into the vault with a drum, and kept drumming
and crying out, "Come to the roast goose! come to the roast goose!"
whereat _Dom. Consul_ was exceeding wroth, and ran after him, but he could
not catch him, seeing that the young varlet knew all the ins and outs of
the vault. Without doubt it was the Lord who sent me the swound, so that I
should be spared this fresh grief; wherefore to Him alone be honour and
glory. Amen.




_The Twenty-fourth Chapter_


HOW IN MY PRESENCE THE DEVIL FETCHED OLD LIZZIE KOLKEN

When I recovered from my above-mentioned swound, I found my host, his
wife, and my old maid standing over me, and pouring warm beer down my
throat. The faithful old creature shrieked for joy when I opened my eyes
again, and then told me that my daughter had not suffered herself to be
racked, but had freely confessed her crimes and filed herself as a witch.
This seemed pleasant news to me in my misery, inasmuch as I deemed the
death by fire to be a less heavy punishment than the torture. Howbeit when
I would have prayed I could not, whereat I again fell into heavy grief and
despair, fearing that the Holy Ghost had altogether turned away His face
from me, wretched man that I was. And albeit the old maid, when she had
seen this, came and stood before my bed and began to pray aloud to me; it
was all in vain, and I remained a hardened sinner. But the Lord had pity
upon me, although I deserved it not, insomuch that I presently fell into a
deep sleep, and did not awake until next morning when the prayer-bell
rang; and then I was once more able to pray, whereat I greatly rejoiced,
and still thanked God in my heart, when my ploughman Claus Neels came in
and told me that he had come yesterday to tell me about my oats, seeing
that he had gotten them all in; and that the constable came with him who
had been to fetch old Lizzie Kolken, inasmuch as the honourable high court
had ordered her to be brought up for trial. Hereat the whole village
rejoiced, but _Rea_ herself laughed, and shouted, and sang, and told him
and the constable by the way (for the constable had let her get up behind
for a short time), that this should bring great luck to the Sheriff. They
need only bring her up before the court, and in good sooth she would not
hold her tongue within her teeth, but that all men should marvel at her
confession; that such a court as that was a laughing-stock to her, and
that she spat, _salva venia_, upon the whole brotherhood, _et cet_.

Upon hearing this I once more felt a strong hope, and rose to go to old
Lizzie. But I was not quite dressed before she sent the impudent constable
to beg that I would go to her with all speed and give her the sacrament,
seeing that she had become very weak during the night. I had my own
thoughts on the matter, and followed the constable as fast as I could,
though not to give her the sacrament, as indeed anybody may suppose. But
in my haste, I, weak old man that I was, forgot to take my witnesses with
me; for all the misery I had hitherto suffered had so clouded my senses
that it never once came into my head. None followed me save the impudent
constable; and it will soon appear how that this villain had given himself
over body and soul to Satan to destroy my child, whereas he might have
saved her. For when he had opened the prison (it was the same cell wherein
my child had first been shut up), we found old Lizzie lying on the ground
on a truss of straw, with a broom for a pillow (as though she were to fly
to hell upon it, as she no longer could fly to Blockula), so that I
shuddered when I caught sight of her. Scarce was I come in when she cried
out fearfully, "I'm a witch, I'm a witch! Have pity upon me, and give me
the sacrament quick, and I will confess everything to you!" And when I
said to her, "Confess, then!" she owned that she, with the help of the
Sheriff, had contrived all the witchcraft in the village, and that my
child was as innocent thereof as the blessed sun in heaven. Howbeit that
the Sheriff had the greatest guilt, inasmuch as he was a warlock and a
witch's priest, and had a spirit far stronger than hers, called Dudaim,
which spirit had given her such a blow on the head in the night as she
should never recover. This same Dudaim it was that had raked up the crops,
heaped sand over the amber, made the storm, and dropped the frog into my
daughter her lap; _item_, carried off her old goodman through the air.

And when I asked her how that could be, seeing that her goodman had been a
child of God until very near his end, and much given to prayer; albeit I
had indeed marvelled why he had other thoughts in his last illness; she
answered that one day he had seen her spirit, which she kept in a chest,
in the shape of a black cat, and whose name was Kit, and had threatened
that he would tell me of it; whereupon she, being frightened, had caused
her spirit to make him so ill that he despaired of ever getting over it.
Thereupon she had comforted him, saying that she would presently heal him
if he would deny God, who, as he well saw, could not help him. This he
promised to do; and when she had straight-way made him quite hearty again,
they took the silver which I had scraped off the new sacrament cup, and
went by night down to the seashore, where he had to throw it into the sea
with these words: "When this silver returns again to the chalice, then
shall my soul return to God." Whereupon the Sheriff, who was by,
re-baptized him in the name of Satan, and called him Jack. He had had no
sponsors save only herself, old Lizzie. Moreover, that on St. John's Eve,
when he went with them to Blockula for the first time (the Herrenberg was
their Blockula), they had talked of my daughter, and Satan himself had
sworn to the Sheriff that he should have her. For that he would show the
old one (wherewith the villain meant God) what he could do, and that he
would make the carpenter's son sweat for vexation (fie upon thee, thou
arch villain, that thou couldst thus speak of my blessed Saviour!).
Whereupon her old goodman had grumbled, and as they had never rightly
trusted him, the spirit Dudaim one day flew off with him through the air
by the Sheriff's order, seeing that her own spirit, called Kit, was too
weak to carry him. That the same Dudaim had also been the woodpecker who
afterwards 'ticed my daughter and old Paasch to the spot with his cries,
in order to ruin her. But that the giant who had appeared on the
Streckelberg was not a devil, but the young lord of Mellenthin himself, as
her spirit, Kit, had told her.

And this she said was nothing but the truth, whereby she would live and
die; and she begged me, for the love of God, to take pity upon her, and,
after her repentant confession, to speak forgiveness of her sins, and to
give her the Lord's Supper; for that her spirit stood there behind the
stove, grinning like a rogue, because he saw that it was all up with her
now. But I answered, "I would sooner give the sacrament to an old sow than
to thee, thou accursed witch, who not only didst give over thine own
husband to Satan, but hast likewise tortured me and my poor child almost
unto death with pains like those of hell." Before she could make any
answer, a loathsome insect, about as long as my finger, and with a yellow
tail, crawled in under the door of the prison. When she espied it she gave
a yell, such as I never before heard, and never wish to hear again. For
once, when I was in Silesia, in my youth, I saw one of the enemy's
soldiers spear a child before its mother's face, and I thought that a
fearful shriek which the mother gave; but her cry was child's play to the
cry of old Lizzie. All my hair stood on end, and her own red hair grew so
stiff that it was like the twigs of the broom whereon she lay; and then
she howled, "That is the spirit Dudaim, whom the accursed Sheriff has sent
to me--the sacrament, for the love of God, the sacrament!--I will confess
a great deal more--I have been a witch these thirty years!--the sacrament,
the sacrament!" While she thus bellowed and flung about her arms and legs,
the loathsome insect rose into the air, and buzzed and whizzed about her
where she lay, insomuch that it was fearful to see and to hear. And this
she-devil called by turns on God, on her spirit Kit, and on me, to help
her, till the insect all of a sudden darted into her open jaws, whereupon
she straightway gave up the ghost, and turned all black and blue like a
blackberry.

I heard nothing more save that the window rattled, not very loud, but as
though one had thrown a pea against it, whereby I straightway perceived
that Satan had just flown through it with her soul. May the all-merciful
God keep every mother's child from such an end, for the sake of Jesus
Christ our blessed Lord and Saviour! Amen.

As soon as I was somewhat recovered, which, however, was not for a long
time, inasmuch as my blood had turned to ice, and my feet were as stiff as
a stake; I began to call out after the impudent constable, but he was no
longer in the prison. Thereat I greatly marvelled, seeing that I had seen
him there but just before the vermin crawled in, and straightway I
suspected no good, as, indeed, it turned out; for when at last he came
upon my calling him, and I told him to let this carrion be carted out
which had just died in the name of the devil, he did as though he was
amazed; and when I desired him that he would bear witness to the innocence
of my daughter, which the old hag had confessed on her death-bed, he
pretended to be yet more amazed, and said that he had heard nothing. This
went through my heart like a sword, and I leaned against a pillar without,
where I stood for a long time: but as soon as I was come to myself I went
to _Dom. Consul_, who was about to go to Usedom and already sat in his
coach. At my humble prayer he went back into the judgment-chamber with the
_Camerarius_ and the _Scriba_, whereupon I told all that had taken place,
and how the wicked constable denied that he had heard the same. But they
say that I talked a great deal of nonsense beside; among other things,
that all the little fishes had swam into the vault to release my daughter.
Nevertheless, _Dom. Consul_, who often shook his head, sent for the
impudent constable, and asked him for his testimony. But the fellow
pretended that as soon as he saw that old Lizzie wished to confess, he had
gone away, so as not to get any more hard words, wherefore he had heard
nothing. Hereupon I, as _Dom. Consul_ afterwards told the pastor of Benz,
clenched my fists and answered, "What, thou arch-rogue, didst thou not
crawl about the room in the shape of a reptile?" whereupon he would
hearken to me no longer, thinking me distraught, nor would he make the
constable take an oath, but left me standing in the midst of the room, and
got into his coach again.

Neither do I know how I got out of the room; but next morning when the sun
rose, and I found myself lying in bed at Master Seep his ale-house, the
whole _casus_ seemed to me like a dream; neither was I able to rise, but
lay a-bed all the blessed Saturday and Sunday, talking all manner of
_allotria_. It was not till towards evening on Sunday, when I began to
vomit and threw up green bile (no wonder!), that I got somewhat better.
About this time _Pastor Benzensis_ came to my bedside, and told me how
distractedly I had borne myself, but so comforted me from the word of God,
that I was once more able to pray from my heart. May the merciful God
reward my dear gossip, therefore, at the day of judgment! For prayer is
almost as brave a comforter as the Holy Ghost himself, from whom it comes;
and I shall ever consider that so long as a man can still pray, his
misfortunes are not unbearable, even though in all else "his flesh and his
heart faileth" (Psalm lxxiii.).




_The Twenty-fifth Chapter_


HOW SATAN SIFTED ME LIKE WHEAT, WHEREAS MY DAUGHTER WITHSTOOD HIM RIGHT
BRAVELY

On Monday I left my bed betimes, and as I felt in passable good case, I
went up to the castle to see whether I might peradventure get to my
daughter, but I could not find either constable, albeit I had brought a
few groats with me to give them as beer-money; neither would the folks
that I met tell me where they were; _item_, the impudent constable his
wife, who was in the kitchen making brimstone matches. And when I asked
her when her husband would come back, she said not before to-morrow
morning early; _item_, that the other constable would not be here any
sooner. Hereupon I begged her to lead me to my daughter herself, at the
same time showing her the two groats; but she answered that she had not
the keys, and knew not how to get at them: moreover, she said she did not
know where my child was now shut up, seeing that I would have spoken to
her through the door; _item_, the cook, the huntsman, and whomsoever else
I met in my sorrow, said they knew not in what hole the witch might lie.

Hereupon I went all round about the castle, and laid my ear against every
little window that looked as though it might be her window, and cried,
"Mary, my child, where art thou?" _Item_, at every grating I found I
kneeled down, bowed my head, and called in like manner into the vault
below. But all in vain; I got no answer anywhere. The Sheriff at length
saw what I was about, and came down out of the castle to me with a very
gracious air, and, taking me by the hand, he asked me what I sought? But
when I answered him that I had not seen my only child since last Thursday,
and prayed him to show pity upon me, and let me be led to her, he said
that could not be, but that I was to come up into his chamber, and talk
further of the matter. By the way he said, "Well, so the old witch told
you fine things about me, but you see how Almighty God has sent his
righteous judgment upon her. She has long been ripe for the fire; but my
great long-suffering, wherein a good magistrate should ever strive to be
like unto the Lord, has made me overlook it till _datum_, and in return
for my goodness she raises this outcry against me." And when I replied,
"How does your Lordship know that the witch raised such an outcry against
you?" he first began to stammer, and then said, "Why, you yourself charged
me thereon before the judge. But I bear you no anger therefor, and God
knows that I pity you, who are a poor, weak old man, and would gladly help
you if I were able." Meanwhile he led me up four or five flights of
stairs, so that I, old man that I am, could follow him no further, and
stood still gasping for breath. But he took me by the hand and said,
"Come, I must first show you how matters really stand, or I fear you will
not accept my help, but will plunge yourself into destruction." Hereupon
we stepped out upon a terrace at the top of the castle, which looked
toward the water; and the villain went on to say, "Reverend Abraham, can
you see well afar off?" and when I answered that I once could see very
well, but that the many tears I had shed had now peradventure dimmed my
eyes, he pointed to the Streckelberg, and said, "Do you, then, see nothing
there?" _Ego_. "Nought save a black speck, which I cannot make out."
_Ille_. "Know, then, that that is the pile whereon your daughter is to
burn at ten o'clock to-morrow morning, and which the constables are now
raising." When this hell-hound had thus spoken, I gave a loud cry and
swounded. Oh, blessed Lord! I know not how I lived through such distress;
thou alone didst strengthen me beyond nature, in order, "after so much
weeping and wailing, to heap joys and blessings upon me; without thee I
never could have lived through such misery: therefore to thy name ever be
all honour and glory, O thou God of Israel!"

When I came again to myself I lay on a bed in a fine room, and perceived a
taste in my mouth like wine. But as I saw none near me save the Sheriff,
who held a pitcher in his hand, I shuddered and closed mine eyes,
considering what I should say or do. This he presently observed, and said,
"Do not shudder thus; I mean well by you, and only wish to put a question
to you, which you must answer me on your conscience as a priest. Say,
reverend Abraham, which is the greater sin, to commit whoredom, or to take
the lives of two persons?" and when I answered him, "To take the lives of
two persons," he went on, "Well, then, is not that what your stubborn
child is about to do? Rather than give herself up to me, who have ever
desired to save her, and who can even yet save her, albeit her pile is now
being raised, she will take away her own life and that of her wretched
father, for I scarcely think that you, poor man, will outlive this sorrow.
Wherefore do you, for God his sake, persuade her to think better of it
while I am yet able to save her. For know that about ten miles from hence
I have a small house in the midst of the forest, where no human being ever
goes; thither will I send her this very night, and you may dwell there
with her all the days of your life, if so it please you. You shall live as
well as you can possibly desire, and to-morrow morning I will spread a
report betimes that the witch and her father have run away together during
the night, and that nobody knows whither they are gone." Thus spake the
serpent to me, as whilom to our mother Eve; and, wretched sinner that I
am, the tree of death which he showed me seemed to me also to be a tree of
life, so pleasant was it to the eye. Nevertheless I answered, "My child
will never save her miserable life by doing aught to peril the salvation
of her soul." But now, too, the serpent was more cunning than all the
beasts of the field (especially such an old fool as I), and spake thus:
"Why, who would have her peril the salvation of her soul? Reverend
Abraham, must I teach you Scripture? Did not our Lord Christ pardon Mary
Magdalene, who lived in open whoredom? and did he not speak forgiveness to
the poor adulteress who had committed a still greater _crimen?_ nay, more,
doth not St. Paul expressly say that the harlot Rahab was saved, Hebrews
xi.? _item_, St. James ii. says the same. But where have ye read that any
one was saved who had wantonly taken her own life and that of her father?
Wherefore, for the love of God, persuade your child not to give herself
up, body and soul, to the devil, by her stubbornness, but to suffer
herself to be saved while it is yet time. You can abide with her, and pray
away all the sins she may commit, and likewise aid me with your prayers,
who freely own that I am a miserable sinner, and have done you much evil,
though not so much evil by far, reverend Abraham, as David did to Uriah,
and he was saved, notwithstanding he put the man to a shameful death, and
afterwards lay with his wife. Wherefore I, poor man, likewise hope to be
saved, seeing that my desire for your daughter is still greater than that
which this David felt for Bathsheba; and I will gladly make it all up to
you twofold as soon as we are in my cottage."

When the tempter had thus spoken, methought his words were sweeter than
honey, and I answered, "Alas, my lord, I am ashamed to appear before her
face with such a proposal." Whereupon he straightway said, "Then do you
write it to her; come, here is pen, ink, and paper."

And now, like Eve, I took the fruit and ate, and gave it to my child that
she might eat also; that is to say, that I recapitulated on paper all that
Satan had prompted, but in the Latin tongue, for I was ashamed to write it
in mine own; and lastly I conjured her not to take away her own life and
mine, but to submit to the wondrous will of God. Neither were mine eyes
opened when I had eaten (that is, written), nor did I perceive that the
ink was gall instead of honey, and I translated my letter to the Sheriff
(seeing that he understood no Latin), smiling like a drunken man the
while; whereupon he clapped me on the shoulder, and after I had made fast
the letter with his signet, he called his huntsman, and gave it to him to
carry to my daughter; _item_, he sent her pen, ink, and paper, together
with his signet, in order that she might answer it forthwith.

Meanwhile he talked with me right graciously, praising my child and me,
and made me drink to him many times from his great pitcher, wherein was
most goodly wine; moreover, he went to a cupboard and brought out cakes
for me to eat, saying that I should now have such every day. But when the
huntsman came back in about half an hour with her answer, and I had read
the same, then, first, were mine eyes opened, and I knew good and evil;
had I had a fig-leaf, I should have covered them therewith for shame; but
as it was, I held my hand over them and wept so bitterly that the Sheriff
waxed very wroth, and cursing bade me tell him what she had written.
Thereupon I interpreted the letter to him, the which I likewise place
here, in order that all may see my folly, and the wisdom of my child. It
was as follows:--

"IESVS!

"Pater infelix!

"Ego cras non magis pallebo rogum aspectura, et rogus non magis erubescet,
me suscipiens, quam pallui et iterum erubescui, literas tuas legens. Quid?
et te, pium patrem, pium servum Domini, ita Satanas sollicitavit, ut
communionem facias cum inimicis meis, et non intelligas: in tali vita esse
mortem, et in tali morte vitam? Scilicet si clementissimus Deus Mariae
Magdalenae aliisque ignovit, ignovit, quia resipiscerent ob carnis
debilitatem, et non iterum peccarent. Et ego peccarem cum quavis
detestatione carnis, et non semel, sed iterum atque iterum sine reversione
usque ad mortem? Quomodo clementissimus Deus haec sceleratissima ignoscere
posset? infelix pater! recordare quid mihi dixisti de sanctis martyribus
et virginibus Domini, qua omnes mallent vitam quam pudicitiam perdere. His
et ego sequar, et sponsus meus, Jesus Christus, et mihi miserae, ut spero,
coronam aeternam dabit, quamvis eum non minus offendi ob debilitatem
carnis ut Maria, et me sontem declaravi, cum insons sum. Fac igitur, ut
valeas et ora pro me apud Deum et non apud Satanam, ut et ego mox coram
Deo pro te orare possim.

"MARIA S., captiva."

When the Sheriff heard this, he flung the pitcher which he held in his
hand to the ground, so that it flew in pieces, and cried, "The cursed
devil's whore! the constable shall make her squeak for this a good hour
longer"; with many more such things beside, which he said in his malice,
and which I have now forgotten; but he soon became quite gracious again,
and said, "She is foolish; do you go to her and see whether you cannot
persuade her to her own good as well as yours; the huntsman shall let you
in, and should the fellow listen, give him a good box on the ears in my
name; do you hear, reverend Abraham? Go now forthwith and bring me back an
answer as quickly as possible!" I therefore followed the huntsman, who led
me into a vault where was no light save what fell through a hole no bigger
than a crown-piece; and here my daughter sat upon her bed and wept. Any
one may guess that I straightway began to weep too, and was no better able
to speak than she. We thus lay mute in each other's arms for a long time,
until I at last begged her to forgive me for my letter, but of the Sheriff
his message I said nought, although I had purposed so to do. But before
long we heard the Sheriff himself call down into the vault from above,
"What (and here he gave me a heavy curse) are you doing there so long?
Come up this moment, reverend Johannes!" Thus I had scarce time to
give her one kiss before the huntsman came back with the keys and forced
us to part; albeit we had as yet scarcely spoken, save that I had told her
in a few words what had happened with old Lizzie. It would be hard to
believe into what grievous anger the Sheriff fell when I told him that my
daughter remained firm and would not hearken unto him; he struck me on the
breast, and said, "Go to the devil then, thou infamous parson!" and when I
turned myself away and would have gone, he pulled me back, and said, "If
thou breathest but one word of all that has passed, I will have thee burnt
too, thou grey-headed old father of a witch; so look to it!" Hereupon I
plucked up a heart, and answered that that would be the greatest joy to
me, especially if I could be burnt to-morrow with my child. Hereunto he
made no answer, but clapped to the door behind me. Well, clap the door as
thou wilt, I greatly fear that the just God will one day clap the doors of
heaven in thy face!




