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Full text of "The four seasons"


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Lpf^/ N sending forth this volume, which, with 
I J ^h^ some new matter, comprises also new, 
'^ ' and It is hoped improved, editions of 
romances already known to the English 
reader, it has been thought desirable to prefix the 
following explanatory remarks by the Author, ex- 
tracted from the Postscript to the last edition of 
his Selected Works. ^ 



An edition of the last hand ! It is a serious, 
weighty word for an author who, not accustomed 
to trifle with time and eternity, earnestly weighs 
and considers what needs to be weighed and con- 
sidered. 

And — God be praised ! — this has been the manner of him who 
now addresses the reading world, for many years. It is, indeed, 
not exactly a parting salutation to the reading world that he 
hereby contemplates. There are still many arrows in his quiver, 
some ready forged, some in process of forging, some only thought 
of, but all without poison, which he purposes to send forth when 
the fit time shall come, or, perhaps, his survivors may do this 
when his o^-n last hour shall have passed, and all time for him 
have vanished. However this may be, the present task assumes 
1 In 12 vols. 16mo. Halle, 1841. 



the character of a bequest, in relation to that which he has already 
sent into the world, — and bequests are matters of a sufl&ciently 
serious nature. 

These fictions belonged, at one time, to my very self — 'yea, 
as I may well say, they were myself — and now I resign them 
once more to the world, and, after this last review, for ever. I 
have made scarcely any alteration in them, for, even as they are, 
they have gained the approbation of the reading world ; and, 
therefore, I repelled that critical fury which sometimes assailed 
"Tne in my labours, remembering how thereby many a gifted master 
has injured rather than improved his compositions, while the 
reader searches with painful anxiety after the earlier features of 
the much-loved work, and, alas, too often in vain ! What I 
deemed indispensably to need reforming were chiefly errors arising 
from former ignorance either in respect of the old northern man- 
ners or names, or similar matters, of which one previously unversed 
in such studies could scarcely be aware. So that now I ventui'e, 
with full confidence, to say to the reader, " Receive, renewed, 
what has delighted you ; — what has already been dear to you for 
many years." Conscious, however, of the obligation to render 
some account of the origin and foundation of these various works, 
I offer to the reading world, and especially to fellow-artists, the 
following communications : — 

UNDINE. 

How this darling gift of my muse first arose (1807), from the 
mystical laboratory of the aged, whimsical Theophrastus Paracelsus 
[Treatise of Elemental Spirits], has already been alluded to :^ here, 
however, the particulars shall be given more at length. It was not 
so easy, out of the deeply mysterious natural philosopher, some- 
times seized with ostentation, and even charlataneiy, as also con- 
tentious pride, but at the same time penetrated and enlightened by 
ever vaUd presentiments, and rich in an undeniably genuine expe- 
rience, in any degree to make any thing, as the saying is. All the 
less easy was it, inasmuch as his oracles are delivered in a mixture 
of kitchen, or at best monkish, Latin and indolent provincial dia- 
lect, similar to the present Tyrolese, so that the like in literature 
can scarcely any where else be found. Very few treatises, and not 

1 The reference is to the author's autobiography, which appeared the 
previous year. 



exactly the most interesting, are composed throughout in Latin ; 
and yet, perhaps, there is no one quite free from the occurrence, 
as it were by accident, of German phrases. It resembles the com- 
munication of an adventurer, far-travelled in foreign lands, who 
yet could never quite forget his mother-tongue, and now throws all 
together in confused variety, as it may chance to fall. Something 
of this sort, I have been told of a French sailor, and numberless 
times has the old Theophrastus Paracelsus Bombastus ab Hohen- 
heim (for thus stands his full title) reminded me of it. I, notwith- 
standing, ceased not to study an old edition of my speech-monger, 
which fell to me at an auction ; — and that carefully. Even his re- 
ceipts I read through in their order, just as they had been showered 
into the text, still continuing in the firm expectation, that from 
every line something wonderfully magical might float up to me and 
strike the understanding. Single sparks, here and there darting 
up, confirmed my hopes, and drew me still deeper into the mines 
beneath. Somewhat thereto might have been contributed by the 
symbohc figures, very skilfully impressed upon the leathern covers 
of the ten or twelve quarto volumes, as also by the, to me unin- 
telligible, gold letters here and there dispersed among them, and 
the wood-cut (inserted as a title-page) of the wonderful master, 
representing him in an antiquated jacket; his features strongly 
marked, almost inclined to wrath, yet bearing a true-hearted mild- 
ness ; his head already grey and bald, but with one lock, almost 
Apollonian, over the forehead ; both his nerved hands folded to- 
gether and resting on a knight's two-handed sword. 

" Now, ancient master, thanks to thee, 
A valiant course thou leddest me," — 

for, as a pearl of soft radiance, that may be compared to a mild 
tear of melancholy, there at last sparkled towards me, from out 
its rough-edged shell-work — " Undine !" 

My reflection of the image succeeded all the better, and more 
naturally, as the hoary magician treated with the most unshaken 
conviction, one is almost induced to say faith, of the indisputable 
reality of his elemental spirits ; not only of the undines or un- 
denes, as he expresses it, but also of sylphs, or spirits of the air ; 
salamanders, or spirits of the fire ; gnomes, or spirits of the earth. 
Founded upon such ideas, the author, at a later period, called some 
other tales into light, and, as he may well say, not without suc- 
cess. But the words of his old master, A. W. Schlegel, spoken 



for a very different occasion, wUl yet here apply : ** Undine re- 
mains the first love, Eind this is felt only once !" 

In those times of gloomy events for the poet's fatherland, 
wherein it sprang from out his spirit, not untinged, as it well 
might be, with many of his own peculiar sufferings, it assumed a 
hue of deep melancholy, which yet its subject might have also 
called forth amid the sunshine of brighter days. The eyes of a 
water-maiden must, according to her nature, beam bright with 
tears, although sometimes the wanton sports of aquatic nymphs, 
like luxuriant loop -plants on the banks of a rivulet, may juggle 
around the lovely child. Thus might the bleeding heart of the 
poet, with the pelican's faculty, have poured somewhat into his 
fiction, and so gained for it that abundant sympathy which it so 
heartUy met with, both in and out of the German land. 

And now, my darling chUd, go forth on thy renewed ap- 
pearance, accompanied by the gracious salutation of our exalted 
master Goethe, on sending thee back to a noble lady, after having 
replaced the worn-out binding of a library-copy by a new one : — 

" Here one may see how men are fabricated 
Of passion only — conscience have they none ; 
How ill have they the beauteous child entreated — 
Its dress almost from off its body gone ! 
In later time, howe'er, this luck befell me — 
The pious youth will envy me, I trow ; 
You gave me, friend, the opportunity 
To clothe the lovely prize from top to toe." 

[The author then goes on to mention the various languages into 
which " Undine" had been translated — French, Italian, English,' 
Russian, Polish.] 

1 " Let me not part with England (the author adds) without quoting 
the following judgment of Sir Walter Scott, the greatest master of the ro- 
mantic, properly so called, which Britain has ever produced: — ' Fouque's 
Undine or Naiade,' he says, after a hasty glance at the author's other 
romances, ' is ravishhiff. The suffering of the heroine is a real one, though 
it be the suffering of a fantastic being.' " 

To this Coleridge's judgment may be added: — " 'Undine' is a most 
exquisite work. The character of the heroine, before she receives a soul, 
is marvellously heaiUtiiuV'—Table-Talk, p. 83. To which is subjoined, in 
a note by the Editor: — "Mr. C.'s admiration of this romance was un- 
bounded. He said there was something here even beyond Scott— that his 
characters and conceptions were composed; by which I understood him to 
mean, that Baillie Nicol Jarvie, for instance, was made up of old parti- 
culars, and received its individuality from the author's power of fusion ; 



THE MAGIC RING.l 

It happened to the poet one evening, while in familiar converse 
with his beloved and now deceased spouse, Caroline Baroness de la 
Motte Fouque, that he informed her, with respect to an ancient 
French novel on which she was then engaged, many particulars as 
to the customs of that chivalric period. For although his lady was 
greatly more familiar and conversant with the modern French than 
himself, yet, on the other hand, he was much more at home with 
those days of departed heroes and their language ; partly on ac- 
count of his ancestry, partly also through his studies, and, above 
all, by the general tendency of his inward life. 

The conversation was attended with much fervency ; at last she 
said, " How unaccountable that thou never yet hast attempted a 
fiction on those times wherein thy French ancestors fought and 
vanquished ! ' ' 

The thought kindled, and soon there gradually rose before the 
author the lights of the " Magic Ring." He determined to con- 
struct a romance of ancient French chivalry ; and a glance into his 
own recesses sufficed to shew him the necessity of an original Ger- 
man hero, as the radical stem for the French knighthood, as also 
for the related European, and even the Arabian, therewith united. 
Thus arose in its primitive features the variegated texture which 
has here again unfolded itself. There might further, amid the nu- 
merous sympathies of which this work can boast, have been many 
a minuter feature welcome, as it occurred to the poet, and deter- 
mined him during its composition. Next to the propitious ap- 
pearance of Bertha (in the reality), and Gabrielle, there hovered 
before the eyes of the bard the image of a female friend, then 
long since beatified as Blanchefleur. At all events, this form at a 
later period arose upon his consciousness in immeasurably brighter 
splendour. He is certainly not the first poet to whom the like 

being in the result an admirable product, as Corinthian brass was said to 
be the conflux of the spoils of a city. But ' Undine,' he said, was one and 
single in projection; and had presented to his imagination — what Scott 
had never done — an absolutely new idea." 

1 It has been thought well to include these remarks on the " Magic 
Ring," both because of its connexion with " Sintram," and because it is 
probably known (through the English translation above alluded to) to 
many of the readers of this volume. 



has happened, nor, in this respect, will he be the last. Quite other- 
wise did the poet forebode by an impending exploit of arms, when 
describing the victory of the Swedes over the Finns, where Otho 
of Trautwangen, rushing on the enemy's infantry, shouts exult- 
ingly to his squadron of horsemen, " Strike ye, my Swedes ! strike 
ye !" As he wrote these words, and whenever he afterwards read 
them, he was seized by a deeply powerful, and, as one might say, 
melancholy inspiration. In the battle of Lutzen, where at the 
head of his Jagers he rushed on a French battalion, he felt the 
fulfilment of it ; and thinking on Otho of Trautw^angen, mingled 
in the huzza-cry of his squadron his own jubilant call, *' Strike, 
my Jagers ! strike !" And manifold tones besides, from out the 
magic ring sounding and re-echoing in the souls of my brethren 
in arms, accompanied me joyfully all through the great and event- 
ful year of " thirteen ;" at the same time, often meeting me from 
cities and castles, through which and to which the marches of the 
army or crusades, as in more senses than one they might be called, 
conducted us. 

A gallant young prince, — I had just been sent out upon com- 
mand, and still bore the trace of a slight wound between the eye- 
brows, — once asked, when riding in front of the Jager squadron, a 
volunteer, known to him through my acquaintemce, " Where is 
Heerdegen of Lichtenried ?" 

** Whom does your royal highness mean ?" 
" I mean him wdth the scar upon his brow — Fouque." 
So now, again, unlock thyself once more, my dear " Magic 
Ring," and that just as thou wert first unlocked; only now be 
decked with more adornment than at that time, which indeed has 
not despoiled thee of thy propriety, since already for twenty years 
thy second edition has brought it to thee, and thereto thy name 
(of *' ring," I mean) well belongs. 

From numerous quarters it was ardently desired ; and many a 
real ring for noble hands has since then been fashioned after it. 
Some have gone so far as to desire of me a fourth part to the three 
which already have existence. My answer has been, that as for the 
ring there remained no additions ; let it as a ring be recognised and 
for such be taken. \Miat, in other respects, may have contributed 
to impart to the book a peculiar vigour is, the author's familiarity 
with its materiel, — as weapons, horses, castles, and other like 
characteristics of the period; vivified still more through his own 



warlike and knightly experience. A sure foundation for his intui- 
tions into the world of knighthood had been already laid even in 
boyhood, and especially by the fictions of Veit Weber (Leonhard 
Wachter), under the title of " Tales of former Ages." In these 
pictures all is undoubtedly true, whatever is brought before us of 
the manners and customs of our forefathers, whether as to battles, 
festivities, or aught else of the manifold relationships of life. In 
the year 1815 it was permitted to the poet of the " Magic Ring" 
personally to express his thanks to the author of " Tales of former 
Ages." "Wherever, in this respect, a similar rich spring had opened 
itself, the bard was ever at hand with fresh gladness to draw from 
it; more by contemplating ancient buildings, armour, and pic- 
tures, than from books, which during his youthful years were, for 
the most part, sufficiently supei-ficial in this kind of information. 
His somewhat later investigations, namely, those of the armoury at 
Dresden, he yet well knew all the more powerfully how to apply and 
elaborate. In many ways also, since a perhaps very intentional hos- 
tility was raised against him and his fictions, has the exactness of his 
armorial descriptions been a subject of censure, as also his predilec- 
tion for noble horses ; indeed, many a report concerning these has, 
at once, been consigned to the region of the fabulous. There is, 
however, no knight without weapons ; and they in a manner form 
together a unity, so that an Orlando who should divest himself of 
these, would, of all things, only degenerate into an Orlando Furioso. 
And as concerning the wonderful properties of horses, many such 
might be related of indisputable reality, besides those in the 
" Magic Ring," as the author could abundantly prove, as well 
from his own experience, as from incontestable tradition ; not to 
mention the well- authenticated noble qualities, mentioned by tra- 
vellers, of the Arabian and Persian horses. Besides, to skilful 
horsemen those pictures in the " Magic Ring" have never given 
scandal ; but only to those who, conscious of their own weakness 
and timidity, approach their horses, when necessaiy, only with 
trembling, scolding, and murmuring. 

With respect, now, to the more important criticisms on the 
" Magic Ring," I willingly allude to one which has never appeared 
in print, but which was communicated to me by a worthy hand, 
without the name of its author. I at first took it for the work of 
an evangelical ecclesiastic, but afterwards perceived this was not 
the case. It is clear, however, that it proceeded from the pen of 



an earnest religious person. The author has erred in his view, 
that the poet was self-conscious of laying as its foundation a 
designed allegory. Ingeniously, however, and from his standing- 
point, as if inspired, has the critic interpreted the imagery ; and 
the poet cheerfully acknowledges, that such also might in part lie 
within his vision, although till then in no wise, even to himself, 
had it arisen through the medium of the understanding. Similar 
phenomena often present themselves in poetic works, on account 
of the mysterious richness of the gift, whereby the gifted one has 
much more imparted than he can evolve with his own intellectuEil 
power, if not excited thereto by some bright hint from another 
quarter. 

After this serious relation, shall another naive judgment be 
mentioned ? It may be, if only for the sake of contrast. Not long 
since, a friend brought me a library-copy of the " Magic Ring," 
with which he had accidentally become acquainted, on the cover 
of which were written these words, " By a boy or a girl? It 
looks very like it. It is, however, very bad that Arinbiorn ffets 
nothing /" 

I readily confess, that scarcely ever has unlimited applause 
afforded me such hearty joy as this censure, proceeding from 
inmost syhipathy with my dear sea-king. The more so, as even 
my own mind, on arriving at the final chord, felt almost melan- 
choly, as I saw in spirit the hero of the sea floating on so lone- 
somely to future scenes of war. 

In regard to translations into foreign languages of the * ' Magic 
Ring," I have heard of a French one, which I have never seen, 
but which has probably had an essential share in the far-spread 
celebrity of the fiction. The French language, now as ever, still 
holds its established office of interpreter amongst the European 
tongues. Whether, however, this " Anneau Magique" has effici- 
ently rendered the spirit and essence of the German work, may, 
in the mean time, especially from the then condition of modem 
French literature, be well doubted. What especially befell the 
ballads which lie scattered through the work, I know not ! On 
the contrary, a brave Englishman has successfully solved the pro- 
blem in a translation, to which is prefixed a friendly notice of the 
author, who once met his translator at a noble, hospitable mansion, 
not anticipating at that time a futm-e nigher relationship. As re- 
gards the ballads, the English author, not deeming himself qualified 



to render them metrically into his own language, has been content 
to present the first lines in a corresponding measure, and the re- 
mainder briefly and well in an unconfined prose version. Truly 
and with perfect reason is it here said ** briefly and weU," for 
the sense is most ably apprehended ; and thus, in every case, a far 
more accurate picture is brought to the mind of reader and hearer 
than if an abortive, because constrained, imitation had entered the 
lists, or even a so-caUed free translation. The prose is every 
where penetrated with the spirit of the original writing. It is 
reported that there are also versions of the " Magic Ring," at 
least of parts, in the Sclavonic languages. Respecting these, how- 
ever, the poet, alas ! through his entire ignorance of those tongues, 
is unable to give any further information ; as little also concerning 
an Arabic translation of the episode of the " Emir Nureddin," 
resolved upon many years ago at Berlin by a then youthful Orien- 
talist, now of high celebrity, in order to gratify an Ottoman grandee 
at Tunis. May this imagery please anew those readers to whom 
already it has long been dear, both lovely women and noble men ; 
— and first of aU in our beloved German fatherland ! 

SINTRAM AND HIS COMPANIONS. 

If the foregoing remarks on the " Magic Ring" contained a 
justly serious censure against those who presume that one may at 
pleasure, and at whatever request, add to tlie three parts of a work 
of fiction already complete in itself, yet a fourth, — (and why not, 
with equal reason, a fifth, sixth, and so forth ? for if the present 
generation become extinct to us, possibly their children and child- 
ren's children may stiU live on), such disapproval could neverthe- 
less in no way affect the after- vibrations which assuredly will per- 
vade and reverberate in every truly poetic soul on accomplishing 
an extensive poetic work. As the plastic or picturesque artist ever 
feels impelled to add still a grace, an ornament, an inscription, or 
the like, to his already finished performance, in order not quite to 
part from his beloved work, so happens it likewise with the poet. 
Woi'k and worker are so identified, have so, as it were, become 
one self, that they cannot easily part from one another again. 
Nevertheless, it is with full reason that we shun the use of the 
over-valued file, which has undoubtedly rubbed off and smoothed 
away much of the beauty and vigour of many a noble image. 



"VMiat else, then, remains to us, but, with illustrations of tones 
and imagery, to temper the parting, and to hover with adornment 
around the shape that we have called forth ? In this spirit, I 
ween, our Schiller composed his echoes from " The Robbers," as 
also, by so many victor-steps still more exalted, " Thekla's Voice 
of Spirits," as sequel to his " Wallenstein." The like is also met 
with in other poets ; and from a similar point of view the fiction 
now under notice may be regarded. 

Folko of Montfaufon was and is peculiarly endeared to my 
heart as a true type of that old French chivalric glory which now 
only emerges in individual appearances ; for instance, beautifully, 
in the Vendean wars, which, though failing in victory, were rich 
in honours. With these feelings, the poet could not forbear from 
arraying him in the colours of his own escutcheon, and assign- 
ing to him the emblems of the same, and even in some measure 
denoting him by his own ancestral name ; for Foulque we were 
called in old times, which was probably derived, according to our 
Norman desceut, from the Northlandish name Folko, or Fulko ; 
and a castle " Montfaufon" was among our ancient possessions. 
But here that only properly concerns the noble pair, Folko and 
Gabrielle, as interwoven in the tale of " Sintram." The tale 
itself is the offspring of my own fantasy, immediately suggested by 
Albrecht Durer's admirable woodcut of " The Knight, Death, and 
Satan," the birthday-gift of a former friend, with the happy pro- 
posal that I should frame from it a romance or a ballad. It be- 
came more than this ; and the present tale shews it to be so, being 
supported by divers traditions, in part derived to me oraUy, of the 
Germanic northern customs in war and festivity, and in many other 
relationships beside. The legend indicated at the conclusion of 
the information respecting Sintram, of the terrific stories of the 
north, transformed into southern splendour and mirthful dreams, 
would really then have been executed, and arose stiU more clearly 
from the fantastic tones of a congenial harpsichord-player, who 
accidentally met the poet. Partly, however, other avocations, partly 
interruptions from without, have hitherto driven the project into 
the background. But it still lives within me ; and now again, 
from the powerful and yet childlike harmonies of the Northman 
Ole Bull, seems to stir more vigorously and brightly than before. 
Who knows what yet may happen ? Meanwhile here gushes from 



me a song of salutation to one who, honoured by me as master, is 
not less dear to me as a man : — 

Profoundly dreamt a youth on Northland waste ; 

But no — it is not waste where fairy rings 

Reflect the past as well as future things, 

Where love and woe in boding tones are drest. 

They greeted him, they kissed him, and retreated ; 

They left for him an instrument of sound, 

Whose forceful strings with highest deeds could hound, 

And yet with childish frolics be entreated. 

He wakes — the gift he seizes, comprehending 

Its sweet mysterious pleasure how to prove, 

And pours it forth in pure harmonious blending. 

mayst thou, ever victor, joyful move. 

Thou Northland sailor, on life's voyage wending. 

Conscious of God within thee and above. 



It may not be uninteresting to append in this place an extract 
from the introduction to " Guy Mannering," as it appeared in the 
collected edition of the works of the author of " Waverley," in 
1830: 

" The novel or romance of Waverley made its way to the pub- 
lic slowly, of course, at first, but afterwards with such accumulat- 
ing popularity as so encourage the author to a second attempt. 
He looked about for a name and a subject ; and the manner in 
which the novels were composed cannot be better illustrated than 
by reciting the simple narrative on which * Guy Mannering' was 
originally founded; but to which, in the progress of the work, the 
production ceased to bear any, even the most distant resemblance. 
.... A grave and elderly person, according to old John MacKin- 
lay's account, while travelling in the wilder parts of Galloway, vras 
benighted. With difficulty he found his way to a country-seat, 
where, with the hospitality of the time and country, he was readily 
admitted. The owner of the house, a gentleman of good fortune, 
was much struck by the reverend appearance of his guest, and 
apologised to him for a certain degree of confusion which must 
unavoidably attend his reception, and could not escape his eye. 
The lady of the house was, he said, confined to her apartment, 
and on the point of making her husband a father for the first 
time, though they had been ten years married. At such an emer- 
gency, the laird said he feared his guest might meet with some 
apparent neglect. 

" * Not so, sir,' said the stranger ; * my wants are few, and 



XU PREFACE. 

easily supplied; and I trust the present circumstances may even 
afford an opportunity of shewing my gratitude for your hospitality. 
Let me only request that I may be informed of the exact minute 
of the birth ; and I hope to be able to put you in possession of 
some particulars, which may influence, in an important manner, 
the future prospects of the child now about to come into this busy 
and changeful world. I will not conceal from you that I am skil- 
ful in understanding and interpreting the movements of those 
planetary bodies which exert their influences on the destiny of 
mortals. It is a science which I do not practise, like others who 
call themselves astrologers, for hire or reward ; for I have a com- 
petent estate, and only use the knowledge I possess for the benefit 
of those in whom I feel an interest.' The laird bowed in respect 
and gratitude ; and the stranger was accommodated with an apart- 
ment which commanded an ample view of the astral regions. 

" The guest spent a part of the night in ascertaining the posi- 
tion of the heavenly bodies, and calculating their probable influ- 
ence ; until at length the result of his observations induced him to 
send for the father, and conjure him, in the m.ost solemn manner, 
to cause the assistants to retard the birth, if practicable, were it 
but for five minutes. The answer declared this to be impossible ; 
and almost at the instant the message was returned, the father and 
his guest were made acquainted with the birth of a boy. 

" The astrologer on the morrow met the party who gathered 
around the breakfast -table, with looks so grave and ominous, as to 
alarm the fears of the father, who had hitherto exulted in the pro- 
spects held out by the birth of an heir to his ancient property, 
failing which event, it must have passed to a distant branch of the 
family. He hastened to draw the stranger into a private room. 

" ' I fear from your looks,' said the father, ' that you have bad 
tidings to tell me of my young stranger ; perhaps God will resume 
the blessing He has bestowed ere he attains the age of manhood ; or 
perhaps he is destined to be unworthy of the aff'ection which we 
are naturally disposed to devote to our offspring.' 

"' Neither the one nor the other,' answered the stranger; 
* unless my judgment greatly err, the infant will sur\T.ve the years 
of minority, and in temper and disposition will prove all that his 
parents can wish. But with much in his horoscope which pro- 
mises many blessings, there is one e\T-l influence strongly predomi- 
nant, which threatens to subject him to an unhaUow-ed and unhappy 
temptation about the time when he shall attain the age of twenty- 
one, which period the constellations intimate will be the crisis of 
his fate. In what shape, or with what peculiar urgency, this temp- 
tation may beset him, my art cannot discover.' 

" ' Your knowledge, then, can afford us no defence,' said the 
anxious father, ' against the threatened evil ! ' 

** ' Pardon me,' answered the stranger, ' it can. The influence 



of the constellations is powerful ; but He who made the heavens 
is more powerful than all, if His aid be invoked in sincerity and 
truth. You ought to dedicate this boy to the immediate service of 
his Maker, with as much sincerity as Samuel was devoted to the 
worship in the temple by his parents. You must regard him as 
a being separated from the rest of the world. In childhood, in 
boyhood, you must surround him with the pious and virtuous, and 
protect him, to the utmost of your power, from the sight or hear- 
ing of any ci-ime, in word or action. He must be educated in 
religious and moral principles of the strictest description. Let 
him not enter the world, lest he learn to partake of its follies, or 
perhaps of its vices. In short, preserve him as far as possible 
from all sin, save that of which too great a portion belongs to all 
the fallen race of Adam. With the approach of his twenty-first 
birthday comes the crisis of his fate, if he survive it, he will be 
happy and prosperous on earth, and a chosen vessel among those 
elected for heaven. But if it be otherwise' — the astrologer stopped, 
and sighed deeply. 

" ' Sir,' replied the parent, stUl more alarmed than before, 
* your words are so kind, your advice so serious, that I will pay 
the deepest attention to your behests. But can you not aid me 
farther in this most important concern ? Believe me, I will not 
be ungrateful.' 

" ' I require and deserve no gratitude for doing a good action,' 
said the stranger, ' in especial for contributing all that lies in my 
power to save from an abhorred fate the harmless infant to whom, 
under a singular conjunction of planets, last night gave life. There 
is my address ; you may write to me from time to time concerning 
the progress of the boy in religious knowledge. If he be bred up 
as I advise, I think it will be best that he come to my house at the 
time when the fatal and decisive period approaches, that is, before 
he has attained his twenty-first year complete. If you send him such 
as I desu-e, I humbly trust that God will protect His own, through 
whatever strong temptation his fate may subject him to.' He then 
gave his host his address, which was a country-seat near a post-town 
in the south of England, and bid him an affectionate farewell. 

" The mysterious stranger departed; but his words remained 
impressed upon the mind of the anxious parent. He lost his lady 
while his boy was still in infancy. This calamity, I think, had 
been predicted by the astrologer ; and thus his confidence, which, 
like most people of the period, he had freely given to the science, 
was riveted and confirmed. The utmost care, therefore, was taken 
to carry into effect the severe and almost ascetic plan of education 
which the sage had enjoined. A tutor of the strictest principles 
was employed to superintend the youth's education ; he was sur- 
rounded by domestics of the most established character, and closely 
watched and looked after by the anxious father himself. 



" The years of infancy, childhood, and boyhood, passed as the 
father could have wished. A young Nazarene could not have been 
bred up with more rigour. AU that was evil was withheld from 
his observ'ation — he only heard what was pure in precept — he only 
witnessed what was worthy in practice. 

" But when the boy began to be lost in the youth, the attentive 
father saw cause for alarm. Shades of sadness, which gradually 
assumed a darker character, began to overcloud the young man's 
temper. Tears, which seemed involuntary, broken sleep, moon- 
light wanderings, and a melancholy for which he could assign no 
reason, seemed to threaten at once his bodily health, and the sta- 
bility of his mind. The astrologer was consulted by letter, and 
returned for answer, that this fitful state of miad was but the com- 
mencement of his trial, and that the poor youth must undergo 
more and more desperate struggles w^ith the evil that assaUed him. 
There was no hope of remedy, save that he shewed steadiness of 
miad in the study of the Scriptures. ' He suffers,' continued the 
letter of the sage, * from the awakening of those harpies, the pas- 
sions, which have slept with him, as with others, till the period of 
life which he has now attained. Better, far better, that they tor- 
ment him by ungrateful cravings than that he should have to 
repent having satiated them by criminal indulgence.' 

" The dispositions of the young man were so excellent, that he 
combated, by reason and religion, the fits of gloom which at times 
overcast his mind ; and it was not till he attained the commence- 
ment of his twenty-first year that they assumed a character which 
made his father tremble for the consequences. It seemed as if 
the gloomiest and most hideous of mental maladies was taking 
the form of religious despair. Still the youth was gentle, court- 
eous, affectionate, and submissive to his father's will, and resisted 
with all his power the dark suggestions which were breathed 
into his mind, as it seemed, by some emanation of the Evil Prin- 
ciple, exhorting him, like the wicked wife of Job, to curse God 
and die. 

" The time at length arrived when he was to perform what was 
then thought along and somewhat perilous journey, to the mansion 
of the early friend who had calculated his nativity. His road lay 
through several places of interest, and he enjoyed the amusement 
of travelling, more than he himself thought would have been pos- 
sible. Thus he did not reach the place of his destination till noon, 
on the day preceding his birthday. It seemed as if he had been 
carried away with an unwonted tide of pleasurable sensation, so as 
to forget, in some degree, what his father had communicated con- 
cerning the purpose of his journey. He halted at length before a 
respectable but solitary old mansion, to which he was directed as 
the abode of his father's ft-iend. 

" The servants who came to take his horse told him he had been 



PREFACE. XV 

expected for two days. He was led into a study, where the stran- 
ger, now a venerable old man, who had been his father's guest, 
met him with a shade of displeasure, as well as gravity, on his 
bi'ow. ' Young man,' he said, 'wherefore so slow on a journey 
of such importance?' — 'I thought,' replied the guest, blushing 
and looking downward, ' that there was no harm in travelling 
slowly, and satisfying my curiosity, providing I could reach your 
residence by this day ; for such was my father's charge.' — ' You 
were to blame,' replied the sage, 'in lingering, considering that 
the avenger of blood was pressing on your footsteps. But you are 
come at last, and we will hope for the best, though the conflict in 
which you are to be engaged will be found more dreadful, the 
longer it is postponed. But first, accept of such refreshments as 
nature requires, to satisfy, but not to pamper, the appetite.' 

" The old man led the way into a summer parlour, where a' 
frugal meal was placed on the table. As they sat down to the 
board, they were joined by a young lady about eighteen years of 
age, and so lovely that the sight of her carried off the feelings of 
the young stranger from the peculiarity and mystery of his own lot, 
and riveted his attention to every thing she did or said. She spoke 
little, and it was on the most serious subjects. She played on the 
harpsichord at her father's command, but it was hymns with which 
she accompanied the instrument. At length, on a sign from the 
sage, she left the room, turning on the young stranger, as she de- 
parted, a look of inexpressible anxiety and interest. 

" The old man then conducted the youth to his study, and 
conversed with him upon the most important points of religion, to 
satisfy himself that he could render a reason for the faith that was 
in him. During the examination, the youth, in spite of himself, 
felt his mind occasionally wander, and his recollections go in quest 
of the beautiful vision who had shared their meal at noon. On 
such occasions the astrologer looked grave, and shook his head 
at this relaxation of attention ; yet, on the whole, he was pleased 
with the youth's replies. 

" At sunset the young man was made to take the bath ; and, 
having done so, he was directed to attire himself in a robe, some- 
what like that worn by Armenians, having his long hair combed 
down on his shoulders, and his neck, hands, and feet bare. In this 
guise, he was conducted into a remote chamber totally devoid of 
furniture, excepting a lamp, a chair, and a table, on which lay a 
Bible. * Here,' said the astrologer, ' I must leave you alone, to 
pass the most critical period of your life. If you can, by recollec- 
tion of the great truths of which we have spoken, repel the attacks 
which will be made on your courage and your principles, you have 
nothing to apprehend. But the trial will be severe and arduous.' 
His features then assumed a pathetic solemnity, the tears stood in 
his eyes, and his voice faltered with emotion as he said, ' Dear 



child, at whose coming into the world I foresaw this fatal trial, 
may God give thee grace to support it with firmness ! ' 

'* The young man was left alone ; and hardly did he find him- 
self so, when like a swarm of demons, the recollection of all his 
sins of omission and commission, rendered even more terrible by 
the scrupulousness with which he had been educated, rushed on 
his mind, and, like furies armed with fiery scourges, seemed de- 
termined to drive him to despair. As he combated these horrible 
recollections with distracted feelings, but with a resolved mind, he 
became aware that his arguments were answered by the sophistry 
of another, and that the dispute was no longer confined to his own 
thoughts. The author of evil was present in the room with him 
in bodUy shape, and, potent with spiiits of a melancholy cast, was 
impressing upon him the desperation of his state, and urging sui- 
cide as the readiest mode to put an end to his sinful career. Amid 
his errors, the pleasure he had taken in prolonging his journey un- 
necessarily, and the attention which he had bestowed on the beauty 
of the fair female, when his thoughts ought to have been dedicated 
to the religious discourse of her father, were set before him in the 
darkest colours ; and he was treated as one who, having sinned 
against light, was therefore deservedly left a prey to the prince of 
darkness. 

" As the fated and influential hour rolled on, the terrors of the 
hateful presence grew more confounding to the mortal senses of 
the victim, and the knot of the accursed sophistry became more 
inextricable in appearance, at least to the prey whom its meshes 
surrounded. He had not power to explain the assurance of pardon 
which he continued to assert, or to name the victorious name in 
which he trusted. But his faith did not abandon him, though he 
lacked for a time the power of expressing it. ' Say what you will/ 
was his answer to the tempter ; ' I know there is as much betwixt 
the two boards of this book as can insure me forgiveness for my 
transgressions, and safety for my soul.' As he spoke, the clock, 
which announced the lapse of the fatal hour, was heard to strike. 
The speech and intellectual powers of the youth were instantly 
and fully restored ; he burst forth into prayer, and expressed, in 
the most glowing terms, his reliance on the truth, and on the 
author, of the gospel. The demon retired, yelling and discomfited ; 
and the old man, entering the apartment with tears, congratulated 
his guest on his victory in the fated struggle. 

" The young man was afterwards married to the beautiful 
maiden, the first sight of whom had made such an impression on 
him, and they were consigned over, at the close of the story, to 
domestic happiness. So ended John MacKinlay's legend. 

" The author of Waverley had imagined a possibility of framing 
an interesting, and perhaps not an unedifying, tale, out of the in- 
cidents of the life of a doomed individual, whose efforts at good . 



PREFACE. XVU 

and virtuous conduct were to be for ever disappointed by the in- 
tervention, as it were, of some malevolent being, and who was at 
last to come off victorious from the fearful struggle. In short, 
something was meditated upon a plan resembling the imaginative 
tale of ' Sintram and his Companions,' by Mons Le Baron de la 
Motte Fouque, although, if it then existed, the author had not 
seen it. 

" The scheme projected maybe traced in the first three or four 
chapters of the work ; but farther consideration induced the author 
to lay his purpose aside. It appeared, on mature consideration, 
that astrology, though its influence was once received and admitted 
by Bacon himself, does not now retain influence over the general 
mind sufficient even to constitute the mainspring of a romance. 
Besides, it occurred, that to do justice to such a subject would 
have required not only more talent than the author could be con- 
scious of possessing, but also involved doctrines and discussions of 
a nature too serious for his purpose, and for the character of the 
narrative. In changing his plan, however, which was done in the 
course of printing the early sheets retained the vestiges of the 
original tenour of the story, although they now hang upon it as an 
unnecessary and unnatural encumbrance." 

It wiU probably be admitted, even by the greatest admirers of 
Scott's genius, that it was well he did not attempt the prosecu- 
tion of his tale as at first projected. The truth is, the mind of 
this great writer was scarcely fitted for the successful handling of 
a subject which should bring before his readers in serious reality 
the mysteries of the in\dsible world. However much he may ap- 
pear at times to wi-ite under such a feeling, one is constantly dis- 
appointed in finding that it has been only assumed, as it would seem, 
for the sake of temporary effect : wherever a character or event is 
made for a time to wear a supernatural aspect, due care is taken to 
let the reader see, that the author neither believes any such thing 
himself, nor wishes him to do so, more than is needful to keep up his 
curiosity to the proper pitch until the evolution of the plot. He 
often lets us know, — and at times, one would think, gratuitously, — 
that the mystery which he is describing so beautifully, is, after aU, 
but an apparent one, — some form of natural magic, some inge- 
nious trick, or some fantasy of a diseased imagination. The above 
instance furnishes no bad specimen of the way in which his taste 
would naturally lead him to construct a romance on the basis of 
an old legend. (See the astrological allusions in the first few chap- 
ters of " Guy Mannering.") Enough would be taken to keep up 



XVm PREFACE. 

that kind of awe and suspense we have alluded to as needful to 
an effective romance ; but the general impression is not very dis- 
similar to that left on the mind of the thoughtful reader after lay- 
ing down the " Mysteries of Udolpho," or the " Castle of Otran- 
to," and finding that all the mystery has vanished, with nothing 
left for us to admire but the stage-machinery which has been so 
ingeniously employed to mimic the supernatural, and excite our 
temporary awe. 

It will be evident how dissimilar (among various points, how- 
ever, of resemblance^) was the line pursued by De la Motte 
Fouque. He writes throughout as if he believed what he is re- 
lating ; and if the reader is to enter into the charm of the piece, 
and to derive fuU enjoyment from its perusal, he must throw him- 
self into the same posture of mind. In his romances the super- 
natural is carried through consistently to the end, and is there left, 
in aU its mystery ; and one need hardly remark how much of their 
solemnising and indescribably beautiful eflfect upon the mind is due 
to this characteristic of these tales. ^ 

Indeed, as far as the mere interest of the story, and its pleasing 
effect on the imagination, is concerned, one would rather prefer 
that there should be no unravelling of its hidden things. Which 
of us, when in our childish years we drank in the charms of a 
simple fairy tale, could endure to have the consistency of its struc- 

i The reader who consults the Preface to " Waverley," in which the 
author gives an account of his youthful studies, his love of antiquarian 
lore, of chivalry, &c., and refers back to the foregoing Preface, will see 
how, in a great measure, the same kind of materials must necessarily 
have entered into the compositions of both these authors. It may be 
added, that the early religious associations of Scott were not of a kind 
which were likely to lead to his treating supernatural subjects in a very 
high tone. 

2 In estimating the impressive effect produced by the writings of our 
author, it should not be forgotten that many of them partake to some ex- 
tent of the character of the spiritual allegory, though the meaning is often 
but indistinctly marked on the surface. This has been overlooked by 
many, who nevertheless admire his tales as the offspring of high poetical 
genius. There is somewhere a criticism upon one of them by a very able 
writer of the present day, who had evidently entered fully into its literary 
merit, and who expressed a high admiration for the sentiments and tone 
of the author, but who had, nevertheless, completely missed the beau- 
tiful aUegory which it embodies, the dim, impressive obscurity of which 
lends so wondrous a charm to its scenes. 



PREFACE. XIX 

ture tampered with, or any thing hinted which should prevent us 
fairly throwing ourselves into its scenes, and viewing them in all 
the truth and reality of the picture ? Or who would care, again, 
to revel in the gorgeous scenery of an Arabian tale, if at every 
turn we must be dogged by some officious attendant, ready to put 
in some matter-of-fact remark which should bring us back to 
common life, and dash in a thousand pieces the enchanted mirror 
in which we were gazing with our whole souls ? The difference 
(we may here remark) between the two writers alluded to, appears 
sometimes even in those subordinate parts of their romances, where 
one might fairly expect it to be otherwise. Both, for instance, oc- 
casionally work in old legends as episodes, by putting them in the 
mouths of some of the characters in the tale. Tliese, at least, as 
remains of still more ancient days, might well be given in all their 
unexplained marvel, — just, in fact, as they were believed in at the 
time supposed. Fouque does so. Compare, for instance, the sin- 
cere way in which his little tale of the ' ' Magician of Finland' ' ^ is 
told, in the first volume of the " Magic Ring," with the legends 
which Scott incidentally introduces, but which are usually accom- 
panied by some hint as to the credulousness of the age in which 
they were current, or some suggested explanation in accordance 
with what are called the laws of nature. 

But, besides the mere interest and consistency of the story, it 
must be admitted that to reverential minds there is something 
cold and unsatisfactory in this habit of clearing away, — always, and 
as a matter of course, — whatever is mysterious and beyond the 
range of our senses and present experience. If we believe at all 
in the powers of the invisible world, we do not see why many things 
which men usually look upon as incredible, though beautiful ima- 
ginations, should not, after aU, be deemed possible, and even pro- 
bable. We are not here pleading for a belief in any particular 
portions of works usually deemed fictitious ; nor are we concerned 
at present to find such instances. We are only suggesting whether 
we are not too apt, under the name of romance and fiction, to treat 
as incredible many things which, if we are believers in Holy Writ, 
we have at least no a priori reason for rejecting as fabulous. There 
is such a thing as superstition ; but there is also an opposite and 

1 This beautiftd little story will be found in " Popular Tales and Le- 
gends." Burns, 1843. 



most dangerous extreme. " I had a dream, which was not all a 
dream," says one of our poets; and so too may it be with much 
that we are apt indiscriminately to call " fictitious or imaginary." 

The tone of mind which such writings as that of our author 
tend to foster, is one of faith in the imdsible ; while, on the other 
hand, those of most other novelists rather tend to the opposite 
habit of scepticism.' There is, therefore, one special charm about 
the tales of Fouque, which those of Scott never can possess ; though 
there is doubtless much in the latter which in other ways tends 
to good. 

This, of course, is not the place to point out the merits of the 
author of " Waverley" as a romance-writer; and the attempt 
might well be deemed absurd at this time of day. In many re- 
spects he is far before Fouque. One particular may be cited : 
we think the readers of the latter must often have desiderated that 
wonderful talent of Scott by which all the parts of his tale are 
made to hang together — each event and character fitting into its 
place with graceful order, and yet without stiffness or formality 
— and at last forming, what is so gratifying to the mind of the 
reader at the time, and so pleasing in i-ecollection, one symmetrical 
whole. Fouque, with all his glowing descriptions and true poetical 
touches, does certainly sometimes provoke us by his wild con- 
fusion and almost contempt of plan. ^ For this we must, of course, 
account by the cast of his genius. He was unquestionably a true 
poet — calling up, as he went on, the most beautiful pictures, and 
presenting them before us, as they arose to his own mind, in all 
their primitive freshness and simplicity, but lacking that talent 
which would bring them into due order and method, and which, 
though a lower gift than poetical genius, is yet very needful for one 
who would not only make a series of beautiful sketches, but who 
would also form a well- compacted tale. It seems probable that this 
defect has operated against the general popularity of these works 

1 Such books as Scott's "Demonology," Brewster's "Natural Magic," 
&c., are dangerous in this way. They attempt to prove too much; and 
by their oflT-hand way of treating every thing which savours of miraculous 
agency, they— unconsciously it may be, but really — play into the hands of 
the rationalist, and furnish weapons with which a worse class of persons 
will go on to demolish altogether a belief in invisible influences. 

2 It must be admitted, however, that many of his shorter pieces are 
very perfect in their structure. 



amongst ourselves ; though this may also be attributed, in some 
degree, to the characteristic already alluded to, which, if it recom- 
mends them to some minds, may cause them to find less favour in 
the eyes of others. He writes at times, in fact, under a kind of 
heavenly inspiration, which, without a congenial disposition on the 
part of the reader, it is vain to hope wiU be appreciated. 

It ought to be remarked here, however, that in one case the 
author of " Waverley" did make a bold attempt to grapple with the 
supernatural. We allude, of course, to the " Monastery ;" and it 
is singular that in this instance he should have taken the idea from 
the first tale in this collection. In his Introduction, where he 
speaks of the origin of the story, he says : — 

" . . . . Machinery remained, — the introduction of the super- 
natural and marvellous — the resort of distressed authors since the 
days of Horace, but whose privileges as a sanctuary have been 
disputed in the present age, and well-nigh exploded. The popu- 
lar belief no longer allows the possibility of existence to the race 
of mysterious beings which hovei-ed betwixt this world and that 
which is invisible. The fairies have abandoned their moonlight 
turf ; the witch no longer holds her black orgies in the hemlock 
dell ; and 

' Even the last lin<^ering phantom of the brain, 
The churchyard-ghost, is now at rest agaia.' 

" From the discredit attached to the vulgar and more common 
modes in which the Scottish superstition displays itself, the author 
was induced to have recourse to the beautiful, though almost for- 
gotten, theory of astral spirits, or creatures of the elements, sur- 
passing human beings in knowledge and power, but inferior to 
them, as being subject, after a certain space of years, to a death 
which is to them annihilation, as they have no share in the promise 
made to the sons of Adam. 1 hese spirits are supposed to be of 
four distinct kinds, as the elements from which they have their 
origin, and are known to those who have studied the cabalistical 
philosophy by the names of sylphs, gnomes, salamanders, and 
naiads, as they belong to the elements of air, earth, fire, or water. 
The general reader will find an entertaining account of these ele- 
mentary spirits in the French book entitled ' Entretiens de Compte 
du Gabalis.' The ingenious Comte de la Motte Fouque composed, 
in German, one of the most successful productions of his fertile 
brain, where a beautiful and even afflicting effect is produced by 
the introduction of a water-nymph, who consents to become ac- 
cessible to human feelings, and unites her lot with that of a mortal, 
who treats her with ingratitude. 

" In imitation of an example so successful, the White Lady of 
Avenel was introduced into the following sheets 



** Either, however, the author executed his purpose indiffer- 
ently, or the public did not approve of it ; for the * White Lady 
of Avenel' was far from being popular. He does not now make 
the present statement in the view of arguing readers into a more 
favourable opinion on the subject, but merely with the purpose 
of exculpating himself from the charge of having wantonly in- 
truded into the narrative a being of inconsistent powers and pro- 
pensities." 

The inferior success which this romance met with, (chiefly, it 
would seem, on account of the introduction of the White Lady,) is 
probably due to both the causes alluded to by the author in the 
above extract. The public were not prepared for this kind of 
machinery in his writings. And it is not unlikely, that, if he had 
treated it differently, and had made some person to act the part of 
a supernatural being, who should come out at the wind-up as one 
of flesh and blood, and explain her proceedings, the same objection 
might not have been taken by some. It is possible too, however, 
that had the present idea been better executed, the public might 
have been reconciled to it. There is certainly an awkwardness 
and want of dignity about this part of the romance ; and, much 
as there is of beauty in some of the details, one does not, after the 
perusal, dwell with fiill satisfaction upon the vision of the White 
Nymph. 

As has been said, this was not the line which Scott was fitted 
to excel in. With respect to his idea, that popular belief no longer 
allows the possibility of the existence of such mysterious beings, 
it may be doubted whether this is of itself a good reason why 
writers of romance should eschew them. Indeed, he himself did 
not, — as we see in this case : he avoided certainly the more hack- 
neyed ground of fairies and witches ; — but he chose one equally, or 
more, removed from popular belief, though recommended to him 
in this case by the advantage of novelty. Perhaps the most likely* 
way to ensure consistency and success, would be to dismiss the 
question as to whether people now-a-days believe such things or 
not, and to choose such a period and such characters as will admit 
of this machinery being naturally made use of; so that whether 
readers in the present day are found to give credence or not, they 
may at least look on a picture which was true at the time sup- 
posed, and which will be true and consistent to them, too, if they 
will throw their sympathies into the scenes which are opened be- 
fore them. The satisfactory effect produced by Fouque's tales may 



be in part ascribed to this circumstance. He carries you into far- 
off scenes, and among ancient days and manners ; and you see at 
once that you must feel as men then felt, and believe as they 
beUeved. 

It may be doubted, indeed, whether, with our present habits 
and tone of mind, it would be possible to work up an endur- 
able piece of fiction, of which the scene should be laid in our 
own country and in our own day, and which yet should embody 
the machinery of our old tales. Relate a fairy tale to some youth- 
ful circle of open-mouthed listeners on a winter's evening, and 
see if half the enchantment does not depend upon their realising 
the scene as having existed in times far removed from their own 
days. Tell the same story, only altering the circumstantials to 
those among which they themselves live, — as if, for instance, the 
things had happened in some neighbouring village, and within the 
last year, — and the magical effect will be gone. They feel that the 
thing is unnatural ; and the quiet, earnest look of wonder and awe 
with which the little audience hung upon the lips of the narrator 
will soon, we fear, be changed for one of mingled disappointment 
and scorn. They wUl shew not only that they disbelieve, but that 
they despise, what you are telling thera.^ 

To conclude : — these Tales, with their no less pleasing com- 
panions,^ are commended to the attention of all lovers amongst 
us of what is noble and beautiful in external nature, as weU. as in 
the human heart and life. We do so with hearty confidence ; nor 
do we fear that they will suffer, even by oft- repeated penisal. 
Manly Christian grace, virgin purity; hoary wisdom, happy child- 
like innocence ; the grand, the severe, the tender, the lowly, the 
affectionate, and whatever else is calculated to touch and elevate 

Perhaps the modern " ghost-story" may occur to some as aa apparent 
exception to this remark ; and we believe that in some places popular 
belief would almost admit of such machinery being employed, without 
fatally destroying the consistency and verisimilitude of a tale. Still, as a 
general remark, what Sir W. Scott says in a previous page of the church- 
yard ghost is true; and any of our tale-writers, therefore, who should be 
adventurous enough to make use of such machinery without due care to 
clear up the mystery at the end, would lun a great risk of making ship- 
wreck of his or her popularity. It might do, were the scene laid amongst 
characters supposed to live under the influence of such forms of belief ; 
there would then be so far a coherence. But we suspect this must be in 
I" Dreamland " — not in England. 

» See the Tales of Fouque in the volume entitled " Romantic Fiction." 



the heart, — set off at times by the exhibition of the darker and 
more repulsive traits of human character, (held up, however, 
only to be avoided,) — find in the writings of our author their 
happy and appropriate exemplification. The noble, courteous 
Christian knight — the tender, modest, but high-minded maiden 
— the affectionate spouse — the aged man, in aU the commanding 
dignity of years and wisdom — the pious peasant — the faithful 
domestic, — are all mingled in the goodly array of characters which 
they present to us. And as the fair procession passes before us, 
and its magic colours float around the imagination and linger in 
the memory, who does not feel the best sympathies and aspirations 
of his heart irresistibly drawn forth? — who, too, will refuse his 
tribute of love and admiration to the gifted — and now, alas ! de- 
ceased — author, the impress of whose own calm and beautiful mind 
they so fully bear ? 




2^0 SEntJine. 



Undine : thou fair and lovely sprite, 
Since first from out an ancient lay 

I saw gleam forth thy fitful light, 
How hast thou sung my cares away ! 

How hast thou nestled next my heart, 
And gently offered to impart 

Thy sorrows to my listening ear, 
Like a half-shy, half-trusting child, 
The while my lute, in woodnotes wild, 

Thine accents echo'd far and near ! 

Then many a youth I won to muse 
With love on thy mysterious ways. 

And many a fair one to peruse 
The legend of thy wondrous days. 

And now both dame and youth would fain 
List to my tale yet once again ; 

Nay, sweet Undine, be not afraid ! 
Enter their halls with footstep light, 
Greet courteously each noble knight. 

But fondly every German maid. 

And should they ask concerning me. 

Oh, say, " He is a cavalier. 
Who truly serves and valiantly, 
In tournay and festivity. 

With lute and sword, each lady fair !" 

FOUQUE. 




CHAPTER I. 

On a beautiful evening, many hundred years ago, 
a worthy old fisherman sat mending his nets. The 
spot where he dwelt was exceedingly picturesque. 
Tbe green turf on which he had built his cottage 
ran far out into a great lake ; and this slip of ver- 
dure appeared to stretch into it as much through 
love of its clear waters, as the lake, moved by 



a like impulse, strove to fold the meadow, with its wav- 
ing grass and flowers, and the cooling shade of the trees, 
in its embrace of love. They seemed to be drawn to- 
ward each other, and the one to be visiting the other as 
a guest. 

With respect to human beings, indeed, in this pleasant 
spot, excepting the fisherman and his family, there were 
few, or rather none, to be met with. For as in the back- 
ground of the scene, toward the west and north-west, lay 
a forest of extraordinary wildness, which, owing to its sun- 
less gloom and almost impassable recesses, as well as to 
fear of the strange creatures and visionary illusions to be 
encountered in it, most people avoided entering, unless in 
cases of extreme necessity. The pious old fisherman, how- 
ever, many times passed through it without harm, when 
he carried the fine fish, which he caught by his beautiful 
strip of land, to a great city lying only a short distance 
beyond the forest. 

Now the reason he was able to go through this wood 
with so much ease may have been chiefly this, because he 
entertained scarcely any thoughts but such as were of a 
religious nature ; and besides, every time he crossed the 
evil-reported shades, he used to sing some holy song with 
a clear voice and from a sincere heart. 

Well, while he sat by his nets this evening, neither 
fearing nor devising evil, a sudden terror seized him, as 
he heard a rushing in the darkness of the wood, that re- 
sembled the trampling of a mounted steed, and the noise 
continued every instant drawing nearer and nearer to his 
little territory. 

What he had fancied, when abroad in many a stormy 
night, respecting the mysteries of the forest, now flashed 
through his mind in a moment ; especially the figure of a 
man of gigantic stature and snow-white appearance, who 
kept nodding his head in a portentous manner. And when 
he raised his eyes towards the wood, the form came before 
him in perfect distinctness, as he saw the nodding man 



burst forth from the mazy web- work of leaves and branches. 
But he immediately felt emboldened, when he reflected 
that nothing to give him alarm had ever befallen him even 
in the forest; and moreover, that on this open neck of land 
the evil spirit, it was likely, would be still less daring in 
the exercise of his power. At the same time, he prayed 
aloud with the most earnest sincerity of devotion, repeat- 
ing a passage of the Bible. This inspired him with fresh 
courage ; and soon perceiving the illusion, and the strange 
mistake into which his imagination had betrayed him, he 
could with difficulty refrain from laughing. The white 
nodding figure he had seen, became transformed, in the 
twinkling of an eye, to what in reality it was, a small 
brook, long and familiarly known to him, which ran foam- 
ing from the forest, and discharged itself into the lake. 

But what had caused the startling sound was a knight 
arrayed in sumptuous apparel, who from under the sha- 
dows of the trees came riding toward the cottage. His 
doublet was violet embroidered with gold, and his scarlet 
cloak hung gracefully over it ; on his cap of burnished gold 
waved red and violet-coloured plumes ; and in his golden 
shoulder-belt flashed a sword, richly ornamented and ex- 
tremely beautiful. The white barb that bore the knight 
was more slenderly built than war-horses usually are; 
and he touched the turf with a step so light and elastic, 
that the green and flowery carpet seemed hardly to receive 
the slightest injury from his tread. The old fisherman, 
notwithstanding, did not feel perfectly secure in his mind, 
although he was forced to believe that no evil could be 
feared from an appearance so pleasing ; and therefore, as 
good manners dictated, he took oflT his hat on the knight's 
coming near, and quietly remained by the side of his nets. 

When tlie stranger stopped, and asked whether he, 
with his horse, could have shelter and entertainment there 
for the night, the fisherman returned answer : ''As to your 
horse, fair sir, I have no better stable for him than this 
shady meadow, and no better provender than the grass 



that is growing here. But with respect to yourself, you 
shall be welcome to our humble cottage, and to the best 
supper and lodging we are able to give you." 

The knight was well contented with this reception ; 
and alighting from his horse, which his host assisted him 
to relieve from saddle and bridle, he let him hasten away 
to the fresh pasture, and thus spoke : " Even had I found 
you less hospitable and kindly disposed, my worthy old 
friend, you would still, I suspect, hardly have got rid of 
me to-day ; for here, I perceive, a broad lake lies before 
us, and as to riding back into that wood of wonders, with 
the shades of evening deepening around me, may Heaven 
in its grace preserve me from the thought." 

" Pray not a word of the wood, or of returning into 
it !" said the fisherman, and took his guest into the cot- 
tage. 

There, beside the hearth, from which a frugal fire was 
diffusing its light through the clean twilight room, sat the 
fisherman's aged wife in a great chair. At the entrance of 
their noble guest, she rose and gave him a courteous wel- 
come, but sat down again in her seat of honour, not making 
the slightest offer of it to the stranger. Upon this the 
fisherman said with a smile : 

" You must not be offended with her, young gentleman, 
because she has not given up to you the best chair in the 
house ; it is a custom among poor people to look upon this 
as the privilege of the aged." 

" Why, husband !" cried the old lady with a quiet 
smile, " where can your wits be wandering ? Our guest, to 
say the least of him, must belong to a Christian country ; 
and how is it possible, then, that so well-bred a young 
man as he appears to be could dream of driving old people 
from their chairs? Take a seat, my young master," con- 
tinued she, turning to the knight ; " there is still quire a 
snug little chair on the other side of the room there, only 
be careful not to shove it about too roughly, for one of its 
legs, I fear, is none of the firmest." 



The knight brought up the seat as carefully as she 
could desire, sat down upon it good-humouredly, and it 
seemed to him almost as if he must be somehow related 
to this little household, and have just returned home from 
abroad. 

These three worthy people now began to converse in 
the most friendly and familiar manner. In relation to the 
forest, indeed, concerning which the knight occasionally 
made some inquiries, the old man chose to know and say 
but little ; he was of opinion, that slightly touching upon 
it, at this hour of twilight, was most suitable and safe ; 
but of the cares and comforts of their home, and their 
business abroad, the aged couple spoke more freely, and 
listened also with eager curiosity, as the knight recounted 
to them his travels, and how he had a castle near one of 
the sources of the Danube, and that his name was Sir 
Huldbrand of Ringstetten. 

Already had the stranger, while they were in the midst 
of their talk, heard at times a splash against the little low 
window, as if some one were dashing water against it. The 
old man, every time he heard the noise, knit his brows 
with vexation ; but at last, when the whole sweep of a 
shower came pouring like a torrent against the panes, and 
bubbling through the decayed frame into the room, be 
started up indignant, rushed to the window, and cried with 
a threatening voice, — 

'■' Undine ! will you never leave off these fooleries? not 
even to-day, when we have a stranger-knight with us in 
the cottage V 

All without now became still, only a low laugh was just 
audible, and the fisherman said, as he came back to his 
seat : " You will have the goodness, my honoured guest, 
to pardon this freak, and it may be a multitude more; 
but she has no thought of evil, or of any harm. This 
mischievous Undine, to confess the truth, is our adopted 
daughter, and she stoutly refuses to give over this frolic- 
some childishness of hers, although she has already entered 



8 UNDINE. 

her eighteenth year. But in spit€ of this, as I said be- 
fore, she is at heart one of the very best children in the 
world." 

" You may say so," broke in the old lady, shaking her 
head; "you can give a better account of her than 1 can. 
When you return home from fishing, or from selling your 
fish in the city, you may think her frolics very delightful. 
But to have her dancing about you the whole day long, 
and never from morning to night to hear her speak one 
word of sense; and then, as she grows older, instead of 
having any help from her in the family, to find her a con- 
tinual cause of anxiety, lest her wild humours should com- 
pletely ruin us, — that is quite another thing, and enough 
at last to weary out the patience even of a saint." 

"Well, well," replied the master of the house, with a 
smile ; " you have your trials with Undine, and I have 
mine with the lake. The lake often beats down my dams, 
and breaks the meshes of my nets, but for all that I have a 
strong affection for it ; and so have you, in spite of your 
mighty crosses and vexations, for our graceful little child. 
Is it not true ?" 

" One cannot be very angry with her," answered the 
old lady, as she gave her husband an approving smile. 

That instant the door flew open, and a fair girl, of won- 
drous beauty, sprang laughing in, and said: "You have 
only been making a mock of me, father ; for where now is 
the guest you mentioned ?" 

The same moment, however, she perceived the knight 
also, and continued standing before the young man in fixed 
astonishment. Huldbrand was charmed with her graceful 
figure, and viewed her lovely features with the more in- 
tense interest, as he imagined it was only her surprise 
that allowed him the opportunity, and that she would 
soon turn away from his gaze with increased bashfulness. 
But the event was the very reverse of what he expected. 
For, after looking at him for a long w^hile, she became 
more confident, moved nearer, knelt down before him, 



and, while she played with a gold medal which he wore 
attached to a rich chain on his breast, exclaimed, — 

" Why, you beautiful, you kind guest ! how have you 
reached our poor cottage at last ? Have you been obliged 
for years and years to wander about the world before you 
could catch one glimpse of our nook? Do you come out 
of that wild forest, my beautiful knight?" 

The old woman was so prompt in her reproof, as to 
allow him no time to answer. She commanded the maiden 
to rise, shew better manners, and go to her work. But 
Undine, without making any reply, drew a little footstool 
near Huldbrand's chair, sat down upon it with her netting, 
and said in a gentle tone : 

" I will work here." 

The old man did as parents are apt to do with children 
to whom they have been over-indulgent. He affected to 
observe nothing of Undine's strange behaviour, and was 
beginning to talk about something else. But this the 
maiden did not permit him to do. She broke in upon 
him : " I have asked our kind guest from whence he has 
come among us, and he has not yet answ^ered me." 

" I come out of the forest, you lovely little vision," 
Huldbrand returned ; and she spoke again : 

"You must also tell me how you came to enter that 
forest, so feared and shunned, and the marvellous adven- 
tures you met with in it ; for there is no escaping with- 
out something of this kind." 

Huldbrand felt a slight shudder on remembering what 
he had witnessed, and looked involuntarily toward the win- 
dow, for it seemed to him that one of the strange shapes 
which had come upon him in the forest must be there grin- 
ning in through the glass ; but he discerned nothing ex- 
cept the deep darkness of night, which had now enveloped 
the whole prospect. Upon this he became more collected, 
and was just on the point of beginning his account, when 
the old man thus interrupted him : 



10 UNDINE. 

" Not so, sir knight ; this is by no means a fit hour for 
such relations." 

But Undine, in a state of high excitement, sprang up 
from her little stool, and cried, placing herself directly 
before the fisherman : " He shall not tell his story, father ? 
he shall not? But it is my will: — he shall! — stop him 
who may !" 

Thus speaking, she stamped her little foot vehemently 
on the floor, but all with an air of such comic and good- 
humoured simplicity, that Huldbrand now found it quite 
as hard to withdraw his gaze from her wild emotion, as he 
had before from her gentleness and beauty. The old man, 
on the contrary, burst out in unrestrained displeasure. He 
severely reproved Undine for her disobedience and her un- 
becoming carriage toward the stranger, and his good old 
wife joined him in harping on the same string. 

By these rebukes Undine was only excited the more. 
" If you want to quarrel with me," she cried, " and will 
not let me hear what I so much desire, then sleep alone 
in your smoky old hut !" And swift as an arrow she shot 
from the door, and vanished amid the darkness of the 
night. 

Huldbrand and the fisherman sprang from Iheir seats, 
and were rushing to stop the angry girl ; but before they 
could reach the cottage-door, she had disappeared in the 
stormy darkness without : and no sound, not so much even 
as that of her light footstep, betrayed the course she had 
taken. Huldbrand threw a glance of inquiry toward his 
host: it almost seemed to him as if the whole of the sweet 
apparition, which had so suddenly plunged again amid 
the night, were no other than a continuation of the won- 
derful forms that had just played their mad pranks with 
him in the forest. But the old man muttered between his 
teeth : 

" This is not the first time she has treated us in this 
manner. Now must our hearts be filled with anxiety, and 



UNDINE. 11 

our eyes find no sleep the whole night ; for who can assure 
us, in spite of her past escapes, that she will not some time 
or other come to harm, if she thus continue out in the 
dark and alone until daylight ?" 

" Then pray, for God's sake, father, let us follow her," 
cried Huld brand anxiously. 

" Wherefore should we?" replied the old man. *' It 
would be a sin were I to suffer you, all alone, to search 
after the foolish girl amid the lonesomeness of night : and 
my old limbs would fail to carry me to this wild rover, 
even if I knew to what place she has betaken her- 
self." 

" Still we ought at least to call after her, and beg her 
to return," said Huldbrand ; and he began to call, in tones 
of earnest entreaty, " Undine ! Undine ! come back, come 
back !" 

The old man shook his head, and said, " All your shout- 
ing, however loud and long, will be of no avail ; you know 
not as yet, sir knight, how self-willed the little thing is." 
But still, even hoping against hope, he could not himself 
cease calling out every minute, amid the gloom of night, 
" Undine ! ah, dear Undine ! I beseech you, pray come 
back, — only this once." 

It turned out, however, exactly as the fisherman had 
said. No Undine could they hear or see ; and as the old 
man would on no account consent that Huldbrand should 
go in quest of the fugitive, they were both obliged at last 
to return into the cottage. There they found the fire on 
the hearth almost gone out, and the mistress of the house, 
who took Undine's flight and danger far less to heart 
than her husband, had already gone to rest. The old 
man blew up the coals, put on dry wood, and by the fire- 
light hunted for a flask of wine, which he brought and set 
between himself and his guest. 

" You, sir knight, as well as I," said he, " are anxious 
on the silly girl's account ; and it would be better, I think, 
to spend part of the night in chatting and drinking, than 



12 UNDINE. 

keep turning and turning on our rush-mats, and trying in 
vain to sleep. What is your opinion?" 

Huldbrand was well pleased with the plan ; the fisher- 
man pressed him to take the empty seat of honour, its 
worthy occupant having now left it for her couch; and 
they relished their beverage and enjoyed their chat, as two 
8uch good men and true ever ought to do. To be sure, 
whenever the slightest thing moved before the windows, y 
or at times when even nothing was moving, one of them 
would look up and exclaim, •' Here she comes!" Then 
would they continue silent a few moments, and afterward, 
when nothing appeared, would shake their heads, breathe 
out a sigh, and go on with their talk. 

But as neither could think of any thing but Undine, 
the best plan they could devise was, that the old fisherman 
should relate, and the knight should hear, in what manner 
Undine had come to the cottage. So the fisherman began 
as follows : 

" It is now about fifteen years since I one day crossed 
the wild forest with fish for the city-market. My wife 
had remained at home as she was wont to do ; and at this 
time for a reason of more than common interest, for al- 
though we were beginning to feel the advances of age, 
God had bestowed upon us an infant of wonderful beauty. 
It was a little girl ; and we already began to ask ourselves 
the question, whether we ought not, for the advantage of 
the new-comer, to quit our solitude, and, the better to 
bring up this precious gift of Heaven, to remove to some 
more inhabited place. Poor people, to be sure, cannot in 
these cases do all you may think they ought, sir knight ; 
but we must all do what we can. 

" Well, I went on my way, and this affair would keep 
running in my head. This slip of land was most dear to 
me, and I trembled when, amidst the bustle and broils of 
the city, I thought to myself, ' In a scene of tumult like 
this, or at least in one not much more quiet, I must soon 
take up my abode.' But I did not for this murmur against 



UNDINE. 13 

our good God ; on the contrary, I praised Him in silence 
for the new-born babe. I should also speak an untruth, 
were I to say that any thing befell me, either on my pas- 
sage through the forest to the city, or on my returning 
homeward, that gave me more alarm than usual, as at 
that time I had never seen any appearance there which 
could terrify or annoy me. The Lord was ever with me 
in those awful shades." 

Thus speaking, he took his cap reverently from his 
bald head, and continued to sit for a considerable time 
in devout thought. He then covered himself again, and 
went on with his relation : 

" On this side the forest, alas! it was on this side, that 
woe burst upon me. My wife came wildly to meet me, 
clad in mourning apparel, and her eyes streaming with 
tears. 'Gracious God!' I cried, * where's our child? 
Speak !' 

" ' With Him on whom you have called, dear hus- 
band,' she answered ; and we now entered the cottage 
together, weeping in silence. I looked for the little corpse, 
almost fearing to find what I was seeking ; and then it 
was I first learnt how all had happened. 

" My wife had taken the little one in her arms, and 
walked out to the shore of the lake. She there sat down 
by its very brink ; and while she was playing with the 
infant, as free from all fear as she was full of delight, it 
bent forward on a sudden, as if seeing something very 
beautiful in the water. My wife saw her laugh, the dear 
angel, and try to catch the image in her tiny hands ; but in 
a moment — with a motion swifter than sight — she sprang 
from her mother's arms, and sank in the lake, the watery 
glass into which she had been gazing. I searched for our 
lost darling again and again ; but it was all in vain ; I 
could nowhere find the least trace of her. 

" The same evening we childless parents were sitting 
together by our cottage hearth. We had no desire to 
talk, even if our tears would have permitted us. As we 



14 UNDINE. 

thus sat in mournful stillness, gazing into the fire, all at 
once we heard something without, — a slight rustling at 
the door. The door flew open, and we saw a little girl, 
three or four years old, and more beautiful than I can 
say, standing on the threshold, richly dressed, and smiling 
yupon us. We were struck dumb with astonishment, and 
I knew not for a time whether the tiny form were a real 
human being, or a mere mockery of enchantment. But I 
soon perceived water dripping from her golden hair and 
rich garments, and that the pretty child had been lying 
in the water, and stood in immediate need of our help. 

" ' Wife,' said I, * no one has been able to save our 
child for us ; but let us do for others what would have 
made us so blessed could any one have done it for us.' 

** We undressed the little thing, put her to bed, and 
gave her something to drink : at all this she spoke not a 
word, but only turned her eyes upon us — eyes blue and 
bright as sea or sky — and continued looking at us ^dth a 
smile. 

" Next morning we had no reason to fear that she had 
received any other harm than her wetting, and I now 
asked her about her parents, and how she could have come 
to us. But the account she gave was both confused and 
incredible. She must surely have been born far from here, 
not only because I have been unable for these fifteen years 
to learn any thing of her birth, but because she then said, 
and at times continues to say, many things of so very 
singular a nature, that we neither of us know, after all, 
whether she may not have dropped among us from the 
moon; for her talk runs upon golden castles, crystal 
domes, and Heaven knows what extravagances beside. 
What, however, she related with most distinctness was 
this : that while she was once taking a sail with her mother 
on the great lake, she fell out of the boat into the water ; 
and that when she first recovered her senses, she was here 
under our trees, where the gay scenes of the shore filled 
her with delight. 



