Full Text Archive logoFull Text Archive — Free Classic E-books

The Amber Witch by Mary Schweidler

Part 1 out of 4

Adobe PDF icon
Download this document as a .pdf
File size: 0.4 MB
What's this? light bulb idea Many people prefer to read off-line or to print out text and read from the real printed page. Others want to carry documents around with them on their mobile phones and read while they are on the move. We have created .pdf files of all out documents to accommodate all these groups of people. We recommend that you download .pdfs onto your mobile phone when it is connected to a WiFi connection for reading off-line.

Produced by Distributed Proofreaders



Mary Schweidler

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

Edited by W. Meinhold
Doctor of Theology, and Pastor, etc.

Translated from the German by Lady Duff Gordon.

Original publication date: 1846.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

_The Seventh Chapter_


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

_The Eighth Chapter_


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

_The Ninth Chapter_


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

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

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

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

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

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

_The Tenth Chapter_


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

_The Eleventh Chapter_


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

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

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

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

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

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

[Illustration: The Gallows Ghost]

_The Twelfth Chapter_


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

_The Thirteenth Chapter_


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

_The Fourteenth Chapter_


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

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

Book of the day: