Part 2 out of 8
for me, this honourable, consecrated, and priestly robe saves me
from thy power) thou shalt be torn limb from limb, and thy members
flung to feed the dogs, while thou art yet living to behold it,
accursed, thrice-accursed witch!"
And his Grace, in his great rage against her, struck the table
with his ivory crook, so that he broke a bottle filled with red
ink which stood thereon, and the said ink (alas! what an evil
omen) poured down upon Duke Philip's white silk stockings, and
stained them red like blood.
Meanwhile Sidonia exclaimed, "What! is there no leech here to feel
the pulse of his Serene Highness? Surely the dog-days, that we are
in the middle of, have turned his brain completely. Any little bit
of mother-wit he might have had is clean gone. What! she had
scarcely entered--knew not yet of what she was accused, and she
was 'Satan!' 'a thrice-accursed witch!' who was to be cut up into
little bits to feed dogs! Had any man ever heard the like? Would
the nobles of Pomerania, whom she saw around her, suffer one of
their own rank--a lady of castles and lands--to be thus handled?
She called upon them all as witnesses, and after the
_audienza_ a notary should be summoned to note all down, for
she would assuredly appeal to the states of the kingdom, and bring
her cause before the Emperor."
Hereupon Duke Philip interposed--"Lady, our dear brother is of a
hasty temperament; yet you can scarce wonder at his speech, or
take it ill, when you consider the terrible evils which you have
brought upon our ancient and illustrious race. However, as an
upright and good prince must judge the cause of his subjects
before his own, I shall first inquire what caused the sudden
illness of the sheriff, Eggert Sparling, and of the abbess,
Magdalena, that time they brought my father's letter to you?--that
letter which you said was a forgery, and flung into the fire."
_Illa._--"What caused it? How could she remember? It was a
long time ago; but so far as she recollected, they came in when
she was brewing beer or cooking sausages, and she opened the
window to admit fresh air; before this window they both sat and
talked, to be out of the smell of the cooking; could they not have
got rheumatism by such means? Let his Grace ask the doctors did it
require witchcraft to give a man the rheumatism, who sat in a
draught of air?"
_The Duke_.--"But both were cured again as quickly as they
had taken it."
_Illa>/i>.--"Ah, yes! She would have done her best to cure even
her greatest enemy, for the holy Saviour had said, 'Bless them
that curse you; do good to them that hate you; pray for them that
persecute you.' To such commands of her Lord she had ever been a
faithful servant, and therefore searched out of her cookery-book
for a _sympatheticum_, but for thanks, lo, now what she gets!
Such was the way of this wicked world. Perhaps my gracious lord
would like to know of the _sympatheticum_; she would say it
for him, if he wished."
"Keep it to yourself, woman," roared Duke Francis, "and tell us
why you burned my father's letter?"
_Illa_.--"Because, in truth, she deemed it a forgery. How
could she believe a knave who had already deceived his own
gracious Prince? For did not this base sheriff appropriate to his
own use eleven mares, one hundred sheep, sixteen head of cattle,
and forty-two boars, all the property of his Highness, to the
great detriment of the princely revenue. _Item_, at the last
cattle sale he had put three hundred florins into his own bag, and
many more evil deceits had this wicked cheat practised."
"Keep to the question," cried Duke Philip, "and answer only what
you are asked. What was that matter concerning the priest which
caused you to complain of him to our princely consistorium?"
_Illa._--"Ay! and no notice taken, though it was a scandal
that cried to Heaven, how this licentious young carl was admitted
into the convent as chaplain, when the regulations especially
declared that an honourable _old_ man should hold the office.
She prayed, therefore, that another priest might be appointed."
Hereat my worthy father-in-law, Dr. Cramer, said, "Good lady, be
not so hasty; from all we have heard, this priest is a right
worthy and discreet young man."
_Illa._--"Right worthy and discreet, truly! as her old maid
could testify; or the abbess, with whom he locked himself up; or
Dorothea Stettin, with whom he was discovered behind the holy
altar. Fie! The scandal that such a fellow should be convent
chaplain! and that a Christian government should suffer it!"
(spitting three times on the ground.)
_The Duke_.--"The inquiry concerning him was pending. For
what cause had she forced herself into the sub-prioret?"
_Illa._--"She! Forced herself! Forced herself into the
sub-prioret! What devil had invented this story? Why, the abbess
and the whole convent were witness that she was forced into it;
for as Dorothea Stettin was ashamed after that business behind the
altar when she was discovered with the priest--besides, was a
weak, silly thing at all times--she had consented to relieve her
from the sub-prioret at her (Dorothea's) earnest supplication and
_The Duke_.--"Wherefore had she treated the novices with such
cruelty, and run at them with axes and knives, to do them grievous
_Illa._--"They were a set of young wantons, always gossiping
about marriage and loons, therefore she had held a strict hand
over them, which she would not deny; particularly as if any of the
nuns fell into sin, the law decreed that she was to be beheaded.
Was she therefore wrong or right? Truly the abbess said nothing,
for she was as bad as any of them, and had locked herself up with
_The Duke._--"What caused the sudden death of the convent
_Illa_.-"What! was this, too, laid on her as a crime? Why, at
last, if any one died in Wolgast, or another in Marienfliess
during her absence, she would have to answer for it."
_The Duke_.--"But Dr. Schwalenberg had died in the self-same
way, and as suddenly--tumbling down dead upon the pavement."
_Illa_.--"The knave was so drunk when he ran after her with a
horsewhip to beat her, that he tumbled down on the stones; and
mayhap the shock killed him, as it did that other knave who flung
her against the wall; or that he got a fit; for such would have
been a just judgment of God on him, as it is written (Malachi iii.
5), 'I will be a swift witness for the widow and the orphan.' Ah!
truly she was a poor orphan, and the just God had been her swift
witness; for which, all praise and glory be to His name for ever"
Here Christoph Mildenitz, canon of Camyn, exclaimed, "Marry, thou
wicked viper, I have seen the corpse of this same Schwalenberg
myself, and every one, even the physicians, said that he had died
no natural death."
_Illa_.--"Must the fat canon put in his word now? Ha! this
was her thanks for the gloves she had knit him, and which he wore
at this present moment, for she knew them, even at that distance,
by the black seams round the thumbs. But so it was ever: she had
no greater enemies than those whom she had done kindness to."
_The Duke_.--"Prechln von Buslar also accused her of having
brought his two sons to death, and making a long man's beard grow
upon the little Bartel."
_Illa_ (laughing).--"Ah! it is easy to see by your Grace that
we are in the dog-days. Your Highness must pardon my mirth; but
who could help it? Merciful God! are Thy wonders, sent to fright
the world and turn men from sin, to be called devil's sorceries!
To what a pass is the world come! Has your Highness forgotten all
history? Know you not that God gives many signs to His people, and
speaks in wonders? Yet, when did men, till now, say that these
signs were of the devil alone, and persecute and destroy helpless
women by reason of them? Speak, gracious Duke--speak, ye noble
lords--have ye not tortured, and burned, and put to death weak and
innocent women without number for these things, and must ye needs
now seek my life? And when was it ever known, till now, that
nobles sat in judgment upon one of their own rank--a lady of as
high blood and proud descent as any of ye here--for old wives'
tales like these, and children's fooleries? Speak! Whoso saith I
lie, let him step forward and convict me." [Footnote: It was a
fact that the persecution of witches had risen at this period
almost to a mania.]
There was a dead silence in the hall when she had ended, and even
Duke Philip looked down ashamed, for he could not but acknowledge
that she spoke the truth, however unwillingly he believed aught
the vile sorceress uttered.
At last Bishop Francis spake--"Why then didst thou blow upon the
children of Prechln of Buslar, if it were not to bewitch them to
Whereupon the witch answered scornfully--"If that could kill, then
were we all dead long since, for the wind blows on us every
minute, and we blow upon our hot broth to cool it, yet who dies
thereof? How could a bishop be so sunk in superstition? As to
Prechln of Buslar, no wonder if God had smitten him for his pride
and arrogance, as it is said (Luke i. 51), 'He scatters such as
are proud of heart,' for, though her feudal vassal, he had refused
to do her homage; therefore here was no witch-work, but only God's
work, testifying against sinful haughtiness and pride.
"Moreover, it was false that she had blown upon the children; the
silly fool Prechln had imagined it all--nothing was too absurd for
stupidity like his to believe; and what then? Can't people die but
by witchcraft? Did St. Peter bewitch that covetous knave Ananias
(Acts v.) when he fell down dead at his feet for having lied to
the Holy Ghost? Let the honourable convocation answer her truly."
_Summa.--The end of all was (as we may imagine) that the cunning
Satan was allowed to depart in peace, only receiving a wholesome
admonition from his Highness Duke Philip, and another from my
worthy father-in-law, Dr. Cramer.
But what happened as she returned to her lodgment in the Rüdenberg
Street? Behold Joachim Wedel of Cremzow, whom she had made
contracted, sat at his window to enjoy the air, but the evil hag
no sooner looked up and saw him than she began to mock him,
twisting her mouth awry, even as he twisted his mouth. When he
observed her, his face grew red with anger, and he cried out of
the window, "Ha, thou accursed witch, I am not so
help--help--help--helpless as thou thinkest; so do not
twi--twi--twi--twist thy mouth at me that way."
To which Sidonia only answered with the one word "Wait!" and
passed on, but returned soon again with a notary and two witnesses
(one was the landlord of the inn where she had left her beer),
stepped up to the chamber where Joachim sat, and bid them take
down that he had called her an accursed witch while she was
quietly going along the street to her lodgment.
Poor Wedel vainly tried to speak in his defence; the hag
maintained her assertion, and prayed that the just God who brought
all liars to destruction would avenge her cause, if it were His
gracious will, for the Scripture said (Psalm v. 7), "I will
destroy them that speak leasing." Therefore she left him and all
her other enemies in the hand of God. He would take vengeance!
And oh, horror! scarcely had she returned to her lodgment when the
poor man began to scream, "There is some one sitting within my
breast, and lifting up the breast-bone!" Thus he screamed and
screamed three days and three nights long; no physician, not even
Dr. Constantinus, could help him, and finally, when he died, his
body presented the same appearances precisely as those of Dr.
Schwalenberg and the convent porter, as the doctors who dissected
him affirmed upon oath. He was a clever man, learned and well
read, and left _Annales_ behind him, a work which this cruel
witch caused to remain unfinished.
And further, it was a strange thing (whether of witchcraft or of
God, I cannot say) that except my gracious Duke Philip, almost
every one present at this remarkable _colloquium_ died within
the year; for example, Count Albert, Eustache Flemming, Caspar von
Stogentin, Christoph von Mildenitz--all lay in their graves before
the year was out. [Footnote: Some place the death of Joachim Wedel
so early as 1606. The whole matter is taken, almost word for word,
from the criminal records in the Berlin Library; and, according to
Dähnert, the first question on the book concerned the death of
this man. His, _Annales_ include the years from 1501 to 1606;
they contain the whole history of that period, but the work has
never been printed. Dähnert, however, vol. ii. Pomeranian Library,
gives some extracts therefrom; also, in Franz Kock's
"Recollections of Dr. John Bugenhagen," Stettin, 1817, we find
this chronicle quoted.]
_How a strange woman (who must assuredly have been Sidonia)
incites the lieges of his Grace to great uproar and tumult in
Stettin, by reason of the new tax upon beer_.
My gracious Prince will perhaps say, "But, Theodore, how comes it
that this hag, who in her youth could not be brought to learn the
catechism, quoted Scripture in her old days like a priest?"
I answer--Serene Prince and Lord, that seems in my opinion because
the evil witch found that Scripture, when not taught of God, can
be made to serve the devil's purposes. For this reason she studied
therein; not to make honey, but to extract poison, as your Grace
may have perceived in her strifes with individuals, and even with
the constituted authorities. Further, methinks, she must also have
studied in history books, for how else could she have discoursed
upon political matters so as to raise the whole population of
Stettin into open revolt, as we shall soon see. However, I leave
these questions undecided, and shall only state facts, leaving the
rest for your Highness's judgment.
The day following that on which Sidonia had been tried before the
noble convocation (and she must have still been in the town, I
think, for it was late in the previous evening when she bewitched
Joachim Wedel), the priest of St. Nicholas read out after the
sermon, before the whole congregation, the ducal order declaring
that, from that date forward, the quart of beer, hitherto sold for
a Stralsund shilling, should not be sold under sixteen Pomeranian
pence. This caused great murmurs and discontent among the people;
and when they came out of church they rushed to the inn, where
Sidonia had been staying, to discuss the matter freely, and
screamed and roared, and gesticulated amongst themselves, saying,
"The council had no right to raise the price of beer; they were a
set of rogues that ought to be hung," &c., and they struck
fiercely on the table, so that the glasses rang. Just then an old
hag came to the door, but not in a cloister habit. She had a black
plaster upon her nose, and complained how she had hurt herself by
falling on the sharp stones, which had put her nose out of joint.
"People talked of this new decree--was it true that the poor folk
were to pay sixteen Pomeranian pence for a quart of beer?--O God!
what the cruelty and avarice of princes could do. But she scarcely
believed the report, for she brewed beer herself better than any
brewer in the land, and yet could sell the quart for eightpence,
and have profit besides. Oh, that princes and ministers could rob
the poor man so! ay, they would take the very shirt off his back
to glut their own greed and covetousness. And what did they give
their hard-earned gold for? To build fine houses for the Prince,
forsooth, and fill them with fine pictures from Italy, and
statues, as if he were a brat of a school-girl, and must have his
dolls to play with."
"What sort is your beer, old dame?" asked a fellow. "Marry, it
must be strange trash, I warrant."
_Illa_.--"No, no; if they would not believe her word, let
them taste the beer. She wanted nothing further but to prove how
the wicked government oppressed the poor folk; for she was a
God-fearing woman, and her heart was filled with grief to see how
the princes lately, in this poor Pomerania, squeezed the very
life-blood out of the people," &c. Then she lifted up a barrel of
beer upon the table (I have already said that Sidonia had brought
some with her to sell), and invited the discontented people to
taste it, which they were nothing loth to do, and soon broached
the said barrel. Then, having tasted, they extolled her beer to
the skies--"No better had ever been brewed." Now other troops of
the discontented came pouring in from Lastadie, Wiek, &c.,
cursing, and swearing, and shouting--"The beer must not be raised;
they would force the government to take off the tax. Would not
their comrades join?"
This was fine fun to the old hag, and she produced another barrel
of beer, which the mob emptied speedily, and then began talking,
shouting, screaming, roaring like flocks of wild geese; and when
the old hag saw that they had got enough under their caps to make
them quite desperate, she began--
"Was not her beer as good as any beer in the duchy?"
"Ay, ay--better!" shouted the mob, "Where dost thou live, mother?"
To this she gave no answer, but continued: "Yet this beer cost but
eightpence a quart, by which they could see how the wicked and
cruel government oppressed them. Oh, it was a sin that cried to
Heaven, to see how princes and nobles scourged and skinned the
poor folk. They swilled wine of the best, and plenty, in their own
gorgeous castles, but grudged poor bitter poverty its can of beer!
Shame on such a government!"
"True, true!" shouted the mob; "she is right: we are scourged and
skinned by these worthless nobles. Come, brothers, let us off to
the council-hall, and if they will not take off the tax, we'll
murder every soul of them."
_Illa_.--"And be asses for their pains. Was that all they
could do--_pray_ the mighty council, forsooth, to lower the
tax? Oh, brave fellows! What! had they not the power in their own
hands, if they would only be united? Had they never heard how the
people of Anklam had, in former times, killed their rulers and
governors, and then did justice to themselves? What right had
prince, minister, or council to skin a people? They had all stout
arms and brave hearts here, as she saw; _could they not right
themselves?_--must they needs crouch for their own to prince or
minister? Did she lie, or did she speak the truth?"
Here the mob cheered and shouted, "True! true!" and they struck
the table till the glasses broke, roaring, "She is right,
brothers. Are we not strong? Can we not right ourselves? Why
should we go begging to a council? May the devil take all the
covetous, rich knaves, who drink the people's blood!"
_Illa_.--"But may be they wanted a prince--eh? The prince was
the shepherd, the council only the dog who bit the sheep as his
master commanded. Eh, children? is not a prince a fine thing, to
squeeze the sweat and life-blood out of ye, and turn it into gold
for himself? For what are his riches but your sweat and blood, if
ye reflect on it; and is it a sin to take your own? Methinks if
all princes were killed or banished, and their goods divided
amongst the people, ye would all have enough. Have ye not heard of
that brotherhood who set all princes and governments at defiance
for two hundred years, and lived like brothers amongst themselves,
dividing all goods alike, so that they were called Like-dealers;
and no beggar was found amongst them, for they had all things in
common. [Footnote: These Like-dealers were the communists of the
Middle Ages, and were for a number of years the plague of the
northern seas; until at the beginning of the fifteenth century
they were subdued, and many of them captured by the Dutch, who
nailed them up in barrels, leaving an aperture for the head, at
top, and then decapitated them. The best account of them is found
in "Raumer's Historical Note-book," vol. ii. p. 19. And if any one
wishes to see the result of communist teaching, they have only to
study here the horrible excesses to which it leads.
The communism of the apostolic age might have been suited to a
period in which it would be difficult to say whether faith or love
predominated most; but even then it by no means prevented the
existence of extreme poverty, for we read frequently in the Acts
and Epistles of the _collections_ made for the Christian
churches. But in our faithless, loveless, selfish, sin-drowned
century, such an attempt at community of goods would not only
annihilate all morality completely, but absolutely degrade us back
from civilisation and modern Catholicism into the rudest and most
meagre barbarism. The apostles of such doctrines now must speak,
though perhaps unconsciously, from the sole inspiration of Satan,
like Sidonia. The progress of humanity is not to be furthered by
such means. Let our merchants no longer degrade human beings into
machines for their factories, nor our princes degrade them into
automaton puppets for their armies, but of men make _living
men_. And the strong energy, the stern will, the vital
spiritual power that will thus be awakened, will and must produce
the regeneration of humanity.] Wherefore can ye not be
Like-dealers also? Are there not rich enough for ye to kill? And
if ye are united, who can withstand you? Look at the dog and the
cattle--how the poor stupid beasts let themselves be driven, and
bit, and beaten, just because they are used to it; but, lo! if the
cattle should all turn their horns against the dog and the
shepherd, what becomes of my fine pair? So is it with the Prince
and his council. Oh, if ye were only united! Fling off the parsons
too, for they are prime movers of all your misery. Do they not
teach you, and teach you from your youth up, that ye must have
princes and priests? Eh, brothers, where is that written in the
"Doth not St. Peter say (1st Epistle, chap, ii.), 'Ye are a royal
priesthood'? What then! if ye are kings, princes, and priests
yourselves, must ye needs pay for other kings, princes, and
priests? Can ye not govern yourselves? can ye not pray for
yourselves? In my opinion, yes! Doth not the same St. Peter
likewise call ye 'a chosen people,' 'a people of inheritance;'
but, I pray you, where is your inheritance?--poor beggars as ye
are--to whom neither priest nor prince will give one can of beer.
Ha! go, I tell you--take back your kingship, your priesthood, your
inheritance. Become Like-dealers, brothers, even as the early
Christians, who had all things in common, before the greed of
priest or prince had robbed them of all. Like-dealers!
Like-dealers! run, run--kill, slay, strike all dead, and never
rest until ye drown the last priest in the blood of the last
As the hag thus spoke, through the horrible inspiration of Satan,
the passions of the mob rose to frenzy, and they rushed out and
joined the bands in the streets, and the crowds that poured from
every door; and as they repeated her words from one to the other
the frenzy spread (for they were like oil to fire). But the hag
with the black plaster on her nose, when she saw herself left
alone in the chamber, looked out after them, and laughed, and
danced, and clapped her hands.
Now the Prince and court had withdrawn to Colbatz for safety, and
a council was summoned in all haste and anxiety. The water-gate
was barred likewise, to prevent a junction with the people of
Lastadie and Wiek, but the townspeople, who had gathered in
immense crowds, broke it in, and joining with the others,
proceeded to storm the council-hall, where the honourable council
were then sitting. They shouted, roared, menaced, and seizing the
clerk, Claude Lorenz, in the chamber, murdered him before the very
eyes of the burgomasters, and flung the body out of the window;
then rushing down the steps again, proceeded along the
corn-market, and by the high street into the horse-market, where
they sacked three breweries from the roof to the cellar; and
dragging out the barrels, staved in the bottom, and drank out of
their hats and caps, shouting, roaring, singing, and dancing,
while they swilled the good beer; so that the sight was a scandal
to God and man.
And the uproar waxed stronger and stronger throughout that whole
night. Not a word of remonstrance or expostulation will the people
listen to; they threaten to hang up the messengers of the
honourable council, and show no respect even to a mandate from his
Highness, under his own seal and hand, which a horseman brings
them. They laugh, mock, fling it into the gutter, sack more
breweries, and by ten of the clock, just as the citizens are going
to church, they number ten bands strong.
So my worthy father-in-law, Dr. Cramer, with the dean and
archdeacon of St Mary's, stood upon the steps at the church-door
as the bells rung, and the mob rushed by to sack more breweries.
And he spoke friendly to the rioters--"They should stop and hear
what the Word of God said about the uproar at Ephesus (Acts
And some would, and some would not. What did they want with
parsons? Strike all the parsons dead. They could play the priest
for themselves, and forgive their own sins. Yet many went in, for
it was the custom to attend the weekly preaching, and my worthy
father-in-law, turning round, addressed them from the nave of the
church--me-thinks they needed it!