_The Twenty-sixth Chapter_


HOW I RECEIVED THE HOLY SACRAMENT WITH MY DAUGHTER AND THE OLD
MAIDSERVANT, AND HOW SHE WAS THEN LED FOR THE LAST TIME BEFORE THE COURT,
WITH THE DRAWN SWORD AND THE OUTCRY, TO RECEIVE SENTENCE

Now any one would think that during that heavy Tuesday night I should not
have been able to close mine eyes; but know, dear reader, that the Lord
can do more than we can ask or understand, and that his mercy is new every
morning. For toward daybreak I fell asleep as quietly as though I had had
no care upon my heart; and when I awoke I was able to pray more heartily
than I had done for a long time; so that, in the midst of my tribulation,
I wept for joy at such great mercy from the Lord. But I prayed for nought
save that he would endow my child with strength and courage to suffer the
martyrdom he had laid upon her with Christian patience, and to send his
angel to me, woeful man, so to pierce my heart with grief when I should
see my child burn that it might straightway cease to beat, and I might
presently follow her. And thus I still prayed when the maid came in all
dressed in black, and with the silken raiment of my sweet lamb hanging
over her arm; and she told me, with many tears, that the dead-bell had
already tolled from the castle tower, for the first time, and that my
child had sent for her to dress her, seeing that the court was already
come from Usedom, and that in about two hours she was to set out on her
last journey. Moreover, she had sent her word that she was to take her
some blue and yellow flowers for a garland; wherefore she asked me what
flowers she should take; and seeing that a jar filled with fire lilies and
forget-me-nots stood in my window, which she had placed there yesterday, I
said, "Thou canst gather no better flowers for her than these, wherefore
do thou carry them to her, and tell her that I will follow thee in about
half an hour, in order to receive the sacrament with her." Hereupon the
faithful old creature prayed me to suffer her to go to the sacrament with
us, the which I promised her. And scarce had I dressed myself and put on
my surplice when _Pastor Benzensis_ came in at the door and fell upon my
neck, weeping, and as mute as a fish. As soon as he came to his speech
again he told me of the great _miraculum_ (_daemonis_ I mean) which had
befallen at the burial of old Lizzie. For that, just as the bearers were
about to lower the coffin into the grave, a noise was heard therein, as
though of a carpenter boring through a deal board; wherefore they thought
the old hag must be come to life again, and opened the coffin. But there
she lay as before, all black and blue in the face, and as cold as ice; but
her eyes had started wide open, so that all were horror-stricken, and
expected some devilish apparition; and, indeed, a live rat presently
jumped out of the coffin and ran into a skull which lay beside the grave.
Thereupon they all ran away, seeing that old Lizzie had ever been in evil
repute as a witch. Howbeit at last he himself went near the grave again,
whereupon the rat disappeared, and all the others took courage and
followed him. This the man told me, and any one may guess that this was in
fact Satan, who had flown down the hag her throat as an insect, whereas
his proper shape was that of a rat: albeit I wonder what he could so long
have been about in the carrion; unless indeed it were that the evil
spirits are as fond of all that is loathsome as the angels of God are of
all that is fair and lovely. Be that as it may; _Summa_: I was not a
little shocked at what he told me, and asked him what he now thought of
the Sheriff? whereupon he shrugged his shoulders, and said that he had
indeed been a wicked fellow as long as he could remember him, and that it
was full ten years since he had given him any first-fruits; but that he
did not believe that he was a warlock, as old Lizzie had said. For
although he had indeed never been to the table of the Lord in his church,
he had heard that he often went at Stettin, with his Princely Highness the
Duke, and that the pastor at the castle church had shown him the entry in
his communion-book. Wherefore he likewise could not believe that he had
brought this misery upon my daughter, if she were innocent, as the hag had
said; besides, that my daughter had freely confessed herself a witch.
Hereupon I answered, that she had done that for fear of the torture; but
that she was not afraid of death; whereupon I told him, with many sighs,
how the sheriff had yesterday tempted me, miserable and unfaithful
servant, to evil, insomuch that I had been willing to sell my only child
to him and to Satan, and was not worthy to receive the sacrament to-day.
Likewise how much more steadfast a faith my daughter had than I, as he
might see from her letter, which I still carried in my pocket; herewith I
gave it into his hand, and when he had read it, he sighed as though he had
been himself a father, and said, "Were this true, I should sink into the
earth for sorrow; but come, brother, come, that I may prove her faith
myself."

Hereupon we went up to the castle, and on our way we found the greensward
before the hunting-lodge, _item_, the whole space in front of the castle,
already crowded with people, who, nevertheless, were quite quiet as we
went by: we gave our names again to the huntsman. (I have never been able
to remember his name, seeing that he was a Polak; he was not, however, the
same fellow who wooed my child, and whom the Sheriff had therefore turned
off.) The man presently ushered us into a fine large room, whither my
child had been led when taken out of her prison. The maid had already
dressed her, and she looked lovely as an angel. She wore the chain of gold
with the effigy round her neck again, _item_, the garland in her hair, and
she smiled as we entered, saying, "I am ready!" Whereat the reverend
Martinus was sorely angered and shocked, saying, "Ah, thou ungodly woman,
let no one tell me further of thine innocence! Thou art about to go to the
holy sacrament, and from thence to death, and thou flauntest as a child of
this world about to go to the dancing-room." Whereupon she answered and
said, "Be not wroth with me, dear godfather, because that I would go into
the presence of my good King of Heaven in the same garments wherein I
appeared some time since before the good King of Sweden. For it
strengthens my weak and trembling flesh, seeing I hope that my righteous
Saviour will in like manner take me to his heart, and will also hand his
effigy upon my neck when I stretch out my hands to him in all humility,
and recite my _carmen_, saying, 'O Lamb of God, innocently slain upon the
cross, give my thy peace, O Jesu!'" These words softened my dear gossip,
and he spoke, saying, "Ah, child, child, I thought to have reproached
thee, but thou hast constrained me to weep with thee: art thou, then,
indeed innocent?" "Verily," said she, "to you, my honoured godfather, I
may now own that I am innocent, as truly as I trust that God will aid me
in my last hour through Jesus Christ. Amen."

When the maid heard this, she made such outcries that I repented that I
had suffered her to be present, and we all had enough to do to comfort her
from the word of God till she became somewhat more tranquil; and when this
was done, my dear gossip thus spake to my child: "If, indeed, thou dost so
steadfastly maintain thine innocence, it is my duty, according to my
conscience as a priest, to inform the worshipful court thereof"; and he
was about to leave the room. But she withheld him, and fell upon the
ground and clasped his knees, saying, "I beseech you, by the wounds of
Jesus, to be silent. They would stretch me on the rack again, and uncover
my nakedness, and I, wretched weak woman, would in such torture confess
all that they would have me, especially if my father again be there,
whereby both my soul and my body are tortured at once: wherefore stay, I
pray you, stay; is it, then, a misfortune to die innocent, and is it not
better to die innocent than guilty?"

My good gossip at last gave way, and after standing awhile and praying to
himself, he wiped away his tears, and then spake the exhortation to
confession, in the words of Isaiah xliii. 1, 2, "But now thus saith the
Lord that created thee, O Jacob, and he that formed thee, O Israel, Fear
not; for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art
mine. When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and
through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest
through the fire, thou shalt not be burned, neither shall the flame kindle
upon thee. For I am the Lord thy God, the Holy One of Israel, thy
Saviour."

And when he had ended this comfortable address, and asked her whether she
would willingly bear until her last hour that cross which the most
merciful God according to his unsearchable will had laid upon her, she
spake such beautiful words that my gossip afterwards said he should not
forget them so long as he should live, seeing that he had never witnessed
a bearing at once so full of faith and joy, and withal so deeply
sorrowful. She spake after this manner: "Oh, holy cross, which my Jesus
hath sanctified by his innocent suffering; oh, dear cross, which is laid
upon me by the hand of a merciful Father; oh, blessed cross, whereby I am
made like unto my Lord Jesus, and am called unto eternal glory and
blessedness: how! shall I not willingly bear thee, thou sweet cross of my
bridegroom, of my brother?" The reverend Johannes had scarce given us
absolution, and after this, with many tears, the holy sacrament, when we
heard a loud trampling upon the floor, and presently the impudent
constable looked into the room and asked whether we were ready, seeing
that the worshipful court was now waiting for us; and when he had been
told that we were ready, my child would have first taken leave of me, but
I forbade her, saying, "Not so; thou knowest that which thou hast promised
me; ... 'and whither thou goest I will go, and where thou lodgest I will
lodge: ... where thou diest will I die ...' if that the Lord, as I hope,
will hear the ardent sighs of my poor soul." Hereupon she let me go, and
embraced only the old maid-servant, thanking her for all the kindness she
had shown her from her youth up, and begging her not to go with her to
make her death yet more bitter by her cries. The faithful old creature was
unable for a long time to say a word for tears. Howbeit at last she begged
forgiveness of my child for that she unwittingly accused her, and said,
that out of her wages she had bought five pounds' weight of flax to hasten
her death; that the shepherd of Pudgla had that very morning taken it with
him to Coserow, and that she should wind it closely round her body; for
that she had seen how old wife Schurne, who was burnt in Liepe, had
suffered great torments before she came to her death, by reason of the
damp wood.

But ere my child could thank her for this, the dreadful outcry of blood
began in the judgment-chamber; for a voice cried as loudly as might be,
"Woe upon the accursed witch, Mary Schweidler, because that she hath
fallen off from the living God!" Then all the folk without cried, "Woe
upon the accursed witch!" When I heard this I fell back against the wall,
but my sweet child stroked my cheeks with her darling hands, and said,
"Father, father, do but remember that the people likewise cried out
against the innocent Jesus, 'Crucify him, crucify him!' Shall not we then
drink of the cup which our Heavenly Father hath prepared for us?"

Hereupon the door opened, and the constable walked in, amid a great tumult
among the people, holding a drawn sword in his hand, which he bowed thrice
before my child, and cried, "Woe upon the accursed witch, Mary Schweidler,
because that she hath fallen off from the living God!" and all the folks
in the hall and without the castle cried as loud as they could, "Woe upon
the accursed witch!"

Hereupon he said, "Mary Schweidler, come before the high and worshipful
court to hear sentence of death passed upon thee!" Whereupon she followed
him with us two miserable men (for _Pastor Benzensis_ was no less cast
down than myself). As for the old maid-servant, she lay on the ground for
dead.

After we had with great pains pushed our way through all the people, the
constable stood still before the open judgment-chamber, and once more
bowed his sword before my child and cried for the third time, "Woe upon
the accursed witch, Mary Schweidler, because that she hath fallen off from
the living God!" And all the people, as well as the cruel judges
themselves, cried as loud as they could, "Woe upon the accursed witch!"

When we had entered the room, _Dom. Consul_ first asked my worthy gossip
whether the witch had abode by her free avowal in confession; whereupon,
after considering a short time, he answered, that he had best ask herself,
for there she stood. According, taking up a paper which lay before him on
the table, he spake as follows:--"Mary Schweidler, now that thou hast
confessed, and received the holy and most honourable sacrament of the
Lord's Supper, answer me once again these following questions:--

"1. Is it true that thou hast fallen off from the living God and given
thyself up to Satan?

"2. Is it true that thou hadst a spirit called _Disidaemonia_, who
re-baptized thee and carnally knew thee?

"3. Is it true that thou hast done all manner of mischief to the cattle?

"4. Is it true that Satan appeared to thee on the Streckelberg in the
likeness of a hairy giant?"

When she had with many sighs said "Yes" to all these questions, he rose,
took a wand in one hand and a second paper in the other, put his
spectacles on his nose, and said, "Now, then, hear thy sentence." (This
sentence I since copied: he would not let me see the other _Acta_, but
pretended that they were at Wolgast. The sentence, however, was word for
word as follows.)

"We, the Sheriff and the Justices appointed to serve the high and
worshipful criminal court. Inasmuch as Mary Schweidler, the daughter of
Abraham Schweidlerus, the pastor of Coserow, hath, after the appointed
inquisition, repeatedly made free confession that she hath a devil named
_Disidaemonia_, the which did re-baptize her in the sea, and did also know
her carnally; _item_, that she by his help did mischief to the cattle;
that he also appeared to her on the Streckelberg in the likeness of a
hairy giant. We do therefore by these presents make known and direct that
_Rea_ be first duly torn four times on each breast with red-hot iron
pincers, and after that be burned to death by fire, as a rightful
punishment to herself and a warning to others. Nevertheless we, in pity
for her youth, are pleased of our mercy to spare her the tearing with
red-hot pincers, so that she shall only suffer death by the simple
punishment of fire. Wherefore she is hereby condemned and judged
accordingly on the part of the criminal court.