UNDINE. 15 

" We now had another care weighing upon our minds, 
and one that caused us no small perplexity and uneasiness. 
We of course very soon determined to keep and bring up 
the child we had found, in place of our own darling that 
had been drowned ; but who could tell us whether she had 
been baptised or not ? She herself could give us no light 
on the subject. When we asked her the question, she 
commonly made answer, that she well knew she was cre- 
ated for God's praise and glory, and that she was willing 
to let us do with her all that might promote His glory 
and praise. 

" My wife and I reasoned in this way : ' If she has not 
been baptised, there can be no use in putting off the cere- 
mony ; and if she has been, it still is better to have too 
much of a good thing than too little.' 

" Taking this view of our difficulty, we now endea- 
voured to hit upon a good name for the child, since, while 
she remained without one, we were often at a loss, in our 
familiar talk, to know what to call her. We at length 
agreed that Dorothea would be most suitable for her, as I 
had somewhere heard it said that this name signified a 
gift of God, and surely she had been sent to us by Provi- 
dence as a gift, to comfort us in our misery. She, on the 
contrary, would not so much as hear Dorothea mentioned ; 
she insisted, that as she had been named Undine by her 
parents, Undine she ought still to be called. It now oc- 
curred to me that this was a heathenish name, to be found 
in no calendar, and I resolved to ask the advice of a priest 
in the city. He would not listen to the name of Undine ; 
and yielding to my urgent request, he came with me 
through the enchanted forest, in order to perform the rite 
of baptism here in my cottage. 

"The little maid stood before us so prettily adorned, 
and with such an air of gracefulness, that the heart of the 
priest softened at once in her presence ; and she coaxed 
him so sweetly, and jested with him so merrily, that he 



16 UNDINE. 

at last remembered nothing of his many objections to the 
name of Undine. 

*' Thus, then, was she baptised Undine ; and, during 
the holy ceremony, she behaved with great propriety and 
gentleness, wild and wayward as at other times she inva- 
riably was ; for in this my wife was quite right, when she 
mentioned the anxiety the child has occasioned us. If I 
should relate to you" — 

At this moment the knight interrupted the fisherman, 
to direct his attention to a deep sound as of a rushing 
flood, which had caught his ear during the talk of the old 
man. And now the waters came pouring on with redoubled 
fury before the cottage-windows. Both sprang to the door. 
There they saw, by the light of the now risen moon, the 
brook which issued from the wood rushing wildly over its 
banks, and whirling onward with it both stones and branches 
of trees in its rapid course. The storm, as if awakened by 
the uproar, burst forth from the clouds, whose immense 
masses of vapour coursed over the moon with the swiftness 
of thought ; the lake roared beneath the wind that swept 
the foam from its waves ; while the trees of this narrow 
peninsula groaned from root to topmost branch as they 
bowed and swung above the torrent. 

''Undine! in God's name. Undine!" cried the two 
men in an agony. No answer was returned. And now, 
regardless of every thing else, they hurried from the cot- 
tage, one in this direction, the other in that, searching 
and calling. 



CHAPTER II. 

The longer Huldbrand sought Undine beneath the shades 
of night, and failed to find her, the more anxious and 
confused he became. The impression that she was a mere 



UNDINE. 17 

phantom of the forest gained a new ascendancy over him ; 
indeed, amid the howling of the waves and the tempest, 
the crashing of the trees, and the entire change of the once 
so peaceful and beautiful scene, he was tempted to view 
the whole peninsula, together with the cottage and its in- 
habitants, as little more than some mockery of his senses. 
But still he heard afar off the fisherman's anxious and 
incessant shouting, " Undine !" and also his aged wife, 
who was praying and singing psalms. 

At length, when he drew near to the brook, which had 
overflowed its banks, he perceived, by the moonlight, that 
it had taken its wild course directly in front of the haunted 
forest, so as to change the peninsula into an island. 

" Merciful God !" he breathed to himself, ♦' if Undine 
has ventured a step within that fearful wood, what will 
become of her? Perhaps it was all owing to her sportive 
and wayward spirit, because I would give her no account 
of my adventures there. And now the stream is rolling 
between us, she may be weeping alone on the other side 
in the midst of spectral horrors !" 

A shuddering groan escaped him ; and clambering over 
some stones and trunks of overthrown pines, in order to 
step into the impetuous current, he resolved, either by 
wading or swimming, to seek the wanderer on the further 
shore. He felt, it is true, all the dread and shrinking awe 
creeping over him which he had already suffered by day- 
light among the now tossing and roaring branches of the 
forest. More than all, a tall man in white, whom he knew 
but too well, met his view, as he stood grinning and nod- 
ding on the grass beyond the water. But even monstrous 
forms like this only impelled him to cross over toward 
them, when the thought rushed upon him that Undine 
might be there alone and in the agony of death. 

He had already grasped a strong branch of a pine, and 
stood supporting himself upon it in the whirling current, 
against which he could with difficulty keep himself erect ; 
but he advanced deeper in with a courageous, spirit. That 



18 UNDINE. 

instant a gentle voice of warning cried near him, " Do not 
venture, do not venture ! — tHat old man, the stream, is 
too full of tricks to be trusted !" He knew the soft tones 
of the voice ; and while he stood as it were entranced, be- 
neath the shadows which had now duskily veiled the moon, 
his head swam with the swell and rolling of the waves as 
he saw them momentarily rising above his knee. Still he 
disdained the thought of giving up his purpose. 

"If you are not really there, if you are merely gambol- 
ling round me like a mist, may I, too, bid farewell to life, 
and become a shadow like you, dear, dear Undine !" Thus 
calling aloud, he again moved deeper into the stream, 
"Look round you — ah, pray look round you, beautiful 
young stranger ! why rush on death so madly ?" cried the 
voice a second time close by him ; and looking on one 
side, he perceived, by the light of the moon, again cloud- 
less, a little island formed by the flood ; and crouching 
upon its flowery turf, beneath the brandies of embowering 
trees, he saw the smiling and lovely Undine. 

O how much more gladly than before the young man 
now plied his sturdy staff! A few steps, and he had crossed 
the flood that was rushing between himself and the maiden ; 
and he stood near her on the little spot of greensward in 
security, protected by the old trees, Undine half rose, 
and she threw her arms around his neck to draw him 
gently down upon the soft seat by her side. 

" Here you shall tell me your story, my beautiful 
friend," she breathed in a low whisper ; " here the cross 
old people cannot disturb us; and, besides, our roof of 
leaves here will make quite as good a shelter as their poor 
cottage." 

*' It is heaven itself," cried Huldbrand ; and folding 
her in his arms, he kissed the lovely girl with fervour. 

The old fisherman, meantime, had come to the margin 
of the stream, and he shouted across, "Why how is this, 
sir knight ! I received you with the welcome which one 
true-hearted man gives to another j and now you sit there 



"UNDINE. 19 

caressing my foster-child in secret, while you suffer me in 
my anxiety to wander through the night in quest of her." 

" Not till this moment did I find her myself, old fa- 
ther," cried the knight across the water. 

" So much the better," said the fisherman ; " but now 
make haste, and bring her over to me upon firm ground." 

To this, however. Undine would by no means consent. 
She declared, that she would rather enter the wild forest 
itself with the beautiful stranger, than return to the cot- 
tage, where she was so thwarted in her wishes, and from 
which the knight would soon or late go away. Then 
throwing her arms round Huldbrand, she sung the fol- 
lowing verse with the warbling sweetness of a bird : 

** A Rill would leave its misty vale, 
And fortunes wild explore ; 
"Weary at length it reached the main, 
And sought its vale no more." 

The old fisherman wept bitterly at her song ; but his 
emotion seemed to awaken little or no sympathy in her. 
She kissed and caressed her new friend, who at last said to 
her : " Undine, if the distress of the old man does not touch 
your heart, it cannot but move mine. We ought to return 
to him." 

She opened her large blue eyes upon him in amaze- 
ment, and spoke at last with a slow and doubtful accent : 
" If you think so, it is well ; all is right to me which you 
think right. But the old man over there must first give 
me his promise that he will allow you, without objection, 

to relate what you saw in the wood, and Well, other 

things will settle themselves." 

"Come — only come!" cried the fisherman to her, 
unable to utter another word. At the same time he 
stretched his arms wide over the current toward her, and 
to give her assurance that he would do what she required, 
nodded his head : this motion caused his white hair to fall 
strangely over his face, and Huldbrand could. not but re- 
c 



20 UNDIN^E. 

member the nodding white man of the forest. Without 
allowing any thing, however, to produce in him the least 
confusion, the young knight took the beautiful girl in his 
arms, and bore her across the narrow channel which the 
stream had torn away between her little island and the 
solid shore. The old man fell upon Undine's neck, and 
found it impossible either to express his joy or to kiss her 
enough ; even the ancient dame came up and embraced 
the recovered girl most cordially. Everj^ word of censure 
was carefully avoided ; the more so indeed as even Undine, 
forgetting her waywardness, almost overwhelmed her fos- 
ter-parents with caresses and the prattle of tenderness. 

When at length the excess of their joy at recovering 
their child had subsided, morning had already dawned, 
shining upon the waters of the lake ; the tempest had be- 
come hushed ; the small birds sung merrily on the moist 
branches. 

As Undine now insisted upon hearing the recital of the 
knight's promised adventures, the aged couple readily 
agreed to her wish. Breakfast was brought out beneath 
the trees which stood behind the cottage toward the lake 
on the north, and they sat down to it with contented 
hearts, — tindine at the knight's feet, on the grass. These 
arrangements being made, Huldbrand began his story in 
the following manner : — 

" It is now about eight days since I rode into the free 
imperial city, which lies yonder on the farther side of the 
forest. Soon after my arrival, a splendid tournament and 
running at the ring took place there, and I spared neither 
my horse nor my lance in the encounters. 

" Once, while I was pausing at the lists to rest from 
the brisk exercise, and was handing back my helmet to 
one of my attendants, a female figure of extraordinary 
beauty caught my attention, as, most magnificently attired, 
she stood looking on at one of the balconies. I learned, 
on making inquiry of a person near me, that the name of 
the young lady was Bertalda, and that she was a foster- 



UNDINE. 21 

daughter of one of the powerful dukes of this country. 
She too, I observed, was gazing at me ; and the conse- 
quences were such as we young knights are wont to expe- 
rience ; whatever success in riding I might have had before, 
I was now favoured with still better fortune. That evening 
I was Bertalda's partner in the dance, and I enjoyed the 
same distinction during the remainder of the festival." 

A sharp pain in his left hand, as it hung carelessly be- 
side him, here interrupted Huldbrand's relation, and drew 
his eye to the part aifected. Undine had fastened her 
pearly teeth, and not without some keenness too, upon 
one of his fingers, appearing at the same time very gloomy 
and displeased. On a sudden, however, she looked up in 
his eyes with an expression of tender melancholy, and 
whispered almost inaudibly, — 

" It is all your own fault." 

She then covered her face ; and the knight, strangely 
embarrassed and thoughtful, went on with his story : 

" This lady Bertalda of whom I spoke is of a proud 
and wayward spirit. The second day I saw her she plea- 
sed me by no means so much as she had the first, and the 
third day still less. But I continued about her because she 
shewed me more favour than she did any other knight: 
and it so happened that I playfully asked her to give me 
one of her gloves. ' When you have entered the haunted 
forest all alone,' said she ; ' when you have explored its 
wonders, and brought me a full account of them, the glove 
is yours.' As to getting her glove, it was of no importance 
to me w^hatever ; but the word had been spoken, and no 
honourable knight would permit himself to be urged to 
such a proof of valour a second time." 

" I thought," said Undine, interrupting him, " that she 
loved you." 

" It did appear so," replied Huldbrand. 

" Well !" exclaimed the maiden, laughing, " this is 
beyond belief; she must be very stupid. To drive from 
her one who was dear to her ! And, worse than all, into 



22 UNDINE. 

that ill-omened wood ! The wood and its mysteries, for all 
I should have cared, might have waited long enough." 

" Yesterday morning, then," pursued the knight, smil- 
ing kindly upon Undine, " I set out from the city, my 
enterprise before me. The early light lay rich upon the 7 
verdant turf. It shone so rosy on the slender boles of the 
trees, and there was so merry a whispering among the 
leaves, that in my heart I could not but laugh at people 
who feared meeting any thing to terrify them in a spot so 
delicious. ^ I shall soon pass through the forest, and as 
speedily return,' I said to myself in the overflow of joyous 
feeling; and ere I was well aware, I had entered deep 
. among the green shades ; while of the plain that lay behind 
me, I was no longer able to catch a glimpse. 

" Then the conviction for the first time impressed me, 
that in a forest of so great extent I might very easily be- 
come bewildered, and that this perhaps might be the only i 
danger which was likely to threaten those who explored 
its recesses. So I made a halt, and turned myself in the 
direction of the sun, which had meantime risen somewhat 
higher ; and while I was looking up to observe it, I saw 
something black among the boughs of a lofty oak. My 
first thought was, ' It is a bear !' and I grasped my weapon : 
the object then accosted me from above in a human voice, 
but in a tone most harsh and hideous ; ' If I overhead here 
do not gnaw ofi* these dry branches. Sir Noodle, what shall 
we have to roast you with, when midnight comes?' And 
with that it grinned, and made such a rattling with the 
branches, that my courser became mad with afi'right, and 
rushed furiously forward with me, before I had time to see 
distinctly what sort of a devil's beast it was." 

" You must not speak so," said the old fisherman, 
crossing himself; his wife did the same, without saying a 
word ; and Undine, while her eye sparkled with delight, 
looked at the knight, and said, " The best of the story is, 
however, that as yet they have not roasted you ! Go on, 
now, you beautiful knight !" 



UNDINE. 23 

The knight then went on with his adventures : " My 
horse was so wild, that he well nigh rushed with me against 
limbs and trunks of trees. He was dripping with sweat, 
through terror, heat, and the violent straining of his muscles. 
Still he refused to slacken his career. At last, altogether 
beyond my control, he took his course directly up a stony 
steep ; when suddenly a tall white man flashed before me, 
and threw himself athwart the way my mad steed was 
taking. At this apparition he shuddered with new affright, 
and stopped trembling. I took this chance of recovering 
my command of him, and now for the first time perceived 
that my deliverer, so far from being a white man, was only 
a brook of silver brightness, foaming near me in its descent 
from the hill, while it crossed and arrested my horse's course 
with its rush of waters." 

"Thanks, thanks, dear Brook !" cried Undine, clap- 
ping her little hands. But the old man shook his head, 
and looked down in deep thought. 

" Hardly had I well settled myself in my saddle, and 
got the reins in my grasp again," Huldbrand pursued, 
" when a wizard-like dwarf of a man was already standing 
at my side, diminutive and ugly beyond conception, his 
complexion of a brownish yellow, and his nose scarcely 
I smaller than the rest of him together. The fellow's mouth 
I was slit almost from ear to ear ; and he shewed his teeth 
with a grinning smile of idiot courtesy; while he over- 
i whelmed me with bows and scrapes innumerable. The 
farce now becoming excessively irksome, I thanked him 
in the fewest words I could well use, turned about my 
still trembling charger, and purposed either to seek ano- 
ther adventure, or, should I meet with none, to take my 
way back to the city ; for the sun, during my wild chase, 
had passed the meridian, and was now hastening toward 
the west. But this villain of a dwarf sprang at the same 
instant, and, with a turn as rapid as lightning, stood before 
my horse again. ' Clear the way there !' I cried fiercely ; 



24 UNDINE. 

' the beast is wild, and will make nothing of running over 
you.' 

"'Ay, ay!' cried the imp with a snarl, and snorting 
out a laugh still more frightfully idiotic ; ' pay me, first 
pay what you owe me, — I stopped your fine little nag for 
you ; without my help, both you and he would be now 
sprawling below there in that stony ravine. Hu! from 
what a horrible plunge I've saved you !' 

'*'Well, don't make any more faces,' said I, ' but take 
your money and be off, though every word you say is false. 
It was the brook there, you miserable thing, and not you, 
that saved me.' — And at the same time I dropped a piece 
of gold into his wizard cap, which he had taken from his 
head while he was begging before me. 

"■ I then trotted off and left him ; but he screamed after 
me ; and on a sudden, with inconceivable quickness, he 
was close by my side. I started my horse into a gallop. 
He galloped on with me, though it seemed with great dif- 
ficulty ; and with a strange movement, half ludicrous and 
half horrible, forcing at the same time every limb and fea- 
ture into distortion, he held up the gold piece, and screamed 
at every leap, ' Counterfeit ! false ! false coin ! counterfeit !' 
and such was the strange sound that issued from his hollow 
breast, you would have supposed that at every scream he 
must have tumbled upon the ground dead. All this while, 
his disgusting red tongue hung lolling from his mouth. 

*' I stopped, bewildered, and asked, ' What do you 
mean by this screaming? Take another piece of gold, — 
take two, but leave me !' 

"He then began again his hideous salutations of cour- 
tesy, and snarled out as before, ' Not gold, it shall not be 
gold, my young gentleman ; I have too much of that trash 
already, as I will shew you in no time.' 

''At that moment, and thought itself could not have 
been more instantaneous, I seemed to have acquired new 
powers of sight. I could see through the solid green plain, 



UNDINE. 25 

as if it were green glass, and the smooth surface of the 
earth were round as a globe ; and within it I saw crowds 
of goblins, who were pursuing their pastime and making 
themselves merry with silver and gold. They were tum- 
bling and rolling about, heads up and heads down ; they 
pelted one another in sport with the precious metals, and 
with irritating malice blew gold-dust in one another's eyes. 
My odious companion ordered the others to reach him up 
a vast quantity of gold ; this he shewed to me with a laugh, 
and then flung it again ringing and chinking down the 
measureless abyss. 

"After this contemptuous disregard of gold, he held up 
the piece I had given him, shewing it to his brother goblins 
below ; and they laughed immoderately at a coin so worth- 
less, and hissed me. At last, raising their fingers all smutched 
with ore, they pointed them at me in scorn ; and wilder 
and wilder, and thicker and thicker, and madder and mad- 
der, the crowd were clambering up to where I sat gazing 
at these wonders. Then terror seized me, as it had before 
seized my horse. I drove my spurs into his sides; and 
how far he rushed with me through the forest, during this 
second of my wild heats, it is impossible to say. 

"At last, when I had now come to a dead halt again, 
the cool of evening was around me. I caught the gleam 
of a white footpath through the branches of the trees ; and 
presuming it would lead me out of the forest toward the 
city, I was desirous of working my way into it. But a 
face perfectly white and indistinct, with features ever 
changing, kept thrusting itself out and peering at me 
between the leaves. I tried to avoid it ; but, wherever I 
went, there too appeared the unearthly face. I was mad- 
dened with rage at this interruption, and determined to 
drive my steed at the appearance full tilt : when such a 
cloud of white foam came rushing upon me and my horse, 
that yve were almost blinded, and glad to turn about and 
escape. Thus, from step to step, it forced us on, and ever 



26 UNDINE. 

aside from the footpath, leaving us, for the most part, only 
one direction open. When we advanced in this, it kept 
following close behind us, yet did not occasion the smallest 
harm or inconvenience. 

"When at times I looked about me at the form, I per- 
ceived that the white face, which had splashed upon us its 
shower of foam, was resting on a body equally white, and 
of more than gigantic size. Many a time, too, I received 
the impression that the whole appearance was nothing more 
than a wandering stream or torrent ; but respecting this I 
could never attain to any certainty. We both of us, horse 
and rider, became weary, as we shaped our course accord- 
ing to the movements of the white man, who continued 
nodding his head at us, as if he would say, ' Quite right V 
And thus, at length, we came out here, at the edge of the 
wood, w^here I saw the fresh turf, the waters of the lake, 
and your little cottage, and where the tall white man dis- 
appeared." 

" Well, Heaven be praised that he is gone !" cried the 
old fisherman ; and he now began to talk of how his guest 
could most conveniently return to his friends in the city. 
Upon this. Undine began laughing to herself, but so very 
low, that the sound was hardly perceivable. Huldbrand 
observing it, said, " I thought you were glad to see me 
here ; why, then, do you now appear so happy, when our 
talk turns upon my going awaj'^?" 

" Because you cannot go away," answered Undine. 
" Pray make a single attempt ; try with a boat, with your 
horse, or alone, as you please, to cross that forest-stream 
which has burst its bounds. Or rather, make no trial at 
all ; for you would be dashed to pieces by the stones and 
trunks of trees which you see driven on with such violence. 
And as to the lake, I know that well ; even my father 
dares not venture out with his boat far enough to help 
you." 

Huldbrand rose, smiling, in order to look about and 



UNDINE. 27 

observe whether the state of things were such as Undine 
had represented it to be. The old man accompanied him; 
and the maiden went merrily dancing beside them. They 
found all, in fact, just as Undine had said ; and that the 
knight, whether willing or not willing, must submit to 
remaining on the island, so lately a peninsula, until the 
flood should subside. 

When the three were now returning to the cottage after 
their ramble, the knight whispered in the ear of the little 
maiden, "Well, dear Undine, are you angry at my re- 
maining?" 

"Ah," she pettishly replied, " do not speak to me ! If 
I had not bitten you, who knows what fine things you 
would have put into your story about Bertalda?" 



CHAPTER III. 

It may have happened to thee, my dear reader, after being 
much driven to and fro in the world, to reach at length a 
spot where all was well with thee. The love of home and 
of its peaceful joys, innate to all, again sprang up in thy 
heart ; thou thoughtest that thy home was decked with all 
the flowers of childhood, and of that purest, deepest love 
which had grown upon the graves of thy beloved, and 
that here it was good to live and to build houses. Even if 
thou didst err, and hast had bitterly to mourn thy error, 
it is nothing to my purpose, and thou thyself wilt not like 
to dwell on the sad recollection. But recall those unspeak- 
ably sweet feelings, that angelic greeting of peace, and 
thou wilt be able to understand what was the happiness of 
the knight Huldbrand during his abode on that narrow 
slip of land. 

He frequently observed, with heartfelt satisfaction, 
I that the forest-stream continued every day to swell and 



28 UNDINE. 

roll on with a more impetuous sweep ; and this forced him 
to prolong his stay on the island. Part of the day he 
wandered about with an old cross-bow, which he found 
in a corner of the cottage and had repaired, in order to 
shoot the Avater-fowl that flew over; and all that he was 
lucky enough to hit, he brought home for a good roast in 
the kitchen. When he came in with his booty, Undine 
seldom failed to greet him with a scolding, because he had 
cruelly deprived the happy joyous little creatures of life as 
they were sporting above in the blue ocean of the air ; nay 
more, she often wept bitterly when she viewed the water- 
fowl dead in his hand. But at other times, when he re- 
turned without having shot any, she gave him a scolding 
equally serious, since, owing to his carelessness and want 
of skill, they must now put up with a dinner of fish. Her 
playful taunts ever touched his heart with delight; the 
more so, as she generally strove to make up for her pre- 
tended ill-humour with endearing caresses. 

The old people saw with pleasure this familiarity of 
Undine and Huldbrand : they looked upon them as be- 
trothed, or even as married, and living with them in their 
old age on their island, now torn off from the mainland. 
The loneliness of his situation strongly impressed also the 
young Huldbrand with the feeling that he was already 
Undine's bridegroom. It seemed to him as if, beyond 
those encompassing floods, there were no other world in 
existence, or at any rate as if he could never cross them, 
and again associate with the world of other men ; and 
when at times his grazing steed raised his head and neighed 
to him, seemingly inquiring after his knightly achieve- 
ments and reminding him of them, or -when his coat-of- 
arms sternly shone upon him from the embroidery of his 
saddle and the caparisons of his horse, or when his sword 
happened to fall from the nail on which it was hanging in 
the cottage, and flashed on his eye as it slipped from the 
scabbard in its fall, — he quieted the doubts of his mind by 
saying to himself: " Undine cannot be a fisherman's daugh- 



UNDINE. 29 

ter; she is, in all probability, a native of some remote 
region, and a member of some illustrious family." 

There was one thing, indeed, to which he had a strong 
aversion : this was, to hear the old dame reproving 
Undine. The wild girl, it is true, commonly laughed at 
the reproof, making no attempt to conceal the extrava- 
gance of her mirth ; but it appeared to him like touching 
his own honour ; and still he found it impossible to blame 
the aged wife of the fisherman, since Undine always de- 
served at least ten times as many reproofs as she re- 
ceived : so he continued to feel in his heart an affectionate 
tenderness for the ancient mistress of the house, and his 
whole life flowed on in the calm stream of contentment. 

There came, however, an interruption at last. The 
fisherman and the knight had been accustomed at dinner, 
and also in the evening when the wind roared without, as 
it rarely failed to do towards night, to enjoy together a 
flask of wine. But now their whole stock, which the fisher- 
man had from time to time brought with him from the 
city, was at last exhausted, and they were both quite out 
of humour at the circumstance. That day Undine laughed 
at them excessively, but they were not disposed to join in 
her jests with the same gaiety as usual. Toward evening 
she went out of the cottage, to escape, as she said, the 
sight of two such long and tiresome faces. 

While it was yet twilight, some appearances of a tem- 
pest seemed to be again mustering in the sky, and the 
waves already heaved and roared around them : the knight 
and the fisherman sprang to the door in terror, to bring 
home the maiden, remembering the anguish of that night 
when Huldbrand had first entered the cottage. But Undine 
met them at the same moment, clapping her little hands 
in high glee. 

" What will you give me," she cried, " to provide you 
with wine ? or rather, you need not give me any thing," 
she continued ; " for I am already satisfied, if you look 
more cheerful, and are in better spirits, than throughout 



30 UNDINE. 

this last most wearisome day. Only come \dth me ; the 
forest-stream has driven ashore a cask; and I will be 
condemned to sleep through a whole week, if it is not a 
wine-cask." 

The men followed her, and actually found, in a bushy 
cove of the shore, a cask, which inspired them ^\dth as 
much joy as if they were sure it contained the generous 
old wine for which they were thirsting. They first of all, 
and with as much expedition as possible, rolled it toward 
the cottage ; for heavy clouds were again rising in the 
west, and they could discern the waves of the lake in the 
fading light lifting their white foaming heads, as if look- 
ing out for the rain, which threatened every instant to 
pour upon them. Undine helped the men as much as 
she was able ; and as the shower, with a roar of wind, 
came suddenly sweeping on in rapid pursuit, she raised 
her finger with a merry menace toward the dark mass of 
clouds, and cried : 

" You cloud, you cloud, have a care ! — beware how 
you wet us ; we are some way from shelter yet." 

The old man reproved her for this sally, as a sinful 
presumption ; but she laughed to herself softly, and no 
mischief came from her wild behaviour. Nay more, what 
was beyond their expectation, they reached their comfort- 
able hearth unwet, with their prize secured ; but the cask 
had hardly been broached, and proved to contain -«dne of 
a remarkably fine flavour, when the rain first poured unre- 
strained from the black cloud, the tempest raved through 
the tops of the trees, and swept far over the billows of the 
deep. 

Having immediately filled several bottles from the 
cask, which promised them a supply for a long time, they 
drew round the glowing hearth ; and, comfortably secured 
from the tempest, they sat tasting the flavour of their 
wine and bandying jests. 

But the old fisherman suddenly became extremely 
grave,, and said : " Ah, great God ! here we sit, rejoicing 



UNDINE. 3il 

over this rich gift, while he to whom it first belonged, and 
from whom it was wrested by the fury of the stream, must 
there also, it is more than probable, have lost his life." 

"No such thing," said Undine, smiling, as she filled 
the knight's cup to the brim. 

But he exclaimed : " By my unsullied honour, old father, 
if I knew where to find and rescue him, no fear of expo- 
sure to the night, nor any peril, should deter me from 
making the attempt. At least, I can promise you that if 
I again reach an inhabited country, I will find out the 
owner of this wine or his heirs, and make double and 
triple reimbursement." 

The old man was gratified with this assurance ; he gave 
the knight a nod of approbation, and now drained his cup 
with an easier conscience and more relish. 

Undine, however, said to Huldbrand : " As to the re- 
payment and your gold, you may do whatever you like. 
But what you said about your venturing out, and search- 
ing, and exposing yourself to danger, appears to me far 
from wise. I should cry my very eyes out, should you 
perish in such a wild attempt ; and is it not true that you 
would prefer staying here with me and the good wine ?" 

" Most assuredly," answered Huldbrand, smiling. 

" Then, you see," replied Undine, " you spoke un- 
wisely. For charity begins at home; and why need we 
trouble ourselves about our neighbours ?" 

The mistress of the house turned away from her, sigh- 
ing and shaking her head ; while the fisherman forgot his 
wonted indulgence toward the graceful maiden, and thus 
rebuked her : 

'' That sounds exactly as if you had been brought up 
by heathens and Turks;" and he finished his -reproof by 
adding, " May God forgive both me and you, — unfeeling 
child !" 

" Well, say what you will, that is what /think and 
feel," replied Undine, " whoever brought me up ; and all 
your talking cannot help it." 



32 UNDINE. 

" Silence !" exclaimed the fisherman, in a voice of stern 
rebuke; and she, who with all her wild spirit was ex- 
tremely alive to fear, shrunk from him, moved close up to 
Huldbrand, trembling, and said very softly : 

" Are you also angry, dear friend ?" 

The knight pressed her soft hand, and tenderly stroked 
her locks. He was unable to utter a word, for his vexa- 
tion, arising from the old man's severity toward Undine, 
closed his lips ; and thus the two couple sat opposite to 
each other, at once heated with anger and in embarrassed 
silence. 

In the midst of this stillness a low knocking at the 
door startled them all ; for there are times when a slight 
circumstance, coming unexpectedly upon us, startles us 
like something supernatural. But there was the further 
source of alarm, that the enchanted forest lay so near them, 
and that their place of abode seemed at present inacces- 
sible to any human being. While they were looking upon 
one another in doubt, the knocking was again heard, ac- 
companied with a deep groan. The knight sprang to seize 
his sword. But the old man said, in a low whisper : 

" If it be what I fear it is, no weapon of yours can 
protect us." 

Undine in the mean while went to the door, and cried 
with the firm voice of fearless displeasure: " Spirits of the 
earth ! if mischief be your aim, Kuhleborn shall teach you 
better manners." 

The terror of the rest was increased by this wild speech; 
they looked fearfully upon the girl, and Huldbrand was 
just recovering presence of mind enough to ask what she 
meant, when a voice reached them from without : 

" I am no spirit of the earth, though a spirit still in its 
earthly body. You that are within the cottage there, if 
you fear God and would afiford me assistance, open your 
door to me." 

By the time these words were spoken, Undine had 
already opened it ; and the lamp throwing a strong light 



UNDINE. 33 

upon the stormy night, they perceived an aged priest 
without, who stepped back in terror, when his eye fell 
on the unexpected sight of a little damsel of such exqui- 
site beauty. Well might he think there must be magic 
in the wind, and witchcraft at work, when a form of such 
surpassing loveliness appeared at the door of so humble a 
dwelling. So he lifted up his voice in prayer : 

" Let all good spirits praise the Lord God !" 

" I am no spectre," said LTndine, with a smile. " Do 
I look so very frightful ? And you see that I do not shrink 
from holy words. I too have knowledge of God, and un- 
derstand the duty of praising him ; every one, to be sure, 
has his own way of doing this, for so He has created us. 
Come in, father ; you will find none but worthy people 
here." 

The holy man came bowing in, and cast round a glance 
of scrutiny, wearing at the same time a very placid and 
venerable air. But water was dropping from every fold 
of his dark garments, from his long white beard and the 
white locks of his hair. The fisherman and the knight 
took him to another apartment, and furnished hira with a 
change of raiment, while they gave his own clothes to the 
w^omen to dry. The aged stranger thanked them in a 
manner the most humble and courteous ; but on the knight's 
ofiering him his splendid cloak to wrap round him, he 
could not be persuaded to take it, but chose instead an old 
grey coat that belonged to the fisherman. 

They then returned to the common apartment. The 
mistress of the house immediately offered her great chair 
to the priest, and continued urging it upon him till she 
saw him fairly in possession of it. " You are old and ex- 
hausted," said she, " and are, moreover, a man of God." 

Undine shoved under the stranger's feet her little stool, 
on which at all other times she used to sit near to Huld- 
l)rand, and shewed herself most gentle and amiable towards 
the old man. Huldbrand whispered some raillery in her 
ear, but she replied gravely : 



34 UNDINE. 

" He is a minister of that Being who created us all ; and 
holy things are not to be treated with lightness." 

The knight and the fisherman now refreshed the priest 
with food and wine ; and when he had somewhat recovered 
his strength and spirits, he began to relate how he had the 
day before set out from his cloister, which was situated far 
off beyond the great lake, in order to visit the bishop, and 
acquaint him with the distress into which the cloister and 
its tributary villages had fallen, owing to the extraordinary 
floods. After a long and wearisome wandering, on account 
of the rise of the waters, he had been this day compelled 
toward evening to procure the aid of a couple of boatmen, 
and cross over an arm of the lake which had burst its usual 
boundary. 

" But hardly," continued he, " had our small ferry- 
boat touched the waves, when that furious tempest burst 
forth which is still raging over our heads. It seemed as if 
the billows had been waiting our approach only to rush on 
us with a madness the more wild. The oars were wrested 
from the grasp of my men in an instant ; and shivered by 
the resistless force, they drove farther and farther out be- 
fore us upon the waves. Unable to direct our course, we 
yielded to the blind power of nature, and seemed to fly over 
the surges toward your distant shore, which we already 
saw looming through the mist and foam of the deep. Then 
it was at last that our boat turned short from its course, 
and rocked with a motion that became more and more 
wild and dizzy : I know not whether it was overset, or the 
violence of the motion threw me overboard. In my agony 
and struggle at the thought of a near and terrible death, 
the waves bore me onward, till I was cast ashore here 
beneath the trees of your island." 

" Yes, an island !" cried the fisherman ; " a short time 
ago it was only a point of land. But now, since the forest- 
stream and lake have become all but mad, it appears to be 
entirely changed." 

" I observed something of it," replied the priest, " as I 



UNDINE. 35 

stole along the shore in the obscurity ; and hearing nothing 
around me but a sort of wild uproar, I perceived at last 
that the noise came from a point, exactly where a beaten 
footpath disappeared. I now caught the light in your 
cottage, and ventured hither, where I cannot sufficiently 
thank my heavenly Father, that, after preserving me from 
the w^aters, He has also conducted me to such pious people 
as you are ; and the more so, as it is difficult to say whether 
I shall ever behold any other persons in this world except 
you four." 

''What mean you by those words?" asked the fisher- 
man. 

" Can you tell me, then, how long this commotion of 
the elements will last ?" replied the priest. " I am old ; 
the stream of my life may easily sink into the ground and 
vanish, before the overflowing of that forest-stream shall 
subside. And, indeed, it is not impossible that more and 
more of the foaming waters maj^ rush in between you and 
yonder forest, until you are so far removed from the rest 
of the world, that your small fishing-canoe may be inca- 
pable of passing over, and the inhabitants of the continent 
entirely forget you in your old age amid the dissipation 

i and diversions of life." 

I At this melancholy foreboding the old lady shrank back 

I with a feeling of alarm, crossed herself, and cried, " God 

t forbid !" 

But the fisherman looked upon her with a smile, and 
said, " What a strange being is man ! Suppose the worst 
to happen : our state w^ould not be different, at any rate 
your own would not, dear wife, from what it is at present. 
For have you, these many years, been farther from home 
than the border of the forest? And have you seen a single 
human being beside Undine and myself? It is now only 
a short time since the coming of the knight and the priest. 
They will remain with us, even if we do become a forgotten 
island; so, after all, you will be a gainer." 



36 UNDINE. 

'^I know not," replied the ancient dame; "it is a 
dismal thought, when brought fairly home to the mind, 
that we are for ever separated from mankind, even though 
in fact we never do know nor see them." 

" Then you will remain with us — then you will remain 
with us !" whispered Undine, in a voice scarcely audible 
and half-singing, while she nestled closer to Huldbrand's 
side. But he was immersed in the deep and strange mu- 
sings of his own mind. The region, on the farther side of 
the forest-river, seemed, since the last words of the priest, 
to have been withdrawing farther and farther, in dim per- 
spective, from his view ; and the blooming island on which 
he lived grew green and smiled more freshly in his fancy. 
His bride glowed like the fairest rose, not of this obscure 
nook only, but even of the whole wide world ; and the 
priest was now present. 

Added to which, the mistress of the family was direct- 
ing an angry glance at Undine, because, even in the pre- 
sence of the priest, she leant so fondly on the knight ; and 
it seemed as if she was on the point of breaking out in 
harsh reproof. Then burst forth from the mouth of Huld- 
brand, as he turned to the priest, " Father, you here see 
before you an affianced pair ; and if this maiden and these 
good old people have no objection, you shall unite us this 
very evening." 

The aged couple were both exceedingly surprised. They 
had often, it is true, thought of this, but as yet they had 
never mentioned it ; and now when the knight spoke, it 
came upon them like something wholly new and unex- 
pected. Undine became suddenly grave, and looked down ' 
thoughtfully, while the priest made inquiries resi^ecting ' 
the circumstances of their acquaintance, and asked the old 
people whether they gave their consent to the union. After 
a great number of questions and answers, the affair was 
arranged to the satisfaction of all ; and the mistress of the 
house went to prepare the bridal apartment for the young 



UNDINE. 37 

couple, and also, with a view to grace the nuptial solemnity, 
to seek for two consecrated tapers, which she had for a 
long time kept by her, for this occasion. 

The knight in the mean while busied himself about his 
golden chain, for the purpose of disengaging two of its 
links, that he might make an exchange of rings with his 
bride. But when she saw his object, she started from her 
trance of musing, and exclaimed, — 

" Not so ! my parents by no means sent me into the 
world so perfectly destitute ; on the contrary, they fore- 
saw, even at that early period, that such a night as this 
would come." 

Thus speaking, she went out of the room, and a moment 
after returned with two costly rings, of which she gave one 
to her bridegroom, and kept the other for herself. The old 
fisherman was beyond measure astonished at this ; and his 
wife, who was just re-entering the room, was even more 
surprised than he, that neither of them had ever seen these 
jewels in the child's possession, 

" My parents," said Undine, " sewed these trinkets to 
that beautiful raiment which I wore the very day I came 
to you. They also charged me on no account whatever to 
mention them to any one before my wedding evening. At 
the time of my coming, therefore, I took them off in secret, 
and have kept them concealed to the present hour." 

The priest now cut short all further questioning and 
wondering, while he lighted the consecrated tapers, placed 
them on a table, and ordered the bridal pair to stand op- 
posite to him. He then pronounced the few solemn words 
of the ceremony, and made them one. The elder couple 
gave the younger their blessing ; and the bride, gently 
trembling and thoughtful, leaned upon the knight. 

The priest then spoke out : " You are strange people, 
after all ; for w^hy did you tell me that you were the only 
inhabitants of the island ? So far is this from being true, 
I have seen, the whole time I was performing the cere- 
mony, a tall, stately man, in a white mantle, standing 



opposite to me, looking in at the window. He must be 
still waiting before the door, if peradventure you would 
invite him to come in." 

'' God forbid !" cried the old lady, shrinking back ; 
the fisherman shook his head, without opening his lips ; 
and Huldbrand sprang to the window. It seemed to him 
that he could still discern a white streak, which soon dis- 
appeared in the gloom. He convinced the priest that he 
must have been mistaken in his impression ; and they all 
sat down together round a bright and comfortable hearth. 



CHAPTER IV. 

Before the nuptial ceremony, and during its perform- 
ance. Undine had shewn a modest gentleness and maid- 
enly reserve; but it now seemed as if all the wayward 
freaks that effervesced within her burst forth with an ex- 
travagance only the more bold and unrestrained. She 
teased her bridegroom, her foster-parents, and even the 
priest, whom she had just now revered so highly, with all 
sorts of childish tricks ; but when the ancient dame was 
about to reprove her too frolicsome spirit, the knight, in 
a few words, imposed silence upon her by speaking of 
Undine as his wife. 

The knight was himself, indeed, just as little pleased 
with Undine's childish behaviour as the rest ; but all his 
looks and half-reproachful words were to no purpose. It 
is true, whenever the bride observed the dissatisfaction of 
her husband, — and this occasionally happened, — she be- 
came more quiet, placed herself beside him, stroked his 
face with caressing fondness, whispered something smil- 
ingly in his ear, and in this manner smoothed the wrinkles 
that were gathering on his brow. But the moment after, 
some wild whim would make her resume her antic move- 
ments ; and all went worse than before. 



UNDINE. 39 

The priest then spoke in a kind although serious tone : 
" My fair young maiden, surely no one can look on you 
without pleasure ; but remember betimes so to attune your 
soul, that it may produce a harmony ever in accordance 
with the soul of your wedded bridegroom." 

" Soul !" cried Undine, with a laugh. " What you 
say has a remarkably pretty sound ; and for most people, 
too, it may be a very instructive and profitable caution. 
But when a person has no soul at all, how, I pray you, 
can such attuning be then possible? And this, in truth, 
is just my condition." 

The priest was much hurt, but continued silent in holy 
displeasure, and turned away his face from the maiden in 
sorrow. She, however, went up to him with the most 
winning sweetness, and said : 

" Nay, I entreat you, first listen to me, before you are 
angry with me ; for your anger is painful to me, and you 
ought not to give pain to a creature that has not hurt you. 
Only have patience with me, and I will explain to you 
every word of what I meant." 

It was evident that she had come to say something im- 
portant ; when she suddenly faltered, as if seized with an 
inward shuddering, and burst into a passion of tears. They 
were none of them able to understand the intenseness of 
her feelings; and, with mingled emotions of fear and anx- 
iety, they gazed on her in silence. Then wiping away her 
tears, and looking earnestly at the priest, she at last said : 
" There must be something lovely, but at the same 
time something most awful, about a soul. In the name 
of God, holy man, were it not better that we never shared 
a gift so mysterious?" 

Again she paused, and restrained her tears, as if wait- 
ing for an answer. All in the cottage had risen from their 
seats, and stepped back from her with horror. She, how- 
ever, seemed to have eyes for no one but the holy man ; 
an awful curiosity was painted on her features, which ap- 
peared terrible to the others. 



40 UNDINE. 

" Heavily must the soul weigh dowTi its possessor," she 
pursued, when no one returned her any answer — " very 
heavily! — for already its approaching image overshadows 
me with anguish and mourning. And, alas, I have till 
now been so merry and light-hearted!" — And she burst 
into another flood of tears, and covered her face with her 
veil. 

The priest, going up to her with a solemn look, now 
addressed himself to her, and conjured her by the name 
of God most holy, if any spirit of evil possessed her, to re- 
move the light covering from her face. But she sank before 
him on her knees, and repeated after him every sacred ex- 
pression he uttered, giving praise to God, and protesting 
" that she wished well to the whole world." 

The priest then spoke to the knight: " Sir bridegroom, 
I leave you alone with her whom I have united to you in 
marriage. So far as I can discover, there is nothing of 
evil in her, but assuredly much that is wonderful. AVhat 
I recommend to you is — prudence, love, and fidelity." 

Thus speaking, he left the apartment ; and the fisher- 
man, with his wife, followed him, crossing themselves. 

Undine had sunk upon her knees. She uncovered her 
face, and exclaimed, while she looked fearfully round upon 
Huldbrand, " Alas ! you will now refuse to look upon me 
as your own ; and still I have done nothing evil, poor un- 
happy child that I am !" She spoke these words with a 
look so infinitely sweet and touching, that her bridegroom 
forgot both the confession that had shocked and the mys- 
tery that had perplexed him ; and hastening to her, he 
raised her in his arms. She smiled through her tears ; and 
that smile was like the morning light playing upon a small 
stream. "You cannot desert me!" she whispered, con- 
fidingly, and stroked the knight's cheeks with her little 
soft hands. He turned away from the frightful thoughts 
that still lurked in the recesses of his soul, and were per* J 
suading him that he had been married to a fairy, or some 
spiteful and mischievous being of the spirit- world. Only 



UNDINE. 41 

this single question, and that almost unawares, escaped 
from his lips : 

" Dearest Undine, tell me this one thing : what was it 
you meant by ' spirits of earth' and ' Kiihleborn,' when the 
priest stood knocking at the door?" 

"Tales! mere tales of children!" answered Undine, 
laughing, now quite restored to her wonted gaiety. " I 
first frightened you with them, and you frightened me. 
This is the end of the story and of our nuptial evening." 

" Nay, not so," replied the enamoured knight, extin- 
guishing the tapers, and a thousand times kissing his 
beautiful and beloved bride ; while, lighted by the moon 
that shone brightly through the windows, he bore her into 
their bridal apartment. 

The fresh light of morning awoke the young married 
pair; but Huldbrand lay lost in silent reflection. Whenever 
during the night he had fallen asleep, strange and horrible 
dreams of spectres had disturbed him ; and these shapes, 
grinning at him bj" stealth, strove to disguise themselves 
as beautiful females ; and from beautiful females they all 
at once assumed the appearance of dragons. And when 
he started up, aroused by the intrusion of these hideous 
forms, the moonlight shone pale and cold before the win- 
dows without. He looked affrighted at Undine, in whose 
arms he had fallen asleep ; and she was reposing in un- 
altered beauty and sweetness beside him. Then pressing 
her rosy lips with a light kiss, he again fell into a slumber, 
only to be awakened by new terrors. 

When fully awake, he had thought over this connexion. 
He reproached himself for any doubt that could lead him 
into error in regard to his lovely wife. He also confessed 
to her his injustice ; but she only gave him her fair hand, 
sighed deeply, and remained silent. Yet a glance offer- 
vent tenderness, an expression of the soul beaming in her 
eyes, such as he had never witnessed there before, left 
him in undoubting assurance that Undine bore him no 
ill-will. 



42 UNDINE. 

He then rose joyfully, and, leaving her, went to the 
common apartment, where the inmates of the house had 
already met. The three were sitting round the hearth 
with an air of anxiety about them, as if they feared trust- ' 
ing themselves to raise their voice above a low, apprehen- 
sive undertone. The priest appeared to be praying in his 
inmost spirit, Avith a view to avert some fatal calamity. 
But when they observed the young husband come forth 
so cheerful, they dispelled the cloud that remained upon 
their brows : the old fisherman even began to laugh with 
the knight, till his aged wife herself could not help smil- 
ing with great good-humour. 

Undine had in the mean time got ready, and now en- 
tered the room ; all rose to meet her, but remained fixed 
in perfect admiration — she was so changed, and yet the 
same. The priest, with paternal afiection beaming from 
his countenance, first went up to her ; and as he raised his 
hand to pronounce a blessing, the beautiful bride sank on 
her knees before him with religious awe ; she begged his 
pardon in terms both respectful and submissive for any 
foolish things she might have uttered the evening before, 
and entreated him with emotion to pray for the welfare of 
her soul. She then rose, kissed her foster-parents, and, 
after thanking them for all the kindness they had shewn 
her, said : 

" O, I now feel in my inmost heart how much, how 
infinitely much, you have done for me, you dear, dear 
friends of my childhood !" 

At first she was wholly unable to tear herself away 
from their afiectionate caresses ; but the moment she saw 
the good old mother busy in getting breakfast, she went 
to the hearth, applied herself to cooking the food and put- 
ting it on the table, and would not suflfer her to take the 
least share in the work. 

She continued in this frame of spirit the whole day: 
calm, kind, attentive — half matronly and half girlish. The 
three who had been longest acquainted with her expected 



UNDINE, 43 

every instant to see her capricious spirit break out in some 
whimsical change or sportive vagary. But their fears 
were quite unnecessary. Undine continued as mild and 
gentle as an angel. The priest found it all but impos- 
sible to remove his eyes from her; and he often said to 
the bridegroom : 

" The bounty of Heaven, sir, through me its unworthy 
instrument, entrusted to you yesterday an invaluable trea- 
sure ; cherish it as you ought, and it will promote your 
temporal and eternal welfare." 

Toward evening Undine was hanging upon the knight's 
arm with lowly tenderness, while she drew him gently 
out before the door, where the setting sun shone richly 
over the fresh grass, and upon the high, slender boles of 
the trees. Her emotion was visible : the dew of sadness 
and love swam in her eyes, while a tender and fearful 
secret seemed to hover upon her lips, but was only made 
known by hardly breathed sighs. She led her husband 
farther and farther onward without speaking. When he 
asked her questions, she replied only with looks, in which, 
it is true, there appeared to be no immediate answer to 
his inquiries, but a whole heaven of love and timid 
devotion. Thus they reached the margin of the swollen 
forest-stream, and the knight was astonished to see it glid- 
ing away with so gentle a murmuring of its waves, that 
no vestige of its former swell and wildness was now dis- 
cernible. 

" By morning it will be wholly drained oif," said the 
beautiful wife, almost weeping, " and you will then be 
able to travel, without any thing to hinder you, witherso- 
ever you will." 

" Not without you, dear Undine," replied the knight, 
laughing ; " think, only, were I disposed to leave you, 
both the church and the spiritual powers, the emperor 
and the laws of the realm, would require the fugitive to 
be seized and restored to you." 

" All this depends on you — all depends on you," whis- 



44 UNDINE. 

pered his little companion, half weeping and half smiling. 
*' But I still feel sure that you will not leave me ; I love 
you too deeply to fear that misery. Now bear me over 
to that little island which lies before us. There shall the 
decision be made. I could easily, indeed, glide through 
that mere rippling of the water without your aid, but it 
is so sweet to lie in your arms ; and should you determine 
to put me away, I shall have rested in them once more, 
.... for the last time." 

Huldbrand was so full of strange anxiety and emotion, 
that he knew not what answer to make her. He took 
her in his arms and carried her over, now first realising 
the fact, that this was the same little island from which he 
had borne her back to the old fisherman, the first night of 
his arrival. On the farther side, he placed her upon the 
soft grass, and was throwing himself lovingly near his 
beautiful burden ; but she said to him, " Not here, but 
opposite me. I shall read my doom in your eyes, even 
before your lips pronounce it: now listen attentively to 
what I shall relate to you." And she began : 

" You must know, my own love, that there are beings 
in the elements which bear the strongest resemblance to 
the human race, and which, at the same time, but seldom 
become visible to you. The wonderful salamanders sparkle 
and sport amid the flames ; deep in the earth the meagre 
and malicious gnomes pursue their revels; the forest- 
spirits belong to the air, and wander in the woods ; while 
in the seas, rivers, and streams, live the -snde-spread race 
of water-spirits. These last, beneath resounding domes of 
crystal, through which the sky can shine with its sun and 
stars, inhabit a region of light and beauty ; lofty coral- 
trees glow with blue and crimson fruits in their gardens ; . 
they walk over the pure sand of the sea, among exquisitely 
variegated shells, and amid whatever of beauty the old 
world possessed, such as the present is no more worthy to 
enjoy — creations which the floods covered with their secret 
veils of silver ; and now these noble monuments sparkle 



UNDINE. 45 

below, stately and solemn, and bedewed by the water, 
which loves them, and calls forth from their crevices deli- 
cate moss-flowers and enwreathing tufts of sedge. 

" Now the nation that dwell there are very fair and 
lovely to behold, for the most part more beautiful than 
human beings. Many a fisherman has been so fortunate 
as to catch a view of a delicate maiden of the waters, while 
she was floating and singing upon the deep. He w^ould 
then spread far the fame of her beauty ; and to such won- 
derful females men are wont to give the name of Undines. 
But what need of saying more ? — You, my dear husband, 
now actually behold an Undine before you." 

The knight would have persuaded himself that his 
lovely wife was under the influence of one of her odd 
whims, and that she was only amusing herself and him 
with her extravagant inventions. He wished it might be 
so. But with whatever emphasis he said this to himself, 
' he still could not credit the hope for a moment : a strange 
shivering shot through his soul ; unable to utter a word, 
he gazed upon the sweet speaker with a fixed eye. She 
shook her head in distress, sighed from her full heart, and 
then proceeded in the following manner : 

" We should be far superior to you, who are another 
race of the human family, — for we also call ourselves hu- 
man beings, as we resemble them in form and features, — 
had we not one evil peculiar to ourselves. Both we and 
the beings I have mentioned as inhabiting the other ele- 
ments, vanish into air at death and go out of existence, 
spirit and body, so that no vestige of us remains ; and when 
you hereafter awake to a purer state of being, we shall 
remain where sand, and sparks, and wind, and waves 
remain. Thus we have no souls ; the element moves us, 
and, again, is obedient to our will, while we live, though 
it scatters us like dust when w^e die ; and as we have no- 
thing to trouble us, we are as merry as nightingales, little 
gold-fishes, and other pretty children of nature. 

'* But all beings aspire to rise in the scale of existence 



46 



higher than they are. It was therefore the wish of m; 
father, who is a powerful water-prince in the Mediterra- 
nean Sea, that his only daughter should become possessed 
of a soul, although she should have to endure many of the 
sufferings of those who share that gift. 

" Now the race to which I belong have no other means 
of obtaining a soul than by forming with an individual of 
your own the most intimate union of love. I am now 
possessed of a soul, and my soul thanks you, my best 
beloved, and never shall cease to thank you, if you do 
not render my whole future life miserable. For what will 
become of me, if you avoid and reject me? Still I would 
not keep you as my own by artifice. And should you 
decide to cast me off, then do it now, and return alone to 
the shore. I will plunge into this brook, where my uncle 
will receive me ; my uncle, who here in the forest, far 
removed from his other friends, passes his strange and 
solitary existence. But he is powerful, as well as revered 
and beloved by many great rivers ; and as he brought me 
hither to the fisherman a light-hearted and laughing child, 
he will take me home to my parents a woman, gifted with 
a soul, with power to love and to suffer." 

She was about to add something more, when Huld- 
brand, with the most heartfelt tenderness and love, clasped 
her in his arms, and again bore her back to the shore. 
There, amid tears and kisses, he first swore never to for- 
sake his affectionate wife, and esteemed himself even more 
happy than Pygmalion, for whom Venus gave life to his 
beautiful statue, and thus changed it into a beloved wife. 
Supported by his arm, and in the confidence of affection, 
Undine returned to the cottage ; and now she first realised 
with her whole heart how little cause she had for regretting 
what she had left — the crystal palaces of her mysterious 
father. 



J 



47 



CHAPTER V. 

Next morning, when Huldbrand awoke from slumber, 
and perceived that his beautiful wife was not by his side, 
he began to give way again to his wild imaginations, — that 
his marriage, and even the lovely Undine herself, were only 
shadows without substance — only mere illusions of en- 
chantment. But she entered the door at the same mo- 
ment, kissed him, seated herself on the bed by his side, 
and said : 

" I have been out somewhat early this morning, to see 
whether my uncle keeps his word. He has already re- 
stored the waters of the flood to his own calm channel, and 
he now flows through the forest a rivulet as before, in a 
lonely and dreamlike current. His friends, too, both of 
the water and the air, have resumed their usual peaceful 
tenour ; all will again proceed with order and tranquillity ; 
and you can travel homeward, without fear of the flood, 
whenever you choose." 

It seemed to the mind of Huldbrand that he must be in 
some waking dream, so little was he able to understand 
the nature of his wife's strange relative. Notwithstanding 
this, he made no remark upon what she had told him, and 
her surpassing loveliness soon lulled every misgiving and 
discomfort to rest. 

Some time afterward, while he was standing with her 
before the door, and surveying the verdant point of land, 
with its boundary of bright waters, such a feeling of bliss 
came over him in this cradle of his love, that he ex- 
claimed : 

" Shall we, then, so early as to-day begin our journey ? 
Why should we ? It is probable that abroad in the world 
we shall find no daj^s more delightful than those we have 
spent in this green isle so secret and so secure. Let us yet 
see the sun go down here two or three times more." 



48 UNDINE. 

" Just as my lord wills," replied Undine meekly. 
"Only we must remember, that my foster-parents will, at 
all events, see me depart with pain ; and should they now, 
for the first time, discover the true soul in me, and how 
fervently I can now love and honour them, their feeble 
eyes would surely become blind with weeping. As yet 
they consider my present quietness and gentleness as of no 
better promise than they were formerly, — like the calm of 
the lake just while the air remains tranquil, — and they 
will learn soon to cherish a little tree or flower as they 
have cherished me. Let me not, then, make known to 
them this newly bestowed, this loving heart, at the very 
moment they must lose it for this world ; and how could 
I conceal what I have gained, if we continued longer toge- 
ther?" 

Huldbrand yielded to her representation, and went to 
the aged couple to confer with them respecting his jour- 
ney, on which he proposed to set out that very hour. The 
priest offered himself as a companion to the young married 
pair ; and, after taking a short farewell, he held the bridle, 
while the knight lifted his beautiful wife upon his horse ; 
and with rapid step they crossed the dry channel with her 
toward the forest. Undine wept in silent but intense 
emotion ; the old people, as she moved away, were more 
clamorous in the expression of their grief. They appeared 
to feel, at the moment of separation, all that they were 
losing in their affectionate foster-daughter. 

The three travellers had reached the thickest shades of 
the forest without interchanging a word. It must have 
been a fair sight, in that hall of leafy verdure, to see this 
lovely woman's form sitting on the noble and richly orna- 
mented steed, on her right hand the venerable priest in 
the white garb of his order, on her left the blooming young 
knight, clad in splendid raiment of scarlet, gold, and vio- 
let, girt with a sword that flashed in the sun, and atten- 
tively walking beside her. Huldbrand had no eyes but 
for his wife ; Undine, who had dried her tears of tender- 



UNDINE. 4& 

ness, had no eyes but for him ; and they soon entered into 
the still and voiceless converse of looks and gestures, from 
which, after some time, they were awakened by the low 
discourse which the priest was holding with a fourth tra- 
veller, who had meanwhile joined them unobserved. 

He wore a white gown, resembling in form the dress 
of the priests' order, except that his hood hung very low 
over his face, and that the whole drapery floated in such 
wide folds around him as obliged him every moment to 
gather it up and throw it over his arm, or by some ma- 
nagement of this sort to get it out of his way, and still it 
did not seem in the least to impede his movements. When 
the young couple became aware of his presence, he was 
saying : 

" And so, venerable sir, many as have been the years 
I have dwelt here in this forest, I have never received the 
name of hermit in your sense of the word. For, as I said 
before, I know nothing of penance, and I think, too, that 
I have no particular need of it. Do you ask me why I 
am so attached to the forest ? It is because its scenery is 
so peculiarly picturesque, and affords me so much pastime 
when, in my floating white garments, I pass through its 
world of leaves and dusky shadows ; — and when a sweet 
sunbeam glances down upon me, at times, unexpectedly." 

" You are a very singular man," replied the priest, 
" and I should like to have a more intimate acquaintance 
with you." 

" And who, then, may you be yourself, to pass from 
one thing to another V inquired the stranger. 

" I am called Father Heilmann," answered the holy 
man ; " and I am from the cloister of Our Lady of the 
Salutation, beyond the lake." 

" Well, well," replied the stranger, " my name is 
Kiihleborn ; and were I a stickler for the nice distinctions 
of rank, I might, with equal propriety, require you to 
give me the title of noble lord of Kiihleborn, or free lord 
of Kiihleborn ; for I am as free as the birds in the forest, 



50 UNDINE. 

and, it may be, a trifle more so. For example, I now 
have something to tell that young lady there." And be- 
fore they were aware of his purpose, he was on the other 
side of the priest, close to Undine, and stretching himself 
high into the air, in order to whisper something in her 
ear. But she shrunk from him in terror, and exclaimed : 
" I have nothing more to do with you." 
" Ho, ho," cried the stranger, with a laugh, *' you 
have made a grand marriage indeed, since you no longer 
know your own relations ! Have you no recollection, 
then, of your uncle Kiihleborn, who so faithfully bore 
you on his back to this region ?" 

" However that may be," replied Undine, " I entreat 
you never to appear in my presence again. I am now 
afraid of you ; and will not my husband fear and forsake 
me, if he sees me associate with such strange company and 
kindred ?" 

" You must not forget, my little niece," said Kiihleborn, 
*' that I am with you here as a guide ; otherwise those 
madcap spirits of the earth, the gnomes that haunt this 
forest, would play you some of their mischievous pranks. 
Let me therefore still accompany you in peace. Even the 
old priest there had a better recollection of me than you ' 
appear to have ; for he just now assured me that I seemed 
to be very familiar to him, and that I must have been with 
him in the ferry-boat, out of which he tumbled into the 
waves. He certainly did see me there ; for I was no other 
than the water-spout that tore him out of it, and kept him 
from sinking, while I safely wafted him ashore to your 
wedding." 

Undine and the knight turned their eyes upon Father 
Heilmann ; but he appeared to be moving forward, just as 
if he were dreaming or walking in his sleep, and no longer 
to be conscious of a word that was spoken. Undine then 
said to Kiihleborn : " I already see yonder the end of the 
forest. We have no further need of your assistance, and 
nothing now gives us alarm but yourself. I therefore be- 



UNDINE. 51 

seech you, by our mutual love and good--svill, to vanish, 
and allow us to proceed in peace." 

Kiihleborn seemed to become angry at this : he darted 
a frightful look at Undine, and grinned fiercely upon her. 
She shrieked aloud, and called her husband to protect her. 
The knight sprung round the horse as quick as lightning, 
and, brandishing his sword, struck at Kiihleborn's head. 
But, instead of severing it from his body, the sword merely 
flashed through a torrent, which rushed foaming near them 
from a lofty cliff; and with a splash, which much resem- 
bled in sound a burst of laughter, the stream all at once 
poured upon them, and gave them a thorough wetting. 
The priest, as if suddenly awaking from a trance, coolly 
observed : " This is what I have been some time expect- 
ing, because the brook has descended from the steep so 
close beside us, — though at first sight, indeed, it appeared 
to resemble a man, and to possess the power of speech." 

As the waterfall came rushing from its crag, it dis- 
tinctly uttered these words in Huldbrand's ear : " Rash 
knight ! valiant knight ! I am not angry with you ; I have 
no quarrel with you ; only continue to defend your lovely 
little wife with the same spirit, you bold knight! you 
valiant champion !" 

After advancing a few steps farther, the travellers came 
out upon open ground. The imperial city lay bright be- 
fore them ; and the evening sun, which gilded its towers 
with gold, kindly dried their garments that had been so 
completely drenched. 

The sudden disappearance of the young knight, Huld- 
brand of Ringstetten, had occasioned much remark in the 
imperial city, and no small concern amongst those who, as 
well on account of his expertness in tourney and dance as 
of his mild and amiable manners, had become attached to 
him. His attendants were unwilling to quit the place 
without their master, although not a soul of them had 
been courageous enough to follow him into the fearful 
recesses of the forest. They remained, therefore, at the 

E 



52 UNDINE. 

hostelry, idly hoping,- as men are wont to do, and keeping 
the fate of their lost lord fresh in remembrance by thei 
lamentations. 

Now when the violent storms and floods had been ob 
served immediately after his departure, the destruction o^ 
the handsome stranger became all but certain ; even Ber-'- 
talda had openly discovered her sorrow, and detested her- 
self for having been the cause of his taking that fatal ex- 
cursion into the forest. Her foster-parents, the duke and 
duchess, had meanwhile come to take her away ; but Ber- 
talda persuaded them to remain with her until some certain 
news of Huldbrand should be obtained, whether he were 
living or dead. She endeavoured also to prevail upon se- 
veral young knights, who were assiduous in courting her 
favour, to go in quest of the noble adventurer in the forest. 
But she refused to pledge her hand as the reward of the 
enterprise, because she still cherished, it might be, a hope 
of its being claimed by the returning knight ; and no one 
would consent, for a glove, a riband, or even a kiss, to 
expose his life to bring back so very dangerous a rival. 

When Huldbrand now made his sudden and unexpected 
appearance, his attendants, the inhabitants of the citj^, and 
almost every one, rejoiced. This was not the case with 
Bertalda ; for although it might be quite a welcome event 
to others that he brought with him a wife of such exquisite 
loveliness, and Father Heilmann as a witness of their mar- 
riage, Bertalda could not but view the affair with grief 
and vexation. She had, in truth, become attached to the 
young knight with her whole soul ; and her mourning for • 
his absence, or supposed death, had she"\vn this more than 
she could now have wished. 

But notwithstanding all this, she conducted herself' 
like a wise maiden in circumstances of such delicacy, and ! 
lived on the most friendly terms with Undine, whom the^ 
whole city looked upon as a princess that Huldbrand had : 
rescued in the forest from some evil enchantment. When- • 
ever any one questioned either herself or her husband re- 



UNDINE. 53 

lative to surmises of this nature, ttiey had wisdom enough 
to remain silent, or wit enough to evade the inquiries. The 
lips of Father Heilmann had been sealed in regard to idle 
gossip of every kind ; and besides, on Huldbrand's arrival, 
he had immediately returned to his cloister: so that people 
were obliged to rest contented with their own wild conjec- 
tures; and even Bertalda herself ascertained nothing more 
of the truth than others. 

For the rest, Undine daily felt more love for the fair 
maiden. " We must have been before acquainted with 
each other," she often used to say to her, " or else there 
must be some mysterious connexion between us ; for it is 
incredible that any one so perfectly without cause — I mean, 
without some deep and secret cause — should be so fondly 
attached to another as I have been to you from the first 
moment of our meeting." 

And even Bertalda could not deny that she felt a con- 
fiding impulse, an attraction of tenderness, toward Undine, 
much as she deemed this fortunate rival the cause of her 
bitterest disappointment. Under the influence of this mu- 
tual regard, they found means to persuade, the one her 
foster-parents, and the other her husband, to defer the 
day of separation to a period more and more remote ; nay 
more, they had already begun to talk of a plan for Ber- 
talda's accompanying Undine to Castle Ringstetten, near 
one of the sources of the Danube. 

Once on a fine evening they happened to be talking 
over their scheme just as they passed the high trees that 
bordered the public walk. The young married pair, though 
it was somewhat late, had called upon Bertalda to invite 
her to share their enjoyment ; and all three proceeded fa- 
miliarly up and down beneath the dark blue heaven, not 
seldom interrupted in their converse by the admiration 
which they could not but bestow upon the magnificent 
fountain in the middle of the square, and upon the won- 
derful rush and shooting upward of its water. All was 
sweet and soothing to their minds. Among the shadows 



54 UNDINE. 

of the trees stole in glimmerings of light from the adjacent 
houses. A low murmur as of children at play, and of other 
persons who were enjoying their walk, floated around i 
them — they were so alone, and yet sharing so much of •' 
social happiness in the bright and stirring world, that 
whatever had appeared rough by day, now became smooth 
of its own accord. And the three friends could no longer 
see the slightest cause for hesitation in regard to Bertalda's 
taking the journey. 

At that instant, while they were just fixing the day 
of their departure, a tall man approached them from the 
middle of the square, bowed respectfully to the company, 
and sjDoke something in the young bride's ear. Though 
displeased with the interruption and its cause, she walked 
aside a few steps with the stranger; and both began to 
whisper, as it seemed, in a foreign tongue. Huldbrand 
thought he recognised the strange man of the forest ; and 
he gazed upon him so fixedly, that he neither heard nor 
answered the astonished inquiries of Bertalda. All at once 
Undine clapped her hands with delight, and turned back 
from the stranger, laughing: he, frequently shaking his 
head, retired with a hasty step and discontented air, and 
descended into the fountain. Huldbrand now felt per- 
fectly certain that his conjecture was correct. But Ber- 
talda asked : 

" What, then, dear Undine, did the master of the foun- 
tain wish to say to you ?" 

Undine laughed within herself, and made answer : "The 
day after to-morrow, my dear child, when the anniversary 
of your name-day returns, you shall be informed.^' And 
this was all she could be prevailed upon to disclose. She 
merely asked Bertalda to dinner on the appointed day, 
and requested her to invite her foster-parents ; and soon . 
afterward they separated. 

" Kiihleborn ?" said Huldbrand to his lovely wife, with ^ 
an inward shudder, when they had taken leave of Bertalda, 
and were now going home through the darkening streets. 



UNDINE. 55 

" Yes, it was he," answered Undine ; " and he would 
have wearied me with his foolish warnings. But, in the 
midst, quite contrary to his intentions, he delighted me 
with a most welcome piece of news. If you, my dear 
lord and husband, wish me to acquaint you with it now, 
you need only command me, and I will freely and from 
my heart tell you all without reserve. But would you 
confer upon your Undine a very, very great pleasure, wait 
till the day after to-morrow, and then you too shall have 
your share of the surprise." 

The knight was quite willing to gratify his wife in what 

I she had asked so sweetly. And even as she was falling 

asleep, she murmured to herself, with a smile: " How she 

will rejoice and be astonished at what her master of the 

fountain has told me! — dear, dear Bertalda !" 



CHAPTER VI. 

The company were sitting at dinner. Bertalda, adorned 
with jewels and flowers without number, the presents of 
her foster-parents and friends, and looking like some god- 
dess of spring, sat beside Undine and Huldbrand at the 
head of the table. When the sumptuous repast was ended, 
and the dessert was placed before them, permission was 
given that the doors should be left open : this was in ac- 
cordance with the good old custom in Germany, that the 
common people might see and rejoice in the festivity of 
their superiors. Among these spectators the servants car- 
ried round cake and wine. 

Huldbrand and Bertalda waited with secret impatience 
for the promised explanation, and hardly moved their eyes 
from Undine. But she still continued silent, and merely 
smiled to herself with secret and heartfelt satisfaction. All 
who were made acquainted with the promise she had given 



56 UNDINE. 

could perceive that she was every moment on the poinB 
of revealing a happy secret ; and yet, as children some- 
times delay tasting their choicest dainties, she still with- 
held the communication. Bertalda and Huldbrand shared 
the same delightful feeling, while in anxious hope they 
were expecting the unknown disclosure which they were 
to receive from the lips of their friend. 