One very beautiful comparison that he employed made a great
impression, and brought many to reason. For he spoke of the bees,
how, when they wander too far from the hive, they can be brought
back by soft, sweet melody, and so might this wild and wandering
human swarm be brought back to the true hive by the soft and
thrilling melody of God's holy Word. Then for conclusion he read
the princely mandate from the altar; but at this the uproar
recommenced, and they ran shouting and screaming out of the
church, and to their wild work again, staving in the barrels and
drinking the beer; and they insulted a magistrate that spoke
mildly to them, and said if they would be quiet, he would try and
have the tax removed. So they raged like the bands of Korah and
Abiram; wanted to kill every one, all the rich, and divide their
goods; for their riches were their blood and sweat. They would
drag the four guilds to the council-hall, and the chief
burgomasters, and hang them all up, and afterwards the honourable
council, and all the priests, &c. So passed the first and second
On the third morning by six of the clock, his Highness Duke
Philip, with all his suite, drove in six coaches from Colbatz up
to the Oderstrasse, galloping into the middle of the crowd of
noisy, drunken rioters, who thronged the grass-market as thick as
bees in a swarm.
He wished to pass on quickly to the castle, but could not, so he
had to see and hear for himself how the insurrection raged, and
the mob surrounded the coach of his Highness with loud cries, in
which nothing could be heard distinctly, but on one side "Kill
him!" and on the other, "Let him go!" This made Bishop Francis
wild with anger, and he wanted to jump out of the coach and beat
back the people, but Duke Philip gently restrained him. "See you
not," he said, "the people are sick? Hot words will increase their
sickness." Then he motioned to Mag. Reutzio, the court chaplain,
who sat in the coach, to admonish the crowd.
But the moment the reverend M. Reutzio put his head out of the
window to address them, the people shouted, "Down with the parson!
what is he babbling for. Dr. Cramer told us all that yesterday. We
want no parsons; kill them! kill them! Down with priests! down
with princes!" And they sprang upon the horses to cut the traces,
but the coachman and outriders slashed away right and left with
their horsewhips, so that the mob recoiled; and then with loud
shouts of "Make way! make way!" the coachman lashed his horses
forward into a gallop.
But behold, as they crossed the Shoe-strasse, a coarse, thick-set
woman knelt by the kennel with her daughter, a half-grown girl,
and they were drinking beer from a barrel like calves. This same
woman was knocked down by the foremost horse, so that she fell
into the gutter. Hereat she roared and cursed his princely Grace,
and flung the beer-can at him, but it fell upon the horse, who
grew wild, and dashed off in a mad gallop across the Shoe-strasse
into the Pelzerstrasse, and up to the castle without pausing,
where a large crowd had already collected.
If the sovereign people had been wild before, they were ten times
more wild now, and ran to try and get into the castle after his
Highness; but the Duke ordered the gates to be closed. He, finding
that the courts and corridors were already filled with the members
of the venerable council, and three hundred of the militia, bade
the men stand to their arms, load the heavy artillery, and erect
the blood-standard on the tower, while he and the princes, with
the honourable members, considered what could best be done in this
grave and dangerous crisis. Whereupon he bade the council attend
him in the state banqueting-hall.
Now the honourable council declared they were ready to part life
and limb for their liege lord and the illustrious house of
Pomerania, according to the terms of their oath; but the burghers
would not. For when Duke Philip asked, would not the burghers go
forth, and help to disperse this armed and unruly mob, the militia
made sundry objections, and set forth numerous difficulties.
Whereupon Bishop Francis started up, and exclaimed, "Brother, I
pray thee, do not stoop to conciliate the people! If ye know not
how to die, I can go forth and die for all--since it has come to
this." And he rose to depart.
But his Highness seized him by the hand, and entreated patience
yet for one hour more. Then he turned to the militia, and again
admonished them of their duty, and bid them remember the oath; but
they answered sharply, "Why the devil should we go forth and shoot
our brothers, neighbours, and friends? They are more to us than
all." _Item_, they recapitulated their objections and
Hereupon his Highness exclaimed, "Alas! how comes it that my good
people of Stettin are so unruly? If the Stralsunders indeed had
risen, I would say nothing, but my dear Stettiners, who have ever
been so true and loyal, holding to their province through all
adversities, and now--ah! that I should live to see this day!"
Then Bishop Francis spake--"Truly, our good Stettiners are to be
known no longer. Were it possible to bewitch a whole people, I
would say this witch-devil of Marienfliess had done it. For in all
Pomeranian land was it ever heard that the people refused
obedience to their Prince as the burgher militia here have dared
to refuse this day?"
Just then the evil tidings arrived that the mob were sacking the
house of one of the chiefs of the council, whereupon his Highness
Duke Philip called out again, "Will ye stand by me or not? Here is
no time for hesitation, but action. Will ye follow me? Speak,
Hereat a couple of hundred voices responded "Yes, yes;" but the
"yes" fell as dull and cold upon the ear as the clang of a leaden
However, Bishop Francis instantly exclaimed, "Good! Go then, all
of ye, to the armoury, and arm yourselves with speed. Meanwhile I
shall see to the loading of the cannon in the castle court. Then
whosoever among you is for God and the Prince, follow me to
victory or death."
But Duke Philip interposed. "Not so, dear brother; not so, my good
lieges; let us try first what reconciliation will do, for they are
my erring children."
And though Duke Francis was sore displeased and impatient, yet my
gracious Prince despatched his chief equerry, Andreas Ehlers, as
herald to the people, dressed in complete armour, and with a drawn
sword in his hand, accompanied by three trumpeters, to read a new
princely proclamation to the people.
So the herald rode first to the grass-market, and when the trumpet
sounded, the people stood still and listened, whereupon he read
the following proclamation, in a loud voice:--
"The Serene and Illustrious Prince and Lord, Lord Philip, Duke of
Stettin, Pomerania, Cassuben, and Wenden, Prince of Rugen, Count
of Gutzkow, and Lord of the lands of Lauenburg and Butow, our
gracious Prince, Seigneur, and Lord, hereby commandeth all
present, from Lastadie, Wiek, Dragern, and other places assembled,
to lay down their arms, and retire each man to his own home in
peace and quietness, without offering further molestation to his
loyal lieges, burghers, and citizens, on pain of severe punishment
in person and life, and deprivation of all wonted privileges.
Further, if they have aught of complaint against the honourable
council or burgesses, let them bring the same before his Highness
himself. Meanwhile the quart of beer, until further orders, shall
be reduced to its original price, as agreed on yesterday in
council, and be sold henceforth for one Stralsund shilling.
"Signatum, Old Stettin, the 18th July, 1616.
"PHILIPPUS, _manu sua_."
When the herald had finished reading, and shown the princely
signature and seal to the ringleaders, a great murmur arose among
the crowd, of which, however, the herald took no heed, but rode on
to the horse-market, where he likewise read the proclamation, and
so on through the principal thorough-fares. Then he returned to
the grass-market, but lo! not a soul was to be seen; the crowds
had all dispersed, and quietness reigned everywhere. Whereupon the
herald rode joyfully to the horse-market, to see if the like had
happened there, and truly peace had returned here too. And all
along the principal streets where the proclamation had been read,
the people were thoroughly subdued by this princely clemency and
So when the herald returned to the castle, and related the success
of his mission, the tears filled the eyes of his Grace Duke
Philip, and taking his lord brother by the hand, he exclaimed,
"See, dear Francis, how true are the words of Cicero, '_Nihil
tam populare quam bonitas_.'" [Footnote: (Nothing so popular as
kindness.)] Then they both went forth and walked arm in arm
throughout the town, and wherever his Grace saw any group still
gathered round the beercans, he told them to be content, for the
beer should be sold to them at the Stralsund shilling. And thus
the riot was quelled, and the town returned to its accustomed
quietness and order.
Now truly the same Cicero says, "_In imperita muititudine est
varietas et inconstantia et crebra tanquam tempestatum, sic
sententiarum commutatio_." [Footnote: (The senseless multitude
are changeful and inconstant as the weather, and their opinions
suffer as many mutations.)]
_Of the fearful events that take place at Marienfliess--Item,
bow Dorothea Stettin becomes possessed by the devil._
Meanwhile Satan hath not been less busy at Marienfliess in
Sidonia's absence, than at Old Stettin in her presence. But he
cunningly changed his mode of action, not to be recognised, and
truly Dorothea Stettin was the first he practised on. For having
recovered from her sickness, she one day presented herself at
church in the nun's choir as usual; but while joining in the
closing hymn, she suddenly changed colour, began to sob and
tremble in every limb, then continued the chant in a strange,
uncertain voice, sometimes treble, sometimes bass, like that of a
lad whose beard is just beginning to grow. At this the abbess and
the sisterhood listened and stared in wonder, then asked if the
dear sister had fallen ill again?
"No," she answered gruffly, "she only wanted to be married. She
was tired of playing the virgin. Did the abbess know, perchance,
of any one who would suit her as bridegroom? For she must and
would be married!"
Think now of the horror of the nuns. Still they thanked God that
such a _scandalum_ had happened during the singing, and not
at the blessed sermon. Then they seized her by the arms, and drew
her away to her cell. But woe, alas! scarcely had she reached it,
when she threw herself upon her bed in strong convulsions. Her
eyes turned so that only the whites were to be seen, and her face
grew so drawn and strange that it was a grief to look upon it, and
still she kept on screaming in the deep, gruff man's voice--"For a
bridegroom! a bridegroom!" she that was so modest, and had such a
delicate, gentle voice. Whereupon all the sisters rushed in to
hear her the moment the sermon was over; _item_, the priest
in his surplice.
But the unfortunate maiden no sooner beheld him, than she cried
out in the deep bass voice--"David, I must marry; wilt thou be my
bridegroom?" And when he answered, "Alas, poor girl! when was such
speech ever heard from you before? Satan himself must have
possessed you!" she cried out again, "Hold your chatter--will you,
or will you not?"
"How can I take you?" replied the priest; "you know well that I
have a wife already." Whereupon the gruff bass voice answered,
with mocking laughter, "Ha! ha! ha! what matter for that? Take
Here some of the young novices laughed, but others who had never
wept _bis dato_, now broke out in violent weeping, and the
abbess exclaimed, "Oh, merciful God! who hath ever heard the like
from this our chaste sister, whom we have known from her youth up?
Oh! deliver her from this wicked devil who reigns in her soul and
But at the mention of the holy name, the evil one raged more
furiously than ever within her. He tore her, so that she foamed at
the mouth, and--ah! woe is me that I must speak it--uttered coarse
and shameful words, such as the most shameless groom or jack-boy
would scarce pronounce.