"_Publicatum_ at the castle of Pudgla, the 30th day _mensis Augusti, anno
Salutis_ 1630."

As he spake the last word he brake his wand in two and threw the pieces
before the feet of my innocent lamb, saying to the constable, "Now, do
your duty!" But so many folks, both men and women, threw themselves on the
ground to seize the pieces of the wand (seeing they are said to be good
for the gout in the joints, _item_, for cattle when troubled with lice),
that the constable fell to the earth over a woman who was on her knees
before him, and his approaching death was thus foreshadowed to him by the
righteous God. Something of the same sort likewise befell the Sheriff now
for the second time; for when the worshipful court rose, throwing down
tables, stools, and benches, a table, under which two boys were fighting
for the pieces of the wand, fell right upon his foot, whereupon he flew
into a violent rage, and threatened the people with his fist, saying that
they should have fifty right good lashes a-piece, both men and women, if
they were not quiet forthwith, and did not depart peaceably out of the
room. This frighted them, and after the people were gone out into the
street, the constable took a rope out of his pocket, wherewith he bound my
lamb her hands so tightly behind her back that she cried aloud; but when
she saw how this wrung my heart, she straightway constrained herself and
said, "Oh, father, remember that it fared no better with the blessed
Saviour!" Howbeit, when my dear gossip, who stood behind her, saw that her
little hands, and more especially her nails, had turned black and blue, he
spoke for her to the worshipful court, whereupon the abominable Sheriff
only said, "Oh, let her be; let her feel what it is to fall off from the
living God." But _Dom. Consul_ was more merciful, inasmuch as, after
feeling the cords, he bade the constable bind her hands less cruelly and
slacken the rope a little, which accordingly he was forced to do. But my
dear gossip was not content herewith, and begged that she might sit in the
cart without being bound, so that she should be able to hold her
hymn-book, for he had summoned the school to sing a hymn by the way for
her comfort, and he was ready to answer for it with his own head that she
should not escape out of the cart. Moreover; it is the custom for fellows
with pitchforks always to go with the carts wherein condemned criminals,
and more especially witches, are carried to execution. But this the cruel
Sheriff would not suffer, and the rope was left upon her hands, and the
impudent constable seized her by the arm and led her from the
judgment-chamber. But in the hall we saw a great _scandalum_, which again
pierced my very heart. For the housekeeper and the impudent constable his
wife were fighting for my child her bed, and her linen, and wearing
apparel, which the housekeeper had taken for herself, and which the other
woman wanted to have. The latter now called to her husband to help her,
whereupon he straightway let go my daughter and struck the housekeeper on
her mouth with his fist, so that the blood ran out therefrom, and she
shrieked and wailed fearfully to the Sheriff, who followed us with the
court. He threatened them both in vain, and said that when he came back he
would inquire into the matter and give to each her due share. But they
would not hearken to this, until my daughter asked _Dom. Consul_ whether
every dying person, even a condemned criminal, had power to leave his
goods and chattels to whomsoever he would? and when he answered, "Yes, all
but the clothes, which belong of right to the executioner," she said,
"Well, then, the constable may take my clothes, but none shall have my bed
save my faithful old maid-servant Ilse!" Hereupon the housekeeper began to
curse and revile my child loudly, who heeded her not, but stepped out at
the door toward the cart, where there stood so many people that nought
could be seen save head against head. The folks crowded about us so
tumultuously that the Sheriff, who, meanwhile, had mounted his grey horse,
constantly smote them right and left across their eyes with his
riding-whip, but they nevertheless would scarce fall back. Howbeit, at
length he cleared the way, and when about ten fellows with long
pitchforks, who for the most part also had rapiers at their sides, had
placed themselves round about our cart, the constable lifted my daughter
up into it, and bound her fast to the rail. Old Paasch, who stood by,
lifted me up, and my dear gossip was likewise forced to be lifted in, so
weak had he become from all the distress. He motioned his sexton, Master
Krekow, to walk before the cart with the school, and bade him from time to
time lead a verse of the goodly hymn, "On God alone I rest my fate," which
he promised to do. And here I will also note, that I myself sat down upon
the straw by my daughter, and that our dear confessor the reverend
Martinus sat backwards. The constable was perched up behind with his drawn
sword. When all this was done, _item_, the court mounted up into another
carriage, the Sheriff gave the order to set out.




_The Twenty-seventh Chapter_


OF THAT WHICH BEFELL US BY THE WAY: _ITEM_, OF THE FEARFUL DEATH OF THE
SHERIFF AT THE MILL

We met with many wonders by the way, and with great sorrow; for hard by
the bridge, over the brook which runs into the Schmolle, stood the
housekeeper her hateful boy, who beat a drum and cried aloud, "Come to the
roast goose! come to the roast goose!" whereupon the crowd set up a loud
laugh, and called out after him, "Yes, indeed, to the roast goose! to the
roast goose!" Howbeit, when Master Krekow led the second verse the folks
became somewhat quieter again, and most of them joined in singing it from
their books, which they had brought with them. But when he ceased singing
awhile the noise began again as bad as before. Some cried out, "The devil
hath given her these clothes, and hath adorned her after that fashion";
and seeing the Sheriff had ridden on before, they came close round the
cart, and felt her garments, more especially the women and young maidens.
Others, again, called loudly, as the young varlet had done, "Come to the
roast goose! come to the roast goose!" whereupon one fellow answered, "She
will not let herself be roasted yet; mind ye that: she will quench the
fire!" This, and much filthiness beside, which I may not for very shame
write down, we were forced to hear, and it especially cut me to the heart
to hear a fellow swear that he would have some of her ashes, seeing he had
not been able to get any of the wand, and that nought was better for the
fever and the gout than the ashes of a witch. I motioned the _Custos_ to
begin singing again, whereupon the folks were once more quiet for a
while--_i.e._, for so long as the verse lasted; but afterwards they rioted
worse than before. But we were now come among the meadows, and when my
child saw the beauteous flowers which grew along the sides of the ditches,
she fell into deep thought, and began again to recite aloud the sweet song
of St. Augustinus as follows:--

  Flos perpetuus rosarum ver agit perpetuum,
  Candent lilia, rubescit crocus, sudat balsamum,
  Virent prata, vernant sata, rivi mellis influunt,
  Pigmentorum spirat odor liquor et aromatum,
  Pendent poma floridorum non lapsura nemorum,
  Non alternat luna vices, sol vel cursus syderum,
  Agnus est faelicis urbis lumen inocciduum.

By this _Casus_ we gained that all the folk ran cursing away from the
cart, and followed us at the distance of a good musket-shot, thinking
that my child was calling on Satan to help her. Only one lad, of about
five-and-twenty, whom, however, I did not know, tarried a few paces behind
the cart, until his father came, and seeing he would not go away
willingly, pushed him into the ditch, so that he sank up to his loins
in the water. Thereat even my poor child smiled, and asked me whether I
did not know any more Latin hymns wherewith to keep the stupid and
foul-mouthed people still further from us. But, dear reader, how could I
then have been able to recite Latin hymns, even had I known any? But my
_confrater_, the reverend Martinus, knew such an one; albeit it is indeed
heretical; nevertheless, seeing that it above measure pleased my child,
and that she made him repeat to her sundry verses thereof three and four
times, until she could say them after him, I said nought; otherwise I have
ever been very severe against aught that is heretical. Howbeit I comforted
myself therewith that our Lord God would forgive her in consideration of
her ignorance. And the first line ran as follows:--_Dies irae, dies ilia_.
But these two verses pleased her more than all the rest, and she recited
them many times with great edification, wherefore I will insert them here.

  Judex ergo cum sedebit
  Quidquid latet apparebit,
  Nil inultum remanebit:

  _Item_,

  Rex tremends majestatis!
  Qui salvandos salvas gratis,
  Salva me, fons pietatis!

When the men with the pitchforks, who were round about the cart, heard
this, and at the same time saw a heavy storm coming up from the
Achterwater, they straightway thought no other but that my child had made
it; and, moreover, the folk behind cried out, "The witch hath done this;
the damned witch hath done this!" and all the ten, save one, who stayed
behind, jumped over the ditch, and ran away. But _Dom. Consul_, who,
together with the worshipful court, drove behind us, no sooner saw this
than he called to the constable, "What is the meaning of all this?"
Whereupon the constable cried aloud to the Sheriff, who was a little way
on before us, but who straightway turned him about, and when he had heard
the cause, called after the fellows that he would hang them all up on the
first tree, and feed his falcons with their flesh, if they did not return
forthwith. This threat had its effect; and when they came back he gave
each of them about half a dozen strokes with his riding-whip, whereupon
they tarried in their places, but as far off from the cart as they could
for the ditch.