At this moment several of the company pressed Undine 
to sing. This she seemed pleased at ; and ordering her 
lute to be brought, she sang the following words : — 

" Morning so bright, 
Wild flowers so gay, 
Where high grass so dewy 
Crowns the wavy lake's border. 

On the meadow's verdant bosom 
What glimmers there so white ? 
Have wreaths of snowy blossoms, 
Soft-floating, fallen from heaven ? 

Ah, see ! a tender infant ! — 

It plays with flowers, unwitting ; 

It strives to grasp morn's golden beams. 

O where, sweet stranger, where's your home ? 

Afar from unknown shores 

The waves have wafted hither 

This helpless little one. 

Nay, clasp not, tender darling, 
With tiny hand the flowers ! 
No hand returns the pressure, 
The flowers are strange and mute. 

They clothe themselves in beauty, 

They breathe a rich perfume ; 

But cannot fold around you 

A mother's loving arms ; — 

Far, far away that mother's fond embrace. 



UNDINE. 57 

Life's early dawn just opening faint, 
Your eye yet beaming Heaven's own smUe, 
So soon your tenderest guardians gone ; 
Severe, poor child, your fate, — 
AU, all to you unknown, 

A noble duke has cross'd the mead, 

And near you check'd his steed's career : 

Wonder and pity touch his heart ; 

"With knowledge high, and manners pure. 

He rears you, — makes his castle-home your own. 

How great, how infinite your gain I 
Of all the land you bloom the loveliest ; 
Yet, ah ! the priceless blessing, 
The bliss of parents' fondness. 
You left on strands unknown !'' 

Undine let fall her lute with a melancholy smile. The 
eyes of Bertalda's nohle foster-parents were filled with 
tears. 

*' Ah yes, it was so, — such was the morning on which 
I found you, poor orphan !" cried the duke, with deep 
emotion ; " the beautiful singer is certainly right : still 

' The priceless blessing, 
The bliss of parents' fondness,* 

it was beyond our power to give you." 

" But we must hear, also, what happened to the poor 
parents," said Undine, as she struck the chords, and sung : 

•' Through her chambers roams the mother, 
Searching, searching every where ; 
Seeks, and knows not what, with yearning, 
Childless house stiU finding there. 

Childless house ! — O sound of anguish ! 

She alone the anguish knows. 
There by day who led her dear one, 

There who rock'd its night-repose. 



58 UNDIXE. 

Beechen buds again are swelling, 

Sunshine warms again the shore ; 
Ah, fond mother, cease your searching ! 

Comes the lov'd and lost no more. 

Then when airs of eve are fresh'ning. 

Home the father wends his way, 
While with smiles his woe he's veiling, 

Gushing tears his heart betray. 

Well he knows, within his dwelling. 

Still as death he'll find the gloom, | 

Only hear the mother moaning, — 

No sweet babe to smile him home." 

" O tell me, in the name of Heaven tell me, Undine, 
where are my parents?" cried the weeping Bertalda. "You 
certainly know ; you must have discovered them, you won- 
derful being; for otherwise you would never have thus 
torn my heart. Can they be already here ? May I believe 
it possible?" Her eye glanced rapidly over the brilliant 
company, and rested upon a lady of high rank who was 
sitting next to her foster-father. 

Then, bending her head, Undine beckoned toward the 
door, while her eyes overflowed with the sweetest emotion. 
*' Where, then, are the poor parents waiting?" she asked; 
and the old fisherman, hesitating, advanced, with his wife, 
from the crowd of spectators. They looked inquiringly, 
now at Undine, and now at the beautiful lady who was 
said to be their daughter. 

" It is she ! it is she there before you !" exclaimed 
the restorer of their child, her voice half choked with rap- 
ture. And both the aged parents embraced their recovered 
daughter, weeping aloud and praising God. 

But, terrified and indignant, Bertalda tore herself from 
their arms. Such a discovery was too much for her proud 
spirit to bear, — especially at the moment when she had 



UNDINE. 59 

doubtless expected to see her former splendour increased, 
and when hope was picturing to her nothing less brilliant 
than a royal canopy and a crown. It seemed to her as if 
her rival had contrived all this on purpose to humble her 
before Huldbrand and the whole world. She reproached 
Undine; she reviled the old people; and even such oft'en- 
sive words as " deceiver, bribed and perjured impostors," 
burst from her lips. 

The aged wife of the fisherman then said to herself, in 
a low voice : " Ah, my God, she has become wicked ! and 
yet I feel in my heart that she is my child." 

The old fisherman had meanwhile folded his hands, 
and offered up a silent prayer that she might not be his 
daughter. 

Undine, faint and pale as death, turned from the pa- 
rents to Bertalda, from Bertalda to the parents. She was 
suddenly cast down from all that heaven of happiness in 
which she had been dreaming, and plunged into an agony 
of terror and disappointment which she had never known 
even in dreams. 

"Have you, then, a soul? Have you indeed a soul, 
Bertalda?" she cried again and again to her angry friend, 
as if with vehement effort she would rouse her from a 
sudden delirium or some distracting dream of night, and 
restore her to recollection. 

But when Bertalda became every moment only more 
and more enraged — when the disappointed parents began 
to weep aloud — and the company, with much warmth of 
dispute, were espousing opposite sides, — she begged, with 
such earnestness and dignity, for the liberty of speaking in 
this her husband's hall, that all around her were in an in- 
stant hushed to silence. She then advanced to the upper 
end of the table, where, both humbled and haughty, Ber- 
talda had seated herself, and, while every eye was fas- 
tened upon her, spoke in the following manner : 

" My friends, you appear dissatisfied and disturbed ; 
and you are interrupting, with your strife, a festivity I 



60 UNDINE. 

had hoped would bring joy to you and to me. Ah! 
knew nothing of your heartless ways of thinking; andl 
never shall I understand them. I am not to blame forf 
the mischief this disclosure has done. Believe me, little! 
as you may imagine this to be the case, it is whoUyl 
owing to yourselves. One word more, therefore, is all ij 
have to add ; but this is one that must be spoken : — I havaj 
uttered nothing but truth. Of the certainty of the fact, 
give you the strongest assurance. No other proof can 
or will I produce ; but this I will affirm in the presena 
of God. The person who gave me this information 
the very same who decoyed the infant Bertalda into the! 
water, and who, after thus taking her from her parents, 
placed her on the green grass of the meadow, where he 
knew the duke was to pass." 

''She is an enchantress!" cried Bertalda; "a witch, 
that has intercourse with evil spirits. She acknowledges it 
herself." 

"Never! I deny it!" replied Undine, while a whole 
heaven of innocence and truth beamed from her eyes. " I 
am no witch ; look upon me, and say if I am." 

*' Then she utters both falsehood and folly," cried Ber- 
talda ; " and she is unable to prove that I am the child of 
these low people. My noble parents, I entreat you to take 
me from this company, and out of this city, where they do 
nothing but shame me." 

But the aged duke, a man of honourable feeling, re- 
mained unmoved ; and his wife remarked : " We must 
thoroughly examine into this matter. God forbid that we 
should move a step from this hall before we do so." 

Then the aged wife of the fisherman drew near, made 
a low obeisance to the duchess, ^and said: "Noble and 
pious lady, you have opened my heart. Permit me to 
tell you, that if this evil-disposed maiden is my daughter, 
she has a mark like a violet between her shoulders, and 
another of the same kind on the instep of her left foot. If 
she will only consent to go out of the hall with me — " 



UNDINE. Gl 

" I will not consent to uncover myself before the pea- 
sant woman," interrupted Bertalda, haughtily turning her 
back upon her. 

"But before me you certainly will," replied the duchess, 
gravely. "You will follow me into that room, maiden; 
and the old woman shall go with us.'' 

The three disappeared ; and the rest continued where 
they were, in breathless expectation. In a few minutes 
the females returned — Bertalda pale as death; and the 
duchess said: "Justice must be done; I therefore declare 
that our lady hostess has spoken exact truth. Bertalda 
is the fisherman's daughter ; no further proof is required ; 
and this is all of which, on the present occasion, you need 
to be informed." 

The princely pair went out with their adopted daughter ; 
the fisherman, at a sign from the duke, followed them 
with his wife. The other guests retired in silence, or sup- 
pressing their murmurs ; while Undine sank weeping into 
the arms of Huldbrand. 

The lord of Ringstetten would certainly have been more 
gratified, had the events of this day been different ; but 
even such as they now were, he could by no means look 
upon them as unwelcome, since his lovely wife had shewn 
herself so full of goodness, sweetness, and kindliness. 

" If I have given her a soul," he could not help saying 
to himself, " I have assuredly given her a better one than 
my own ;" and now he only thought of soothing and com- 
forting his weeping wife, and of removing her even so early 
as the morrow from a place which, after this cross accident, 
could not fail to be distasteful to her. Yet it is certain that 
the opinion of the public concerning her was not changed. 
As something extraordinary had long before been expected 
of her, the mysterious discovery of Bertalda's parentage 
had occasioned little or no surprise ; and every one who 
became acquainted with Bertalda's story, and with the 
violence of her behaviour on that occasion, was only dis- 
gusted and set against her. Of this state of things, how- 



62 UNDINE. 

ever, the knight and his lady were as yet ignorant ; be- 
sides, whether the public condemned Bertalda or herself, 
the one view of the affair would have been as distressing 
to Undine as the other ; and thus they came to the conclu- 
sion, that the wisest course they could take, was to leave 
behind them the walls of the old city -with all the speed in 
their power. 

With the earliest beams of morning, a brilliant carri- 
age for Undine drove up to the door of the inn ; the horses 
of Huldbrand and his attendants stood near, stamping the 
pavement, impatient to proceed. The knight was leading 
his beautiful wife from the door, when a fisher-girl came 
up and met them in the way. 

^' We have no need of your fish," said Huldbrand, 
accosting her ; " we are this moment setting out on a 
journey.'^ 

Upon this the fisher-girl began to weep bitterly ; and 
then it was that the young couple first perceived it was 
Bertalda. They immediately returned with her to their 
apartment, when she informed them, that, owing to her 
unfeeling and violent conduct of the preceding day, the 
duke and duchess had been so displeased with her, as en- 
tirely to withdraw from her their protection, though not 
before giving her a generous portion. The fisherman, too, 
had received a handsome gift, and had, the evening be- 
fore, set out with his wife for his peninsula. 

" I would have gone with them," she pursued, " but 
the old fisherman, who is said to be my father — " 

" He is, in truth, your father, Bertalda," said Undine, 
interrupting her. " See, the stranger whom you took for 
the master of the water-works gave me all the particulars. 
He wished to dissuade me from taking you with me to 
Castle Ringstetten, and therefore disclosed to me the whole 
mystery." 

" Well then," continued Bertalda, " my father, — if it 
must needs be so, — my father said : ' I will not take you 
with me until you are changed. If you will venture to 



come to us alone through the ill-omened forest, that shall 
be a proof of your having some regard for us. But come 
not to me as a lady ; come merely as a fisher-girl.' I do as 
he bade me ; for since I am abandoned by all the world, 
I will live and die in solitude, a poor fisher-girl, with parents 
equally poor. The forest, indeed, appears very terrible to 
me. Horrible spectres make it their haunt, and I am so 
fearful. But how can I help it? I have only come here 
at this early hour to beg the noble lady of Ringstetten to 
pardon my unbecoming behaviour of yesterday. — Sweet 
lady, I have the fullest persuasion that you meant to do 
me a kindness, but you were not aware how severely you 
would wound me ; and then, in my agony and surprise, so 
many rash and frantic expressions burst from my lips. 
Forgive me, ah forgive me! I am in truth so unhappy 
already. Only consider what I was but yesterday morn- 
ing, what I was even at the beginning of your yesterday's 
festival, and what I am to-day !" — 

Her words now became inarticulate, lost in a passionate 
flow of tears, while Undine, bitterly weeping w ith her, 
fell upon her neck. So powerful was her emotion, that it 
was a long time before she could utter a word. At length 
she said : 

" You shall still go with us to Bingstetten ; all shall 
remain just as we lately arranged it ; but say ' thou' to 
me again, and do not call me ' noble lady' any more. 
Consider, we were changed for each other when we were 
children ; even then we wei'e united by a like fate, and we 
will strengthen this union with such close affection as no 
human power shall dissolve. Only first of all you must go 
with us to Ringstetten. How we shall share all things as 
sisters, we can talk of after we arrive." 

Bertalda looked up to Huldbrand with timid in- 
quiry. He pitied her in her affliction, took her hand, 
and begged her, tenderly, to entrust herself to him and his 
wife. 

" We will send a message to your parents," continued 



64 UNDINE. 

he, " giving them the reason why you have not come ;" — 
and he would have added more about his worthy friends 
of the peninsula, when, perceiving that Bertalda shrank 
in distress at the mention of them, he refrained. He took 
her under the arm, lifted her first into the carriage, then 
Undine, and was soon riding blithely beside them ; so 
persevering was he, too, in urging forward their driver, 
that in a short time they had left behind them the limits 
of the city, and a crowd of painful recollections ; and now 
the ladies could take delight in the beautiful country which 
their progress was continually presenting. 

After a journey of some days, they arrived, on a fine 
evening, at Castle Ringstetten. The young knight being 
much engaged with the overseers and menials of his esta- 
blishment, Undine and Bertalda were left alone. They 
took a walk upon the high rampart of the fortress, and 
were charmed with the delightful landscape which the 
fertile Suabia spread around them. While they were 
viewing the scene, a tall man drew near, who greeted 
them with respectful civility, and who seemed to Ber- 
talda much to resemble the director of the city foun- 
tain. Still less was the resemblance to be mistaken, when 
Undine, indignant at his intrusion, waved him ofi'w'ith an 
air of menace ; while he, shaking his head, retreated with 
rapid strides, as he had formerly done, then glided among 
the trees of a neighbouring grove and disappeared. 

" Do not be terrified, Bertalda," said Undine; " the 
hateful master of the fountain shall do you no harm this 
time." — And then she related to her the particulars of her 
history, and Avho she was herself, — how Bertalda had 
been taken away from the people of the peninsula, and 
Undine left in her place. This relation at first filled the 
young maiden with amazement and alarm; she imagined 
her friend must be seized with a sudden madness. But, 
from the consistency of her story, she became more and : 
more convinced that all was true, it so well agreed with i 
former occurrences, and still more convinced from that ; 



UNDINE. 65 

inward feeling with which truth never fails to make itself 
known to us. She could not but view it as an extraordi- 
nary circumstance that she was herself now living, as it 
were, in the midst of one of those wild tales which she 
had formerly heard related. She gazed upon Undine with 
reverence, but could not keep from a shuddering feeling 
which seemed to come between her and her friend ; and 
she could not but wonder when the knight, at their even- 
ing repast, shewed himself so kind and full of love towards 
a being who appeared to her, after the discoveries just 
made, more to resemble a phantom of the spirit -world 
than one of the human race. 



CHAPTER VII. 

The writer of this tale, both because it moves his own 
heart and he wishes it to move that of others, asks a favour 
of you, dear reader. Forgive him if he passes over a con- 
siderable space of time in a few words, and only tells 
you generally what therein happened. He knows well 
that it might be imfolded skilfully, and step by step, how 
Huldbrand's heart began to turn from Undine and towards 
Bertalda — how Bertalda met the young knight with ardent 
love, and how they both looked upon the poor wife as a 
mysterious being, more to be dreaded than pitied — how 
Undine wept, and her tears stung the conscience of her 
husband, without recalling his former love ; so that though 
at times he shewed kindness to her, a cold shudder soon 
forced him to turn from her to his fellow-mortal Bertalda ; 
— all this, the writer knows, might have been drawn out 
fully, and perhaps it ought to have been. But it would 
have made him too sad ; for he has witnessed such things, 
and shrinks from recalling even their shadow. Thou know- 



66 UNDINE. 

est, probably, the like feeling, dear reader; for it is the 
lot of mortal man. Happy art thou if thou hast received 
the injury, not inflicted it; for in this case it is more bles- 
sed to receive than to give. Then only a soft sorrow at 
such a recollection passes through thy heart, and perhaps a 
quiet tear trickles down thy cheek over the faded flowers 
in which thou once so heartily rejoiced. This is enough: 
we will not pierce our hearts with a thousand separate 
stings, but only bear in mind that all happened, as 1 just 
now said. 

Poor Undine was greatly troubled ; and the other two 
were very far from being happy. Bertalda in particular, 
whenever she was in the slightest degree opposed in her 
wishes, attributed the cause to the jealousy and oppression 
of the injured wife. She was therefore daily in the habit j 
of shewing a haughty and imperious demeanour, to which 
Undine yielded with a sad submission ; and which was 
generally encouraged strongly by the now blinded Huld- 
brand. 

What disturbed the inmates of the castle still more, 
was the endless variety of wonderful apparitions which I 
assailed Huldbrand and Bertalda in the vaulted passages 
of the building, and of which nothing had ever been heard 
before within the memory of man. The tall white man, i 
in whom Huldbrand but too plainly recognised Undine's ' 
uncle Kuhleborn, and Bertalda the spectral master of the j 
water-works, often passed before them with threatening 
aspect and gestures ; more especially, however, before Ber- 
talda, so that, through terror, she had several times already 
fallen sick, and had, in consequence, frequently thought of '[ 
quitting the castle. Yet partly because Huldbrand was but ' 
too dear to her, and she trusted to her innocence, since no ' 
words of love had passed between them, and partly also 
because she knew not whither to direct her steps, she lin- 
gered where she was. 

The old fisherman, on receiving the message from the 
lord of Ringstetten that Bertalda was his guest, returned 



I UNDINE. . 67 

answer in some lines almost too illegible to be deciphered, 
but still the best his advanced life and long disuse of 
writing permitted him to form. 

" I have now become," he wrote, " a poor old widower, 
for my beloved and faithful wife is dead. But lonely as 
I now sit in my cottage, I prefer Bertalda's remaining 
where she is, to her living with me. Only let her do 
nothing to hurt my dear Undine, else she will have my 
curse." 

The last words of this letter, Bertalda flung to the 
winds ; but the permission to remain from home, which 
her father had granted her, she remembered, and clung 
to, — just as we are all of us wont to do in similar circum- 
stances. 

One day, a few moments after Huldbrand had ridden 
out, Undine called together the domestics of the family, 
and ordered them to bring a large stone, and carefully to 
cover with it a magnificent fountain, that was situated in 
the middle of the castle court. The servants objected that 
it would oblige them to bring water from the valley be- 
low. Undine smiled sadly. 

*' I am sorry, my friends," replied she, '' to increase 
your labour; I would rather bring up the water-vessels 
myself: but this fountain must indeed be closed. Believe 
me when I say that it must be done, and that only by 
doing it we can avoid a greater evil." 

The domestics were all rejoiced to gratify their gentle 
mistress ; and making no further inquiry, they seized the 
enormous stone. While they were raising it in their 
hands, and were now on the point of adjusting it over the 
fountain, Bertalda came running to the place, and cried, 
with an air of command, that they must stop ; that the 
water she used, so improving to her complexion, was 
brought from this fountain, and that she would by no 
means allow it to be closed. 

This time, however, Undine, while she shewed her 
usual gentleness, shewed more than her usual resolution : 



68 UNtflNE. 

she said it belonged to her, as mistress of the house, to 
direct the household according to her best judgment ; and 
that she was accountable in this to no one but her lord 
and husband. 

" See, O pray see," exclaimed the dissatisfied and in- 
dignant Bertalda, " how the beautiful water is curling 
and curving, winding and waving there, as if disturbed 
at being shut out from the bright sunshine, and from the 
cheerful view of the human countenance, for whose mirror 
it was created !" 

In truth the water of the fountain was agitated, and 
foaming, and hissing in a surprising manner; it seemed, 
as if there were something within possessing life and will, 
that was struggling to free itself from confinement. But 
Undine only the more earnestly urged the accomplishment 
of her commands. This earnestness was scarcely required. 
The servants of the castle were as happy in obeying their 
gentle lady, as in opposing the haughty spirit of Bertalda; 
and however the latter might scold and threaten, still the 
stone was in a few minutes lying firm over the opening 
of the fountain. Undine leaned thoughtfully over it, and 
wrote with her beautiful fingers on the flat surface. She 
must, however, have had something very sharp and cor- 
rosive in her hand, for when she retired, and the domes- 
tics went up to examine the stone, they discovered vari- 
ous strange characters upon it, which none of them had 
seen there before. 

When the knight returned home, toward evening, Ber- 
talda received him with tears, and complaints of Undine's 
conduct. He cast a severe glance of reproach at his poor, 
wife, and she looked down in distress ; yet she said very- 
calmly : 

'' My lord and husband, you never reprove even a 
bond-slave before you hear his defence ; how much less, 
then, your wedded wife !" 

" Speak, what moved you to this singular conduct?" 
said the knight, with a gloomy countenance. 



UNDINE. 69 

" I could wish to tell you when we are entirely alone/'" 
said Undine, with a sigh. 

" You can tell me equally well in the presence of Ber- 
talda," he replied. 

" Yes, if you command me," said Undine : " but do 
not command me — pray, pray do not !" 

She looked so humble, affectionate, and obedient, that 
the heart of the knight was touched and softened, as if it 
felt the influence of a ray from better times. He kindly 
took her arm within his, and led her to his apartment, 
where she spoke as follows ; 

" You already know something, my beloved lord, of 
Kiihleborn, my evil-disposed uncle, and have often felt 
displeasure at meeting him in the passages of this castle. 
Several times has he terrified Bertalda even to swooning. 
He does this because he possesses no soul, being a mere 
elemental mirror of the outward world, while of the world 
within he can give no reflection. Then, too, he some- 
times observes that you are displeased with me, that in my 
childish weakness I weep at this, and that Bertalda, it may 
be, laughs at the same moment. Hence it is that he ima- 
gines all is wrong with us, and in various ways mixes with 
our circle unbidden. What do I gain by reproving him, 
by shewing displeasure, and sending him away ? He does 
not believe a word I say. His poor nature has no idea 
that the joys and sorrows of love have so sweet a resem- 
blance, and are so intimately connected that no power on 
earth is able to separate them. A smile shines in the midst 
of tears, and a smile calls forth tears from their dwelling- 
place." 

She looked up at Huldbrand, smiling and weeping; 
and he again felt mthin his heart all the magic of his for- 
mer love. She perceived it, and pressed him more ten- 
derly to her, while with tears of joy she went on thus: 

" When the disturber of our peace would not be dis- 
missed with words, I was obliged to shut the door upon 
him ; and the only entrance by which he has access to us 



70 UNDINE. 

is that fountain. His connexion with the other water- J 
spirits here in this region is cut off by the valleys thati 
border upon us ; and his kingdom first commences farther ' 
off on the Danube, in whose tributary streams some of his 
good friends have their abode. For this reason I caused 
the stone to be placed over the opening of the fountain, 
and inscribed characters upon it, which baffle all the efforts 
of my suspicious uncle ; so that he now has no power 
of intruding either upon you, or me, or Bertalda. Hu- 
man beings, it is true, notwithstanding the characters I 
have inscribed there, are able to raise the stone mthout 
any extraordinary trouble; there is nothing to prevent 
them. If you choose, therefore, remove it, according to 
Bertalda's desire ; but she assuredly knows not what she 
asks. The rude Kiihleborn looks with peculiar ill-will 
upon her; and should those things come to pass that he 
has predicted to me, and which may happen without your 
meaning any evil, ah ! dearest, even you yourself would 
be exposed to peril." 

Huldbrand felt the generosity of his gentle wife in the 
depth of his heart, since she had been so active in confin- 
ing her formidable defender, and even at the very moment 
she was reproached for it by Bertalda. He pressed her in 
his arm§ with the tenderest affection, and said, with emo- 
tion : 

"The stone shall remain unmoved; all remains, and 
ever shall remain, just as you choose to have it, my sweet- 
est Undine !" 

At these long-withheld expressions of tenderness, she 
returned his caresses with lowly delight, and at length 
said : " My dearest husband, since you are so kind and 
indulgent to-day, may I venture to ask a favour of 
you? See now, it is with you as with summer. Even 
amid its highest splendour, summer puts on the flaming 
and thundering crown of glorious tempests, in which it 
strongly resembles a king and god on earth. You, too, 
are sometimes terrible in your rebukes; your eyes flash 



UNDINE. 71 

lightning, wliile thunder resounds in your voice ; and al- 
though this may be quite becoming to you, I in my folly 
cannot but sometimes weep at it. But never, I entreat 
you, behave thus toward me on a river, or even when we 
are near any water. For if you should, my relations would 
acquire a right over me. They would inexorably tear me 
from you in their fury, because they would conceive that 
one of their race was injured ; and I should be compelled, 
as long as I lived, to dwell below in the crystal palaces, 
and never dare ascend to you again ; or should they send 
me up to you ! — O God ! that would be far worse still. 
No, no, my beloved husband; let it not come to that, if 
your poor Undine is dear to you.'' 

He solemnly promised to do as she desired ; and, in- 
expressibly happy and full of affection, the married pair 
returned from the apartment. At this very moment, Ber- 
talda came with some work-people whom she had mean- 
while ordered to attend her, and said with a fretful air, 
which she had assumed of late : 

*'Well, now the secret consultation is at an end, the 
stone may be removed. Go out, workmen, and see to 
it." 

The knight, however, highly resenting her imperti- 
nence, said, in brief and very decisive terms: *'The stone 
remains where it is !" He reproved Bertalda also for the 
vehemence that she had shewn towards his wife. Where- 
upon the workmen, smiling with secret satisfaction, with- 
drew ; while Bertalda, pale with rage, hurried away to her 
room. 

When the hour of supper came, Bertalda was waited 
for in vain. They sent for her ; but the domestic found 
her apartments empty, and brought back with him only 
a sealed letter, addressed to the knight. He opened it in 
alarm, and read : 

" I feel with shame that I am only the daughter of a 
poor fisherman. That I for one moment forgot this, I will 



72 UNDINE. 

make expiation in the miserable hut of my parents. Fare- 
well to you and your beautiful wife !" 

Undine was troubled at heart. With eagerness she en- 
treated Huldbrand to hasten after their friend, who had 
flown, and bring her back with him. Alas ! she had no 
occasion to urge him. His passion for Bertalda again burst 
forth with vehemence. He hurried round the castle, in- 
quiring whether any one had seen which way the fair fu- 
gitive had gone. He could gain no information ; and was 
already in the court on his horse, determining to take at a 
venture the road by which he had conducted Bertalda to 
the castle, when there appeared a page, who assured him 
that he had met the lady on the path to the Black Valley. 
Swift as an arrow, the knight sprang through the gate in 
the direction pointed out, without hearing Undine's voice 
of agony, as she cried after him from the window : 

"To the Black Valley? O, not there! Huldbrand, 
not there ! Or if you will go, for Heaven's sake take me 
with you !" 

But when she perceived that all her calling was of no 
avail, she ordered her white palfrey to be instantly saddled, 
and followed the knight, without permitting a single ser- 
vant to accompany her. 

The Black Valley lies secluded far among the moun- 
tains. What its present name may be, I am unable to say. 
At the time of which I am speaking, the country -people 
gave it this appellation from the deep obscurity produced 
by the shadows of lofty trees, more especially by a crowded ' 
growth of firs that covered this region of moorland. Even : 
the brook, which bubbled between the rocks, assumed the 
same dark hue, and shewed nothing of that cheerful aspect i 
which streams are wont to wear that have the blue sky 
immediately over them. 

It was now the dusk of evening ; and between the t 
heights it had become extremely wild and gloomy. The < 
knight, in great anxiety, skirted the border of the brook» 



UNDINE. 73 

He was at one time fearful that, by delay, he should allow 
the fugitive to advance too far before him ; and then again, 
in his too eager rapidity, he was afraid he might somewhere 
overlook and pass by her, should she be desirous of con- 
cealing herself from his search. He had in the mean time 
penetrated pretty far into the valley, and might hope soon 
to overtake the maiden, provided he were pursuing the 
right track. The fear, indeed, that he might not as yet 
have gained it, made his heart beat with more and more 
of anxiety. In the stormy night which was now approach- 
ing, and which always fell more fearfully over this valley, 
where would the delicate Bertalda shelter herself, should 
he fail to find her? At last, while these thoughts were 
darting across his mind, he saw something white glimmer 
through the branches on the ascent of the mountain. He 
thought he recognised Bertalda's robe ; and he directed 
his course toward it. But his horse refused to go for- 
ward; he reared with a fury so uncontrollable, and his 
master was so unwilling, to lose a moment, that (espe- 
cially as he saw the thickets were altogether impassable 
on horseback) he dismounted, and, having fastened his 
snorting steed to an elm, worked his way with caution 
through the matted underwood. The branches, moistened 
by the cold drops of the evening dew, struck against his 
forehead and cheeks; distant thunder muttered from the 
further side of the mountains ; and every thing put on 
so strange an appearance, that he began to feel a dread 
of the white figure, which now lay at a short distance 
from him upon the ground. Still he could see distinctly 
that it was a female, either asleep or in a swoon, and 
dressed in long white garments such as Bertalda had worn 
the past day. Approaching quite near to her, he made a 
rustling with the branches and a ringing with his sword ; 
but she did not move. 

"Bertalda!" he cried, at first low, then louder and 
louder ; yet she heard him not. At last, when he uttered 
the dear name mth an energy yet more po\^'erful, a hollow 



74 UNDINE. I 

echo from the mountain - summits around the valley re- 
turned the deadened sound, " Bertalda !" Still the sleeper 
continued insensible. He stooped down ; but the duski- 
ness of the valley and the obscurity of twilight would not 
allow him to distinguish her features. While, with pain- 
ful uncertainty, he was bending over her, a flash of light- 
ning suddenly shot across the valley. By this stream of 
light, he saw a frightfully distorted visage close to his own ; 
and a hoarse voice reached his ear : 

" You enamoured swain, give me a kiss !" Huldbrand 
sprang upon his feet with a cry of horror; and the hideous 
figure rose with him. 

" Go home !" it cried, with a deep murmur : *' the 
fiends are abroad. Go home ! or I have you !" And it 
stretched toward him its long white arms. 

" Malicious Kuhleborn !" exclaimed the knight, with 
restored energy; " if Kiihleborn you are, what business 
have you here? — what's your will, you goblin? There, 
take your kiss!" And in fury he struck his sword at the 
form. But it vanished like vapour; and a rush of water, 
which wetted him through and through, left him in no 
doubt with what foe he had been engaged. 

** He wishes to frighten me back from my pursuit of 
Bertalda," said he to himself; " he imagines that I shall 
be terrified at his senseless tricks, and resign the poor 
distressed maiden to his power, so that he can wreak his 
vengeance upon her at will. But that he shall not, weak 
spirit of the flood ! What the heart of man can do, when 
it exerts the full force of its will and of its noblest powers, 
the poor goblin cannot fathom," 

He felt the truth of his words, and that they had in- 
spired his heart with fresh courage. Fortune, too, ap- 
peared to favour him ; for, before reaching his fastened 
steed, he distinctly heard the voice of Bertalda, weeping" 
not far before him, amid the roar of the thunder and the 
tempest, which every moment increased. He flew swiftly 
toward the sound, and found the trembling maiden, just 



UNDINE. 75 

as she was attempting to climb the steep, hoping to escape 
from the dreadful darkness of this valley. He drew near 
her with expressions of love ; and bold and proud as her 
resolution had so lately been, she now felt nothing but joy 
that the man whom she so passionately loved should rescue 
her from this frightful solitude, and thus call her back to 
the joyful life in the castle. She followed almost unresist- 
ing, but so spent with fatigue, that the knight was glad to 
bring her to his horse, which he now hastily unfastened 
from the elm, in order to lift the fair wanderer upon him, 
and then to lead him carefully by the reins through the 
uncertain shades of the valley. 

But, owing to the wild apparition of Kiihleborn, the 
horse had become wholly unmanageable. Rearing and 
wildly snorting as he was, the knight must have used un- 
common effort to mount the beast himself; to place the 
trembling Bertalda upon him was impossible. They were 
compelled, therefore, to return home on foot. While with 
one hand the knight drew the steed after him by the bridle, 
he supported the tottering Bertalda with the other. She 
exerted all the strength in her power, in order to escape 
speedily from this vale of terrors. But weariness weighed 
her down like lead ; and all her limbs trembled, partly in 
consequence of what she had suffered from the extreme 
terror which Kuhleborn had already caused her, and partly 
from her present fear at the roar of the tempest and thun- 
der amid the mountain-forest. 

At last she slid from the arm of the knight ; and sink- 
ing upon the moss, she said : " Only let me lie here, my 
noble lord. I suffer the punishment due to my folly ; and 
I must perish here through faintness and dismay." 

" Never, gentle lady, willlleave you," cried Huldbrand, 
vainly trying to restrain the furious animal he was leading ; 
for the horse was all in a foam, and began to chafe more 
ungovernably than before, till the knight was glad to keep 
him at such a distance from the exhausted maiden as to 
save her from a new alarm. But hardly had he withdrawn 



<76 UNDINE. 

five steps with the frantic steed, when she began to call 
after him in the most sorrowful accents, fearful that he 
would actually leave her in this horrible wilderness. He 
was at a loss what course to take. He would gladly have 
given the enraged beast his liberty ; he would have let , 
him rush away amid the night and exhaust his fury, had 
he not feared that in this narrow defile his iron-shod hoofs 
might come thundering over the very spot where Bertalda . 
lay. 

In this extreme peril and embarrassment, he heard 
with delight the rumbling wheels of a wagon, as it came 
slowly descending the stony way behind them. He called i 
out for help : answer was returned in the deep voice of a ! 
man, bidding them have patience, but promising assist- 
ance ; and two grey horses soon after shone through the ] 
bushes, and near them their driver in the white frock of a 
carter ; and next appeared a great sheet of white linen, 
with which the goods he seemed to be conveying were 
covered. The greys, in obedience to a shout from their 
master, stood still. He came up to the knight, and aided 
him in checking the fury of the foaming charger. 

"I know well enough," said he, " what is the matter 
with the brute. The first time I travelled this way, my 
horses were just as wilful and headstrong as yours. The 
reason is, there is a water-spirit haunts this valley, — and 
a wicked wight they say he is, — who takes delight in mis- 
chief and witcheries of this sort. But I have learned a 
charm ; and if you will let me whisper it in your horse's 
ear, he will stand just as quiet as my silver greys there." 

*^Try your luck, then, and help us as quickly as pos- 
sible !" said the impatient knight. 

Upon this the wagoner drew down the head of the 
rearing courser close to his own, and spoke some words 
in his ear. The animal instantly stood still and subdued ; 
only his quick panting and smoking sweat shewed his 
recent violence. 

Huldbrand had little time to inquire by what means. 



"UNDINE. 77 

this had been effected. He agreed with the man that he 
should take Bertalda in his wagon, where, as he said, a 
quantity of soft cotton was stowed, and he might in this 
way convey her to Castle Ringstetten : the knight could 
accompany them on horseback. But the horse appeared 
to be too much exhausted to carry his master so far. See- 
ing this, the man advised him to mount the wagon with 
Bertalda. The horse could be attached to it behind, 

*' It is down hill," said he, " and the load for my greys 
will therefore be light." 

The knight accepted his offer, and entered the wagon 
with Bertalda. The horse followed patiently after ; while 
the wagoner, sturdy and attentive, walked beside them. 

Amid the silence and deepening obscurity of the night, 
the tempest sounding more and more remote, in the com- 
fortable feeling of their security, a confidential conversation 
arose between Huldbrand and Bertalda. He reproached 
her in the most flattering words for her resentful flight. 
She excused herself with humility and feeling ; and from 
every tone of her voice it shone out, like a lamp guiding 
to the beloved through night and darkness, that Huld- 
brand was still dear to her. The knight felt the sense of 
her words, rather than heard the words themselves, and 
answered simply to this sense. 

Then the wagoner suddenly shouted, with a startling 
voice : ^' Up, my greys, up with your feet ! Hey, now 
together ! — shew your spirit ! — remember who you are !" 

The knight bent over the side of the wagon, and saw 
that the horses had stepped into the midst of a foaming 
stream, and were indeed almost swimming ; while the 
wheels of the wagon were rushing round and flashing like 
mill-wheels ; and the wagoner had got on before, to avoid 
the swell of the flood. 

" What sort of a road is this ? It leads into the middle 
of the stream !" cried Huldbrand to his guide. 

" Not at all, sir," returned he, with a laugh ; " it is 



^8 UNDINE. 

just the contrary. The stream is running in the middle of 
our road. Only look about you, and see how all is over- 
flowed !" 

The whole valley, in fact, was in commotion, as the 
waters, suddenly raised and visibly rising, swept over 
it. 

" It is Kiihlebom, that evil water-spirit, who wishes 
to drown us!" exclaimed the knight. ''Have you no 
charm of protection against him, friend ?" 

" I have one," answered the wagoner ; " but I can- 
not and must not make use of it, before you know who 
I am." 

" Is this a time for riddles ?" cried the knight. " The 
flood is every moment rising higher; and what does it 
concern me to know who you are ?" 

" But mayhap it does concern you, though," said the 
guide ; " for I am Kiihlebom." 

Thus speaking, he thrust his head into the wagon, and 
laughed with a distorted visage. But the wagon remained 
a wagon no longer; the grey horses were horses no longer; 
all was transformed to foam — all sank into the waters that 
rushed and hissed around them ; while the wagoner him- 
self, rising in the form of a gigantic wave, dragged the 
vainly struggling courser under the waters, then rose again 
huge as a liquid tower, swept over the heads of the float- 
ing pair, and was on the point of burying them irrecover- 
ably beneath it. Then the soft voice of Undine was heard 
through the uproar ; the moon emerged from the clouds ; 
and by its light Undine was seen on the heights above the 
valley. She rebuked, she threatened the floods below her. 
The menacing and tower-like billow vanished, muttering 
and murmuring ; the waters gently flowed away under the 
beams of the moon ; while Undine, like a hovering white 
dove, flew down from the hill, raised the knight and Ber- 
talda, and bore them to a green spot, where, by her earnest 
efforts, she soon restored them and dispelled their terrors. 



UNDINE. 79 

She then assisted Bertalda to mount the white palfrey on 
which she had herself been borne to the valley ,• and thus 
all three returned homeward to Castle Ringstetten. 



CHAPTER VIII. 

Apter this last adventure, they lived at the castle undis- 
turbed and in peaceful enjoyment. The knight was more 
and more impressed with the heavenly goodness of his 
wife, which she had so nobly shewn by her instant pur- 
j suit, and by the rescue she had effected in the Black 
Valley, where the power of Kiihleborn again commenced. 
i Undine herself enjoyed that peace and security which 
never fails the soul as long as it knows distinctly that it 
is on the right path ; and besides, in the newly awakened 
love and regard of her husband, a thousand gleams of 
hope and joy shone upon her. 

Bertalda, on the other hand, shewed herself grateful, 
humble, and timid, without taking to herself any merit for 
so doing. Whenever Huldbrand or Undine began to ex- 
i plain to her their reason for covering the fountain, or their 
adventures in the Black Valley, she w^ould earnestly en- 
treat them to spare her the recital, for the recollection of 
the fountain occasioned her too nmch shame, and that of 
the Black Valley too much terror. She learnt nothing 
I more about either of them ; and what would she have 
I gained from more knowledge ? Peace and joy had visi- 
! bly taken up their abode at Castle Ringstetten. They 
I enjoyed their present blessings in perfect security, and 
now imagined that life could produce nothing but pleasant 
flowers and fruits. 

In this happiness, winter came and passed aw ay ; and 
spring, with its foliage of tender green, and its heaven 



80 UNDINE. 'j 

I 

of softest blue, succeeded, to gladden the hearts of the ! 
three inmates of the castle. The season was in har- | 
mony with their minds, and their minds imparted their '< 
own hues to the season. What wonder, then, that its ' 
storks and swallows inspired them also with a disposition 
to travel? On a bright morning, while they were wan- 
dering doAvn to one of the sources of the Danube, Huld- - 
brand spoke of the magnificence of this noble stream, how 
it continued swelling as it flowed through countries en- '; 
riched by its waters, with what splendour Vienna rose and i 
sparkled on its banks, and how it grew lovelier and more 
imposing throughout its progress. 

" It must be glorious to trace its course down to Vi- 
enna !" Bertalda exclaimed, with warmth ; but immedi- 
ately resuming the humble and modest demeanour she had 
recently shewn, she paused and blushed in silence. 

This much moved Undine ; and with the liveliest wish 
to gratify her friend, she said, " What hinders our taking 
this little voyage?" 

Bertalda leapt up with delight, and the two friends at 
the same moment began painting this enchanting voyage 
on the Danube in the most brilliant colours. Huldbrand, 
too, agreed to the project with pleasure ; only he once 
whispered, with something of alarm, in Undine's ear : 

" But at that distance Kiihleborn becomes possessed 
of his power again !" 

" Let him come, let him come," she answered with a^ 
laugh ; *' I shall be there, and he dares do none of his mis- 
chief in my presence." 

Thus was the last impediment removed : they prepared 
for the expedition, and soon set out upon it with lively 
spirits and the brightest hopes. 

But be not surprised, O man, if events almost always 
happen very differently from what you expect. That ma-< 
licious power which lies in ambush for our destruction 
delights to lull its chosen victim asleep with sweet songs ' 
and golden delusions ; while, on the other hand, the mes- 



UNDINE. 81 

senger of Heaven often strikes sharply at our door, to 
alarm and awaken us. 

During the first days of their passage down the Dan- 
ube, they were unusually happy. The farther they ad- 
vanced upon the waters of this proud river, the views 
became more and more fair. But amid scenes other- 
wise most delicious, and from which they had promised 
themselves the purest delight, the stubborn Kuhleborn, 
dropping all disguise, began to shew his power of an- 
noying them. He had no other means of doing this, 
indeed, than by tricks, — for Undine often rebuked the 
swelling waves or the contrary winds, and then the inso- 
lence of the enemy was instantly humbled and subdued ; 
but his attacks were renewed, and Undine's reproofs again 
became necessary ; so that the pleasure of the fellow-tra- 
vellers was completely destroyed. The boatmen, too, were 
continually whispering to one another in dismay, and eye- 
ing their three superiors with distrust; while even the 
servants began more and more to form dismal surmises, 
and to watch their master and mistress with looks of sus- 
picion. 

Huldbrand often said in his own mind, " This comes 
when like marries not like — when a man forms an unna- 
tural union with a sea-maiden." Excusing himself, as we 
all love to do, he would add : " I did not, in fact, know 
that she was a maid of the sea. It is my misfortune that 
my steps are haunted and disturbed by the wild humours 
of her kindred, but it is not my crime." 

By reflections like these, he felt himself in some mea- 
sure strengthened ; but, on the other hand, he felt the 
more ill-humour, almost dislike, towards Undine. He 
would look angrily at her, and the unhappy wife but too 
well understood his meaning. One day, grieved by this 
unkindness, as well as exhausted by her unremitted exer- 
tions to frustrate the artifices of Kuhleborn, she toward 
evening fell into a deep slumber, rocked and soothed by 
the gentle motion of the bark. But hardly had she closed 



82 rNDINE. 

her eyes, when every person in the boat, in whatever di-- 
rection he might look, saw the head of a man, frightful i 
beyond imagination : each head rose out of the waves, not '\ 
like that of a person swimming, but quite perpendicular, •. 
as if firmly fastened to the watery mirror, and yet moving i 
on with the bark. Every one wished to shew to his com- 
panion what terrified himself, and each perceived the same • 
expression of horror on the face of the other, only hands 
and eyes were directed to a different quarter, as if to a 
point where the monster, half laughing and half threaten- 
ing, rose opposite to each. 

When, however, they wished to make one another 
understand the sight, and all cried out, " Look there !" 
^' No, there !" the frightful heads all became visible to 
each, and the whole river around the boat swarmed with 
the most horrible faces. All raised a scream of terror at 
the sight, and Undine started from sleep. As she opened 
her eyes, the deformed visages disappeared. But Huld- 
brand was made furious by so many hideous visions. He 
would have burst out in wild imprecations, had not Un- 
dine with the meekest looks and gentlest tone of voice 
said: 

" For God's sake, my husband, do not express displea- 
sure against me here, — we are on the water." 

The knight was silent, and sat down absorbed in deep 
thought. Undine whispered in his ear : " "Would it not * 
be better, my love, to give up this foolish voyage, and i 
return to Castle Ringstetten in peace ?" 

But Huldbrand murmured wrathfully : " So I must i 
become a prisoner in my own castle, and not be allowed I 
to breathe a moment but while the fountain is covered? 
Would to Heaven that your cursed kindred" .... 

Then Undine pressed her fair hand on his lips caress- 
ingly. He said no more ; but in silence pondered on all 
that Undine had before said. 

Bertalda, meanwhile, had given herself up to a crowd", 
of thronging thoughts. Of Undine's origin she knew a > 



UNDINE. 83 

good deal, but not the whole; and the terrible Kiihle- 
born especially remained to her an awful, an impenetrable 
mystery — never, indeed, had she once heard his name. 
Musing upon these wondrous things, she unclasped, with- 
out being fully conscious of what she was doing, a golden 
necklace, which Huldbrand, on one of the preceding days 
of their passage, had bought for her of a travelling trader ; 
and she was now letting it float in sport just over the sur- 

I face of the stream, while in her dreamy mood she enjoyed 
the bright reflection it threw on the water, so clear beneath 
the glow of evening. That instant a huge hand flashed 
suddenly up from the Danube, seized the necklace in its 

I grasp, and vanished with it beneath the flood. Bertalda 
shrieked aloud, and a scornful laugh came pealing up 

[ from the depth of the river. 

! The knight could now restrain his wrath no longer. 

I He started up, poured forth a torrent of reproaches, heaped 
curses upon all who interfered with his friends and troubled 
his life, and dared them all, water-spirits or mermaids, to 

' come within the sweep of his sword. 

Bertalda, meantime, wept for the loss of the ornament 

I so very dear to her heart, and her tears were to Huldbrand 
as oil poured upon the flame of his fury ; while Undine 

i held her hand over the side of the boat, dipping it in the 

' waves, softly murmuring to herself, and only at times in- 
terrupting her strange mysterious whisper to entreat her 
husband : 

" Do not reprove me here, beloved ; blame all others 
as you will, but not me. You know why!" And in truth, 

' though he was trembling with excess of passion, he kept 

t himself from any word directly against her. 

I She then brought up in her wet hand, which she had 

■ been holding under the waves, a coral necklace, of such 
exquisite beauty, such sparkling brilliancy, as dazzled the 
eyes of all who beheld it. *' Take this," said she, holding 

' it out kindly to Bertalda ; *' I have ordered it to be brought, 

G 



84 UNDINE. 

to make some amends for your loss ; so do not grieve any- 
more, poor child." 

But the knight rushed between them, and, snatching . 
the beautiful ornament out of Undine's hand, hurled it 
back into the flood ; and, mad with rage, exclaimed : 
'' So, then, you have still a connexion with them ! In the 
name of all witches, go and remain among them with your 
presents, you sorceress, and leave us human beings in 
peace !" 

With fixed but streaming eyes, poor Undine gazed on \ 
him, her hand still stretched out, just as when she had so . 
lovingly ofiered her brilliant gift to Bertalda. She then 
began to weep more and more, as if her heart would 
break, like an innocent, tender child, cruelly aggrieved. 
At last, wearied out, she said: " Farewell, dearest, fare- 
well. They shall do you no harm ; only remain true, that 
I may have power to keep them from you. But 1 must 
go hence ! go hence, even in this early youth ! Oh, woe, 
woe ! what have you done ! Oh, woe, woe!" 

And she vanished over the side of the boat. Whether 
she plunged into the stream, or whether, like water melt- 
ing into water, she flowed away with it, they knew not, 
— her disappearance was like both and neither. But she 
was lost in the Danube, instantly and completely ; only 
little waves were yet whispering and sobbing around the i 
boat, and they could almost be heard to say, "Oh, woe, 
woe ! Ah, remain true ! Oh, woe !'' 

But Huldbrand, in a passion of burning tears, threw 
himself upon the deck of the bark ; and a deep swoon 
soon wrapped the wretched man in a blessed forgetfulness 
of misery. 

Shall we call it a good or an evil thing, that our mourn- 
ing has no long duration? I mean that deep mourning 
which comes from the very well-springs of our being, which- ' 
so becomes one with the lost objects of our love, that we ' 
hardly realise their loss, while our grief devotes itself 



UNDINE. 85 

religiously to the honouring of their image, until we reach 
that bourne which they have already reached ! 

Truly all good men observe in a degree this religious 
devotion : but yet it soon ceases to be that first deep grief. 
Other and new images throng in, until, to our sorrow, we 
experience the vanity of all earthly things. Therefore I 
must say : Alas, that our mourning should be of such short 
duration ! 

The lord of Ringstetten experienced this ; but whether 
for his good, w^e shall discover in the sequel of this history. 
At first he could do nothing but weep — weep as bitterly as 
the poor gentle Undine had wept, when he snatched out 
of her hand that brilliant ornament, with which she so 
kindly wished to make amends for Bertalda's loss. And 
then he stretched his hand out, as she had done, and wept 
again like her, with renewed violence. He cherished a 
secret hope, that even the springs of life would at last be- 
come exhausted by weeping. And has not the like thought 
passed through the minds of many of us with a painful 
pleasure in times of sore affliction ? Bertalda wept with 
him ; and they lived together a long while at the castle of 
Ringstetten in undisturbed quiet, honouring the memory 
of Undine, and having almost wholly forgotten their for- 
mer attachment. And therefore the good Undine, about 
this time, often visited Huldbrand's dreams: she soothed 
him with soft and affectionate caresses, and then went 
away again, weeping in silence ; so that when he awoke, 
he sometimes knew not how his cheeks came to be so wet, 
— whether it was caused by her tears, or only by his own. 

But as time advanced, these visions became less fre- 
quent, and the sorrow of the knight less keen ; still he 
might never, perhaps, have entertained any other wish 
than thus quietly to think of Undine, and to speak of 
her, had not the old fisherman arrived unexpectedly at the 
castle, and earnestly insisted on Bertalda's returning with 
him as his child. He had received information of Undine's 
disappearance ; and he was not willing to allow Bertalda 



86 UNDINE. I 

to continue longer at the castle Avith the widowed knight. 
" For," said he, " whether my daughter loves me or not 
is at present what I care not to know ; but her good name 
is at stake ; and where that is the case, nothing else may- 
be thought of." 

This resolution of the old fisherman, and the fearful 
solitude that, on Bertalda's departure, threatened to op- , 
press the knight in every hall and passage of the deserted 
castle, brought to light what had disappeared in his sor- 
row for Undine, — I mean, his attachment to the fair Ber- 
talda ; and this he made known to her father. 

The fisherman had many objections to make to the 
proposed marriage. The old man had loved Undine with 
exceeding tenderness, and it was doubtful to his mind that 
the mere disappearance of his beloved child could be pro- 
perly viewed as her death. But were it even granted that 
her corpse were lying stiff" and cold at the bottom of the ^ 
Danube, or swept away by the current to the ocean, still 
Bertalda had had some share in her death ; and it wa 
unfitting for her to step into the place of the poor injured j 
wife. The fisherman, however, had felt a strong regard 
also for the knight : this, and the entreaties of his daugh- 
ter, who had become much more gentle and respectful, as 
well as her tears for Undine, all exerted their influence ; 
and he must at last have been forced to give up his op- i 
position, for he remained at the castle without objection, 
and a messenger was sent off" express to Father Heilmann, i 
who in former and happier days had united Undine and^ 
Huldbrand, requesting him to come and perform the cere- ■ 
mony at the knight's second marriage. 

Hardly had the holy man read through the letter fromi 
the lord of Ringstetten, ere he set out upon the journey, 
and made much greater despatch on his way to the castle* 
than the messenger from it had made in reaching hinui 
Whenever his breath failed him in his rapid progress, or< 
his old limbs ached with fatigue, he would say to himself: ; 
" Perhaps I shall be able to prevent a sin; then sink I 



UNDINE. 87 

not, withered body, before I arrive at the end of my jour- 
ney !" And with renewed vigour he pressed forward, 
hurrying on without rest or repose, until, late one even- 
ing, he entered the shady court-yard of the castle of Ring- 
stetten. 

The betrothed pair were sitting side by side under the 
trees, and the aged fisherman in a thoughtful mood sat 
near them. The moment they saw Father Heilmann, 
they rose with a spring of joy, and pressed round him 
with eager welcome. But he, in a few words, asked the 
bridegroom' to return with him into the castle ; and when 
Huldbrand stood mute with surprise, and delayed com- 
plying with his earnest request, the pious priest said to 
him : 

" I do not know why I should want to speak to you in 
private; what I have to say as much concerns Bertalda 
and the fisherman as yourself; and what we must at some 
time hear, it is best to hear as soon as possible. Are 
you, then, so very certain, Knight Huldbrand, that your 
first wife is actually dead ? I can hardly think it. I will 
say nothing, indeed, of the mysterious state in which she 
may be now existing ; I know nothing of it with certainty. 
But that she was a most devoted and faithful wife, is 
beyond all dispute. And for fourteen nights past, she 
has appeared to me in a dream, standing at my bedside, 
wringing her tender hands in anguish, and sighing out, 
* Ah, prevent him, dear father ! I am still living ! Ah, 
; save his life ! Ah, save his soul !' 

j " I did not understand what this vision of the night 
i could mean, then came your messenger ; and I have now 
: hastened hither, not to unite, but, as 1 hope, to separate 
1 what ought not to be joined together. Leave her, Huld- 
brand ! leave him, Bertalda ! He still belongs to another ; 
and do you not see on his pale cheek his grief for his lost 
; wife ? That is not the look of a bridegroom ; and the 

i 

! ' The betrothed are called bride and bridegroom in Germany. 



88 



spirit says to me, that ' if you do not leave him, you will 
never be happy !' " 

The three felt in their inmost hearts that Father Heil- 
mann spoke the truth ; but they would not believe it.i 
Even the old fisherman was so infatuated, that he thought) 
it could not be otherwise than as they had latterly settled' 
amongst themselves. They all, therefore, with a deter- 
mined and gloomy eagerness, struggled against the re- 
presentations and warnings of the priest, until, shaking 
his head and oppressed with sorrow, he finally quitted the 
castle, not choosing to accept their offered shelter even for 
a single night, or indeed so much as to taste a morsel of 
the refreshment they brought him. Huldbrand persuaded 
himself, however, that the priest was a mere visionary ; 
and sent at daybreak to a monk of the nearest monastery, 
who, without scruple, promised to perform the ceremony, 
in a few days. 




89 



CHAPTER IX. 

It was between night and dawn of day that Huldbrand 
was lying on his couch, half waking and half sleeping. 
Whenever he attempted to compose himself to sleep, a 
terror came upon him and scared him, as if his slumbers 
were haunted with spectres. But he made an effort to 
rouse himself fully. He felt fanned as by the wings of a 
swan, and lulled as by the murmuring of waters, till in 
sweet confusion of the senses he sunk back into his state 
of half consciousness. 

At last, however, he must have fallen perfectly asleep ; 
for he seemed to be lifted up by wings of the swans, and 
to be wafted far away over land and sea, while their mu- 
sic swelled on his ear most sweetly. " The music of the 
swan! the song of the swan!'' he could not but repeat to 
himself every moment ; " is it not a sure foreboding of 
death ?" Probably, however, it had yet another meaning. 
All at once he seemed to be hovering over the Mediter- 
ranean Sea. A swan sang melodiously in his ear, that this 
was the Mediterranean Sea. And while he was looking 
down upon the waves, they became transparent as crystal, 
so that he could see through them to the very bottom. 

At this a thrill of delight shot through him, for he could 
see Undine where she was sitting beneath the clear crystal 
dome. It is true she was weeping very bitterly, and looked 
much sadder than in those happy days when they lived 
together at the castle of Ringstetten, both on their arrival 
and afterward, just before they set out upon their fatal 
passage down the Danube. The knight could not help 
thinking upon all this with deep emotion, but it did not 
appear that Undine was aware of his presence. 

Kiihleborn had meanwhile approached her, and was 
about to reprove her for weeping, when she drew herself 
up, and looked upon him with an air so majestic and com- 
manding, that he almost shrunk back. 



90 UNDINE. 

" Although I now dwell here beneath the waters/' said 
she, " yet I have brought my soul with me. And there- 
fore I may weep, little as you can know what such tears 
are. They are blessed, as every thing is blessed to one 
gifted with a true soul." 

He shook his head incredulously ; and after some 
thought, replied : " And yet, niece, you are subject to our 
laws, as a being of the same nature with ourselves ; and 
should he prove unfaithful to you, and marry again, you 
are obliged to take away his life." 

" He remains a widower to this very hour," replied 
Undine ; " and I am still dear to his sorrowful heart." 

" He is, however, betrothed," said Kuhleborn, with a 
laugh of scorn ; " and let only a few days wear away, 
and then comes the priest with his nuptial blessing ; and 
then you must go up to the death of the husband with 
two wives." 

" I have not the power," returned Undine, with a 
smile. " I have sealed up the fountain securely against 
myself and all of my race." 

*' Still, should he leave his castle," said Kiihlebom, 
" or should he once allow the fountain to be uncovered, 
what then ? for he thinks little enough of these things." 

" For that very reason," said Undine, still smiling 
amid her tears, " for that very reason he is at this mo- 
ment hovering in spirit over the Mediterranean Sea, and 
dreaming of the warning which our discourse gives him. 
I thoughtfully planned all this." 

That instant, Kuhleborn, inflamed with rage, looked 
up at the knight, wrathfully threatened him, stamped on 
the ground, and then shot like an arrow beneath the 
waves. He seemed to swell in his fury to the size of a 
whale. Again the swans began to sing, to wave their 
wings, and fly ; the knight seemed to soar away over 
mountains and streams, and at last to alight at Castle 
Ringstetten, and to awake on his couch. 

Upon his couch he actually did awake; and his at- 



UNDINE. 91 

tendant, entering at the same moment, informed him that 
Father Heilmann was still lingering in the neighbourhood ; 
that he had the evening before met with him in the forest, 
where he was sheltering himself under a hut, which he 
had formed by interweaving the branches of trees, and 
covering them with moss and fine brushwood ; and that 
to the question, " What he was doing there, since he would 
not give the marriage-blessing?" his answer was: 

" There are many other blessings than those given at 
marriages ; and though I did not come to officiate at the 
wedding, I may still officiate at a very different solemnity. 
All things have their seasons ; we must be ready for them 
all. Besides, marrying and mourning are by no means so 
very unlike ; as every one, not wilfully blinded, must know 
full well." 

The knight made many bewildered reflections on these 
words and on his dream. But it is very difficult to give 
up a thing which we have once looked upon as certain ; so 
all continued as had been arranged previously. 

Should I relate to you how passed the marriage- feast 
at Castle Ringstetten, it would be as if you saw a heap 
of bright and pleasant things, but all overspread with a 
black mourning crape, through whose darkening veil their 
brilliancy would appear but a mockery of the nothingness 
of all earthly joys. 

It was not that any spectral delusion disturbed the 
scene of festivity ; for the castle, as we well know, had 
been secured against the mischief of water-spirits. But 
the knight, the fisherman, and all the guests, were unable 
to banish the feeling that the chief personage of the feast 
was still wanting, and that this chief personage could be no 
other than the gentle and beloved Undine. 

Whenever a door was heard to open, all eyes were in- 
voluntarily turned in that direction ; and if it was nothing 
but the steward with new dishes, or the cup-bearer with a 
supply of wine of higher flavour than the last, they again 
looked down in sadness and disappointment; v*'hile the 



92 UNDINE. 

flashes of wit and merriment which had been passing at 
times from one to another, were extinguished by tears of 
mournful remembrance. 

The bride was the least thoughtful of the company, 
and therefore the most happy ; but even to her it some- 
times seemed strange that she should be sitting at the 
head of the table, wearing a green wreath and gold-em- 
broidered robe, while Undine was lying a corpse, stiff and 
cold, at the bottom of the Danube, or carried out by the 
current into the ocean. For ever since her father had sug- 
gested something of this sort, his words were continually 
sounding in her ear; and this day, in particular, they 
would neither fade from her memory, nor yield to other 
thoughts. 

Evening had scarcely arrived, when the companj'- re- 
turned to their homes ; not dismissed by the impatience 
of the bridegroom, as wedding parties are sometimes 
broken up, but constrained solely by heavy sadness and 
forebodings of evil. Bertalda retired with her maidens, 
and the knight with his attendants, to undress ; but there 
was no gay laughing company of bridesmaids and brides- 
men at this mournful festival. 

Bertalda wished to awake more cheerful thoughts : she 
ordered her maidens to spread before her a brilliant set of 
jewels, a present from Huldbrand, together with rich ap- 
parel and veils, that she might select from among them the 
Ijrightest and most beautiful for her dress in the morning. 
The attendants rejoiced at this opportunity of pouring forth 
good wishes and promises of happiness to their young 
mistress, and failed not to extol the beauty of the bride 
with the most glowing eloquence. This went on for a 
long time, until Bertalda at last, looking in a mirror, said 
with a sigh : 

" Ah, but do you not see plainly how freckled I am 
growing ? Look here on the side of my neck." 

They looked at the place, and found the freckles, in- 
deed, as their fair mistress had said j but they called them 



UNDINE. 93 

mere beauty-spots, the faintest touches of the sun, such as 
would only heighten the whiteness of her delicate com- 
plexion. Bertalda shook her head, and still viewed them 
as a blemish. 

'' And I could remove them," she said at last, sighing. 
" But the castle-fountain is covered, from which I for- 
merly used to have that precious water, so purifying to the 
skin. Oh, had I this evening only a single flask of it !" 

" Is that all?" cried an alert waiting-maid, laughing, 
as she glided out of the apartment. 

" She will not be so foolish," said Bertalda, well- 
pleased and surprised, "as to cause the stone-cover of the 
fountain to be taken oiF this very evening ?" That instant 
they heard the tread of men already passing along the 
court-yard, and could see from the window where the offi- 
cious maiden was leading them directly up to the fountain, 
and that they carried levers and other instruments on their 
shoulders. 

" It is certainly my will," said Bertalda, with a smile, 
" if it does not take them too long." And pleased with 
the thought, that a word from her was now sufficient to 
accomplish what had formerly been refused with a painful 
reproof, she looked down upon their operations in the 
bright moonlit castle-court. 

The men raised the enormous stone with an effi^rt ; 
some one of the number indeed would occasionally sigh, 
when he recollected they were destroying the work of their 
former beloved mistress. Their labour, however, was much 
lighter than they had expected. It seemed as if some 
power from within the fountain itself aided them in raising 
the stone. 

" It appears," said the workmen to one another in 
astonishment, " as if the confined water had become a 
springing fountain." And the stone rose more and more, 
and, almost without the assistance of the work-people, 
rolled slowly down upon the pavement with a hollow 
sound. But an appearance from the opening of the foun- 



94 UNDINE. 

tain filled them with awe, as it rose like a white column of 
water : at first they imagined it really to be a fountain, 
until they perceived the rising form to be a pale female, 
veiled in white. She wept bitterly, raised her hands above 
her head, wringing them sadly, as with slow and solemn 
step she moved toward the castle. The servants shrank 
back, and fled from the spring ; while the bride, pale and 
motionless with horror, stood with her maidens at the 
window. When the figure had now come close beneath 
their room, it looked up to them sobbing, and Bertalda 
thought she recognised through the veil the pale features 
of Undine. But the mourning form passed on sad, re- 
luctant, and lingering, as if going to the place of execu- 
tion. Bertalda screamed to her maids to call the knight; 
not one of them dared to stir from her place ; and even the 
bride herself became again mute, as if trembling at the 
sound of her own voice. 

While they continued standing at the window, motion- 
less as statues, the mysterious wanderer had entered the 
castle, ascended the well-known stairs, and traversed the 
well-known halls, in silent tears. Alas, how difierent had 
she once passed through, these rooms ! 

The knight had in the mean time dismissed his attend- 
ants. Half-undressed and in deep dejection, he was stand- 
ing before a large mirror ; a wax taper burned dimly 
beside him. At this moment some one tapped at his door, 
very, very softly. Undine had formerly tapped in this 
way, when she was playing some of her endearing wiles. 

" It is all an illusion !" said he to himself. " I must 
to my nuptial bed." 

" You must indeed, but to a cold one !" he heard a 
voice, choked with sobs, repeat from without; and then 
he saw in the mirror, that the door of his room was slowly, 
slowly opened, and the white figure entered, and gently 
closed it behind her. 

" They have opened the spring," said she in a low tone ; 
*' and now I am here, and you must die." 



UNDINE. 95 

He felt, in his failing breath, that this must indeed be ; 
but, covering his eyes with his hands, he cried : "Do not, 
in my death-hour, do not make me mad with terror. If 
that veil conceals hideous features, do not lift it ! Take 
my life, but let me not see you." 

" Alas !'' replied the pale figure, " will you not then 
look upon me once more ? I am as fair now as when you 
wooed me on the island !" 

" O if it indeed were so,'' sighed Huldbrand, " and 
that I might die by a kiss from you !" 

" Most willingly, my own love," said she. She threw 
back her veil ; heavenly fair shone forth her pure coun- 
tenance. Trembling with love and the awe of approaching 
death, the knight leant towards her. She kissed him with 
a holy kiss ; but she relaxed not her hold, pressing him 
more closely in her arms, and weeping as if she would 
weep away her soul. Tears rushed into the knight's eyes, 
while a thrill both of bliss and agony shot through his 
heart, until he at last expired, sinking softly back from 
her fair arms upon the pillow of his couch, a corse. 

" I have wept him to death !" said she to some do- 
mestics, who met her in the ante-chamber ; and passing 
through the terrified group, she went slowly out, and dis- 
appeared in the fountain. 



9Q 



CHAPTER X. 

Father Heilmann had returned to the castle as soon as 
the death of the lord of Ringstetten was made known in 
the neighbourhood ; and he arrived at the very hour when 
the monk who had married the unfortunate couple was 
hurrying from the door, overcome with dismay and horror. 

When father Heilmann was informed of this, he re- 
plied: "It is all well; and now come the duties of my 
office, in which I have no need of an assistant." 

He then began to console the bride, now a widow, 
though with little benefit to her worldly and thoughtless 
spirit. 

The old fisherman, on the other hand, though severely 
afflicted, was far more resigned to the fate of his son-in- 
law and daughter; and v/hile Bertalda could not refrain 
from accusing Undine as a murderess and sorceress, the 
old man calmly said : ^' After all, it could not happen 
otherwise. I see nothing in it but the judgment of God ; 
and no one's heart was more pierced by the death of Huld- 
brand than she who was obliged to work it, the poor for- 
saken Undine !" 

He then assisted in arranging the funeral solemnities 
as suited the rank of the deceased. The knight was to 
]je interred in a village churchyard, in whose consecrated 
ground were the graves of his ancestors ; a place which 
they, as well as himself, had endowed with rich privileges > 
and gifts. His shield and helmet lay upon his coffin, 
ready to be lowered with it into the grave — for lord Huld- 
brand of Ringstetten had died the last of his race ; the 
mourners began their sorrowful march, chanting their me- 
lancholy songs beneath the calm unclouded heaven ; father • 
Heilmann preceded the procession, bearing a high cru- 
cifix ; while the inconsolable Bertalda followed, supported 
by her aged father. 

Then they suddenly saw in the midst of the mourning ; 



UNDINE. 97 

females, in the widow's train, a snow-white figure, closely 
veiled, and wringing its hands in the wild vehemence of 
sorrow. Those next to whom it moved, seized with a 
secret dread, started back or on one side; and owing to 
their movements, the others, next to whom the white 
stranger now came, were terrified still more, so as to pro- 
duce confusion in the funeral train. Some of the mili- 
tary escort ventured to address the figure, and attempt 
to remove it from the procession, but it seemed to vanish 
from under their hands, and yet was immediately seen 
advancing again, with slow and solemn step, among the 
followers of the body. At last, in consequence of the 
shrinking away of the attendants, it came close behind 
Bertalda. It now moved so slowly, that the widow was 
not aware of its presence, and it walked meekly and 
humbly behind her undisturbed. 

This continued until they came to the churchyard, 

where the procession formed a circle round the open grave. 

Then it was that Bertalda perceived her unbidden com- 

i panion, and, half in anger and half in terror, she com- 

I manded her to depart from the knight's place of final rest. 

j But the veiled female, shaking her head with a gentle 

! denial, raised her hands towards Bertalda in lowly suppli- 

; cation, by which she was greatly moved, and could not but 

! remember with tears how Undine had shewn such sweet- 

1 ness of spirit on the Danube when she held out to her the 

coral necklace. 

Father Heilmann now motioned with his hand, and 
( gave order for all to observe perfect stillness, that they 
might breathe a prayer of silent devotion over the body, 
upon which earth had already been thrown. Bertalda 
knelt without speaking ; and all knelt, even the grave- 
diggers, who had now finished their work. But Avhen they 
arose, the white stranger had disappeared. On the spot 
where she had knelt, a little spring, of silver brightness, 
j was gushing out from the green turf, and it kept swelling 
I and flowing onward with a low murmur, till it almost 



98 



encircled the mound of the knight's grave : it then con- 
tinued its course, and emptied itself into a calm lake, 
which lay by the side of the consecrated ground. Even 
to this day, the inhabitants of the village point out the 
spring ; and hold fast the belief that it is the poor de- 
serted Undine, who in this manner still fondly encircles 
her beloved in her arms. 





THE TV70 CAPTAINS. 




Z\)i 




|rDO (Saptain^/ 



Si laomance* 
Z^t ©erman of ^e la motU Souque. 




LONDON: 
ew Street, Fetter Lane 




MILD summer evening rested on the 
seashore near the city of Malaga, awak- 
ening the guitar of many a cheerful 
singer, as well from the ships in the 
harbour, as from the houses in the city and 
the ornamental garden -dwellings around. 
These melodious tones emulated the voices 
of the birds as they greeted the refreshing 
breezes, and floated from the meadows over 
this enchanting region. 



r.^ 



b THE TWO CAPTAINS. 