These sent all the novices flying and screaming away; but the
abbess remained, with some of the nuns, also the priest, who
prepared now to exorcise the devil with the most powerful
conjurations. Yet ere he began, a strange thing happened; for the
possessed maiden became suddenly quite still, all her members
relaxed, and her eyes closed heavily as if in sleep. But it was
not so, for she then began, in her own soft, natural voice, to
chant a hymn in Dutch, although they all knew she never had
learned one word of that language. The words were these:--
"Oh, chaste Jesu! all whose being
Was so lovely to our seeing,
Thoughts and speech, and soul and senses,
Filled with noblest evidences.
Oh! the God that dwelt in Thee,
In His sinless purity!
Oh, Christ Immanuel,
Save me from the sinner's hell!
Make my soul, with power divine,
Chaste and holy, ev'n as Thine!"
Then she added in her own tongue--"Ah! ye must pray much before
this devil is cast out of me. But still pray, pray diligently, and
it will be done.
"Guard, Lord Christ, our deepest slumber,
Evil thoughts may come in dreams;
And the senses list the murmur,
Though the frail form sleeping seems.
Oh! if Thy hand do not keep us,
Even in sleep, from passion's flame,
Though our eyes close on temptation,
We may fall to sin and shame!
"Yes, yes, oh, pray for me; be not weary, her judgment is
"What mean you?" spake the abbess, "whose judgment hath been
_Illa_.--"Know you not, then? Sidonia's."
_Hæc_.--"How could she have bewitched you? She is far from
_Illa_.--"Spirits know no distance."
_Hæc_.--"How then hath she done this?"
_Illa_.--"Her spirit Chim summoned another spirit last
evening, who entered into me as I gasped for air, after that
strife between you and your maid, for I was shocked to hear this
faithful creature called a thief."
_Hæc_.--"And is she not a thief?"
_Illa_.--"In no wise. She is as innocent as a new-born
_Hæc_.--"But there was no one else in the chamber when I laid
down my purse, and when she went away it was gone."
_Illa_.--"Ah! your dog Watcher was there, and the purse was
made of calf's skin, greased with your hands, for you had been
rolling butter; so the dog swallowed it, having got no dinner.
Kill the dog, therefore, and you will find your purse."
_Hæc_.--"For the love of Heaven! how know you aught of my
_Illa_.--"A beautiful form like an angel sits at my head, and
whispers all to me."
_Hæc_.--"That must be the devil, who has gone out of thee,
for fear of the priest."
_Illa_.--"Oh, no! He sits under my liver. See!--there is the
angel again! Ha! how terribly his eyes are flashing!"
_Hæc_.--"Canst thou see, then? Thine eyes are close shut"
(opening Dorothea's eyes by force, but the pupil is not to be
seen, only the white).
_Illa_.--"I see, but not through the eyes--through the
_Hæc_.--"What? Thou canst see through the stomach?"
_Illa_.--"Ay, truly! I can see everything: there is Anna
Apenborg peeping under the bed; now she lets the quilt drop in
fright. Is it not so?"
The abbess clasps her hands together, looks at the priest in
astonishment, and cries, "For the love of God, tell me what does
all this betoken?"
To which the priest answers, "My reason is overwhelmed here, and I
might almost believe what the ancients pretended, and Cornelius
Agrippa also maintained, that two _dæmones_ or spirits attend
each man from infancy to the grave; and that each spirit strives
to blend himself with the mortal, and make the human being like
unto himself, whether it be for good or evil. [Footnote: Cornelius
Agrippa, of the noble race of Nettersheim, natural philosopher,
jurist, physician, soldier, necromancer, and professor of the
black art--in fine, learned in all natural and supernatural
wisdom, closed his restless life at Grenoble, 1535. His principal
work, from which the above is quoted (cap. xx.), is entitled _De
Occulta Philosophia_. That Socrates had an attendant spirit or
demon from his youth up, whose suggestions he followed as an
oracle, is known to us from the _Theages_ of Plato. But of
the nature of this genius, spirit, or voice, we have no certain
indications from the ancients, though the subject has been much
investigated in numerous writings, beginning with the monographs
of Apulejus and Plutarch. The first (Apulejus), _De Deo
Socratis_, makes the strange assertion, that it was a common
thing with the Pythagoreans to have such a spirit; so much so,
that if any among them declared he had _not_ one, it was
deemed strange and singular.]
"However, I esteem this apparition to be truly Satan, who has
changed himself into an angel of light to deceive more easily, as
is his wont; therefore, as this our poor sister hath also a
prophesying spirit, like that maiden mentioned, Acts xvi. 16, let
us do even as St. Paul, and conjure it to leave her. But first, it
would be advisable to see if she hath spoken truth respecting the
So my dog was killed, and there in truth was the purse of gold
found in his stomach, to the wonderment of all, and the great joy
of the poor damsel who had been accused of stealing it.
Immediately after, the poor possessed one turned herself on the
couch, sighed, opened her eyes, and asked, "Where am I?" for she
knew nothing at all of what she had uttered during her sleep, and
only complained of a weakness through her entire frame. [Footnote:
That poor Dorothea was in the somnambulistic state (according to
our phraseology) is evident. A similar instance in which the
demoniac passed over into the magnetic state is given by Kerner,
"History of Possession," p. 73. I must just remark here, that
Kieser ("System of Tellurism") is probably in error when he
asserts, from the attitudes discovered amongst some of the
Egyptian hieroglyphics, that the ancients were acquainted with the
mode of producing the magnetic state by manipulation or passes,
for Jamblicbus enumerates all the modes known to the ancients of
producing the divining crisis, in his book _De Mysteriis
Ægyptorium_, in the chapter, _Insperatas vacat ab actione
propria_, page 58, and never mentions manipulation amongst
them, of which mode, indeed, Mesmer seems to have been the
original discoverer. The ancients, too, were aware (as we are)
that the magnetic and divining state can be produced only in young
and somewhat simple (_simpliciores_) persons. Porphyry
confirms this in his remarkable letter to the Egyptian priest of
Anubis (to which I earnestly direct the physiologists), in which
he asks, "Wherefore it happens that only simple (_aplontxronz
kai nxonz_) and young persons were fitted for divination?" Yet
there were many even then, as we learn from Jamblich and the later
Psellus, who maintained the modern rationalistic view, that all
these phenomena were produced only by a certain condition of our
own spiritual and bodily nature; although all somnambulists affirm
the contrary, and declare they are the result of external
_spiritual_ influences working upon them.] After this, the
evil spirit left her in peace for two days, and every one hoped
that he had gone out of her; but on the third day he began to rage
within the unfortunate maiden worse than ever, so that they had to
send quickly for the priest to exorcise him. But behold, as he
entered in his surplice, and uttered the salutation, "The peace of
our Lord Jesus Christ be upon this maid," the evil spirit with the
man's coarse voice cried out of poor Dorothea's mouth--
"Come here, parson, I'll soon settle for you."
Then it cursed, swore, and blasphemed God, and raged within the
poor maiden, so that the foam gathered on her pale lips. But the
reverend David is not to be frightened from his duty by the foul
fiend. He kneeled down first, with all present, and prayed
earnestly to God; then endeavoured to make the possessed maiden
repeat the Lord's Prayer and the Creed after him; but the devil
would not let her. He raged, roared, laughed scornfully, and
abused the priest with such unseemly words that it was a grief and
horror to hear them.
"Wait, parson," it screamed, "in three days thou shalt be as I am.
(Namely, a spirit; though no one knew then what the devil meant.)
I will make thee pay for this, because thou tormentest me."
But neither menaces nor blasphemies could deter the good priest.
He lifted his eyes to heaven, and prayed that beautiful prayer
from the Pomeranian liturgy, page 244, which he had by heart:--
"O Lord Jesu Christ, Thou Son of the living God, at whose name
every knee must bend, in heaven, upon the earth, and under the
earth; God and man; our Saviour, our brother, our Redeemer; who
hast conquered sin, and death, and hell, trod on the devil's head
and destroyed his works--Thou hast promised, Thou holy Saviour,
'that whatever we ask the Father in Thy name, Thou wilt grant unto
us.' Therefore, by that holy promise, we pray Thee, Lord Christ,
to look with pity upon this our sister, who hath been baptized in
Thy holy name, redeemed by Thy precious blood, washed from all
sin, anointed by Thy Holy Spirit, and made one with Thee, a member
of the living temple of Thy body. Relieve her from the tyranny and
power of the devil; graciously cast out this unclean spirit, that
so Thy holy name may be praised and glorified, for ever and ever.
Then he laid his hand upon the sick maiden's head, while the
hellish fiend raged and roared more furiously than ever, so that
all present were seized with trembling, and exclaimed--
"In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and in the strength of the
Lord Jesus Christ, and in the power of the Lord Jesus Christ, I
bid, desire, and command thee, thou unclean spirit, to come forth,
and give place to the Holy Spirit of God! Amen."
Whereupon the convulsions ceased in the sick maiden's limbs, and
she sank down gently on her bed, as a sail falls when the cords
are loosed and the wind ceases; and thus she lay for a long time
After which, she said in her own natural voice--
"Now I see him no more!"
"Who is it that you see no more?" asked the abbess.
_Illa_.--"The evil spirit, my angel says. He has gone forth
from me. Woe, woe, alas!"
_Hæc_.--"Why dost thou cry, alas, when he has in truth gone
out from thee?"
_Illa.--"My angel says, he will first strangle the priest who
has cast him forth, then will he return, as it is written in the
Scripture (Matt. xi. 24), 'After three days I will return to my
house from which I had gone forth.' Ah, look! the good priest is
growing pale. But let him be comforted, for he shall have his
reward in heaven, as the Lord saith (Matt, v.)."
_Hæc_.--"But why does the great God permit such power to the
devil, if what thou sayest be true?"
_Illa_ is silent.
_Hæc_.--"Thou art silent; what says thy angel?"
_Illa_.--"He is silent also--now he speaks again."
_Hæc_.--"What says he then?"
_Illa_.--"The wisdom of God is silent."
The abbess repeats the words, while the priest falls back against
the wall, as white as chalk, and exclaims--
"Your angel is right. I feel as if a mouse were running up and
down through my body. Alas! now the bones of my chest are
breaking. Farewell, dear sisters; in heaven we shall meet again.
Farewell; pray for me. I go to lay my head upon my death-pillow."
And he was scarcely gone out at the door when a great cry and
weeping arose amongst the sisters present, and the abbess asked,
"Is this, too, Sidonia's work?"
_Illa_.--"Whose else? She hath never forgiven him because he
rejected her love, and hath only delayed his death to a fitting
_Hæc_.--"Merciful God! and will this murderous nun be brought
_Illa_.--"Yes, when her hour comes, she will be burned and
beheaded--not many years after this."
_Hæc_.--"And what will become of you? Will you die, if Satan
often takes up his dwelling-place in your heart?"
