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The Amber Witch by Mary Schweidler

Part 3 out of 4

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[Illustration: The Torture Chamber]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

_Q_. Whether she could bewitch?

_R_. Yes, she could bewitch.

_Q_. Who taught her to do so?

_R_. Satan himself.

_Q_. How many devils had she?

_R_. One devil was enough for her.

_Q_. What was this devil called?

_Illa_ (considering). His name was _Disidaemonia_.

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

_Q_. In what shape had he appeared to her?

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

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

_R_. In the sea.

_Q_. What name had he given her?


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

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

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

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

_Q_. Whether she had ever lived with the devil?

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

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

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

_R_. She did not remember which.

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

_R_. No, never.

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

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

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

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

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

_The Twenty-fourth Chapter_


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

_The Twenty-fifth Chapter_


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

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

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

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

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

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


"Pater infelix!

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

"MARIA S., captiva."

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

_The Twenty-sixth Chapter_


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

_The Twenty-seventh Chapter_


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

[Illustration: The Doom of the Wheel]

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

_The Twenty-eighth Chapter_


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

_The Twenty-ninth Chapter_


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[Illustration: The Bridal Gifts]

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

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

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

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

* * * * *

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

All further historical traces of their existence, as well as that of the
pastor, have disappeared, and nothing remains but a tablet fixed in the
wall of the church at Mellenthin, on which the incomparable lord, and his
yet more incomparable wife, are represented. On his faithful breast still
hangs "the golden chain, with the effigy of the Swedish King." They both
seem to have died within a short time of each other, and to have been
buried in the same coffin. For in the vault under the church there is
still a large double coffin, in which, according to tradition, lies a
chain of gold of incalculable value. Some twenty years ago, the owner of

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