Some troops of infantry were on the strand, and pur- 
posed to pass the night there, that they might be ready 
to embark at the earliest dawn of morning. This plea- 
sant evening made them forget that they ought to de- 
vote to sleep their last hours on European ground ; they 
began to sing war-songs, and to drink long life to the 
mighty emperor Charles V., now beleaguering the pirate- 
nest of Tunis, and to whose assistance they were about to 
sail. 

These happy soldiers were not all of one race. Only 
two banners waved for Spain ; the third bore the Ger- 
man colours • and the difference of manners and speech 
had often previously given rise to much bantering. Now, 
however, thoughts of the approaching voyage, and the 
dangers they would share together, as well as the enjoy- 
ment which this lovely southern evening poured through 
soul and sense, united the comrades in full and undis- 
turbed concord. The Germans tried to speak Spanish, 
and the Spaniards German ; without its occurring to 
any one to remark the blunders and mistakes that were 
made. Each helped the other; thinking only how best 
to gain the good will of his companion by means of his 
own language. 

Apart from this noisy group, a young German captain, 
Sir Heimbert of Waldhausen, was reclining under a cork- 
tree, and looking up to the stars with a stedfast and solemn 
gaze, very different from the frank, social spirit which his 
comrades knew and loved in him so well. A Spanish 
captain, named Don Frederigo Mendez, approached him. 
He was as young, and as much accustomed to martial ex- 
ercises ; but his disposition was as reserved and thoughtful 
as Heimbert's was gentle and frank. " Pardon me, seiior," 
began the solemn Spaniard, "if I disturb your meditations ; 
but I have so often known you as a courageous warrior 
and faithful companion in arms, in the many hot fights 
in which I have had the honour to see you, that I would 



THE TWO CAPTAINS. / 

choose you before all others for a knightly service, if it 
will not interfere with your own plans and projects for this 
evening." 

^' Dear sir," frankly returned Heimbert ; " I have an 
affair of importance to transact before sunrise ; but till 
midnight I am right willing and ready to render you any 
service as a brother in arms." 

" Enough/' said Frederigo ; " for before midnight must 
the tones have long ceased, in which I take leave of the 
dearest creature I have known in my native city. But, 
that you may understand the whole affair, as my noble 
companion should, listen to me attentively for a few mo- 
ments : — 

" Some time before I left Malaga, to join our great 
emperor's army, and to assist in spreading the glory of 
his arms in Italy, I served, after the manner of young 
knights, a damsel of this city, the beautiful Lueilla. She 
stood hardly on the border that divides childhood from 
growing womanhood ; and as I, then a mere boy, offered 
my homage with friendly childlike mind, so my young 
mistress in similar guise received it. 

" At last I went to Italy, as you very well know, who 
were my companion in many a hot fight, as well as in 
many a magic and tempting scene in that luxurious land. 
Through all our changes I held the image of my gentle 
mistress stedfastly, and never once relinquished the service 
and faith I had vowed to her ; though I will not conceal 
from you, that it was more to fulfil the word I had pledged 
at my departure than from any immoderate glowing feel- 
ing of my heart. When we returned to ray native city, a 
few weeks since, I found my lady married to one of the 
richest and most distinguished knights of Malaga. Fiercer 
far than love, jealousy (that almost almighty child of hea- 
ven and hell) now spurred me on to follow Lucilla's steps. 
From her dwelling to the church — from thence to the 
houses of her friends, and, again to her home; and even, 
as far as possible, into the circle of knights and ladies which 



8 THE TWO CAPTAINS. 

surrounds her, I unweariedly pursued her. I thus assured 
myself that no other young knight attended her, and that 
she had entirely devoted herself to the husband her parents 
had selected for her, although he was not the one of her 
heart's choice. This so fully contented me, that I should not 
have had occasion to trouble you at this moment, if Lucilla 
had not approached me the other day, and whispered in my 
ear, that I should not provoke her husband, for he was very 
passionate and bold ; to herself it threatened no danger — 
not the least — because he loved and honoured her above all 
things ; but upon that very account would his anger fall 
more fearfully upon me. You can now easily understand, 
my noble comrade, that to preserve my character for con- 
tempt of danger I must now pursue Lucilla's steps more 
closely than ever, and sing nightly serenades beneath her 
flowery window till the morning star makes its mirror in 
the sea. At midnight, Lucilla's husband sets out for Ma- 
drid, and after that hour I will carefiJly avoid the street 
in which she dwells ; but until then, as soon as the evening 
is sufficiently advanced, I will not cease to sing love- 
romances before his house. I have learnt that not only 
he, but also Lucilla's brothers have engaged in the quarrel ; 
and it is this, senor, which makes me request for a short 
time the assistance of your good sword." 

Heimbert warmly seized the Spaniard's hand, and 
said, " To shew you, dear sir, how willingly I undertake 
what you wish, I will meet your confidence with like 
frankness, and relate a pleasant incident which happened 
to me in this city, and beg you, after midnight, to render 
me a little service. My story is short, and will not detain 
you longer than we must wait for the twilight to become 
deep enough to begin your serenade. 

" The day after we arrived here, I was amusing myself 
in one of the beautiful gardens which surround us. I 
have now been long in these southern lands, but I believe 
the dreams which every night carry me back to my Ger- 
man home are the cause of my finding every thing about 



THE TWO CAPTAINS. if ' 

me here so strange and astonishing still. At all events, 
wnen I wake each morning I wonder anew, as if I was 
just arrived. I was then wandering among the aloes, and 
under the laurel and oleander trees, as one bewildered. 
Suddenly I heard a cry near me, and a young lady, dressed 
in white, flew into my arms and fainted away, while her 
companions separated in every direction. A soldier has 
always his senses about him, and I soon perceived a furious 
bull pursuing the beautiful damsel. Quickly I threw her 
over a flowery hedge, and sprang after myself, whilst the 
beast, blind with rage, passed us by ; and I could after- 
wards hear no more of it, than that it had escaped from 
a neighbouring court-yard, where some youths were trying 
to commence a bull-fight, and had broken furiously into 
this garden. 

" I was now alone with the senseless lady in my arms ; 
and she was so wondrously beautiful that I have never in 
my whole life felt happier or sadder than at that moment. 
I laid her upon the grass, and sprinkled her angel-brow 
with water from a fountain near us. At last she came to 
herself, and as she opened her lovely eyes, I thought I now 
knew how the blessed spirits look in heaven. 

" She thanked me with grateful and courteous words, 
and called me her knight. But I was so enchanted, I could 
not utter a word ; and she must almost have thought me 
dumb. At length my speech returned ; and I ventured to 
breathe a request — which came from my heart — that the 
lovely lady would often give me the happiness of seeing 
her in this garden, for the few weeks I should remain here, 
till the service of the emperor should drive me forth to the 
burning sands of Africa. She looked at me, half smiling, 
half sadly, and murmured, * Yes.' And she has kept her 
word, and appeared there daily, without our having yet 
ventured to speak to one another. For though we were 
sometimes quite alone, I could not do more than enjoy the 
happiness of walking by her side. Often she has sung to 
me ; and I have answered her in song. When I yesterday 



10 THE TWO CAPTAINS. 

informed her that our departure was so near, I fancied there 
was a tear in her heavenly eye ; and I must have looked 
very sorrowful also, for she said, consolingly, ' Ah, pious, 
childlike warrior ! one may confide in you as in an angel. 
After midnight, before the twilight summons you to em- 
bark, I give you leave to say farewell to me in this place. 
If you could find a faithful friend, whose silence you could 
depend on, to watch the entrance from the street, it might 
be as well ; for many soldiers will be at that time return- 
ing from their last carouse in the city.' Now God has sent 
me such a friend ; and I shall go joyfully to the lovely 
maiden." 

" I wish the service you require had more danger," an- 
swered Frederigo, " that I might better prove to you how 
faithfully I would serve you with life and limb. But come, 
noble brother ! the hour of my adventure is arrived." 

Frederigo took a guitar under his arm ; and wrapping 
themselves in their mantles, the young captains hastily 
made their way to the city. 

The night- violets before Lucilla's window were pouring 
forth their sweet perfume, when Frederigo, leaning in the 
angle of an old wide shadowing church opposite, began to 
tune his guitar. Heimbert placed himself behind a pillar, 
his drawn sword under his mantle, and his clear blue eyes, 
like two watching stars, quietly penetrating around. 

Frederigo sang : — 

" Fair in the spring-bright meadows grew 

A little flower in May, 
And rosy- tinted petals threw 
A blush upon its snowy hue. 

Beneath the sunny ray. 

To me, a youth, that little flower 

My soul's delight became ; 
And often then, in happy hour, 
I taught my tongue with courteous power 

Some flattering lay to frame. 



THE TWO CAPTAINS. 1 1 

But ah ! from where the floweret stood 

In delicate array, 
Was I to distant scenes of blood, 
To foreign lands, o'er field and flood, 

Soon summoned far away. 

And now I am returned again, 

I seek my lovely flower : 
But all my hopeful search is vain ; 
Transplanted from its grassy plain, 

My flower is free no more. 

A gardener has the treasure found, 

And claimed it for his prize : 
Now cherished in a guarded bound. 
And hedged with golden lattice round. 

She is denied mine eyes. 

His lattice he may freely twine. 

His jealous bars I grant : 
But all I need not yet resign ; 
For still this pure delight is mine, 

Her wondrous praise to chant. 

And, wandering in the coolness there, 

I'll touch my cithern's string, 
Still celebrate the floweret fair ; 
While e'en the gardener shall not dare 

Forbid my voice to sing." 

" That remains to be proved, seiior,'^ said a man, step- 
ping close, and, as he thought, unobserved, to Frederigo. 
He had been apprised of the stranger's approach by a 
signal from his watchful friend, and answered with the 
greatest coolness: " If you wish to commence a suit with 
my guitar, senor, you will find she has a tongue of steel, 
which has already on many occasions done her excellent 
service. With which do you wish to speak? — with the 
guitar, or with the advocate ?" 

While the stranger hesitated what to reply to this bold 



12 THE TWO CAPTAINS. 

speech, Heimbert perceived two mantled figures draw near, 
and remain standing a few steps from him — one behind the 
other, so as to cut oiFFrederigo's fliglit, if he had intended 
to escape. 

"I believe, dear sirs," said Sir Heimbert, in a friendly 
manner, " we are here on the same errand : to take care 
that no one intrudes upon the conference of yonder knights. 
At least, that is my business. And I can assure you, that 
any one who attempts to interfere vnih their affair shall 
receive my dagger in his heart. You see we shall best 
fulfil our duty by remaining still." The two gentlemen 
bowed courteously, and were silent. 

So astonishing was the quiet self-possession with which 
the two soldiers carried on their affair, that their three 
companions were at a loss to imagine how they would 
commence their quarrel. At last Frederigo again touched 
his guitar, and appeared about to begin another song. At 
this mark of contempt and unconsciousness of danger, Lu- 
cilla's husband (for it was he who had taken his stand by 
Don Frederigo) was so enraged, that he, without further 
delay, snatched his sword fi'om its sheath, and called out 
in a voice of suppressed rage : " Draw ! or I shall stab 
you !" 

"Very willingly, senor," answered Frederigo, compo- 
sedly. "You have no need to threaten me, and might 
quite as well have spoken quietly." So saying, he laid his 
guitar in a niche in the church-wall, seized his weapon, 
and, bowing gracefully to his adversarj-^, the fight began. 

For some time the two figures by Heimbert's side, who 
were Lucilla's brothers, remained quite quiet ; but as Fre- 
derigo began to get the better of their brother-in-law, they 
made a movement, as if they would take part in the fight. 
At this, Heimbert made his good sword gleam in the moon- 
light, and said : " Dear sirs, you surely would not wish 
me to put my threat into execution. Pray do not oblige 
me to do so ; for if it cannot be otherwise, doubt not I 
shall keep my word." The two young men remained from 



THE TWO CAFTAINS. 13 

this time quite motionless, surprised at the cheerful, true- 
hearted friendliness of all Heimbert's words. 

Meanwhile had Frederigo, though pressing hard upon 
his adversary, yet carefully avoided wounding him ; and 
at last, by a dexterous movement, he wrested his weapon 
from him ; so that Lucilla's husband, in the surprise and 
shock of this unexpected advantage, retreated a few steps. 
Frederigo threw the sword in the air, and adroitly catch- 
ing it near the point as it descended, said, as he offered 
the ornamented hilt to his opponent: "Take it, seiior; 
and I hope this matter is ended ; and you now understand 
that I am only here to shew I fear no danger in the world. 
The bell tolls twelve from the old dome ; and I give you 
my word of honour, as a knight and a soldier, that neither 
is Dona Lucilla pleased with my attentions, nor should I, 
if I lived a hundred years in Malaga, continue to serenade 
her. So pursue your journey in peace ; and farewell." 
Then he once more greeted his conquered adversary with 
solemn, stern courtesy, and withdrew. Heimbert followed 
him, after he had cordially shaken hands with the two 
brothers, saying : " Never let it again enter your heads, 
dear young gentlemen, to interfere in an honourable fight. 
Do you understand me ?" 

He soon overtook his companion, and walked by his 
side in silence — his heart beating with joy, sorrow, and 
expectation. Don Frederigo Mendez was also silent, till 
Heimbert stopped before a garden-door overhung with 
fruitful orange-boughs, and pointing to a pomegranate-tree 
laden with fruit, said : " We are at the place, dear com- 
rade." Then the Spaniard appeared about to ask a ques- 
tion ; but he checked himself, and merely said : " Under- 
stand me : you have my word of honour to protect this 
entrance for you till the hour of dawn." He began walk- 
ing to and fro before the gate with drawn sword, like a 
sentinel; whilst Heimbert, trembling with joy, hastened 
through the dark groves within. 



14 ' THE TWO CAPTAINS. 



CHAPTER II. 

He had not far to seek the lovely star which he so deeply 
felt was the one destined to shed its light over his whole 
life. The full moon revealed to him the slender form of 
the lady walking near the entrance. She wept softly, and 
yet smiled with such composure, that her tears seemed 
rather to resemble a decoration of pearls than a veil of 
sorrow. 

The lovers wandered silently beside one another through 
the flowery pathway, half in sorrow, half in joy; while 
sometimes the night-air touched the guitar on the lady's 
arm so lightly, that a slight murmur blended with the 
song of the nightingale ; or her delicate fingers on the 
strings awoke a few fleeting chords, and the shooting stars 
seemed as if they would pursue the retreating tones of the 
guitar. 

O how truly blessed was this hour to the youth and 
maiden ! for now neither rash wishes nor impure desires 
had any place in their minds. They walked side by side, 
satisfied that the good God had granted them this happi- 
ness ; and so little desiring any thing farther, that the 
fleeting and perishable nature of the present floated away 
in the background of their thoughts. In the midst of this 
beautiful garden they found a large open lawn, ornamented 
with statues, and surrounding a fountain. On the edge of 
this the lovers sat down, alternately fixing their eyes on 
the water sparkling in the moonlight and on one another. 
The maiden touched her guitar ; and Heimbert, compelled 
by some irresistible impulse, sang the following words to it : 

" A sweet, sweet life have I, 

But cannot name its charm ; 
Oh ! would it teach me consciously, 

That so my lips, in calm. 
Soft, gentle songs, should ever praise 
What my fond spirit endless says." 



THE TvVO CAPTAINS. 15 

He suddenly stopped, and bluslied, for he feared he 
had said too much. The lady blushed also ; and after 
playing some time, half abstractedly, on the strings, she 
sang as if still in a dream : — 

" Who beside the youth is singing, 
Seated on the tender grass, 
Where the moon her light is flinging, 
And the sparkling waters pass ? 

Shall the maid reveal her name, 

When, though still unknown it be. 
Glows her trembling cheek with shame, 

And her heart beats anxiously ? 

First let the knight be nam'd — 'tis he 

Who, in his bright array, 
With Spaniards stood triumphantly 

Upon the glorious day. 

Who before Pavia bravely fought, 

A boy of sixteen years : 
Pride to his country hath he brought, 

And to his foemen fears. 

Heimbert is his noble name ; 

Victor he in many a fight : 
Dona Clara feels no shame, 

Sitting by so brave a knight. 

In her name's soft sound revealing, 

Seated on the tender grass. 
Where the moonbeams' light is stealing. 

And the sparkling waters pass." 

"Ah," said Heimbert, blushing more deeply than be- 
fore, — '^ oh. Dona Clara, that affair at Pavia was a very 
insignificant feat of arms ; and if it had deserved a revv^ard, 
what could better serve as one than the surpassing bliss 
which I now enjoy ? Now I know what your name is, 



16 THE TWO CAPTAINS. 

and dare address you by it, you augel bright, Dona Clara ! 
you blessed and beautiful Dona Clara ! Only tell me 
who has made so favourable a report of my youthful deeds, 
that I may ever think of him gratefully." 

" Can the noble Heimbert of Waldhausen suppose," 
replied Clara, " that the warriors of Spain sent no sons 
where he stood in battle ? You have surely seen them 
near you in the fight ; and how, then, can it surprise you 
that your glories are known here ?" 

They now heard the silvery tones of a little bell from 
the neighbouring palace, and Clara whispered, " It is time 
to part: adieu, my hero !" And she smiled on Heimbert 
through her tears 5 and as she bent towards him, he almost 
fancied he felt a gentle kiss breathed on his lips. When 
he looked around, Clara had disappeared : the morning 
clouds began to assume the rosy tint of dawn, and he re- 
joined his watchful friend at the entrance-door, with a 
whole heaven of love's proud happiness in his heart. 

" Stand ! no further !" exclaimed Frederigo, as Heim- 
bert appeared from the garden, holding, at the same time, 
his drawn sword towards him. 

" Oh, vou are mistaken, my good comrade," said the 
German, laughing, — " it is I whom you see before 
you." 

"Don't imagine. Sir Heimbert of Waldhausen, that I 
mistake you," said Frederigo 5 " but I have kept my word, 
and honourably fulfilled my promise to be your guard in 
this place ; and now I demand of you to draw without 
further delay, and fight for your life." 

" Alas !" sighed Heimbert, " I have often heard that 
there are witches in these southern lands, who have the 
power to deprive people of their senses with their magic 
arts and charms, but till to-day I have never experienced > 
any thing of the sort. Think better of it, my dear com- ! 
rade, and go with me to the shore." I 

Frederigo smiled scornfully, and answered, " Leave i 
oiF your silly nonsense ; and if one must explain every ! 



THE TWO CAPTAINS. 17 

thing to you, word by word, before you understand it, I 
will tell you that the lady you came to meet in this my 
garden, Doiia Clara Mendez, is my only and dearest sister. 
Now lose no further time, and draw, seiior." 

" God forbid !" exclaimed the German, without touch- 
ing his weapon : " you shall be my brother-in-law, Frede- 
rigo, and not my murderer, still less will I be yours." 

Frederigo shook his head angrily, and advanced with 
measured steps towards his companion. Heimbert, how- 
ever, continued motionless, and said, " No, Frederigo, I 
can never do you any harm; for not only do I love your 
sister, but you must certainly be the person who has 
spoken to her so honourably of my battle-deeds in Italy." 

" If I did so," answered Frederigo, " I was a fool. 
But thou, thou weak coward, draw thy sword, or — " 

Frederigo had hardly spoken these words, before Heim- 
bert, glowing with indignation, snatched his sword from 
its sheath, exclaiming, "This the devil himself could not 
bear!" And now the two young captains fiercely closed 
upon one another. 

This was quite another battle to that which Frederigo 
had previously fought with Lucilla's husband. The two 
soldiers well understood their weapons, and boldly strove 
with one another ; the light gleamed from their swords, as 
first one and then the other made a deadly thrust with the 
speed of lightning, which his adversary as speedily turned 
aside. Firmly they planted the left foot, as if rooted in 
the earth, the right advanced one step to make each on- 
set, and then quickly withdrawn to recover their footing. 
From the resolution and quiet self-possession with which 
both combatants fought, it was easy to see that one or 
other of them must find his grave beneath the orange- 
trees, whose overhanging boughs were now illuminated by 
the glow of morning. This would certainly have been the 
case, had not the report of a cannon from the harbour 
reached them. 

The combatants stopped as at an understood signal. 



IS THE TWO CAPTAINS. 

and silently counted till thirty, when a second gun was 
heard. " That is the signal for embarkation, seiior," said 
Frederigo ; " we are now in the emperor's service, and 
all fighting is unlawful which is not against the foes of 
Charles the Fifth. We must defer our combat until the 
termination of the war." 

The two captains hastened to the shore, and were en- 
gaged in the embarkation of their troops. The sun, rising 
from the sea, shone at once on the ships and the water. 



CHAPTER III. 

The voyagers had for some time to contend with contrary 
winds ; and when, at last, the coast of Barbary became 
visible, the evening closed so deeply over the sea, that no 
pilot in the little squadron would venture nearer land, 
and they anchored in the calm sea. They crossed them- 
selves, and anxiously waited for the morning ; while the 
soldiers, full of hope and anticipation of honour, assembled 
in groups upon the decks, straining their eyes to see the 
long-desired scene of their glory. 

Meanwhile the heavy firing of besiegers and besieged 
thundered unceasingly from the fortress of Goletta ; and 
as the heavy clouds of night thickened over the shore, the 
flames of the burning houses in the city became more visi- 
ble, and the course of the fiery shots could be distinctly 
traced as they crossed each other in their path of frightful 
devastation. It was evident that the Musselmans had 
sallied forth, for a sharp fire of musketry was suddenly 
heard amidst the roaring of the cannon. The fight now 
approached the tranches of the Christians ; and from the 
ships they could hardly see whether the besiegers were in 
danger or not. At last they perceived that the Turks were 
driven buck into the fortress : thither the Christian host 



THE TWO CAPTAINS. 19 

pursued them, and loud shouts of victory were heard from 
the Spanish camp — Goletta was taken ! 

The troops on board the ships were composed of young 
courageous men ; and how their hearts glowed and beat 
high at this glorious spectacle need not be detailed to those 
who carry a brave heart in their own bosoms ; while to 
any other, all description would be thrown away. 

Heimbert and Frederigo stood near one another. " I 
know not," said the latter, " what it is which tells me that 
to-morrow I must plant my standard upon yonder height, 
which is so brightly lighted up by the burning brands 
in Goletta." " That is just my feeling," said Heimbert. 
Then the two captains were silent, and turned angrily 
away. 

The wished-for morning at last arose, the ships neared 
the shore, and the troops landed, while an officer w as im- 
mediately despatched to apprise the mighty general Alva 
of the arrival of this reinforcement. The soldiers hastily 
ranged themselves on the beach, and were soon in battle- 
order, to await the inspection of their great leader. 

Clouds of dust appeared in the grey twilight, and the 
officer, hastening back, announced the approach of the 
general. And because, in the language of Castile, Alva sig- 
nifies 'morning,' the Spaniards raised a shout of triumph 
at the happy omen they perceived in the first beams of the 
rising sun and the head of the general's staff becoming 
visible together. 

Alva's stern jiale face soon appeared : he was mounted 
upon a large Andalusian charger of the deepest black, and 
galloped up and down the lines once ; then, halting in the 
middle, looked over the ranks with a scrutinising eye, and 
said, with evident satisfaction, "You pass muster well. 
'Tis as it should be. I like to see you in such order, and 
can perceive that, notwithstanding your youth, you are 
tried soldiers. We will first hold a review, and then I will 
lead you to something more interesting." 

He dismounted, and, walking to the right wing, began 



20 



THE TWO CAPTAINS. 



to inspect one troop after another in the closest manner, 
summoning each captain to his side, and exacting from 
him an account of the most minute particulars. Some- 
times a cannon-ball from the fortress whistled over the 
heads of the soldiers; and then Alva would stand still, and 
closely observe their countenances. When he saw that no 
eye moved, a contented smile spread itself over his solemn 
face. 

When he had thus examined both divisions, he re- 
mounted his horse, and again placed himself in the mid- 
dle. Stroking his long beard, he said, "You are in such 
good order, soldiers, that you shall take your part in the 
giorious day which now dawns for our Christian Armada.' 
We will take Barbarossa ! Do you hear the drums and 
fifes in the camp? and see hira sally forth to meet the 
emperor ? Yonder is the place for you !" 

"Vivat Carolus Quintus !" resounded through the 
ranks. Alva beckoned the captains to him, and appointed 
to each his duty. He was used to mingle the German and 
Spanish troops together, that emulation might increase 
their courage ; and on the present occasion it happened 
that Heimbert and Frederigo were commanded to storm 
the height which, now illumined by the beams of morning, 
they recognised as the very same that had appeared so 
inviting the night before. 

The cannons roared, and the trumpets sounded, the 
colours waved proudly in the breeze, and the leaders gave 
the w^ord " March !" when the troops rushed on all sides 
to the battle. 

Thrice had Frederigo and Heimbert almost forced their 
way through a breach in the wall of the fortifications on 
the height, and thrice were they repulsed by the fierce 
resistance of the Turks into the valley below^ The Mus- 
selmans shouted after the retreating foe, clashed their 
weapons furiously together, and contemptuously laughing, 
asked whether any one would again venture to give heart 
and brain to the scimitar, and his body to the rolling 



THE TWO CAPTAINS. 21 

stones. The two captains, gnashing their teeth with fury, 
rearranged their ranks, in order to fill the places of the 
slain and mortally wounded in these three fruitless attacks. 
Meanwhile a murmur ran through the Christian host, that 
a witch fought for the enemy, and helped them to conquer. 

At this moment Duke Alva rode up to them ; he looked 
sharply at the breach they had made. " Could you not 
break through the foe hereV said he, shaking his head. 
" This surprises me ; for from you two youths and your 
troops I expected better things." 

" Do you hear, do you hear thatV cried the captains, 
pacing through their lines. 

The soldiers shouted loudly, and demanded to be led 
once more against the enemy. Even those mortally wounded 
exerted their last breath to cry, " Forward, comrades !" 

Swift as an arrow had the great Alva leapt from his 
horse, and, seizing a partisan from the stiff hand of one 
of the slain, he placed himself before them, and cried, " I 
will have part in your glory ! In the name of God and 
of the Blessed Virgin, forwards, my children !"' 

They rushed joyfully up the hill, all hearts reanimated, 
and raising their war-cry to heaven, while a few already 
cried, " Victoria ! Victoria !" and the Musselmans seemed 
to give way. Then, like the vision of an avenging angel, 
a maiden, dressed in richly embroidered garments of pur- 
ple and gold, appeared in the Turkish ranks ; and those 
who were terrified before, now shouted, " Allah !" and 
accompanied that name with " Zelinda, Zelinda!" The 
maiden drew a small box from beneath her arm ; and after 
opening and breathing into it, threw^ it among the Chris- 
tian army. A wild explosion from this destructive engine 
scattered through the host a whole fire of rockets, grenades, 
and other fearful messengers of death. The astounded 
troops held on through the storm. " On, on !" cried Alva ; 
and " On !" echoed the two captains. But at that moment 
a flaming bolt fastened on the duke's high-plumed cap, 
and burnt and crackled about his head, so that the general 



22 THE TWO CAPTAIXS. 

fell fainting down the height. Then the Spanish and Ger- 
man troops were generally routed, and fled hurriedly from 
the fearful height before the storm. The Musselmans again 
shouted ; and Zelinda's beauty shone over the conquering 
host like a baleful star. 

When Alva opened his eyes, he saw Heimbert standing 
over him, his clothes, face, and arms scorched by the fire 
he had with much difficulty extinguished on his comman- 
der's head, when a second body of flame rolled down the 
height in the same manner. The duke was thanking the 
youth for his preservation, when some soldiers came by, 
who told him the Saracen power had commenced an attack 
on the opposite wing of the army. Alva threw himself 
on the first horse they brought him, and without losing a 
word, dashed to the place where the threatened danger 
called him. 

Frederigo's glowing eye was fixed on the rampart where 
the brilliant lady stood, with her snow-white arm extended 
in the act of hurling a two-edged spear ; sometimes encou- 
raging the Musselmans in Arabic, then again speaking 
scornfully to the Christians in Spanish. Don Frederigo 
exclaimed, " Oh, foolish lady ! she thinks to daunt me, 
and yet places herself before me, — so tempting, so irre- 
sistible a war- prize !" 

And as if magic wings had grown from his shoulders, 
he began to fly up the height with such swiftness, that 
Alva's storm-flight from thence appeared a lazy snail's 
pace. Before any one could see how he had gained the 
height, and wresting spear and shield from the lady, lie 
seized her in his arms, and attempted to bear her away 
as his prize, while Zelinda clung with both hands to the 
palisade in anxious despair. Her cries for help were 
unavailing ; partly because the Turks were stupified with 
astonishiijent to see the magic power of the lady overcome 
by the almost magic deed of the youth, and partly because 
the faithful Heimbert, immediately on perceiving his com- 
panion's enterprise, had led both troops to his support. 



THE TWO CAPTAINS. 23 

and now stood bj'^ his side, fighting hand to hand with the 
besieged. This time the fury of the Musselmans, over- 
come as they were by surprise and superstition, availed 
nothing against the prowess of the Christian soldiers. 

The Spaniards and Germans broke through the enemy, 
assisted by fresh squadrons of their army. The Moham- 
medans flied with frightfid howling ; and the banner of the 
holy German empire, and that of the imperial house of 
Castile, united by joyful Victorias, waved over the glorious 
battle-field before the walls of Tunis. 



CHAPTER IV. 

Zelinda had escaped from Frederigo's arms in the con- 
fusion of the conquerors and conquered, and flew so swiftly 
through the well-known ground, that though love and 
desire added wings to his feet, she was soon out of sight. 
This kindled the fury of the enchanted Spaniard so much 
the more against the infidel foe. Wherever they collected 
their scattered force to withstand the progress of the Chris- 
tians, he hastened with the troops, which ranged them- 
selves around him as about a victorious banner; while 
Heimbert was ever at his side like a faithful shield, often 
warding off from his friend dangers which were unper- 
ceived by the infatuated youth. 

They learnt that Bavbarossa had fled the day before, 
and pushed onwards with little opposition through the 
gates of Tunis. 

Frederigo's and Ileimbert's troops were always toge- 
ther. 

Thick clouds of smoke began to roll through the streets, 
and the soldiers had frequently to shake off the sparks and 
burning fragments which fell upon their coats and richly 



24 THE TWO CAPTAINS. 

plumed helmets, " Suppose the enemy has set fire to the 
powder-magazine in despair!" exclaimed the thoughtful 
Heimbert. And Frederigo, to whom a word or sign was 
sufficient, hastened to the spot from whence the smoke 
l)roceeded. Their troops pressed closely after them. 

A sudden turn in the street hrousrht them upon a mag- 
nificent palace, out of whose beautifully ornamented win- 
dows the flames were already bursting. Their fitful splen- 
dour seemed to make them like death-torches, prepared to 
do honour to the costly building in the hour of its ruin, as 
they illuminated first one part and then another of the 
massy edifice, and then sunk down again into fearful dark- 
ness of smoke and vapour. 

And like a faultless statue, the crowning glory of the 
whole, Zelinda stood upon a giddy projection, wreathed 
around with gleaming tongues of flame, calling upon the 
faithful to assist her in securing from destruction the wis- 
dom of man)^ centuries, Avhich was laid up in this build- 
ing. The pinnacle tottered with the effects of the fire 
beneath, and a few stones gave way. Frederigo anxiously 
cried to the ejidangered lady ; and hardly had she with- 
diawn her lovely foot, w^hen the whole came crashing down 
on the pavement. Zelinda disappeared within the burn- 
ing palace, and Frederigo rushed up the marble steps ; 
Heimbert, his ever-faithful friend, immediately following. 

Their swift feet led them into a vast saloon, where 
they saw high arches over their heads, and a labyrinth of 
chambers opening one into another around them. The 
walls were all ranged with splendid shelves, in which were 
stored rolls of parchment, papyrus, and palm-leaf, in- 
scribed with the long-forgotten characters of past ages, 
which had now reached the end of their designs ; for the 
flames were creeping in destruction among them, and 
stretched their serpent-like heads from one repository of 
learning to another; while the Spanish soldiers, who had 
hoped for plunder, were enraged at finding this mighty 
building filled only with these parchments, and the more 



THE TWO CAPTAIXS, 25 

SO, because they discerned in them nothing hut what ap- 
peared to them magical characters. 

Frederigo flew, as in a dream, through the strange 
halls, now half consumed, ever calling Zelinda ; not thi«k- 
ing or caring for any thing but his enchanting beauty. 
Long did Heimbert remain at his side, till they reached a 
cedar staircase which led to a higher story, where Frede- 
rigo listened a moment, and then said: " She is speaking 
there aloud ! she needs my help !" and sprung up the 
glowing steps. Heimbert hesitated an instant, for he saw 
them giving W&.J, and thought to warn his companion; 
but at that moment they broke down, and left nothing but 
a fiery path. Still he could see that Frederigo had clung 
to an iron grating, over which he soon swung himself. 
The way was inaccessible to Heimbert: c|uickly recollect- 
ing himself, he lost no time in idly gazing, but hastily 
sought another flight of stairs in th% neighbouring halls, 
which would conduct him to his friend. 

Meanwhile Frederigo, following the enchanting voice, 
had reached a gallerj^, in the midst of which was a fearful 
abyss of flames, while the pillars on each side were yet 
standing. He soon perceived the lovely figure of Zelinda, 
who clung to a pillar with one hand, while with the other 
she threatened some Spanish soldiers, who seemed every 
moment about to seize her, and already had her delicate 
: foot advanced to the edge of the glowiiig gulf. It was 
1 impossible for Frederigo to join her, for the breadth of 
I the separating flames was far too great to spring across. 
' Trembling lest his voice should make the maiden, through 
either terror or anger, precipitate herself into the abyss, 
he spoke quite softly over the fiery grave : " Ah, Zelinda ! 
have no such frightful thoughts ; your preserver is here !" 
The maiden bowed her queenly head. And when Frede- 
rigo saw her so calm and composed, he cried with all the 
thunder of a warrior's voice, " Back ! you rash plunderers ! 
whoever advances one step nearer to that lady shall feel 
^ the weight of my anger!" They started, and appeared 



26 THE TWO CAPTAINS. 

willing to retire, till one among them said, " The knight 
can do us no harm — the gulf is a little too broad for that; 
and as for the lady's throwing herself in, it is evident that 
the young knight is her lover ; and whoever has a lover 
is not so inclined to throw herself away." At this they 
laughed, and again advanced, Zelinda nearedthe flaming 
edge ; but Frederigo, with the fury of a lion, had torn his 
target from his arm, and now flung it across with so sure 
an aim, that the rash leader fell senseless to the ground. 
The rest again stood still. " Away with you !'' cried Fre- 
derigo, authoritatively ; " or my dagger shall strike the 
next as surely ; nor will I ever rest till I have found you 
out, and made you feel the force of my vengeance." The 
dagger gleamed in the youth's hand, and yet more fear- 
fully gleamed the rage in his eyes. The soldiers fled. 
Then Zelinda bowed courteously to her preserver; and 
taking a roll of palm-leaves which lay at her feet, she 
hastily disappeared at a side-door of the gallery. In vain 
did Frederigo seek her in the burning palace. 

The great Alva held a council with his officers in an 
open place in the midst of the conquered city, and, by 
means of an interpreter, questioned the Moorish prisoners 
what had become of the beautiful enchantress who had 
been seen encouraging them on the walls, and who, he 
said, was the most lovely sorceress the world ever saw. 
Nothing could be gained from the answers ; for though all 
knew her to be a noble lady, well versed in magic lore, 
none seemed able to tell from whence she had entered 
Tunis, or whither she had now fled. At last, when they 
had begun to think their ignorance was the pretence of 
obstinacy, an old dervish, who had been hitherto unno- 
ticed, pressed forward, and said, with a scornful smile: 
"Whoever wishes to seek the lady, the way is open for 
him. I will not conceal what I know of her destination ; 
and 1 do know something. Only you must first promise 
me I shall not be compelled to guide any one to her, or 
my lips shall remain closed for ever; and you may do 



THE TWO CATTAINS. 27 

what you will with me." He looked like one who would 
keep his word ; and Alva, who was pleased with the man's 
resolute spirit (so akin to his own), gave him the desired 
assurance. The dervish began his relation. 

He was once, he said, wandering in the endless desert 
of Sahara — perhaps from empty curiosity, and perhaps for 
a better reason. He lost his way ; and at last, when wea- 
ried to death, he reached one of those fruit-bearing islands 
which they call an oasis. Now followed a description of 
the things he saw there, clothed in all the warmth of ori- 
ental imagery ; so that the hearts of his hearers sometimes 
melted within them, and sometimes their hair stood on 
end at the horrors he related ; though, from the strange 
pronunciation of the sjjeaker, and from his hurried way of 
speaking, they could hardly understand half he said. The 
end of all was, that Zelinda dwelt upon this blooming island, 
surrounded on all sides by the pathless desert, and protected 
by magic terrors. On her way thither, as the old dervish 
very well knew, she had left the city half an hour before. 
The contemptuous words with which he closed his speech 
shewed plainly that he desired nothing more thah that 
some Christian would undertake the journey, which would 
inevitably lead him to destruction. At the same time he 
solemnly affirmed he had uttered nothing but undoubted 
truth, as a man would do who knows that things are just 
as he related them. Thoughtful and astonished were the 
circle of officers around him. 

Heimbert had just joined the party, after seeking his 
friend in the burning palace, and collecting and arranging 
their troops in such a manner as to prevent the possibility 
of any surprise from the robber-hordes. Pie now advanced 
before Alva, and humbly bowed. 

"What wilt thou, my young hero?" said Alva, greet- 
ing the young captain in the most friendly manner. " I 
know your smiling, blooming countenance well. The last 
time I saw you, you stood like a protecting angel over 
me. I am so sure that you can make no request but what 



28 THE TWO CAPTAINS. 

is knightly and honourable, that I grant it, whatever it 
may be." 

" My gracious general," said Heinibert, whose cheeks 
glowed at this praise, " if I may venture to ask a favour, 
it is, that you will give me permission to follow the ludy 
Zelinda in the way this strange dervish has pointed out." 

The great general bowed assentingly, and added: "To 
a more noble knight could not this honourable adventure 
be consigned." 

" I do not know that," said an angry voice in the 
crowd ; " but this I do know, that to me, above all other 
men, this adventure belongs, as a reward for the capture 
of Tunis. For who was the first on the height and in the 
city?" 

"That was Don Frederigo Mendez," said Heimbert, 
taking the speaker by the hand, and leading him before 
Alva. " In his favour I will willingly resign my reward ; 
for he has done the emperor and the army better service 
than I have." 

" Neither of you shall lose his reward," said Alva. 
" Each has now permission to seek the maiden in what- 
ever way he thinks best." 

Swift as lightning tlie two young captains escaped from 
the circle on opposite sides. 



CHAPTER V. 

Like a vast trackless sea, without one object to break tlie 
dreary monotony of its horizon, ever white and ever deso- 
late, the great desert of Sahara stretches itself before the 
eyes of the unhappy wanderer who has lost himself in this 
frightful region. And, in another way, it resembles the 
ocean. It throws up waves ; and often a burning mist is 
seen on its surface. Not, indeed, the gentle play of the 



THE TWO CAPTAINS. 29 

waves which unite all the coasts of the earth ; where each 
wave, as it rolls onward, brings you a message of love from 
the far island-kingdoms, and carries j'our answer with it 
in a love -flowing dance. These waves are only the wild 
toying of the hot wind with the faithless dust, which al- 
ways falls back again upon its joyless plain, and never 
reaches the soiid land, where happy men dwell. It is not 
the lovely cool sea-breeze in which the friendly fays sport 
themselves, and form their blooming gardens and stately 
grottoes : it is the suffocating vapour rebelliously given 
back to the glowing sun by the unfruitful sands. 

Hither the two captains arrived at the same time, and 
stood struck with astonishment at the pathless chaos before 
them. Traces of Zelinda, which were not easily hidden, 
had hitherto compelled them to travel almost always to- 
gether, however displeased Frederigo might be, and what- 
ever angry glances he cast upon his unwelcome companion. 
Each had hoped to overtake Zelinda before she reached the 
desert, well knowing how almost impossible it would be 
to find her, if she had once entered it. And now thej^ had 
failed in this, and could obtain no further information from 
the few Arabs they met, than that there existed a tradi- 
tion that any one who would travel in a southerly direc- 
tion, guiding his course by the stars, would, the sages 
maintained, arrive at a wonderfully blooming oasis, the 
dwelling of a heavenly beautiful enchantress. But all 
this appeared to the speakers to be highly uncertain and 
mysterious. 

The young men looked troubled ; and their horses 
snorted and started back at the treacherous sand, while 
even the riders were uneasy and perplexed. Then they 
sprang from their saddles suddenly, as at some word of 
command ; and taking the bridles from their horses, and 
slackening the girths, they turned them loose on the plain, 
to find their way back to the habitation of man. They 
took some provision from their saddle-bags, placed it on 
their shoulders, and, casting from their feet their heavv 



o(J THE TWO CAPTAINS. 

riding-boots, they plunged, like two courageous swimmers. 
into the endless waste. 

With no other guide than the sun by day, and by night 
the host of stars, the two captains soon lost sight of one 
another ; for Frederigo had avoided the object of his dis- 
pleasure ; while Heimbert, thinking of nothing but the end 
of his journey, and firmly relying upon God's protection 
pursued his course in a due southerly direction. 

The night had many times succeeded the day, when, 
one evening, Heimbert was quite alone on the endless de- 
sert, without one fixed object for his eye to rest upon ; 
the light flask he carried was empty; and the evening 
brought with it, instead of the desired coolness, only suf- 
focating columns of sand ; so that the exhausted wanderer 
was obliged to press his burning face to the scorching plain 
to escape the death-bringing cloud. Sometimes he thought 
he heard footsteps near him, and the sound of a wide mantle 
rustling over him ; but when he raised himself with anxious 
haste, he only saw what he had already too often seen in the j 
daytime — the wild beasts of the wilderness roaming about j 
the desert in undisturbed freedom. Now it was a frightful I 
camel, then a long-necked ungainly giraffe, or a great os- j 
trich with its wdngs outspread. They all appeared to scoff | 
at him ; and he resolved to open his eyes no more, but ! 
rather perish, without allowing these hateful and strange ; 
creatures to disturb his soul in the hour of death. 

Soon he heard the sound of horse's hoofs and neighing, 
and saw a shadow on the sand, and heard a man's voice 
close to him. Half unwilling, he yet could not resist rais- 
ing himself w^earily ; when he saw a rider in an Arab's 
dress on a slender Arabian horse. Overcome with joy at 
the sight of a human being, he exclaimed: " AYelcome, 
man, in this frightful waste! and succour, if thou canst, 
thy fellow-man, who must otherwise perish with thirst." 
And then remembering that the tones of his dear German i 
mother-tongue were not intelligible in this joyless land, he i 
repeated these words in that common language, the lingua c 



THE TWO CAPTAINS. 31 

Romano, which is universally used by Mohammedans and 
Christians in this part of the world. 

The Arab was silent some time, and looked with scorn 
upon his strange discovery. At last he replied in the same 
language : ''I was in Barbarossa's fight, sir knight, as well 
as you; and if our overthrow affected me bitterly, I now 
find no little satisfaction at seeing one of our conquerors 
lying so pitifully before me." 

"Pitifully!" angrily repeated Heimbert; and his wound- 
ed feelings of honour for the moment giving him back all 
his strength, he seized his sword, and stood in battle order. 
" Oh, oh !" laughed the Arab ; '' is the Christian viper 
so strong ? Then it only remains for me to put spurs to 
my good steed, and leave thee to perish here, thou lost 
creeping worm." 

" Ride where thou list, dog of a heathen !" retorted 
Heimbert. " Before I accept a crumb from thee, I loili 
perish, unless the dear God sends me manna in this wil- 
derness." 

The Arab spurred his fleet horse, and galloped two 

hundred paces, laughing long and loud. He stopped, 

however, and, trotting back to Heimbert, said: "Thou 

art rather too good a knight to leave to die of hunger 

i and thirst. Have a care, now : my good sabre shall reach 

i thee." 

\ Heimbert, who had again stretched himself in hopeless 
I despair on the burning sand, was quickly roused by these 
; words to his feet, sword in hand ; and as the Arab's horse 
flew past him, with a sudden spring the stout German 
.; avoided the blow and parried the cut which the rider 
i aimed at him witli his Turkish scimitar. 
I Repeatedly did the Arab make similar attacks, vainly 
1 hoping to give his antagonist the death-blow. At last, 
I overcome by impatience, he came so near, that Heimbert 

• was able to seize him by the girdle and tear him from the 
fast-galloping horse. With this violent exertion, Heim- 

• bert also fell tc the ground, but he lay above his adver- 



32 



rUE TWO CAPTAINS, 



sary; and holding a dagger he had pulled from his girdle 
before his face, he said: "Wilt thou have mercy or death?" 

The Arab closed his eyes before the murderous steel, 
and answered: "Have pity on me, thou brave warrior! 
I surrender to thee." 

Heimbert commanded him to throw away the sabre he 
still held in his right hand. He did so; and both com- 
batants rose from the ground, to sink again immediately 
upon the sand ; for the conqueror felt himself far weaker 
than the conquered. 

The Arab's good horse had returned to his master, as is 
the custom of those noble animals, who never forsake even 
a fallen lord, and now stood behind them, stretching his 
long slender neck over them with a friendly look. 

"Arab," said Heimbert, with exhausted voice, " take 
from thy horse what provision thou hast, and place it be- 
fore me." 

The subdued Arab did humbly what was commanded 
him, now submitting to the will of his conqueror, as he had 
before treated him with revengeful anger. 

After taking some draughts of palm -wine from the ' 
skin, Heimbert looked at the youth with new eyes. He 
partook of some fruits, drank again of the wine, and said, 
" Have you much farther to ride this night, young man?" 

"Yes, indeed," answered the Arab, sorrowfully. " Upon 
a very distant oasis dwells my aged father and my bloom- 
ing bride. Now, even if you leave me my freedom, I must 
perish in this waste desert before I can reach my lovely 
home.'*' 

" Is that the oasis," asked Heimbert, " on which the 
powerful magic lady, Zelinda, dwells?"' 

" Allah forbid !" exclaimed the Arab, clasping his hands ' 
together. " Zelinda's wondrous island receives none but 
magicians, and lies far to the scorching south ; while our 
friendly home stretches towards the cooler west."' 

" I only asked the question to see if we could be com- 
panions by the way," said Heimbert, kindly. " As that ^ 



THE TWO CAPTAINS. 33 

cannot be, we must divide every thing ; for I would not 
have so good a soldier perish with hunger and thirst." 

Saying this, the young captain began to divide the 
fruits and wine into two portions, placing the greater at 
his left hand, the smaller at his right, and desired the Arab 
to take the former. He listened with astonishment as Heim- 
bert added : '* See, good sir, I have either not much fur- 
ther to pursue my journey, or I shall die in this desert ; of 
that I have a strong presentiment. Besides, I cannot carry 
so much on foot as you can on horseback." 

"Knight! victorious knight!" cried the amazed Mus- 
selman, " do you give me my horse ?" 

" It would be a sin and shame to deprive so noble a 
rider of such a faithful beast," replied Heimbert, smiling. 
"Ride on, in God's name ! and may you safely reach your 
destination." 

He assisted him to mount; and just as the Arab was 
thanking him, he suddenly exclaimed, "The magic 'ady!" 
and, putting spurs to his horse, flew over the dusty plain 
swift as the wind ; while Heimbert, on looking round, saw 
close beside him, in the bright moonlight, a shining figure, 
which he easily recognised to be Zelinda. 



CHAPTER VI. 

The lady looked fixedly at the young soldier, and ap- 
peared thinking how she should address him, while he, 
with astonishment at suddenly finding her he had so long 
sought, was equally at a loss for words. At length she 
said in Spanish, " Thou wonderful enigma, I have been 
witness to all that has passed between thee and the Arab ; 
and the afiair perplexes my head as a whirlwind. Tell me 
plainly, that I may know whether thou art a madman or 
an angel." 

D 



34 THE TWO CAPTAINS. 



1 



" I am neither one or other, dear lady," answered 
Heimbert, with his wonted friendliness. *' I am only a 
poor wanderer, who have been obeying one of the com- 
mands of his dear Lord Jesus Christ." 

" Sit down," said Zelinda, " and relate to me the his- 
tory of thy lord; who must be an unheard-of person, if he 
has such servants as thee. The night is cool and still, and 
beside me thou hast nothing to fear from the dangers of 
the waste." 

" Lady," replied Heimbert, smiling, " I am not of a 
fearful disposition, and when I am speaking of my blessed 
Lord and Redeemer, I know not the least anxiety." 

So saying, they both sat down on the now cooled sand, 
and began a wondrous conversation, while the clear moon 
shone upon them like a magic lamp from the high blue 
heavens. Heimbert's words, full of love, and truth, and 
simplicity, sank like soft sunbeams into Zelinda's heart, 
driving away the unholy magic power which ruled her, and 
wrestling with that for possession of the noble territory of 
her soul. When the morning dawned, she said, "Thou 
wouldst not be called an angel, but surely thou art one ; 
for what are the angels but messengers of the most high 
God ?" 

" In that sense," returned Heimbert, *' I am content 
to be so called. My hope is, to bear His message at all 
times ; and if He bestows further grace and strength upon 
me, it will give me pleasure if you become my companion 
in this pious work." 

" That is not impossible," said Zelinda, thoughtfully. 
*' But first come with me to my island, where thou shalt 
be entertained as beseems such an ambassador, far better 
than here on the desert sand, with miserable palm-wine, 
which thou must obtain with difficulty." 

" Pardon me," answered Heimbert ; " it is difficult to 
refuse a lady any request, but it is unavoidable on this 
occasion. In your island, many glorious things are brought 
together by forbidden arts, and their forms are changed 



THE TWO CAPTAINS. 35 

from those the Almighty One created. These might dazzle 
my senses, and in the end enslave them. If you wish to 
hear more of those best and purest things which I can re- 
late to you, you must come out to me on this barren sand. 
The Arab's dates and palm-wine will suffice for many a 
day yet." 

" You would do much better to come with me," said 
Zelinda, shaking her head with a dissatisfied smile. "You 
were surely neither born nor educated for a hermit, and 
there is nothing upon my oasis so very mysterious as you 
suppose. What is there so strange in birds, and beasts, 
and flowers, being collected together from different parts 
of the world, and perhaps a little changed, so that one 
partakes of the nature of another, as you must have seen in 
our Arabian pictures ? A moving changing flower, a bird 
growing on a branch, a fountain emitting fiery sparks, a 
singing bough — these truly are not such frightful, hateful 
things V 

" He must avoid temptation, who will not be overcome 
by it," answered Heimbert, very gravely. " I shall re- 
main in the wilderness : is it your pleasure to visit me 
here again V 

Zelinda looked down, somewhat displeased, then lowly 
bending her head, she answered, " Yes ; to-morrow even- 
ing I will be here." She turned away, and immediately 
disappeared in the rising storm-blast of the desert. 

With the return of evening the lovely lady appeared, 
and watched the night through in holy converse with the 
inspired youth, leaving him in the morning humbler, 
purer, and more pious ; and this went on for several days. 
*' Thy palm-wine and dates must be consumed," said Ze- 
linda one evening ; and placed before Heimbert a flask of 
rich wine and some costly fruits. He, however, softly put 
the gifts aside, and answered, " Noble lady, I thank you 
from my heart, but I fear these have been made by your 
magic arts ; or could you assure me that they are not, by 
Him whom you are beginning to know ?" Zelinda's eyes 



36 



THE TWO CAPTAINS. 



sank in silent confusion, and she took back her gifts. The 
next evening she brought some similar provisions, and, 
smiling confidently, gave the desired assurance. Then 
Heimbert partook of them without scruple ; and henceforth 
the pupil hospitably provided for the sustenance of her 
teacher in the wilderness. 

And now, as the knowledge of the truth sank more 
deeply in Zelinda's soul, so that she often sat till morning 
listening to the young man with glowing cheeks, flowing 
hair, sparkling eyes, and folded hands, he carefully ob- 
served to make her understand that it was on account of 
bis friend he had sought her in this dreary region, and that 
it was Frederigo's love for her which was the means of the 
highest good to her soul. She well remembered the hand- 
some fearless young captain who had stormed the height 
and clasped her in his arms, and related to their friend 
how he had saved her in the burning library. Heimbert 
had many pleasant things to say of Frederigo ; of his 
knightly deeds, his serious mind, and of his love to Ze- 
linda, which, since the capture of Tunis, would not be 
hidden within his troubled breast, but betrayed itself in a 
thousand ways, sleeping or w aking, to the young German. 
The godly truth, and the image of her loving hero, entered 
Zelinda's heart together, and both took root there. Heim- 
bert's presence, and the almost adoring admiration with 
which his pupil regarded him, did not disturb this state 
of mind 5 for from the first moment, his appearance had 
something too pure and heavenly to allow of any thoughts 
of earthly love. When Heimbert Avas alone, he often 
smiled to himself, and said in his own beloved German 
language, " How delightful it is to be able, consciously, to 
repay Frederigo the service he did me, unconsciously, with 
his angelic sister !" Then he would sing such lovely Ger- 
man songs of Clara's beauty and pious grace, as sounded 
strangely pleasant in the wilderness, and beguiled his long 
and lonely hours. 

As once Zelinda came in the evening light, her steps 



THE TWO CAPTAINS. 37 

airy and graceful, and carrying a basket of food for Heim- 
bert on her lovely head, he smiled and shook his head, 
saying, " It is quite incomprehensible to me, lovely maiden, 
why you continue to come to me in this waste. You can- 
not find pleasure in magic arts now that the spirit of truth 
and love dwells within you ; and if you changed all things 
in your oasis into the natural forms which the merciful 
God gave them, I could go thither with you, and we should 
have much more time for holy converse." 

" Sir knight," answered Zelinda, " you speak truly, 
and I have thought of doing what you say for many days, 
but a strange visitor deprives me of the power. The der- 
vish whom you saw in Tunis, is with me ; and because in 
past days we have performed many magic works together, 
he thinks to usurp his former authority over me now. He 
perceives the alteration in me, and on that account is the 
more importunate." 

" We must either expel or convert him," said Heim- 
bert, girding on his sword, and taking up his shield from 
the ground. " Lead me, dear lady, to your wonderful 
island." 

" You avoided it before," answered the astonished 
damsel, " and it still remains quite unchanged." 

" Formerly it would have been only rashness to venture," 
returned Heimbert. " You came out to me here, which 
was better for us both. Now, however, the old serpent 
might destroy in you the work the Lord has done, and it is 
therefore a knightly duty to go. In God's name, then, to 
the work." And they hastened together across the darken- 
ing plain to the blooming island. 

Magic airs began to play about their heads, and bright 
stars sparkled from the waving boughs beside their path. 
Heimbert fixed his eyes on the ground, and said, " Go 
before me, lovely lady, and guide me at once to the place 
where I shall find the dervish, for I will see as little of 
these distracting magic forms as is possible." 

Zelinda did as he desired; and so, for the moment, 



38 THE TWO CAPTAINS. 

each performed the other's part. The maiden was th^ 
guide, while Heimbert followed, with confiding friendli- 
ness, in the unknown path. 

Branches stooped as if to caress their cheeks ; wonder- 
ful singing-birds grew from the bushes ; golden and green 
serpents, with little golden crowns, crept on the velvet- 
turf, on which Heimbert stedfastly bent his eyes, and 
brilliant stones gleamed from the moss. When the ser- 
pents touched these jewels, they gave forth a silvery sound. 
The soldier let the serpents creep, and the precious stones 
sparkle, without caring for any thing save to follow hastily 
the footsteps of his guide. 

" We are at the place," said she, with suppressed voice ; 
and looking up, he saw a shining grotto of shells, and 
perceived within a man asleep, clad in a complete suit of 
gold scale-armour, of the old Numidian fashion. 

"Is that also a phantom, in golden scales?" asked 
Heimbert, smiling. 

*'0h, no," answered Zelinda, very gravely, "it is the 
dervish himself; and I see, from his having clothed him- 
self in that coat of mail, which has been made invulner- 
able by being dipped in dragon's blood, that he has, by 
his magic, made himself aware of our intentions." 

" What does that signify?" said Heimbert; "he must 
know them at last." And he began to call with cheerful 
voice, " Awake, old man ! awake ! here is an acquaintance 
of yours, to whom you must speak." 

As the dervish opened his great rolling eyes, all the 
wondrous things in this magic region began to move : the 
water to dance, the branches to strike one another in wild 
confusion, and, at the same time, the jewels, and corals, 
and shells gave forth strange perplexing melodies. 

" Roll and turn, thunder and play, as you will," cried 
Heimbert, looking stedfastly around him, " you shall not 
turn me from my good purpose ; and to overpower all 
this tumult, God has given me a strong far-sounding sol- 
dier's voice." Then he turned to the dervish, saying, " It 



THE TWO CAPTAINS. 39 

appears, old man, that you already know what has passed 
between Zelinda and me. If you do not know the whole 
matter, I will tell you, in a few words, that already she 
is as good as a Christian, and the bride of a noble Spa- 
nish knight. For your own sake, do not put any hin- 
drance in the way ; but it would be far better for you, 
if you would also become a Christian. Talk to me of 
this, and command all these devilries to cease ; for see, 
dear sir, our religion speaks of such divine and heavenly 
things, that one must lay aside all rough and violent pas- 
sions." 

But the dervish, whose hatred glowed towards all 
Christians, hardly waited to hear the knight's last words 
before he pressed upon him with drawn scimitar. Heim- 
bert put aside his thrust, saying, "Take care of yourself, 
sir: I have heard that your weapons are charmed; but 
that avails nought before my good sword, which has been 
consecrated in holy places." The dervish recoiled from 
the sword wildly, but as wildly sprang to the other side of 
his adversary, who only caught the deadly cuts with his 
target. Like a golden scaly dragon, the Mohammedan 
swung himself round Heimbert, with a ferocity which, 
with his long flowing white beard, had something ghastly 
and horrible in it. Heimbert was prepared to oppose him 
on all sides, only watching carefully for some opening in 
the scales made by his violent movements. At last it 
happened as he expected : he saw between the breast and 
arm the dark garments of the dervish, and there the Ger- 
man made his deadly thrust. The old man cried, "Allah! 
Allah !" and fell, fearful even in his fall, senseless to the 
ground. 

f' Yet I pity him," sighed Heimbert, leaning on his 
sword, and looking down on his fallen foe ; " he fought 
nobly, and in his death he called upon his Allah, whom he 
believes to be the true God. We must give him honour- 
able burial." He dug a grave with the broad scimitar of 
his adversary, laid the corpse in it, covering it with turf, 



40 THE TWO CAPTAINS. 

and knelt in silent heartfelt prayer for the soul of the 
departed. 



CHAPTER YII. 

When Heimbert rose from his pious duty, his first glance 
fell on the smiling Zelinda, who stood by his side ; the 
second, upon the completely changed scene around. Grot- 
toes and caverns had vanished, and with them also the 
half- terrible, half-charming caricatures of trees and beasts; 
a gentle hillock of the softest green sloped on each side 
from the point where he stood to the sandy plain. Several 
little springs of water murmured in refreshing beauty, and 
date-trees overhung the pleasant spot, all now smiling 
with simple sweet peace in the beams of the rising sun. 

" Lady," said Heimbert to his companion, "you can 
now feel how immeasurably greater and more beautiful is 
all that the dear Father of us all has created than any 
work of man's highest art. To assist Him in His gracious 
works has the Heavenly Gardener, in His abundant mercy, 
granted to us, His beloved children, that we may become 
thereby better and happier ; but we should be especially 
careful not to walk in our own rash wilful ways : this it is 
which drives us a second time from Paradise." 

"It shall not happen again," said Zelinda, humbly 
kneeling before the youth. " Wouldst thou dare, in this 
desolate region, where we can meet with no priest of our 
faith, to bestow upon me, who am now changed, without 
farther delay, the blessing of Holy Baptism ?" 

Heimbert answered, after a thoughtful pause, " I hope 
I may do this : if I am wrong, God will pardon what is 
surely done in zeal to bring to Him so worthy a soul as 
soon as possible." 

They walked side by side to one of the springs of the 
oasis, silently praying, and their souls filled with peaceful 



THE TWO CAPTAINS. 



41 



hope. By the time they had reached it, and addressed 
themselves to the holy work, the sun had risen in glory, 
as if to confirm and strengthen them in their purpose ; so 
that their beaming countenances looked joyful and con- 
fiding to one another. Heimbert had not thought of what 
Christian name he would bestow upon his neophyte ; but 
as he sprinkled the water over her, and saw the desert- 
sea, so solemn in the glow of morning, he remembered the 
pious hermit Antonius in his Egyptian waste, and baptised 
the lovely convert — Antonia. 

They passed the day in holy conversation, and Antonia 
shewed her friend a little cave where she used to keep her 
provisions, when she first dwelt on this oasis. " For," 
said she, ''the good God is my witness that my motive 
for coming hither was to become better acquainted with 
Him and His works in solitude, without the least thought 
of learning magic arts. Then came the dervish tempting 
me ; and he drew, by his horrible power, the evil spirits 
of the desert into a league against me, and they allured me 
to make all the things they shewed me either in dreams 
or awake." 

Heimbert had no scruple to take with him from this 
store whatever of wine and dried fruits would be useful for 
their journey. Antonia assured him that the way, which 
was very well known to her, Avould lead them in a few 
days to the fruitful shore of this waterless ocean. With the 
approach of evening coolness they began their wanderings. 
The travellers had almost traversed this pathless plain, 
when, one day, they saw a wandering figure at a very 
great distance ; for in the boundless Sahara every object is 
visible an immense way off, if the whirlwind of the desert 
raises no sandy columns to intercept the view. This un- 
fortunate man seemed uncertain which way to direct his 
steps, sometimes taking one direction, and then changing 
to the opposite one. Antonia's oriental falcon-eyes could 
discover that it was no Arab, but a man in knightly garb. 
" Oh, dear sister," said Heimbert, with eager joy, '"it 



42 THE TWO CAPTAINS. 

must be poor Frederigo seeking thee ! For God's sake, let 
us hasten, lest he lose us, and perhaps his own life also, in 
this immeasurable waste." 

They strove with all their power to reach him, but, 
owing to the burning sun (for it was now midday), Anto- 
nia could not long support these hasty steps ; and soon the 
fearful storm-blast raised the cloud of sand, which com- 
pletely obscured the object of their search. 

With the rising moon they renewed their pursuit, call- 
ing loudly upon Frederigo, and making signal-flags of 
their white handkerchiefs tied to their walking-staffs ; but 
all in vain. The object which had disappeared remained 
invisible. Only a few giraffes sprang timidly before them, 
and the ostriches crossed their path with winged speed. 

At last, when morning dawned, Antonia stopped, and 
said, "Thou canst not leave me alone, brother, in this 
wilderness, and I cannot go one step further. God will 
protect the noble Frederigo ; for how can a Father forsake 
so excellent a child ?" 

" The pupil shames the tutor," returned Heimbert, his 
sorrowful face brightening into a smile. "We have done 
our parts, and may confidently leave the rest to God, 
hoping He will assist our helplessness." He spread his 
mantle on the sand, that Antonia might rest more com- 
fortably ; but suddenly looked up, exclaiming, " Oh, God ! 
there is a man quite buried in the sand ! oh that he may 
not be already dead !" 

Immediately he began to sprinkle wine from their little 
flask upon his forehead, and to chafe his temples with it. 
At length he slowly opened his eyes, and said, "Oh that 
the morning-dew had not again fallen on me, then I should 
have perished unknown and unlamented in this desert, as 
it must happen at last !" With these words he closed his 
eyes again, like one drunken with sleep ; but Heimbert un- 
ceasingly continued his endeavours to restore him, and after 
some time the wearied wanderer half raised himself on the 
sand. 



THE TWO CAPTAINS. 43 

He looked from Heimbert to his companion, and again 
at Heimbert, and suddenly exclaimed, gnashing his teeth 
with rage, "It is even so: I shall not perish in the dim 
obscurity of fcrgetfulness ; I have lived to see the success 
of my rival, and my sister's shame !" He sprang eagerly 
to his feet, and rushed on Heimbert with drawn sword. 
The German moved neither sword nor arm, but answered, 
with a friendly voice, " So exhausted as thou art, I cannot 
possibly take advantage of thee ; besides, I must first place 
this lady in security." 

Antonia, who had looked at first with much emotion 
on the angry knight, now stepped between the two, and 
said, " Oh, Frederigo, neither misery nor anger can en- 
tirely disfigure thee ; but in what has my noble brother 
offended thee ?" 

" Brother /" repeated Frederigo, with astonishment. 

"Or godfather, or confessor," said Heimbert: "call 
me which you please ; only call this lady no longer Ze- 
linda — her name is Antonia ; she is a Christian, and thy 
bride !" 

Frederigo stood lost in astonishment ; but Heimbert's 
true-hearted words and Antonia's lovely blushes inter- 
preted the enigma for him. He sank before the long- 
cherished image of his lady ; and here, in this inhospitable 
desert, there bloomed to heaven a flower of love, gratitude, 
and faith. 

The excitement of this overpowering happiness at last 
gave way to bodily fatigue. Antonia reposed her delicate 
limbs on the now scorching sand, like a drooping flower, 
and slept under the protection of her lover and chosen 
brother. 

" Sleep thou also," said Heimbert softly to Frederigo ; 
"thou must have wandered far, for weariness is stamped 
upon thine eyelids, while I am quite fresh, and will watch 
beside thee." 

"Ah, Heimbert," sighed the noble Castilian, "my 



44 THE TWO CAPTAINS. 

sister is thine, thou messenger of heaven — that is an un- 
derstood thing ; but for our unfinished quarrel — " ' ' 

"Certainly," interrupted Heimbert, very gravely, "thou 
must satisfy me for every hasty word when we are again 
in Spain. But, till then, I beg thou wilt never mention it, 
for it is no fit topic of conversation.'* 

Frederigo sorrowfully reposed on the sand, overpowered 
by long-resisted sleep ; and Heimbert knelt to thank God 
for so many gracious blessings already bestowed, and for 
placing so joyful a future before him. 

The next day the three travellers reached the border of 
the desert, and refreshed themselves with a week's rest at 
a little village hard by ; which, with its shadowing trees 
and soft green pastures, seemed like a little Paradise com- 
pared to the joyless Sahara. Frederigo's condition made 
this rest particularly necessary ; for he had not once left 
the desert, and was often compelled to fight with the wan- 
dering Arabs for his subsistence, and sometimes he had 
suffered the total want of food and drink. At length he 
became so perplexed, that the stars no longer sufiiced to 
guide him, and he was driven about, sorrowful and aim- 
less, like the whirlwind of the desert. 

Even now, when he fell asleep after the noon-day meal, 
and Antonia and Heimbert watched his slumbers like two 
smiling angels, he would suddenly awake in terror, and 
look round him with horror, till, reassured by their friendly 
faces, he sunk back again to rest. In answer to the ques- 
tions they put to him when he was fully awake, he said 
that, in his wanderings, nothing had been more horrible 
to him than the deceitful dreams which sometimes carried 
him to his own home, sometimes into the merry camp of 
his comrades, and sometimes even into Zelinda's neigh- 
bourhood, and doubled, by contrast, the helpless misery of 
the frightful desert. This it was which always gave to the 
moment of waking something fearful, and even in sleep he 
retained a dim consciousness of past sufferings. 



THE TWO CAPTAINS. 45 

"You cannot think," added he, "what it was to be 
suddenly banished from the well-known scenes to the end- 
less waste, where, instead of the long-desired enchanting 
countenance of my beloved, I only saw the long neck of a 
hateful camel curiously stretched over me, and with yet 
more hateful timidity springing away as I rose." 

This, together with other effects of his misfortunes, 
soon passed away from Frederigo's mind, and they con- 
tinued their journey to Tunis. Yet the remembrance of 
his conduct to Heimbert, and its unavoidable consequences, 
spread like a cloud over the noble Spaniard's brow, and 
softened the natural sternness of his character, so that 
Antonia could cling more closely to him with her loving 
heart. 

Tunis, which had been the scene of Zelinda's magic 
power, and of her zeal against the Christians, now wit- 
nessed her solemn baptism in a newly-consecrated edifice ; 
and immediately afterwards the three companions em- 
barked with favourable winds for Malaga. 



46 



THE TWO CAPTAINS. 



CHAPTER VIII. 



Beside the fountain where she had parted from Heim- 
bert, Dona Clara sat one evening in deep thought. The 
guitar on her arm gave forth a few solitary chords, which ' 
her delicate hand dreamily enticed from it ; and at last . 
they formed themselves into a melody, while the following I 
words were murmured from her half-opened lips : i 

i 
" Say who, by Tvmis' walls afar, i 

Where with grim bands of Paynim might j 

The Spaniard and the German fight, — j 

From lilies dark with gory dew, I 

And roses of death's pallid hue, I 

Say, who hath won the prize of war ? 

Of Alva ask the tale of fame. 
And he two knights of pride will name : 
One was my brother, tried and brave ; 
One, he to whom my heart I gave : 
And fain I hoped, in joyous light. 
To weave their garlands doubly bright. 

But sadly o'er my eyes and brow 
A widow's veil falls doubly now ; 
The knights are gone, and ne'er again 
Shall they be found 'mid living men." 

The guitar was silent, and soft dew-drops fell from her 
heavenly eyes. Heimbert, who was hidden behind the 
neighbouring orange-tree, felt sympathetic tears roll down 
his cheeks ; and Frederigo, who had led him and Antonia 
in by the garden-way, would no longer keep the cup of 



THE TWO CAPTAINS. 47 

Joy from the restored ones, but disclosed himself, with a 
dear form on either arm, as a messenger from heaven to 
• his sister, 

I But such moments of high overpowering delight, like 
I the most precious and long-expected heavenly blessings, 
are better imagined than described. It is only doing an 
> ill service to recount what this one said, and that one did. 
Picture it then to thyself, dear reader, after thine own 
) fancy, if the two pairs in my story have become dear to 
: thee, and thou art now intimate with them. If this be not 
the case, my words would be lost upon thee. For those, 
then, who with hearty pleasure have dwelt on the re- union 
of sister and lover, I will proceed with increased satis- 
faction. 

When Heimbert, casting a significant look at Fre- 
derigo, wished to retire, after having placed Antonia in 
Dona Clara's protection, the noble Spaniard w^ould not 
permit him. He detained his companion with the most 
courteous and brotherly kindness, entreating him to re- 
main till the evening banquet, at which many distinguished 
persons of the family of Mendez were present. In their 
presence Frederigo declared that the brave Heimbert of 
Waldhausen was Dona Clara's bridegroom : at the same 
time calling them to wdtness the sealing it wdth the most 
solemn words, in order that w^hatever might afterwards 
happen, which should seem inimical to their contract, it 
might yet remain indissoluble. The spectators w'ere some- 
what astonished at these strange precautionary measures, 
though no one opposed Frederigo's desire, but unhesita- 
tingly gave him their word that they would carry out his 
wishes. Their ready compliance was greatly caused by 
Duke Alva's having, during his late sojourn in Malaga, 
filled the whole city with his praises of the two heroic young 
captains. 

When the generous wines were circulating round the 
table, Frederigo stepped behind Heimbert's chair, and 



48 THE TWO CAPTAINS. 

whispered, " If it please you, seiior, the moon is now risen 
and shining bright as day : I am ready to meet you.'' j 
Heimbert bowed assentingly, and the youths left the hall, 
followed by the sweet salutations of their unsuspecting 
brides. 

As they passed through the blooming gardens, Frede- ' 
rigo said, " Ah ! how happily we might have walked to- , 
gether here, had it not been for my rashness 1" 

"Yes, truly," answered Heimbert; "but as it has 
happened, and cannot now be otherwise, we will proceed, 
and only look upon one another as soldiers and noble- 
men." 

" Even so," replied Frederigo ; and they hastened on , 
to the farthest jjart of the gardens, where the sound of 
their clashing arms might not reach the high banqueting 
hall. ' 

Silent and enclosed amid dark groves was the chosen 
spot. No sounds could be heard there from the joyous 
company, no noise from the populous streets of the city. : 
Only high in heaven the full moon shone down with bright 
beams upon the solemn circle. It was the right place. 
Both captains drew their shining blades, and stood opposite 
to one another, ready for the combat ; but before they ' 
began, a kindlier feeling drew them to each another ; they 
lowered their weapons, and embraced in the most brotherly 
manner, then they tore themselves away, and the fearful | 
fight began. 

They were now no more brothers in arras — no more 
friends — no more brothers in law, who raised the sharp 
swords against each other. With firm boldness, but with 
cool collected ness, they fell upon one another, whilst each 
guarded his own breast at the same time. After a few hot ' 
deadly passes, the combatants were compelled to rest, and ; 
they regarded one another with increased love ; each re- 
joicing to find his dear comrade so stout and courageous, i 
Then the fierce strife began anew. 



THE TWO CAPTAINS. 49 

Heimbert dashed aside Frederigo's sword with his left 
hand as it was thrust at his side, but the keen edge had 
penetrated through his leathern glove, and the rosy blood 
gushed out. 

" Halt !" cried Frederigo ; and they searched for the 
wound ; but finding it of no importance, they bound it 
up, and with undiminished ardour renewed the fight. It 
was not long before Heimbert's sword pierced Frederigo's 
shoulder, and the German, conscious that it had done 
so, cried in his turn, *' Halt." At first Frederigo would 
not acknowledge that there was a wound ; but when the 
blood streamed forth, he accepted his friend's assistance. 
This wound also seeming of no consequence, and the 
noble Spaniard finding himself strong enough in arm and 
hand to wield the sword, they pursued the deadly con- 
test. 

Then they heard a garden-door open, and the tread as 
of a horse from the groves. Both combatants stayed their 
stern work, and turned to the unwelcome visitant. The 
next moment they saw through the slender pines some one 
approaching whose bearing and dress shewed that he was 
a warrior, mounted on a stately charger ; and Frederigo, 
as master of the house, said to him, " Seiior, why you 
have intruded into a strange garden, we will inquire an- 
other time. I shall now only beg of you to retire from it 
at once, and to leave me your name." 

" I shall not retire at present," answered the stranger ; 
"but my name I will gladly tell you. I am the Duke of 
Alva." 

At this moment the moonbeams fell upon his stern 
pale face — that dwelling-place of all that was noble, and 
great, and majestic. The two captains bowed low and 
sank their arms. 

" I surely know you," said Alva, looking at them 
fixedly with his dark eyes. "Yes, truly, I do know you, 
you two young heroes of the battle of Tunis. God be 



50 



THE TWO CAPTAINS. 



blessed and praised, that I find two such noble warriors 
alive, whom I had almost given up for lost. But tell me 
now, what has turned your brave swords against each 
other? 1 trust you will not object to lay open before me 
the cause of this knightly encounter." 

They complied with the great duke's behest. Both 
the youths related their history, from the evening before 
the embarkation till the present moment ; whilst Alva 
remained motionless before them in deep meditation, look- 
ing almost like an equestrian statue. 

The captains had already long ended their story, and 
the duke still remained silent and motionless in deep 
meditation. At last he addressed them in the following 
manner : — 

'^ May God and His holy word help me, my young 
knights, as I tell you, with my best wisdom and truth of 
heart, that I believe this afiair of yours to be now perfectly 
settled. Twice have you fought with one another on ac- 
count of the irritating words which escaped Don Frede- 
rigo's lips : and if indeed the slight wounds which you 
have hitherto received are not sufficient, still, your having 
been comrades in the fight at Tunis, and Sir Heimbert of 
Waldhausen having saved Don Frederigo Mendez' life in > 
the desert, after he had rescued his bride for hira in battle, ; 
all this gives the knight of Waldhausen the privilege of for- | 
giving an enemy every ofiience, to whom he has shewn ; 
himself so well inclined. The old Roman history tells us i 
of two centurions under the great Julius Caesar who settled : 
a dispute, and contracted a hearty brotherly friendship, > 
from fighting side by side, and delivering one another ■ 
out of the midst of the Gallic army. But I aflirm that ; 
you two have done more for each other; and therefore \ 
I declare this affair to be entirely settled and at an end. 
Sheathe your swords, then, and embrace in my pre- 
sence." 

Obedient to their general's command, the young knights 



THE TWO CAPTAINS. 51 

for the present put up their swords ; but, anxious lest the 
slightest shade should fall upon their honour, they yet de- 
layed the reconciling embrace. 

The great Alva looked somewhat sternly upon them, 
and said, '' Do you suppose, young knights, that I could 
desire to save the lives of two soldiers at the expense of 
their good name ? Sooner than that, I would rather see 
you both struck dead at once. But I see that with such 
obstinate men, one must proceed to more effective mea- 
sures." And leaping from his horse, which he bound to a 
tree, he stepped between the two captains with a drawn 
sword in his right hand, crying out, '' Whoever takes upon 
him to deny that the quarrel between Sir Heimbert of 
Waldhausen and Don Frederigo Mendez is nobly and 
honourably settled, shall have to do with Duke Alva for 
life or death. And should either of the aforenamed knights 
object to this, let him declare it. I stand as champion for 
my own opinion." 

The youths bowed to their great umpire, and sank into 
one another's arms. The duke embraced them with heart- 
felt affection, which appeared the more charming and re- 
freshing, as any outward demonstration of it was seldom 
to be seen in this strong-minded man. 

Then he led the reconciled ones back to their brides ; and 
when these, after the first joyful surprise at the presence 
of the much-honoured general was over, started back on 
perceiving drops of blood on the youths' garments, the 
duke said laughingly, " Oh ! the brides-elect of soldiers 
must not shrink from such medals of honour." 

The Duke Alva took on himself to stand as father to 
both the happy brides, and to fix the festival of their be- 
trothal for the very next day. From this time forth they 
all lived in undisturbed concord ; and when Sir Heimbert 
was recalled with his lovely spouse to the bosom of his 
native Germany, the two families yet continued near each 
other by letters and constant communications. And in 



52 



THE TWO CAPTAINS. 



after times the descendants of the lord of Waldhausen' 
boasted their connexion with the family of Mendez, while i 
the latter ever preserved the tradition of the brave andi 
magnanimous Heimbert of Waldhausen. 




r' 





ASI 4UGAS KM^HT 



5ti?lau9a'6 ^m0, 



li ^Romance. 




^xonx t|)e ©erman of ?Jouque. 

IQoniroit: Xames JB^uxtis, 



LONDON: 
Great New Street, Fetter Lane. 



Q^ 







CHAPTER I. 




VaV^' 



ANY years ago there lived in the 
island of Fiihnen a noble knight, 
called Froda the friend of the Skalds, 
who was so named because he not only of- 
fered free hospitality in his fair castle to 
every renowned and noble bard, but like- 
wise strove with all his might to discover 
those ancient songs, and tales, and legends, 
which, in Runic writings or elsewhere, were 
still to be found ; he had even made some 
\v^'',^ voyages to Iceland in search of them, and 
|j^^^>' had fought many a hard battle with the 
fi^li^^^^ pirates of those seas — for he was also a right 
"ofl^ 4^^-^ valiant knight, and he followed his great 
J^^w)r^-> ancestors not only in their love of song, but 
lf-^>> <'^ also in their bold deeds of arms. Although 
he was still scarcely beyond the prime of youth, yet all the 
other nobles in the island willingly submitted themselves 
to him, whether in council or in war ; nay, his renown 



4 ASLAUGA S KNIGHT. 

had even been carried ere now over the sea to the neigh- ij 
bouringland of* Germany. 

One bright autumn evening this honour-loving knight ' 
sat before his castle, as he was often wont to do, that he 
might look far and wide over land and sea, and that he 
might invite any travellers who were passing by, as was 
his custom, to share in his noble hospitality. But on this 
day he saw little of all that he was accustomed to look 
upon ; for on his knees there lay an ancient book with skil- 
fully and richly painted characters, which a learned Ice- 
lander had just sent to him across the sea: it was the his- 
tory of Aslauga, the fair daughter of Sigurd, who at first, 
concealing her high birth, kept goats among the simple 
peasants of the land, clothed in mean attire ; then, in the 
golden veil of her flowing hair, won the love of King Rag- , 
nar Lodbrog; and at last shone brightly on the Danish 
throne as his glorious queen, till the day of her death. 

To the Knight Froda it seemed as though the gra- 
cious Lady Aslauga rose in life and birth before him, so 
that his calm and stedfast heart, true indeed to ladies' ser- 
vice, but never yet devoted to one particular female image, 
burst forth in a clear flame of love for the fair daughter of 
Sigurd. " What matters it," thought he to himself, " that 
it is more than a hundred years since she disappeared from 
earth? She sees so clearly into this heart of mine — and what 
more can a knight desire ? wherefore she shall henceforth 
be my honoured love, and shall inspire me in battle and in 
song." And therewith he sang a lay on his new love, 
which ran in the following manner : 

" They ride over hill and dale apace 
To seek for their love the fairest face — 
They search through city and forest-glade 
To find for their love the gentlest maid — 
They climb wherever a path may lead 
To seek the wisest dame for their meed. 
Ride on, ye knights ; but ye never may see 
What the light of song has shewn to me : 



ASLAUGA S KNIGHT. O 

Loveliest, gentlest, and wisest of aU, 
Bold be the deeds that her name shall recedl ; 
What though she ne'er bless my earthly sight? 
Yet death shall reved her countenance bright. 
Fair world, good night ! Good day, sweet love ! 
Who seeks here in faith shaU find above." 

" Such purpose may come to good,'' said a hollow voice 
near the knight ; and when he looked round, he saw the 
form of a poor peasant-woman, so closely wrapped in a 
grey mantle that he could not discern any part of her 
countenance. She looked over his shoulder on the book, 
and said, with a deep sigh, " I know that story well; and 
it fares no better with me than with the princess of whom 
it tells." Froda looked at her with astonishment. " Yes, 
yes," pursued she, with strange becks and nods; "I am 
the descendant of the mighty Rolf, to whom the fairest 
castles and forests and fields of this island once belonged ; 
your castle and your domains, Froda, amongst others, 
were his. We are now cast down to poverty ; and because 
I am not so fair as Aslauga, there is no hope that my pos- 
sessions will be restored to me ; and therefore I am fain to 
veil my poor face from every eye." It seemed that she 
shed warm tears beneath her mantle. At this Froda was 
greatly moved, and begged her, for God's sake, to let him 
know how he could help her, for that he was a descendant 
of the famous northern heroes of the olden time ; and per- 
haps yet something more than they — namely, a good Chris- 
tian. " I almost think," murmured she from beneath her 
covering, " that you are that very Froda whom men call 
the Good, and the friend of the Skalds, and of whose gene- 
rosity and mildness such wonderful stories are told. If it 
be so, there may be help for me. You need only give up 
to me the half of your fields and meadows, and I should be 
in a condition to live, in some measure, such a life as befits 
the descendant of the mighty Rolf." Then Froda looked 
thoughtfully on the ground ; partly because she had asked 
for so very much ; partly, also, because he was considering 



6 aslal'ga's knight. 

whether she could really be descended from the powerful 
Rolf. But the veiled form said, after a pause, "I must 
have been mistaken, and you are not indeed that renowned, 
gentle-hearted Froda : for how could he have doubted so 
long about such a trifle? But I will try the utmost means. 
See now ! for the sake of the fair Aslauga, of whom you 
have both read and sung — for the sake of the honoured 
daughter of Sigurd, grant my request !" Then Froda 
started up eagerly, and cried, '^ Let it be as you have 
said !" and gave her his knightly hand to confirm his words. 
But he could not grasp the hand of the peasant- woman, 
although her dark form remained close before him. A 
secret shudder began to run through his limbs, whilst sud- 
denly a light seemed to shine forth from the apparition — 
a golden light — in which she became wholly wrapped ; so 
that he felt as though Aslauga stood before him in the flow- 
ing veil of her golden hair, and smiling graciously on him. 
Transported and dazzled, he sank on his knees. When he 
rose up once more, he only saw a cloudy mist of autumn 
spreading over the meadow, fringed at its edges with lin- 
gering evening lights, and then vanishing far over the 
waves. The knight scarcely knew what had happened to 
him. He returned to his chamber buried in thought, and 
sometimes feeling sure that he had beheld Aslauga ; some- 
times, again, that some goblin had risen before him with 
deceitful tricks, mocking in spiteful wise the service which ^ 
he had vowed to his dead mistress. But henceforth, wher- ' 
ever he roved, over valley or forest or heath, or whether 
he sailed upon the waves of the sea, the like appearances 
met him. Once he found a lute lying in a wood, and drove 
a wolf away from it ; and when sounds burst from the lute 
without its being touched, a fair child rose up from it, as ■ 
of old Aslauga herself had done. At another time he would 
see goats clambering among the highest cliffs by the sea- 
shore ; and it was a golden form who tended them. Then, * 
again, a bright queen, resplendent in a dazzling bark, j 
would seem to glide past him, and salute him graciously ; ! 



ASLAUGA S KNIGHT. / 

— and if he strove to approach any of these, he found 
nothing but cloud, and mist, and vapour. Of all this many 
a lay might be sung. But so much he learnt from them 
all, — that the fair Lady Aslauga accepted his service, and 
that he was now in deed and in truth become her knight. 

Meanwhile the winter had come and gone. In northern 
lands this season never fails to bring to those who under- 
stand and love it many an image full of beauty and mean- 
ing, with which a child of man might well be satisfied, so 
far as earthly happiness can satisfy, through all his time on 
earth. But when the spring came glancing forth with its 
opening buds and flowing waters, there came also bright 
and sunny tidings from the land of Germany to Fiihnen. 

There stood on the rich banks of the Maine, where it 
pours its waters through the fertile land of Franconia, a 
castle of almost royal magnificence, whose orphan-mistress 
was a relation of the German emperor. She was named 
Hildegardis; and was acknowledged far and wide as the 
fairest of maidens. Therefore her imperial uncle wished 
that she should wed none but the bravest knight who could 
any where be met with. Accordingly he followed the 
example of many a noble lord in such a case, and pro- 
claimed a tournament, at which the chief prize should be 
the hand of the peerless Hildegardis, unless the victor 
already bore in his heart a lady wedded or betrothed to 
him ; for the lists were not to be closed to any brave war- 
rior of equal birth, that the contest of strength and courage 
might be so much the richer in competitors. 

Now the renowned Froda had tidings of this from his 
German brethren in arms; and he prepared himself to 
appear at the festival. Before all things, he forged for 
himself a splendid suit of armour ; as, indeed, he was the 
most excellent armourer of the north, far-famed as it is for 
skill in that art. He worked the helmet out in pure gold, 
and formed it so that it seemed to be covered with bright 
flowing locks, which called to mind Aslauga's tresses. He 



b ASLAUGA S KNIGHT. 

also fashioned on the breastplate of his armour, overlaid 
with silver, a golden image in half relief, which represented 
Aslauga in her veil of flowing locks, that he might make 
known, even at the beginning of the tournament — "This 
knight, bearing the image of a lady upon his breast, fights 
not for the hand of the beautiful Hildegardis, but only for 
the joy of battle and for knightly fame." Then he took 
out of his stables a beautiful Danish steed, embarked it 
carefully on board a vessel, and sailed prosperously to the 
opposite shore. 



CHAPTER II. 

In one of those fair beech- woods, which abound in the 
fertile land of Germany, he fell in with a young and cour- 
teous knight of delicate form, who asked the noble north- 
man to share the meal which he had invitingly spread out 
upon the greensward, under the shade of the pleasantest 
boughs. Whilst the two knights sat peacefully together at 
their repast, they felt drawn towards each other ; and re- 
joiced when, on rising from it, they observed that they 
were about to follow the same road. They had not come 
to this good understanding by means of many words ; for 
the young knight Edwald was of a silent nature, and would 
sit for hours with a quiet smile upon his lips without open- 
ing them to speak. But even in that quiet smile there lay 
a gentle, winning grace ; and when from time to time a few 
simple words of deep meaning sprang to his lips, they i 
seemed like a gift deserving of thanks. It was the same 
with the little songs which he sang ever and anon ; they 
were ended almost as soon as begun : but in each short 
couplet there dwelt a deep and winning spirit, whether it 
called forth a kindly sigh or a peaceful smile. It seemed 
to the noble Froda as if a younger brother rode beside 
him, or even a tender, blooming son. They travelled thus 



aslauga's knight. 9 

many days together; and it appeared as if their path were 
marked out for them in inseparable union : and much as 
they rejoiced at this, yet they looked sadly at each other 
whenever they set out afresh, or where cross-roads met, 
on finding that neither took a different direction ; nay, it 
seemed at times as if a tear gathered in Edwald's down- 
cast eye. 

It happened on a time, that at their hostelry they met 
an arrogant, overbearing knight, of gigantic stature and 
powerful frame, whose speech and carriage proved him to 
be not of German but foreign birth. He appeared to come 
from the land of Bohemia. He cast a contemptuous smile 
on Froda, who, as usual, had opened the ancient book of 
Aslauga's history, and was attentively reading in it. ''You 
must be a ghostly knight ?" he said, inquiringly ; and it 
appeared as if a whole train of unseemly jests were ready 
to follow. But Froda answered so firmly and seriously 
with a negative, that the Bohemian stopped short sud- 
denly; as when the beasts, after venturing to mock their 
king the lion, are subdued to quietness by one glance of his 
eye. But not so easily was the Bohemian knight subdued; 
rather the more did he begin to mock young Edwald for his 
delicate form and for his silence — all which he bore for 
some time with great patience ; but when at last the 
stranger used an unbecoming phrase, he arose, girded on 
his sword, and bowing gracefully, he said, " I thank you. 
Sir Knight, that you have given me this opportunity of 
proving that I am neither a slothful nor unpractised knight; 
for only thus can your behaviour be excused, which other- 
wise must be deemed most unmannerly. Are you ready ?" 

With these words he moved towards the door; the 
Bohemian knight followed, smiling scornfully ; while Froda 
was full of care for his young and slender companion, al- 
though his honour was so dear to him that he could in no 
way interpose. 

But it soon appeared how needless were the northman's 
fears. With equal vigour and address did Edwald as- 



10 aslauga's knight. 

sault his gigantic adversary, so that to look upon, it was 
almost like one of those combats between a knight and 
some monster of the forest, of which ancient legends teD. 
The issue too was not unlike. While the Bohemian was 
collecting himself for a decisive stroke, Edwald rushed in 
upon him, and, with the force of a wrestler, cast him to the 
ground. But he spared his conquered foe, helped him cour- 
teously to rise, and then turned to mount his own steed. 
Soon after he and Froda left the hostelry, and once more 
their journey led them on the same path as before. 

" From henceforth this gives me pleasure," said Froda, 
pointing with satisfaction to their common road. " I must 
own to you, Edchen" — he had accustomed himself, in loving 
confidence, to call his young friend by that childlike name 
— " I must own to you, that hitherto, when 1 have thought 
that you might perhaps be journeying with me to the tour- 
nament held in honour of the fair Hildegardis, a heaviness 
came over my heart. Your noble knightly spirit I well 
knew, but I feared lest the strength of your slender limbs 
might not be equal to it. Now I have learned to know 
you as a warrior who may long seek his match ; and God 
be praised if we still hold on in the same path, and wel- 
come our earliest meeting in the lists !" 

But Edwald looked at him sorrowfully, and said, " What 
can my skill and strength avail, if they be tried against 
you, and for the greatest earthly prize, which one of us 
alone can win ? Alas ! I have long foreboded with a heavy 
heart the sad truth, that you also are journeying to the 
tournament of the fair Hildegardis." 

" Edchen," answered Froda, with a smile, " my gentle, 
loving youth, see you not that I already wear on my breast- 
plate the image of a liege lady ? I strive but for renown 
in arms, and not for your fair Hildegardis." 

" My fair Hildegardis !" answered Edwald, with a sigh. 
" TTiat she is not, nor ever will be, — or should she, ah ! 
Froda, it would pierce your heart. I know well the north- 
land faith is deep-rooted as your rocks, and hard to dissolve 



aslauga's knight, 11 

as their summits of snow ; but let no man think that he 
can look unscathed into the eyes of Hildegardis. Has not 
she, the haughty, the too haughty maiden, so bewitched 
my tranquil, lowly mind, that I forget the gulf which lies 
between us, and still pursue her ; and would rather perish 
than renounce the daring hope to win that eagle spirit for 
my own V 

" I will help you to it, Edchen," answered Froda, 
smiling still. " Would that I knew how this all-conquer- 
ing lady looks ! She must resemble the Valkyrien of our 
heathen forefathers, since so many mighty warriors are 
overcome by her.'' 

Edwald solemnly drew forth a picture from beneath his 
breastplate, and held it before him. Fixed, and as if en- 
chanted, Froda gazed upon it, with glowing cheeks and 
sparkling eyes ; the smile passed away from his counte- 
nance, as the sunlight fades away from the meadows before 
the coming darkness of the storm. 

" See you not now, my noble comrade," whispered 
Edwald, " that for one of us two, or perhaps for both, the 
joy of life is gone ?" 

*' Not yet," replied Froda, with a powerful effort; " but 
hide your magic picture, and let us rest beneath this shade. 
You must be somewhat spent with your late encounter, and 
a strange weariness oppresses me with leaden weight." 
They dismounted from their steeds, and stretched them- 
selves upon the ground. 

The noble Froda had no thought of sleep ; but he wished 
to be undisturbed whilst he wrestled strongly with himself, 
and strove, if it might be, to drive from his mind that 
image of fearful beauty. It seemed as if this new influence 
had already become a part of his very life, and at last a 
restless dreamy sleep did indeed overshadow the exhausted 
warrior. He fancied himself engaged in combat with 
many knights, whilst Hildegardis looked on smiling from 
a richly-adorned balcony ; and just as he thought he had 
gained the victory, the bleeding Edwald lay groaning be- 



12 aslauga's knight, 

neath his horse's feet. Then again it seemed as if Hilde- 
gardis stood by his side in a church, and they %vere about 
to receive the marriage-blessing. He knew well that this 
was not right, and the "yes," which he was to utter, he 
pressed back with resolute effort into his heart, and forth- 
with his eyes were moistened with burning tears. From 
yet stranger and more bewildering visions, the voice of 
Edwald at last awoke him. He raised himself up, and 
heard his young companion saying courteously, as he 
looked towards a neighbouring thicket, *' Only return, 
noble maiden ; I will surely help you, if I can ; and I had 
no wish to scare you away, but that the slumbers of my 
brother in arms might not be disturbed by you." A golden 
gleam shone through the branches as it vanished. 

*' For heaven's sake, my faithful comrade," cried Froda, 
" to whom are you speaking, and who has been here by 
me?" 

" 1 cannot myself rightly understand," said Edwald. 
" Hardly had j^ou dropped asleep, when a figure came forth 
from the forest, closely wrapped in a dark mantle. At 
first I took her for a peasant. She seated herself at your 
head ; and though I could see nothing of her countenance, 
I could well observe that she was sorely troubled, and even 
shedding tears. I made signs to her to depart, lest she 
should disturb your sleep ; and would have offered her a 
piece of gold, supposing that poverty must be the cause of 
her deep distress. But my hand seemed powerless, and a 
shudder passed through me, as if I had entertained such a 
purpose towards a queen. Immediately glittering locks of 
gold waved here and there between the folds of her close- 
wrapped mantle, and the thicket began almost to shine in 
the light which they shed. *' Poor youth," said she then, 
"you love truly, and can well understand how a lofty 
woman's heart burns in keenest sorrow, w^hen a noble 
knight, who vowed himself to be her own, withdraws his 
heart, and, like a weak bondman, is led away to meaner 
hopes." Hereupon she arose, and, sighing, disappeared in 



ASLAUGA S KNIGHT. 13 

yonder thicket. It almost seemed to me, Froda, as though 
she uttered your name." 

" Yes, it was me she named/' answered Froda ; " and 
not in vain she named me. — Aslauga, thy knight comes, 
and enters the lists, and all for thee and thy reward alone ! 
— At the same time, my Edchen, w'e will win for you your 
haughty bride." With this he sprang upon his steed, full 
of the proud joy of former times ; and when the magic of 
Hildegardis' beauty, dazzling and bewildering, would rise 
up before him, he said smiling, " Aslauga !" and the sun of 
his inner life shone forth again cloudless and serene. 



CHAPTER III. 

From a balcony of her castle on the Maine Hildegardis 
was wont to refresh herself in the cool of the evening by 
gazing on the rich landscape below, but gazing more 
eagerly on the glitter of arms, which often came in sight 
from many a distant road ; for knights were approaching 
singly, or with a train of followers, all eager to prove their 
courage and their strength in striving for the high prize of 
the tournament. She was in truth a proud and high- 
minded maiden, — perhaps more so than became even her 
dazzling beauty and her princely rank. As she now gazed 
with a proud smile on the glittering roads, a damsel of her 
train began the following lay : — 

The joyous song of birds in spring 

Upon the wing 
Doth echo far through wood and dell, 

And freely tell 
Their treasures sweet of love and mirth, 
Too gladsome for this lowly earth. 

The gentle breath of flowers in May, 
O'er meadows gay, 



14 aslauga's knight. 

Doth fill the pure and balmy air 

With perfume rare ; 
Still floating round each slender form, 
Though scorch'd by sun, or torn by storm. 

But every high and glorious aim, 

And the pure flame 
That deep abiding in my heart 

Can ne'er depart, 
Too lofty for my fait' ring tongue. 
Must die with me, unknown, unsung. 

"Wherefore do you sing that song, and at this mo- 
ment ?" said Hildegardis, striving to appear scornful and 
proud, though a deej) and secret sadness was plainly enough 
seen to overshadow her countenance. " It came into my I 
head unawares," replied the damsel, " as I looked upon the ' 
road by which the gentle Edwald with his pleasant lays | 
first approached us ; for it was from him I learnt it. But | 
seems it not to you, my gracious lady, and to you too, my . 
companions, as if Edwald himself were again riding that 
way towards the castle ?" " Dreamer !" said Hildegardis 
scornfully, — and yet could not for some space withdraw I 
her eyes from the knight, till at length, with an effort, j 
she turned them on Froda, who rode beside him, saying : j 
" Yes, truly, that knight is Edwald ; but what can you find I 
to notice in the meek-spirited, silent boy ? Here, fix your j 
eyes, my maidens, on this majestic figure, if you would 
behold a knight indeed." She was silent. A voice within 
her, as though of prophecy, said, " Now the victor of the 
tournament rides into the courtyard ;" and she, who had 
never feared the presence of any human being, now felt 
humbled, and almost painfully awed, when she beheld the 
northern knight. 

At the evening meal the two newly-arrived knights 
were placed opposite to the royal Hildegardis. As Froda, 
after the northern fashion, remained in full armour, the 
golden image of Aslauga gleamed from his silver breast- 



aslauga's knight. 15 

plate full before the eyes of the haughty lady. She smiled 
scornfully, as if conscious that it depended on her will to 
drive that image from the breast and from the heart of 
the stranger-knight. Then suddenly a clear golden light 
passed through the hall, so that Hildegardis said, " O, the 
keen lightning !" and covered her eyes with both her 
hands. But Froda looked into the dazzling radiance vriih 
a joyful gaze of welcome. At this Hildegardis feared 
him yet more, though at the same time she thought, 
" This loftiest and most mysterious of men must be born 
for me alone." Yet could she not forbear, almost against 
her will, to look from time to time in friendly tender- 
ness on the poor Edwald, who sat there silent, and with 
a sweet smile seemed to pity and to mock his own suflfer- 
ing and his own vain hopes. 

When the two knights were alone in their sleeping- 
chamber, Edwald looked for a long time in silence into the 
dewy balmy night. Then he sang to his lute : 

A hero wise and brave, 

A lowly tender youth, 
Are wandering through the land 

In stedfast love and truth. 

The hero, by his deeds, 

Both bliss and fame hath won. 
And stiU, with heartfelt joy. 

The faithful child looked on. 

But Froda took the lute from his hands, and said, 
" No, Edchen, I will teach you another song ; listen ! — 

There 's a gleam in the hall, and like morning's hght 

Hath shone upon all her presence bright. 

Suitors watch as she passes by — 

She may gladden their hearts by one glance of her eye : 

But coldly she gazeth upon the throng, 

And they that have sought her may seek her long. 

She turns her away from the richly clad knight, 

She heeds not the words of the learned wight ; 



16 aslauga's knight. 

The prince is before her in all his pride, 
But other the visions around her that glide. 
Then tell me, in all the wide world's space, 
Who may e'er win that lady's grace ? 
In sorrowful love there sits apart 
The gentle squire who hath her heart ; 
They all are deceived by fancies vain, 
And he knows it not who the prize shall gain. 

Edwald thrilled. *'As God wills/' said he, softly to 
himself. " But I cannot understand how such a thing 
could be. ''As God wills," repeated Froda. The two 
friends embraced each other, and soon after fell into 
peaceful slumber. 

Some days afterwards, Froda sat in a secluded bower 
of the castle-garden, and was reading in the ancient book 
of his lovely mistress Aslauga. It happened at that very- 
time that Hildegardis passed by. She stood still, and said, 
thoughtfully, "Strange union that you are of knight and 
sage, how comes it that you bring forth so little out of the 
deep treasures of your knowledge ? And yet I think you 
must have many a choice history at your command, even 
such as that which now lies open before you ; for I see rich > 
and bright pictures of knights and ladies painted amongst 
the letters." " It is, indeed, the most surpassing and en- 
chanting history in all the world," said Froda ; "but you « 
have neither patience nor thoughtfulness to listen to our 
wonderful legends of the north." 

"Why think you so ?" answered Hildegardis, with that « 
pride which she rejoiced to display towards Froda, when i 
she could find courage to do so ; and, placing herself on fl 
stone-seat opposite, she commanded him at once to read ' 
something to her out of that fair book. 

Froda began ; and in the very elfort which he made to <■ 
change the old heroic speech of Iceland into the German >. 
tongue, his heart and mind were stirred more fervently and i 
solemnly. As he looked up from time to time, he beheld : 
the countenance of Hildegardis beaming in ever-growing i 



aslauga's knight. 17 

beauty with joy, wonder, and interest; and the thought 
passed tlirough his mind whether this could indeed be his 
destined bride, to whom Aslauga herself was guiding him. 

Then suddenly the characters became strangely con- 
fused ; it seemed as if the pictures began to move, so that 
he was obliged to stop. While he fixed his eyes with a 
strong elFort upon the book, endeavouring to drive away 
this strange confusion, he heard a well-known sweetlj^ 
solemn voice, which said, " Leave a little space for me, 
fair lady. The history which that knight is reading to you 
relates to me ; and I hear it gladly." 

Before the eyes of Froda, as he raised them from his 
book, sat Asian ga in all the glory of her flowing golden 
locks beside Hildegardis, on the seat. With tears of 
affright in her eyes, the maiden sank back and fainted. 
Solemnly, yet graciously, Aslauga warned her knight Avith 
a motion of her fair right hand, and vanished. 

"What have I done to you," said Hildegardis, when 
recovered from her swoon by his care, " what have I done 
to you, evil-minded knight, that you call up your northern 
spectres before me, and well nigh destroy me through 
terror of your magic arts 1" " Lady," answered Froda, 
"may God help me, as I have not called hither the won- 
drous lady who but now appeared to us. But now her 
will is known to me, and I commend you to God's keep- 
ing." 

With that he walked thoughtfully out of the bower. 
Hildegardis fled in terror from the gloomy shade ; and, 
rushing out on the opposite side, reached a fair open grass- 
plot, where EdAvald, in the soft glow of twilight, was ga- 
thering flowers ; and, meeting her with a courteous smile, 
offered her a nosegay of narcissus and pansies. 



18 aslauga's knight. 



CHAPTER IV. 

At length the day fixed for the tournament arrived ; and a 
distinguished noble, appointed by the German emperor, 
arranged all things in the most magnificent and sumptuous 
guise for the solemn festival. The field-combat opened 
wide, and fair, and level; thickly strewn with the finest 
sand, so that both man and horse might find sure footing; 
and, like a pure field of snow, it shone forth from the 
midst of the flowery plain. Rich hangings of silk from 
Arabia, curiously embroidered with Indian gold, adorned , 
with their various colours the lists enclosing the space, 
and hung from the lofty galleries which had been erected i 
for the ladies and the nobles who were to behold the com- 1 
bat. At the upper end, under a canopy of majestic j 
arches richly wrought in gold, was the place of the Lady { 
Hildegardis. Green wreaths and garlands waved grace- ] 
fully between the glittering pillars in the soft breezes of 
July. And with impatient eyes the multitude, who 1 
crowded beyond the lists, gazed upwards, expecting the ! 
appearance of the fairest maiden of Germany ; and were 
only at times drawn to another part by the stately ap- 
proach of the combatants. O, how many a bright suit of 
armour, how many a silken richly-embroidered mantle, ' 
how many a lofty waving plume was here to be seen ! ' 
The splendid troop of knights moved within the lists, greet- . 
ing and conversing with each other, as a bed of flowers ' 
stirred by a breath of wind : — but the flower-stems had 
grown to lofty trees, the yellow and white flower-leaves ; 
had changed to gold and silver, and the dew-drops to 
pearls and diamonds. For whatever was most fair and 
costly, most varied and full of meaning, had these noble ! 
knights collected in honour of this day. Many an eye was I 
turned on Froda, who, without scarf, plume, or mantle, \ 
with his shining silver breastplate, on which appeared the ' 
golden image of Aslauga, and with his well-wrought hel- , 



aslauga's knight. 19 

met of golden locks, shone, in the midst of the crowd, like 
polished brass. Others, again, there were, who took plea- 
sure in looking at the young Edwald ; his whole armour 
was covered by a mantle of white silk, embroidered in 
azure and silver, as his whole helmet was concealed by a 
waving plume of white feathers. He was arrayed with 
almost feminine elegance ; and yet the conscious power 
with which he controlled his fiery, snow-white steed made 
known the victorious strength and manliness of the war- 
like stripling. 

In strange contrast appeared the tall and almost gi- 
gantic figure of a knight clothed in a mantle of black 
glossy bear-skin, bordered with costly fur, but without 
any ornament of shining metal. His very helmet was 
covered with dark bear-skin; and, instead of plumes, a 
mass of blood-red horsehair hung like a flowing mane pro- 
fusely on every side. Well did Froda and Edwald remem- 
ber that dark knight ; for he was the uncourteous guest of 
the hostelry : he also seemed to remark the two knights ; for 
he turned his unruly steed suddenly round, forced his way 
through the crowd of warriors, and, after he had spoken 
over the enclosure to a hideous bronze-coloured woman, 
sprang with a wild leap across the lists, and, with the speed 
of an arrow, vanished out of sight. The old woman looked 
after him with a friendly nod. The assembled people 
laughed as at a strange masquing device ; but Edwald and 
Froda had their own almost shuddering thoughts concern- 
ing it, which, however, neither imparted to the other. 

The kettle-drums rolled, the trumpets sounded, and, 
led by the aged duke, Hildegardis advanced, richly appa- 
relled, but more dazzling through the brightness of her own 
beauty. She stepped forward beneath the arches of the 
golden bower, and bowed to the assembly. The knights 
bent low, and the feeling rushed into many a heart, " There 
is no man on earth who can deserve a bride so queenly." 
When Froda bowed his head, it seemed to him as if the 
golden radiance of Aslauga's tresses floated before his sight ; 



20 aslauga's knight. 

and his spirit rose in joy and pride that his lady held j 
him worthy to be so often reminded of her. 

And now the tournament began. At first the knights 
strove with blunted swords and battle-axes ; then they ran 
their course with lances man to man ; but at last they di- 
vided into two equal parties, and a general assault began, 
in which every one was allowed to use at his own will 
either sword or lance. Froda and Edwald equally sur- 
passed their antagonists, as (measuring each his own 
strength and that of his friend) they had foreseen. And 
now it must be decided, by a single combat with lances, to 
whom the highest prize of victory should belong. Before 
this trial began, they rode slowly together into the middle 
of the course, and consulted where each should take his 
place. "Keep you your guiding-star still before your 
sight," said Froda, with a smile ; " the like gracious help 
will not be wanting to me." Edwald looked round asto- 
nished for the lady of whom his friend seemed to speak ; 
but Froda went on. " I have done wrong in hiding aught 
from you ; but after the tournament you shall know all. 
Now lay aside all needless thoughts of wonder, dear Ed- 
chen, and sit firm in your saddle ; for I warn you that I 
shall run this course w^ith all my might : not my honour 
alone is at stake, but the far higher honour of my lady." 

" So also do I purpose to demean myself," said Ed- 
wald, with a friendly smile. They shook each other by 
the hand, and rode to their places. 

Amidst the sound of trumpets they met again, running 
their course with lightning speed ; the lances shivered with 
a crash, the horses staggered, the knights, firm in their 
saddles, pulled them up, and rode back to their places. But 
as they prepared for another course, Edwald's white steed 
snorted in wild affi-ight, and Froda's powerful chestnut 
reared up foaming. 

It was plain that the two noble animals shrunk from a 
second hard encounter ; but their riders held them fast with 
spur and bit, and, firm and obedient, they again dashed 



ASLAUGA S KNIGHT. 21 

forward at the second call of the trumpet. Edwald, who 
by one deep, ardent gaze on the beauty of his mistress 
had stamped it afresh on his soul, cried aloud at the mo- 
ment of encounter, " Hildegardis !" and so mightily did 
his lance strike his valiant adversary, that Froda sank 
backwards on his steed, with difficulty keeping his seat 
in his saddle, or holding firm in his stirrups ; whilst Ed- 
wald flew by unshaken, lowered his spear to salute Hilde- 
gardis as he passed her bower, and then, amidst the loud 
applause of the multitude, rushed to his place, ready for 
the third course. And, ah ! Hildegardis herself, overcome 
by surprise, had greeted him w^ith a blush and a look of 
kindness; it seemed to him as if the overwhelming joy of 
victory were already gained. But it was not so ; for the 
valiant Froda, burning with noble shame, had again tamed 
his affrighted steed, and, chastising him sharply with the 
spur for his share in this mischance, said in a low voice, 
"Beautiful and beloved lady, shew thyself to me, — the 
honour of thy name is at stake." To every other eye it 
seemed as if a golden rosy-tinted summers cloud was pass- 
ing over the deep-blue sky ; but Froda beheld the heavenly 
countenance of his lady, felt the waving of her golden 
tresses, and cried, "Aslauga!" The two rushed together, 
and Edwald was hurled from his saddle far upon the dusty 
plain. 

Froda remained for a time motionless, according to the 
laws of chivalry, as though waiting to see whether any one 
would dispute his victory, and appearing on his mailed 
steed like some lofty statue of brass. All around stood the 
multitude in silent wonderment. When at length they 
burst forth into shouts of triumph, he beckoned earnestly 
with his hand, and all were again silent. He then sprang 
lightly from his saddle, and hastened to the spot where the 
fallen Edwald was striving to rise. He pressed him closely 
to his breast, led his snow-white steed towards him, and 
would not be denied holding the stirrups of the youth 
whilst he mounted. Then he bestrode his own steed, and 



22 



ASLAUGA S KNIGHT. 



rode by Edwald's side towards the golden bower of Hilde- 
gardis, where with lowered spear and open vizor, he thus 
spoke : " Fairest of all living ladies, I bring you here Ed- 
wald your knightly bridegroom, before whose lance and 
sword all the knights of this tournament have fallen away, 
I only excepted, who can make no claim to the choicest 
prize of victory, since I, as the image on my breastplate 
may shew, already serve another mistress." 

The duke was even now advancing towards the two 
warriors, to lead them into the golden bower ; but Hilde- 
gardis restrained him with a look of displeasure, saying 
immediately, while her cheeks glowed with anger, " Then 
you seem, Sir Froda, the Danish knight, to serve your 
lady ill ; for even now you openly styled me the fairest of 
living ladies." 

" That did I," answered Froda, bending courteously ; 
*' because my fair mistress belongs to the dead." 

A slight shudder passed at these words through the 
assembly, and through the heart of Hildegardis ; but soon 
the anger of the maiden blazed forth again, and the more 
because the most wonderful and excellent knight she knew 
had scorned her for the sake of a dead mistress. 

" I make known to all," she said with solemn earnest- 
ness, " that according to the just decree of my imperial 
uncle, this hand can never belong to a vanquished knight, 
however noble and honourable he may otherwise have 
proved himself. As the conqueror of this tournament, 
therefore, is bound to another service, this combat concerns 
me not ; and I depart hence as I came, a free and unbe- 
trothed maiden." 

The duke seemed about to reply ; but she turned haught- 
ily away, and left the bower. Suddenly a gust of wind 
shook the green wreaths and garlands, and they fell un- 
twined and rustling behind her. In this the people, dis- 
pleased with the pride of Hildegardis, thought they beheld 
an omen of punishment, and with jeering words noticed it 
as they departed. 



ASLAUGA'S KNIGHT. 23 



CHAPTER V. 



The two knights had returned to their apartments in deep 
silence. When they arrived there, Edwald caused himself 
to be disarmed, and laid every piece of his fair shining 
armour together with a kind of tender care, almost as if 
he were burying the corpse of a beloved friend. Then he 
beckoned to his squires to leave the chamber, took his lute 
on his arm, and sang the following song to its notes : — 

" Bury them, bury them out of sight, 
For hope and fame are fled ; 
And peaceful resting and quiet night 
Are all now left for the dead." 

" You will stir up my anger against your lute," said 
Froda. " You had accustomed it to more joyful songs 
than this. It is too good for a passing-bell, and you too 
good to toll it. I tell you yet, my young hero, all will 
end gloriously." 

Edwald looked awhile with wonder in his face, and he 
answered kindly : " Beloved Froda, if it displeases you, I 
will surely sing no more." But at the same time he struck 
a few sad chords, which sounded infinitely sweet and tender. 
Then the northern knight, much moved, clasped him in his 
arms, and said : " Dear Edchen, sing and say and do what- 
ever pleases you ; it shall ever rejoice me. But you may 
well believe me, for I speak not this without a spirit of pre- 
sage — your sorrow shall change ; whether to death or life I 
know not, but great and overpowering joy awaits you." 
Edwald rose firmly and cheerfully from his seat, seized his 
companion's arm with a strong grasp, and walked forth 
with him through the blooming alleys of the garden into 
the balmy air. 

At that very hour, an aged woman, muffled in many a 
covering, was led secretly to the apartment of the lady Hil- 
degardis. The appearance of the dark-complexioned stran- 



24 aslauga's knight. 

ger was mysterious ; and she had gathered round her for 
some time, by many feats of jugglery, a part of the multi- 
tude returning home from the tournament, but had dispersed 
them at last in wild affright. Before this happened, the 
tire-woman of Hildegardis had hastened to her mistress, to 
entertain her with an account of the rare and pleasant feats 
of the bronze-coloured woman. The maidens in attendance, 
seeing their lady deeply moved, and wishing to banish her 
melancholy, bade the tire-woman bring the old stranger 
hither. Hildegardis forbade it not, hoping that she should 
thus divert the attention of her maidens, while she gave 
herself up more deeply and earnestly to the varying ima- 
ginations which flitted through her mind. 

The messenger found the place already deserted ; and 
the strange old woman alone in the midst, laughing immo- 
derately. When questioned by her, she did not deny that 
she had all at once taken the form of a monstrous owl, an- 
nouncing to the spectators in a screeching voice, that she 
was the Devil, — and that every one upon this rushed 
screaming home. 

The tire-woman trembled at the fearful jest, but durst 
not return to ask again the pleasure of Hildegardis, whose 
discontented mood she had already remarked. She gave 
strict charge to the old woman, with many a threat and 
promise, to demean herself discreetly in the castle ; after 
which she brought her in by the most secret way, that none 
of those whom she had terrified might see her enter. 

The aged crone now stood before Hildegardis, and 
winked to her, in the midst of her low and humble saluta- 
tion, in a strangely familiar manner, as though there were 
some secret between them. The lady felt an involuntary 
shudder, and could not withdraw her gaze from the features 
of that hideous countenance, hateful as it was to her. The 
curiosity which had led the rest to desire a sight of the 
strange woman was by no means gratified ; for she performed 
none but the most common tricks of jugglery and related 
only well-known tales, so that the tire-woman felt wearied 



aslauga's knight. 25 

and indifferent ; and, ashamed of having brought the stran- 
ger, she stole away unnoticed. Several other maidens fol- 
lowed her example ; and as these withdrew, the old crone 
twisted her mouth into a smile, and repeated the same 
hideous confidential wink towards the lady. Hildegardis 
could not understand what attracted her in the jests and tales 
of the bronze-coloured woman ; but so it was, that in her 
whole life she had never bestowed such attention on the 
words of any one. Still the old woman went on and on, 
and already the night looked dark without the windows; 
but the attendants who still remained with Hildegardis 
had sunk into a deep sleep, and had lighted none of the 
wax-tapers in the apartment. 

Then, in the dusky gloom, the dark old crone rose from 
the low seat on which she had been sitting, as if she now 
felt herself well at ease, advanced towards Hildegardis, who 
sat as if spell-bound with terror, placed herself be^ide her 
on the purple couch, and embracing her in her long dry 
arms with a hateful caress, whispered a few words in her 
ear. It seemed to the lady as if she uttered the names of 
Froda and Edwald ; and from them came the sound of a 
flute, which, clear and silvery as were its tones, seemed to 
lull her into a trance. She could indeed move her limbs, but 
only to follow those sounds, which like a silver net-work 
floated round the hideous form of the old woman. She 
moved from the chamber, and Hildegardis followed her 
through all her slumbering maidens, still singing softly as 
she went, "Ye maidens, ye maidens, I wander by night." 

Without the castle, accompanied by squire and groom, 
stood the gigantic Bohemian warrior ; he laid on the shoul- 
ders of the crone a bag of gold so heavy that she sank half 
whimpering, half laughing, on the ground ; then lifted the 
entranced Hildegardis on his steed, and galloped with her 
silently into the ever-deepening gloom of night. 

" All ye noble lords and knights, who yesterday con- 
tended gallantly for the prize of victory and the hand of 
the peerless Hildegardis, arise, arise ! saddle your steeds, 



26 aslauga's knight. 

and to the rescue ! The peerless Hildegardis is carried 
away !" 

Thus proclaimed many a herald through castle and 
town, in the bright red dawn of the following day ; and on 
all sides rose the dust from the tread of knights and noble 
squires along those roads by which so latelj^, in the even- 
ing twilight, Hildegardis in proud repose had gazed on 
her approaching suitors. 

Two of them, well known to us, remained inseparably ' 
together; but they knew as little as the others whether ; 
they had taken the right direction ; for how and when the j 
adored lady could have disappeared from her apartments, ] 
was still to the whole castle a fearful and mysterious secret. | 
Edwald and Froda rode as long as the sun moved over j 
their heads, unwearied as he ; and now when he sank in the ♦ 
waves of the river, they thought to win the race from him, j 
and still spurred on their jaded steeds. But the noble j 
animals staggered and panted, and the knights were con- j 
strained to grant them some little refreshment in a grassy » 
meadow. Secure of bringing them back at their first call, j 
their masters removed both bit and curb, that they might ,' 
be refreshed with the green pasture, and with the deep ; 
blue waters of the Maine, while they themselves reposed ' 
under the shade of a neighbouring thicket of alders. 

And deep in the cool dark shade, there shone, as it , 
were, a mild but clear sparkling light, and checked the i 
speech of Froda, who at that moment was beginning to tell j 
his friend the tale of his knightly service to his sovereign \ 
lady, which had been delayed hitherto, first by Edwald's - 
sadness, and then by the hasie of their journey. Ah, well 
did Froda know that lovely golden light ! " Let us follow 
it, Edehen," said he in a low tone, " and leave the horses , 
awhile to their pasture." Edwald in silence followed his j 
companion's advice. A secret voice,, half sweet, half fear- , 
ful, seemed to tell him that here was the path, the only 
right path to Hildegardis. Once only he said in astonish- 
ment, " Never before have I seen the evening glow shine ; 



aslauga's knight. 27 

on the leaves so brightly." Froda shook his head with a 
smile, and they pursued in silence their unknown track. 

When they came forth on the other side of the alder- 
thicket upon the bank of the Maine, which almost wound 
round it, Edwald saw well that another glow than that of 
evening was shining on them, for dark clouds of night 
already covered the heavens, and the guiding light stood 
fixed on the shore of the river. It lit up the waves, so that 
they could see a high woody island in the midst of the 
stream, and a boat on the hither side of the shore fast 
bound to a stake. But on approaching, the knights saw 
much more ; — a troop of horsemen of strange and foreign 
appearance were all asleep, and in the midst of them, slum- 
bering on cushions, a female form in white garments. 

" Hildegardis !" murmured Edwald to himself, with a 
smile, and at the same time he drew his sword in readiness 
for the combat as soon as the robbers should awake, and 
beckoned to Froda to raise the sleeping lady, and convey 
her to a place of safety. But at this moment something 
like an owl passed whizzing over the dark squadron ; and 
they all started up with clattering arms and hideous out- 
cries. A wild unequal combat arose in the darkness of 
night, for that beaming light had disappeared. Froda and 
Edwald were driven asunder, and only at a distance heard 
each other's mighty war-cry. Hildegardis, startled from 
her magic sleep, uncertain whether she were waking or 
dreaming, fled bewildered and weeping bitterly into the 
deep shades of the alder-thicket. 



CHAPTER VI. 

Froda felt his arm grow weary, and the warm blood was 
flowing from two wounds in his shoulder ; he wished so to 
lie down in death that he might rise up with honour from 
his bloody grave to the exalted lady whom he served. He 



2S aslauga's knight. 

cast his shield behind him, grasped his sword-hilt with 
both hands, and rushed wildly, with a loud war-cry, upon 
the affrighted foe. Instantly he heard some voices cr3% 
" It is the rage of the northern heroes which has come 
upon him." And the whole troop were scattered in dis- 
may, while the exhausted knight remained wounded and 
alone in the darkness. 

Then the golden hair of Aslauga gleamed once more in 
the alder-shade ; and Froda said, leaning, through weari- 
ness, on his sword, " I think not that I am wounded to 
death ; but whenever that time shall come, O beloved lady, 
wilt thou not indeed appear to me in all thy loveliness and 
brightness?" A soft ^'Yes" breathed against his cheek, 
and the golden light vanished. 

But now Hildegardis came forth from the thicket, half 
fainting with terror, and said feebly, " Within is the fair 
and frightful spectre of the north — without is the battle; 
— O merciful heaven ! whither shall I go ?" 

Then Froda approached to soothe the affrighted one, to 
speak some words of comfort to her, and to inquire after 
Edwald ; but wild shouts and the rattling of armour an- 
nounced the return of the Bohemian warriors. With haste 
Froda led the maiden to the boat, pushed off from the 
shore, and rowed her with the last effort of his failing 
strength towards the island which he had observed in the 
midst of the stream. But the pursuers had already kindled 
torches, and waved them sparkling here and there : by this 
light they soon discovered the boat ; they saw that the 
dreaded Danish knight was bleeding, and gained fresh 
courage for their pursuit. Hardly had Froda pushed the 
boat to the shore of the island, before he perceived a Bo- 
hemian on the other side in another skiff; and soon after- 
wards the greater number of the enemy embarked to row 
towards the island. " To the wood, fair maiden," he whis- 
pered, as soon as he had landed Hildegardis on the shore: 
*' there conceal yourself, whilst I endeavour to prevent the 
landing of the robbers." But Hildegardis, clinging to his 



aslauga's knight. 29 

arm, whispered again, " Do I not see that you are pale 
and bleeding? and would you have me expire with terror 
in the dark and lonely clefts of this rock ? Ah ! and if 
your northern gold-haired spectre were to appear again 
and seat herself beside me! Think you that I do not see 
her there now, shining through the thicket !" " She 
shines !" echoed Froda ; and new strength and hope ran 
through every vein. He climbed the hill, following the 
gracious gleam ; and Hildegardis, though trembling at the 
sight, went readily with her companion, saying only from 
time to time, in a low voice, " Ah, Sir Knight! — my noble 
wondrous knight — leave me not here alone ; that would be 
my death." The knight, soothing her courteously, stepped 
ever onwards through the darkness of dell and forest ; for 
already he heard the sound of the Bohemians landing on 
the shore of the island. Suddenly he stood before a cave 
thick-covered with underwood ; and the gleam disappeared. 
"Here, then,^' he whispered, endeavouring to hold the 
branches asunder. For a moment she paused, and said, 
" If you should but let the branches close again behind 
me, and I were to remain alone with spectres in this cave ! 
But, Froda, you will surely follow me — a trembling, hunted 
child as I am? Will you not?" Without more misgivings 
j she passed through the branches ; and the knight, who 
I would willingly have remained without as a guard, fol- 
; lowed her. Earnestly he listened through the stillness of 
night, whilst Hildegardis hardly dared to draw her breath. 
Then was heard the tramp of an armed man, coming ever 
nearer and nearer, and now close to the entrance of the 
cave. In vain did Froda strive to free himself from the 
.; trembling maiden. Already the branches before the en- 
trance were cracking and breaking, and Froda sighed 
deeply. " Must I, then, fall like a lurking fugitive, entan- 
gled in a woman's garments ? It is a base death to die, 
, But can I cast this half-fainting creature away from me on 
j the dark hard earth, perhaps into some deep abyss? Come, 



30 aslauga's knight. 

then, what will, thou, Lady Aslauga, knowest that I die 
an honourable death !" 

^' Froda! Hildegardis!" breathed a gentle, well-known 
voice at the entrance ; and recognising Edwald, Froda bore 
the lady towards him into the starlight, saying, " She will 
die of terror in our sight in this deep cavern. Is the foe 
near at hand ?" '* Most of them lie lifeless on the shore, 
or swim bleeding through the waves," said Edwald. " Set 
j'^our mind at rest, and repose yourself. Are you wounded, 
beloved Froda ?" He gave this short account to his as- 
tonished companions — how, in the darkness, he had mixed 
with the Bohemians and pressed into the skiff, and that it 
had been easy to him on landing to disperse the robbers en- 
tirely, who supposed that they were attacked by one of their 
own crew, and thought themselves bewitched. " They began 
at last to fall on one another" — so he ended his history; 
" and we have only now to wait for the morning to con- 
duct the lady home ; for those who are wandering about of 
that owl-squadron will doubtless hide themselves from the 
eye of day." While speaking, he had skilfully and care- 
fully arranged a couch of twigs and moss for Hildegardis ; 
and when the wearied one, after uttering some gentle 
words of gratitude, had sunk into a slumber, he began, as 
well as the darkness would allow, to bind up the wounds 
of his friend. During this anxious task, while the dark 
boughs of the trees murmured over their heads, and the 
rippling of the stream was heard from afar, Froda, in a 
low voice, made known to his brother in arms to the ser- 
vice of what lady he was bound. Edwald listened with 
deep attention ; but at last he said tenderly, " Trust me, 
the noble Princess Aslauga will not resent it, if you pledge 
yourself to this earthly beauty in faithful love. Ah ! even 
now doubtless you are shining in the dreams of Hildegar- 
dis, richly-gifted and happy knight ! I will not stand in 
your way with my vain wishes ; I see now clearly that she 
can never, never love me. Therefore I will this very day 



aslauga's knight. 31 

hasten to the war which so many valiant knights of Ger- 
many are waging in the heathen land of Prussia ; and the 
black cross, which distinguishes them for warriors of the 
Church, I will lay as the best balm on my throbbing heart. 
Take, then, dear Froda, that fair hand which you have 
won in battle, and live henceforth a life of surpassing hap- 
piness and joy." 

" Edwald," said Froda, gravely, "this is the first time 
that I ever heard one word from your lips which a true 
knight could not fulfil. Do as it pleases you towards the 
fair and haughty Hildegardis; but Aslauga remains my 
mistress ever, and no other do I desire in life or death." 
The youth was startled by these stern words, and made no 
reply. Both, without saying more to each other, watched 
through the night in solemn thought. 

The next morning, when the rising sun shone brightly 
over the flowery plains around the Castle of Hildegardis, 
the watchman on the tower blew a joyful blast from his 
horn ; for his keen eye had distinguished far in the distance 
his fair lady, who was riding from the forest between her 
two deliverers; and from castle, town, and hamlet, came 
forth many a rejoicing train to assure themselves with their 
own eyes of the happy news. 

Hildegardis turned to Edwald with eyes sparkling 
through tears, and said, "Were it not for you, young 
knight, they might have sought long and vainly before 
they found the lost maiden or the noble Froda, who would 
now be lying in that dark cavern a bleeding and lifeless 
corse." Edwald bowed lowly in reply, but persevered in 
his wonted silence. It even seemed as though an unusual 
grief restrained the smile which erewhile answered so rea- 
dily, in childlike sweetness, to every friendly word. 

The noble guardian of Hildegardis had, in the overflow- 
ing joy of his heart, prepared a sumptuous banquet, and 
invited all the knights and ladies present to attend it. 
Whilst Froda and Edwald, in all the brightness of their 
glory, were ascending the steps in the train of their rescued 



62 ASLAUGA S KN-IGHT. 

lady, Edwald said to his friend, " Noble, stedfast knight, 
you can never love me more!" And as Froda looked in 
astonishment, he continued — " Thus it is when children 
presume to counsel heroes, however well they may mean 
it. Now have I offended grievously against you, and yet 
more against the noble Lady Aslauga." " Because you 
would have plucked every flower of your own garden to 
gladden me with them?" said Froda: "no; you are my 
gentle brother in arms now, as heretofore, dear Edchen, 
and are perhaps become yet dearer to me." 

Then Edwald smiled again in silent contentment, like 
a flower after the morning showers of May. 

The eyes of Hildegardis glanced mildly and kindly on 
him, and she often conversed graciously with him, while, on 
the other hand, since yesterday, a reverential awe seemed 
to separate her from Froda. But Edwald also was much 
altered. However he welcomed with modest joj'^ the fa- 
vour of his lady, it yet seemed as if some barrier were 
between them which forbade him to entertain the most 
distant hope of successful love. 

It chanced that a noble count, from the court of the 
Emperor, was announced, who being bound on an import- 
ant embassy, had wished to pay his respects to the lady 
Hildegardis by the way. She received him gladly ; and ag 
soon as the first salutations were over, he said, looking at 
her and at Edwald, " I know not if my good fortune may 
not have brought me hither to a very joyful festivity. That 
■would be right welcome news to the Emperor my master." 
Hildegardis and Edwald were lovely to look upon in their 
blushes and confusion; but the count, perceiving at once 
that he had been too hasty, inclined himself respectfully 
towards the young knight, and said, " Pardon me, noble 
Duke Edwald, my too great forwardness ; but I know the 
wish of my sovereign, and the hope to find it already ful- 
filled prompted my tongue to speak." All eyes were fixed 
inquiringly on the young hero, who answered, in graceful 
confusion, *' It is true ; the Emperor, when I was last in 



aslauga's knight. 33 

his camp, through his undeserved favour, raised me to the 
rank of a duke. It was my good fortune, that in an en- 
counter, some of the enemy's horse, who had dared to as- 
sault the sacred person of the Emperor, dispersed and fled 
on my approach." The count then, at the request of Hil- 
degardis, related every circumstance of the heroic deed; 
and it appeared that Edwald had not only rescued the 
Emperor from the most imminent peril, but also, with the 
cool and daring skill of a general, had gained the victory 
which decided the event of the war. 

Surprise at first sealed the lips of all ; and even before 
their congratulations could begin, Hildegardis had turned 
towards Edwald, and said in a low voice, which yet, in 
that silence, was clearly heard by all, " The noble count 
has made known the wish of my imperial uncle; and I con- 
ceal it no longer, my own heart's wish is the same : — I am 
Duke Edwald's bride." And with that she extended to 
him her fair right hand ; and all present waited only till he 
should take it, before they burst into a shout of congratula- 
tion. But Edwald forbore to do so ; he only sunk on one 
knee before his lady, saying, " God forbid that the lofty 
Hildegardis should ever recall a word spoken solemnly to 
noble knights and dames. ' To no vanquished knight,' 
you said, ' might the hand of tbe Emperor's niece belong' 
—and behold there Froda the noble Danish knight, my 
conqueror." Hildegardis, with a slight blush, turned has- 
tily away, hiding her eyes; and as Edwald arose, it seemed 
as though there were a tear upon his cheek. 

In his clanging armour Froda advanced to the middle 
of the hall, exclaiming, " I declare my late victory over 
Duke Edwald to have been the chance of fortune, and I 
challenge the noble knight to meet me again to-morrow in 
the lists." 

At the same time he threw his iron gauntlet ringing 
on the pavement. 

But Edwald moved not to take it up. On the con- 
trary, a glow of lofty anger was on his cheeks, and his eyes 



34 aslauga's knight. 

sparkled with indignation, so that his friend would hardly 
have recognised him ; and after a silence he spoke : 

" Noble Sir Froda, if I have ever offended you, we are 
now even. How durst you, a warrior gloriously wounded 
by two sword-strokes, challenge a man unhurt into the 
lists to-morrow, if you did not despise him ?" 

" Forgive me, Duke Edwald," answered Froda, some- 
what abashed, but with cheerfulness ; "I have spoken too 
boldly : not till I am completely cured do I call you to the 
field." 

Then Edwald took up the gauntlet joyfully : he knelt 
once more before Hildegardis, who, turning away her face, 
gave him her fair hand to kiss, and walked, with his arm in 
that of his noble Danish friend, out of the hall. 



CHAPTER VII. 

While Freda's wounds were healing, Edwald would some- 
times wander, when the shades of evening fell dark and 
silent around, on the flowery terraces beneath the windows 
of Hildegardis, and sing pleasant little songs ; amongst 
others the following : — 

" Heal fa««", heal fast, ye hero-wounds ; 
O knight, be quickly strong ; 

Beloved strife 

For fame and life, 
O tarry not too long !" 

But that one which the maidens of the castle loved best 
to learn from him was this ; and it was perhaps the long- 
est song that Edwald had ever sung in his whole life. 

" Would I on earth were lying, 
By noble hero slain ; 
So that love's gentle sighing 
Breath' d me to life again 1 



ASLAUGA S KNIGHT. 35 

Would I an emperor were, 

Of wealth and power ! 
Would I were gathering twigs 

In woodland bower ! 

Would that, in lone seclusion 

I lived a hermit's life ! 
Would, amid wild confusion, 

I led the battle -strife ! 

O would the lot were mine, 

In bower or field, 
To which my lady fair 

Her smile would yield !" 

At this time it happened, that a man, who held himself 
to be very wise, and who filled the office of secretary to the 
aged guardian of Hildegardis, came to the two knightly 
friends to propose a scheme to them. His proposal, in few 
words, was this, that as Froda could gain no advantage 
from his victory, he might in the approaching combat 
suffer himself to be thrown from his steed, and thus secure 
the lady for his comrade, at the same time fulfilling the 
wish of the emperor, which might turn to his advantage 
hereafter in many ways. 

At this the two friends at first laughed heartily ; but 
then Froda advanced gravely towards the secretary, and 
said, " Thou trifler, doubtless the old duke would drive 
thee from his service did he know of thy folly, and teach 
thee to talk of the emperor. Good night, worthy sir ; and 
trust me that when Edwald and I meet each other, it will 
be with all our heart and strength." 

The secretary hastened out of the room with all speed, 
and was seen next morning to look unusually pale. 

Soon after this, Froda recovered from his wounds ; the 
course was again prepared as before, but crowded by a still 
greater number of spectators ; and in the freshness of a 



36 aslauga's knight. 

dewy morning the two knights advanced solemnly toge- 
ther to the combat. 

" Beloved Edwald," said Froda, in a low voice, as they 
went, '* take good heed to yourself, for neither this time 
can the victory be yours, — on that rose-coloured cloud ap- 
pears Aslauga." 

" It may be so," answered Edwald with a quiet smile ; 
"but under the arches of that golden bower shines Hilde- 
gardis, and this time she has not been waited for." 

The knights took their places, — the trumpets sounded, 
the course began, and Froda's prophecy seemed to be near 
its fulfilment, for Edwald staggered under the stroke of his 
lance, so that he let go the bridle, seized the mane with 
both hands, and thus hardly recovered his seat, whilst his 
high-mettled snow-white steed bore him wildly around the 
lists without control. Hildegardis also seemed to shrink 
at this sight; but the youth at length reined-in his steed, 
and the second course was run. 

Froda shot like lightning along the plain, and it seemed 
as if the success of the young duke were now hopeless; but 
in the shock of their meeting, the bold Danish steed reared, 
starting aside as if in fear; the rider staggered, his stroke 
passed harmless by, and both steed and knight fell clang- 
ing to the ground before the stedfast spear of Edwald, and 
lay motionless upon the field. 

Edwald did now as Froda had done before. In knightly 
wise he stood still awhile upon the spot, as if waiting to see 
whether any other adversary were there to dispute his vic- 
tory ; then he sprang from his steed, and flew to the assist- 
ance of his fallen friend. 

He strove with all his might to release him from the 
weight of his horse ; and presently Froda came to himself, 
rose on his feet, and raised up his charger also. Then j 
he lifted up his vizor, and greeted his conqueror ^vath a i 
friendly smile, though his countenance was pale. The vie- ] 
tor bowed humbly, almost timidly, and said, "You, my ' 
knight, overthrown — and by me I I understand it not." 



ASLAUGA S KNIGHT. 3T 

" It was her own will," answered Froda, smiling. 
" Come now to your gentle bride." 

The multitude around shouted aloud, each lady and 
knight bowed low, when the aged duke pointed out to them 
the lovely pair, and at his bidding, the betrothed, with soft 
blushes, embraced each other beneath the green garlands 
of the golden bower. 

That very day were they solemnly united in the chapel 
of the castle, for so had Froda earnestly desired : a journey 
into a far-distant land, he said, lay before him, and much 
he wished to celebrate the marriage of his friend before his 
departure. 



CHAPTER VIII. 

The torches were burning clear in the vaulted halls of the 
castle, Hildegardis had just left the arm of her lover to 
begin a stately dance of ceremony with the aged duke, 
when Edwald beckoned to his companion, and they went 
forth together into the moonlit gardens of the castle. 

" Ah, Froda, my noble lofty hero," exclaimed Edwald 
after a silence, " were you as happy as I am ! But your 
eyes rest gravely and thoughtfully on the ground, or kindle 
almost impatiently heavenwards. It would be dreadful, 
indeed, had the secret wish of your heart been to win Hil- 
degardis, — and I, foolish boy, so strangely favoured, had 
stood in your way." 

"Be at rest, Edchen," answered the Danish hero with 
a smile. " On the word of a knight, my thoughts and 
yearnings concern not your fair Hildegardis. Far brighter 
than ever does Aslauga's radiant image shine into my 
heart : but now hear what I am going to relate to you. 

"At the very moment when we met together in the course 
— oh, had I words to express it to you ! — I was enwrapped, 
encircled, dazzled by Aslauga's golden tresses, which were 
waving all around me. Even my noble steed must have 



6g aslauga s knight. 

beheld the apparition, for I felt him start and rear under 
me. I saw you no more, — the world no more, — I saw 
only the angel-face of Aslauga close before me, smiling, 
blooming like a flower in a sea of sunshine which floated 
round lier. My senses failed me. Not till you raised me 
from beneath my horse, did my consciousness return, and 
then I knew, with exceeding joy, that her own gracious 
pleasure had struck me down. But I felt a strange weari- 
ness, far greater than my fall alone could have caused, and 
I felt assured at the same time that my lady was about to 
send me on a far-distant mission. I hastened to repose my- 
self in my chamber, and a deep sleep immediately fell upon 
me. Then came Aslauga in a dream to me, more royally 
adorned than ever ; she placed herself at the head of my 
couch, and said, ' Haste to array thyself in all the splendour 
of thy silver armour, for thou art not the wedding-guest 
alone, thou art also the — ' 

"And before she could speak the word, my dream had 
melted away, and I felt a longing desire to fulfil her graci- 
ous command, and rejoiced in my heart. But in the midst 
of the festival, I seemed to myself more lonely than in all 
my life before, and I cannot cease to ponder what that un- 
spoken word of my lady could be intended to announce." 