_Illa_.--"If you do not prevent him, I shall die; if he leave
me, I shall grow well."
_Hæc_.--"What can we, miserable mortals, do to prevent him?"
_Illa_.--"Jobst Bork of Saatzig has three rings, which the
spirits made, and gave to his grandmother in Pansin. _Item_,
he has also a beautiful daughter called Diliana, and as no second
on earth bears her name, [Footnote: In fact, I have nowhere else
met with the name "Diliana," whereas that of "Sidonia" is by no
means uncommon. Virgil calls Dido "Sidonia" (Æn. i, v. 446), with
somewhat of poetic license, for she was not born in Sidon but in
Tyre. About the time of the Reformation this name became very
common in the regal houses. For example, King George of Bohemia,
Duke Henry of Saxony, Duke Franz of Westphalia, and others, had
daughters called "Sidonia." For this reason, therefore, the proud
knight of Stramehl probably gave the same name to his daughter. In
the Middle Ages I find only one Sidonia or Sittavia, the spouse of
Count Manfred of Xingelheim, who built the town of Zittau, and
died in the year 1021.] so is there no other who equals her in
goodness, piety, humility, chastity, and courage. If this Diliana
lays one of the rings on my stomach, in the name of God, the devil
can no more enter in me, and I shall be healed. But what do I
see?--there she comes herself."
_Illa_.--"Diliana. She has run away from her father, and will
offer herself as servant to Sidonia, because old Wolde is sick."
_Hæc_.--"She must be foolish then, if this be true."
_Illa_.--"Ay, she is foolish, but it is from pure love, which
indeed is a godlike folly; for Sidonia hath bewitched her poor
father, and he grows worse and worse, and her prayers to the
sorceress are of no avail to help him, so she hath privately left
her father's castle, to offer herself as servant to Sidonia; for
no wench, far or near, will be found who will take old Wolde's
place, and she hopes, in return for this, that the sorceress will
give her something from her herbal to cure her old father. Ha!
what do I see? How her beautiful hair streams behind her upon the
wind! How she runs like a deer over the heather, and looks back
often, for her heart is trembling lest her father might send after
her. Now she enters the wood; see, she kneels down, and prays for
her father and for herself, that God will keep her steps. Let us
pray also, dear sisters, for her, for the poor priest, and for the
Whereupon they all fell upon their knees, and the possessed virgin
offered up so beautiful a prayer that none had ever heard the like
before, and every face was bedewed with tears. After which she
awoke, and, as the first time, remembered nothing whatever of what
had passed, or of what she had uttered.
_Of the arrival of Diliana and the death of the convent
priest--Item, how the unfortunate corpse is torn by a wolf_.
Scarcely had the abbess returned to her apartment when Diliana
sprang in, with flowing hair, and her beautiful, blooming face
looking like a rose sprinkled with morning dew. So the worthy
matron screamed first with wonder that all should be true, then
taking the lovely young maiden in her arms, pressed her to her
heart, and asked--
"Wherefore comest thou here, my beloved Diliana?"
_Illa_.--"I have run away from my father, good mother, and
will serve my cousin Sidonia Bork as her waiting-maid, hoping that
in return she will give him something out of her herbal to heal
his poor frame, which is distracted day and night with pain, even
as she healed you and Sheriff Sparling; and she will do this, I am
sure, because I hear that her maid, Anne Wolde, is sick, and no
one in all the country round will take service with her, they
_Hæc_.--"Poor child, thou knowest not what thou dost. She
will slay thee, or ill-treat thee in her wickedness, or may be
bring some worse evil than either on thee."
_Illa_.--"And I will do as the Lord commanded--if she strike
me on one cheek, I will turn to her the other also, whereby she
will be softened, and consent to help my poor father."
_Hæc_.--"She will help him in nothing, and then how wilt
thou bear the disgrace of servitude?"
_Illa_.--"Disgrace? If the soul suffer not disgrace, the
body, methinks, can suffer it never."
_Hæc_.--"But how canst thou do the duties of a serving-wench?
Thou, brought up the lady of a castle!"
_Illa_.--"I have learned everything privately from Lisette;
trust me, I can feed the pigs and sheep, milk the cow, and wash
the dishes, &c."
_Hæc_.--"But what put it into thy head, child, to serve her
as a maid?"
_Illa_.--"When I last entreated my cousin Sidonia to help my
poor father, she said, 'Get me a good maid who will do my business
well, and then I shall see what can be done to help him. Now, as
no one will take service with her, what else can I do, but play
the trencher-woman myself, and thus save my poor father's life?"
_Hæc_.--"Thou hast saved it once before, as I have heard."
_Illa_ is silent.
_Hæc_.--"How was it? Tell me, that I may see if they told me
the story truly."
_Illa_.--"Ah, good mother, speak no more of it. It was as you
have heard, no doubt."
_Hæc_.--"People say that a horse threw your father, dragged
him along, and attempted to kick him, upon which, while all the
men-folk stood and gaped, you flew like the wind, seized the
bridle of the animal, and held him fast till your father was up
_Illa_.--"Well, mother, there was nothing very wonderful in
_Hæc_.--"Also, they tell that one day at the hunt you came
upon a part of the wood where two robbers were beating a noble
almost to death, after having plundered him. You sprang forward,
menaced them, and finally made them take to their heels, after
which you helped the poor wounded man upon your own palfrey, like
a good Samaritan indeed, and without thought of the danger or
fatigue, walked beside him, leading the horse by the bridle until
clear out of the wood, and thus----"
_Illa_.--"Ah, good mother, do not make me more red than I am;
for know, the poor wounded noble thought so much of what I had
done, that he must needs ask me for his bride, though truly I
would have done the like for a beggar."
_Hæc_.--"Then it was George Putkammer, and thou wilt not have
_Illa_.--"I may say with Sara (Tobias iii.), 'Thou knowest,
Lord, that I have desired no man, and have kept my soul pure from
all evil lusts;' but indeed to save my father's life is more to me
than a bridegroom. A bridegroom may be offered many times in life
to a young thing like me, but a father comes never again."
_Hæc_.--"God grant that thou mayest save him, but never tell
thy cousin Sidonia of George Putkammer's love, else, methinks, it
will be all over with thee."
_Illa_.--"But if she ask me, I cannot lie unto her----"
Just then the cry was heard, "The priest is dying;" whereupon the
abbess, Diliana, indeed the whole convent, rushed out to visit him
at the glebe-house. The priest, however, was dead when they
arrived, and his corpse had the same signature of Satan as the
others who died before him, save only that his right hand was
uplifted, and had stiffened into the same position in which he
held it when he exorcised the evil spirit out of Dorothea.
So they all stood around pale and trembling, while they listened
to his poor widow telling how his breast-bone rose up higher and
higher, until at length he died in horrible agony.
But behold, the door flies open, and Sidonia, who had just
returned from her long journey, enters, with her long black habit
trailing after her through the chamber. Whereupon they all become
dumb with horror and disgust, and stand there like so many marble
or enchanted figures.
"Ah, what is this I hear," exclaimed the accursed sorceress, "just
on my return home? Is the worthy and upright man really dead? Woe!
alas, that I could have saved him from this! How did it happen?
Thank God that I was not here at the time, or the wicked world,
which lays all manner of crimes upon me falsely, might have
accused me of this likewise. Yes, I thank God a thousand times
that I was absent! Speak, poor Barbara! how did it happen that
your dear spouse fell so suddenly ill?"
But the poor wife only trembled, and sank powerless against the
bed where the corpse of her husband lay stretched; for when
Sidonia advanced close to it, the red blood oozed from the mouth
of the dead man, as if to accuse his murderess before God and man.
And no one could speak a word, not even a sob was heard in answer
to her questions; whereupon the sorceress spake again--
"Alas, what is all this which has happened in my absence! Good
Dorothea, they tell me, is possessed by a devil; but, at least,
people can see now that I am as innocent as a new-born infant;
though, assuredly, some terrible sinner must be lurking amongst
us, though we know it not, or all this judgment would not come
upon the convent. I would not willingly condemn any Christian
soul; but, if I err not, the old dairy-woman is the person!"
This she said from revenge, because the woman had refused to give
her seven cheeses for a florin, when she was on her way to
Stettin. Of the misfortunes which grew out of these same cheeses
for the poor dairy-woman, we shall hear more in due time.
At this horrible hypocrisy and falsehood the abbess could no
longer hold her peace, and cried, "In my opinion, sister, you err
much; the old dairy-mother is a pious and honest woman, as all the
convent can testify, and attended diligently on our dead pastor
here to be catechised."
_Illa_.--"Who then, else? It was incomprehensible. A thousand
times thank God that she had been away during it all. Now they
must hold their tongues, they who had blackened her to the Prince;
but his Grace had done her justice, and dismissed her honourably
from the trial at Stettin."
_Hæc_.--"I have a different version of the story; for his
Highness has commanded you to resign the sub-prioret to Dorothea
Stettin forthwith--_item_, you are to be kept close within
the convent walls, for which purpose I shall order the great
padlock to be placed again upon the gates. Thus his Grace
commands; and as we have a chapter assembled here already, I may
announce the resolve with all due form."
_Illa_.--"What! you tell me this, in the presence of the
priest's wife and your serving-wenches? Do they belong to the
chapter of noble virgins? I shall forward a _protocollum_ to
his Highness, setting forth all that has happened in my absence,
and get all the sisterhood to sign it, that the Duke may know what
kind of folk the abbess summons to her chapter; but as touching
the sub-prioret, it is well known to you all how it was forced
upon me by Dorothea, as I fully explained to the princes in
council. However, speak, sisters; if ye indeed wish this light,
silly creature, this devil-possessed Dorothea Stettin, for your
sub-prioress again, take her, and welcome--I will not prevent you.
She can teach you all the shameful words which, as I hear, flow so
liberally from her lips--eh, sisters, will ye have the wanton or
And when the nuns all cried "No, no!" the accursed witch went on--
"Well, then, I bid ye all to assemble instantly in my apartment,
to testify the same to his Highness; also to bear witness of the
evil deeds done in my absence, for that the poor priest has died
no natural death, is evident; therefore his Grace, I trust, will
probe the business to the uttermost, and find out who is the evil
Satan amongst us--ay, and tear off the deceitful mask, that my
good name thereby may be justified before the Prince and the whole
Diliana now stepped forward from amidst a crowd of serving-women
among whom she had concealed herself, and bowed low in salutation
to Sidonia; but the witch laughed scornfully, and cried, "What!
has your worthy father sent you to me?"
_Illa_.--"Ah, no; she came out of her own free will, to serve
her good cousin Sidonia, for she heard that no maid could be found
to hire with her, therefore she would play the serving-wench
herself, and ask no other wages but a cure from her receipt-book
for her dear father, who was daily growing worse and worse."