Meanwhile, however, the storm came up from the southward, with thunder,
lightning, hail, and such a wind, as though the all-righteous God would
manifest his wrath against these ruthless murderers; and the tops of the
lofty beeches around us were beaten together like besoms, so that our cart
was covered with leaves as with hail, and no one could hear his own voice
for the noise. This happened just as we were entering the forest from the
convent dam, and the Sheriff now rode close behind us, beside the coach
wherein was _Dom. Consul_. Moreover, just as we were crossing the bridge
over the mill-race, we were seized by the blast, which swept up a hollow
from the Achterwater with such force that we conceived it must drive our
cart down the abyss, which was at least forty feet deep or more; and
seeing that, at the same time, the horses did as though they were upon
ice, and could not stand, the driver halted to let the storm pass over,
the which the Sheriff no sooner perceived than he galloped up and bade him
go on forthwith. Whereupon the man flogged on the horses, but they slipped
about after so strange a fashion that our guards with the pitchforks fell
back, and my child cried aloud for fear; and when we were come to the
place where the great waterwheel turned just below us, the driver fell
with his horse, which broke one of its legs. Then the constable jumped
down from the cart, but straightway fell too on the slippery ground;
_item_, the driver, after getting on his legs again, fell a second time.
Hereupon the Sheriff, with a curse, spurred on his grey charger, which
likewise began to slip as our horses had also done. Nevertheless, he came
sliding towards us, without, however, falling down; and when he saw that
the horse with the broken leg still tried to get up, but always
straightway fell again on the slippery ground, he hallooed and beckoned
the fellows with pitchforks to come and unharness the mare; _item_, to
push the cart over the bridge, lest it should be carried down the
precipice. Presently a long flash of lightning shot into the water below
us, followed by a clap of thunder so sudden and so awful that the whole
bridge shook, and the Sheriff his horse (our horses stood quite still)
started back a few paces, lost its footing, and, together with its rider,
shot headlong down upon the great mill-wheel below, whereupon a fearful
cry arose from all those that stood behind us on the bridge. For a while
nought could be seen for the white foam, until the Sheriff his legs and
body were borne up into the air by the wheel, his head being stuck fast
between the fellies; and thus, fearful to behold, he went round and round
upon the wheel. Naught ailed the grey charger, which swam about in the
mill-pond below. When I saw this I seized the hand of my innocent lamb,
and cried, "Behold, Mary, our Lord God yet liveth! 'and he rode upon a
cherub, and did fly; yea, he did fly upon the wings of the wind. Then did
he beat them small as the dust before the wind; he did cast them out as
the dirt in the streets.' Look down, and see what the Almighty God hath
done." While she hereupon raised her eyes towards heaven with a sigh, we
heard _Dom. Consul_ calling out behind us as loudly as he could: and
seeing that none could understand his words for the fearful storm and the
tumult of the waters, he jumped down from the coach, and would have
crossed the bridge on foot, but straightway he fell upon his nose, so that
it bled, and he crept back again on his hands and feet, and held a long
talk with _Dom. Camerarius_, who, howbeit, did not stir out of the coach.
Meanwhile the driver and the constable had unyoked the maimed horse, bound
it, and dragged it off the bridge, and now they came back to the cart and
bade us get down therefrom and cross the bridge on foot, the which we did
after the constable had unbound my child with many curses and ill words,
threatening that, in return for her malice, he would keep her roasting
till late in the evening. (I could not blame him much therefore; for truly
this was a strange thing!) But albeit my child herself got safe across, we
two--I mean reverend Martinus and myself--like all the others, fell two or
three times to the ground. At length we all, by God his grace, got safe
and sound to the miller's house, where the constable delivered my child
into the miller his hands, to guard her on forfeit of his life, while he
ran down to the mill-pond to save the Sheriff his grey charger. The driver
was bidden the while to get the cart and the other horses off the
bewitched bridge. We had, however, stood but a short time with the miller,
under the great oak before his door, when _Dom. Consul_, with the
worshipful court, and all the folks, came over the little bridge, which is
but a couple of musket-shots off from the first one, and he could scarce
prevent the crowd from falling upon my child and tearing her in pieces,
seeing that they all, as well as _Dom. Consul_ himself, imagined that none
other but she had brewed the storm and bewitched the bridge (especially as
she herself had not fallen thereon), and had likewise caused the Sheriff
his death; all of which, nevertheless, were foul lies, as ye shall
hereafter hear. He, therefore, railed at her for a cursed she-devil, who,
even after having confessed and received the holy Sacrament, had not yet
renounced Satan; but that nought should save her, and she should,
nevertheless, receive her reward. And, seeing that she kept silence, I
hereupon answered, "Did he not see that the all-righteous God had so
ordered it, that the Sheriff, who would have robbed my innocent child of
her honour and her life, had here forfeited his own life as a fearful
example to others?" But _Dom. Consul_ would not see this, and said that a
child might perceive that our Lord God had not made this storm, or did I
peradventure believe that our Lord God had likewise bewitched the bridge?
I had better cease to justify my wicked child, and rather begin to exhort
her to repent, seeing that this was the second time that she had brewed a
storm, and that no man with a grain of sense could believe what I said,
etc.

Meanwhile the miller had already stopped the mill, _item_, turned off the
water, and some four or five fellows had gone with the constable down to
the great water-wheel to take the Sheriff out of the fellies, wherein he
had till _datum_ still been carried round and round. This they could not
do until they had first sawn out one of the fellies; and when at last they
brought him to the bank, his neck was found to be broken, and he was as
blue as a corn-flower. Moreover, his throat was frightfully torn, and the
blood ran out of his nose and mouth. If the people had not reviled my
child before, they reviled her doubly now, and would have thrown dirt and
stones at her, had not the worshipful court interfered with might and
main, saying that she would presently receive her well-deserved
punishment.

[Illustration: The Doom of the Wheel]

Also, my dear gossip, the Reverend Martinus, climbed up into the cart
again, and admonished the people not to forestall the law; and seeing that
the storm had somewhat abated, he could now be heard. And when they had
become somewhat more quiet, _Dom. Consul_ left the corpse of the Sheriff
in charge with the miller, until such time as, by God's help, he should
return. _Item_, he caused the grey charger to be tied up to the oak-tree
till the same time, seeing that the miller swore that he had no room in
the mill, inasmuch as his stable was filled with straw; but that he would
give the grey horse some hay, and keep good watch over him. And now were
we wretched creatures forced to get into the cart again, after that the
unsearchable will of God had once more dashed all our hopes. The constable
gnashed his teeth with rage, while he took the cords out of his pocket to
bind my poor child to the rail withal. As I saw right well what he was
about to do, I pulled a few groats out of my pocket, and whispered into
his ear, "Be merciful, for she cannot possibly run away, and do you
hereafter help her to die quickly, and you shall get ten groats more from
me!" This worked well, and albeit he pretended before the people to pull
the ropes tight, seeing they all cried out with might and main, "Haul
hard, haul hard!" in truth he bound her hands more gently than before, and
even without making her fast to the rail; but he sat up behind us again
with the naked sword, and after that _Dom. Consul_ had prayed aloud, "God
the Father, dwell with us," likewise the _Custos_ had led another hymn (I
know not what he sang, neither does my child), we went on our way,
according to the unfathomable will of God, after this fashion: the
worshipful court went before, whereas all the folks, to our great joy,
fell back, and the fellows with the pitchforks lingered a good way behind
us, now that the Sheriff was dead.




_The Twenty-eighth Chapter_


HOW MY DAUGHTER WAS AT LENGTH SAVED BY THE HELP OF THE ALL-MERCIFUL, YEA,
OF THE ALL-MERCIFUL GOD

Meanwhile, by reason of my unbelief, wherewith Satan again tempted me, I
had become so weak that I was forced to lean my back against the constable
his knees, and expected not to live till even we should come to the
mountain; for the last hope I had cherished was now gone, and I saw that
my innocent lamb was in the same plight. Moreover, the reverend Martinus
began to upbraid her, saying that he, too, now saw that all her oaths were
lies, and that she really could brew storms. Hereupon, she answered with a
smile, although, indeed, she was as white as a sheet, "Alas, reverend
godfather, do you then really believe that the weather and the storms no
longer obey our Lord God? Are storms, then, so rare at this season of the
year, that none save the foul fiend can cause them? Nay, I have never
broken the baptismal vow you once made in my name, nor will I ever break
it, as I hope that God will be merciful to me in my last hour, which is
now at hand." But the reverend Martinus shook his head doubtingly, and
said, "The Evil One must have promised thee much, seeing thou remainest so
stubborn even unto thy life's end, and blasphemest the Lord thy God; but
wait, and thou wilt soon learn with horror that the devil 'is a liar, and
the father of it'" (St. John viii.). Whilst he yet spake this, and more of
a like kind, we came to Uekeritze, where all the people, both great and
small, rushed out of their doors, also Jacob Schwarten his wife, who, as
we afterwards heard, had only been brought to bed the night before, and
her goodman came running after her to fetch her back, in vain. She told
him he was a fool, and had been one for many a weary day, and that if she
had to crawl up the mountain on her bare knees, she would go to see the
parson's witch burned; that she had reckoned upon it for so long, and if
he did not let her go, she would give him a thump on the chaps, etc.

Thus did the coarse and foul-mouthed people riot around the cart wherein
we sat, and as they knew not what had befallen, they ran so near us that
the wheel went over the foot of a boy. Nevertheless, they all crowded up
again, more especially the lasses, and felt my daughter her clothes, and
would even see her shoes and stockings, and asked her how she felt.
_Item_, one fellow asked whether she would drink somewhat, with many more
fooleries besides, till at last, when several came and asked her for her
garland and her golden chain, she turned towards me and smiled, saying,
"Father, I must begin to speak some Latin again, otherwise the folks will
leave me no peace." But it was not wanted this time; for our guards, with
the pitchforks, had now reached the hindmost, and, doubtless, told them
what had happened, as we presently heard a great shouting behind us, for
the love of God to turn back before the witch did them a mischief; and as
Jacob Schwarten his wife heeded it not, but still plagued my child to give
her her apron to make a christening coat for her baby, for that it was
pity to let it be burnt, her goodman gave her such a thump on her back
with a knotted stick which he had pulled out of the hedge that she fell
down with loud shrieks; and when he went to help her up she pulled him
down by his hair, and, as reverend Martinus said, now executed what she
had threatened; inasmuch as she struck him on the nose with her fist with
might and main, until the other people came running up to them, and held
her back. Meanwhile, however, the storm had almost passed over, and sank
down toward the sea.

And when we had gone through the little wood, we suddenly saw the
Streckelberg before us, covered with people, and the pile and stake upon
the top, upon the which the tall constable jumped up when he saw us
coming, and beckoned with his cap with all his might. Thereat my senses
left me, and my sweet lamb was not much better; for she bent to and fro
like a reed, and stretching her bound hands towards heaven, she once more
cried out:

  Rex tremendae majestatis!
  Qui salvandos salvas gratis,
  Salva me, fons pietatis!

And, behold, scarce had she spoken these words, when the sun came out and
formed a rainbow right over the mountain most pleasant to behold; and it
is clear that this was a sign from the merciful God, such as he often
gives us, but which we blind and unbelieving men do not rightly mark.
Neither did my child heed it; for albeit she thought upon that first
rainbow which shadowed forth our troubles, yet it seemed to her impossible
that she could now be saved, wherefore she grew so faint, that she no
longer heeded the blessed sign of mercy, and her head fell forward (for
she could no longer lean it upon me, seeing that I lay my length at the
bottom of the cart), till her garland almost touched my worthy gossip his
knees. Thereupon he bade the driver stop for a moment, and pulled out a
small flask filled with wine, which he always carries in his pocket when
witches are to be burnt, in order to comfort them therewith in their
terror. (Henceforth, I myself will ever do the like, for this fashion of
my dear gossip pleases me well.) He first poured some of this wine down my
throat, and afterwards down my child's; and we had scarce come to
ourselves again, when a fearful noise and tumult arose among the people
behind us, and they not only cried out in deadly fear, "The Sheriff is
come back! the Sheriff is come again!" but as they could neither run away
forwards or backwards (being afraid of the ghost behind and of my child
before them), they ran on either side, some rushing into the coppice, and
others wading into the Achterwater up to their necks. _Item_, as soon as
_Dom. Camerarius_ saw the ghost come out of the coppice with a grey hat
and a grey feather, such as the Sheriff wore, riding on the grey charger,
he crept under a bundle of straw in the cart: and _Dom. Consul_ cursed my
child again, and bade the coachman drive on as madly as they could, even
should all the horses die of it, when the impudent constable behind us
called to him, "It is not the Sheriff, but the young lord of Nienkerken,
who will surely seek to save the witch: shall I, then, cut her throat with
my sword?" At these fearful words my child and I came to ourselves again,
and the fellow had already lift up his naked sword to smite her, seeing
_Dom. Consul_ had made him a sign with his hand, when my dear gossip, who
saw it, pulled my child with all his strength back into his lap. (May God
reward him on the day of judgment, for I never can.) The villain would
have stabbed her as she lay in his lap; but the young lord was already
there, and seeing what he was about to do, thrust the boarspear, which he
held in his hand, in between the constable's shoulders, so that he fell
headlong on the earth, and his own sword, by the guidance of the most
righteous God, went into his ribs on one side, and out again at the other.
He lay there and bellowed, but the young lord heeded him not, but said to
my child, "Sweet maid, God be praised that you are safe!" When, however,
he saw her bound hands, he gnashed his teeth, and, cursing her judges, he
jumped off his horse, and cut the rope with his sword, which he held in
his right hand, took her hand in his, and said, "Alas, sweet maid, how
have I sorrowed for you! but I could not save you, as I myself also lay in
chains, which you may see from my looks."