" You are of a far loftier spirit than I am, Froda," said 
Edwald after a silence, "and I cannot soar with you into 
the sphere of your joys. But tell me, has it never awak- | 
ened a deep pang within you that you serve a lady so ■ 
withdrawn from you — alas! a lady, who is almost ever 
invisible 1" 

" No, Edwald, not so," answered Froda, his eyes spark- 
ling with happiness. " For weU I know that she scorns 
not my service ; she has even deigned sometimes to ap- , 
pear to me. Oh, I am in truth a happy knight and 
minstrel !" 

" And yet your silence to-day, — your troubled yearn- 
ings ?" 

*' Not troubled, dear Edchen ; only so heartfelt, so fer- 



aslauga's knight. 39 

vent in the depth of my heart, — and so strangely mysteri- 
ous to myself withal. But this, with all belonging to me, 
springs alike from the words and commands of Aslauga. 
How, then, can it be otherwise than something good and 
fair, and tending to a high and noble aim V 

A squire, who had hastened after them, announced that 
the knightly bridegroom was expected for the torch-dance ; 
and as they returned, Edwald entreated his friend to take 
his place in the solemn dance next to him and Hildegar- 
dis. Froda inclined his head in token of friendly assent. 

The horns and hautboys had already sounded their so- 
lemn invitation ; Edwald hastened to give his hand to his 
fair bride ; and while he advanced with her to the midst of 
the stately hall, Froda offered his hand for the torch-dance 
to a noble lady who stood the nearest to him, without far- 
ther observing her, and took with her the next place to the 
wedded pair. 

But how was it when a light began to beam from his 
companion, before which the torch in his left hand lost all 
its brightness ? Hardly dared he, in sweet and trembling 
hope, to raise his eyes to the lady ; and when at last he 
ventured, all his boldest wishes and longings were fulfilled.' 
Adorned with a radiant bridal crown of emeralds, Aslauga 
moved in solemn loveliness beside him, and beamed on 
him from amid the sunny light of her golden hair, blessing 
him with her heavenly countenance. The amazed specta- 
tors could not withdraw their eyes from the mysterious 
pair, — the knight in his light silver mail, with the torch 
raised on high in his hand, earnest and joyful, moving with 
a measured step, as if engaged in a ceremony of deep and 
myterious meaning. His lady beside him, rather floating 
than dancing, beaming light from her golden hair, so that 

^ See the Baron de la Motte Fouque's Waldemar — 

" Let none henceforward shrmk from darmg dreams, 

For earnest hearts shall find their dreams fulfilled." 



40 aslauga's knight. 

you would have thought the day was shining into the 
night ; and when a look could reach through all the sur- 
rounding splendour to her face, rejoicing heart and sense 
with the unspeakably sweet smile of her eyes and lips. 

Near the end of the dance, she inclined towards Froda, 
and whispered to him with an air of tender confidence, 
and with the last sound of the horns and hautboys she had 
disappeared. 

The most curious spectator dared not question Froda 
about his partner. Hildegardis did not seem to have been 
conscious of her presence ; but shortly before the end of 
the festival, Edwald approached his friend, and asked in 
a whisper, " Was it ?" 

" Yes, dear youth," answered Froda ; " your marriage- 
dance has been honoured by the presence of the most ex- 
alted beauty which has been ever beheld in any land. Ah ! { 
and if I rightly understood her meaning, you wiU never \ 
more see me stand sighing and gazing upon the ground, 
But hardly dare I hope it. Now good night, dear EdcheUj 
good night. As soon as I may, I will tell you all." 



CHAPTER IX. 

The light and joyous dreams of morning still played round 
Edwald's head, when it seemed as though a clear light | 
encompassed him. He remembered Aslauga ; but it was | 
Froda, the golden locks of whose helmet shone now with ! 
no less sunny brightness than the flowing hair of his lady, j 
^' Ah !" thought Edwald in his dream, " how beautiful has j 
my dear brother-in-arms become !" And Froda said to j 
him, " I will sing something to you, Edchen ; but softly, j 
softly, so that it may not awaken Hildegardis. Listen i 
to me. 

She glided in, bright as the day, 
There where her knight in slumber lay ; 



aslauga's knight. 41 

And in her lily hand was seen 
A band that seemed of the moonlight sheen. 
* We are one,' she sang, as about his hair 
She twin'd it, and over her tresses fair. 
Beneath them the world lay dark and drear : 
But he felt the touch of her hand so dear. 
Uplifting him far above mortals' sight. 
While around him were shed her locks of light. 
Till a garden fair lay about him spread — 
And this was Paradise, angels said." 

"Never in your life did you sing so sweetly," said the 
dreaming Edwald. 

" That may well be, Edchen," said Froda, with a smile, 
and vanished. 

But Edwald dreamed on and on, and many other 
visions passed before him, all of a pleasing kind, although 
he could not recall them, when, in the full light of morning, 
he unclosed his eyes with a smile. Froda alone, and his 
mysterious song, stood clear in his memory. He now 
knew full well that his friend was dead ; but the thought 
gave him no pain, for he felt sure that the pure spirit of 
that minstrel-warrior could only find its proper joy in the 
gardens of Paradise, and in blissful solace with the lofty 
spirits of the ancient times. He glided softly from the side 
of the sleeping Hildegardis to the chamber of the departed. 
He lay upon his bed of rest, almost as beautiful as he had 
appeared in the dream, and his golden helmet was en- 
twined with a wondrously-shining lock of hair. Then Ed- 
wald made a fair and shady grave in consecrated ground, 
summoned the chaplain of the castle, and with his assist- 
ance laid his beloved Froda therein. 

He came back just as Hildegardis awoke; she beheld, 
with wonder and humility, his mien of chastened joy, and 
asked him whither he had been so early ; to which he 
replied, with a smile, " I have just buried the corpse of 
my dearly-loved Froda, who, this very night, has passed 
away to his golden-haired mistress." Then he related the 



42 aslauga's knight. 

whole history of Aslauga's Knight, and lived on in sub- 
dued, unruffled happiness, though for some time he was 
even more silent and thoughtful than before. He was 
often found sitting on the grave of his friend, and singing 
the following song to his lute : — 

Listening to celestial lays, 
Bending thy unclouded gaze 
On the pure and living light, 
Thou art blest, Aslauga's Knight ! 

Send us from thy bower on high 
Many an angel-melody, 
Many a vision soft and bright, 
Aslauga's dear and faithful Knight ! 



©inttam ann ftls Companions; 



I 



NTED BV LEVEir, ROBSON, AND FRAN KLYN 
Great New Street, Fetter Lane. 



i 




SIXTRAM ANt' HIS COiiPAIsIONS. 




DRAWN BY H. C. SELOUS. 



The Midnight Feast in the Castle of Drontheim 

The German Merchants attacked in Biorn's Castle 

The unknown "Warrior on Niflung's Heath 

Folko and Gabrielle, — Sintram with his Lute 

Sintram musing on the Sea-shore 

Folko attacked by the Bear, and rescued by Sintram 

Watching by the dead Body of the Castellan 

Folko destroying the Golden Boar's Head . 

Sintram putting the Tempter to flight 

Closing Scene: Sintram, Engeltram, the German Merchants, &c. 120 



TO THE READER. 



Questions have sometimes arisen, whether a poet has taken the 
images of his fancy from the works of older times ; or how he has 
come by them. The subject seems to me not without interest; 
and I think that, when the author can himself give a clear account 
of the matter, he is allowed, or rather obUged, to make it known 
to his readers. Hence the following narrative. 

Some years ago there lay among my birthday-gifts a beautiful 
engraving * of Albert Diirer's: — "An armed knight, of elderly coun- 
tenance, is riding on a tall horse, accompanied by his dog, through 
a fearful vaUey, where the clefts of the rocks and the roots of the 
trees assume horrid shapes, and poisonous plants grow upon the 
ground. Hideous reptiles are creeping among them. Near him 
rides Death upon a small lean horse ; from behind, a demon-form 
stretches forth its claws to reach him. The horse and dog look 
strangely, as if bewitched by the horrors that surround them ; 
but the knight rides quietly on his way, and bears upon the point 
of his lance an already impaled reptile. Far off a castle looks 
down upon him, with lofty friendly towers, which makes the loneli- 
ness of the valley sink still deeper into his soul." 

My friend Edward Hitzig, who gave me this print, sent with 
it a letter, requesting that I would illustrate the allegorical figures 
in a ballad. It was not permitted me to do it then, nor for long 
afterwards ; but I still carried the remembrance of the picture 
within me, through peace and war, till it wove and shaped itself 
out before me quite distinctly : but instead of a ballad, it has be- 
come a little romance, if the kind reader will accept it as such. 

Written on the bth December, 1814. FOUQUE. 

* The frontispiece is a reduced copy of this print. 



\ 




castle ot 



iitheim 



many kniglits sat assembled to 
hold council for the weal of the 
realm ; and joyously they ca- 
roused together till midnight 
around the huge stone table in 
the vaulted hall. A rising storm 
drove the snow wildly against 
the rattling windows ; all the oak 
doors groaned, the massive locks 
shook, the castle -clock slowly 



2 SIXTRAM AND HIS COMPAXIOXS. 

and heavily struck the hour of one. Then a boy, pale as 
death, with disordered hair and closed eyes, rushed into the 
hall, uttering a wild scream of terror. He stopped beside | 
the richly carved seat of the mighty Biorn, clung to the i 
glittering knight with both his hands, and shrieked in a I 
piercing voice, " Knight and father I father and knight ! 
Death and another are closely pursuing me !" 

An awful stillness lay like ice on the w^hole assembly, 
save that the boy screamed ever the fearful words. But 
one of Biorn's numerous retainers, an old esquire, known 
by the name of Holf the Good, advanced towards the ter- 
rified child, took him in his arms, and half chanted this 
prayer: " O Father, help Thy servant ! I believe, and yet 
I cannot believe." The boy, as if in a dream, at once 
loosened his hold of the knight ; and the good Rolf bore 
him from the hall unresisting, yet still shedding hot tears 
and murmuring confused sounds. 

The lords and knights looked at one another much 
amazed, until the mighty Biorn said, wildly and fiercely 
laughing, " Marvel not at that strange boy. He is my 
only son ; and has been thus since he was five years old : 
he is now twelve. I am therefore accustomed to see him 
so ; though, at the first, I too was disquieted by it. The 
attack comes upon him only once in the year, and always 
at this same time. But forgive me for having spent so 
many words on my poor Sintram, and let us pass on to 
some worthier subject for our discourse." 

Again there was silence for a while ; then whisperingly 
and doubtfully single voices strove to renew their broken- 
ofF discourse, but without success. Two of the youngest 
and most joyous began a roundelay; but the storm howled 
and raged so wildly without, that this too was soon inter- 
rupted. And now they all sat silent and motionless in 
the lofty hall ; the lamp flickered sadly under the vaulted 
roof; the whole party of knights looked like pale, lifeless 
images dressed up in gigantic armour. 

Then arose the chaplain of the castle of Drontheim, the 



SINTRAM AND HIS COMPANIONS. 6 

only priest among the knightly throng, and said, '' Dear 
Lord Biorn, our eyes and thoughts have all been directed 
to you and your son in a wonderful manner ; but so it has 
been ordered by the providence of God. You perceive that 
we cannot withdraw them ; and you would do well to tell 
us exactly wliat you know concerning the fearful state of 
the boy. Perchance the solemn tale, which I expect from 
you, might do good to this disturbed assembly." 

Biorn cast a look of displeasure on the priest, and an- 
swered, " Sir chaplain, you have more share in the history 
than either you or I could desire. Excuse me, if I am 
unwilling to trouble these light-hearted warriors with so 
rueful a tale." 

But the chaplain approached nearer to the knight, and 
said, in a firm yet very mild tone, " Dear lord, hitherto it 
rested with you alone to relate, or not to relate it ; but now 
that you have so strangely hinted at the share which I have 
had in your son's calamity, I must positively demand that 
you will repeat word for word how every thing came to 
pass. My honour will have it so, and that will weigh with 
you as much as with me." 

In stern compliance Biorn bowed his haughty head, 
and began the following narration. *' This time seven 
years I was keeping the Christmas-feast with my assem- 
bled followers. We have many venerable old customs 
which have descended to us by inheritance from our great 
forefathers ; as, for instance, that of placing a gilded boar's 
head on the table, and making thereon knightly vows of 
daring and wondrous deeds. Our chaplain here, who used 
then frequently to visit me, was never a friend to keeping 
up such traditions of the ancient heathen world. Such men 
as he were not much in favour in those olden times." 

" My excellent predecessors," interrupted the chaplain, 
" belonged more to God than to the world, and with Him 
they were in favour. Thus they converted your ancestors ; 
and if I can in like manner be of service to you, even your 
jeering will not vex me." 



4 SINTRAM AND HIS COMPANIONS. 

With looks yet darker, and a somewhat angry shudder, 
the knight resumed : " Yes, yes ; I know all your promises 
and threats of an invisible Power, and how they are meant 
to persuade us to part more readily with whatever of this 
world's goods we may possess. Once, ah, truly, once I too 
had such ! Strange ! — Sometimes it seems to me as though 
ages had passed over since then, and as if I were alone the 
survivor, so fearfully is every thing changed. But now I 
bethink me, that the greater part of this noble company 
knew me in my happiness, and have seen my wife, my 
lovely Verena." 

He pressed his hands on his eyes, and it seemed as 
though he wept. The storm had ceased ; the soft light 
of the moon shone through the window's, and her beams 
played on his wild features. Suddenly he started up, so 
that his heavy armour rattled with a fearful sound, and he 
cried out in a thundering voice, " Shall I turn monk, as 
she has become a nun ? No, crafty priest ; your webs are 
too thin to catch flies of my sort." 

" I have nothing to do with webs," said the chaplain. 
'' In all openness and sincerity have I put heaven and hell 
before you during the space of six years ; and you gave 
full consent to the step which the holy Verena took. But 
what all that has to do with your son's sufferings I know 
not, and I wait for your narration." 

'* You may wait long enough," said Biorn, with a 
sneer. ^' Sooner shall " 

" Sw'ear not !" said the chaplain in a loud commanding 
tone, and his eyes flashed almost fearfully. 

"Hurra!" cried Biorn in wdld aflright ; "hurra! 
Death and his companion are loose!" and he dashed 
madly out of the chamber and down the steps. The rough 
and fearful notes of his horn were heard summoning his 
retainers ; and presently afterwards the clatter of horses' 
feet on the frozen court-yard gave token of their departure. 

The knights retired, silent and shuddering; while the 
chaplain remained alone at the huge stone table, praying. 



SIXTRAM AND HIS COMPANIONS. 



CHAPTER 11. 

After some time the good Rolf returned with slow and 
soft steins, and started with surprise at finding the hall 
deserted. The chamber where he had been occupied in 
quieting and soothing the unhappy child was in so distant 
a part of the castle that he had heard nothing of the 
knight's hasty departure. The chaplain related to him 
all that had passed, and then said, " But my good Rolf, 
I much wish to ask you concerning those strange words 
with which you seemed to lull poor Sintrara to rest. They 
sounded like sacred w^ords, and no doubt they are ; but I 
could not understand them. ' I believe, and yet I cannot 
believe.' " 

" Reverend sir," answered Rolf, " I remember that 
from my earliest years no history in the Gospels has taken 
such hold of me as that of the child possessed with a devil, 
which the disciples were not able to cast out ; but when 
our Saviour came down from the mountain where He had 
been transfigured. He broke the bonds wherewith the evil 
spirit had held the miserable child bound. I always felt 
as if I must have known and loved that boy, and been his 
play-fellow in his happy days; and when I grew older, 
then the distress of the father on account of his lunatic son 
lay heavy at my heart. It must surely have all been a 
foreboding of our poor young Lord Sintram, whom I love 
as if he were my own child ; and now the words of the 
weeping father in the Gospel often come into my mind, — 
* Lord, I believe ; help Thou my unbelief;' and something 
similar I may very likely have repeated to-day as a chant 
or a prayer. Reverend father, when I consider how one 
dreadful imprecation of the father has kept its withering 
hold on the son, all seems dark before me ; but, God be 
praised! my faith and my hope remain above." 



b SINTRAM AND HIS COMPANIONS. 

" Good Rolf," said the priest, " I cannot clearly un- 
derstand what you say about the unhappy Sintram ; 
for I do not know when and how this affliction came 
upon him. If no oath or solemn promise bind you to se- 
crecy, will you make known to me all that is connected 
with it?" 

*' Most willingly," replied Rolf. " I have long desired ^ 
to have an opportunity of so doing ; but you have been : 
almost always separated from us. I dare not now leave t 
the sleeping boy any longer alone ; and to-morrow, at the I 
earliest dawn, I must take him to his father. Will you i 
come with me, dear sir, to our poor Sintram ?" i 

The chaplain at once took up the small lamp which ! 
Rolf had brought with him, and they set off together i 
through the long vaulted passages. In the small distant ] 
chamber they found the poor boy fast asleep. The light ' 
of the lamp fell strangely on his very pale face. The , 
chaplain stood gazing at him for some time, and at length ' 
said : " Certainly from his birth his features were always \ 
sharp and strongly marked, but now they are almost fear- 
fully so for such a child ; and yet no one can help hav- 
ing a kindly feeling towards him, whether he will or 
not." 

" Most true, dear sir," answered Rolf. And it was evi- 
dent how his whole heart rejoiced at any word which be- 
tokened affection for his beloved young lord. Thereupon 
he placed the lamp where its light could not disturb the 
boy, and seating himself close by the priest, he began to 
speak in the following terms : — " During that Christmas- 
feast of which my lord was talking to you, he and his fol- 
lowers discoursed much concerning the German merchants, 
and the best means of keeping down the increasing pride 
and power of the trading-towns. At length Biorn laid his 
impious hand on the golden boar's head, and swore to put 
to death without mercy every German trader whom fate, 
in what way soever, might bring alive into his power. 
The gentle Verena turned pale, and would have interposed 



SINTRAM AND HIS COMPANIONS. / 

— but it was too late, the bloody word was uttered. And 
immediately afterwards, as though the great enemy of souls 
were determined at once to secure with fresh bonds the 
vassal thus devoted to hitn, a warder came into the hall to 
announce that two citizens of a trading-town in Germany, 
an old man and his son, had been shipwrecked on this coast, 
and were now without the gates, asking hospitality of the 
lord of the castle. The knight could not refrain from shud- 
dering ; but he thought himself bound by his rash vow and 
by that accursed heathenish golden boar. We, his retainers, 
were commanded to assemble in the castle- yard, armed 
with sharp spears, which were to be hurled at the defence- 
less strangers at the first signal made to us. For the first, 
and I trust the last time in my life, I said 'No' to the com- 
mands of my lord ; and that I said in a loud voice, and 
with the heartiest determination. The Almighty, who 
alone knows whom He will accept, and whom He will 
reject, armed me with resolution and strength. And Biorn 
might perceive whence the refusal of his faithful old servant 
arose, and that it was worthy of respect. He said to me, 
half in anger and half in scorn : ' Go up to my wife's 
apartments: her attendants are running to and fro, per- 
haps she is ill. Go up, Rolf the Good, I say to thee, and 
so women shall be with women.' I thought to myself, 
' Jeer on, then ;' and I went silently the way that he had 
pointed out to me. On the stairs there met me two 
strange and right fearful beings, whom I had never seen 
before^ and I know not how they got into the castle. 
One of them was a great, tall man, frightfully pallid and 
thin ; the other was a dwarf-like man, with a most hideous 
countenance and features. Indeed, when I collected my 
thoughts and looked carefully at him, it appeared to 

me " 

Low moanings and convulsive movements of the boy 
here interrupted the narrative. Rolf and the chaplain 
hastened to his bed-side, and perceived that his counte- 
nance wore an expression of fearful agony, and that he 



O SINTRAM AND HIS COMPANIONS. 

was struggling in vain to open his eyes. The priest made 
the Sign of the Cross over him, and immediately peace 
seemed to be restored, and his sleep again became quiet : 
they both returned softly to their seats. 

" You see," said Rolf, '' that it will not do to describe 
more closely those two aw^ful beings. Suffice it to say, 
that they w^ent down into the court-yard, and that I pro- 
ceeded to my lady's apartments. I found the gentle 
Verena almost fainting with terror and overwhelming- 
anxiety, and I hastened to restore her with some of those 
remedies which I was able to apply by my skill, through 
God's gift and the healing virtues of herbs and minerals. 
But scarcely had she recovered her senses, when, with that 
calm holy power which, as you know, is hers, she desired 
me to conduct her down to the court-yard, saying that she 
must either put a stop to the fearful doings of this night, 
or herself fall a sacrifice. Our way took us by the little 
bed of the sleeping Sintram. Alas! hot tears fell from 
my eyes to see how evenly his gentle breath then came 
and went, and how sweetly he smiled in his peaceful 
slumbers." 

The old man put his hands to his eyes, and wept 
bitterly ; but soon he resumed his sad story. " As we 
approached the lowest window of the staircase, we could 
hear distinctly the voice of the elder merchant ; and on 
looking out, the light of the torches shewed me his noble 
features, as well as the bright youthful countenance of his 
son. ' I take Almighty God to witness,' cried he, ' that I 
had no evil thought against this house ! But surely I must 
have fallen unawares amongst heathens ; it cannot be that 
I am in a Christian knight's castle ; and if you are indeed 
heathens, then kill us at once. And thou, my beloved 
son, be patient and of good courage; in heaven we shall 
learn wherefore it could not be otherwise.' I thought I 
could see those two fearful ones amidst the throng of re- 
tainers. The pale one had a huge curved sword in his hand, 
the little one held a spear notched in a strange fashion. 



SINTRAM AND HIS COMPANIONS. 9 

Verena tore open the window, and cried in silvery tones 
through the wild night, ' IMy dearest lord and husband, for 
the sake of your only child, have pity on those harmless 
men ! Save them from death, and resist the temptation 
of the evil spirit.' The knight answered in his fierce 
^•rath — but I cannot repeat his words. He staked his 
child on the desperate cast ; he called Death and the Devil 
to see that he kept his word : — but hush ! the boy is again 
moaning. Let me bring the dark tale quickly to a close. 
Biorn commanded his followers to strike, casting on them 
those fierce looks which have gained him the title of Biorn 
of the Fiery Eyes ; while at the same time the two fright- 
ful strangers bestirred themselves very busily. Then Ve- 
rena called out, with piercing anguish, ' Help, O God, my 
Saviour !' Those two dreadful figures disappeared ; and 
the knight and his retainers, as if seized with blindness, 
rushed wildly one against the other, but without doing 
injury to themselves, or yet being able to strike the mer- 
chants, who ran so close a risk. They bowed reverently 
towards Verena, and with calm thanksgivings departed 
through the castle-gates, which at that moment had been 
burst open by a violent gust of wind, and now gave a free 
passage to any who would go forth. The lady and I were 
yet standing bewildered on the stairs, when I fancied I 
saw the two fearful forms glide close by me, but mist-like 
and unreal. Verena called to me: 'Rolf, did you see a 
tall pale man, and a little hideous one with him, pass jus^t 
now up the staircase?' I flew after them; and found, 
alas, the poor boy in the same state in which you saw him 
a few hours ago. Ever since, the attack has come on him 
regularly at this time, and he is in all respects fearfully 
changed. The lady of the castle did not fail to discern 
the avenging hand of Heaven in this calamity ; and as the 
knight, her husband, instead of repenting, ever became 
more truly Biorn of the Fiery Eyes, she resolved, in the 
walls of a cloister, by unremitting prayer, to obtain mercy 
in time and eternity for herself and her unhappy child." 



10 SINTRAM AND HIS COMPANIONS. 

Rolf was silent ; and the chaplain, after some thought, 
said : " I now understand why, six years ago, Biorn con- 
fessed his guilt to me in general words, and consented 
that his wife should take the veil. Some faint com- 
punction must then have stirred within him, and perhaps 
may stir him yet. At any rate it was impossible that so 
tender a flower as Verena could remain longer in so rough 
keeping. But who is there now to watch over and protect 
our poor Sintram ?" 

" The prayer of his mother," answered Rolf. " Rever- 
end sir, when the first dawn of day appears, as it does 
now, and when the morning breeze whispers through the 
glancing window, they ever bring to my mind the soft I 
beaming eyes of my lady, and I again seem to hear the i 
sweet tones of her voice. Tlie holy Verena is, next to , 
God, our chief aid." 

" And let us add our devout supplications to the Lord," 
said the chaplain ; and he and Rolf knelt in silent and \ 
earnest prayer by the bed of the pale sufferer, who began 
to smile in his dreams. 



CHAPTER III. 

The rays of the sun shining brightly into the room awoke ^ 
Sintram, and raising himself up, he looked angrily at the | 
chaplain, and said, *' So there is a priest in the castle! 
And yet that accursed dream continues to torment me 
even in his very presence. Pretty priest he must be !" 

" Mj^ child," answered the chaplain in the mildest 
tone, " I have prayed for thee most fervently, and I shall 
never cease doing so — but God alone is Almighty." 

" You speak verj'' boldly to the son of the knight 
Biorn," cried Sintram. " ' My child!' If those horrible 
dreams had not been again haunting me, you would make 
me laugh heartily." 



SIXTRAM AND HIS COMPANIONS. 11 

" Young Lord Sintram," said the chaplain, " I am by- 
no means surprised that you do not know me again ; for, 
in truth, neither do I know you again/' And his eyes 
filled with tears as he spoke. 

The good Rolf looked sorrowfully in the hoy's face, 
saying, " Ah, my dear young master, you are so much 
better than you would make people believe. Why do 
you that? Your memory is so good, that you must surely 
recollect your kind old friend the chaplain, who used 
formerly to be constantly at the castle, and to bring you 
so many gifts — bright pictures of saints, and beautiful 
songs V 

" I know all that very well," replied Sintram thought- 
fully. " My sainted mother was alive in those days." 

" Our gracious lady is still living, God be praised!" 
said the good Rolf. 

" But she does not live for us, poor sick creatures 
that we are!" cried Sintram. "And why will you not 
call her sainted ? Surely she knows nothing about my 
dreams?" 

" Yes, she does know of them," said the chaplain ; 
" and she prays to God for you. But take heed, and re- 
strain that wild, haughty temper of yours. It might, 
indeed, come to pass that she would know nothing about 
your dreams, and that would be if your soul were sepa- 
rated from your body; and then the holy angels also 
would cease to know any thing of you." 

Sintram fell back on his bed as if thunderstruck ; and 
Rolf said, with a gentle sigh, " You should not speak so 
severely to my poor sick child, reverend sir." 

The boy sat up, and with tearful eyes he turned caress- 
ingly towards the chaplain : " Let him do as he pleases, 
you good tender-hearted Rolf; he knows very well what 
he is about. Would you reprove him if I were slipiDing 
down a snowcleft, and he caught me up roughly by the 
hair of my head ?" 

The priest looked tenderly at him, and would have 



12 SINTRAM AND HIS COMPANIONS. 

spoken his holy thoughts, when Sintram suddenly sprang 
ofF the bed and asked after his father. As soon as he 
heard of the knight's departure, he would not remain 
another hour in the castle ; and put aside the fears of the 
chaplain and the old esquire, lest a rapid journey should 
injure his hardly restored health, by saying to them, 
*' Believe me, reverend sir, and dear old Rolf, if I were 
not subject to these hideous dreams, there would not be a 
bolder youth in the whole world ; and even as it is, I am 
not so far behind the very best. Besides, till another year 
has passed, my dreams are at an end." 

On his somewhat imperious sign Rolf brought out the 
horses. The boy threw himself boldly into the saddle. 
and taking a courteous leave of the chaplain, he dashed 
along the frozen vallej'^ that lay between the snow-clad 
mountains. He had not ridden far, in company with his 
old attendant, when he heard a strange indistinct sound 
proceeding from a neighbouring cleft in the rock ; it was 
partly like the clapper of a small mill, but mingled with 
that were hollow groans and other tones of distress. Thi- 
ther they turned their horses, and a wonderful sight shewed 
itself to them. 

A tall man, deadly pale, in a pilgrim's garb, was striv- 
ing with violent though unsuccessful efforts, to work his 
way out of the snow and to climb up the mountain ; and 
therebj'^ a quantity of bones, which were hanging loosely 
all about his garments, rattled one against the other, and 
caused the mysterious sound already mentioned. Rolf, 
much terrified, crossed himself, while the bold Sintram 
called out to the stranger, " What art thou doing there? 
Give an account of thy solitary labours." 

" I live in death," replied that other one with a fearful 
grin. 

'■'■ Whose are those bones on thy clothes?" 

" They are relics, young sir." 

" Art thou a pilgrim ?" 

" Restless, quietless, I wander up and down." 



SINTRAM AND HIS COMPANIONS. 13 

" Thou must not perish here in the snow before my 
eyes." 

'' That I will not." 

'' Thou must come up and sit on my horse." 

" That I will." And all at once he started up out of 
the snow with surprising strength and agility, and sat on 
the horse behind Sintram, clasping him tight in his long 
arms. The horse, startled by the rattling of the bones, 
and as if seized with madness, rushed away through the 
most trackless passes. The boy soon found himself alone 
with his strange companion ; for Rolf, breathless with fear, 
spurred on his horse in vain, and remained far behind 
them. From a snowy precipice the horse slid, without 
falling, into a narrow gorge, somewhat indeed exhausted, 
yet continuing to snort and foam as before, and still un- 
mastered by the boy. Yet his headlong course being now 
changed into a rough irregular trot, Sintram was able to 
breathe more freely, and to begin the following discourse 
with his unknown companion. 

" Draw thy garment closer around thee, thou pale man, 
so the bones will not rattle, and I shall be able to curb my 
horse." 

" It would be of no avail, boy; it would be of no avail. 
The bones must rattle." 

" Do not clasp me so tight with thy long arms, they 
are so cold." 

" It cannot be helped, boy; it cannot be helped. Be 
content. For my long cold arms are not pressing yet on 
thy heart." 

" Do not breathe on me so with thy icy breath. All 
my strength is departing." 

" I must breathe, boy ; I must breathe. But do not 
complain. I am not blowing thee away." 

The strange dialogue here came to an end ; for to Sin- 
tram's surprise he found himself on an open plain, over 
which the sun was shining brightly, and at no great dis- 
tance before him he saw his father's castle. While he was 



14 SINTRAM AND HIS COMPANIONS. 

thinking whether he might invite the unearthly pilgrim to 
rest there, this one put an end to his doubts by thro^^ing 
himself suddenly off the horse, whose wild course was 
checked by the shock. Raising his forefinger, he said to 
the boy, " I know old Biorn of the Fiery Eyes well ; per- 
haps but too well. Commend me to him. It will not 
need to tell him my name ; he will recognise me at the 
description." So saying, the ghastly stranger turned aside 
into a thick fir- wood, and disappeared rattling amongst the 
tangled branches. 

Slowly and thoughtfully Sintram rode on towards his 
father's castle, his horse now again quiet and altogether 
exhausted. He scarcely knew how much he ought to 
relate of his wonderful journey, and he also felt oppressed 
with anxiety for the good Rolf, w^ho had remained so far 
behind. He found himself at the castle-gate sooner than 
he had expected ; the drawbridge was lowered, the doors 
were thrown open; an attendant led the youth into the 
great hall, where Biorn was sitting all alone at a huge 
table, with many flagons and glasses before him, and suits 
of armour ranged on either side of him. It was his daily 
custom, by way of company, to have the armour of his 
ancestors, with closed vizors, placed all round the table at 
A^hich he sat. The father and son began conversing as 
follows : 

" Where is Rolf?" 

"I do not know, father ; he left me in the moun- 
tains." 

" I will have Rolf shot, if he cannot take better care 
than that of my only child." 

"Then, father, you will have your only child shot at 
the same time, for without Rolf I cannot live; and if even 
one single dart is aimed at him, I will be there to receive 
it, and to shield his true and faithful heart." 

" So!— Then Rolf shall not be shot; but he shall be 
driven from the castle." 

" In that case, father, you will see me go away also; 



SINTRAM AND HIS COMPANIONS. 15 

and I will give myself up to serve him in forests, in moun- 
tains, in caves." 

" So ! — Well, then, Rolf must remain here." 

" That is just what I think, father." 

'' Were you riding quite alone?" 

"No, father; but with a strange pilgrim. He said 
that he knew you very well — perhaps too well." And 
thereupon Sintram began to relate and to describe all that 
had passed with the pale man. 

" I know him also very well," said Biorn. " He is 
half crazed and half wise, as w^e sometimes are astonished 
at seeing that people can be. But do thou, my boy, go to 
rest after thy wild journey. I give you my word that Rolf 
shall be kindly received if he arrive here ; and that if he 
do not come soon, he shall be sought for in the moun- 
tains." 

" 1 trust to your w^ord, father," said Sintram, half 
humble, half proud ; and he did after the command of the 
grim lord of the castle. 



CHAPTER IV. 

Towards evening Sintram awoke. He saw the good 
Rolf sitting at his bedside, and looked up in the old man's 
kind face with a smile of unusually innocent brightness. 
But soon again his dark brows were knit, and he asked, 
" How did my father receive you, Rolf? Did he say a 
harsh word to you ?" 

" No, my dear young lord, he did not ; indeed he did 
not speak to me at all. At first he looked very wrathful; 
but he checked himself, and ordered a servant to bring me 
food and wine to refresh me, and afterwards to take me to 
your room." 

'' He might have kept his w^ord better. But he is my 
father, and I must not judge him too hardly. I will now 



16 SINTRAM AND HIS COMPANIONS. 

go down to the evening meal." So saying, he sprang up 
and threw on his furred mantle. 

But Rolf stopped him, and said, entreatingly : " ]\Iy 
dear young master, you would do better to take your meaJ 
to-day alone here in your own apartment ; for there is a 
guest with your father, in whose company I should be very 
sorry to see you. If you will remain here, I wiil entertain 
you with pleasant tales and songs.'' 

" There is nothing in the world which I should Hke 
better, dear Rolf," answered Sintram ; " but it does not 
befit me to shun any man. Tell me, whom should I find 
with my father ?" 

" Alas !" said the old man, " you have already found 
him in the mountain. Formerly, when I used to ride about 
the country with Biom, we often met with him, but I was 
forbidden to tell you any thing about him ; and this is the 
first time that he has ever come to the castle." 

^' The crazy pilgrim !" replied Sintram ; and he stood 
awhile in deep thought, as if considering the matter. At 
last, rousing himself, he said : " Dear old friend, I would 
most willingly stay here this evening all alone with you 
and your stories and songs, and all the pilgrims in the 
world should not entice me from this quiet room. But 
one thing must be considered. I feel a kind of dread of 
that pale, tall man ; and by such fears no knight's son can 
ever suffer himself to be overcome. So be not angry, dear 
Rolf, if I determine to go and look that strange palmer in 
the face." And he shut the door of the chamber behind 
him, and with firm and echoing steps proceeded to the hall. 
The pilgrim and the knight were sitting opposite to 
each other at the great table, on which many lights were 
burning; and it was fearful, amongst all the lifeless ar- 
mour, to see those two tall grim men move, and eat, and 
drink. 

As the pilgrim looked up on the boy's entrance, Biorn 
said : " You know him already : he is my only child, and 
your fellow-traveller this morning." 



SINTRAM AND HIS COMPANIONS. 17 

The palmer fixed an earnest look on Sintram, and 
answered, shaking his head, " I know not what you 
mean." 

Then the boy burst forth, impatiently, " It must be 
confessed that you deal very unfairly by us ! You say that 
you know my father but too much, and now it seems that 
you know me altogether too little. Look me in the face : 
who allowed you to ride on his horse, and in return had 
his good steed driven almost wild ? Speak, if you can !" 

Biorn smiled, shaking his head, but well pleased, as was 
his wont, with his son's wild behaviour ; while the pilgrim 
shuddered as if terrified and overcome by some fearfml 
irresistible powder. At length, with a trembling voice, he 
said these words : " Yes, yes, my dear young lord, you 
are surely quite right ; you are perfectly' right in every 
thing which you may please to assert." 

Then the lord of the castle laughed aloud, and said : 
" Vihy, thou strange pilgrim, what is become of all thy 
wonderfully fine speeches and warnings now? Has the 
boy all at once struck thee dumb and powerless ? Beware, 
thou prophet-messenger, beware I" 

But the palmer cast a fearful look on Biorn, which 
seemed to quench the light of his fiery eyes, and said 
solemnly, in a thundering voice, " Between me and thee, 
old man, the case stands quite otherwise. We have no- 
thing to reproach each other with. And now suffer me to 
sing a song to you on the lute." He stretched out his 
hand, and took down from the wall a forgotten and half- 
strung lute, which was hanging there ; and, with surpris- 
ing skill and rapidity, having put it in a state fit for use, 
he struck some chords, and raised this song to the low 
melancholy tones of the instrument : 

" The flow'ret was mine own, mine own, 
But I have lost its fragrance rare. 
And knightly name and freedom fair, 
Through sin, through sin alone. 
C 



18 SINTRAM AND HIS COMPANIONS. , 

The flow 'ret was thine own, thine own, 
Why cast away what thou didst win ? 
Thou knight no more, but slave of sin, 
Thou'rt fearfully alone !" 

** Have a care !" shouted he at the close in a pealing \ 
voice, as he pulled the strings so mightily that they all j 
broke with a clanging wail, and a cloud of dust rose from 
the old lute, which spread round hira like a mist. 

Sintram had been watching him narrowly whilst he was 
singing, and more and more did he feel convinced that it 
was impossible that this man and his fellow-traveller of 
the morning could be one and the same. Nay, the doubt 
rose to certainty, when the stranger again looked round 
at him with the same timid, anxious air, and with many • 
excuses and low reverences hung the lute in its old place, 
and then ran out of the hall as if bewildered with terror, 
in strange contrast with the proud and stately bearing 
which he had shewn to Biorn. 

The eyes of the boy were now directed to his father, 
and he saw that he had sunk back senseless in his seat, as 
if struck by a blow. Sintram's cries called Rolf and other 
attendants into the hall ; and only by great labour did 
their united efforts awake the lord of the castle. His looks 
were still wild and disordered ; but he allowed himself to 
be taken to rest, quiet and yielding. 



CHAPTER V. 

An illness followed this sudden attack ; and during the 
course of it the stout old knight, in the midst of his deliri- 
ous raving?, did not cease to affirm confidently that he 
must and should recover. He laughed proudly when his 
fever-fits came on, and rebuked them for daring to attack 
him so needlessly. Then he murmured to himself, " That 



SIXTRAM AND HIS COMPA.VIOXS. 19 

was not the right one yet ; there must still be another one 
out in the cold mountains." 

Always at such words Sintram involuntarily shud- 
dered ; they seemed to strengthen his notion that he who 
had ridden with him, and he who had sat at table in the 
castle, w^ere two quite distinct persons ; and he knew not 
why, but this thought was inexpressibly awful to him. 

Biorn recovered, and appeared to have entirely for- 
gotten his adventure with the palmer. He hunted in the 
I mountains ; he carried on his usual wild warfare with his 
t neighbours; and Sintram, as he grew up, became his 
, almost constant companion ; whereby each year a fearful 
strength of body and spirit was unfolded in the youth. 
; Every one trembled at the sight of his sharp pallid fea- 
1 tures, his dark rolling eyes, his tall, muscular, and some- 
I what lean form; and yet no one hated him — not even 
[ those whom he distressed or injured in his wildest hu- 
[ mours. This might arise in part out of regard to old Rolf, 
who seldom left him for long, and who always held a soft- 
ening influence over him ; but also many of those who had 
known the Lady Verena while she still lived in the Avorld, 
affirmed that a faint reflection of her heavenly expression 
, floated over the very unlike features of her son, and that 
by this their hearts were won. 

Once, just at the beginning of spring, Biorn and his 

son were hunting in the neighbourhood of the sea-coast, 

over a tract of countrj^ which did not belong to them ; 

drawn thither less by the love of sport than by the wish of 

bidding defiance to a chieftain whom they detested, and 

thus exciting a feud. At that season of the year, when his 

winter dreams had just passed off", Sintram was always 

• unusually fierce and disposed for warlike adventures. 

And this day he w^as enraged at the chieftain for not 

coming in arms from his castle to hinder their hunting ; 

' and he cursed, in the wildest words, his tame patience and 

love of peace. Just then one of his wild young com- 

'. panions rushed towards him, shouting joyfully : "Be 



20 SINTRAM AND HIS COMPANIONS. 

content, my dear young lord ! I will wager that all is 
coming about as we and you wish ; for as I was pursuing 
a wounded deer down to the sea-shore, I saw a sail and a 
vessel filled with armed men making for the shore. Doubt- 
less your enemy purposes to fall upon you from the coast." 

Joyfully and secretly Sintram called all his followers 
together, being resolved this time to take the combat on 
himself alone, and then to rejoin his father, and astonish 
him with the sight of captured foes and other tokens of 
victory. 

The hunters, thoroughly acquainted with every cliff 
and rock on the coast, hid themselves round the landing- 
place ; and soon the strange vessel hove nearer with swell- 
ing sails, till at length it came to anchor, and its crew 
began to disembark in unsuspicious security. At the head 
of them appeared a knight of high degree, in blue steel 
armour richly inlaid with gold. His head was bare, for 
he carried his costly golden helmet hanging on his left 
arm. He looked royally around him ; and his counte- 
nance, which dark brown locks shaded, was pleasant to 
behold ; and a well-trimmed moustache fringed his mouth, 
from which, as he smiled, gleamed forth two rows of pearl- 
white teeth. 

A feeling came across Sintram that he must already 
have seen this knight somewhere ; and he stood motion- 
less for a few moments. But suddenly he raised his hand, 
to make the agreed signal of attack. In vain did the good 
Rolf, who had just succeeded in getting up to him, whisper 
in his ear that these could not be the foes whom he had 
taken them for, but that they were unknown, and certainly 
high and noble strangers. 

" Let them be who they may," replied the wild youth, 
" they have enticed me here to wait, and they shall pay 
the penalty of thus fooling me. Say not another word, if 
you value your life." And immediately he gave the sig- 
nal, a thick shower of javelins followed from all sides, and 
the Norwegian warriors rushed forth with flashing swords. 



SINTRAM AND HIS COMPANIONS. 21 

They found their foes as brave, or somewhat braver, than 
they could have desired. More fell on the side of those 
who made than of those who received the assault ; and the 
strangers appeared to understand surprisingly the Norsve- 
gian manner of fighting. The knight in steel armour had 
not in his haste put on his helmet; but it seemed as if 
he in no wise needed such protection, for his good sword 
afforded him sufficient defence even against the spears and 
darts which were incessantly hurled at him, as with rapid 
skill he received them on the shining blade, and dashed 
them far away, shivered into fragmer^ts. 

Sintram could not at the first onset penetrate to where 
this shining hero was standing, as all his followers, eager 
after such a noble prey, thronged closely round him ; but 
now the way was cleared enough for him to spring towards 
the brave stranger, shouting a war-cry, and brandishing 
his sword above his head. 

" Gabrielle !" cried the knight, as he dexterously par- 
ried the heavy blow which was descending, and with one 
powerful sword-thrust he laid the youth prostrate on the 
ground ; then placing his knee on Sintram's breast, he 
drew forth a flashing dagger, and held it before his eyes 
as he lay astonished. All at once the men-at-arms stood 
round like walls. Sintram felt that no hope remained for 
him. He determined to die as it became a bold warrior ; 
and, without giving one sign of emotion, he looked on the 
fatal weapon with a steady gaze. 

As he lay with his eyes cast upwards, he fancied that 
there appeared suddenly from heaven a wondrously beau- 
tiful female form in a bright attire of blue and gold. 
" Our ancestors told truly of the Valkyrias," murmured 
he. " Strike, then, thou unknown conqueror." 

But with this the knight did not comply, neither was 
it a Valkyria who had so suddenly appeared, but the beau- 
tiful wife of the stranger, who, having advanced to the 
high edge of the vessel, had thus met the upraised look 
of Sintram. 



22 SINTRAM AND HIS COMPANIONS. , 

*^Folko," cried she, in the softest tone, *^thou knight 
M'ithout reproach ! I know that thou sparest the van- 
quished." 

The knight sprang up, and with courtly grace stretched 
out his hand to the conquered youth, saying, " Thank the 
noble lady of Montfaucon for your life and liberty. But 
if you are so totally devoid of all goodness as to wish to 
resume the combat, here am I ; let it be yours to begin." 

Sintram sank, deeply ashamed, on his knees, and wept; 
for he had often heard speak of the high renown of the 
French knight Folko of Montfaucon, who was related to 
his father's house, and of the grace and beauty of his gentle 
lady Gabrielle. 



CHAPTER VI. 

The lord of Montfaucon looked with astonishment at his ■■ 

strange foe ; and as he gazed on him more and more, re- 1 

collections arose in his mind of that northern race from ! 
whom he was descended, and with w'hom he had always 

maintained friendly relations. A golden bear's claw, with ; 
which Sintram's cloak w^as fastened, at length made all 
clear to him. 

" Have you not," said he, " a valiant and far-famed > 

kinsman, called the Sea-king Arinbiorn, who carries on his ' 

helmet golden vulture-w'ings ? And is not your father the ' 

knight Biorn ? For surely the bear's claw on your mantle ' 
must be the cognisance of your house." 

Sintram assented to all this, in deep and humble shame, j 
The knight of Montfaucon raised him from the ground, 

and said gravely, yet gentlj^, " We are, then, of kin the | 

one to the other ; but I could never have believed that ! 

any one of our noble house would attack a peaceful man i 

without provocation, and that, too, without giving warn- 1 



SINTRAM AND HIS COMPANIONS. 23 

" Slay me at once," answered Sintram, " if indeed I 
am worthy to die by so noble hands. I can no longer 
endure the light of day." 

*' Because you have been overcome ?" asked Montfaucon, 

Sintram shook his head. 

" Or is it, rather, because you have committed an 
unknightly action ?" 

The glow of shame that overspread the youth's counte- 
nance said yes to this. 

" But you should not on that account wish to die," 
continued Montfaucon. " You should rather wish to live, 
that you may prove your repentance, and make your name 
illustrious by many noble deeds ; for you are endowed with 
a bold spirit and with strength of limb, and also with the 
eagle-glance of a chieftain. I should have made you a 
knight this very hour, if you had borne yourself as bravely 
in a good cause, as you have just now in a bad. See to it, 
that I may do it soon. You may yet become a vessel of 
high honour." 

A joyous sound of shawms and silver rebecks inter- 
rupted his discourse. The lady Gabrielle, bright as the 
morning, had now come down from the ship, surrounded 
b\ her maidens ; and, instructed in a few words by Folko 
who was his late foe, she took the combat as some mere 
trial of arms, saying, "■ You must not be cast down, noble 
youth, because my wedded lord has won the prize ; for be 
it known to you, that in the whole world there is but one 
knight who can boast of not having been overcome by the 
Baron of Montfaucon. And who can say," continued she, 
sportively, " whether even that would have happened, had 
he not set himself to win back the magic ring from me, 
his lady-love, destined to him, as well by the choice of my 
own heart as by the will of Heaven !" 

Folko, smiling, bent his head over the snow-white 
hand of his lady ; and then bade the youth conduct them 
to his father's castle. 

Rolf took upon himself to see to the disembarking of 



24 SIXTRAM AND HIS COMPANIONS. 

the horses and valuables of the strangers, filled with joy at 
the thought that an angel in woman's form had appeared 
to soften his beloved young master, and perhaps even to 
free him from that early curse. 

Sintram sent messengers in all directions to seek for 
his father, and to announce to him the arrival of his noble 
guests. They therefore found the old knight in his castle, 
with every thing prepared for their reception. Gabrielle 
could not enter the vast, dark-looking building without 
a slight shudder, which was increased when she saw the ; 
rolling fiery eyes of its lord ; even the pale, dark-haired 
Sintram seemed to her very fearful ; and she sighed to i 
herself, " Oh ! what an awful abode have you brought me 
to visit, my knight ! Would that we were once again in 
my sunny Gascony, or in your knightly Normandy !" 

But the grave yet courteous reception, the deep respect 
paid to her grace and beauty, and to the high fame of i 
Folko, helped to re-assure her; and soon her bird-like ! 
pleasure in novelties was awakened through the strange 
significant appearances of this new world. And besides, it 
could only be for a passing moment that any womanly 
fears found a place in her breast when her lord was near 
at hand, for well did she know w^hat effectual protection 
that brave Baron was ever ready to afford to all those who 
were dear to him, or committed to his charge. 

Soon afterwards Rolf passed through the great hall in 
which Biorn and his guests were seated, conducting their 
attendants, who had charge of the baggage, to their rooms. 
Gabrielle caught sight of her favourite lute, and desired a 
page to bring it to her, that she might see if the precious 
instrument had been injured by the sea-voyage. As she 
bent over it with earnest attention, and her taper fingers 
ran up and down the strings, a smile, like the dawn of 
spring, passed over the dark countenances of Biorn and his 
son; and both said, with an involuntary sigh, "Ah! if 
you would but play on that lute, and sing to it! It 
would be but too beautiful!" The lady looked up at 



SINTRAM AND HIS COMPANIONS. 25 

them, well pleased, and smiling her assent, she began this 
song : — 

" Songs and flowers are returning, 
And radiant skies of May, 
Earth her choicest gifts is yielding, 
But one is past away. 

The spring that clothes with tend'rest green 

Each grove and sunny plain. 
Shines not for my forsaken heart, 

Brings not my joys again. 

Warble not so, thou nightingale, 

Upon thy blooming spray. 
Thy sweetness now will burst my heart, 

I cannot bear thy lay. 

For flowers and birds are come again, 

And breezes mild of May, 
But treasured hopes and golden hours 

Are lost to me for aye !" 

The two Norwegians sat plunged in melancholy thought ; 
but especially Sintrara's eyes began to brighten with a 
milder expression, his cheeks glowed, every feature soft- 
ened, till those who looked at him could have fancied they 
saw a glorified spirit. The good Rolf, who bad stood lis- 
tening to the song, rejoiced thereat from his heart, and 
devoutly raised his hands in pious gratitude to heaven. 
But Gabrielle's astonishment suflfered her not to take her 
eyes from Sintram. At last she said to him, " I should 
much like to know what has so struck you in that little 
song. It is merely a simple lay of the spring, full of the 
images which that sweet season never fails to call up in the 
minds of my countrymen." 

'' But is your home really so lovely, so wondrously rich 
in song?" cried the enraptured Sintram. "Then I am 
no longer surprised at your heavenly beauty, at the power 
which you exercise over my hard, wayward heart ! For a 



26 SIXTRAM AND HIS COMPANIONS. 

paradise of song must surely send such angelic messengers 
through the ruder parts of the world." And so saying, he 
fell on his knees before the lady in an attitude of deep , 
humility. Folko looked on all the while with an approving ] 
smile, whilst Gabrielle, in much embarrassment, seemed 
hardly to know how to treat the half-wild, half-tamed 
young stranger. After some hesitation, however, she held 
out her fair hand to him, and said as she gently raised 
him: "Surely one who listens with such delight to music 
must himself know how to awaken its strains. Take my 
lute, and let us hear a graceful inspired song.'^ 

But Sintram drew back, and would not take the instru- 
ment; and he said, " Heaven forbid that my rough un- 
tutored hand should touch those delicate strings ! For 
even were I to begin with some soft strains, yet before 
long the wild spirit which dwells in me would break out, 
and there would be an end of the form and sound of tlie 
beautiful instrument. No, no ; suffer me rather to fetch 
my own huge harp, strung with bears' sinews set in brass, 
for in truth I do feel myself inspired to play and sing." 

Gabrielle murmured a half-frightened assent ; and Sin- 
tram having quickly brought his harp, began to strike 
it loudly, and to sing these words with a voice no less 
powerful ; 

*' Sir knight, sir knight, oh ! whither away 
With thy snow-white sail on the foaming spray ?" 
Sing heigh, sing ho, for that land of flowers ! 

" Too long have I trod upon ice and snow; 
I seek the bowers where roses blow." 

Sing heigh, sing ho, for that land of flowers ! 

He steer'd on his course by night and day 
Till he cast his anchor in Naples Bay. 

Sing heigh, sing ho, for that land of flowers ! 

There wander'd a lady upon the strand, 
Her fair hair bound with a golden band. 

Sing heigh, sing ho, for that land of flowers 1 



SINTRAM AND HIS COMPANIONS. 27 

*' Hail to thee ! hail to thee ! lady bright, 
Mine own shalt thou be ere morning Ught. ' ' 
Sing heigh, sing ho, for that land of flowers ! 

" Not so, sir knight," the lady replied, 
" For you speak to the margrave's chosen bride." 
Sing heigh, sing ho, for that land of flowers ! 

" Your lover may come with his shield and spear. 
And the victor shall win thee, lady dear!" 
Sing heigh, sing ho, for that land of flowers ! 

" Nay, seek for another bride, I pray; 
Most fair are the maidens of Naples Bay." 
Sing heigh, sing ho, for that land of flowers ! 

" No, lady ; for thee my heart doth bum, 
And the world cannot now my purpose turn." 
Sing heigh, sing ho, for that land of flowers ! 

Then came the young margrave, bold and brave ; 
But low was he laid in a grassy grave. 

Sing heigh, sing ho, for that land of flowers ! 

And then the fierce Northman joyously cried, 
" Now shall I possess lands, castle, and bride!" 
Sing heigh, sing ho, for that land of flowers ! 

Sintram's song was ended, but his eyes glared wildly, 
and the vibrations of the harp-strings still resounded in a 
marvellous manner. Biorn's attitude was again erect ; he 
stroked his long beard and rattled his sword, as if in great 
delight at what he had just heard. Much shuddered Ga- 
brielle before the wild song and these strange forms, but 
only till she cast a glance on the Lord of Mon^faucon, who 
sat there smiling in all his hero strength, unmoved, while 
the rough uproar passed by him like an autumnal storm. 



28 SINTEAM AND HIS COMPANIONS. 



CHAPTER VII. 

Some weeks after this, in the twilight of evening, Sin tram, 
very disturbed, came down to the castle-garden. Although 
the presence of Gabrielle never failed to soothe and calm 
him, yet if she left the apartment for even a few instants, 
the fearful wildness of his spirit seemed to return with 
renewed strength. So even now, after having long and 
kindly read legends of the olden times to his father Biorn, 
she had retired to her chamber. The tones of her lute 
could be distinctly heard in the garden below; but the 
sounds only drove the bewildered youth more impetuously 
through the shades of the ancient elms. Stooping suddenly 
to avoid some over-hanging branches, he unexpectedly came 
upon something against which he had almost struck, and 
which, at first sight, he took for a small bear standing on 
its hind legs, with a long and strangely crooked horn on 
its head. He drew back in surprise and fear. It addressed 
him in a grating man's voice j " Well, my brave young 
knight, whence come you ? whither go you ? wherefore so 
terrified ?" And then first he saw that he had before him 
a little old man so wrapped up in a rough garment of fiir, 
that scarcely one of his features was visible, and wearing 
in his cap a strange-looking long feather. 

"But whence come you? and whither go you?" re- 
turned the angry Sintram. *' For of you such questions 
should be asked. What have you to do in our domains, 
you hideous little being !" 

" Well, well," sneered the other one, " I am thinking 
that I am quite big enough as I am — one cannot always 
be a giant. And as to the rest, why should you find fault 
that I go here hunting for snails? Surely snails do not 
belong to the game which your high mightinesses consider 
that you alone have a right to follow ! Now, on the other 
hand, I know how to prepare from them an excellent high- 
flavoured drink ; and I have taken enough for to-day : 



SINTEAM AND HIS COMPANIONS. 29 

marvellous fat little beasts, with wise faces like a man's, 
and long twisted horns on their heads. Would you like to 
see them ? Look here !" 

And then he began to unfasten and fumble about his 
fur garment ; but Sintram, filled with disgust and horror, 
said, " Psha ! I detest such animals ! Be quiet, and tell 
me at once who and what you yourself are." 

''Are you so bent upon knowing my name?" replied 
the little man. " Let it content you that I am master of 
all secret knowledge, and well versed in the most intricate 
depths of ancient historj'. Ah ! my young sir, if you would 
only hear them ! But you are afraid of me." 

" Afraid of you !" cried Sintram, with a wild laugh. 

" Many a better man than you has been so before 
now," muttered the little Master ; " but they did not like 
being told of it any more than you do." 

" To prove that you are mistaken," said Sintram, " I 
will remain here with you till the moon stands high in the 
heavens. But you must tell me one of your stories the 
while." 

The little man, much pleased, nodded his head ; and as 
they paced together up and down a retired elm-walk, he 
began discoursing as follows : — 

" Many hundred years ago a young knight, called Paris 
of Troy, lived in that sunny land of the south where are 
found the sweetest songs, the brightest flowers, and the 
most beautiful ladies. You know a song that tells of that 
fair land, do you not, young sir? ' Sing heigh, sing ho, 
for that land of flowers.'" Sintram bowed his head in 
assent, and sighed deeply. " Now," resunaed the little 
Master, '' it happened that Paris led that kind of life 
which is not uncommon in those countries, and of which 
their poets often sing — he would pass whole months to- 
gether in the garb of a peasant, piping in the woods and 
mountains, and pasturing his flocks. Here one day three 
beautiful sorceresses appeared to him, disputing about a 
golden apple ; and from him they sought to know which 



30 SINTRAM AND HIS COMPANIONS. 

of them was the most beautiful, since to her the golden 
fruit was to be awarded. The first knew how to give 
thrones, and sceptres, and crowns ; the second could give 
wisdom and knowledge ; and the third could prepare 
: philtres and love-charms which could not fail of securing 
the affections of the fairest of women. Each one in turn 
proffered her choicest gifts to the young shepherd, in order 
that, tempted by them, he might adjudge the apple to her. 
But as fair women charmed him more than anything else 
in the world, he said that the third was the most beautiful 
— her name was Venus. The two others departed in great 
displeasure ; but Venus bid him put on his knightly armour 
and his helmet adorned with waving feathers, and then she 
led him to a famous city called Sparta, where ruled the 
noble duke Menelaus. His young duchess Helen was the 
loveliest woman on earth, and the sorceress offered her to 
Paris in return for the golden apple. He was most ready 
to have her, and wished for nothing better ; but he asked 
how he was to gain possession of her." 

*' Paris must have been a sorry knight," interrupted 
Sintram. " Such things are easily settled. The husband 
is challenged to a single combat, and he that is victorious 
carries off the wife." 

" But duke Menelaus was the host of the young knight," 
said the narrator. 

" Listen to me, little Master," cried Sintram ; " he 
might have asked the sorceress for some other beautiful 
woman, and then have mounted his horse, or weighed 
anchor, and departed." 

" Yes, yes ; it is very easy to say so," replied the old 
man. " But if you only knew how bewitchingly lovely 
this duchess Helen was, no room was left for change." 
And then he began a glowing description of the charms of 
this wondrously beautiful woman, but likening the image 
to Gabrielle so closely, feature for feature, that Sintram, 
tottering, was forced to lean against a tree. The little, 
Master stood opposite to him grinning, and asked, " Well 



SIXTRAM AND HIS COMPANIONS. 31 

now, could YOU have advised that poor knight Paris to flj' 
from her ?" " 

"Tell me at once what happened next," stammered 
Sintram. 

"The sorceress acted honourably towards Paris," con- 
tinued the old man. " She declared to him that if he 
would carry away the lovely duchess to his own city Troy, 
he might do so, and thus cause the ruin of his whole house 
and of his country ; hut that during ten years he would be 
able to defend himself in Troy, and rejoice in the sweet love 
of Helen." 

" And he accepted those terms, or he was a fool !" 
cried the youth. 

" To be sure he accepted them," whispered the little 
Master. " I would have done so in his place! And do 
you know, young sir, the look of things then was just as 
they are happening to-day. The newly risen moon, partly 
veiled by clouds, was shining dimly through the thick 
branches of the trees in the silence of evening. Leaning 
against an old tree, as you now are doing, stood the young 
enamoured knight Paris, and at his side the enchantress 
Venus, but so disguised and transformed, that she did not 
look much more beautiful than I do. And by the silvery 
light of the moon, the form of the beautiful beloved one 
was seen sweeping by alone amidst the whispering boughs.'* 
He was silent, and like as in the mirror of his deluding 
words, Gabrielle just then actually herself appeared, musing 
as she walked alone down the alley of elms. 

" Man, — fearful Master, — by what name shall I call 
you ? To what would you drive me ?" muttered the trem- 
bling Sintram. 

'• Thou knowest thy father's strong stone castle on the 
Moon-rocks !'' replied the old man. " The castellan and 
the garrison are true and devoted to thee. It could stand 
a ten years' siege ; and the little gate which leads to the 
hills is open, as was that of the citadel of Sparta for Paris." 

And, in fact, the youth saw through a gate, left open 



32 SINTRAM AND HIS COMPANIONS. 

he knew not how, the dim, distant mountains glittering 
in the moonlight. " And if he did not accept, he was a 
fool," said the little Master, with a grin, echoing Sintram's 
former words. 

At that moment Gabrielle stood close by him. She 
was within reach of his grasp, had he made the least move- 
ment; and a moonbeam, suddenly breaking forth, trans- 
figured, as it were, her heavenly beauty. The youth had 
already bent forward — 

" My Lord and God, I pray, 
Turn from his heart away 

This world's turmoil ; 
And call him to Thy light, 
Be it through sorrow's night, 

Through pain or toil." 

These words were sung by old Rolf at that very time, as he- 
lingered on the still margin of the castle fish-pond, where 
he prayed alone to Heaven, full of foreboding care. They 
reached Sintram's ear ; he stood as if spell-bound, and ; 
made the Sign of the Cross. Immediately the little Master 
fled away, jumping uncouthly on one leg, through the gates, 
and shutting them after him with a yell. 

Gabrielle shuddered, terrified at the wild noise. Sin- ; 
tram approached her softly, and said, oifering his arm to 
her : " Suffer me to lead you back to the castle. The 
night in these northern regions is often wild and fearful." 



CHAPTER VIII. 

They found the two knights drinking wine within. Folko I 
was relating stories in his usual mild and cheerful manner, ! 
and Biorn was listening with a moody air, but yet as if, I 
against his will, the dark cloud might pass away before i 
that bright and gentle courtesy. Gabrielle saluted the • 



SINTRAM AND HIS COMPANIONS. 33 

baron with a smile, and signed to him to continue his dis- 
course, as she took her place near the knight Biorn, full 
of watchful kindness. Sintram stood bj^ the hearth, ab- 
stracted and melancholy; and the embers, as he stirred 
them, cast a strange glow over his pallid features. 

" And of all the German trading towns," continued 
Montfaucon, " the largest and richest is Hamburgh. In 
Normandy we willingly see their merchants land on our 
coasts, and those excellent people never fail to prove them- 
selves our friends when we seek their advice and assistance. 
When I first visited Hamburgh, every honour and respect 
was paid to me. I found its inhabitants engaged in a war 
with a neighbouring count, and immediately I used my 
sword for them, vigorously and successfidly." 

" Your sword! your knightly sword!" interrupted 
Biorn; and the old w^onted fire flashed from his eyes. 
I " Against a knight, and for shopkeepers !" 
I '' Sir knight," replied Folko, calmly, " the barons of 
\ Montfaucon have ever used their swords as they chose, 
without the interference of another ; and as I have received 
' this good custom, so do I wish to hand it on. If you agree 
[ not to this, so speak it freely out. But I forbid every rude 
; word against the men of Hamburgh, since I have declared 
f them to be my friends." 

I Biorn cast down his haughty eyes, and their fire faded 
* away. In a low voice he said, " Proceed, noble baron. 
I You are right, and I am wrong." 

Then Folko stretched out his hand to him across the 
table, and resumed his narration : " Amongst all my be- 
loved Hamburghers the dearest to me are two men of 
: marvellous experience — a father and son. What have they 
' not seen and done in the remotest corners of the earth, 
and instituted in their native town ! Praise be to God, 
my life cannot be called unfruitful; but, compared with 
the wise Gotthard Lenz and his stout-hearted son Rudlieb, 
I look upon myself as an escpiire who has perhaps been 
; some few times to tourneys, and, besides that, has never 



34 SINTKAM AND HIS COMPANIONS. 

hunted out of his own forests. They have converted, sub- 
dued, gladdened, dark men whom I know not how to 
name ; and the wealth which they have brought back 
with them has all been devoted to the common weal, as 
if tit for no other purpose. On their return from their 
long and perilous sea-voyages, they hasten to an hospital 
which has been founded by them, and where they under- 
take the part of overseers, and of careful and patient 
nurses. Then they proceed to select the most fitting spots 
whereon to erect new towers and fortresses for the defence 
of their beloved country. Next they repair to the houses 
where strangers and travellers receive hospitality at their 
cost ; and at last they return to their own abode, to enter- 
tain their guests, rich and noble like kings, and simple 
and unconstrained like shepherds. Many a tale of their 
wondrous adventures serves to enliven these sumptuous 
feasts. Amongst others, I remember to have heard my 
friends relate one at which my hair stood on end. Pos- 
sibly I may gain some more complete information on the 
subject from you. It appears that several years ago, just I 
about the time of the Christmas festival, Gotthard and j 
Rudlieb were shipwrecked on the coast of Norway, during j 
a violent winter tempest. They could never exactly as-j 
certain the situation of the rocks on which their vessel 1 
stranded ; but so much is certain, that very near the sea- , 
shore stood a huge castle, to which the father and son' 
betook themselves, seeking for that assistance and shelter' 
which Christian people are ever willing to aiford each other 
in case of need. They went alone, leaving their followers' 
to watch the injured ship. The castle-gates were thrown! 
open, and they thought all was well. But on a sudden; 
the court-yard was filled with armed men, who with onel 
accord aimed their sharp iron -pointed spears at the de-| 
fenceless strangers; whose dignified remonstrances and! 
mild entreaties were only heard in sullen silence or with' 
scornful jeerings. After a while a knight came down the 
stairs, with fire-flashing eyes. They hardly knew whether 



SINTRAM AND HIS COMPANIONS. 



35 



to think they 
saw a spectre, 
or a wild hea- 
then ; he gave 
a signal, and 
the fatal spears 
closed around 
them. At that 
instant the soft 
tones of a wo- 
man's voice fell ' 
on their ear, 
calling on the 
Saviour's holy 
name for aid ; 
at the sound, ' 
the spectres inj^>^ 
the court-yard 
rushed madly ' 
one against the 
other, the gates 
burst open, and 
Gotthard and 
Rudlieb fled 
away, catching 
a glimpse as ~^ 

they went of an angelic woman who appeared at one of the 
windows of the castle. They made every exertion to get 
their ship again afloat, choosing to trust themselves to the 
sea rather than to that barbarous coast ; and at last, after 
manifold dangers, they landed in Denmark. They say 
that some heathen must have owned the cruel castle ; but 
I hold it to be some ruined fortress, deserted by men, in 
which hellish spectres were wont to hold their nightly 
meetings. AVhat heathen could be found so demon-like 
as to ofi^er death to shipwrecked strangers, instead of re- 
freshment and shelter?" 




36 SINTRAM AND HIS COMPANIONS. 

Biorn gazed fixedly on the ground, as though he were 
turned into stone ; but Sintram came towards the table, 
and said, " Father, let us seek out this godless abode, 
and lay it level with the dust. I cannot tell how, but 
somehow I feel quite sure that the accursed deed of which 
we have just heard is alone the cause of my frightful 
dreams." 

Enraged at his son, Biorn rose up, and would perhaps 
again have uttered some dreadful words ; but heaven de- 
creed otherwise, for just at that moment the pealing notes 
of a trumpet were heard, which drowned the angry tones 
of his voice, the great doors opened slowly, and a herald 
entered the hall. He bowed reverently, and then said, 
" I am sent by Jarl Eric the Aged. He returned two days 
ago from his expedition to the Grecian seas. His wish had 
been to take vengeance on the island which is called Chios, 
where fifty years ago his father was slain by the soldiers of 
the emperor. But your kinsman, the sea-king Arinbiorn, 
who was lying there at anchor, tried to pacify him. To 
this Jarl Eric would not listen ; so the sea-king said next 
that he would never suffer Chios to be laid waste, because 
it was an island where the lays of an old Greek bard, 
called Homer, w^ere excellently sung, and where moreover 
a very choice wine was made. Words proving of no avail, 
a combat ensued ; in which Arinbiorn had so much the 
advantage that Jarl Eric lost two of his ships, and only 
with difficulty escaped in one which had already sustained i 
great damage. Eric the Aged has now resolved to take i 
revenge on some of the sea-king's race, since Arinbiorn ] 
himself is seldom on the spot. Will you, Biorn of the ; 
Fiery Eyes, at once pay as large a penalty in cattle, and • 
money, and goods, as it may please the Jarl to demand? j 
Or will you prepare to meet him with an armed force at i 
Niflung's Heath seven days hence?" j 

Biorn bowed his head quietly, and replied in a mild , 
tone, *' Seven daj^s hence at Niflung's Heath." He then 
offered to the herajd a golden goblet full of rich wine, and 



SINTRAM AND HIS COMPANIONS. 37 

added, '' Drink that, and then carry oiFwith thee the cup 
which thou hast emptied/^ 

'^ The Baron of Montfaucon likewise sends greeting 
to thy chieftain, Jarl Eric," interposed Folko ; ^' and en- 
gages to be also at Niflung's Heath, as the hereditary 
friend of the sea-king, and also as the kinsman and guest 
of Biorn of the Fiery Eyes." 

The herald was seen to tremble at the name of Mont- 
faucon ; he bowed very low, cast an anxious, reverential 
look at the baron, and left the hall. 

Gabrielle looked on her knight, smiling lovingly and 
securely, for she well knew his victorious prowess ; and she 
only asked, "■ Where shall I remain, whilst you go forth to 
battle, Folko?" 