_Hæc_.--"She required much from her maid; and on her way home
she had bought six little pigs--_item_, she had a cow, cocks
and hens, geese, and seven sheep. All these the maid must feed and
look after, besides doing all the indoor work."
_Illa_.--"She could do all that easily, for old Lisa had
instructed her in everything."
_Hæc_.--"But how was it that she was not ashamed to play the
serving-wench--she, a castle and land dowered maiden, with that
illustrious name she bore?"
_Illa_.--"There was but one thing of which men need be
ashamed, and that was sin; but this was not sin."
_Hæc_.--"She was very sharp with her answers. Why did she not
talk to her father, who had made her brother's son, Otto of
Stramehl, give up to him her two farm-houses in Zachow, with all
the rents appertaining; but Otto had been justly punished by the
good God, for she had just got tidings of his death."
_Illa_.--"But my father will restore you all, good cousin, as
he wrote to you himself."
_Hæc_.--"Ay, the old houses, may be, he'll give back, but
will he restore the rents that have been gathering for fifty
years? No, no, he refuses the money, even as my nephew Otto
refused it (but God has struck him dead for it, as I said before).
[Footnote: He died suddenly just at this time; and Sidonia
confessed, at the eleventh torture question, that she had caused
his death, (Dähnert, p. 430.)] Oh, truly these proud knights of my
own kin and name stood bravely for me against the world! ay, I owe
them many thanks for turning me out, a poor young maiden,
unfriended and alone, till I became a world's wonder, and the
scorn of every base and lying tongue; but persecution was ever the
lot of the children of God."
_Illa_.--"Her poor father had not the gold; for five
rix-dollars a year would amount in fifty years to five hundred
rix-dollars, and such a sum her father could not command."
_Hæc_.--"Yet he had enough to spend on horses, falcons,
hunting, and the like; only for her he had naught."
_Illa_ (kissing her hand).--"Ah, good cousin, leave him in
peace, and help him if you can; I will serve thee as well as I am
able--my life long, if you ask it of me."
_Hæc_.--"Away! thou silly, childish thing; how should the
meek Sidonia ever bear to be served by a noble lady as thou art?
If the world had not blackened me before, it might begin now in
earnest, and justly."
_Illa_.--"Ah, good, kind cousin, will you then heal my father
_Hæc_.--"Well, I shall see about it, if, perchance, it be
_Illa_ (kissing her hand again).--"Dear cousin, how good you
are! Now see, all of ye, what a kind cousin I have in Sidonia, who
has promised to cure my loved father" (dancing for joy like a
_Hæc_.--"Come, then, all present, to my apartment; thou,
Diliana, mayest draw up the _protocollum_, and better,
perhaps, than a bad notary. Come!"
So they all proceeded to the refectory, and the
_protocollum_, was drawn up and signed, and Sidonia compelled
the new convent porter to carry it off, that very night, to his
Highness at Stettin.
Meanwhile the poor widow, along with some other women, including
the old dairy-mother, prepared the poor priest's corpse for
burial, and they put on him his black Geneva gown--_item_,
black plush breeches, which his brother-in-law in Jacobshagen had
made him a present of. I note the plush breeches especially, for
what reason my readers will soon see; and because the parsonage
swarmed with rats, they had the corpse carried before nightfall
into the church, and set down close beside the altar; and by
command of the sheriff the windows were thrown open to admit fresh
air, on account of the dead body lying there.
An hour after the poor widow went into the church, to see if the
blood yet flowed from the mouth of her dear murdered husband. But
what sees she?--the corpse is lying on its face in the coffin in
place of on its back. She calls the dairy-mother in, trembling
with horror, and they turn him between them. Then they go forth,
but return in a little while again, and see, the corpse is again
turned upon its face. And no one is able to comprehend how the
corpse can turn of itself, or be turned by any one, for the widow
has one key of the church and the abbess has the other; therefore
the poor wife, simple as she is, resolves to hide herself in the
church for the night, and light the altar candles, that she might
see how it happened that the corpse turned in the coffin. And the
dairy-mother agreed to watch with her; _item_, Anna Apenborg,
who heard the story from them; _item_, Diliana, for as
Sidonia had no bed to give her, the young maiden had gone to sleep
with Anna, and there the priest's maid told them of the horrible
way her poor master's corpse had turned in the coffin. So the
weeping widow let them all watch with her gladly, for she feared
to be alone, but warned them to speak no word, lest the evil-doer,
whoever it might be, should perceive them, and keep away. There
was no man within call, either, to help them, for the porter had
gone away to Stettin; so they four, after commending themselves to
God, went secretly into the church at ten of the clock, laid the
corpse right upon its back, and lit candles round it, as the
custom is. Item, they lit the candles on the altar, and then hid
themselves in the dark confession-box, which lay close by the
altar, and from which they could see the coffin perfectly.
After waiting for an hour or more, sighing and weeping, and when
the hour-glass which they had brought with them showed it was the
twelfth hour--hark! there was a noise in the coffin that made them
all start to their feet, and at the same instant the private door
of the nuns' choir opened gently, and something came down the
steps of the gallery, step by step, on to the coffin, and the
blood now froze in their veins, for they perceived that it was a
wolf; and he laid his paws upon the corpse, and began to tear it.
At this sight the poor widow screamed aloud, whereupon the wolf
sprang back and attempted to make off, but Diliana bounded on its
track, crying, "A wolf! a wolf!" and seeing upon the altar an old
tin crucifix, which some of the workmen who had been opening the
vault had brought up from below, she seized it and pursued the
wolf out of the great gate into the churchyard, while the rest
followed screaming. And as the wolf ran fast, and made for the
graves, as if to hide itself, the daring virgin, not being able to
get near enough to strike it, flung the crucifix at the unclean
beast, when lo! the wolf suddenly disappeared, and nothing was to
be seen but Sidonia in the clear moonlight, standing trembling
beside a grave.
"Good cousin!" exclaimed Diliana in horror, "where has the wolf
gone? we were pursuing a wolf." Upon which the horrible and
accursed night-raven recovered herself quickly, and pointing with
her finger to the crucifix which lay upon the ground, said with a
tone of mingled scorn and anger, "There, thou stupid fool! he sank
beneath that cross!"
The poor innocent child believed her, and ran forward to pick up
the crucifix, looking in every direction around for the wolf; but
the others, who were wiser, saw full well that the wolf had been
none other than Sidonia herself, for her lips were bloody, and
round them, like a beard, were sticking small black threads, which
were indeed from the black silk hose of the poor corpse. And when
they looked at her horrible mouth they trembled, but were silent
from fear; all except the inquisitive Anna Apenborg, who asked,
"Dear sister, what makes you here at midnight in the churchyard?"
Here the horrible witch-demon mastered her anger, and answered in
a melancholy, plaintive tone, "Ah, good sister Anna! I had a
miserable toothache, so that I could not sleep, and I just crept
down here into the fresh air, thinking it might do me good. But
what are you all doing here by night in the churchyard?"
No one replied; indeed, she seemed not to care for an answer, but
put up her kerchief to her horrible and traitorous mouth, and
turned away whimpering. The others, however, went back to the
church, where the corpse truly lay upon its back as they had left
it, but the hose were rent at the knee, and the flesh torn and
How can I tell now of the poor widow's screams and tears?
_Summa_.--The corpse was buried the next day, and as no man
had been a witness of the night-scene, only the weeping women, no
one would believe their strange story, neither on the last trial
would the judges even credit so wild a tale as that Sidonia could
change herself into a wolf, and pronounced as their opinion, that
fear must have made the women blind, or distracted their heads,
and that no doubt a real wolf had attacked the corpse, which was
by no means a strange or unusual occurrence. (But I have my own
opinion on the subject, and many who read this will think
differently from the judges, I warrant.)
For no more horrible vengeance could have been devised by
Beelzebub himself, the chief of the devils, than this of the
she-wolf Sidonia Bork (for Bork means wolf in the Gothic tongue),
to revenge herself on the priest because he disdained her love.
But why and wherefore the unfortunate corpse was found so often
turned upon its face, that I cannot explain, and it must ever
remain a mystery, I think. However, I shall pass on now to other
matters, for truly we have had enough of these disgusting horrors.
[Footnote: One of the most inveterately rooted of our
superstitions is this belief in the existence of man-wolves. Ovid
mentions it in his _Lycaon_, and even Herodotus. Many modern
examples are given in Dr. Weggand's natural history, which book I
recommend to all lovers of the marvellous, for they will find much
in it which far surpasses what we have related above concerning
Sidonia. The belief in a vampire, which Lord Byron has clothed
with his genius, belongs to the same order of superstitions; and
Horst, in his Magic Library, furnishes some very curious remarks
concerning it. Even Luther himself believed in the possibility of
_How Jobst Bork has himself carried to Marienfliess in his bed,
to reclaim his fair young daughter Diliana--Item, how George
Putkammer threatens Sidonia with a drawn sword._
Now Jobst Bork of Saatzig had but this one daughter, the fair
Diliana, whom he loved ten times more than his life; and no sooner
had he heard of her flight than he guessed readily whither, and
for what cause, she had flown; for, that day and night her
thoughts were bent on how to help him, he knew well; also, the
teachings of old Lisa were not unknown to him. So he resolved to
go and seek her, and sent for twelve peasants to carry him, as he
was, in his bed, to Marienfliess, for his limbs were so contracted
from gout that he could neither ride, walk, nor stand.
Accordingly, next morning early, the twelve peasants bearing the
couch on which lay the poor knight, entered the great gate of the
convent, and they set down the bed, by command of the knight, just
beneath Sidonia's window. Whereupon the miserable father stretched
forth his right hand, and cried out, as loud as he was able,
"Sidonia Bork, I conjure you by the living God, give me my child
Three times he repeated this adjuration. So we may imagine how the
whole convent ran together to see who was there. Anna Apenborg and
Diliana were, however, not amongst them, for they had been up late
watching by the corpse, and were still fast asleep; _item_,
Sidonia, I think, was snoring likewise, for she never appeared,
until at last she threw up the window, half-dressed, and screamed
out, "What wants the cursed knave? Hath the devil possessed you,
Jobst, in earnest? Good people, take the fellow to Dorothea's
cell--they are fit company for one another!"
But the knight again stretched forth his trembling arm from the
bed, and repeated his adjuration solemnly, using the same words.
At this, Sidonia's face glowed with anger; and seizing her
broom-stick, she rushed out of the room, down the steps, and into
the courtyard, while her long, thin, white hair flew wildly about
her face and shoulders, and her red eyes glared like two red coals
in her head. (I have omitted to notice that this horrible Satan's
hag had long since got his signature in her red eyes; for, as the
slaves of vice are known by their ash-pale colour, and the
_black_ circle round their eyes, so the slaves of Satan are
known by the _red_ circle.) But when the evil witch reached
the spot where the sick knight lay on his bed, and saw the crowd
standing round him, she changed her demeanour, and leaning on the
broom-stick, exclaimed, "Methinks, Jobst, you are mad; and you and
your daughter ought to be put at once into a mad-house; for, judge
all of ye who stand here round us, how unjustly I am accused.