But my child could answer him never a word, and fell into a swound again
for joy; howbeit, she soon came to herself again, seeing my dear gossip
still had a little wine by him. Meanwhile the dear young lord did me some
injustice, which, however, I freely forgive him; for he railed at me and
called me an old woman, who could do nought save weep and wail. Why had I
not journeyed after the Swedish king, or why had I not gone to Mellenthin
myself to fetch his testimony, as I knew right well what he thought about
witchcraft? (But, blessed God, how could I do otherwise than believe the
judge, who had been there? Others, besides old women, would have done the
same; and I never once thought of the Swedish king; and say, dear reader,
how could I have journeyed after him, and left my own child? But young
folks do not think of these things seeing they know not what a father
feels.)

Meanwhile, however, _Dom. Camerarius_, having heard that it was the young
lord, had again crept out from beneath the straw, _item, Dom. Consul_ had
jumped down from the coach and ran towards us, railing at him loudly, and
asking him by what power and authority he acted thus, seeing that he
himself had heretofore denounced the ungodly witch? But the young lord
pointed with his sword to his people, who now came riding out of the
coppice, about eighteen strong, armed with sabres, pikes, and muskets, and
said, "There is my authority, and I would let you feel it on your back if
I did not know that you were but a stupid ass. When did you hear any
testimony from me against this virtuous maiden? You lie in your throat if
you say you did." And as _Dom. Consul_ stood and straightway forswore
himself, the young lord, to the astonishment of all, related as
follows:--That as soon as he heard of the misfortune which had befallen me
and my child, he ordered his horse to be saddled forthwith, in order to
ride to Pudgla to bear witness to our innocence: this, however, his old
father would nowise suffer, thinking that his nobility would receive a
stain if it came to be known that his son had conversed with a reputed
witch by night on the Streckelberg. He had caused him therefore, as
prayers and threats were of no avail, to be bound hand and foot, and
confined in the donjon-keep, where till _datum_ an old servant had watched
him, who refused to let him escape, notwithstanding he offered him any sum
of money; whereupon he fell into the greatest anguish and despair at the
thought that innocent blood would be shed on his account; but that the
all-righteous God had graciously spared him this sorrow; for his father
had fallen sick from vexation, and lay a-bed all this time, and it so
happened that this very morning about prayer-time the huntsman, in
shooting at a wild duck in the moat, had by chance sorely wounded his
father's favourite dog, called Packan, which had crept howling to his
father's bedside, and had died there; whereupon the old man, who was weak,
was so angered that he was presently seized with a fit and gave up the
ghost too. Hereupon his people released him, and after he had closed his
father's eyes and prayed an "Our Father" over him, he straightway set out
with all the people he could find in the castle in order to save the
innocent maiden. For he testified here himself before all, on the word and
honour of a knight, nay, more, by his hopes of salvation, that he himself
was that devil which had appeared to the maiden on the mountain in the
shape of a hairy giant; for having heard by common report that she
ofttimes went thither, he greatly desired to know what she did there, and
that from fear of his hard father he disguised himself in a wolf's skin,
so that none might know him, and he had already spent two nights there,
when on the third the maiden came, and he then saw her dig for amber on
the mountain, and that she did not call upon Satan, but recited a Latin
_carmen_ aloud to herself. This he would have testified at Pudgla, but,
from the cause aforesaid, he had not been able: moreover, his father had
laid his cousin, Claus von Nienkerken, who was there on a visit, in his
bed, and made him bear false witness; for as _Dom. Consul_ had not seen
him (I mean the young lord) for many a long year, seeing he had studied in
foreign parts, his father thought that he might easily be deceived, which
accordingly happened.

When the worthy young lord had stated this before _Dom. Consul_ and all
the people, which flocked together on hearing that the young lord was no
ghost, I felt as though a millstone had been taken off my heart; and
seeing that the people (who had already pulled the constable from under
the cart, and crowded round him, like a swarm of bees) cried to me that he
was dying, but desired first to confess somewhat to me, I jumped from the
cart as lightly as a young bachelor, and called to _Dom. Consul_ and the
young lord to go with me, seeing that I could easily guess what he had on
his mind. He sat upon a stone, and the blood gushed from his side like a
fountain (now that they had drawn out the sword); he whimpered on seeing
me, and said that he had in truth hearkened behind the door to all that
old Lizzie had confessed to me, namely, that she herself, together with
the Sheriff, had worked all the witchcraft on man and beast, to frighten
my poor child, and force her to play the wanton. That he had hidden this,
seeing that the Sheriff had promised him a great reward for so doing; but
that he would now confess it freely, since God had brought my child her
innocence to light. Wherefore he besought my child and myself to forgive
him. And when _Dom. Consul_ shook his head, and asked whether he would
live and die on the truth of this confession, he answered, "Yes!" and
straightway fell on his side to the earth and gave up the ghost.

Meanwhile time hung heavy with the people on the mountain, who had come
from Coserow, from Zitze, from Gnitze, etc., to see my child burnt, and
they all came running down the hill in long rows like geese, one after the
other, to see what had happened. And among them was my ploughman, Claus
Neels. When the worthy fellow saw and heard what had befallen us, he began
to weep aloud for joy; and straightway he too told what he had heard the
Sheriff say to old Lizzie in the garden, and how he had promised a pig in
the room of her own little pig, which she had herself bewitched to death
in order to bring my child into evil repute. _Summa_: all that I have
noted above, and which till _datum_ he had kept to himself for fear of the
question. Hereat all the people marvelled, and gently bewailed her
misfortunes; and many came, among them old Paasch, and would have kissed
my daughter her hands and feet, as also mine own, and praised us now as
much as they had before reviled us. But thus it ever is with the people.
Wherefore my departed father used to say:

  The people's hate is death,
  Their love a passing breath!

My dear gossip ceased not from fondling my child, holding her in his lap,
and weeping over her like a father (for I could not have wept more myself
than he wept). Howbeit she herself wept not, but begged the young lord to
send one of his horsemen to her faithful old maid-servant at Pudgla, to
tell her what had befallen us, which he straightway did to please her. But
the worshipful court (for _Dom. Gamerarius_ and the _scriba_ had now
plucked up a heart, and had come down from the coach) was not yet
satisfied, and _Dom. Consul_ began to tell the young lord about the
bewitched bridge, which none other save my daughter could have bewitched.
Hereto the young lord gave answer that this was indeed a strange thing,
inasmuch as his own horse had also broken a leg thereon, whereupon he had
taken the Sheriff his horse, which he saw tied up at the mill; but he did
not think that this could be laid to the charge of the maiden, but that it
came about by natural means, as he had half discovered already, although
he had not had time to search the matter thoroughly. Wherefore he besought
the worshipful court and all the people, together with my child herself,
to return back thither, where, with God's help, he would clear her from
this suspicion also, and prove her perfect innocence before them all.

Thereunto the worshipful court agreed; and the young lord, having given
the Sheriff his grey charger to my ploughman to carry the corpse, which
had been laid across the horse's neck, to Coserow, the young lord got into
the cart by us, but did not seat himself beside my child, but backward by
my dear gossip: moreover, he bade one of his own people drive us instead
of the old coachman, and thus we turned back in God his name. _Custos
Benzensis_, who, with the children, had run in among the vetches by the
wayside (my defunct _Custos_ would not have done so, he had more courage),
went on before again with the young folks, and by command of his reverence
the pastor led the Ambrosian _Te Deum_, which deeply moved us all, more
especially my child, insomuch that her book was wetted with her tears, and
she at length laid it down and said, at the same time giving her hand to
the young lord, "How can I thank God and you for that which you have done
for me this day?" Whereupon the young lord answered, saying, "I have
greater cause to thank God than yourself, sweet maid, seeing that you have
suffered in your dungeon unjustly, but I justly, inasmuch as by my
thoughtlessness I brought this misery upon you. Believe me that this
morning when, in my donjon-keep, I first heard the sound of the dead-bell,
I thought to have died; and when it tolled for the third time, I should
have gone distraught in my grief, had not the Almighty God at that moment
taken the life of my strange father, so that your innocent life should be
saved by me. Wherefore I have vowed a new tower, and whatsoe'er beside may
be needful, to the blessed house of God; for nought more bitter could have
befallen me on earth than your death, sweet maid, and nought more sweet
than your life!"

But at these words my child only wept and sighed; and when he looked on
her, she cast down her eyes and trembled, so that I straightway perceived
that my sorrows were not yet come to an end, but that another barrel of
tears was just tapped for me, and so indeed it was. Moreover, the ass of a
_Custos_, having finished the _Te Deum_ before we were come to the bridge,
straightway struck up the next following hymn, which was a funeral one,
beginning, "The body let us now inter." (God be praised that no harm has
come of it till _datum_.) My beloved gossip rated him not a little, and
threatened him that for his stupidity he should not get the money for the
shoes which he had promised him out of the Church-dues. But my child
comforted him, and promised him a pair of shoes at her own charges, seeing
that peradventure a funeral hymn was better for her than a song of
gladness.

And when this vexed the young lord, and he said, "How now, sweet maid, you
know not how enough to thank God and me for your rescue, and yet you speak
thus?" She answered, smiling sadly, that she had only spoken thus to
comfort the poor _Custos_. But I straightway saw that she was in earnest,
for that she felt that although she had escaped one fire, she already
burned in another.

Meanwhile we were come to the bridge again, and all the folks stood still,
and gazed open-mouthed, when the young lord jumped down from the cart, and
after stabbing his horse, which still lay kicking on the bridge, went on
his knees, and felt here and there with his hand. At length he called to
the worshipful court to draw near, for that he had found out the
witchcraft. But none save _Dom. Consul_ and a few fellows out of the
crowd, among whom was old Paasch, would follow him; _item_, my dear gossip
and myself, and the young lord, showed us a lump of tallow about the size
of a large walnut, which lay on the ground, and wherewith the whole bridge
had been smeared, so that it looked quite white, but, which all the folks
in their fright had taken for flour out of the mill; _item_, with some
other _materia_, which stunk like fitchock's dung, but what it was we
could not find out. Soon after a fellow found another bit of tallow, and
showed it to the people; whereupon I cried, "Aha! none hath done this but
that ungodly miller's man, in revenge for the stripes which the Sheriff
gave him for reviling my child." Whereupon I told what he had done, and
_Dom. Consul_, who also had heard thereof, straightway sent for the
miller.

He, however, did as though he knew nought of the matter, and only said
that his man had left his service about an hour ago. But a young lass, the
miller's maid-servant, said that that very morning, before daybreak, when
she had got up to let out the cattle, she had seen the man scouring the
bridge. But that she had given it no further heed, and had gone to sleep
for another hour; and she pretended to know no more than the miller
whither the rascal was gone. When the young lord had heard this news, he
got up into the cart, and began to address the people, seeking to persuade
them no longer to believe in witchcraft, now that they had seen what it
really was. When I heard this, I was horror-stricken (as was but right) in
my conscience, as a priest, and I got upon the cartwheel, and whispered
into his ear, for God his sake, to leave this _materia_, seeing that if
the people no longer feared the devil, neither would they fear our Lord
God.

The dear young lord forthwith did as I would have him, and only asked the
people whether they now held my child to be perfectly innocent? and when
they had answered, "Yes!" he begged them to go quietly home, and to thank
God that he had saved innocent blood. That he, too, would now return home,
and that he hoped that none would molest me and my child if he let us
return to Coserow alone. Hereupon he turned hastily towards her, took her
hand and said: "Farewell, sweet maid, I trust that I shall soon clear your
honour before the world, but do you thank God therefor, not me." He then
did the like to me and to my dear gossip, whereupon he jumped down from
the cart, and went and sat beside _Dom. Consul_ in his coach. The latter
also spake a few words to the people, and likewise begged my child and me
to forgive him (and I must say it to his honour, that the tears ran down
his cheeks the while), but he was so hurried by the young lord that he
brake short his discourse, and they drove off over the little bridge,
without so much as looking back. Only _Dom. Consul_ looked round once, and
called out to me, that in his hurry he had forgotten to tell the
executioner that no one was to be burned to-day: I was therefore to send
the churchwarden of Uekeritze up the mountain, to say so in his name; the
which I did. And the bloodhound was still on the mountain, albeit he had
long since heard what had befallen; and when the bailiff gave him the
orders of the worshipful court, he began to curse so fearfully that it
might have awakened the dead; moreover, he plucked off his cap, and
trampled it under foot, so that any one might have guessed what he felt.

But to return to ourselves, my child sat as still and as white as a pillar
of salt, after the young lord had left her so suddenly and so unawares,
but she was somewhat comforted when the old maid-servant came running with
her coats tucked up to her knees, and carrying her shoes and stockings in
her hands. We heard her afar off, as the mill had stopped, blubbering for
joy, and she fell at least three times on the bridge, but at last she got
over safe, and kissed now mine and now my child her hands and feet;
begging us only not to turn her away, but to keep her until her life's
end; the which we promised to do. She had to climb up behind where the
impudent constable had sat, seeing that my dear gossip would not leave me
until I should be back in mine own manse. And as the young lord his
servant had got up behind the coach, old Paasch drove us home, and all the
folks who had waited till _datum_ ran beside the cart, praising and
pitying as much as they had before scorned and reviled us. Scarce,
however, had we passed through Uekeritze, when we again heard cries of
"Here comes the young lord, here comes the young lord!" so that my child
started up for joy, and became as red as a rose; but some of the folks ran
into the buckwheat, by the road, again, thinking it was another ghost. It
was, however, in truth, the young lord who galloped up on a black horse,
calling out as he drew near us, "Notwithstanding the haste I am in, sweet
maid, I must return and give you safe-conduct home, seeing that I have
just heard that the filthy people reviled you by the way, and I know not
whether you are yet safe." Hereupon he urged old Paasch to mend his pace,
and as his kicking and trampling did not even make the horses trot, the
young lord struck the saddle-horse from time to time with the flat of his
sword, so that we soon reached the village and the manse. Howbeit, when I
prayed him to dismount a while, he would not, but excused himself, saying
that he must still ride through Usedom to Anclam, but charged old Paasch,
who was our bailiff, to watch over my child as the apple of his eye, and
should anything unusual happen he was straightway to inform the town-clerk
at Pudgla, or _Dom. Consul_ at Usedom, thereof, and when Paasch had
promised to do this, he waved his hand to us, and galloped off as fast as
he could.

But before he got round the corner by Pagel his house, he turned back for
the third time: and when we wondered thereat, he said we must forgive him,
seeing his thoughts wandered to-day.

That I had formerly told him that I still had my patent of nobility, the
which he begged me to lend him for a time. Hereupon I answered that I must
first seek for it, and that he had best dismount the while. But he would
not, and again excused himself, saying he had no time. He therefore stayed
without the door, until I brought him the patent, whereupon he thanked me
and said, "Do not wonder hereat, you will soon see what my purpose is."
Whereupon he struck his spurs into his horse's sides and did not come back
again.




_The Twenty-ninth Chapter_


OF OUR NEXT GREAT SORROW, AND FINAL JOY

And now might we have been at rest, and have thanked God on our knees by
day and night. For, besides mercifully saving us out of such great
tribulation, he turned the hearts of my beloved flock, so that they knew
not how to do enough for us. Every day they brought us fish, meat, eggs,
sausages, and whatsoe'er besides they could give me, and which I have
since forgotten. Moreover they, every one of them, came to church the next
Sunday, great and small (except goodwife Kliene of Zempin, who had just
got a boy, and still kept her bed), and I preached a thanks-giving sermon
on Job v. 17, 18, and 19 verses, "Behold, happy is the man whom God
correcteth; therefore despise not thou the chastening of the Almighty: for
he maketh sore, and bindeth up; and his hands make whole. He shall deliver
thee in six troubles, yea, in seven there shall no evil touch thee." And
during my sermon I was ofttimes forced to stop by reason of all the
weeping, and to let them blow their noses. And I might truly have compared
myself to Job, after that the Lord had mercifully released him from his
troubles, had it not been for my child, who prepared much fresh grief for
me.

She had wept when the young lord would not dismount, and now that he came
not again, she grew more uneasy from day to day. She sat and read first
the Bible, then the hymn-book, _item_, the history of Dido in _Virgilius_,
or she climbed up the mountain to fetch flowers (likewise sought after the
vein of amber there, but found it not, which shows the cunning and malice
of Satan). I saw this for a while with many sighs, but spake not a word
(for, dear reader, what could I say?) until it grew worse and worse; and
as she now recited her _carmina_ more than ever both at home and abroad, I
feared lest the people should again repute her a witch, and one day I
followed her up the mountain. Well-a-day, she sat on the pile, which still
stood there, but with her face turned towards the sea, reciting the
_versus_ where Dido mounts the funeral pile in order to stab herself for
love of AEneas:--

  At trepida et coeptis immanibus effera Dido
  Sanguineam volvens aciem, maculisque trementes
  Interfusa genas, et pallida morte futura
  Interiora domus irrumpit limina et altos
  Conscendit furibunda rogos....

When I saw this, and heard how things really stood with her, I was
affrighted beyond measure, and cried, "Mary, my child, what art thou
doing?" She started when she heard my voice, but sat still on the pile,
and answered, as she covered her face with her apron, "Father, I am
burning my heart." I drew near to her and pulled the apron from her face,
saying, "Wilt thou, then, again kill me with grief?" whereupon she covered
her face with her hands, and moaned, "Alas, father, wherefore was I not
burned here? My torment would then have endured but for a moment, but now
it will last as long as I live!" I still did as though I had seen nought,
and said, "Wherefore, dear child, dost thou suffer such torment?"
whereupon she answered, "I have long been ashamed to tell you; for the
young lord, the young lord, my father, do I suffer this torment! He no
longer thinks of me; and albeit he saved my life he scorns me, or he would
surely have dismounted and come in a while; but we are of far too low
degree for him!" Hereupon I indeed began to comfort her and to persuade
her to think no more of the young lord; but the more I comforted her, the
worse she grew. Nevertheless I saw that she did yet in secret cherish a
strong hope by reason of the patent of nobility which he had made me give
him. I would not take this hope from her, seeing that I felt the same
myself, and to comfort her I flattered her hopes, whereupon she was more
quiet for some days, and did not go up the mountain, the which I had
forbidden her. Moreover, she began again to teach little Paasch her
god-daughter, out of whom, by the help of the all-righteous God, Satan was
now altogether departed. But she still pined, and was as white as a sheet;
and when soon after a report came that none in the castle at Mellenthin
knew what was become of the young lord, and that they thought he had been
killed, her grief became so great that I had to send my ploughman on
horseback to Mellenthin to gain tidings of him. And she looked at least
twenty times out of the door and over the paling to watch for his return;
and when she saw him coming she ran out to meet him as far as the corner
by Pagels. But, blessed God! he brought us even worse news than we had
heard before, saying, that the people at the castle had told him that
their young master had ridden away the self-same day whereon he had
rescued the maiden. That he had, indeed, returned after three days to his
father's funeral, but had straightway ridden off again, and that for five
weeks they had heard nothing further of him, and knew not whither he was
gone, but supposed that some wicked ruffians had killed him.

And now my grief was greater than ever it had been before; so patient and
resigned to the will of God as my child had shown herself heretofore, and
no martyr could have met her last hour stronger in God and Christ, so
impatient and despairing was she now. She gave up all hope, and took it
into her head that in these heavy times of war the young lord had been
killed by robbers. Nought availed with her, not even prayer, for when I
called upon God with her, on my knees, she straightway began so grievously
to bewail that the Lord had cast her off, and that she was condemned to
nought save misfortunes in this world; that it pierced through my heart
like a knife, and my thoughts forsook me at her words. She lay also at
night, and "like a crane or a swallow so did she chatter; she did mourn
like a dove; her eyes did fail with looking upward," because no sleep came
upon her eyelids. I called to her from my bed, "Dear child, wilt thou,
then, never cease? sleep, I pray thee!" and she answered and said, "Do you
sleep, dearest father; I cannot sleep until I sleep the sleep of death.
Alas, my father; that I was not burned!" But how could I sleep when she
could not? I indeed said, each morning, that I had slept a while, in order
to content her; but it was not so; but, like David, "all the night made I
my bed to swim; I watered my couch with my tears." Moreover I again fell
into heavy unbelief, so that I neither could nor would pray. Nevertheless
the Lord "did not deal with me after my sins, nor reward me according to
mine iniquities. For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great was
his mercy toward" me, miserable sinner!

For mark what happened on the very next Saturday! Behold, our old
maid-servant came running in at the door, quite out of breath, saying that
a horseman was coming over the Master's Mount, with a tall plume waving on
his hat, and that she believed it was the young lord. When my child, who
sat upon the bench combing her hair, heard this, she gave a shriek of joy,
which would have moved a stone under the earth, and straightway ran out of
the room to look over the paling. She presently came running in again,
fell upon my neck, and cried without ceasing, "The young lord! the young
lord!" whereupon she would have run out to meet him, but I forbade her,
saying she had better first bind up her hair, which she then remembered,
and laughing, weeping, and praying, all at once, she bound up her long
hair. And now the young lord came galloping round the corner, attired in a
green velvet doublet with red silk sleeves, and a grey hat with a heron's
feather therein; _summa_, gaily dressed as beseems a wooer. And when we
now ran out at the door, he called aloud to my child in the Latin, from
afar off, "_Quomodo stat dulcissima virgo?_" Whereupon she gave answer,
saying, "_Bene te aspecto._" He then sprang smiling off his horse, and
gave it into the charge of my ploughman, who meanwhile had come up
together with the maid; but he was affrighted when he saw my child so
pale, and taking her hand spake in the vulgar tongue, "My God! what is it
ails you, sweet maid? you look more pale than when about to go to the
stake." Whereupon she answered, "I have been at the stake daily since you
left us, good my lord, without coming into our house, or so much as
sending us tidings of whither you were gone."