" I had hoped," answered Biorn, '' that you would be 
well contented to stay in this castle, lovely lady ; I leave 
my son to guard you and attend on you." 

Gabrielle hesitated an instant ; and Sintram, who had 
resumed his position near the fire, muttered to himself as 
he fixed his eyes on the bright flames which w-ere flashing 
up, " Yes, yes, so it will probably happen. I can fancy 
that duke JNIenelaus had just left Sparta on some w-arlike 
expedition, when the young knight Paris met the lovely 
Helen that evening in the garden." 

But Gabrielle, shuddering, although she knew not why, 
said quickly, "Without you, Folko? And must 1 forego 
the joy of seeing you fight? or the honour of tending you, 
should you chance to receive a wound ?" 

Folko bowed, gracefully thanking his lady, and replied, 
" Come with your knight, since such is your pleasure, and 
be to him a bright guiding star. It is a good old northern 
custom that ladies should be present at knightly combats, 
and no true w^arrior of the north will fail to respect the 
place whence beams the light of their eyes. Unless, in- 
deed," continued he with an inquiring look at Biorn, 
" unless Jarl Eric is not worthy of his forefather ?" 

" A man of honour," said Biorn confidently. 



3d SINTRAM AND HIS COMPANIONS. 

" Then array j'ourself, my fairest love," said the de- 
lighted Folko ; " array yourself, and come forth with us 
to the battle-field to behold and judge our deeds." 

" Come forth with us to the battle," echoed Sintram in 
a sudden transport of joy. 

And they all dispersed in calm cheerfulness ; Sintram 
betaking himself again to the wood, while the others 
retired to rest. 



CHAPTER IX. 

It was a wild dreary tract of country that, which bore the 
name of Nifiung's Heath. According to tradition, the 
young Niflung, son of Hogni, the last of his race, had 
there ended darkly a sad and unsuccessful life. Many 
ancient grave-stones were still standing round about ; and 
in the few oak-trees scattered here and there over the 
plain, huge eagles had built their nests. The beating of 
their heavy wings as they fought together, and their wild 
screams, were heard far off in more thickly peopled re- 
gions ; and at the sound children would tremble in their 
cradles, and old men quake with fear as they slumbered 
over the blazing hearth. j 

As the seventh night, the last before the day of combat, | 
was just beginning, two large armies were seen descending i 
from the hills in opposite directions : that which came from i 
the west was commanded by Eric the Aged, that from the | 
east by Biorn of the Fiery Eyes. They appeared thus early \ 
in compliance with the custom which required that adver- | 
saries should always present themselves at the appointed j 
Held of battle before the time named, in order to prove j 
that they rather sought than dreaded the fight. Folko I 
forthwith pitched on the most convenient spot the tent of 1 
blue samite fringed with gold, which he carried with him j 
to shelter his gentle lady ; whilst Sintram, in the charac- 



SINTRAM AND HIS COMPANIONS. 39 

ter of herald, rode over to Jarl Eric to announce to him 
that the beauteous Gabrielle of Montfaucon was present in 
the army of the knight Biorn, and would the next morn- 
ing be present as a judge of the combat. 

Jarl Eric bowed low on receiving this pleasing mes- 
sage ; and ordered his bards to strike up a lay, the words 
of which ran as follows : — 

" Warriors bold of Eric's band, 
Gird your glittering armour on, 
Stand beneath to-morrow's sun, 

In your might. 
Fairest dame that ever gladden'd 
Our wild shores with beauty's vision. 
May thy bright eyes o'er our combat, 

Judge the right ! 

Tidings of yon noble stranger 
Long ago have reach' d our ears, 
Wafted upon southern breezes, 

O'er the wave. 
Now midst yonder hostile ranks. 
In his warlike pride he meets us, 
Folko comes ! Fight, men of Eric, 

True and brave !" 

These wondrous tones floated over the plain, and 
reached the tent of Gabrielle. It was no new thing to her 
to hear her knight's fame celebrated on all sides ; but now 
that she listened to his praises bursting forth in the still- 
ness of night from the mouth of his enemies, she could 
scarce refrain from kneeling at the feet of the mighty 
chieftain. But he with courteous tenderness held her up, 
and pressing his lips fervently on her soft hand, he said, 
" My deeds, O lovely lady, belong to thee, and not to 
me V 

Now the night had passed away, and the east was 
glowing ; and on Niflung's Heath there was waving, and 
resounding, and glowing too. Knights put on their rat- 



40 SINTRAM AND HIS COMPANIONS. 

tling armour, war-horses began to neigh, the morning 
draught went round in gold and silver goblets, while 
war-songs and the clang of harps resounded in the midst. 
A joyous march was heard in Biorn's camp, as Montfaucon, 
with his troops and retainers, clad in bright steel armour, 
conducted their lady up to a neighbouring hill, where she 
would be safe from the spears which would soon be flying 
in all directions, and whence she could look freely over 
the battle-field. The morning sun, as it \vere in homage, 
played over her beauty ; and as she came in view of the 
camp of Jarl Eric, his soldiers lowered their weapons, 
whilst the chieftains bent low the crests of their huge 
helmets. Two of Montfaucon's pages remained in attend- 
ance on Gabrielle ; for so noble a service not unwillingly 
bridling their love of fighting. Both armies passed in front 
of her, saluting her and singing as they went ; they then 
placed themselves in array, and the fight began. 

The spears flew from the hands of the stout northern 
warriors, rattling against the broad shields under which 
they sheltered themselves, or sometimes clattering as they 
met in the air ; at intervals, on one side or the other, a 
man was struck, and fell silent in his blood. Then the 
Knight of Montfaucon advanced with his troop of Norman 
horsemen — even as he dashed past, he did not fail to lower 
his shining sword to salute Gabrielle ; and then with an 
exulting war-cry, which burst from many a voice, they , 
charged the left wing of the enemy. Eric's foot-soldiers, : 
kneeling firmly, received them with fixed javelins — many 
a noble horse fell wounded to death, and in falling brought . 
his rider with him to the ground ; others again crushed 
their foes under them in their death-fall. Folko rushed 
through — he and his war-steed un wounded — followed by , 
a troop of chosen knights. Already were they falling into j 
disorder — already were Biorn's warriors giving shouts of, 
victory — when a troop of horse, headed by Jarl Eric him- ] 
self, advanced against the valiant baron ; and whilst his ; 
Normans, hastily assembled, assisted him in repelling this 



SINTRAM AXD HIS COMPANIONS. 41 

new attack, the enemy's infantry were gradually forming 
themselves into a thick mass, which rolled on and on. All 
these movements seemed caused by a warrior whose loud 
piercing shout was heard in the midst. And scarcely were 
the troops formed into this strange array, when suddenly 
they spread themselves out on all sides, carrjing every 
thing before them with the irresistible force of the burning 
torrent from Hecla. 

Biorn's soldiers, who had thought to enclose their ene- 
mies, lost courage and gave way before this wondrous on- 
set. The knight himself in vain attempted to stem the tide 
of fugitives, and with difficulty escaped being carried away 
by it. 

Sintram stood looking on this scene of confusion with 
mute indignation ; friends and foes passed by him, all 
equally avoiding him, and dreading to come in contact 
with one whose aspect was so fearful, nay, almost un- 
earthly, in his motionless rage. He aimed no blow either 
to right or left ; his pow^erful battle-axe rested in his hand ; 
but his eyes flashed fire, and seemed to be piercing the 
enemy's ranks through and through, as if he would find out 
who it was that had conjured up this sudden warlike spirit. 
He succeeded. A small man clothed in strange-looking 
armour, with large golden horns on his helmet, and a long 
vizor advancing in front of it, was leaning on a two-edged 
curved spear, and seemed to be looking with derision at 
the flight of Biorn's troops as they were pursued by their 
victorious foes. "That is he," cried Sintram; "he who 
will drive us from the field before the eyes of Gabrielle!'' 
And with the swiftness of an arrow he flew towards him 
with a wild shout. The combat was fierce, but not of 
long duration. To the wondrous dexterity of his adver- 
sary, Sintram opposed his far superior size ; and he dealt 
so fearful a blow on the horned helmet, that a stream of 
blood rushed forth, the small man fell as if stunned, and 
after some frightful convulsive movements, his limbs aj)- 
peared to stiffen in death. 



42 



SINTRAM AND HIS COMPANIONS, 



His fall gave the signal for that of all Eric's army. 
Even those who had not seen him fall, suddenly lost their 
courage and eagerness for the battle, and retreated with 
uncertain steps, or ran in wild aifright on the spears of 
their enemies. At the same time Montfaucon was dis- 
persing Jarl Eric's cavalry, after a desperate conflict — had 
hurled their chief from the saddle, and taken him prisoner 
with his own hand. Biorn of the Fiery Eyes stood vic- 
torious in the middle of the field of battle. The day was 
won. 



'rff) 




CHAPTER X. 

In siglit of both armies, with glowing cheeks and looks 
of modest humility, Sintram was conducted by the brave 
baron up the hill where Gabrielle stood in all the lustre of 



SINTRAM AND HIS COMPANIONS. 43 

her beauty. Both warriors bent the knee before her, and 
Folko said, solemnly, " Lady, this valiant youth of a noble 
race has deserved the reward of this day's victory. I pray 
you let him receive it from your fair hand." 

Gabrielle bowed courteously, took off her scarf of blue 
and gold, and fastened to it a bright sword, which a page 
brought to her on a cushion of cloth of silver. She then, 
with a smile, presented the noble gift to Sintram, who 
was bending forward to receive it, when suddenly Ga- 
brielle drew back, and turning to Folko, said, " Noble 
baron, should not he on whom I bestow a scarf and sword 
be first admitted into the order of knighthood ?" Light 
as a feather, Folko sprang up, and bowing low before his 
lady, gave the youth the accolade with solemn earnestness. 
Then Gabrielle buckled on his sword, saying, " For the 
honour of God and the service of virtuous ladies, young 
knight. I saw you fight, I saw you conquer, and my 
earnest prayers followed you. Fight and conquer often 
again, as you have done this day, that the beams of your 
renown may shine over my far-distant country." And at 
a sign from Folko, she offered her tender lips for the new 
knight to kiss. Thrilling all over, and full of a holy joy, 
Sintram arose in deep silence, and hot tears streamed 
down his softened countenance, whilst the shout and the 
trumpets of the assembled troops greeted the youth with 
stunning applause. Old Rolf stood silently on one side, 
and as he looked in the mild beaming eyes of his foster- 
child, he calmly and piously returned thanks : 

" The strife at length hath found its end, 
Rich blessings now shall heaven send ! 
The evil foe is slain !" 

Biorn and Jarl Eric had the while been talking to- 
gether eagerly, but not unkindly. The conqueror now 

! led his vanquished enemy up the hill and presented him 
to the baron and Gabrielle, saying, " Instead of two ene- 

■ mies you now see two sworn allies j and I request you. 



44 SINTRAM AND HIS COMPANIONS. 

my beloved guests and kinsfolk, to receive him graciously 
as one who henceforward belongs to us." 

^' He was so always," added Eric, smiling ; '' I sought, 
indeed, revenge ; but I have now had enough of defeats 
both by sea and land. Yet I thank heaven that neither in 
the Grecian seas, to the sea-king, nor on Niflung's Heath, 
to you, have I yielded ingloriously." 

The lord of Montfaucon assented cordially, and heartily 
and solemnly was reconciliation made. Then Jarl Eric ad- 
dressed Gabrielle with so noble a grace, that with a smile 
of wonder she gazed on the gigantic grey hero, and gave 
him her beautiful hand to kiss. 

Meanwhile Sintram was speaking earnestly to his good 
Rolf; and at length he was heard to say, " But before all, 
be sure that you bury that wonderfully brave knight whom 
my battle-axe smote. Choose out the greenest hill for his 
resting-place, and the loftiest oak to shade his grave. 
Also, I wish you to open his vizor and to examine his 
countenance carefully, that so, though mortally smitten, 
we may not bury him alive ; and moreover, that you may 
be able to describe to me him to whom I owe the noblest 
prize of victory." | 

Rolf bowed readily, and went. i 

" Our young knight is speaking there of one amongst 
the slain of whom I should like to hear more," said Folko, 
turning to Jarl Eric. "Who, dear Jarl, was that won-j 
derful chieftain who led on your troops so skilfully, and ; 
who at last fell under Sintram's powerful battle-axe?" ; 

" You ask me more than I know how to answer," re-, 
plied Jarl Eric. "About three nights ago this stranger 
made his appearance amongst us. I was sitting with my 
chieftains and warriors round the hearth, forging our. 
armour, and singing the while. Suddenly, above the; 
din of our hammering and our singing, we heard so loud, 
a noise that it silenced us in a moment, and we sat; 
motionless as if we had been turned into stone. Before 
long the sound was repeated ; and at last we made out 



SINTRAM AND HIS COMPANIONS. 45 

that it must be caused by some person blowing a huge 
horn outside the castle, seeking for admittance. I went 
down myself to the gate, and as I passed through the 
court-yard all my dogs were so terrified by the extra- 
ordinary noise as to be howling and crouching in their 
kennels instead of barking. I chid them, and called to 
them, but even the fiercest would not follow me. Then, 
thought I, I must shew you the way to set to work ; so I 
, grasped my sword firmly, I set my torch on the ground 
; close beside me, and I let the gates fly open without 
further delay. For I well knew that it would be no easy 
matter for any one to come in against my will. A loud 
I laugh greeted me, and 1 heard these words, ' Well, well, 
i what mighty prej^arations are these before one small man 
I can find the shelter he seeks !' And in truth I did feel 
myself redden with shame when I saw the small stranger 
i standing opposite to me quite alone. I called to him to 
\ come in at once, and offered my hand to him ; but he still 
j shewed some displeasure, and would not give me his in 
I return. As he went up, however, he became more friendly 
{ — he shewed me the golden horn on which he sounded that 
j blast, and which he carried screwed on his helmet, as well 
i as another exactly like it. When he was sitting with us in 
i the hall, he behaved in a very strange manner — sometimes 
j he was merry, sometimes cross; by turns courteous and 
' rude in his demeanour, without any one being able to see 
, a motive for such constant changes. I longed to know 

> where he came from ; but how could I ask my guest such 
1 a question? He told us as much as this, that he was 
1 starved with cold in our country, and that his own was 
' much warmer. Also he appeared well acquainted with 
1 the city of Constantinople, and related fearful stories of 
. how brothers, uncles, and nephews, nay, even fathers and 
, sons, thrust each other from the throne, blinded, cut out 
J tongues, and murdered. At length he said his own name 

— it sounded harmonious, like a Greek name, but none of 

> us could remember it. Before long he displayed his skill 



46 SINTRAM AND HIS COMPANIONS. 

as an armourer. He understood marvellously well how 
to handle the red-hot iron, and how to form it into more 
murderous weapons than any I had ever before seen. I 
would not suffer him to go on making them, for I was re- 
solved to meet you in the field with equal arms, and such 
as we are all used to in our northern countries. Then he 
laughed, and said he thought it would be quite possible to 
be victorious without them, by skilful movements and the 
like ; if only I would entrust the command of my infantry 
to him, I was sure of victory. Then I thought that he who 
makes arms well must also wield them well — yet I required 
some proof of his powers. Ye lords, he came off "vdctori- 
ous in trials of strength such as you can hardly imagine ; 
and although the fame of young Sintram, as a bold and 
brave warrior, is spread far and wide, yet I can scarce be- 
lieve that he could slay such an one as my Greek ally." 

He would have continued speaking, but the good Rolf 
came hastily back with a few followers, the whole party 
so ghastly pale, that all eyes were involuntarily fixed on 
them, and looked anxiously to hear what tidings they 
brought. Rolf stood still, silent and trembling. 

''Take courage, my old friend!" cried Sintram. 
" Whatever thou mayest have to tell is truth and light 
from thy faithful mouth." 

" My dear master," began the old man, " be not 
angry, but as to burying that strange warrior whom you 
slew, it is a thing impossible. Would that we had never 
opened that wide hideous vizor ! For so horrible a coun- 
tenance grinned at us from underneath it, so distorted by 
death, and with so hellish an expression, that we hardly 
kept our senses. We could not by any possibility have 
touched him. I w^ould rather be sent to kill wolves and j 
bears in the desert, and look on whilst fierce birds of prey , 
feast on their carcasses." j 

All present shuddered, and were silent for a time, till < 
Sintram nerved himself to say, " Dear good old man, why , 
use such wild words as I never till now heard thee utter? 






SINTRAM AND HIS COMPANIONS. 



47 



But tell me, Jarl Eric, did your ally appear altogether so 

awful while he was yet alive?" 
' " Not as far as I know," answered Jarl Eric, looking 
I inquiringly at his companions, wdio were standing around. 
I They said the same thing ; but on further questioning, it 
[ appeared that neither the chieftain, nor tlie knights, nor 
[ the soldiers, could say exactly what the stranger was like. 
" We must then find it out for ourselves, and bury the 
i corpse," said Sintram ; and he signed to the assembled 
; party to follow him. All did so except the lord of Mont- 
1 faucon, whom the wdiispered entreaty of Gabrielle kept at 
■ her side. He lost nothing thereby. For though Niflung's 
, Heath was searched from one end to the other many times, 
j yet the body of the unknown warrior was no longer to be 

found. 





CHAPTER XI. 



The joyful calm which came over Sintram on this day 
appeared to be more than a passing gleam. If too, at 
times, a thought of the knight Paris and Helen would 
inflame his heart with bolder and wilder wishes, it needed 
but one look at his scarf and sword, and the stream of his 
inner life glided again clear as a mirror, and serene within. 
" What can any man wish for more than has been already ' 
bestowed on me?" would he say to himself at such times/ 
in still delight. And thus it went on for a long while. 

The beautiful northern autumn had already begun to 
redden the leaves of the oaks and elms round the castle, 
when one day it chanced that Sintram was sitting in com- 
pany with Folko and Gabrielle in almost the very same 
spot in the garden whore he had before met that mys- 
terious being whom, without knowing why, he had named 
the Little Master. But on this day how diiferent did 
every thing appear I The sun was sinking slowly over 



SINTRAM AND HIS COMPANIONS. 4/^ 

the sea, the mist of an autumnal evening was rising from 
the fields and meadows around, toAvards the hill on which 
stood the huge castle. Gabrielle, placing her lute in Sin- 
tram's hands, said to him, " Dear friend, so mild and 
gentle as you now are, I may well dare to entrust to you 
my tender little darling. Let me again hear you sing 
that lay of the land of flowers ; for I am sure that it will 
now sound much sweeter than when you accompanied it 
with the vibrations of your fearful harp." 

The young knight bowed as he prepared to obey the 
lady's commands. With a grace and softness hitherto 
unwonted, the tones resounded from his lips, and the wild 
song appeared to transform itself, and to bloom into a 
garden of the blessed. Tears stood in Gabrielle's eyes; 
and Sintrara, as he gazed on the pearly brightness, poured 
forth tones of yet richer sweetness. When the last notes 
were sounded, Gabrielle's angelic voice was heard to echo 
' them ; and as she repeated 

" Sing heigh, sing ho, for that land of flowers," 

Sintram put down the lute, and sighed with a thankful 
glance towards the stars, now rising in the heavens. Then 
Gabrielle, turning towards her lord, murmured these words : 
" Oh, how long have ^ve been far away from our own shin- 
ing castles and bright gardens ! Oh ! for that land of the 
sweetest flowers !" 

Sintram could scarce believe that he heard aright, so 
suddenly did he feel himself as if shut out from paradise. 
But his last hope vanished before the courteous assurances 
of Folko, that he would endeavour to fulfil his lady's wishes 
the very next week, and that their ship was lying oiF the 
shore ready to put to sea. She thanked him with a kiss 
imprinted softly on his forehead ; and leaning on his arm, 
she bent her steps, singing and smiling, towards the castle, 

Sintram, troubled in mind, as though turned into stone, 
remained behind forgotten. At length, when night was 
now in the sky, he started up wildly, ran up and down the 



48* SINTRAM AND HIS COilPAXIOXS. 

garden, as if all his former madness had again taken pos- 
session of him ; and then rushed out and wandered upon 
the wild moonlit hills. There he dashed his sword against 
the trees and bushes, so that on all sides was heard a sound 
of crashing and falling. The birds of night flew about 
liim screeching in wild alarm ; and the deer, startled by 
the noise, sprang away and took refuge in the thickest 
coverts. 

On a sudden old Rolf appeared, returning home from 
a visit to the chaplain of Drontheim, to whom he had been 
relating, with tears of joy, how Sintram was softened by 
the presence of the angel Gabrielle, yea, almost healed, 
and how he dared to hope that the evil dreams had yielded. 
And now the sword, as it whizzed round the furious youth, 
had well nigh wounded the good old man. He stopped 
short, and clasping his hands, he said, with a deep sigh, 
" Alas, Sintram ! my foster child, darling of my heart, 
what has come over thee, thus fearfully stirring thee to 
rage?" 

The youth stood awhile as if spell-bound ; he looked in 
his old friend's face with a fixed and melancholy gaze, and 
his eyes became dim, like expiring watch-fires seen through 
a thick cloud of mist. At length he sighed forth these 
words, almost inaudibly : " Good Rolf, good Rolf, depart 
from me ! thy garden of heaven is no home for me ; and 
if sometimes a light breeze blow open its golden gates, so 
that I can look in and see the flowery meadow-land where < 
the dear angels dwell, then straightway between them and 
me come the cold north wind and the icy storm, and the ' 
sounding doors fly together, and I remain without, lonely, 
in endless winter." 

'^ Beloved young knight, oh, listen to me — listen to the 
good angel within you ! Do you not bear in your hand 
that very sword with which the pure lady girded you? 
does not her scarf wave over your raging breast ? Do you 
not recollect how you used to say, that no man could wish 
for more than had fallen to you?" 



SINTRAM AND HIS COMPANIONS. 49 

'' Yes, Rolf, I have said that," replied Sintram, sinking 
on the mossy turf, bitterly weeping. Tears also ran over 
the old man's white beard. Before long the youth stood 
again erect, his tears ceased to flow, his looks were fearful, 
cold, and grim ; and he said, '' You see, Rolf, I have passed 
blessed peaceful days, and I thought that the powers of 
evil would never again have dominion over me. So, per- 
chance, it might have been, as day would ever be did the 
Sun ever stand in the sky. But ask the poor benighted 
Earth, wherefore she looks so dark ! Bid her again smile 
as she was Avont to do ! Old man, she cannot smile : and 
now that the gentle compassionate Moon has disappeared 
behind the clouds with her holy funeral veil, she cannot 
even weep. And in this hour of darkness, all that is wild 
and mad wakes up. So, stop me not, I tell thee, stop me 
not ! Hurrah, behind, behind the pale Moon !" His voice 
changed to a hoarse murmur at these last words, stormlike. 
He tore away from the trembling old man, and rushed 
through the forest. Rolf knelt down and prayed, and 
wejft silently. 




^■(K 




CHAPTER XII. 



Where tlie sea-beach was wildest, and the cliffs most 
steep and rugged, and close by the remains of three shat- 
tered oaks, haply marking where, in heathen times, human 
victims had been sacrificed, now stood Sintram, leaning, 
as if exhausted, on his drawn sword, and gazing intently 
on the dancing waves. The Moon had again shone forth; 
and as her pale beams fell on his motionless figure through 
the quivering branches of the trees, he might have been 
taken for some fearful idol-image. Suddenly some one 
on the left half raised himself out of the high withered 
grass, uttered a faint groan, and again lay down. Then 
between the two companions began this strange talk : 



SINTRAM AND HIS COMPANIONS. 51 

" Thou that movest thyself so strangely in the grass, 
dost thou belong to the living or to the dead ?" 

''As one may take it. I am dead to heaven and joy 
— I live for hell and anguish." 

'' Methinks that I have heard thee before. '^ 

^- Oh, yes." 

" Art thou a troubled spirit? and was thy life-blood 
poured out here of old in sacrifice to idols ?" 

"I am a troubled spirit; but no man ever has, or 
ever can, shed my blood. I have been cast down — oh, 
into a frightful abyss V 

" And didst thou there break thy neck?" 

" I live, — and shall live longer than thou." 

" Almost thou seemest to me the crazy pilgrim with 
the dead men's bones." 

" I am not he, though often we are companions, — ay, 
walk together right near and friendly. But to you be it 
said, he thinks me mad. If sometimes I urge him, and 
say to him, * Take !' then he hesitates, and points upwards 
towards the stars. And again, if I say, ' Take not!' then, 
to a certainty, he seizes on it in some awkward manner, 
and so he spoils my best joys and pleasures. But, in 
spite of this, we remain in some measure brothers in arms, 
and, indeed, all but kinsmen." 

" Give me hold of thy hand, and let me help thee to 
get up." 

" Ho, ho ! my active young sir, that might bring you 
no good. Yet, in fact, you have already helped to raise 
me. Give heed awhile." 

Wilder and ever wilder were the strugglings on the 
ground ; thick clouds hurried over the moon and the stars, 
on a long unknown wild journey ; and Sintram's thoughts 
grew no less wild and stormy, while far and near an awful 
howling could be heard amidst the trees and the grass. At 
length the mysterious being arose from the ground. As 
if with a fearful curiosity, the moon, through a rent in the 
clouds, cast a beam upon Sintram's companion, and made 



52 SINTRAM AND HIS COMPANIONS. 

clear to the shuddering youth that the little Master stood 
by him. • 

"Avaunt!" cried he, '' I will listen no more to thy 
evil stories about the knight Paris; they would end by 
driving me quite mad." 

" My stories about Paris are not needed for that!" 
grinned the little Master. "It is enough that the Helen 
of thy heart should be journeying towards Montfaucon. 
Believe me, madness has thee already, head and heart. 
Or wouldest thou that she should remain ? For that, how- 
ever, thou must be more courteous to me than thou art 
now." 

Therewith he raised his voice towards the sea, as if 
fiercely rebuking it, so that Sintram could not but shudder 
and tremble before the dwarf. But he checked himself, 
and, grasping his sword-hilt with both hands, he said, 
contemptuously: "Thou and Gabrielle! what acquaint- 
ance hast thou with Gabrielle?" 

" Not much," was the reply. And the little Master 
might be seen to quake with fear and rage as he conti- 
nued : "I cannot well bear the name of thy Helen ; do 
not din it in my ears ten times in a breath. But if the 
tempest should increase ? If the waves should swell, and 
roll on till they form a foaming ring round the whole coast 
of Norway ? The voyage to Montfaucon must in that case 
be altogether given up, and thy Helen would remain here, 
at least through the long, long, dark winter." 

"If! if!" replied Sintram, with scorn. "Is the sea 
thy bond-slave ? Are the storms thy fellow-workmen ?" 

" They are rebels, accursed rebels," muttered the little 
Master in his red beard. " Thou must lend me thy aid, 
sir knight, if I am to subdue them ; but thou hast not the 
heart for it." 

" Boaster, evil boaster!" answered the youth; " what 
dost thou ask of me?" 

" Not much, sir knight ; nothing at all for one who 
has strength and ardour of soul. Thou needest only look 



SINTRAM AND HIS COMPANIONS. 53 

at the sea steadily and keenly for one half-hour, without 
ever ceasing to wish with all thy might that it should 
foam and rage and swell, and never again rest till winter 
has laid its icy hold upon your mountains. Then winter 
is enough to hinder Duke Menelaus from his voyage to 
Montfaucon. And now give me a lock of your black hair, 
which is blowing so wildly about your head, like ravens' 
or vultures' wings." 

The youth drew his sharp dagger, madly cut off a lock 
of his hair, threw it to the strange being, and now gazed, 
as he desired, powerfully wishing, on the waves of the sea. 
And softly, quite softly, did the waters stir themselves, as 
one whispers in troubled dreams who would gladly rest and 
cannot. Sintram was on the point of giving up, when in 
the moonbeams a ship appeared, with white-swelling sails, 
towards the south. Anguish came over him, that Gabrielle 
would soon thus quickly sail away ; he wished again with 
all his power, and fixed his eyes intently on the watery 
abyss. '' Sintram," a voice might have said to him — 
"ah, Sintram, art thou indeed the same who so lately 
wert gazing on the moistened heaven of the eyes of Ga- 
brielle ?" 

And now the waves heaved more mightily, and the 
howling tempest swept over the ocean ; the breakers, white 
with foam, became visible in the moonlight. Then the 
little Master threw the lock of Sintram's hair up towards 
the clouds, and, as it was blown to and fro by the blast 
of wind, the storm burst in all its fury, so that sea and 
sky Avere covered with one thick cloud, and far off might 
be heard the cries of distress from manj^ a sinking vessel. 

But the crazy pilgrim with the dead men's bones rose 
up in the midst of the waves, close to the shore, gigantic, 
tall, fearfully rocking ; the boat in which he stood was 
hidden from sight, so mightily raged the waves round 
about it. 

" Thou must save him, little Master — thou must cer- 
tainly save him," cried Sintram's voice, angrily entreating, 



54 SINTRAM AND HIS COMPANIONS. 

through the roaring of the winds and waves. But the dwarf 
replied, with a laugh : "Be quite at rest for him ; he will 
be able to save himself. The waves can do him no harm. 
Seest thou? They are only begging of him, and therefore 
they jump up so boldly round him ; and he gives them 
bountiful alms — very bountiful, that I can assure thee." 

In fact, as it seemed, the pilgrim threw some bones 
into the sea, and passed scatheless on his way. Sintram 
felt his blood run cold with horror, and he rushed wildly 
towards the castle. His companion had either fled or 
vanished away. 



CHAPTER XIII. 

In the castle, Biorn and Gabrielle and Folko of Montfaucon 
were sitting round the great stone table, from which, since J 
the arrival of his noble guests, those suits of armour had j 
been removed, formerly the established companions of the j 
lord of the castle, and placed altogether in a heap in the 
adjoining room. At this time, while the storm was beating ■ 
so furiously against doors and windows, it seemed as if i 
the ancient armour were also stirring in the next room, 
and Gabrielle several times half rose from her seat in 
great alarm, fixing her eyes on the small iron door, as ( 
though she expected to see an armed spectre issue there- ; 
frOra, bending with his mighty helmet through the low ; 
vaulted doorway. 

The knight Biorn smiled grimly, and said, as if he had 
guessed her thoughts : " Oh, he will never again come out 
thence ; I have put an end to that for ever." 

His guests stared at him doubtingly ; and with a strange 
air of unconcern, as though the storm had awakened all 
the fierceness of his soul, he began the following history : 

"I was once a happy man myself; I could smile, as 
you do, and I could rejoice in the morning as you do j that 



SINTRAM AND HIS COMPANIONS. 55 

was before the hypocritical chaplain had so bewildered the 
wise mind of my lovely wife with his canting talk, that 
she went into a cloister, and left me alone with our wild 
boy. That was not fair usage from the fair Verena. 
Well, so it was, that in the first days of her dawning 
beauty, before I knew her, many knights sought her hand, 
amongst whom was SirWeigand the Slender; and towards 
him the gentle maiden shewed herself the most favourably 
inclined. Her parents were well aware that Weigand's 
rank and station were little below their own, and that his 
early fame as a warrior without reproach stood high ; so that 
before long Verena and he were accounted as affianced. It 
happened one day that they were walking together in the 
orchard, when a shepherd was driving his flock up the 
mountain beyond. The maiden saw a little snow-white 
lamb frolicking gaily, and longed for it. Weigand vaults 
over the railings, overtakes the shepherd, and offers him 
two gold bracelets for the lamb. But the shepherd will 
not part with it, and scarcely listens to the knight, going 
quietly the while up the mountain -side, with Weigand 
close upon him. At last Weigand loses patience. He 
tlireatens ; and the shepherd, sturdy and proud like all of 
his race in our northern land., threatens in return. Sud- 
denly Weigand's sword resounds upon his head, — the stroke 
should have fallen flat, but who can control a fiery horse 
or a drawn sword ? The bleeding shepherd, with a cloven 
skull, falls down the precipice ; his frightened flock bleats 
on the mountain. Only the little lamb runs in its terror 
to the orchard, pushes itself through the garden-rails, and 
lies at Verena' s feet, as if asking for helj), all red with his 
master's blood. She took it up in her arms, and from that 
moment never suffered Weigand the Slender to appear 
again before her face. She continued to cherish the little 
lamb, and seemed to take pleasure in nothing else in the 
world, and became pale and turned towards heaven, as 
the lilies are. She would soon have taken the veil, but 
just then I came to aid her father in a bloody war, and 



56 SINTRAM AND HIS COMPANIOxVS. 

rescued Mm from his enemies. The old man represented 
this to her, and, softly smiling, she gave me her lovely 
hand. His grief would not suifer the unhappy Weigand 
to remain in his own country. It drove him forth as a 
pilgrim to Asia, whence our forefathers came, and there 
he did wonderful deeds, both of valour and self-abasement. 
Truly, my heart was strangely weak when I heard him 
spoken of at that time. After some years he returned, 
and wished to build a church or monastery on that moun- 
tain towards the west, whence the walls of my castle are 
distinctly seen. It was said that he wished to become a 
priest there, but it fell out otherwise. For some pirates 
had sailed from the southern seas, and, hearing of the 
building of this monastery, their chief thought to find 
much gold belonging to the lord of the castle and to the 
master builders, or else, if he surprised and carried them 
off, to extort from them a mighty ransom. He did not 
yet know northern courage and northern weapons ; but 
he soon gained that knowledge. Having landed in the 
creek under the black rocks, he made his way through a 
by-path up to the building, surrounded it, and thought 
in himself that the affair v/as now ended. Ha ! then out 
rushed Weigand and his builders, and fell upon them 
with swords and hatchets and hammers. The heathens 
fled away to their ships, with Weigand behind to take 
vengeance on them. In passing by our castle he caught 
a sight of Verena on the terrace, and, for the first time 
during so many years, she bestowed a courteous and kind 
salutation on the glowing victor. At that moment a dag- 
ger, hurled by one of the pirates in the midst of his hasty 
flight, struck Weigand's uncovered head, and he fell to 
the ground bleeding and insensible. AVe completed the 
rout of the heathens: then I had the wounded knight 
brought into the castle ; and my pale Verena glowed as 
lilies in the light of the morning sun, and Weigand opened 
his eyes with a smile when he was brought near her. He 
refused to be taken into any room but the small one close 



SINTRAM AND HIS COMPANIONS. 57 

to this where the armour is now placed ; for he said that 
he felt as if it were a cell like that which he hoped soon 
to inhabit in his quiet cloister. All was done after his 
wish : my sweet Verena nursed him, and he appeared 
at first to be on the straightest road to recovery ; but 
his head continued weak and liable to be confused by 
the slightest emotion, his walk was rather a falling than 
a walking, and his cheeks were colourless. We could not 
let him go. AVhen we were sitting here together in the 
evening, he used always to come tottering into the hall 
through the low doorway ; and my heart was sad and 
wrathful too, when the soft eyes of Verena beamed so 
sweetly on him, and a glow like that of the evening sky 
hovered over her lily cheeks. But I bore it, and I could 
have borne it to the end of our lives, — when, alas ! Verena 
went into a cloister !" 

His head fell so heavily on his folded hands, that the 

I * stone table seemed to groan beneath it, and he remained 
a long while motionless as a corpse. AVhen he again raised 
himself up, his eyes glared fearfidly as he looked round 
the hall, and he said to Folko : '' Your beloved Ham- 
burghers, Gotthard Lentz, and Rudlieb his son, they have 
much to answer for! Who bid them come and be ship- 

■ wrecked so close to my castle?" 

Folko cast a piercing look on him, and a fearful inquiry 

; was on the point of escaping his lips, but another look 

i at the trembling Gabrielle made him silent, at least for 
the present moment, and the knight Biorn continued his 
narrative. 

" Verena was with her nuns, I was left alone, and my 
despair had driven me throughout the day through forest 
and brook and mountain. In the twilight I returned to 
my deserted castle, and scarcely was I in the hall, when 
the little door creaked, and Weigand, who had slept 
through all, crept towards me and asked : ' Where can 
Verena be V Then I became as mad, and howled to him, 
' She is gone mad, and so am I, and you also, and now 



58 SINTRAM AND HIS COMPANIONS. 

we are all mad !' Merciful heaven, the wound on his head 
burst open, and a dark stream flowed over his face — ah! 
how different from the redness when Verena met him at 
the castle-gate ; and he rushed forth, raving mad, into the > 
wilderness without, and ever since has wandered all around 
as a crazy pilgrim." 

He was silent, and so were Folko and Gabrielle, all 
three pale and cold like images of the dead. At length 
the fearful narrator added in a low voice, and as if he were 
quite exhausted : " He has \dsited me since that time, but 
he will never again come through the little door. Have 
I not established peace and order in my castle 1" 



CHAPTER XIV. 

SiNTRAM had not returned home, when those of the castle 
betook themselves to rest in deep bewilderment. No one 
thought of him, for every heart was 'filled with strange 
forebodings, and with uncertain cares. Even the heroic 
breast of the knight of Montfaucon heaved in doubt. 

Old Rolf still remained without, weeping in the forest, 
heedless of the storm which beat on his unprotected head, 
while he waited for his young master. But he had gone 
a very different way ; and when the morning dawned, he 
entered the castle from the opposite side. 

Gabrielle's slumbers had been sweet during the whole 
night. It had seemed to her that angels with golden wings 
had blown away the wild histories of the evening before, 
and had wafted to her the bright flowers, the sparkhng 
sea, and the green hills of her own home. She smiled, and 
drew her breath calmly and softly, whilst the magical 
tempest raged and howled through the forests, and con- 
tinued to battle with the troubled sea. But in truth when 
she awoke in the morning, and heard still the rattling of 
the windows, and saw the clouds, as if dissolved in mist 



SINTRAM AND HIS COMPANIONS. 59 

and steam, still hiding the face of the heavens, she could 
have wept for anxiety and sadness, especially when she 
heard from her maidens that Folko had already left their 
apartment clad in full armour as if prepared for a combat. 
At the same time she heard the sound of the heavy tread 
of armed men in the echoing halls, and, on inquiring, 
found that the knight of Montfaucon had assembled all his 
retainers to be in readiness to protect their lady. 

Wrapped in a cloak of ermine, she stood trembling like 
a tender flower just sprung up out of the snow, tottering 
beneath a winter's storm. Then Sir Folko entered the 
room, in all his shining armour, and peacefully carrying 
his golden helmet with the long shadowy plumes in his 
hand. He saluted Gabrielle with cheerful serenity, and at 
a sign from him, her attendants retired, while the men-at- 
arms without were heard quietly dispersing. 

" Lady," said he, as he took his seat beside her, on a 
couch to which he led her, already re-assured by his pre- 
sence 5 '' lady, will you forgive your knight for having 
left you to endure some moments of anxiety ; but honour 
and stern justice called him. Now all is set in order, 
quietly and peacefully ; dismiss your fears and every 
thought that has troubled you, as things which are no 
more." 

"But you and Biorn?" asked Gabrielle. 

"On the word of a knight," replied he, "all is well 
there." And thereupon he began to talk over indifferent 
subjects with his usual ease and wit ; but Gabrielle, bend- 
ing towards him, said with deep emotion : 

" O Folko, my knight, the flower of my life, my pro- 
tector and my dearest hope on earth, tell me all, if thou 
mayst. But if a promise binds thee, it is different. Thou 
knowest that I am of the race of Portamour, and I would 
ask nothing from my knight which could cast even a breath 
of suspicion on his spotless shield." 

Folko thought gravely for one instant; then looking at 
her with a bright smile, he said : " It is not that, Gabrielle; 



60 SINTRAM AND HIS COMPANIONS. 

but canst thou bear what I have to disclose? Wilt thou 
not sink down under it, as a slender fir gives way under a 
mass of snow?" 

She raised herself somewhat proudly, and said : '' I 
have already reminded thee of the name of my father's 
house. Let me now add, that I am the wedded wife of 
the Baron of Montfaucon." 

*' Then so let it be," replied Folko solemnly ; " and 
if that must come forth openly which should ever have 
remained hidden in the darkness which belongs to such 
deeds of wickedness, at least let it come forth less fear- 
fully with a sudden flash. Know then, Gabrielle, that the 
wicked knight who would have slain my friends Gotthard 
and Rudlieb is none other than our kinsman and host, 
Biorn of the Fiery Eyes." 

Gabrielle shuddered and covered her eyes with her fair 
hands ; but at the end of a moment she looked up with 
a bewildered air, and said : " I have heard wrong surely, 
although it is true that yesterday evening such a thought 
struck me. For did not you say awhile ago that all was 
settled and at peace between you and Biorn ? Between the 
brave baron and such a man after such a crime ?" 

" You heard aright," answered Folko, looking with 
fond delight on the delicate yet high-minded lady. "This 
morning with the earliest dawn I went to him and chal- 
lenged him to a mortal combat in the neighbouring valley, 
if he were the man whose castle had well nigh become an 
altar of sacrifice to Gotthard and Rudlieb. He was already 
completely armed, and merely saying, ' I am he,' he fol- 
lowed me to the forest. But when we stood alone at the 
place of combat, he flung away his shield down a giddy 
precipice, then his sword was hurled after it, and next 
with gigantic strength he tore off his coat of mail, and 
said, ' Now fall on, thou minister of vengeance ; for I am a 
heavy sinner, and I dare not fight with thee.' How could 
I then attack him? A strange truce was agreed on be- 
tween us. He is half as my vassal, and yet I solemnly 



SINTRAM AND HIS COMPANIONS. 61 

forgave him in my own name and in that of my friends. 
He was contrite, and yet no tear was in his eye, no gentle 
word on his lips. He is only kept under by the power 
with which I am endued by having right on my side, and 
it is on that tenure that Biorn is my vassal. I know not, 
lady, whether you can bear to see us together on these 
terms ; if not, I will ask for hospitality in some other 
castle ; there are none in Norway which would not receive 
us joyfully and honourably, and this wald autumnal storm 
may put off our voyage for many a day. Only this I think, 
that if we depart directly and in such a manner, the heart 
of this savage man will break." 

" Where my noble lord remains, there I also remain 
joyfully under his protection," replied Gabrielle ; and again 
her heart glowed with rapture at the greatness of her 
knight. 



CHAPTER XV. 

The noble lady had just unbuckled her knight's armour 
with her own fair hands, — on the field of battle alone were 
pages or esquires bidden handle Montfaucon's armour, — 
and now she was throwing over his shoulders his mantle of 
blue velvet embroidered with gold, when the door opened 
gently, and Sintram entered the room, humbly greeting 
them. Gabrielle received him kindly, as she was wont, 
but suddenly turning pale, she looked away and said : 

" Sintram, what has happened to you ? And how 
can one single night have so fearfully altered you ?" 

Sintram stood still, thunderstruck, and feeling as if he 
himself did not know wiiat had befallen him. Then Folko 
took him by the hand, led him towards a bright polished 
shield, and said very earnestly, "Look here at yourself, 
young knight !" 

At the first glance . Sintram drew back horrified. He 



62 SINTRAM AND HIS COMPANIONS. 

fancied that he saw the little Master before him with that 
single upright feather sticking out of his cap ; but he at 
length perceived that the mirror was only shewing him his 
own image and none other, and that his own wild dagger 
had given him this strange and spectre-like aspect, as he 
could not deny to himself. 

"Who has done that to you?" asked Folko, yet more 
grave and solemn. ''And what terror makes your dis- 
ordered hair stand on end ?" 

Sintram knew not what to answer. He felt as if a 
judgment were coming on him, and a shameful degrading 
from his knightly rank. Suddenly Folko drew him away 
from the shield, and taking him towards the rattling win- 
dow, he asked : " Whence comes this tempest ?" 

Still Sintram kept silence. His limbs began to tremble 
under him ; and Gabrielle, pale and terrified, whispered, 
"O Folko, my knight, what has happened? Oh, tell me; 
are we come into an enchanted castle ?" 

"The land of our northern ancestors," replied Folko 
with solemnity, "is full of mysterious knowledge. But 
we may not, for all that, call its people enchanters ; still 
this youth has cause to watch himself narrowly ; he whom 
the evil one has touched by so much as one hair of his 
head . . . ." 

Sintram heard no more ; with a deep groan he staggered 
out of the room. As he left it, he met old Eolf, still almost 
benumbed by the cold and storms of the night. Now, in 
his joy at again seeing his young master, he did not remark 
his altered appearance ; but as he accompanied him to his 
sleeping- room he said, "Witches and spirits of the tempest 
must have taken up their abode on the sea-shore. I am 
certain that such wild storms never arise without some 
devilish arts." 

Sintram fell into a fainting-fit, from which Rolf could 
W'ith difficulty recover him sufficiently to appear in the 
great hall at the mid-day hour. But before he went down, 
he caused a shield to be brought, saw himself therein, and 



SINTRAM AND HIS COMPANIONS. 63 

cut close round, in grief and horror, the rest of his long 
black hair, so that he made himself look almost like a 
monk ; and thus he joined the others already assembled 
round the table. They all looked at him with surprise ; 
but old Biorn rose up and said fiercely, ''Are you going 
to betake yourself to a cloister, as well as the fair lady 
your mother?" 

A commanding look from the Baron of Montfaucon 
checked any farther outbreak; and as if in apology, Biorn 
added, with a forced smile, " I was only thinking if any 
accident had befallen him, like Absolom's, and if he had 
been obliged to save himself from being strangled by part- 
ing with all his hair." 

''You should not jest with holy things," answered the 
baron severely, and all were silent. No sooner was the 
repast ended, than Folko and Gabrielle, with a grave and 
courteous salutation, retired to their apartments. 



CHAPTER XVI. 

Life in the castle took from this time quite another form. 
Those two bright beings, Folko and Gabrielle, spent most 
part of the day in their apartments, and when they shewed 
themselves, it was with quiet dignity and grave silence, 
while Biorn and Sintram stood before them in humble fear. 
Nevertheless, Biorn could not bear the thought of his guests 
seeking shelter in any other knight's abode. When Folko 
once spoke of it, something like a tear stood in the wild 
man's eye. His head sank, and he said softly, " As you 
please ; but I feel that if you go, I shall run among the 
rocks for days." 

And thus they all remained together; for the storm 
continued to rage with such increasing fury over the sea, 
that no sea voyage could be thought of, and the oldest man 
in Norway could not call to mind such an autumn. The 



64 SINTRAM AND HIS COMPANIONS. 

priests examined all the Runic books, the bards looked 
through their lays and tales, and yet they could find no 
record of the like. Biorn and Sintram braved the tempest ; 
but during the few hours in which Folko and Gabrielle 
shewed themselves, the father and son were always in the 
castle, as if respectfully waiting upon them ; the rest of the 
day — najj^, often through whole nights, they rushed through 
the forests and over the rocks in pursuit of bears. Folko 
the while called up all the brightness of his fancy, all his 
courtly grace, in order to make Gabrielle forget that she 
was living in this wild castle, and that the long, hard 
northern winter was setting in, which would ice them in 
for many a month. Sometimes he would relate bright 
tales ; then he would play the liveliest airs to induce Ga- 
brielle to lead a dance with her attendants ; then, again, 
handing his lute to one of the women, he would himself 
take a part in the dance, well knowing to express thereby 
after some new fashion his devotion to his lady. Another 
time he would have the sj^acious halls of the castle prepared 
for his armed retainers to go through their warlike exer- 
cises, and Gabrielle always adjudged the reward to the 
conqueror. Folko often joined the circle of combatants ; 
yet so that he only met their attacks, defending himself, 
but depriving no one of the prize. The Norwegians, who 
stood around as spectators, used to compare him to the 
demi-god Baldur, one of the heroes of their old traditions, 
who was wont to let the darts of his companions be all hurled 
against him, conscious that he was invulnerable, and of his 
own indwelling strength. 

At the close of one of these martial exercises, old Rolf 
advanced towards Folko, and beckoning him with an hum- 
ble look, said softly, " They call you the beautiful, mighty 
Baldur, — and they are right. But even the beautiful, 
mighty Baldur did not escape death. Take heed to your- 
self." Folko looked at him wondering. " Not that I 
know of any treachery," continued the old man; " or that 
I can even foresee the likelihood of any. God keep a Nor- 



SINTRAM AND HIS COMPANIONS. 65 

wegian from such a fear. But when you stand before me 
in all the brightness of your glory, the fleetingness of every 
thing earthly weighs down my mind, and I cannot refrain 
from saying, ' Take heed, noble baron ! oh, take heed ! 
Even the most beautiful glory comes to an end.' " 

"Those are wise and pious thoughts," replied Folko 
calmly, "and I will treasure them in a pure heart." 

The good Rolf was often with Folko and Gabrielle, 
and made a connecting link between the two widely dif- 
fering parties in the castle. For how could he have ever 
forsaken his own Sintram ! Only in the wild hunting ex- 
peditions through the howling storms and tempests he no 
longer was able to follow his young lord. 

At length the icy reign of winter began in all its glory. 
On this account a return to Normandy was impossible, 
and therefore the magical storm was lulled. The hills and 
valleys shone brilliantly in their white attire of snow, and 
Folko used sometimes, with skates on his feet, to draw his 
lady in a light sledge over the glittering frozen lakes and 
streams. On the other hand, the bear-hunts of the lord 
of the castle and his son took a still more desperate and 
to them joyous course. 

About this time, — when Christmas was drawing near, 
and Sintram was seeking to overpower his dread of the 
awful dreams by the most daring expeditions, — about this 
time, Folko and Gabrielle stood together on one of the 
terraces of the castle. The evening was mild ; the snow- 
clad fields were glowing in the red light of the setting sun ; 
from below there were heard men's voices singing songs of 
ancient heroic times, while they worked in the armourer's 
forge. At last the songs died away, the beating of ham- 
mers ceased, and, without the speakers being seen, or there 
being any possibility of distinguishing them by their voices, 
the following discourse arose : — 

" Who is the bravest amongst all those whose race de- 
rives its origin from our renowned land?" 

'' It is Folko of Montfaucon." 



66 SINTRAM AND HIS COMPANIONS. 

" Rightly said ; but tell me, is there any thing from 
which even this bold baron draws back?" 

" In truth there is one thing, — and we who have never 
left Norway face it quite willingly and joyfully." 

"And that is ?" 

" A bear-hunt in winter, over trackless plains of snow, 
down frightful ice-covered precipices." 

" Truly thou answerest aright, my comrade. He who 
knows not how to fasten our skates on his feet, how to 
turn in them to the right or left at a moment's warning, 
he may be a valiant knight in other respects, but he had 
better keep away from our hunting parties, and remain 
with his timid wife in her apartments." At which the 
speakers were heard to laugh well pleased, and then to 
betake themselves again to their armourers' work. 

Folko stood long buried in thought. A glow beyond 
that of the evening sky reddened his cheek. GabrieJle 
also remained silent, considering she knew not what. At 
last she took courage, and embracing her beloved, she 
said : '' To-morrow thou wilt go forth to hunt the bear, 
wilt thou not ? and thou wilt bring the spoils of the chase 
to thy lady ?" 

The knight gave a joyful sign of assent; and the rest 
of the evening was spent in dances and music. 



CHAPTER XVII. 

" See, my noble lord," said Sintram the next morning, 
when Folko had expressed his wish of going out with him, 
"these skates of ours give such wings to our course, that 
we go down the mountain-side swiftly as the wind; and 
even in going up again we are too quick for any one to 
be able to pursue us, and on the plains no horse can keep 
up wnth us ; and yet they can only be worn with safety by 
those who are well practised. It seems as though some 



SINTRAM AND HIS COMPANIONS. 67 

strange spirit dwelt in them, which is fearfully dangerous 
to any that have not learnt the management of them in 
their childhood." 

Folko answered somewhat proudly : " Do you suppose 
that this is the first time that I have been amongst your 
mountains? Years ago I have joined in this sport, and, 
thank heaven, there is no knightly exercise which does not 
speedily become familiar to me." 

Sintram did not venture to make any further objections, 
and still less did old Biorn. They both felt relieved when 
they saw with what skill and ease Folko buckled the skates 
on his feet, without suifering any one to assist him. This 
day they hunted up the mountain in pursuit of a fierce 
bear which had often before escaped from them. Before 
long it was necessary that they should separate, and Sin- 
tram oiFered himself as companion to Folko, who, touched 
by the humble manner of the youth, and his devotion to 
him, forgot all that had latterly seemed mysterious in the 
pale altered being before him, and agreed heartily. As 
now they continued to climb higher and higher up the 
mountain, and saw from many a giddy height the rocks 
and crags below them looking like a vast expanse of sea 
suddenly turned into ice whilst tossed by a violent tempest, 
the noble Montfaucon drew his breath more freely. He 
poured forth war-songs and love-songs in the clear moun- 
tain air, and the startled echoes repeated from rock to 
rock the lays of his Frankish home. He sprang lightly 
from one precipice to another, using strongly and safely 
his staff for support, and turning now to the right, now 
to the left, as the fancy seized him; so that Sintram was 
fain to exchange his former anxiety for a wondering ad- 
miration, and the hunters, whose eyes had never been 
taken off the baron, burst forth with loud applause, pro- 
claiming far and wide the fresh glory of their guest. 

The good fortune which usually accompanied Folko's 
deeds of arms seemed still unwilling to leave him. After 
a short search, he and Sintram found distinct traces of the 



68 SINTRAM AND HIS COMPANIONS. 

savage animal, and with beating hearts they followed the 
track so swiftly, that even a winged enemy would have 
been unable to escape from them. But the creature whom 
they sought did not attempt a flight — he lay sulkily in a 
cavern near the top of a steep precipitous rock, infuriated 
by the shouts of the hunters, and only waiting in his lazy 
fury for some one to be bold enough to climb up to his 
retreat, that he might tear him to pieces. Folko and Sin- 
tram had now reached the foot of this rock, the rest of 
the hunters being dispersed over the far-extending plain. 
The track led the two companions up the rock, and they 
set about climbing on the opposite sides of it, that they 
might be the more sure of not missing their prey. Folko 
reached the lonely topmost point first, and cast his eyes 
around. A wide, boundless tract of country, covered with 
untrodden snow, was spread before him, melting in the 
distance into the lowering clouds of the gloomy evening 
sky. He almost thought that he must have missed the 
traces of the fearful beast ; when close beside him from ; a 
cleft in the rock issued a long growl, and a huge black 
bear appeared on the snow, standing on its hind legs, and 
with glaring eyes it advanced towards the baron. Sin- 
tram the while was struggling in vain to make his way 
up the rock against the masses of snow continually slip- 
ping down. 

Joyful at a combat so long untried as almost to be 
new, Folko of Montfaucon levelled his hunting spear, and 
awaited the attack of the wild beast. He suffered it to 
approach so near that its fearful claws were almost upon 
him ; then he made a thrust, and the spear-head was 
buried deep in the bear's breast. But the furious beast 
still pressed on with a fierce growl, kept up on its hind 
legs by the cross-iron of the spear, and the knight was 
forced to plant his feet deep in the earth to resist the 
savage assault; and ever close before him the grim and 
bloody face of the bear, and close in his ear its deep 
savage growl, wrung forth partly by the agony of death, 



SINTRAM AND HIS COMPANIONS. 69 

partly by thirst for blood. At length the bear's resistance 
grew weaker, and the dark blood streamed freely upon 
the snow; he tottered; and one powerful thrust hurled 
him backwards over the edge of the precipice. At the 
same instant, Sintram stood by the Baron of Montfaucon. 
Folko said, drawing a deep breath: " But 1 have not yet 
the prize in my hands, and have it I must, since fortune 
has given me a claim to it. Look, one of my skates seems 
to be out of order. Thinkest thou, Sintram, that it holds 
enough to slide down to the foot of the precipice?" 

"Let me go instead," said Sintram. "I will bring 
you the head and the claws of the bear." 

"A true knight," replied Folko with some displeasure, 
"never does a knightly deed, by halves. What I ask is, 
whether my skate will still hold?" 

As Sintram bent down to look, and was on the point 
of saying " No !" he suddenly heard a voice close to him, 
saying, " Why, yes, to be sure ; there is no doubt about 
it." 

Folko thought that Sintram had spoken, and slid down 
with the swiftness of an arrow, whilst his companion looked 
up in great surprise. The hated form of the little Master 
met his eyes. As he was going to address him with angry 
words, he heard the sound of the baron's fearful fall, and 
he stood still in silent horror. There was a breathless 
silence also in the abyss below. 

" Now, why dost thou delay?" said the little Master, 
after a pause. "He is dashed to pieces. Go back to the 
castle, and take the fair Helen to thyself." 

Sintram shuddered. Then his hateful companion began 
to praise Gabrielle's charms in so glowing, deceiving words, 
that the heart of the youth swelled with emotions he had 
never before known. He only thought of him who was 
now lying at the foot of the rock as of an obstacle removed 
between him and heaven : he turned towards the castle. 

But a cry was heard below : " Help ! help ! my com- 
rade ! I am yet alive, but I am sorely wounded." 



70 SINTRAM AND HIS COMPANIONS. 

Sintram's will was changed, and he called to the baron, 
" 1 am coming." 

But the little Master said, " Nothing can be done to 
help Duke Menelaus ; and the fair Helen knows it already. 
She is only waiting for Knight Paris to comfort her." 
And with detestable craft he wove in that tale with what 
was actually happening, bringing in the most highly 
wrought praises of the lovely Gabrielle ; and alas ! the 
dazzled youth yielded to him, and Hed ! Again he heard 
far off the baron's voice calling to him, " Knight Sintram, 
Knight Sintram, thou on whom I bestowed the holy order, 
haste to me and help me ! The she-bear and her whelps 
will be upon me, and I cannot use my right arm ! Knight 
Sintram, Knight Sintram, haste to help me !" 

His cries were overpowered by the furious speed with 
which the two were carried along on their skates, and by 
the evil words of the little Master, who was mocking at 
the late proud bearing of Duke Menelaus towards the 
poor Sintram. At last he shouted, " Good luck to you, 
she-bear ! good luck to your whelps ! There is a glorious 
meal for you ! Now you will feed upon the fear of Hea- 
thendom, him at whose name the Moorish brides weep, 
the mighty Baron of Montfaucon. Never again, O dainty 
knight, will you shout at the head of your troops, ' Mount- 
joy St. Denys!'" But scarce had this holy name passed 
the lips of the little Master, than he set up a howl of 
anguish, writhing himself with horrible contortions, and 
wringing his hands, and ended by disappearing in a storm 
of snow which then arose. 

Sintram planted his staff firmly in the ground, and 
stopped. Flow strangely did the wide expanse of snow, 
the distant mountains rising above it, and the dark green 
fir- woods — how strangely did they all look at him in cold 
reproachful silence ! He felt as if he must sink under the 
weight of his sorrow and his guilt. The bell of a distant 
hermitage came floating sadly over the plain. With a 
burst of tears he exclaimed, as the darkness grew thicker 



SINTRAM AND HIS COMPANIONS. 71 

round him, '^ My mother! my mother! I had once a be- 
loved tender mother, and she said I was a good child !" 
A ray of comfort came to him as if brought on an angel's 
wing; perhaps Montfaucon was not yet dead ! and he flew 
like lightning along the path, back to the steep rock. 
When he got to the fearful place, he stooped and looked 
anxiously down the precipice. The moon, just risen in 
full majesty, helped him. The knight of Montfaucon, pale 
and bleeding, was half kneeling against the rock ; his right 
arm, crushed in his fall, hung powerless at his side; it 
was plain that he could not draw his good sword out of 
the scabbard. But nevertheless he was keeping the bear 
and her young ones at bay by his bold threatening looks, 
so that they only crept round him, growding angrily ; 
every moment ready for a fierce attack, but as often driven 
back affrighted at the majestic air by which he conquered 
even when defenceless. 

" Oh ! what a hero would there have perished !" groan- 
ed Sintram, " and through whose guilt V In an instant 
his spear flew with so true an aim that the bear fell wel- 
tering in her blood ; the young ones ran away howling. 

The baron looked up with surprise. His countenance 
beamed as the light of the moon fell upon it, grave and 
stern, yet mild, like some angelic vision. " Come down !" 
he beckoned ; and Sintram slid down the side of the pre- 
cipice, full of anxious haste. He was going to attend to 
the wounded man, but Folko said, " First cut off the head 
and claws of the bear which I slew. I i)romised to bring 
the spoils of the chase to my lovely Gabrielle. Then 
come to me, and bind up my wounds. My right arm is 
broken." Sintram obeyed the baron's commands. When 
the tokens of victory had been secured, and the broken 
arm bound up, Folko desired the youth to help him Back 
to the castle. 

" O heavens !" said Sintram in a low voice, " if I dared 
to look in your face ! or only knew how to come near 
you !" 



72 



SINTRAM AND HIS COMPANIONS. 



" Thou wert indeed going on in an evil course," said 
Montfaucon gravely; "but how could we, any of us, stand 
before God, did not repentance help us ! At any rate, 
thou hast now saved my life, and let that thought cheer 
thy heart." 

The youth witli tenderness and strength supjjorted the 
baron's left arm, and they both went their way silently in 
the moonlight. 




SINTRAM AND HIS COMPANIONS. 73 



CHAPTER XVIII. 

Sounds of wailing were heard from the castle as they 
approached ; the chapel was solemnly lighted up ; within 
it knelt Gabrielle, lamenting for the death of the knight 
of Montfaucon. 

But how quickly was all changed, when the noble 
baron, pale indeed, and bleeding, yet having escaped all 
mortal danger, stood smiling at the entrance of the holy 
building, and said, in a low, gentle voice, " Look up, 

■ Gabrielle, and be not aifrighted ; for, by the honour of 
; my race, thy knight still lives." Oh ! with what joy did 
i Gabrielle's eyes sparkle, as she turned to her knight, and 
I then raised them again to heaven, still streaming, but from 

I the deep source of thankful joy! With the help of two 
; pages, Folko knelt down beside her, and they both sanc- 
j tified their happiness with a silent prayer. 
'■ When they left the chapel, the wounded knight being 

tenderly supported by his lady, Sintram was standing 

without in the darkness, himself as gloomy as the night, 

and, like a bird of the night, shunning the sight of men. 
I Yet he came trembling forward into the torch-light, laid 
i the bear's head and claws at the feet of Gabrielle, and 

said, "The noble Folko of Montfaucon presents the spoils 

of to-day's chase to his lady." 

The Norwegians burst forth with shouts of joyful sur- 
j prise at the stranger knight, who in the very first hunting 
i expedition had slain the most fearful and dangerous beast 
1 of their mountains. 

' Then Folko looked around with a smile as he said, 

" And now none of you must jeer at me, if I stay at home 
' for a short time with my timid wife." 

Those w^ho the day before had talked together in the 

armourer's forge came out from the crowd, and bowing 

■ low, they replied, " Noble baron, who could have thought 



74 



SINTRAM AND HIS COMPANIONS. 



that there was no knightly exercise in the whole world 
in the which you would not shew yourself far above all 
other men V 

" The pupil of old Sir Hugh may be somewhat trust- 
ed," answered Folko kindly. "■ But now, you bold north- 
ern warriors, bestow some praises also on my deliverer, 
who saved me from the claws of the she-bear, when I was 
leaning against the rock wounded by my fall." 

He pointed to Sintram, and the general shout was 
again raised; and old Rolf, with tears of joy in his eyes, 
bent his head over his foster-son's hand. But Sintram 
drew back shuddering. 

" Did you but know," said he, " whom you see before 
you, all your spears would be aimed at my heart; and 
perhaps that would be the best thing for me. But I spare 
the honour of my father and of his race, and for this time 
I will not confess. Only this much must you know, noble 
warriors '' 

" Young man," interrupted Folko with a reproving 
look, " already again so wild and fierce ? I desire that 
thou wilt hold thy peace about thy dreaming fancies." 

Sintram was silenced for a moment; but hardly had 
Folko begun smilingly to move towards the steps of the 
castle, than he cried out, " Oh, no, no, noble wounded 
knight, stay yet awhile ; I will serve thee in every thing . 
that thy heart can desire ; but herein I cannot serve thee. 
Brave warriors, you must and shall know so much as this : 
I am no longer worthy to live under the same roof with ^ 
the noble Baron of Montfaucon and his angelic wife Ga- 
brielle. And you, my aged father, good night ; long not 
for me. I intend to live in the stone fortress on the Rocks 
of the Moon, till a change of some kind come over me."" 

There was that in his way of speaking against which 
no one dared to set himself, not even Folko. 

The wild Biorn bowed his head humbly, and said, 
" Do according to thy pleasure, my poor son ; for I fear 
that thou art right." 



SINTRAM AND HIS COMPANIONS. 75 

Then Sintram walked solemnly and silently through 
the castle-gate, followed by the good Rolf. Gabrielle led 
her exhausted lord up to their apartments. 



CHAPTER XIX. 

That was a mournful journey on which the youth and his 
aged foster-father went towards the Rocks of the Moon, 
through the wild tangled jjaths of the snow-clad valleys. 
Rolf from time to time sang some verses of hymns, in 
which comfort and peace were promised to the penitent 
sinner, and Sintram thanked him for them with looks of 
grateful sadness. Neither of them spoke a word else. 

At length, when the dawn of day was approaching, 
Sintram broke silence by saying, " Who are those two 
sitting yonder by the frozen stream — a tall man and a 
little one? Their own wild hearts must have driven them 
also forth into the wilderness. Rolf, dost thou know 
them ? The sight of them makes me shudder." 

" Sir," answered the old man, " your disturbed mind 
deceives you. There stands a lofty fir-tree, and the old 
weather-beaten stump of an oak, half-covered with snow, 
which gives them a somewhat strange appearance. There 
are no men sitting yonder." 

" But, Rolf, look there ! look again carefully ! Now 
they move, they whisper together." 

" Sir, the morning breeze moves the branches, and 
whistles in the sharp pine-leaves and in the yellow oak- 
leaves, and rustles the crisp snow." 

^' Rolf, now they are both coming towards us. Now 
they are standing before us, quite close." 

" Sir, it is we who get nearer to them as we walk on, 
and the setting moon throws such long giant-like shadows 
over the plain." 

*' Good evening !" said a hollow voice ; and Sintram 



76 SINTRAM AND HIS COMPANIONS. 

knew it was the crazy pilgrim, near to whom stood the 
malignant little Master, looking more hideous than ever. 

" You are right, sir knight," whispered Rolf, as he 
drew back behind Sintram, and made the sign of the cross 
on his breast and his forehead. 

The bewildered youth, however, advanced towards the 
two figures, and said, " You have always taken wonderful 
pleasure in being my companions. What do you expect 
will come of it ? And do you choose to go now with me 
to the stone fortress? There I will tend thee, poor pale 
pilgrim ; and as to thee, frightful Master, most evil dwarf, 
I will make thee shorter by the head, to reward thee for 
thy deeds yesterday." 

" That would be a fine thing," sneered the little Mas- 
ter; " and perhaps thou imaginest that thou wouldst be 
doing a great service to the whole world ? And, indeed, 
who knows ? Something might be gained by it ! Only, 
poor wretch, thou canst not do it." 

The pilgrim meantime was waving his pale head to 
and fro thoughtfully, saying, " I believe truly, that thou 
wouldst willingly have me, and I would go to thee will- 
ingly, but I may not yet. Have patience awhile ; thou 
wilt yet surely see me come, but at a distant time ; and 
first we must again visit thy father together, and then 
also thou wilt learn to call me by my right name, my 
poor friend." 

'' Beware of disappointing me again I" said the little 
Master to tlie pilgrim in a threatening voice ; but he, 
pointing with his long, shrivelled hand towards the sun, 
which was just now rising, said, " Stop either that sun or 
me, if thou canst!" 

Then the first rays fell on the snow, and little Master 
ran, muttering, down a precipice; but the pilgrim walked 
on in the bright beams, calmly and with great solemnity, 
towards a neighbouring castle on the mountain. It was' 
not long before its chapel-bell was heard tolling for the 
dead. 



SINTRAM AND HIS COMPANIONS. 77 

" For heaven's sake," whispered the good Rolf to his 
knight — "for heaven's sake, Sir Sintram, what kind of 
companions have you here ? One of them cannot bear the 
light of God's blessed sun, and the other has no sooner 
set foot in a dwelling than tidings of death wail after his 
track. Could he have been a murderer?" 

'^ I do not think that," said Sintram. *' He seemed 
to me the best of the two. But it is a strange wilfulness 
of his not to come with me. Did I not invite him kindly? 
1 believe that he can sing well, and he should have sung 
to me some gentle lullaby. Since my mother has lived 
in a cloister, no one sings lullabies to me any more." 

At this tender recollection his eyes w^ere bedewed with 
tears. But he did not himself know what he had said 
besides, for there was wildness and confusion in his spirit. 
They arrived at the Rocks of the Moon, and mounted 
up to the stone fortress. The castellan, an old, gloomy 
man, the more devoted to the young knight from his dark 
melancholy and wild deeds, hastened to lower the draw- 
bridge. Greetings wei*e exchanged in silence, and in si- 
lence did Sintram enter, and those joyless gates closed 
with a crash behind the future recluse. 



CHAPTER XX. 

Yes truly, a recluse, or at least something like it, did 
poor Sintram now become ! For towards the time of the 
approaching Christmas festival his fearful dreams came 
over him, and seized him so fiercely, that all the esquires 
and servants fled with shrieks out of the castle, and would 
never venture back again. No one remained with him 
except Rolf and the old castellan. After a while, indeed, 
Sintram became calm, but he went about looking so pallid 
and still, that he might have been taken for a wandering 
corpse. No comforting of the good Rolf, no devout sooth- 



78 SINTKAM AND HIS COMPANIONS. 

ing lays, were of any avail ; and the castellan, "vvith his 
fierce, scarred features, his head almost entirely bald from 
a huge sword-cut, his stubborn silence, seemed like a yet 
darker shadow of the miserable knight. Rolf often thought 
of going to summon the holy chaplain of Drontheim ; but 
how could he have left his lord alone with the gloomy 
castellan, a man who at all times raised in him a secret 
horror? Biorn had long had this wild strange warrior in 
his service, and honoured him on account of his unshaken 
fidelity and his fearless courage, though neither the knight 
nor any one else knew whence the castellan came, nor, 
indeed, exactly who he was. Very few people knew by 
what name to call him ; but that was the more needless, 
since he never entered into discourse with any one. He 
was the castellan of the stone fortress on the Rocks of the 
Moon, and nothing more. 

