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Title: Rudy and Babette - Or, Capture of The Eagle's Nest
Author: Andersen, H. C. (Hans Christian), 1805-1875
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.

*** Start of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "Rudy and Babette - Or, Capture of The Eagle's Nest" ***


    _Or, The Capture of the Eagle's Nest_







                   THE FELLOW-TRAVELER
                   THE OLD BACHELOR'S NIGHTCAP
                   THE GARDEN OF PARADISE






Let us now go to Switzerland, and see its wonderful mountains, whose
steep, rocky sides are covered with trees. We will climb up to the
fields of snow, and then make our way down to the grassy valleys, with
their countless streams and rivulets, impetuously rushing to lose
themselves in the sea. The sunshine is hot in the narrow valley; the
snow becomes firm and solid, and in the course of time it either
descends as an avalanche, or creeps along as a glacier. There are two
of these glaciers in the valleys below the Schreckhorn and the
Wetterhorn, near the long village of Grindelwald. They are a
remarkable sight, and therefore many travelers from all countries come
in the summer to visit them: they come over the high mountains covered
with snow, they traverse the deep valleys; and to do this they must
climb, hour after hour, leaving the valley far beneath them, till they
see it as if they were in an air-balloon. The clouds hang above them
like thick mists over the mountains, and the sun's rays make their way
through the openings between the clouds to where the brown houses lie
spread, lighting up some chance spot with a vivid green. Below, the
stream foams and blusters; but above it murmurs and ripples, and looks
like a band of silver hanging down the side of the rock.

On either side of the path up the mountain lie wooden houses. Each
house has its little plot of potatoes; and this they all require, for
there are many children, and they all have good appetites. The
children come out to meet every stranger, whether walking or riding,
and ask him to buy their carved wooden châlets, made like the houses
they live in. Be it fine or be it wet, the children try to sell their

About twenty years since you might have seen one little boy standing
apart from the others, but evidently very desirous to dispose of his
wares. He looked grave and sad, and held his little tray tightly with
both hands as if he was afraid of losing it. This serious look and his
small size caused him to be much noticed by travelers, who often
called him and purchased many of his toys, though he did not know why
he was so favored. His grandfather lived two miles off among the
mountains, where he did his carving. He had a cabinet full of the
things he had made. There were nut-crackers, knives and forks, boxes
carved with leaves and chamois, and many toys for children; but little
Rudy cared for nothing so much as for an old gun, hanging from a
rafter in the ceiling, for his grandfather had told him it should be
his own when he was big enough to know how to use it.

Though the boy was little, he was set in charge of the goats; and Rudy
could climb as high as any of his flock, and was fond of climbing tall
trees after birds' nests. He was brave and high-spirited, but he never
smiled except when he watched the foaming cataract, or heard the
thundering roar of an avalanche. He never joined in the children's
games, and only met them when his grandfather sent him to sell his
carvings; and this employment Rudy did not much like. He would rather
wander alone amongst the mountains, or sit by his grandfather while he
told him stories of former ages, or of the people who lived at
Meiningen, from whence he had come. He told him they had not always
lived there, but had come from a distant northern country called
Sweden. Rudy took great pride in this knowledge; but he also learnt
much from his four-footed friends. He had a large dog, named Ajola,
who had been his father's; and he had also a tom-cat who was his
particular friend, for it was from him he had learnt how to climb.

"Come with me on the roof," the cat said to him; for when children
have not learnt to talk, they can understand the speech of birds and
animals quite as well as that of their father and mother; but that is
only while they are very little, and their grandfather's stick seems
as good as a live horse, with head, legs, and tail. Some children lose
this later than others, and we call them backward. People say such
funny things!

"Come with me, little Rudy, on the roof," was one of the first things
the cat had said which Rudy had understood: "it is all imagination
about falling; you don't fall if you are not afraid. Come; put one of
your paws so, and the other so! Feel for yourself with your fore-paws!
Use your eyes and be active; and if there's a crevice, just spring and
take firm hold, as I do!"

Rudy did as he was told, and you might often have seen him sitting
beside the cat on the top of the roof; afterwards they climbed
together to the tops of the trees, and Rudy even found his way to the
rocky ledges which were quite out of the cat's reach.

"Higher! higher!" said the trees and the bushes; "see how we can
climb. We stretch upwards, and take firm hold of the highest and
narrowest ledges of the rocks."

So Rudy found his way to the very top of the mountain, and often got
up there before sunrise; for he enjoyed the pure invigorating air,
fresh from the hands of the Creator, which men say combines the
delicate perfume of the mountain herbs with the sweet scent of the
wild thyme and the mint found in the valley. The grosser part of it is
taken up by the clouds, and as they are carried by the winds, the
lofty trees catch the fragrance and make the air pure and fresh. And
so Rudy loved the morning air.

The happy sunbeams kissed his cheek, and Giddiness, who was always
near, was afraid to touch him; the swallows, who had built seven
little nests under his grandfather's eaves, circled about him and his
goats, singing: "We and you! and you and we!" They reminded him of his
home, his grandfather, and of the fowls; but although the fowls lived
with them in the same house, Rudy had never made friends with them.

Although he was such a little boy, he had already traveled a
considerable distance. His birthplace was in the canton of Vallais,
whence he had been brought over the mountains to where he now lived.
He had even made his way on foot to the Staubbach, which descends
through the air gleaming like silver below the snow-clad mountain
called the Jungfrau. He had also been to the great glacier at
Grindelwald; but that was a sad story. His mother lost her life at
that spot; and Rudy's grandfather said that it was there he had lost
his happy spirits. Before he was a twelvemonth old his mother used to
say that he laughed more than he cried, but since he had been rescued
from the crevasse in the ice, a different spirit seemed to have
possession of him. His grandfather would not talk of it, but every one
in that district knew the story.