This pleased him well, and he said, "Let us first of all go into the
chamber, and you shall hear all." And when he had wiped the sweat from
his brow, and sat down on the bench beside my child, he spake as
follows:--That he had straightway promised her that he would clear her
honour before the whole world, and the self-same day whereon he left us he
made the worshipful court draw up an authentic record of all that had
taken place, more especially the confession of the impudent constable,
_item_, that of my ploughboy, Claus Neels; wherewith he rode throughout
the same night, as he had promised, to Anclam, and next day to Stettin, to
our gracious sovereign Duke Bogislaw: who marvelled greatly when he heard
of the wickedness of his Sheriff, and of that which he had done to my
child: moreover, he asked whether she were the pastor's daughter who once
upon a time had found the signet-ring of his Princely Highness Philippus
Julius of most Christian memory in the castle garden at Wolgast? and as he
did not know thereof, the Duke asked, whether she knew Latin? And he, the
young lord, answered yes, that she knew the Latin better than he did
himself. His Princely Highness said, "Then, indeed, it must be the same,"
and straightway he put on his spectacles, and read the _acta_ himself.
Hereupon, and after his Princely Highness had read the record of the
worshipful court, shaking his head the while, the young lord humbly
besought his Princely Highness to give him an _amende honorable_ for my
child, _item, literas commendatitias_ for himself to our most gracious
Emperor at Vienna, to beg for a renewal of my patent of nobility, seeing
that he was determined to marry none other maiden than my daughter so long
as he lived.

When my child heard this, she gave a cry of joy, and fell back in a swound
with her head against the wall. But the young lord caught her in his arms,
and gave her three kisses (which I could not then deny him, seeing, as I
did with joy, how matters went), and when she came to herself again, he
asked her, whether she would not have him, seeing that she had given a cry
at his words? Whereupon she said, "Whether I will not have you, my lord!
Alas! I love you as dearly as my God and my Saviour! You first saved my
life, and now you have snatched my heart from the stake, whereon, without
you, it would have burned all the days of my life!" Hereupon I wept for
joy, when he drew her into his lap, and she clasped his neck with her
little hands.

They thus sat and toyed a while, till the young lord again perceived me,
and said, "What say you thereto; I trust it is also your will, reverend
Abraham?" Now, dear reader, what could I say, save my hearty good-will?
seeing that I wept for very joy, as did my child, and I answered, how
should it not be my will, seeing that it was the will of God? But whether
the worthy, good young lord had likewise considered that he would stain
his noble name if he took to wife my child, who had been habit and repute
a witch, and had been well-nigh bound to the stake?

Hereupon he said, By no means; for that he had long since prevented this,
and he proceeded to tell us how he had done it, namely, his Princely
Highness had promised him to make ready all the _scripta_ which he
required, within four days, when he hoped to be back from his father's
burial. He therefore rode straightway back to Mellenthin, and after paying
the last honour to my lord his father, he presently set forth on his way
again, and found that his Princely Highness had kept his word meanwhile.
With these _scripta_ he rode to Vienna, and albeit he met with many pains,
troubles, and dangers by the way (which he would relate to us at some
other time), he nevertheless reached the city safely. There he by chance
met with a Jesuit with whom he had once upon a time had his _locamentum_
for a few days at Prague, while he was yet a _studiosus_, and this man,
having heard his business, bade him be of good cheer, seeing that his
Imperial Majesty stood sorely in need of money in these hard times of war,
and that he, the Jesuit, would manage it all for him. This he really did,
and his Imperial Majesty not only renewed my patent of nobility, but
likewise confirmed the _amende honorable_ to my child granted by his
Princely Highness the Duke, so that he might now maintain the honour of
his betrothed bride against all the world, as also hereafter that of his
wife.

Hereupon he drew forth the _acta_ from his bosom, and put them into my
hand, saying, "And now, reverend Abraham, you must also do me a pleasure,
to wit, to-morrow morning, when I hope to go with my betrothed bride to
the Lord's table, you must publish the banns between me and your daughter,
and on the day after you must marry us. Do not say nay thereto, for my
pastor, the reverend Philippus, says that this is no uncommon custom among
the nobles in Pomerania, and I have already given notice of the wedding
for Monday at mine own castle, whither we will then go, and where I
purpose to bed my bride." I should have found much to say against this
request, more especially that in honour of the Holy Trinity he should
suffer himself to be called three times in church according to custom, and
that he should delay a while the espousals; but when I perceived that my
child would gladly have the marriage held right soon, for she sighed and
grew red as scarlet, I had not the heart to refuse them, but promised all
they asked. Whereupon I exhorted them both to prayer, and when I had laid
my hands upon their heads, I thanked the Lord more deeply than I had ever
yet thanked him, so that at last I could no longer speak for tears, seeing
that they drowned my voice.

Meanwhile the young lord his coach had driven up to the door, filled with
chests and coffers: and he said, "Now, sweet maid, you shall see what I
have brought you," and he bade them bring all the things into the room.
Dear reader, what fine things were there, such as I had never seen in all
my life! All that women can use was there, especially of clothes, to wit,
bodices, plaited gowns, long robes, some of them bordered with fur, veils,
aprons, _item_, the bridal shift with gold fringes, whereon the merry lord
had laid some six or seven bunches of myrtle to make herself a wreath
withal. _Item_, there was no end to the rings, neck-chains, eardrops,
etc., the which I have in part forgotten. Neither did the young lord leave
me without a gift, seeing he had brought me a new surplice (the enemy had
robbed me of my old one), also doublets, hosen, and shoes, _summa_,
whatsoever appertains to a man's attire; wherefore I secretly besought the
Lord not to punish us again in his sore displeasure for such pomps and
vanities. When my child beheld all these things she was grieved that she
could bestow upon him nought save her heart alone, and the chain of the
Swedish king, the which she hung round his neck, and begged him, weeping
the while, to take it as a bridal gift. This he at length promised to do,
and likewise to carry it with him into the grave: but that my child must
first wear it at her wedding, as well as the blue silken gown, for that
this and no other should be her bridal dress, and this he made her promise
to do.

And now a merry chance befell with the old maid, the which I will here
note. For when the faithful old soul had heard what had taken place, she
was beside herself for joy, danced and clapped her hands, and at last said
to my child, "Now to be sure you will not weep when the young lord is to
lie in your bed," whereat my child blushed scarlet for shame, and ran out
of the room; and when the young lord would know what she meant therewith,
she told him that he had already once slept in my child her bed when he
came from Gutzkow with me, whereupon he bantered her all the evening after
that she was come back again. Moreover, he promised the maid that as she
had once made my child her bed for him, she should make it again, and that
on the day after to-morrow she and the ploughman too should go with us to
Mellenthin, so that masters and servants should all rejoice together after
such great distress.

And seeing that the dear young lord would stop the night under my roof, I
made him lie in the small closet together with me (for I could not know
what might happen). He soon slept like a top, but no sleep came into my
eyes, for very joy, and I prayed the livelong blessed night, or thought
over my sermon. Only near morning I dozed a little; and when I rose the
young lord already sat in the next room with my child, who wore the black
silken gown which he had brought her, and, strange to say, she looked
fresher than even when the Swedish king came, so that I never in all my
life saw her look fresher or fairer. _Item_, the young lord wore his black
doublet, and picked out for her the best bits of myrtle for the wreath she
was twisting. But when she saw me, she straightway laid the wreath beside
her on the bench, folded her little hands, and said the morning prayer, as
she was ever wont to do, which humility pleased the young lord right well,
and he begged her that in future she would ever do the like with him, the
which she promised.

Soon after we went to the blessed church to confession, and all the folk
stood gaping open-mouthed because the young lord led my child on his arm.
But they wondered far more when, after the sermon, I first read to them in
the vulgar tongue the _amende honorable_ to my child from his Princely
Highness, together with the confirmation of the same by his Imperial
Majesty, and after that my patent of nobility; and, lastly, began to
publish the banns between my child and the young lord. Dear reader, there
arose a murmur throughout the church like the buzzing of a swarm of bees.
(N.B. These _scripta_ were burnt in the fire which broke out in the castle
a year ago, as I shall hereafter relate, wherefore I cannot insert them
here _in origne_.)

Hereupon my dear children went together with much people to the Lord's
table, and after church nearly all the folks crowded round them and wished
them joy. _Item_, old Paasch came to our house again that afternoon, and
once more besought my daughter's forgiveness because that he had
unwittingly offended her; that he would gladly give her a marriage-gift,
but that he now had nothing at all; howbeit that his wife should set one
of her hens in the spring, and he would take the chickens to her at
Mellenthin himself. This made us all to laugh, more especially the young
lord, who at last said: "As thou wilt bring me a marriage-gift, thou must
also be asked to the wedding, wherefore thou mayest come to-morrow with
the rest."

[Illustration: The Bridal Gifts]

Whereupon my child said: "And your little Mary, my god-child, shall come
too, and be my bridemaiden, if my lord allows it." Whereupon she began to
tell the young lord all that that had befallen the child by the malice of
Satan, and how they laid it to her charge until such time as the
all-righteous God brought her innocence to light; and she begged that
since her dear lord had commanded her to wear the same garments at her
wedding which she had worn to salute the Swedish king, and afterwards to
go to the stake, he would likewise suffer her to take for her bridemaiden
her little god-child, as _indicium secundum_ of her sorrows.

And when he had promised her this, she told old Paasch to send hither his
child to her, that she might fit a new gown upon her which she had cut out
for her a week ago, and which the maid would finish sewing this very day.
This so went to the heart of the good old fellow that he began to weep
aloud, and at last said, she should not do all this for nothing, for
instead of the one hen his wife should set three for her in the spring.

When he was gone, and the young lord did nought save talk with his
betrothed bride, both in the vulgar and in the Latin tongue, I did
better--namely, went up the mountain to pray, wherein, moreover, I
followed my child's example, and clomb up upon the pile, there in
loneliness to offer up my whole heart to the Lord as an offering of
thanksgiving, seeing that with this sacrifice he is well pleased, as
in Ps. li. 19, "The sacrifice of God is a troubled spirit; a broken and
contrite heart, O God, shalt thou not despise."

That night the young lord again lay in my room, but next morning, when the
sun had scarce risen--

*       *       *       *       *

Here end these interesting communications, which I do not intend to dilute
with any additions of my own. My readers, more especially those of the
fair sex, can picture to themselves at pleasure the future happiness of
this excellent pair.

All further historical traces of their existence, as well as that of the
pastor, have disappeared, and nothing remains but a tablet fixed in the
wall of the church at Mellenthin, on which the incomparable lord, and his
yet more incomparable wife, are represented. On his faithful breast still
hangs "the golden chain, with the effigy of the Swedish King." They both
seem to have died within a short time of each other, and to have been
buried in the same coffin. For in the vault under the church there is
still a large double coffin, in which, according to tradition, lies a
chain of gold of incalculable value. Some twenty years ago, the owner of
Mellenthin, whose unequalled extravagance had reduced him to the verge of
beggary, attempted to open the coffin in order to take out this precious
relic, but he was not able. It appeared as if some powerful spell held it
firmly together; and it has remained unopened down to the present time.
May it remain so until the last awful day, and may the impious hand of
avarice or curiosity never desecrate these holy ashes of holy beings!

FINIS





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