Yesterday this man's daughter comes to me, and says she will play
my serving-wench, if I promise to cure her father; just as if I
were the Lord God, and could heal sickness as I willed; but I
refused to take her, as was meet, and the whole convent can
testify this of me; when, see now, here comes this fool of a
father, and, taking the Lord's name in vain, demands his daughter
of me, though I never had her, nor detained her; and she can go
this moment whither she likes, as ye all know."
Hereupon the abbess herself advanced to the bed, and spake--"In
truth, you err, sir knight. Sidonia hath refused to accept your
daughter's service! But here comes the fair maiden herself--ask
her if it is not so."
And Diliana, who had thrown on her clothes in haste, and ran with
Anna out of her cell, sprang forward, and fell sobbing upon her
father's bosom, who sobbed likewise, and cries, in an agitated
voice, "God be thanked, I have thee again; now I shall die happy!
Ah! silly child, how couldst thou run away from me! Dearest!--my
heart's dearest!--my own joy-giving Diliana! ah, leave me not
again before I die--it will not be long, perhaps."
Here the weeping of the peasants interrupted him, for they loved
the good knight dearly, and the rude boors sobbed, and blew their
noses, in great affliction, like so many children. But the knight
was too proud to beg a cure from Sidonia; he would rather
die--better death than humiliation. So he spake--"Children, lift
me up again, in the name of God, and bear me home; and thou, my
Diliana, walk thou by my side, sweet girl, that my eyes may not
lose thee for an instant."
So the peasants lifted up the bed again on their shoulders; but
Diliana exclaimed, "Wait, ah, my heart's dearest father, you do
our good cousin Sidonia sore injustice. Only think, she has
promised to cure you, without any recompense at all! Is it not
true, dear cousin? Set the bed down again, good vassals! Is it not
true, dear cousin?"
As she thus spoke, and kissed the claws of the horrible hell-wolf
with her beautiful bright lips, such an expression of rage and
unutterable hatred passed over Sidonia's face, that all, even the
peasants, shuddered with horror, and nearly let the bed fall from
their trembling hands; but the fair young girl was unaware of it,
for she was bending down upon the hand of the evil sorceress.
However, my hag soon composed herself; and, no doubt, fearing the
vengeance of Duke Francis, or hoping perhaps to cover her evil
deeds by this one public act of charity, and so gain a good name
before the world, and the fair opinion of their Highnesses, to
whom she had written the day previous, she rested her arm once
more upon the broom-stick, and turning to the crowd, thus spake--
"Ye shall see now that Sidonia hath a truly Christian heart in her
bosom; for, by the help of God, I will try and heap coals of fire
upon mine enemy's head. Yes, he is mine enemy. None have
persecuted me more than he and his race, though, God be good to
me, it is my own race likewise. His false father was the first to
malign me, and yet more guilty was his still falser mother; but
God punished her hypocrisy with a just judgment, for she died in
child-birth of him, so true is it what the Scripture says, 'The
Lord abhors both the bloodthirsty and deceitful man.' Ah, she was
deceitful beyond all I have met with upon earth--also, this her
son, the false Clara's son, hath made my nephew, Otto of Stramehl,
in a traitorous and unknightly manner, give him up my two
farm-houses at Zachow, and he now refuses to restore me either my
farms or the rents thereto belonging."
Here Jobst cried out, "'Tis false, Sidonia! I shall say nothing of
thy statements respecting my parents, for all who knew them
testify that they were righteous and honourable their life long,
therefore let them rest in their graves; but as touching thy
farm-houses, thou shalt have them back, as I have already written
to thee. The accumulated rents, however, thou canst not have, for
it were a strange and unjust thing, truly, to demand fifty years'
rent from me, who have only been in possession of the farms for
half a year."
"What! thou unjust knave," screamed Sidonia furiously; but then
suddenly strangled the wrath in her throat with a convulsion, as
if a wolf were gulping a bone, and continued--"It may be a hard
struggle to help one of thy name, but I remember the words of my
heavenly Bridegroom (oh, that the horrible blasphemy did not choke
her), 'I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse
you, do good to them that hate you;' and so, Jobst Bork, I will do
good to thee out of my herbal, if the merciful God will assist my
efforts, as I hope."
Then she turned her hypocritical, Satanic eyes up to heaven,
sighed, and stepping to the bed, murmured some words; then asked,
"How is it with thee now, Jobst? is there ease already?"
"Oh yes, good cousin," he answered, "I am better, much better,
thanks, good cousin! Lift me up again, children, and bear me
homeward--I thank thee, cousin!" and with these words he was borne
out of the convent gates, the fair young Diliana following him
closely; and scarcely had they left the town and reached the moor,
when the knight called out from the bed, "Oh, it is true, my own
dear daughter--praise be to God, I am indeed better; but I am so
And he sank back almost immediately into a deep sleep, which
continued till they reached the castle of Saatzig, and the bearers
laid the bed down again in its old place in the knight's
chamber--still he woke not.
Then Diliana kneeled down beside him, and thanked the Lord with
burning tears; sprang up again quickly, and bade them saddle her
palfrey, for she must ride away, but would return again before a
couple of hours. If her father woke up in the meantime, let them
say he must not be uneasy, for that she would return soon and tell
him herself whither and on what errand she had been.
Hereupon she went to a large cabinet that stood in her father's
chamber, took out a little casket containing three golden rings,
mounted her palfrey, and rode back with all speed on the road to
Marienfliess. But I must here relate how these magic golden rings
came into possession of the family; the tradition runs as
A long while ago the castle of Pansin, which had originally
belonged to the Knights Templars, became a fief of the Bork
family, and the Count who was then in possession went to the wars
in the Holy Land, leaving his fair young wife alone in her sorrow:
and lo! one night, as she was weeping bitterly, a spirit appeared
in her chamber, and motioned her to rise from bed and follow him
to the castle garden. But she was horror-struck, and crept
trembling under the quilt. Next night the ghost again stood by her
bed, made the same gestures even menacingly, but she was
frightened, and hid her head beneath the clothes.
The third night brought the ghost likewise; but this time the fair
lady took courage, rose from bed, and followed him in silence down
the steps into the castle garden, on to a small island, where the
two streams, the Ihna and the Krampehl, meet. Here there was a
large fire, and around it many spirits were seated. Hereupon her
"Fear nothing, but fill thy apron with coals from the fire, and
return to the castle; but, I warn thee, do not look back."
The fair chatelaine did as she was desired, filled her apron, and
returned to the castle; but all the way, close behind her, there
was a terrible uproar, and the rushing and roaring as of many
people. However, she never looked back, only on reaching the
castle gates she thought she might take one peep round just as she
was closing them; but, lo! instantly her apron was rent, and the
coals fell hither and thither on the ground, and out of all she
could only save three pieces, with which she rushed on to her own
apartment, never again looking behind her, though the uproar
continued close to her very heels all the way up to her chamber
door; and trembling with dread, and commending herself to all the
saints, she at last threw herself on her bed once more in safety.
But next morning, on looking for the coals, she found three golden
rings in their stead bearing strange inscriptions, which no man
hath been able to decipher until this day. As to those she had
dropped at the castle gate, they were nowhere to be seen; and on
the fourth night the ghost comes again, and scolds her for
disobeying his orders, but admonishes her to preserve the three
rings safely, for if she lost one, a great misfortune would fall
upon the village, and the castle be rent violently--_item_,
but two of her race would ever be alive at the same time; if the
second were lost, her race would be reduced to direst poverty; and
if the third ring were lost, the race would disappear entirely
from the earth.
After this, when her knightly spouse returned from Jerusalem, and
she told him the wonderful story of the three rings, he had a
costly casket made for them, in which they were safely locked,
with a rose of Jericho placed above them, which he had himself
brought from the Holy Land; and this wonderful treasure has been
preserved by the Count's descendants with jealous care, even until
this day. I have said that no man could read the inscriptions on
the rings: they were all the same--the three as like as the leaves
of a trefoil. They were all large enough for the largest man's
thumb, and made of the purest crown gold: the shield was of a
circular form, bearing in the centre the figure of a Knight
Templar in full armour, with spur and shield, keeping watch before
the Temple at Jerusalem; but what the characters around the figure
signified, I leave unsaid, and many, I am thinking, will leave
unsaid likewise. [Footnote: It is a fact, that no one up to the
present time has been able to decipher this very remarkable
inscription, not even Silvestre de Sacy himself, to whom it was
sent some years ago. Dreger's reading, given in Dähnert's
Pomeranian Library, iv. p. 295, is manifestly wrong--_Ordo
Hierosolymitamis_. But two of the rings are forthcoming now;
and in fulfilment of the tradition, a tremendous rent really
followed the loss of the first in the old castle of Pansin, which
may yet be seen in this fine ruin, whose like is not to be found
in all Pomerania, nor, indeed, in the north of Germany. The two
remaining rings, with the rose of Jericho, are still to be seen in
the original casket, which is of curious and costly workmanship,
and this casket is again enclosed in another of iron, with strong
hoops and clasps. Should any of my readers desire to discover the
meaning of the inscription, he will do me the highest favour by
communicating the same to me.]
_In summa_.--When Diliana arrived with these rings, the poor
Dorothea lay again in the devil's fetters. She roared, and
screamed, and raged horribly, and tore her bed-clothes, and foamed
at the mouth, and even abused and reviled the beautiful young
virgin, who took, however, no heed thereof, but with permission of
the abbess laid the three rings upon the stomach of the sick nun,
who immediately became quite still, and so lay for a little while,
after which, with a loud roar, Satan went out of her, while the
windows clattered and the glasses rang upon the table. Then she
fell into a deep sleep, and on awakening remembered nothing of
what had happened, but seeing Diliana prepared to set out on her
homeward ride, asked with wonder, "Who is this strange young
maiden, and what does she here?"
After this, as I may as well briefly notice here, Dorothea became
quite well, and by the mercy of God remained for ever after
untouched by the demon claws of the great enemy of mankind.
Meanwhile the good Diliana felt it to be her duty to descend to
the refectory, and thank the hell-dragon for the refreshing sleep
which her father, Jobst, had obtained by her means. But, ah! how
does she find my dragon? Her eyes shoot fire and flame, and in an
instant she flew at poor Diliana on the subject of marriage--
"What! she wanted to marry too! She was scarcely out of school,
and yet already was thinking about marriage!"
"Good cousin," answered the other, "I have indeed no thoughts of
marriage, and no desire for it has ever entered my heart."
"What!" screamed my dragon; "you lie to me, child! The whole
convent talks of it; and Anna Apenborg herself told me that you
are betrothed to that beardless boy George Putkammer. Fie! a
fellow without a beard."
Hereupon she began to spit out. But George Putkammer that instant
clattered up the steps; for the news had come to Pansin, of which
castle Jobst Bork had made him castellan, seeing that he set much
store by the brave young knight, and would willingly have had him
for his son-in-law, if his fair little daughter Diliana had not
resisted his entreaties, _bis dalo_; the news came, I say,
now that Diliana had run away from her father, and gone to play
the serving-wench to Sidonia. So the knight seized his good sword,
and went forth, like another Perseus, to save his Andromeda, and
deliver her from the dragon, even if his own life were to pay the
cost. He knew not that the damning dragon despised the service of
the mild, innocent girl, nor that Jobst Bork had gone to offer
himself as a sacrifice in her place.
So he clattered up the steps, dashed open the door, and finding
Sidonia in the very act of spitting out, he drew his sword, and
"Dare to touch even a finger of that angel beside thee, and thy
black toad's blood shall rust upon this sword."
And when Sidonia started back alarmed, he continued--
"O Diliana, much loved and beautiful maiden, what does my queen
here? Where have you heard that the angels of God seek help and
shelter from the devil, as you have done here? Return with me to
Saatzig, and, by my faith, some other means shall make this vile
wretch help your poor father."
Sidonia now screamed with rage--
"What wants this silly varlet here, this beardless young
profligate? Ha, youngster, thou shalt pay for thy bold, saucy
_Ille_.--"Hold thy accursed mouth, or I will give thee such a
blow that thou shalt never need it again, but to groan. Listen,
cursed beast of hell, and mark my words. Since our gracious Lord
of Stettin handles thee so gently, and lets thee heap evil upon
evil at thine own vile will, I and another noble have sworn
solemnly to rid the land from such a curse. Let it cost our lives
or not, we shall avenge our country in thy blood, unless thou
ceasest to work all thy diabolical wickedness. Now, therefore,
hear me. Delay one instant to heal the upright Jobst and to remove
thy accursed witch-spell from off him, and this sword shall take a
bloody revenge; or if but a finger ache of this beautiful maiden
here, thy death is certain. Think not to escape. Thou mayst lame
me, like Jobst or Wedel, or murder me as others, it will not help
thee; for my friend hath sworn, if such happen, that he will ride
straight to Marienfliess, and run his sword through thy body
without a word. Two horses stand, day and night, ready saddled in
my stall, and in a quarter of an hour we are here--he or I, it
matters not, whichever is left alive, or both together, and we
shall hew thee from head to foot, even as I hew this jar in two
that stands upon the table, so that human hand shall never lift it
So saying, he struck the jar with his sword, when it flew into a
thousand pieces, and the beer dashed over the hag's clothes, so
that she raised a cry of terror, for such speech had no man ever
yet dared to hold to her.
But the brave Diliana seized hold of the young knight's sword,
"For God's sake, sir knight, what mean you? You do my good cousin
sore injustice; I have never seen you thus before. Sidonia hath
declined to take me for her maid, and has helped my poor father,
of her own free will, for he was here yesterday, and now rests
safe in Saatzig in a deep and healthful sleep; for which cause I
come hither to thank my good cousin for her kindness. Where is
your justice, sir knight--your honour? Bethink you how often you
have extolled these noble virtues yourself to me!"
As the knight listened, and heard that her father was already
cured, he marvelled greatly; inquired all the particulars, but
shook his head at the end, saying--
"'A corrupt tree cannot bring forth good fruit, and figs are not
to be gathered from thorns.' That she has helped your father, I
take as no sign of her kindness, but of her fear; therefore my
resolve stands good. Sidonia, thou accursed hag, touch but one
finger of this maiden or her father, and I will hew thee in
pieces, even as I cleft this jar. But you, fair lady, permit me to
ride home with you to your father's castle, and see how it stands
with the brave knight's health, and whether he has in truth been
Meanwhile Sidonia hath spat forth again, and begins running like a
wild cat in her rage round the room, so that her kerchief falls
off, and her two sharp, dry, ash-coloured shoulder-bones stick up
to sight, like pegs for hanging baskets on; and she curses and
blasphemes the young knight and his whole race, who, however,
cares little for her wrath, but gently taking Diliana by the hand,
"Come, dear lady, come from this hell-hole, and leave the old
dragon to dance and rage at her pleasure, as much as she likes."
The lady, however, withdrew her hand, saying, "Ride back alone to
Saatzig, sir knight! It is not seemly for a young maiden to ride
through the wood with a young man alone. Besides, I must stay a
little, and comfort my poor cousin for all your hard words--see
how you have vexed her!"
But Sidonia paused, and laughed loud and long, mocking the young
knight's disappointment; so after he had again prayed the maiden
in vain to accompany him, he left the refectory in silence, sprang
upon his barb, and rode on to the wood, resolving to wait there
till Diliana came up.
And in truth he had to wait long. At last, however, she appeared
through the trees, and on seeing him she was angry, and bade him
ride his ways. So my knight entreats for the love of God that she
will listen to him, for he can no longer live without her. By day
and by night her image floats before him, and wherefore should she
be so hard and cruel-hearted towards him? Better to have let him
die at once under the hands of the murderers in the forest, than
to let him die daily and hourly before her eyes, of the bitter
love-death. Was he, then, really such an object of abhorrence to
her, such a fire in her eyes? Alas! alas! could she but know his
"Sir knight," she answered, "you are no fire in my eyes, unless it
be the cold fire of the moon. Have patience, sir knight; why do
you press me for a promise when you have heard my resolve?"
_Ille._--"Patience! How could he have patience longer? Ah!
her father had long since consented, but she was but as the moon
in the brook to the child who tries to lay hold of it, since she
had talked of the moon."
_Hæc_.--"Sir knight, you compel me to a confidence."
_Ille._ (riding up close to her palfrey).--"Speak! dearest
_Hæc_ (drawing back).--"Come no nearer. What if any one saw
us. Listen! Yesterday six weeks, my grandmother, Clara von Dewitz,
who died, as you know, giving birth to my father, appeared to me
in a dream. She was wrapped in a bloody shroud, and her eyes were
starting forth horribly from her head, when I shuddered with
terror, and the poor ghost spoke--'Diliana, I am Clara von Dewitz,
and thou art the one selected to avenge me, provided thou dost
keep thy virgin honour pure in thought, word, and deed!' With
this she disappeared, and now, sir knight, judge for yourself what
is henceforth my duty."
Now the knight tried to laugh her out of her belief in this ghost
story, said it was all fancy, the same had often happened to
himself; not once, but a hundred times, had he seen a ghost, as he
thought, but found out afterwards there was no ghost at all in the
business, &c. However, his words and smiles have no effect. She
knew what she knew, and whether she was deceived or not about this
apparition of her grandmother, time would show, and _bis
dalo_, she would remain obedient to her commands, and preserve
her virgin honour pure in thought, word, and deed, even if it were
to be for her life long, until she saw clearly what purpose God
destined her to accomplish.
Now as my poor knight began his solicitations again yet more
earnestly, the fair maiden drew herself up gravely, and said,
"Adieu! sir knight, ride your own path, I go mine! At present I
shall select no spouse; but if I ever give my hand to man, you
shall be the selected one, sir knight, and no other. Now return to
your own castle. If you wish to see my father, come to-morrow to
Saatzig, for I shall ride there alone now. Farewell!"
And off she cantered on her palfrey, hop, hop, hop, as fast as an
arrow from a bow, and her red feathers gleamed through the green
leaves of the forest trees, so that my knight stood watching, her,
filled with as much joy as sorrow, for the maiden now seemed to
him so beautiful, and he watched her as long as a glimpse of her
feathers could be had through the trees, and then he listened as
long as the tramp of her palfrey could be heard (for he told me
this himself), then he alighted, and kneeling down, prayed to God
the Lord to bless this beautiful darling of his heart, whilst he
sobbed like a child, for sorrow and the sweet anguish of love.
Then he rose up, and obedient to her commands, took his way back
to the stately castle of Pansin.
But next morning early, he was at Saatzig, where the good knight
Jobst receives him joyfully at table, quite restored to health.
Nor has aught evil happened to the beautiful Diliana, as the
knight feared from the spitting of Sidonia. However, he heard from
the maiden, that after he left the refectory, Sidonia spat a
second time, probably to remove the first witch-spell (for no
doubt she feared the knight would hold his word, and hew her in
pieces if aught evil happened to the fair young maiden). And for
the rest, the knight ceased to trouble Diliana with his
solicitations; but he made father and daughter promise to give him
instant notice if but a finger ached, and he would instantly find
one sure way to bind the wild beast of Marienfliess for ever,
namely, with his good sword.
_How my gracious Lord Bishop Franciscus and the reverend Dr.
Joel go to the Jews' school at Old Stettin, in order to steal the
Schem Hamphorasch, and how the enterprise finishes with a sound
Meanwhile my gracious Duke Francis was puzzling his brain, day and
night, how best to bind this malicious dragon, and hinder her from
utterly destroying his whole race. He wanted to effect, by the
agency of spirits, what George Putkammer had already effected by
his good sword, as we have related before. So his Highness must
needs send for Dr. Joel, in all haste, to Old Stettin, to ask him
whether it were not possible to break the power of the evil witch
by spiritual agency; for as to human, it was out of the question,
since no one could be found to lay hands on her. They would as
soon touch the bodily Satan himself.
Whereupon my _magister_ answered, that he had already, to
serve his Grace, consulted divers spirits as to what could be done
in this sore strait, but none would undertake a contest with
Sidonia's spirit, which was powerful and strong, and, acting in
concert always with the spirit of old Wolde, had the might in
himself, as it were, of two demons. For this reason they must try
two modes of casting out the evil thing. The first was to exorcise
the sun-spirit, according to the form in the _Clavicula
Salomonis_, for he was the most powerful of all the astral
spirits, and question him as to what should be done. But for this
conjuration a pure young virgin was necessary, not merely pure in
act, but in thought, in soul. Even her very garments must be woven
by a virgin's hands, otherwise the holy angels, who neither marry
nor are given in marriage, would not appear. For they obey only
the summons of one who is as pure as themselves, in body and in
soul. Such a being he had once possessed in his only little
daughter, a virgin of eighteen years. All her clothes had been
spun and woven by virgin hands, and as she had a brave spirit, she
had often helped him to cite the astral angel _Och_. But the
last time she had assisted at the conjuration, the angel himself
had strangled her with his own hands, twisting her neck so
horribly that her tongue hung out of her mouth. And thus she died
before his very face. The cause was, as he, poor father, had heard
afterwards, that she had suffered a young student to kiss her, and
so the pure virginity of her soul was lost. Now if the gracious
Prince knew of any such pure virgin, who besides must be brave and
courageous as an amazon, matters would proceed easily, they would
make an end of the demon Sidonia without the least difficulty. He
had the clothes ready, all spun by virgins; _item_, all the