Rolf committed his deep heartfelt cares to the merciful 
God, trusting that He would soon come to his aid ; and 
the merciful God did not fail him. For on Christmas-eve 
the bell at the drawbridge sounded, and Rolf, looking over 
the battlements, saw the chaplain of Drontheim standing 
there, with a companion, indeed, that surprised him, — for 
close beside him appeared the crazy pilgrim, and the dead 
men's bones on his dark mantle shone very strangely in 
the glimmering starlight : but the sight of the chaplain 
filled the good Rolf too full of joy to leave room for any 
doubt in his mind ; for, thought he, whoever comes with 
him cannot but be welcome ! And so he let them both 
in with respectful haste, and ushered them up to the hall, 
where Sintram, pale and with a fixed look, was sitting 
under the light of one flickering lamp. Rolf was obliged 
to support and assist the crazy pilgrim up the stairs, for 
he was quite benumbed with cold. 

" I bring you a greeting from your mother," said the 
chaplain as he came in ; and immediately a sweet smile 
passed over the young knight's countenance, and its deadly 
pallidness gave place to a bright soft glow. 



SINTRAM AND HIS COMPANIONS. 79 

" O heaven !" murmured he, " does then my mother 
5^et live, and does she care to know any thing about 
me?" 

" She is endowed with a wonderful presentiment of 
the future," replied the chaplain ; " and all that you ought 
either to do or to leave undone is faithfully mirrored in 
various ways in her mind, during a half-waking trance. 
Now she knows of your deep sorrow ; and she sends me, 
the father-confessor of her convent, to comfort you, but 
at the same time to warn you ; for, as she affirms, and as I 
am also inclined to think, many strange and heavy trials 
lie before you." 

Sintram bowed himself towards the chaplain with his 
arms crossed over his breast, and said, with a gentle smile, 
"Much have I been favoured — more, a thousand times 
more, than I could have dared to hope in my best hours — 
by this greeting from my mother, and your visit, reverend 
sir; and all after falling more fearfully low that I had 
ever fallen before. The mercy of the Lord is great ; and 
how heavy soever may be the weight and punishment 
which He may send, I trust, with His grace, to be able 
to bear it." 

Just then the door opened, and the castellan came in 
with a torch in his hand, the red glare of which made his 
face look the colour of blood. He cast a terrified glance 
at the crazy pilgrim, Avho had just sunk back in a swoon, 
and was supported on his seat and tended by Rolf; then 
he stared with astonishment at the chaplain, and at last 
murmured, " A strange meeting ! I believe that the hour 
for confession and reconciliation is now arrived." 

" I believe so too," replied the priest, who had heard 
'his low whisper; " this seems to be truly a day rich in 
grace and peace. That poor man yonder, whom I found 
half frozen by the way, would make a full confession to 
me at once, before he followed me to a place of shelter. 
Do as he has done, my dark-browed warrior, and delay 
not your good purpose for one instant." 



80 SINTRAM AND HIS COMPANIONS. i 

1 

Thereupon he left the room with the wilHng castellan, 
but he turned back to say, '' Sir Knight, and your es- 
quire ! take good care the while of my sick charge." 

Sintram and Rolf did according to the chaplain's de- 
sire : and when at length their cordials made the pilgrim 
open his eyes once again, the j" oung knight said to him, 
with a friendly smile, '' Seest thou? thou art come to 
visit me after all. Why didst thou refuse me when, a few 
nights ago, I asked thee so earnestly to come? Perhaps 
I may have spoken wildly and hastily. Did that scare 
thee away?" 

A sudden expression of fear came over the pilgrim's 
countenance ; but soon he again looked up at Sintram with 
an air of gentle humility, saying, '' O my dear, dear lord, 
I am most entirely devoted to you — only never speak to 
me of former passages between you and me. I am ter- 
rified whenever you do it. For, my lord, either I am 
mad and have forgotten all that is past, or that Being 
has met you in the wood, whom I look upon as my very 
powerful twin-brother." 

Sintram laid his hand gently on the pilgrim's mouth, 
as he answered, "Say nothing more about that matter: 
I most willingly promise to be silent." 

Neither he nor old Rolf could understand what ap- 
peared to them so awful in the whole matter; but both 
shuddered. 

After a short pause, the pilgrim said, " I would rather 
sing you a song — a soft, comforting song. Have you not 
a lute here ?" 

Rolf fetched one ; and the pilgrim, half-raising himself 
on the couch, sang the following words : 

" When death is coming near, 
When thy heart shrinks in fear 

And thy limbs fail, 
Then raise thy hands and pray 
To Him who smoothes thy way 
Through the dark vale. 



SINTRAM AND HIS COMPANIONS. 81 

Seest thou the eastern dawn, 
Hear'st thou in the red moi'n 

The angel's song ? 
Oh, lift thy drooping head, 
Thou who in gloom and dread 

Hast lain so long. 

Death comes to set thee free ; 
Oh, meet him cheerily 

As thy true friend. 
And all thy fears shall cease, 
And in eternal peace 

Thy penance end." 

" Amen/' said Sintrain and Rolf, folding their hands ; 
and whilst the last chords of the lute still resounded, the 
chaplain and the castellan came slowly and gently into 
the room. " 1 bring a precious Christmas gift," said the 
priest. " After many sad years, hope of reconciliation 
and peace of conscience are returning to a noble, disturbed 
mind. This concerns thee, beloved pilgrim ; and do thou, 
my Sintram, with a joyful trust in God, take encourage- 
ment and example from it." 

" More than twenty years ago," began the castellan, 
at a sign from the chaplain — "more than twenty years 
ago I was a bold shepherd, driving my flock up the moun- 
tains. A young knight followed me, whom they called 
Weigand the Slender. He wanted to buy of me my fa- 
vourite little lamb for his fair bride, and offered me much 
red gold for it. I sturdily refused. Overbold youth boiled 
up in us both. A stroke of his sword hurled me senseless 
down the precipice." 

" Not killed?" asked the pilgrim in a scarce audible 
voice. 

" I am no ghost," replied the castellan, somewhat 
morosely ; and then, after an earnest look from the priest, 
he continued, more humbly : " I recovered slowly and in 
solitude, with the help of remedies which were easily found 

G 



82 SINTRAM AND HIS COMPANIONS. 

by me, a shepherd, in our productive valleys. When I 
came back into the world, no man knew me, with my 
scarred face, and my now bald head. I heard a report 
going through the country, that on account of this deed 
of his, Sir Weigand the Slender had been rejected by his 
fair betrothed Verena, and how he had pined away, and 
she had wished to retire into a convent, but her father 
had persuaded her to marry the great knight Biorn. 
Then there came a fearful thirst for vengeance into my 
heart, and I disowned my name, and my kindred, and 
my home, and entered the service of the mighty Biorn, as 
a strange wild man, in order that Weigand the Slender 
should always remain a murderer, and that I might feed 
on his anguish. So have I fed upon it for all these long 
years ; I have fed frightfully upon his self-imposed banish- 
ment, upon his cheerless return home, upon his madness. 
But to-day — " and hot tears gushed from his eyes — '• but 
to-day God has broken the hardness of my heart; and, 
dear Sir Weigand, look upon yourself no more as a mur- 
derer, and saj"^ that you will forgive me, and pray for him 
who has done you so fearful an injury, and — ^' 

Sobs choked his words. He fell at the feet of the pil- 
grim, who with tears of joy pressed him to his heart, in 
token of forgiveness. 



CHAPTER XXI. 

The joy of this hour passed from its first overpowering 
brightness to the calm, thoughtful aspect of daily life ; 
and Weigand, now restored to health, laid aside the man- 
tle with dead men's bones, saying : " I had chosen for my 
penance to carry these fearful remains about with me, wath 
the thought that some of them might have belonged to 
him whom I have murdered. Therefore I sought for them 
round about, in the deep beds of the mountain-torrents, 
and in the high nests of the eagles and vultures. And 



SINTRAM AND HIS COMPANIONS. 83 

while I was searching, I sometimes — could it have been 
only an illusion? — seemed to meet a being who was very- 
like myself, but far, far more powerful, and yet still jjaler 
and more haggard." 

An imploring look from Sintram stopped the flow of 
his words. With a gentle smile, Weigand bowed towards 
him, and said : " You know now all the deep, unutterably 
deep, sorrow which preyed upon me. My fear of you, 
and my yearning love for you, are no longer an enigma to 
j'-our kind heart. For, dear youth, though you may be 
like your fearful father, you have also the kind, gentle 
heart of your mother; and its reflection brightens your 
pallid, stern features, like the glow of a morning sky, 
which lights up ice-covered mountains and snowy valleys 
with the soft radiance of joy. But, alas ! how long you 
have lived alone amidst your fellow-creatures ! And how 
long since you have seen your mother, my dearly loved 
Sintram !" 

" I feel, too, as though a spring were gushing up in 
the barren wilderness," replied the youth ; " and I should 
perchance be altogether restored, could I but keep you 
long with me, and weep with you, dear lord. But I have 
that within me which says that you will very soon be taken 
from me." 

" I believe, indeed," said the pilgrim, " that my late 
song was very nearly my last, and that it contained a pre- 
diction full soon to be accomplished in me. But, as the 
soul of man is always like the thirsty ground, the more 
blessings God has bestowed on us, the more earnestly do 
we look out for new ones ; so would I crave for one more 
before, as I hope, mj^ blessed end. Yet, indeed, it cannot 
be granted me," added he, with a faltering voice; " for I 
feel myself too utterly unworthy of so high a gift." 

'' But it will be granted !" said the chaplain, joyfully. 
" ' He that humbleth himself shall be exalted ;' and I fear 
not to take one purified from murder to receive a farewell 
from the holy and forgiving countenance of Verena." 



84 SINTRAM AND HIS COMPANIONS. 

The pilgrim stretched both his hands up towards hea- 
ven, and an unspoken thanksgiving poured from his beam- 
ing eyes, and brightened the smile that played on his 
lips. 

Sintram looked sorrowfully on the ground, and sighed 
gently to himself: " Alas ! M^ho would dare accompany?" 

" My poor, good Sintram," said the chaplain, in a tone 
of the softest kindness, " 1 understand thee well ; but the 
time is not yet come. The powers of evil will again raise 
up their wrathful heads within thee, and Verena must 
check both her own and thy longing desires, until all is 
pure in thy spirit as in hers. Comfort thyself with the 
thought that God looks mercifully upon thee, and that the 
joy so earnestly sought for will come — if not here, most 
assuredly beyond the grave." 

But the pilgrim, as though awaking out of a trance, 
rose mightily from his seat, and said : " Do you please to 
come forth with me, reverend chaplain ? Before the sun 
appears in the heavens, we could reach the convent-gates, 
and I should not be far from heaven." 

In vain did the chaplain and Rolf remind him of his 
weakness : he smiled, and said that there could be no words 
about it ; and he girded himself, and tuned the lute which 
he had asked leave to take with him. His decided man- 
ner overcame all opposition, almost without words ; and 
the chaplain had already prepared himself for the journey, 
when the pilgrim looked with much emotion at Sintram, 
who, oppressed with a strange weariness, had sunk, half 
asleep, on a couch, and said : *' Wait a moment. I know 
that he wants me to give him a soft lullaby." The pleased 
smile of the youth seemed to say, Yes ; and the pilgrim, 
touching the strings with a light hand, sang these words : 

" Sleep peacefully, dear boy ; 
Thy mother sends the song 
That whispers round thy couch, 
To lull thee all night long. 



SINTRAM AND HIS COMPANIONS. 85 

In silence and afar 

For thee she ever prays, 
And longs once more in fondness 

Upon thy face to gaze. 

And when thy waking cometh, 

Then in thy every deed, 
In all that may betide thee, 

Unto her words give heed. 
Oh, listen for her voice. 

If it be yea or nay ; 
And though temptation meet thee, 

Thou shalt not miss the way. 

If thou canst listen rightly, 

And nobly onward go. 
Then pure and gentle breezes 

Around thy cheeks shall blow. 
Then on thy peaceful journey 

Her blessing thou shalt feel. 
And though from thee divided, 

Her presence o'er thee steal. 

O safest, sweetest comfort ! 

O blest and living light ! 
That, strong in heaven's power, 

x\ll terrors puts to flight ! 
Rest quietly, sweet child, 

And may the gentle numbers 
Thy mother sends to thee 

Waft peace unto thy slumbers." 

Sintram fell into a deep sleep, smiling, and breathing 
softly. Rolf and the castellan remained by his bed, whilst 
the two travellers pursued their way in the quiet star- 
light. 




CHAPTER XXII. 



The dawn had almost appeared, when Rolf, who had been 
asleep, was awakened by low singing ; and as he looked 
round, he perceived, with surprise, that the sounds came 
from the lips of the castellan, who said, as if in explana- 
tion, " So does Sir Weigand sing at the convent-gates, 
and they are kindly opened to him." Upon which, old 
Rolf fell asleep again, uncertain whether what had passed 
had been a dream or a reality. After a while the bright 
sunshine awoke him again ; and when he rose up, he saw 



SINTRAM AND HIS COMPANIONS. 87 

the countenance of the castellan wonderfully illuminated 
by the red morning rays ; and altogether those features, 
once so fearful, were shining with a soft, nay almost child- 
like mildness. The mysterious man seemed to be the while 
listening to the motionless air, as if he were hearing a most 
pleasant discourse or lofty music ; and as Rolf was about 
to speak, he made him a sign of entreaty to remain quiet, 
and continued in his eager listening attitude. 

At length he sank slowly and contentedly back in his 
seat, whispering, " God be praised ! She has granted his 
last prayer ; he will be laid in the burial-ground of the 
convent, and now he has forgiven me in the depths of his 
heart. I can assure you that he finds a peaceful end." 

Rolf did not dare ask a question, or awake his lord ; 
he felt as if one already departed had spoken to him. 

The castellan long remained still, always smiling 
brightly. At last he raised himself a little, again listened, 
and said, " It is over. The sound of the bells is very sweet. 
We have overcome. Oh, how soft and easy does the good 
God make it to us !" And so it came to pass. He stretched 
himself back as if weary, and his soul was freed from his 
care-worn body. 

Rolf now gently awoke his young knight, and pointed 
to the smiling dead. And Sintram smiled too; he and 
his good esquire fell on their knees, and prayed to God for 
the departed spirit. Then they rose up, and bore the cold 
body to the vaulted hall, and watched by it with holy 
candles until the return of the chaplain. That the pilgrim 
would not come back again, they very well knew. 

Accordingly towards mid-day the chaplain returned 
alone. He could scarcely do more than confirm what was 
already known to them. He only added a comforting and 
hopeful greeting from Sintram's mother to her son, and 
told that the blissful Weigand had fallen asleep like a tired 
child, whilst Verena, with calm tenderness, held a crucifix 

before him. 

" And in eternal peace our penance end !" 



ob SINTRAM AND HIS COMPANIONS. 

sang Sintram, gently to himself; and they prepared a last 
resting-place for the now so peaceful castellan, and laid 
him therein with all the due solemn rites. 

The chaplain was obliged soon afterwards to depart; 
but bidding Sintram farewell, he again said kindly to him, 
" Thy dear mother assuredly knows how gentle and calm 
and good thou art now!" 



CHAPTER XXIII. 

In the castle of Sir Biorn of the Fiery Eyes, Christmas- 
eve had not passed so brightly and happily ; but yet, there 
too all had gone visibly according to God's will. 

Folko, at the entreaty of the lord of the castle, had 
allowed Gabrielle to support him into the hall ; and the 
three now sat at the round stone table, whereon a sumptu- 
ous meal was laid. On either side there were long tables, 
at which sat the retainers of both knights in full armour, 
according to the custom of the north. Torches and lamps 
lighted the lofty hall with an almost dazzling brightness. 

Midnight had now begun its solemn reign, and Gabri- 
elle softly reminded her wounded knight to withdraw. 
Biorn heard her, and said: "You are right, fair lady; 
our knight needs rest. Only let us first keep up one more 
old honourable custom." 

And at his sign four attendants brought in with pomp 
a great boar's head, which looked as if cut out of solid 
gold, and placed it in the middle of the stone table. Biorn's 
retainers rose with reverence, and took off their helmets ; 
Biorn himself did the same. 

" What means this ?" asked Folko very gravely. 

"What thy forefathers and mine have done on every 
Yule feast," answered Biorn. "We are going to make 
vows on the boar's head, and then pass the goblet round 
to their fulfilment." 



SINTRAM AND HIS COMPANIONS. 89 

'' We no longer keep what our ancestors called the Yule 
feast," said Folko ; " we are good Christians, and we keejj 
holy Christmas-tide." 

"To do the one, and not to leave the other undone," 
answered Biorn. " I hold my ancestors too dear to forget 
their knightly customs. Those who think otherwise may 
act according to their wisdom, but that shall not liinder 

me. I swear by the golden boar's head ." And he 

stretched out his hand, to lay it solemnly upon it. 

But Folko called out, " In the name of our holy Sa- 
viour, forbear. Where I am, and still have breath and 
will, none shall celebrate undisturbed the rites of the wild 
heathens." 

Biorn of the Fiery Eyes glared angrily at him. The 
men of the two barons separated from each other, with a 
hollow sound of rattling armour, and ranged themselves 
in two bodies on either side of the hall, each behind its 
leader. Already here and there helmets were fastened 
and visors closed. 

'' Bethink thee, yet what thou art doing," said Biorn. 
'' I was about to vow an eternal union with the house of 
Montfaucon, nay, even to bind myself to do it grateful 
homage ; but if thou disturb me in the customs which 
have come to me from my forefathers, look to thy safety 
and the safety of all that is dear to thee. My wrath no 
longer knows any bounds." 

Folko made a sign to the pale Gabrielle to retire behind 
his followers, saying to her, " Be of good cheer, my noble 
wife, weaker Christians have braved, for the sake of God 
and of His holy Church, greater dangers than now seem 
to threaten us. Believe me, the Lord of Montfaucon is 
not so easily ensnared." 

Gabrielle obeyed, something comforted by Folko's fear- 
less smile, but this smile inflamed yet more the fury of 
Biorn. He again stretched out his hand towards the 
boar's head, as if about to make some dreadful vow, when 
Folko snatched a gauntlet of Biorn's off the table, with 



90 



SINTRAM AND HIS COMPANIONS. 




which he, with his unwounded left arm, struck so powerful 
a blow on the gilt idol, that it fell crashing to the ground, 
shivered to pieces. Biorn and his followers stood as if 
turned to stone. But soon swords were grasped by armed 
hands, shields were taken down from the walls, and an 
angry, threatening murmur sounded through the hall. 

At a sign from Folko, a battle-axe w as brought him by 
one of his faithful retainers ; he swung it high in air with 
his powerful left hand, and stood looking like an aven- 
ging angel as he spoke these words through the tumult 
with awful calmness : " What seek ye, O deluded North- 
men ? What wouldst thou, sinful lord ? Ye are indeed 
become heathens ; and I hope to shew you, by my readiness 
for battle, that it is not in my right arm* alone that God 



SINTRAM AND HIS COMPANIONS. 91 

has put strength for victory. But if ye can yet hear, listen 
to my words. Biorn, on this same accursed, and now, 
hy God's help, shivered boar's head, thou didst lay thy 
hand when thou didst swear to sacrifice any inhabitants of 
the German towns that should fall into thy power. And 
Gotthard Lentz came, and Rudlieb came, driven on these 
shores by the storm. What didst thou then do, O savage 
Biorn? What did ye do at his bidding, ye who were 
keeping the Yule feast with him ? Try your fortune on 
me. The Lord will be with me, as He was with those holy 
men. To arms, and — " (he turned to his warriors) "let 
our battle-cry be Gotthard and Rudlieb !" 

Then Biorn let drop his drawn sword, then his followers 
paused, and none among the Norwegians dared lift his eyes 
from the ground. By degrees, they one by one began to 
disappear from the hall ; and at last Biorn stood quite 
alone opposite to the baron and his followers. He seemed 
hardly aware that he had been deserted, but he fell on 
his knees, stretched out his shining sword, pointed to the 
broken boar's head, and said, " Do with me as you have 
done with that ; I deserve no better. I ask but one favour, 
only one; do not disgrace me, noble baron, by seeking 
shelter in another castle of Norway." 

" I fear you not," answered Folko, after some thought ; 
" and, as far as may be, I freely forgive you." Then he 
drew the sign of the cross over the wild form of Biorn, and 
left the hall with Gabrielle. The retainers of the house 
of Montfaucon followed him proudly and silently. 

The hard spirit of the fierce lord of the castle was now 
quite broken, and he watched with increased humility 
every look of Folko and Gabrielle. But they withdrew 
more and more into the happy solitude of their own apart- 
ments, where they enjoyed, in the midst of the sharp 
winter, a bright spring-tide of happiness. The wounded 
condition of Folko did not hinder the evening delights of 
songs and music and poetry — but rather a new charm was 
added to them when the tall, handsome knight leant on 



92 SINTRAM AND HIS COMPANIONS. 

the arm of his delicate lady, and they thus, changing as it 
were their deportment and duties, walked slowly through 
the torch-lit halls, scattering their kindly greetings like 
flowers among the crowds of men and women. 

All this time little or nothing was heard of poor Sin- 
tram. The last wild outbreak of his father had increased 
the terror with which Gabrielle remembered the self-ac- 
cusations of the youth ; and the more resolutely Folko kept 
silence, the more did she bode some dreadful mystery. 
Indeed, a secret shudder came over the knight when he 
thought on the pale, dark-haired youth. Sintram's re- 
pentance had bordered on settled despair; no one knew 
even what he was doing in the fortress of evil-report on 
the Rocks of the Moon. Strange rumours were brought 
by the retainers who had fled from it, that the evil spirit 
had obtained complete power over Sintram, that no man 
could stay with him, and that the fidelity of the dark mys- 
terious castellan had cost him his life. 

Folko could hardly drive away the fearful suspicion that 
the lonely young knight was become a wicked magician. 

And perhaps, indeed, evil spirits did flit about the ba- 
nished Sintram, but it was without his calling them up. 
In his dreams he often saw the wicked enchantress Venus, 
in her golden chariot drawn by winged cats, pass over the 
battlements of the stone fortress, and heard her say, mock- 
ing him, '' Foolish Sintram, foolish Sintram ! hadst thou 
but obeyed the little Master ! Thou wouldst now be in 
Helen's arms, and the Rocks of the Moon would be called 
the Rocks of Love, and the stone fortress would be the 
garden of roses. Thou wouldst have lost thy pale face and 
dark hair, — for thou art only enchanted, dear youth, — and 
thine eyes would have beamed more softly, and thy cheeks 
bloomed more freshly, and thy hair would have been more 
golden than was that of Prince Paris when men wondered 
at his beauty. Oh, how Helen would have loved thee !" 
Then she shewed him in a mirror, how, as a marvellously 
beautiful knight, he knelt before Gabrielle, who sank into 



SINTRAM AND HIS COMPANIONS. 93 

his arms blushing as the morning. "When he awoke from 
such dreams, he would seize eagerly the sword and scarf 
given him by his lady, — as a shipwrecked man seizes the 
plank which is to save him ; and while the hot tears fell on 
them, he would murmur to himself, " There was, indeed, 
one hour in my sad life when I was worthy and happy." 

Once he sprang up at midnight after one of these 
dreams, but this time with more thrilling horror ; for it 
had seemed to him that the features of the enchantress 
Venus had changed towards the end of her speech, as she 
looked down upon him with marvellous scorn, and she 
appeared to him as the hideous little Master. The youth 
had no better means of calming his distracted mind than 
to throw the sword and scarf of Gabrielle over his shoul- 
ders, and to hasten forth under the solemn starry canopy 
of the wintry sky. He walked in deep thought backwards 
and forwards under the leafless oaks and the snow-laden 
firs which grew on the high ramparts. 

Then he heard a sorrow^ful cry of distress sound from 
the moat ; it was as if some one were attempting to sing, 
but was stopped by inward grief. Sintram exclaimed, 
" Who's there ?" and all was still. When he was silent, 
and again began his walk, the frightful groanings and 
meanings were heard afresh, as if they came from a dying 
person. Sintram overcame the horror which seemed to 
hold him back, and began in silence to climb down into 
the deep dry moat which was cut in the rock. He was 
soon so low down that he could no longer see the stars 
shining; beneath him moved a shrouded form ; and sliding 
with involuntary haste down the steep descent, he stood 
near the groaning figure ; it ceased its lamentations, and 
began to laugh like a maniac from beneath its long, folded, 
female garments. 

'' Oh, ho, my cotnrade ! oh, ho, my comrade ! wert thou 
going a little too fast? Well, well, it is all right ; and see 
now, thou standest no higher than I, my pious, valiant 
youth ! Take it patiently, — take it patiently \" 



94 SINTRAM AND HIS COMPANIONS. 

*' What dost thou want with me ? Why dost thou 
laugh ? why dost thou weep ?" asked Sintram impatiently. 

'' I might ask thee the same questions," answered the 
dark figure, " and thou wouldst be less able to answer 
me than I to answer thee. Why dost thou laugh ? why 
dost thou weep ? — Poor creature ! But I will shew thee 
a remarkable thing in thy fortress, of which thou knowest 
nothing. Give heed !" 

And the shrouded figure began to scratch and scrape 
at the stones till a little iron door opened, and shewed a 
long passage which led into the deep darkness. 

"Wilt thou come with me?" whispered the strange 
being : " it is the shortest way to thy father's castle. In 
half an hour we shall come out of this passage, and we 
shall be in thy beauteous lady's apartment. Duke Mene- 
laus shall lie in a magic sleep, — leave that to me, — and 
then thou wilt take the slight, delicate form in thine arms, 
and bring her to the Rocks of the Moon ; so thou wilt win 
back all that seemed lost by thy former wavering." 

Sintram trembled visibly, fearfully shaken to and fro 
by the fever of passion and the stings of conscience. But 
at last, pressing the sword and scarf to his heart, he cried 
out, " Oh ! that fairest, most glorious hour of my life ! If 
I lose all other joys, I will hold fast that brightest hour !" 

" A bright, glorious hour !" said the figure from under 
its veil, like an evil echo. " Dost thou know whom thou 
then conqueredst? A good old friend, who only shewed 
himself so sturdy to give thee the glorj?^ of overcoming 
him. Wilt thou convince thyself? Wilt thou look?" 

The dark garments of the little figure flew open, and 
the dwarf warrior in strange armour, the gold horns on 
his helmet, and the curved spear in his hand, the very 
same whom Sintram thought he had slain on Niflung's 
Heath, now stood before him and lauglied : " Thou seest, 
my youth, every thing in the wide world is but dreams 
and froth ; wherefore hold fast the dream which delights 
thee, and sip up the froth which refreshes thee ! Hasten to 



SINTRAM AND HIS COMPANIONS. 95 

that underground passage, it leads up to thy angel Helen. 
Or wouldst thou first know thy friend yet better?" 

His visor opened, and the hateful face of the little 
Master glared upon the knight. Sintram asked, as if in a 
dream, "Art thou also that wicked enchantress Venus?" 

" Something like her," answered the little Master, 
laughing, '' or rather she is something like me. And if 
thou wilt only get disenchanted, and recover the beauty 
of Prince Paris, — then, O Prince Paris,'^ and his voice 
changed to an alluring song, " then, O Prince Paris, I 
shall be fair like thee !" 

At this moment the good Rolf appeared above on the 
rampart ; a consecrated taper in his lantern shone down 
into the moat, as he sought for the missing young knight. 
"■ In God's name, Sir Sintram," he called out, " what has 
the spectre of him whom you slew on Niflung's Heath, 
and whom I never could bury, to do with you ?" 

*' Seest thou well ? hearest thou well ?" whispered the 
little Master, and drew back into the darkness of the un- 
derground passage. " The wise man up there knows me 
well. There was nothing in thy heroic feat. Come, take 
the joys of life while thou mayst." 

But Sintram sprang back, with a strong effort, into 
the circle of light made by the shining of the taper from 
above, and cried out, " Depart from me, unquiet spirit ! 
I know well that I bear a name on me in which thou canst 
have no part." 

Little Master rushed in fear and rage into the passage, 
and, yelling, shut the iron door behind him. It seemed 
as if he could still be heard groaning and roaring. 

Sintram climbed up the wall of the moat, and made a 
sign to his foster-father not to speak to him : he only said, 
" One of my best joys', yes, the very best, has been taken 
from me ; but, by GH)d's help, I am not yet lost." 

In the earliest light of the following morning, he and 
Rolf stopped up the entrance to the perilous passage with 
huge blocks of stone. 



96 SINTRAM AND HIS COMPANIONS. 



CHAPTER XXIV. 

The long northern winter was at last ended, the fresh 
green leaves rustled merrily in the woods, patches of soft 
moss twinkled amongst the rocks, the valleys grew green, 
the brooks sparkled, the snow melted from all but the 
highest mountain-tops, and the bark which was ready to 
carry away Folko and Gabrielle danced on the sunny 
waves of the sea. The baron, now quite recovered, and 
strong and fresh as though his health had sustained no 
injury, stood one morning on the shore with his fair lady; 
and, full of glee at the prospect of returning to their home, 
the noble pair looked on well pleased at their attendants 
who were busied in lading the shij). 

Then said one of them in the midst of a confused sound 
of talking: " But what has appeared to me the most fear- 
ful and the most strange thing in this northern land is the 
stone fortress on the Rocks of the Moon: I have never, 
indeed, been inside it, but when I used to see it in our 
huntings, towering above the tall fir-trees, there came a 
tightness over my breast, as if something unearthly were 
dwelling in it. And a few weeks ago, when the snow was 
yet lying hard in the valleys, I came unawares quite close 
upon the strange building. The young knight Sintram 
was walking alone on the ramparts as twilight came on, 
like the spirit of a departed knight, and he drew from the 
lute which he carried such soft, melancholy tones, and he 
sighed so deeply and sorrowfully . . . ." 

The voice of the speaker was drowned in the noise of 
the crowd, and as he also just then reached the ship with 
his package hastily fastened up, Folko and Gabrielle could 
not hear the rest of his speech. But the fair lady looked 
on her knight with eyes dim with teaS^s, and sighed: "Is 
it not behind those mountains that the Rocks of the Moon 
lie ? The unhappy Sintram makes me sad at heart." 

" I understand thee, sweet gracious lady, and the pure 



SINTRAM AND HIS COMPANIONS. 97 

compassion of thy heart," replied Folko ; instantly ordering 
his swift-footed steed to be brought. He placed his noble 
lady under the charge of his retainers, and leaping into 
the saddle, he hastened, followed by the grateful smiles of 
Gabrielle, along the valley towards the stone fortress. 

Sintram was seated near the drawbridge, touching the 
strings of the lute, and shedding some tears on the golden 
chords, almost as Montfaucon's esquire had described him. 
Suddenly a cloudy shadow passed over him, and he looked 
up, expecting to see a flight of cranes in the air ; but the 
sky was clear and blue. While the young knight was still 
wondering, a long bright spear fell at his feet from a battle- 
ment of the armory-turret. 

*' Take it up, — make good use of it ! thy foe is near 
at hand ! Near also is the downfal of thy dearest happi- 
ness." Thus he heard it distinctly whispered in his ear ; 
and it seemed to him that he saw the shadow of the little 
Master glide close by him to a neighbouring cleft in the 
rock. But at the same time also, a tall, gigantic, haggard 
figure passed along the valley, in some measure like the 
departed pilgrim, only much, very much larger, and he 
raised his long bony arm fearfully threatening, then dis- 
appeared in an ancient tomb. 

At the very same instant Sir Folko of Montfaucon came 
swiftly as the wind up the Eocks of the Moon, and he must 
have seen something of those strange apparitions, for as he 
stopped close behind Sintram, he looked rather pale, and 
asked low and earnestly : "Sir knight, who are those two 
with whom you were just now holding converse here?" 

^' The good God knows," answered Sintram ; " I know 
them not." ''If the good God does but know!" cried 
Montfaucon : " but I fear me that He knows very little 
more of you or your deeds." 

"You speak strangely harsh words," said Sintram. 
"Yet ever since that evening of misery, — alas! and even 
long before, — I must bear with all that comes from you. 
Dear sir, you may believe me, I know not those fearful 



98 SINTRAM AXD HIS COMPANIONS. 

companions; I call them not, and I know not what terrible 
curse binds them to my footsteps. The merciful God, as 
I would hope, is mindful of me the while, — as a faithful • 
shepherd does not forget even the worst and most widely- 
straying of his flock, but calls after it with an anxious 
voice in the gloomy wilderness/^ 

Then the anger of the baron was quite melted. Taao 
bright tears stood in his eyes, and he said : " No, assur- 
edly, God has not forgotten thee; only do thou not forget 
thy gracious God. I did not come to rebuke thee — I 
came to bless thee in Gabrielle's name and in my own. 
The Lord preserve thee, the Lord guide thee, the Lord lift 
thee up! And, Sintram, on the far-off shores of Normandy 
I shall bear thee in mind, and I shall hear how thou 
strugglest against the curse which weighs down thy un- 
happy life ; and if thou ever shake it off, and stand as a 
noble conqueror over Sin and Death, then thou shalt re- 
ceive from me a token of love and reward, more precious 
than either thou or I can understand at this moment." 

The words flowed prophetically from the baron's lips ; 
he himself was only half-conscious of what he said. With 
a kind salutation he turned his noble steed, and again flew 
down the valley towards the sea-shore. 

" Fool, fool ! thrice a fool V whispered the angry voice 
of the little Master in Sintram's ear. But old Rolf was 
singing his morning hymn in clear tones within the castle, 
and the last lines were these : — 

'* Whom worldlings scorn, 
Who lives forlorn, 

On God's own word doth rest ; 
With heavenly light 
His path is bright, 

His lot among the blest." 

Then a holy joy took possession of Sintram's heart, 
and he looked around him yet more gladly than in the 
hour when Gabrielle gave him the scarf and sword, and 
Folko dubbed him knight. 



SINTRAM AND HIS COMPANIONS. 99 



CHAPTER XXV. 

The baron and his lovely lady were sailing across the 
broad sea with favouring gales of spring, nay the coast of 
Normandy had already apjieared above the waves ; but still 
was Biorn of the Fiery Eyes sitting gloomy and speech- 
less in his castle. He had taken no leave of his guests. 
There was more of proud fear of Montfaucon than of 
reverential love for him in his soul, especially since the 
adventure with the boar's head; and the thought was 
bitter to his haughty spirit, that the great baron, the 
flower and glory of their whole race, should have come 
in peace to visit him, and should now be departing in dis- 
pleasure, in stern reproachful displeasure. He had con- 
stantly before his mind, and it never failed to bring fresh 
pangs, the remembrance of how all had came to pass, and 
how all might have gone otherwise ; and he was always 
fancying he could hear the songs in which after genera- 
tions would recount this voyage of the great Folko, and 
the worthlessness of the savage Biorn. At length, full of 
fierce anger, he cast away the fetters of his troubled spirit, 
he burst out of the castle with all his horsemen, and began 
to carry on a warfare more fearful and more lawless than 
any in which he had yet been engaged. 

Sintram heard the sound of his father's war-horn ; and 
committing the stone fortress to old Rolf, he sprang forth 
ready armed for the combat. But the flames of the cot- 
tages and farms on the mountains rose up before him, and 
shewed him, written as if in characters of fire, what kind 
of war his father was waging. Yet he went on towards 
the spot where the army was mustered, but only to offer 
his mediation, affirming that he would not lay his hand 
on his good sword in so abhorred a service, even though 
the stone fortress, and his father's castle besides, should 
fall before the vengeance of their enemies. Biorn hurled 
the spear which he held in his hand against his son with 



100 SINTRAM AND HIS COMPANIONS. 

mad fury. The deadly weapon whizzed past him : Sin- 
tram remained standing with his vizor raised, he did not 
move one limb in his defence, when he said: " Father, 
do what you will ; but I join not in your godless v/arfare." 

Biorn of the Fiery Eyes laughed scornfully : " It seems 
I am always to have a spy over me here ; my son succeeds 
to the dainty French knight!" But nevertheless he came 
to himself, accepted Sintram's mediation, made amends for 
the injuries he had done, and returned gloomily to his 
castle. Sintram went back to the Rocks of the Moon. 

Such occurrences were frequent after that time. It 
went so far that Sintram came to be looked upon as the 
protector of all those whom his father pursued with re- 
lentless fury ; but nevertheless sometimes his own wild- 
ness would carry the young knight away to accompany 
his fierce father in his fearful deeds. Then Biorn used 
to laugh with horrible pleasure, and to say : " See there, 
my son, how the flames we have lighted blaze up from 
the villages, as the blood spouts up from the wounds our 
swords have made ! It is plain to me, however much thou 
mayst pretend to the contrary, that thou art, and wilt 
ever remain, my true and beloved heir !" 

After thus fearfully erring, Sintram could find no com- 
fort but in hastening to the chaplain of Drontheim, and 
confessing to him his misery and his sins. The chaplain 
would freely absolve him, after due penance and repent- 
ance, and again raise up the broken-hearted youth ; but 
would often say : " Oh, how nearly hadst thou reached thy 
last trial, and gained the victory, and looked on Verena's 
countenance, and atoned for all ! Now thou hast thrown 
thyself back for years. Think, my son, on the shortness 
of man's life; if thou art always falling back anew, how 
wilt thou ever gain the summit on this side the grave ?" 

Years came and went, and Biorn's hair was white as 
snow, and the youth Sintram had reached the middle 
age. Old Rolf was now scarcely able to leave the stone 
fortress ; and sometimes he said : " I feel it a burden that 



SINTUAM AND HIS COMPANIONS. 101 

my life should yet be prolonged; but also there is much 
comfort in it, for I still think the good God has in store 
for me here below some great happiness: and it must be 
something in which you are concerned, my beloved Sir Sin- 
tram, for Avhat else in the whole world could rejoice me ?" 

But all remained as it was, and Sintram's fearful dreams 
at Christmas-time each year rather increased than dimi- 
nished in horror. Again the holy season was drawing 
near, and the mind of the sorely afflicted knight was more 
troubled than ever before. Sometimes, if he had been 
reckoning up the nights till it should come, a cold sweat 
would stand on his forehead, while he said, " Mark my 
words, dear old foster-father, this time something most 
awfully decisive lies before me." 

One evening he felt an overwhelming anxiety about 
his father. It seemed to him that the Prince of Darkness 
was going up to Biorn's castle ; and in vain did Rolf re- 
mind him that the snow was lying deep in the valleys, in 
vain did he suggest that the knight might be overtaken 
by his frightful dreams in the lonely mountains during the 
night-time. '' Nothing can be worse to me than remain- 
ing here would be," replied Sin tram. 

He took his horse from the stable and rode forth in the 
gathering darkness. The noble steed slipped and stumbled 
and fell in the trackless ways, but his rider always raised 
him up, and urged him only more swiftly and eagerly 
towards the object which he longed and yet dreaded to 
reach. Nevertheless he might never have arrived at it, 
had not his faithful hound Skovmark kept with him. The 
dog sought out the lost track for his beloved master, and 
invited him into it with joyous barkings, and warned him 
by his howls against precipices and treacherous ice under 
the snow. Thus they arrived about midnight at Biorn's 
castle. The windows of the hall shone opposite to them 
with a brilliant light, as though some great feast were 
kept there, and confused sounds, as of singing, met their 
ears. Sintram gave his horse hastily to some retainers in 



102 SINTRAM AND HIS COMPANIONS. 

the court-yard, and ran up the steps, whilst Skovmark 
stayed by the well-known horse. 

A good esquire came towards Sintram within the castle, 
and said, " God be praised, my dear master, that you are 
come ; for surely nothing good is going on above. But 
take heed to yourself also, and be not deluded. Your father 
has a guest with him, — and, as I think, a hateful one." 

Sintram shuddered as he threw open the doors. A 
little man in the dress of a miner was sitting with his back 
towards him. The armour had been for some time past 
again ranged round the stone table, so that only two places 
were left empty. The seat opposite the door had been 
taken by Biorn of the Fiery Eyes ; and the dazzling light 
of the torches fell upon his features with so red a flare, 
that he perfectly enacted that fearful surname. 

^' Father, whom have you here with you?" cried Sin- 
tram ; and his suspicions rose to certainty as the miner 
turned round, and the detestable face of the little Master 
grinned from under his dark hood. 

" Yes, just see, my fair son," said the wild Biorn ; 
" thou hast not been here for a long while, — and so to- 
night this jolly comrade has paid me a visit, and thy place • 
has been taken. But throw one of the suits of armour 
out of the way, and put a seat for thyself instead of it, — 
and come and drink with us, and be merry." 

" Yes, do so. Sir Sintram," said the little Master, with 
a laugh. " Nothing worse could come of it than that the 
broken pieces of armour might clatter somewhat strangely 
together, or at most that the disturbed spirit of him to 
whom the suit belonged might look over your shoulder ; 
but he would not drink up any of our wine — ghosts have 
nothing to do with that. So now fall to !" 

Biorn joined in the laughter of the hideous stranger 
with wild mirth ; and while Sintram was mustering up his 
whole strength not to lose his senses at so terrible words, 
and was fixing a calm steady look on the little Master's 
face, the old man cried out, " Why dost thou look at him 



SINTRAM AND HIS COMPANIONS. 103 

SO? Does it seem to thee as though thou sawest thyself 
in a mirror ? Now that you are together, I do not see it 
so much ; but a while ago I thought that you were like 
enough to each other to be mistaken." 

"God forbid!" said Sintram, walking up close to the 
fearful apparition : " I command thee, detestable stranger, 
to depart from this castle, in right of my authority as my 
father's heir, — as a consecrated knight and as a spirit!'^ 

Biorn seemed as if he wished to oppose himself to this 
command wdth all his savage might. The little Master 
muttered to himself, " Thou art not by any means the 
master in this house, pious knight; thou hast never lighted 
a fire on this hearth." Then Sintram drew the sword which 
Gabrielle had given him, held the cross of the hilt before 
the eyes of his evil guest, and said, calmly, but with a 
powerful voice, "Worship, or fly !" And he fled, the fright- 
ful stranger, — he fled with such lightning speed, that it 
could scarcely be seen whether he had sprung through the 
window or the door. But in going he overthrew some of 
the armour, the tapers went out, and it seemed that the 
pale blue flame which lighted up the hall in a marvellous 
manner gave a fulfilment to the little Master's former words : 
and that the spirits of those to whom the armour had be- 
longed were leaning over the table, grinning fearfully. 

Both the father and the son were filled with horror ; 
but each chose an opposite way to save himself Biorn 
wished to have his hateful guest back again ; and the 
power of his will was seen when the little Master's step 
resounded anew^ on the stairs, and his brown shrivelled 
hand shook the lock of the door. On the other hand, 
Sintram ceased not to say within himself, " We are lost, 
if he come back ! We are lost to all eternity, if he come 
back!" And he fell on his knees, and prayed fervently 
from his troubled heart to Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. 
Then the little Master left the door, and again Biorn willed 
him to return, and again Sintram's prayers drove him 
away. So went on this strife of wills throughout the long 



104 



SINTRAM AND HIS COMPANIONS. 



night; and howling whirlwinds raged the while around 
the castle, till all the household thought the end of the 
world was come. At length the dawn of morning ap- 
peared through the windows of the hall, — the fury of the 
storm was lulled, — Biorn sank back powerless in slumber 
on his seat, — peace and hope came to the inmates of the 
castle, — and Sintram, pale and exhausted, went out to 
breathe the dewy air of the mild winter's morning before 
the castle-gates. 




SINTRAM AND HIS COMPANIONS. 105 



CHAPTER XXVI. 

The faithful Skovmark followed his master, caressing 
him ; and when Sintram fell asleep on a stone-seat in the 
wall, he lay at his feet, keeping watchful guard. Sud- 
denly he pricked up his ears, looked round with delight, 
and bounded joyfully down the mountain. Just aftervvards 
the chaplain of Drontheim appeared amongst the rocks, 
and the good beast went up to him as if to greet him, and 
then again ran back to the knight to announce the wel- 
come visitor. 

Sintram opened his eyes, as a child whose Christmas- 
gifts have been placed at his bed-side. For the chaplain 
smiled at him as he had never yet seen him smile. There 
was in it a token of victory and blessing, or at least of 
the near approach of both. "Thou hast done much yes- 
terday, very much," said the holy priest ; and his hands 
were joined, and his eyes full of bright tears. " I praise 
God for thee, my noble knight. Verena knows all, and 
she too praises God for thee. I do indeed now dare hope 
that the time will soon come when thou mayst appear 
before her. But Sintram, Sir Sintram, there is need of 
haste ; for the old man above requires speedy aid, and thou 
hast still a heavy — as I hope the last — yet a most heavy 
trial to undergo for his sake. Arm thyself, my knight, 
arm thyself even with bodily weapons. In truth, this time 
only spiritual armour is needed, but it always befits a 
knight, as well as a monk, to wear in decisive moments 
the entire solemn garb of his station. If it so please thee, 
we will go directly to Drontheim together. Thou must 
return thence to-night. Such is a part of the hidden de- 
cree, which has been dimly unfolded to Verena's foresight. 
Here there is yet much that is wild and distracting, and 
thou hast great need to-day of calm preparation." 

With humble joy Sintram bowed his assent, and called 
for his horse and for a suit of armour. " Only," added 



106 SINTRAM AND HIS COMPANIONS. 

he, " let not any of that armour be brought which was 
last night overthrown in the hall !" 

His orders were quickly obeyed. The arms which 
were fetched, adorned with fine engraved work, the simple 
helmet, formed rather like that of an esquire than a knight, 
the lance of almost gigantic size, which belonged to the i 
suit — on all these the chaplain gazed in deep thought and I 
with melancholy emotion. At last, when Sintram, with 
the help of his esquires, was weU nigh equipped, the holy 
priest spoke : 

''^yonderful providence of God! See, dear Sintram, 
this armour and this spear were formerly those of Sir 
Weigand the Slender, and with them he did. many mighty 
deeds. When he was tended by your mother in the 
castle, and when even j^our father still shewed himself | 
kind towards him, he asked, as a favour, that his armour 
and his lance should be allowed to hang in Biorn's ar- 
mory — AYeigand himself, as you well know, intended to 
build a cloister and to live there as a monk — and he put 
his old esquire's helmet with it, instead of another, because 
he was yet wearing that one when he first saw the fair 
Verena's angelic face. How wondrously does it now come 
to pass, that these very arms, which have so long been laid 
aside, should be brought to you for the decisive hour of 
your life ! To me, as far as my short-sighted human wis- 
dom can tell, — to me it seems truly a very solemn token, 
but one full of high and glorious promise." 

Sintram stood now in complete array, composed and 
stately, and, from his tall slender figure, might have been 
taken for a youth, had not the deep lines of care which 
furrowed his countenance shewn him to be advanced in 
years. 

" Who has placed boughs on the head of my war- 
horse?" asked Sintram of the esquires, with displeasure. 
*' I am not a conqueror, nor a wedding-guest. And be- 
sides, there are no boughs now but those red and yellow 
crackling oak-leaves, dull and dead like the season itself." 



SINTRAM AND HIS COMPANIONS. 107 

" Sir Knight, I know not myself," answered an es- 
quire ; " but it seemed to me that it must be so." 

" Let it be," said the chaplain. " I feel that this also 
comes as a token full of meaning from the right source." 

Then the knight threw himself into his saddle; the 
priest went beside him ; and they both rode slowly and 
silently towards Drontheim. The faithful dog followed 
his master. When the lofty castle of Drontheim appeared 
in sight, a gentle smile spread itself over Sintram's coun- 
tenance, like sunshine over a wintry valley. 

"God has done great things for me," said he. "I 
once rushed from here, a fearfully wild boy ; I now come 
back a penitent man. I trust that it will yet go well with 
my poor troubled life." 

The chaplain assented kindly, and soon afterwards the 
travellers passed under the echoing vaulted gateway into 
the castle-yard. At a sign from the priest, the retainers 
approached with respectful haste, and took charge of the 
horse ; then he and Sintram went through long winding 
passages and up many steps to the remote chamber which 
the chaplain had chosen for himself; far away from the 
noise of men, and near to the clouds and the stars. There 
the two passed a quiet day in devout prayer, and earnest 
reading of Holy Scripture. 

When the evening began to close in, the chaplain arose 
and said : " And now, my knight, get ready thy horse, 
and mount and ride back again to thy father's castle. A 
toilsome way lies before thee, and I dare not go with you. 
But I can and will call upon the Lord for you all through 
the long fearful night. O beloved instrument of the Most 
High, thou wilt yet not be lost 1" 

Thrilling with strange forebodings, but nevertheless 
strong and vigorous in spirit, Sintram did according to the 
holy man's desire. The sun set as the knight approached 
a long valley, strangely shut in by rocks, through which 
lay the road to his father's castle. 



108 SINTRAM AND HIS COMPANIONS. 



CHAPTER XXVII. 

Before entering the rocky pass, the knight, with a prayer 
and thanksgiving, looked back once more at the castle of 
Drontheim. There it was, so vast and quiet and peace- I 
ful ; the bright windows of the chaplain's high chamber 
yet lighted up by the last gleam of the sun, which had 
already disappeared. In front of Sintram was the gloomy 
valley, as if his grave. Then there came towards him 
some one riding on a small horse ; and Skovmark, who 
had gone up to the stranger as if to find out who he was, 
now ran back with his tail between his legs and his ears 
put back, howling and whining, and crept, terrified, under 
his master's war-horse. But even the noble steed appeared 
to have forgotten his once so fearless and warlike ardour. 
He trembled violently, and when the knight w^ould have , 
turned him towards the stranger, he reared and snorted ! 
and plunged, and began to throw himself backwards. It 
was only with difficulty that Sintram's strength and horse- 
manship got the better of him ; and he was all white 
with foam when Sintram came up to the unknown tra- 
veller. 

^' You have cowardly beasts with you," said the latter, 
in a low, smothered voice. 

Sintram was unable, in the ever-increasing darkness, 
rightly to distinguish what kind of being he saw before 
him ; only a very pallid face, which at first he had thought 
was covered with freshly fallen snow, met his eyes from 
amidst the long, hanging garments. It seemed that the 
stranger carried a small box wrapped up ; his little horse, 
as if wearied out, bent his head down towards the ground, 
whereby a bell, which hung from the wretched torn bridle 
under his neck, was made to give a strange sound. After 
a short silence, Sintram replied : " Noble steeds avoid 
those of a worse race, because they are ashamed of them; 
and the boldest dogs are attacked by a secret terror at 



SINTRAM AND HIS COMPANIONS. 109 

sight of forms to which they are not accustomed. I have 
no cowardly beasts with me." 

'* Good, sir knight ; then ride with me through the 
valley." 

'' I am going through the valley, but I want no com- 
panions." 

" But perhaps I want one. Do you not see that T am 
unarmed? And at this season, at this hour, there are 
frightful, unearthly beasts about." 

Just then, as though to confirm the awful words of 
the stranger, a thing swung itself down from one of the 
nearest trees, covered with hoar-frost, — no one could say if 
it were a snake or a lizard, — it curled and twisted itself, 
and appeared about to slide down upon the knight or his 
companion. Sintram levelled his spear, and pierced the 
creature through. But, with the most hideous contortions, 
it fixed itself firmly on the spear-head ; and in vain did the 
knight endeavour to rub it off against the rocks or the 
trees. Then he let his spear rest upon his right shoulder, 
with the point behind him, so that the horrible beast no 
longer met his sight ; and he said, with good courage, to 
the stranger, " It does seem, indeed, that 1 could help you, 
and I am not forbidden to have an unknown stranger in 
my company ; so let us push on bravely into the valley I" 

" Help !" so resounded the solemn answer ; " not help. 
I perhaps may help thee. But God have mercy upon thee 
if the time should ever come when I could no longer help 
thee. Then thou wouldst be lost, and I should become 
very frightful to thee. But we will go through the valley 
— I have thy knightly word for it. Come !" 

They rode forward ; Sintram's horse still shewing signs 
of fear, the faithful dog still whining; but both obedient 
to their master's will. The knight was cabn and stedfast. 
The snow had slipped down from the smooth rocks, and 
by the light of the rising moon could be seen various 
strange twisted shapes on their sides, some looking like 
snakes, and some like human faces 5 but they were only 



110 SINTRAM AND HIS COMPANIONS. 

formed by the veins in the rock and the half-bare roots of 
trees, which had planted themselves in that desert place 
with capricious firmness. High above and at a great dis- 
tance, the castle of Drontheim, as if to take leave, appeared 
again through an opening in the rocks. The knight then 
looked keenly at his companion, and he almost felt as if 
Weigand the Slender were riding beside him. 

" In God's name," cried he, " art thou not the shade of 
that departed knight who suffered and died for Verena?" 

" I have not suffered, I have not died ; but ye suffer, 
and ye die, poor mortals !" murmured the stranger. " I 
am not Weigand. I am that other, who was so like 
him, and whom thou hast also met before now in the 
wood." 

Sintram strove to free himself from the terror which 
came over him at these words. He looked at his horse ; 
it appeared to him entirely altered. The dry, many-co- 
loured oak-leaves on its head were waving like the flames 
around a sacrifice, in the uncertain moonlight. He looked 
down again, to see after his faithful Skovmark. Fear had 
likewise most wondrously changed him. On the ground 
in the middle of the road were lying dead men's bones, 
and hideous lizards were crawling about ; and, in defiance 
of the wintry season, poisonous mushrooms were growing 
up all around. 

" Can this be still my horse on which I am riding?" 
said the knight to himself, in a low voice ; *' and can that 
trembling beast which runs at my side be my dog?" 

Then some one called after him, in a yelling voice, 
" Stop ! stop ! Take me also with you !" 

Looking round, Sintram perceived a small, frightful 
figure with horns, and a face partly like a wild boar and 
partly like a bear, walking along on its hind-legs, which 
were those of a horse ; and in its hand was a strange, hide- 
ous weapon, shaped like a hook or a sickle. It was the 
being who had been w ont to trouble him in his dreams ; 
and, alas ! it was also the wretched little Master himself, 



SINTRAM AND HIS COMPANIONS. Ill 

who, laughing wildly, stretched out a long claw towards 
the knight. 

The bewildered Sintram murmured, " I must have 
fallen asleep ; and now my dreams are coming over me !" 

*' Thou art awake," replied the rider of the little horse, 
"but thou knowest me also in thy dreams. For, behold! 
I am Death.'' And his garments fell from him, and there 
appeared a mouldering skeleton, its ghastly head crowned 
with serpents; that which he had kept hidden under his 
mantle was an hour-glass with the sand almost run out. 
Death held it towards the knight in his fleshless hand. 
The bell at the neck of the little horse gave forth a solemn 
sound. It was a passing bell. 

" Lord, into Thy hands I commend my spirit !" prayed 
Sintram ; and full of earnest devotion he rode after Death, 
who beckoned him on. 

" He has thee not yet ! He has thee not yet !" screamed 
the fearful fiend. " Give thyself up to me rather. In one 
instant, — for swift are thy thoughts, swift is my might, 
— in one instant thou shalt be in Normandy. Helen yet 
blooms in beauty as when she departed hence, and this very 
night she would be thine." And once again he began his 
unholy praises ofGabrielle's loveliness, and Sintram's heart 
glowed like wild-fire in his weak breast. 

Death said nothing more, but raised the hour-glass in 
his right hand yet higher and higher; and as the sand now 
ran out more quickly, a soft light streamed from the glass 
over Sintram's countenance, and then it seemed to him as 
if eternity in all its calm majesty were rising before him, 
and a world of confusion dragging him back with a deadly 
grasp. 

" I command thee, wild form that followest me," cried 
he, "I command thee, in the name of our Lord Jesus 
Christ, to cease from thy seducing words, and to call 
thyself by that name by which thou art recorded in Holy 
Writ !" 

A name, more fearful than a thunderclap, burst de- 



112 SINTRAM AND HIS COMPANIONS. 

spairingly from the lips of the Tempter, and he disap- 
peared. 

<' He will return no more," said Death in a kindly 
tone. 

" And now I am become wholly thine, my stem com- 
panion?" 

" Not yet, my Sintram. I shall not come to thee till 
many, many years are past. But thou must not forget 
me the while." 

"^ I will keep the thought of thee steadily before my 
soul, thou fearful yet wholesome monitor, thou awful yet 
loving guide!" 

" Oh ! I can truly appear very gentle." 

And so it proved indeed. His form became more softly 
defined in the increasing gleam of light which shone from 
the hour-glass ; the features, which had been awful in their 
sternness, wore a gentle smile ; the crown of serpents be- 
came a bright palm- wreath ; instead of the horse appeared 
a white misty cloud in the moonlight ; and the bell gave 
forth sounds as of sweet lullabies. Sintram thought he 
could hear these words amidst them : 

" The world and Satan are o'ercome, 
Before thee gleams eternal light, 
Warrior, who hast won the strife : 
Save from darkest shades of night 
Him before whose aged eyes 
All my terrors soon shall rise." 

The knight well knew that his father was meant ; and 
he urged on his noble steed, which now obeyed his master 
willingly and gladly, and the faithful dog also again ran 
beside him fearlessly. Death had disappeared ; but in front 
of Sintram there floated a bright morning-cloud, which 
continued visible after the sun had risen clear and warm 
in the bright winter sky. 



SINTR^IM AND HIS COMPANIONS. 113 



CHAPTER XXVIII. 

" He is dead ! the horrors of that fearful stormy night 
have killed him !" Thus said, about this time, •*ome of 
Biorn's retainers, who had not been able to bring him back 
to his senses since the morning of the day before : they 
had made a couch of wolf and bear skins for him in the 
great hall, in the midst of the armour which still lay scat- 
tered around. One of the esquires said with u low sigh: 
" The Lord have mercy on his poor wild soul !" 

Just then the warder blew his horn from his tower, and 
a trooper came into the room with a look of surprise. 
"A knight is coming hither,'' said he; "a wonderful 
knight. I could have taken him for our Lord Sintram — 
but a bright, bright morning cloud floats so close before 
him, and throws over him such clear light, that one could 
fancy red flowers were showered down upon him. Besides, 
his horse has a wreath of red leaves on his head, -^vhich 
was never a custom of the son of our dead lord.'' 

" Just such a one," replied another, " I wove for him 
yesterday. He was not pleased with it at first, but after- 
wards he let it remain." 

'* But why didst thou that?" 

" It seemed to me as if I heard a voice singing again 
and again in my ear : ' Victory ! victory ! the noblest vic- 
tory ! The knight rides forth to victory !' And then I saw 
a branch of our oldest oak-tree stretched towards me, 
which had kept on almost all its red and yellow leaves 
in spite of the snow. So I did according to what 1 had 
heard sung ; and 1 plucked some of the leaves, and wove 
a triumphal wreath for the nobl? war-horse. At rhe same 
time Skovmark, — you know that the faithful beast had 
always a great dislike to Biorn, and therefore had gone to 
the stable with the horse, — Skovmark jumped upon me, 
fawning, and seemed pleased, as if he wanted to thank me 



114 SINTRAM AND HIS COMPANIONS. 

for my work ; and such noble animals understand well 
about good prognostics." 

They heard the sound of Sintram's spurs on the stone 
steps, and Skovmark's joyous bark. At that instant the 
supposed corpse of old Biorn sat up, looked around with 
rolling, staring eyes, and asked of the terrified retainers 
in a hollow voice, " Who comes there, ye people ? who 
comes there ? I know it is my son. But who comes with 
him ? The answer to that bears the sword of decision in 
its mouth. For see, good people, Gotthard and Rudlieb 
have prayed much for me; yet if the little Master come 
with him, I am lost in spite of them." 

" Thou art not lost, my beloved father !" Sintram's 
kind voice was heard to say, as he softly opened the 
door, and the bright red morning cloud floated in with 
him. 

Biorn joined his hands, cast a look of thankfulness up 
to heaven, and said, smiling, ''Yes, praised be God! it is 
the right companion! It is sweet gentle death!" And 
then he made a sign to his son to approach, saying, "Come 
here, my deliverer ; come, blessed of the Lord, that I may 
relate to thee all that has passed within me." 

As Sintram now sat close by his father's couch, all 
who were in the room yjerceived a remarkable and strik- 
ing change. For old Biorn, whose whole countenance, 
and not his eyes alone, had been wont to have a fiery 
aspect, was now quite pale, almost like white marble ; 
while, on the other hand, the cheeks of the once deadly- 
pale Sintram glowed with a bright bloom like that of early 
youth. It was caused by the morning cloud which still 
shone upon him, whose presence in the room was rather 
felt than seen ; but it produced a gentle thrill in every 
heart. 

'* See, my son," began the old man, softly and mildly, 
'* I have lain for a long time in a death-like sleep, and 
have known nothing of what was going on around me ; 
but within, — ah ! within, I have known but too much ! I 



SINTRAM AND HIS COMPANIONS. 115 

thought that my soul would be destroyed by the eternal 
anguish ; and yet again I felt, with much greater horror, 
that my soul was eternal like that anguish. Beloved son, 
thy cheeks that glowed so brightly are beginning to grow 
pale at my words. I refrain from more. But let me 
relate to you something more cheering. Far, far away, 
I could see a bright lofty church, where Gotthard and 
Rudlieb Lenz were kneeling and praying for me. Gott- 
hard had grown very old, and looked almost like one of 
our mountains covered with snow, on which the sun, in 
the lovely evening hours, is shining ; and Rudlieb Avas 
also an elderly man, but very vigorous and very strong ; 
and they both, with all their strength and vigour, were 
calling upon God to aid me, their enemy. Then I heard 
a voice like that of an angel, saying ; ' His son does the 
most for him ! He must this night wrestle with death 
and with the fallen one ! His victory will be victory, 
and his defeat will be defeat, for the old man and him- 
self.' Thereupon I awoke ; and I knew that all depended 
upon whom thou wouldst bring wdth thee. Thou hast 
conquered. Next to God, the praise be to thee !" 

" Gotthard and Rudlieb have helped much,'' replied 
Sintram; " and, beloved father, so have the fervent prayers 
of the chaplain of Drontheim. I felt, w^hen struggling with 
temptation and deadly fear, how the heavenly breath of 
holy men floated round me and aided me." 

" I am most willing to believe that, my noble son, and 
every thing thou sayest to me," answered the old man ; 
and at the same moment the chaplain also coming in, 
Biorn stretched out his hand towards him wdth a smile 
of peace and joy. And now all seemed to be surrounded 
with a bright circle of unity and blessedness. " But see," 
said old Biorn, '' how the faithful Skovmark jumps upon 
me now, and tries to caress me. It is not long since he 
used always to howl Avith terror when he saw me." 

" My dear lord," said the chaplain, " there is a spirit 
dwelling in good beasts, though dreamy and unconscious." 



116 SINTRAM AND HIS COMTAKIONS. 

As the day wore on, the stillness in the hall increased. 
The last hour of the ao^ed knight was drawing near, but 
he met it calmly and fearlessly. The chaplain and Sin- 
tram jjrayed beside his couch. The retainers knelt de- 
voutly around. At length the dying man said : " Is that 
the prayer-bell in Verena's cloister?" Sintram's looks 
said yea : while warm tears fell on the colourless cheeks 
of his father. A gleam shone in the old man's eyes, the 
morning cloud stood close over him, and then the gleam, 
the morning cloud, and life with them, departed from 
him. 



CHAPTER XXIX. 

A FEW days afterwards Sintram stood in the parlour of 
the convent, and waited with a beating heart for his 
mother to appear. He had seen her for the last time 
when, a slumbering child, he had been awakened by her 
warm farewell kisses, and then had fallen asleep again, to 
wonder in his dreams what his mother had wanted with 
him, and to seek her in vain the next morning in the castle 
and in the garden. The chaplain was now at his side, re- 
joicing in the chastened rapture of the knight, whose fierce 
spirit had been softened, on whose cheeks a light reflection 
of that solemn morning cloud yet lingered. 

The inner doors opened. In her white veil, stately 
and noble, the Lady Verena came forward, and with a 
heavenly smile she beckoned her son to approach the grat- 
ing. There could be no thought here of any passionate 
outbreak, whether of sorrow or of joy.* The holy peace 

* " In whose sweet presence sorrow dares not lower, 
Nor expectation rise 
Too high for earth." 

Christian Year. 



1 



SINTRAM AND HIS COMPANIONS. 117 

whicli had its abode within these walls would have found 
its way to a heart less tried and less purified than that 
which beat in Sintram's bosom. Shedding some placid 
tears, the son knelt before his mother, kissed her flowing 
garments through the grating, and felt as if in paradise, 
where every wish and every care is hushed. " Beloved 
mother," said he, " let me become a holy man, as thou art 
a holy woman. Then I will betake myself to the cloister 
yonder ; and perhaps I might one day be deemed worthy 
to be thy confessor, if illness or the weakness of old age 
should keep the good chaplain within the castle of Dron- 
theim." 

" That would be a sw^eet, quietly-happy life, my good 
child," replied the Lady Verena ; " but such is not thy 
vocation. Thou must remain a bold, powerful knight, 
and thou must spend the long life, which is almost always 
granted to us children of the north, in succouring the 
w^eak, in keeping down the lawless, and in yet another 
more bright and honourable employment which I hitherto 
rather honour than know." 

"God's will be done !" said the knight, and he rose up 
full of self-devotion and firmness. 

" That is my good son," said the Lady Verena. " Ah ! 
how many sweet calm joys spring up for us ! See already 
is our longing desire of meeting again satisfied, and thou 
wilt never more be so entirely estranged from me. Every 
week on this day thou wilt come back to me, and thou 
wilt relate what glorious deeds thou hast done, and take 
back with thee my advice and my blessing." 

" Am I not once more a good and happy child !" cried 
Sintram joyously ; " only that the merciful God has given 
me in addition the strength of a man in body and spirit. 
Oh, how blessed is that son to w^hom it is allowed to 
gladden his mother's heart with the blossoms and the 
fruit of his life !" 

Thus he left the quiet cloister's shade, joyful in spirit 
and richly laden with blessings, to enter on his noble 



118 SINTRAM AND HIS COMPANIONS. 

career. He was not content with going about wherever 
there might be a rightful cause to defend or evil to avert ; 
the gates of the now hospitable castle stood always open 
also to receive and shelter every stranger ; and old Rolf, 
who was almost grown young again at the sight of his 
lord's excellence, was established as seneschal. The winter 
of Sintram's life set in bright and glorious, and it was 
only at times that he would sigh within himself and say, 
" Ah, Montfaucon ! ah, Gabrielle ! if I could dare to hope 
that you have quite forgiven me !" 



CHAPTER XXX. 

The spring had come in its brightness to the northern 
lands, when one morning Sintram turned his horse home- 
wards, after a successful encounter with one of the most 
formidable disturbers of the peace of his neighbourhood. 
His horsemen rode after him, singing as they went. As 
they drew near the castle, they heard the sound of joyous 
notes wound on the horn. '' Some welcome visitor must 
have arrived,^' said the knight; and he spurred his horse 
to a quicker pace over the dewy meadow. While still at 
some distance, they descried old Rolf, busily engaged in 
preparing a table for the morning-meal, under the trees in 
front of the castle-gates. From all the turrets and bat- 
tlements floated banners and flags in the fresh morning 
breeze : esquires were running to and fro in their gayest 
apparel. As soon as the good Rolf saw his master, he 
clapped his hands joyfully over his grey head, and hast- 
ened into the castle. Immediately the wide gates were 
thrown open ; and Sintram, as he entered, was met by 
Rolf, whose eyes were filled with tears of joy while he 
pointed towards three noble forms that were following 
him. 



SINTRAiM AND HIS COMPANIONS. 119 

Two men of high stature — one in iextreme old age, the 
other grej'-headed, and both remarkably alike — were lead- 
ing between them a fair young boy, in a page's dress of 
blue velvet, richly embroidered with gold. The two old 
men wore the dark velvet dress of German burghers, and 
had massive gold chains and large shining medals hanging 
round their necks. 

Sintram bad never before seen his honoured guests, 
and yet he felt as if they were well known and valued 
friends. The very aged man reminded him of his dying 
father's words about the snow-covered mountains lighted 
up by the evening sun ; and then he remembered, he 
could scarcely tell how, that he had heard Folko say that 
one of the highest mountains of that sort in his southern 
land was called the St. Gotthard. And at the same time, 
he knew that the old but yet vigorous man on the other 
side was named Rudlieb. But the boy who stood between 
them ; ah ! Sintram's humility dared scarcely form a hope 
as to who he might be, however much his features, so 
noble and soft, called up two highly honoured images be- 
fore his mind. 

Then the aged Gotthard Lenz, the king of old men, 
advanced with a solemn step, and said — "This is the 
noble boy Engeltram of Montfaucon, the only son of the 
great baron ; and his father and mother send him to you, 
Sir Sintram, knowing well your holy and glorious knightly 
career, that you may bring him up to all the honourable 
and valiant deeds of this northern land, and may make of 
him a Christian knight, like yourself." 

Sintram threw himself from his horse. Engeltram of 
Montfaucon held the stirrup gracefully for him, checking 
the retainers, who pressed forward, with these words: " I 
am the noblest born esquire of this knight, and the service 
nearest to his person belongs to me." 

Sintram knelt in silent prayer on the turf; then lift- 
ing up in his arms, towards the rising sun, the image of 
Folko and Gabrielle, he cried, " With the help of God, 



my Engeltram, thou wilt become glorious as 
that sun, and thy course will be like his I" 

And old Rolf exclaimed, as he wept for joy, 
" Lord, now lettest Thou Thy servant depart in 
peace." 

Gotthard Lenz and Rudlieb were pressed to 
Sintrara's heart ; the chaplain of Drontheim, who 
just then came from Verena's cloister to bring a 
joyful greeting to her brave son, stretched out 
his hands to bless them all 




ADDITIONAL ILLUSTRATIONS TO SINTRAM. 

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