Rudy's father had been a postilion. The large dog, which was now lying
in the grandfather's room, was his constant companion when traveling
over the Simplon on his way to the Lake of Geneva. Some of his
relations lived in the valley of the Rhone, in the canton of Vallais.
His uncle was a successful chamois-hunter and an experienced guide.
When Rudy was only a twelvemonth old his father died, and his mother
now wished to return to her own relations in the Bernese Oberland. Her
father lived not many miles from Grindelwald; he was able to maintain
himself by wood-carving. So she started on her journey in the month of
June, with her child in her arms, and in the company of two
chamois-hunters, over the Gemmi towards Grindelwald. They had
accomplished the greater part of their journey, had passed the highest
ridge and reached the snow-field, and were now come in sight of the
valley where her home was, with its well-remembered wooden houses, but
still had to cross one great glacier. It was covered with recent snow,
which hid a crevasse which was much deeper than the height of a man,
although it did not extend to where the water rushed below the
glacier. The mother, while carrying her baby, slipped, fell into
the cleft, and disappeared from sight. She did not utter a sound, but
they could hear the child crying. It was more than an hour before they
could fetch ropes and poles from the nearest house, and recover what
seemed to be two corpses from the cleft in the ice. They tried every
possible means, and succeeded in restoring the child, but not his
mother, to life; so the old man had his daughter's son brought into
his home, a little orphan, the boy who used to laugh more than he
cried; but he seemed to be entirely changed, and this change was made
down in the crevasse, in the cold world of ice, where, as the Swiss
peasants think, lost souls are imprisoned until Doomsday.

[Illustration: She started on her journey, with her child in her arms,
and in company of two chamois-hunters.]

The immense glacier looks like the waves of the sea frozen into ice,
the great greenish blocks heaped together, while the cold stream of
melted ice rushes below towards the valley, and huge caverns and
immense crevasses stretch far away beneath it. It is like a palace of
glass, and is the abode of the Ice-Maiden, the Queen of the Glaciers.
She, the fatal, the overwhelming one, is in part a spirit of the air,
though she also rules over the river; therefore she can rise to the
topmost peak of the snow mountain, where the adventurous climbers have
to cut every step in the ice before they can place their feet; she can
float on the smallest branch down the torrent, and leap from block to
block with her white hair and her pale blue robe flying about her, and
resembling the water in the beautiful Swiss lakes.

"I have the power to crush and to seize!" she cries. "They have robbed
me of a lovely boy whom I have kissed, but have not killed. He now
lives among men: he keeps his goats amid the hills, he ever climbs
higher and higher away from his fellows, but not away from me. He
belongs to me, and I will again have him!"

So she charged Giddiness to seize him for her, for the Ice-Maiden
dared not venture among the woods in the hot summer time; and
Giddiness and his brethren--for there are many of them--mounted up to
the Ice-Maiden, and she selected the strongest of them for her
purpose. They sit on the edge of the staircase, and on the rails at
the top of the tower; they scamper like squirrels on the ridge of the
rock, they leap from the rails and the footpath, and tread the air
like a swimmer treading water, to tempt their victims after them and
dash them into the abyss. Both Giddiness and the Ice-Maiden seize a
man as an octopus seizes all within its reach. And now Giddiness had
been charged to seize little Rudy.

"I seize him!" said Giddiness; "I cannot. The miserable cat has taught
him all her tricks. The boy possesses a power which keeps me from him;
I cannot seize him even when he hangs by a branch above the precipice.
I should be delighted to tickle his feet, or pitch him headlong
through the air; but I cannot!"

"We will succeed between us," said the Ice-Maiden. "Thou or I! I! I!"

"No, no!" an unseen voice replied, sounding like distant church bells;
the joyful singing of good spirits--the Daughters of the Sun. These
float above the mountain every evening; they expand their rosy wings
which glow more and more like fire as the sun nears to setting over
the snowy peaks. People call it the "Alpine glow." And after sunset
they withdraw into the snow and rest there until sunrise, when they
again show themselves. They love flowers, and butterflies and human
beings; and they were particularly fond of Rudy.

"You shall never catch him--you shall never have him," said they.

"I have captured bigger and stronger boys than he," said the

The Daughters of the Sun now sang a song of a traveler whose cloak was
carried away by the storm: "The storm took the cloak but not the man.
You can grasp at him, but not hold him, ye strong ones. He is
stronger, he is more spiritual than we are! He will ascend above the
sun, our mother! He has the power to bind the winds and the waves, and
make them serve him and do his bidding. If you unloose the weight that
holds him down, you will set him free to rise yet higher."

Thus ran the chorus which sounded like distant church bells.

Each morning the sunbeams shone through the little window of the
grandfather's house and lighted on the silent boy. The Daughters of
the Sun kissed him, and tried to thaw the cold kisses which the Queen
of the Glaciers had given him, while he was in the arms of his dead
mother, in the deep crevasse, whence he had been so wonderfully



Rudy was now a boy of eight. His uncle, who lived in the Rhone valley
at the other side of the mountains, wished him to come to him, and
learn how to make his way in the world; his grandfather approved of
this, and let him go.

Rudy therefore said good-by. He had to take leave of others beside his
grandfather; and the first of these was his old dog, Ajola.

"When your father was postilion, I was his post-dog," said Ajola. "We
traveled backwards and forwards together; and I know some dogs at the
other side of the mountains and some of the people. I was never a
chatterer, but now that we are not likely to have many more chances of
talking, I want to tell you a few things, I will tell you something I
have had in my head and thought over for a long time. I can't make it
out, and you won't make it out; but that doesn't matter. At least I
can see that things are not fairly divided in this world, whether for
dogs or for men. Only a few are privileged to sit in a lady's lap and
have milk to drink. I've never been used to it myself, but I've seen a
little lap-dog riding in the coach, and occupying the place of a
passenger. The lady to whom it belonged, or who belonged to it, took a
bottle of milk with her for the dog to drink; and she offered him
sweets, but he sniffed at them and refused them, so she ate them
herself. I had to run in the mud beside the coach, and was very
hungry, thinking all the time that this couldn't be right; but they
say that there are a great many things that aren't right. Would you
like to sit in a lady's lap and ride in a carriage? I wish you could.
But you can't arrange that for yourself. I never could, bark and howl
as I might!"

This is what Ajola said; and Rudy put his arms round him, and kissed
his cold, wet nose. Then he took up the cat, but puss tried to get
away, and said,--

"You're too strong! and I don't want to scratch you. Climb over the
mountains, as I taught you. Don't fancy you can fall, and then you
will always keep firm hold." As he said this, the cat ran away; for he
did not wish Rudy to see that he was crying.

The fowls strutted about the room. One of them had lost its tail
feathers. A tourist, who imagined he was a sportsman, had shot its
tail off, as he thought it was a wild bird.

"Rudy is going away over the mountains," said one of the fowls.

The other one replied, "He's in too great a hurry; I don't want to say
good-by." And then they both made off.

He then said good-by to the goats; they bleated "Med! med! may!" and
that made him feel sad.

Two neighboring guides, who wanted to cross the mountains to beyond
the Gemmi took Rudy with them, going on foot. It was a fatiguing walk
for such a little boy; but he was strong, and never feared anything.

The swallows flew part of the way with them. "We and you! and you and
we!" they sang. Their route lay across the roaring Lütschine, which
flows in many little streams from the Grindel glacier, and some fallen
trees served for a bridge. When they gained the forest at the other
side, they began to mount the slope where the glacier had quitted the
mountain, and then they had to climb over or make their way round the
blocks of ice on the glacier. Rudy sometimes was obliged to crawl
instead of walking; but his eyes sparkled with pleasure, and he
planted his feet so firmly that you would think he wanted to leave the
mark of his spiked shoes behind him at every step. The dark earth
which the mountain torrent had scattered over the glacier made it look
almost black, but still you could catch sight of the bluish-green ice.
They had to skirt the countless little pools which lay amongst the
huge blocks of ice; and sometimes they passed by a great stone that
had rested at the edge of a cleft, and then the stone would be upset,
and crash down into the crevasse, and the echoes would reverberate
from all the deep clefts in the glacier.

So they went on climbing. The mighty glacier seemed like a great river
frozen into ice, hemmed in by the steep rocks. Rudy remembered what he
had been told, of how he and his mother had been pulled up out of one
of those, deep, cold crevasses; but he soon thought no more of it, and
it seemed no more than many other stories which he had been told.
Occasionally, when the men thought the path too rough for the boy,
they offered him a hand; but he was not easily tired, and stood on the
ice as securely as a chamois. Now they got on rock, and clambered over
the rough stones; then they would have to walk through the pine-trees,
or over pasture-lands, whilst the landscape was constantly changing.
Around them were the great snow mountains--the Jungfrau, the Mönch and
the Eiger. Every child knew their names, and, of course, Rudy knew
them. Rudy had never before been up so high; he had never walked over
the wide snow-fields: like the ocean with its waves immovable, the
wind now and again blowing off some of the snow as if it were the foam
of the sea. The glaciers meet here as if they were joining hands; each
forms one of the palaces of the Ice-Maiden, whose power and aim is to
capture and overwhelm. The sunshine was hot, the snow was brilliantly
white, and seemed to sparkle as if covered with diamonds. Countless
insects, most of them butterflies or bees, were lying dead on the
snow; they had gone up too high, or been carried by the wind, and had
been frozen to death. A threatening cloud hung over the Wetterhorn,
looking like a bundle of black wool; it hung down, heavy with its own
weight, ready to burst with the resistless force of a whirlwind. The
recollection of this whole journey--the encamping for the night, at
such a height, the walk in the dark, the deep clefts in the rock, worn
away by the force of water during countless years--all this was fixed
in Rudy's memory.

An empty stone hut beyond the _mer de glace_ gave them shelter for the
night. Here they found pine branches for fuel, and they quickly made
a fire and arranged the bed as comfortably as they could. They then
seated themselves about the fire, lighted their pipes, and drank the
hot drink which they had prepared. They gave Rudy some of their
supper, and then began to tell tales and legends of the spirits of the
Alps; of the mighty serpents that lay coiled in the lakes; of the
spirits who were reported to have carried men in their sleep to the
marvelous floating city, Venice; of the mysterious shepherd, who
tended his black sheep on the mountain pastures, and how no one had
seen him, although many had heard the tones of his bell and the
bleating of his flock. Rudy listened to all this, though he was not
frightened, as he did not know what fear was; and as he was listening
he thought he heard the weird bleating; it grew more and more distinct
till the men heard it too, and left off talking to listen, and told
Rudy to keep awake.

This was the Föhn, the blast, the terrible tempest, which sweeps down
from the mountains upon the valleys, rending the trees as if they
were reeds, and sweeping away the houses by a flood as easily as one
moves chessmen.

[Illustration: They then seated themselves about the fire, and began
to tell tales of the spirits of the Alps.]

After a time they said to Rudy that it was all over, and he might go
to sleep; and he was so tired with his long tramp that he obeyed at

When day broke, they pushed forward. The sun now shone for Rudy on new
mountains, new glaciers, and snow-fields. They were now in the canton
of Vallais, and had crossed the range which could be seen from
Grindelwald, but were yet far from his new home. Other ravines, other
pastures, woods, and mountain-paths now came into sight, other houses,
and other people; but they were strange and deformed-looking beings,
with pale faces, and huge wens hanging from their necks. They were
_crétins_, feebly moving about, and looking listlessly at Rudy and his
companions--the women were particularly repulsive to look at. Should
he find such people in his new home?



Rudy had now come to his uncle's house, and found to his relief that
the people were like those he had been used to. There was only one
_crétin_, a poor silly boy--one of those who rove from one house to
another in the canton of Vallais, staying a month or two in each
house, and the unfortunate Saperli was there when Rudy came.

Uncle was a great hunter, and also knew the cooper's trade. His wife
was a lively little person, and almost looked like a bird; her eyes
were like those of an eagle, and her long neck was quite downy.

Rudy found everything new to him--dress, habits and customs, and
language, though he would soon get used to that. They seemed more
comfortably off than in his grandfather's house. The rooms were large,
and the walls were decorated with chamois' horns and polished guns,
and there was a picture of the Virgin over the door; fresh Alpine
roses and a burning lamp stood before it.

Uncle was, as I have said, one of the most successful chamois-hunters
in the neighborhood, and also one of the best guides. Rudy soon became
the pet of the household. They had one pet already, an old hound,
blind and deaf; he was no longer able to go out hunting, but they took
care of him in return for his former services. Rudy patted the dog,
and wished to make friends; but he did not care to make friends with
strangers, though Rudy was not long a stranger there.

"We live very well here in the canton of Vallais," said uncle; "we
have chamois, who are not so easily killed as the steinbock, but we
get on better than in the old days. It is all very well to praise
former times, but we are better off now. An opening has been made, and
the air blows through our secluded vale. We always get something
better when the old thing is done with," said he; for uncle had much
to say, and would tell tales of his childhood, and of the days when
his father was vigorous, when Vallais was, as he said, a closed bag,
full of sick folk and unfortunate _crétins_; "but the French soldiers
came, and they were the right sort of doctors, for they killed both
the disease and the persons who had it. The French knew all about
fighting; they struck their blows in many ways, and their maidens
could strike too!" and here uncle nodded at his wife, who was a
Frenchwoman. "The French struck at our stones in fine style! They
struck the Simplon road through the rocks; they struck the road, so
that I may say to a child of three years old, 'Go to Italy, keep right
on the highway!' and the child will find himself in Italy if he only
keeps right on the road!" and then uncle sang a French song, "Hurrah
for Napoleon Buonaparte!"

[Illustration: His uncle would tell tales of his childhood.]

Rudy now heard for the first time of France, and of Lyons, a great
town on the river Rhone, where his uncle had been.

In a few years Rudy was to become an active chamois-hunter. His uncle
said he was capable of it; he therefore taught him to handle a gun and
to shoot. In the hunting season he took him to the mountains, and made
him drink the warm blood from the chamois, which keeps a hunter from
giddiness. He taught him to know the seasons when avalanches would
roll down the mountain sides, at midday or in the afternoon, according
to whether the sun had been strong on the places. He taught him to
watch how the chamois sprang, and notice how his feet fell that he
might stand firm; and that where he could obtain no foothold he must
catch hold with his elbows, grasp with his muscles, and hold with his
thighs and knees--that he might even hold with his neck if necessary.
The chamois were very wary,--they would send one to look out; but the
hunter must be still more wary,--put them off the scent. He had known
them so stupid that if he hung his coat and hat on an alpenstock, the
chamois took the coat for a man. Uncle played his trick one day when
he and Rudy were out hunting.

The mountain paths were narrow; they were often a mere cornice or
ledge projecting over a giddy precipice. The snow was half melted, and
the rock crumbled beneath the feet; so the uncle laid himself down at
full length and crept along. Each stone, as it broke off, fell,
striking and rolling from ledge to ledge till it was out of sight.
Rudy stood about a hundred paces from his uncle on a projecting rock,
and from this point he saw a great bearded vulture swooping over his
uncle, whom it seemed to be about to strike over the precipice with
its wings, to make him its prey. Uncle had his eye on the chamois,
which he could see with its kid on the other side of the ravine; Rudy
kept his eye on the bird, knew what it would do, and had his hands on
his gun ready to fire; the chamois suddenly sprang up, uncle fired,
the animal fell dead, the kid made off as if it was used to dangers.
At the sound of the gun the bird flew away, and uncle knew nothing of
his danger until told of it by Rudy.

[Illustration: "Hold fast, Rudy!" shouted his uncle, and Rudy clung to
the tree.]

As they were going home in the best of humors, uncle whistling one of
his songs, they suddenly heard a strange noise not far off; they
looked round them, and saw that the snow on the side of the mountain
was all in motion. It waved up and down, broke into pieces, and came
down with a roar like thunder. It was an avalanche, not over Rudy and
uncle, but near, too near, to them.

"Hold fast, Rudy!" he shouted; "fast, with all your power!"

And Rudy clung to the stem of a tree; uncle climbed above him up to
the branches and held fast, while the avalanche rolled past at a
distance of a few yards; but the rush of air broke the trees and
bushes all around like reeds, and cast the fragments down, and left
Rudy pressed to the earth. The tree-stem to which he had held was
broken, and the top flung to a distance; there, among the broken
branches, lay uncle, his head crushed; his hand was still warm, but
you would not know his face. Rudy stood pale and trembling; it was the
first shock in his life, the first time he had felt horror.

It was late when he brought the tidings of death to what was now a
sorrowful home. The wife was speechless and tearless until they
brought the body home, then her grief broke forth. The unfortunate
_crétin_ hid himself in his bed, nor did they see him all the next
day; but in the evening he came to Rudy.

"Write a letter for me! Saperli cannot write! Saperli can go with the
letter to the post!"

"A letter from thee?" exclaimed Rudy. "And to whom?"

"To the Lord Christ!"

"What do you mean?"

And the half-idiot, as they called the _crétin_, cast a pathetic
glance at Rudy, folded his hands, and said solemnly and slowly:

"Jesus Christ! Saperli wishes to send a letter to ask Him that Saperli
may lie dead, and not the man in this house."

And Rudy took him by the hand. "That letter would not go there! that
letter would not bring him back."

But it was impossible for Rudy to make him understand.

"Now thou art the support of the house," said the widow, and Rudy
became so.



Who is the best shot in the canton of Vallais? Even the chamois knew.
"Take care of Rudy's shooting!" they said. "Who is the handsomest
huntsman?" "Rudy is!" said the maidens, but they did not say, "Take
care of Rudy's shooting!" nor did their serious mothers say so either;
he nodded to them as lightly as he did to a young girl; for he was
brave and joyous, his cheeks were brown, his teeth sound and white,
and his eyes coal-black and sparkling; he was a handsome fellow, and
not more than twenty. The ice-cold water did not hurt him in swimming;
he swam like a fish, could climb better than any other man, could hold
fast like a snail to the walls of rock, for his muscles and sinews
were good; and you saw when he leapt that he had taken lessons from
the cat and from the chamois. Rudy was the surest guide to depend
on, and might have made his fortune in that way; his uncle had also
taught him coopering, but he gave little thought to that, for his
pleasure and delight was in shooting the chamois; and in this way he
earned money. Rudy was a good match, as they say, if he did not look
above his own position. And he was a dancer among dancers, so that the
maidens dreamt of him, and some of them even thought of him when

[Illustration: "Rudy gave me a kiss at the dance!" said Annette to her
dearest friend.]

"He gave me a kiss at the dance!" said Annette, the schoolmaster's
daughter, to her dearest friend; but she ought not to have said that
even to her dearest friend. Such a secret is not easy to keep: it is
like sand in a bag full of holes, it will run out; and they all soon
knew that Rudy had given her a kiss at the dance, though he had not
kissed the one that he wanted to kiss.

"Just watch him!" said an old huntsman; "he has kissed Annette; he has
begun with A and he will kiss all through the alphabet."

A kiss at the dance was all that the gossips could say against Rudy so
far; but although he had kissed Annette, she was not the flower of his

Down at Bex, among the great walnut-trees, close to a little rapid
mountain stream, there lived a rich miller; his dwelling-house was a
big building of three floors, with small turrets, roofed with shingle
and ornamented with metal plates which shone in the rays of the sun or
the moon; the biggest turret had for a weather-cock a glittering arrow
which had transfixed an apple, in memory of Tell's marksmanship. The
mill appeared fine and prosperous, and one could both sketch and
describe it, but one could not sketch or describe the miller's
daughter; at least, Rudy says one could not, and yet he had her image
in his heart. Her eyes had so beamed upon him that they had quite
kindled a flame; this had come quite suddenly, as other fires come,
and the strangest thing was, that the miller's daughter, the charming
Babette, had no thought of it, as she and Rudy had never spoken to
each other.

The miller was rich, and his riches made Babette hard to approach;
"But nothing is so high," said Rudy to himself, "that a man can't get
up to it; a man must climb, and he need not fall, nor lose faith in
himself." This lesson he had learnt at home.

It happened one day that Rudy had business at Bex, and it was quite a
journey, for the railway did not then go there. From the Rhone
glacier, at the foot of the Simplon, between many and various
mountain-heights, stretches the broad valley of the Rhone, whose flood
often overflows its banks, overwhelming everything. Between the towns
of Sion and St. Maurice the valley bends in the shape of an elbow, and
below St. Maurice it is so narrow that it hardly allows room for more
than the river itself and a narrow road. An old tower stands here on
the mountain side, as a sentry to mark the boundary of the canton of
Vallais, opposite the stone bridge by the toll-house; and here begins
the canton Vaud, not far from the town of Bex. As you advance you
notice the increase of fertility, you seem to have come into a garden
of chestnuts and walnut-trees; here and there are cypresses and
pomegranates in flower; there is a southern warmth, as if you had come
into Italy.

Rudy arrived at Bex, finished his business, and looked about him; but
never a lad from the mill, not to mention Babette, could he see. This
was not what he wished.

It was now towards evening; the air was full of the scent of the wild
thyme and of the flowers of the limes; a shining veil seemed to hang
over the wooded mountains, with a stillness, not of sleep, nor of
death, but rather as if nature were holding its breath, in order to
have its likeness photographed on the blue vault of heaven. Here and
there between the trees, and across the green fields stood poles, to
support the telegraph wires already carried through that tranquil
valley; by one of these leaned an object, so still that it might have
been mistaken for a tree-stump, but it was Rudy, who was as still and
quiet as everything about him; he was not asleep, and he certainly was
not dead. But thoughts were rushing through his brain, thoughts
mighty and overwhelming, which were to mold his future.

His eyes were directed to one point amidst the leaves, one light in
the miller's parlor where Babette lived. So still was Rudy standing,
that you might believe he was taking aim at a chamois, for the chamois
will sometimes stand for an instant as if a part of the rock, and then
suddenly, startled by the rolling of a stone, will spring away; and so
it was with Rudy--a sudden thought startled him.

"Never give up!" he cried. "Call at the mill! Good evening to the
miller, good day to Babette. A man doesn't fall when he doesn't think
about it; Babette must see me at some time if I am ever to be her

Rudy laughed, for he was of good cheer, and he went to the mill; he
knew well enough what he wished for--he wished for Babette.

The river, with its yellowish water, rushed along, and the willows and
limes overhung its banks; Rudy went up the path, and as it says in the
old children's song:

    "to the miller's house,
    But found no one at home
    Except little Puss!"

The parlor cat stood on the steps, put up his back, and said "Miou!"
but Rudy had no thought for that speech; he knocked at the door; no
one heard, no one opened it. "Miou!" said the cat. If Rudy had been
little, he would have understood animals' language, and known that the
cat said: "There's no one at home!" So he went over to the mill to
ask, and there he got the information. The master had gone on a
journey, as far as the town of Interlaken "_inter lacūs_, between
the lakes," as the schoolmaster, Annette's father, had explained it in
a lesson. The miller was far away, and Babette with him; there was a
grand shooting competition--it began to-morrow, and went on for eight
days. Switzers from all the German cantons would be there.

Unlucky Rudy, you might say, this was not a fortunate time to come to
Bex; so he turned and marched above St. Maurice and Sion to his own
valley and his own mountains; but he was not disheartened. The sun
rose next morning, but his spirits were already high, for they had
never set.

[Illustration: The cat stood on the steps, put up his back and said,
"Miou!" as Rudy knocked at the door.]

"Babette is at Interlaken, many days' journey from hence," he said to
himself. "It is a long way there if one goes by the high road, but it
is not so far if you strike across the mountains, as I have often done
in chamois-hunting. There is my old home, where I lived when little
with my grandfather; and the shooting-match is at Interlaken! I will
be the best of them; and I will be with Babette, when I have made
acquaintance with her."

With his light knapsack, containing his Sunday suit and his gun and
game-bag, Rudy went up the mountain by the short way, which was,
however, pretty long; but the shooting-match only began that day and
was to last over a week, and all that time, he was told, the miller
and Babette would spend with their relations at Interlaken. So Rudy
crossed the Gemmi, meaning to come down near Grindelwald.

Healthy and joyful, he stepped along, up in the fresh, the light, the
invigorating mountain air. The valley sank deeper, the horizon opened
wider; here was a snow-peak, and there another, and soon he could see
the whole shining range of the Alps. Rudy knew every snow-mountain,
and he made straight for the Schreckhorn, which raised its
white-sprinkled, stony fingers high into the blue air.

At length he crossed the highest ridge. The pastures stretched down
towards his own valley; the air was light, and he felt merry; mountain
and valley smiled with abundance of flowers and verdure; his heart was
full of thoughts of youth: one should never become old, one need never
die; to live, to conquer, to be happy! free as a bird--and he felt
like a bird. And the swallows flew by him, and sang, as they used to
do in his childhood: "We and you, and you and we!" All was soaring and

Below lay the velvety green meadow, sprinkled with brown châlets, and
the Lütschine humming and rushing. He saw the glacier, with its
bottle-green edges covered with earth-soiled snow; he saw the deep
fissures, and the upper and the lower glacier. The sound of the
church bells came to him, as if they were ringing to welcome him home;
his heart beat more strongly, and swelled so that Babette was
forgotten for a moment, so large was his heart and so full of

He again went along the way where he had stood as a little urchin with
the other children, and sold the carved châlets. He saw among the
pines his grandfather's house, but strangers now lived in it. Children
came along the path to sell things, and one of them offered him an
Alpine rose; Rudy took it as a good omen, and he thought of Babette.
He soon crossed the bridge where the two Lütschine unite; the trees
here grew thicker, and the walnuts gave a refreshing shade. He now saw
the flag waving, the white cross on a red background, the flag of the
Switzers and the Danes; and now he had reached Interlaken.

This, Rudy thought, was certainly a splendid town. It was a Swiss town
in Sunday dress; not like other places, crowded with heavy stone
houses, ponderous, strange, and stately. No! here it seemed as if the
châlets had come down from the mountains into the green valley, close
by the clear, rapid stream, and had arranged themselves in a row, a
little in and out, to make a street. And the prettiest of all the
streets--yes, that it certainly was!--had sprung up since Rudy was
here, when he was little. It seemed to have been built of all the
charming châlets which his grandfather had carved and stored in the
cabinet at home, and they had grown up here by some power like the
old, oldest chestnut-trees. Each house was a hotel, with carved
woodwork on the windows and doors, and a projecting roof, and was
elegantly built; and in front of the house was a flower-garden,
between it and the broad, macadamized road; all the houses stood on
one side of the road, so as not to hide the fresh green meadows, where
the cows wandered about with bells like those in the high Alpine
pastures. It seemed to be in the midst of lofty mountains, which had
drawn apart in one direction to allow the snow-clad peak of the
Jungfrau to be seen, most lovely of all the Swiss mountains.

There were a great many well-dressed visitors from foreign countries
as well as many Switzers from the different cantons. Each competitor
had his number in a garland on his hat. Singing and playing on all
kinds of instruments were to be heard everywhere, mingled with cries
and shouts. Mottoes were put up on the houses and bridges, flags and
pennons floated in the breeze; the crack of the rifles was frequently
heard, and Rudy thought this the sweetest sound of all; indeed, in the
excitement of the moment he quite forgot Babette, although he had come
on purpose to meet her.

The marksmen now went in the direction of the target. Rudy went with
them, and was the best shot of them all--he hit the bull's-eye every

"Who is that young stranger who shoots so well?" the onlookers asked
each other. "He talks French as they do in canton Vallais. But he also
speaks German very well," others replied.

"They say he was brought up near Grindelwald," one of the competitors

There was life in the fellow, his eyes shone, his arm was steady, and
for that reason he never failed in hitting the mark. Courage comes
with success, but Rudy had a store of natural courage. Admiring
friends soon gathered around him, and complimented him on his success;
he altogether forgot Babette. Then some one laid his hand on his
shoulder, and spoke to him in French.

"You belong to the canton of Vallais?"

Rudy turned, and saw a burly individual with a rosy, good-humored
face. It was the wealthy miller from Bex; his stout form almost
concealed the pretty, slim Babette, but she looked at Rudy with her
sparkling, dark eyes. The miller was glad that a rifleman from his own
canton should prove the best shot, and should have won universal
applause. Rudy was certainly in luck, for although he had forgotten
his principal object in coming, she had now come forward to him.

When neighbors meet one another at a distance from home they generally
get to talking, and make each other's acquaintance. Because Rudy was
a good shot he had become a leader at the rifle competition, just as
much as the miller was at Bex, because of his wealth and his good
business; so they clasped each other by the hand for the first time;
Babette also offered her hand to Rudy who squeezed it, and looked at
her so earnestly that she quite blushed.

The miller spoke of their long journey, and how many large towns they
had come through; and it certainly seemed to have been a very long
journey, as they had traveled by the steamboat, and also by rail and
by post-chaise.

"I came the nearest way," said Rudy. "I walked over the mountains; no
road is too high for a man to come over it."

"And break your neck," said the miller. "You look just the man to
break his neck one day, you look so headstrong."

"A man doesn't fall if he doesn't think about it," replied Rudy.

The miller's relatives in Interlaken, with whom he and Babette were
staying, asked Rudy to visit them, as he was from the same canton.
This was a chance for Rudy; fortune favored him, as she always does
favor those who endeavor to succeed by their own energy, and remember
that "Providence gives us nuts, but we have to crack them for

Rudy was welcomed by the miller's relatives as if he had belonged to
the family, and they drank to the health of the best shot, and Babette
clinked her glass with the others, and Rudy thanked them for the

In the evening they went for a stroll on the road by the big hotels
beneath the old walnut-trees, and there was such a throng, and the
people pushed so that Rudy was able to offer his arm to Babette. He
said he was glad to have met the people from Vaud. The cantons of Vaud
and Vallais were very good neighbors. He seemed so thoroughly pleased
that Babette could not resist the inclination to press his hand. They
walked together just like old acquaintances, and she was very amusing.
Rudy was delighted with her naive remarks on the peculiarities in the
dress and behavior of the foreign ladies; and yet she did not wish to
make fun of them, for she knew that many of them were amiable and
worthy people--indeed, her own godmother was an English lady. She had
been living in Bex eighteen years ago, when Babette was christened,
and she had given her the valuable brooch she was now wearing. Her
godmother had twice written to her, and Babette was now hoping to see
her and her daughters in Interlaken.

"They were two old maids, almost thirty!" said Babette; but you must
remember that she was only eighteen.

Her little tongue was never still for an instant, and all that Babette
had to say was intensely interesting to Rudy; and he told her all
about himself--that he had frequently been to Bex, and knew the mill
well, and that he had often seen her, though he did not suppose she
had ever noticed him; and how he had called at the mill, hoping to see
her, and found that her father and she were away from home, a long way
from home, indeed, but not so far that he could not get over the
barrier which divided them.

He told her a great deal more than this. He told her that he was very
fond of her, and that he had come here on purpose to see her, and not
for the rifle competition.

Babette was very quiet when he told her this; she thought he set too
high a value on her.

While they continued rambling, the sun set behind the mighty wall of
rock; the Jungfrau stood out in all its beauty and magnificence, with
the green of the tree-clad slopes on either side of it. All stood
still to admire the gorgeous spectacle, and both Rudy and Babette were
happy in watching it.

"There is no place more lovely than this!" said Babette.

"No, indeed!" exclaimed Rudy, and then he looked at Babette.

"I must go home to-morrow," he said, after a short silence.

"You must come to see us at Bex," Babette whispered to him; "my father
will be pleased."



Oh what a load Rudy had to carry home with him over the mountains the
next day! He had won three silver cups, two rifles, and a silver
coffee-pot; this would be of use to him when he began housekeeping.
But that was not the heaviest thing; there was something heavier and
stronger which he carried with him--or which carried him--on that
return journey over the mountains. The weather was wild, dull, heavy,
and wet; dense clouds covered the mountain tops like a thick veil,
quite hiding the snowy peaks. From the valleys he heard the sound of
the woodman's ax, and huge trunks of trees rolled down the steep
mountain sides; they seemed only like small sticks, but they were big
enough for masts. The Lütschine rushed along with its continual hum,
the wind shrieked, and the clouds hurried across the sky. Then Rudy
discovered that a young maid was walking at his side; he had not seen
her until she was quite near. She also was about to climb over the
mountain. The girl's eyes had a strange power; you could not help
looking at them, and they were wonderful eyes, very clear, and
deep--oh, so deep!

"Have you a sweetheart?" said Rudy, for that was all he could think

"No, I have not," laughingly replied the maiden; but she did not look
as if she spoke the truth. "Don't go round all that way," she then
said. "You must bear more to the left; that is the shortest way."

"Yes, and tumble down a crevasse!" said Rudy. "You're a fine one to be
a guide if you don't know better than that!"

"I know the way," she replied, "and my thoughts have not gone astray.
Yours are below, in the valley, but here, on high, you should be
thinking of the Ice-Maiden; people say that she does not love men."

"I fear her not!" exclaimed Rudy. "She had to yield me up when I was a
baby, and I am not going to yield myself up to her now that I am a

It grew darker, and the rain poured down; then came the snow,
dazzling and bewildering.

"Take my hand," said the maiden, "I will help you;" and she touched
him with her ice-cold fingers.

[Illustration: "Have you a sweetheart?" said Rudy.]

"You needn't help me!" returned Rudy; "I don't need a girl to teach me
to climb!" and he hurried on, leaving her behind. The snow came down
all around him, the wind shrieked, and he heard strange sounds of
laughing and singing behind him. He believed she was one of the
spirits in the Ice-Maiden's train, of whom he had heard tales when he
spent the night up in the mountains as a boy.

The snow ceased to fall, and he was now above the clouds. He looked
behind him, but saw nobody; yet he heard a strange singing and
yodeling that he did not like, as it did not sound human.

When Rudy was quite at the highest ridge, from which the way tended
downwards towards the Rhone valley, he saw above Chamonix, in a patch
of blue sky, two bright stars shining and twinkling; they reminded him
of Babette, and of his own good fortune, and the thought made him feel
quite warm.

[Illustration: Rudy believed she was one of the spirits in the
Ice-Maiden's train.]



"What splendid things you have brought back with you!" cried his old
foster-mother; and her eagle eyes sparkled, and her lean neck waved
backwards and forwards more than ever. "You are lucky, Rudy! Let me
kiss you, my dear boy!"

And Rudy submitted to be kissed; but he looked as if he regarded it as
a thing which had to be put up with. "What a handsome fellow you are
getting, Rudy!" said the old woman.

"Don't talk such nonsense," Rudy replied, laughing; but nevertheless
he liked to hear it.

"I say it again," said the old woman. "You are very lucky!"

"Perhaps you may be right," he rejoined, for he was thinking of

He had never before been so anxious to go down the valley.

"They must have gone home," he said to himself. "They were to have
been back two days ago. I must go to Bex."

So Rudy went to Bex, and found his friends at home at the mill. They
received him kindly, and had brought a message for him from the family
at Interlaken. Babette did not speak much; she was very quiet, but her
eyes spoke volumes, and that satisfied Rudy. Even the miller, who had
always led the conversation, and who had always had his remarks and
jokes laughed at on account of his wealth, seemed to delight in
hearing of all Rudy's adventures in his hunting; and Rudy described
the difficulties and perils which the chamois-hunters have to face
among the mountains--how they must cling to, or creep over, the narrow
ledges of snow which are frozen on to the mountain sides, and make
their way over the snow bridges which span deep chasms in the rocks.
And Rudy's eyes sparkled as he was relating these hunting adventures,
the intelligence and activity of the chamois, and the dangers of the
tempest and the avalanche. He perceived as he went on that the miller
grew increasingly interested in his wild life, and that the old man
paid especial attention to his account of the bearded vulture and the
royal eagle.

Among other things, he happened to mention that, at no great distance,
in the canton of Vallais, an eagle had built its nest most ingeniously
under a steep projecting rock, and that the nest contained a young one
which nobody could capture. Rudy said that an Englishman had offered
him a handful of gold the other day if he could take him the eaglet
alive; "but there is a limit to everything," said he. "That eaglet
cannot be taken; it would be foolhardy to try."

But the wine assisted the flow of conversation; and Rudy thought the
evening all too short, though he did not start on his return journey
until past midnight, the first time he visited the mill.

Lights were still to be seen at the windows of the mill; and the
parlor cat came out at an opening in the roof, and met the kitchen cat
on the gutter.

"Have you heard the news at the mill?" said the parlor cat. "There's
love-making going on in the house! The father doesn't know of it. Rudy
and Babette have been treading on each other's paws all the evening
under the table. They trod on me more than once, but I kept quiet,
lest it should be noticed."

"I would have mewed," replied the kitchen cat.

"Kitchen behavior will not suit the parlor," said the parlor cat; "but
I should like to know what the miller will say when he hears of the

What will the miller say, indeed? Rudy, also, wanted to know that; and
he would not wait very long without finding it out. So a few days
later, when the omnibus rolled over the Rhone bridge between Vallais
and Vaud, Rudy was in it, in his usual high spirits, happy in the
expectation of a favorable answer to the question he intended to ask
that same evening.

In the evening, when the omnibus was returning Rudy was again inside;
but the parlor cat had great news to tell.

"Do you know it, you from the kitchen? The miller knows everything.
That was a fine end to the expedition! Rudy came here towards the
evening, and he and Babette had much to whisper about; they stood in
the passage which leads to the miller's room. I lay at their feet, but
they had neither eyes nor thoughts for me. 'I am going straight in to
your father!' said Rudy; 'that is the fair thing.' 'Shall I accompany
you?' said Babette; 'it will encourage you.' 'I have sufficient
courage!' said Rudy, 'but if you go too, he must look kindly on us,
whether he will or no!' And they both went in. Rudy trod violently on
my tail. Rudy is very clumsy! I mewed, but neither he nor Babette had
ears to hear me. They opened the door, and they both went in, I in
front; but I sprang up on the back of a chair, for I could not tell
how Rudy would kick. But the miller kicked! and it was a good kick!
out of the door, and into the mountains to the chamois! Rudy may aim
at them, and not at our little Babette."

"But what did they talk about?" asked the kitchen cat.

"Talk?---- They talked of everything that people say when they go
a-wooing: 'I am fond of her, and she is fond of me! and when there is
milk in the pail for one, there is also milk in the pail for two!'
'But she sits too high for you!' said the miller; 'she sits on grits,
on golden grits; you can't reach her!' 'Nothing sits so high that a
man can't reach it, if he will!' said Rudy; for he was very pert. 'But
you can't reach the eaglet--you said so yourself! Babette sits
higher!' 'I will take them both!' said Rudy. 'Yes, I will give her to
you, when you give me the eaglet alive!' said the miller, and laughed
till the tears stood in his eyes; 'but now I thank you for your
visits, Rudy; come again in the morning, and you will find no one at
home! Farewell, Rudy!' And Babette also said farewell, as miserable as
a little kitten that can't see its mother. 'An honest man's word is as
good as his bond!' said Rudy. 'Don't cry, Babette; I shall bring the
eaglet!' 'You will break your neck, I hope!' said the miller, 'and so
put an end to your race!' I call _that_ a kick! Now Rudy is off, and
Babette sits and cries, but the miller sings German songs that he
has learnt on his journey! I won't grieve over that now; it can't be

"But yet there is still some hope for him," said the kitchen cat.

[Illustration: "You are lucky, Rudy!" said his foster-mother; "let me
kiss you, my dear boy!"]



From the mountain path sounds the yodeling, merry and strong, telling
of good spirits and dauntless courage; it is Rudy--he is going to see
his friend Vesinaud.

"You will help me! we will take Ragli with us. I must capture the
eaglet up the face of the mountain!"

"Won't you take the spots of the moon first; that is as easy!" said
Vesinaud. "You are in good spirits!"

"Yes, for I am thinking of getting married! But now, to be in earnest,
I will tell you what I am intending!"

And soon Vesinaud and Ragli knew what Rudy wished.

"You are a daring lad!" said they. "You will not get there! You will
break your neck!"

"A man does not fall down when he does not think of it!" said Rudy.

At midnight they set off with poles, ladders, and ropes; the way was
through thickets and bushes, and over rolling stones, always up, up in
the gloomy night. The water rushed below; the water murmured above,
heavy clouds drove through the air. When the hunters reached the
precipitous face of the mountain it was still darker, the rocky walls
were almost met, and the sky could only be seen high up in a small
cleft. Close by, under them, was the deep abyss with its rushing
waters. All three sat quite still, waiting for daybreak, when the
eagle would fly out; for they must first shoot it before they could
think of taking the young one. Rudy sat down, as still as if he were a
piece of the stone he sat on. He had his gun in his hand ready to
shoot; his eyes were fixed on the topmost cleft, where, under a
projecting ledge, the eagle's nest was concealed.

After waiting long, the hunters heard high above them a cracking,
rushing sound; and suddenly they saw a great, hovering object. Two
gun-barrels were pointed as the great black figure of the eagle flew
out of its nest. One shot was heard; for a moment the bird moved its
outstretched wings, and then slowly fell, as if with its greatness and
the extension of its wings it would fill the whole of the chasm, and
carry the hunters with it in its fall. The eagle sank into the depths;
and brushing against the branches of trees and bushes, broke them as
it fell.

And now the hunters began work. They tied three of the longest ladders
together, setting them up from the last secure foothold at the side of
the precipice. But the ladders did not quite reach; the nest was
higher up, hidden safe below the projecting rock, where it was as
smooth as a wall. After some deliberation they decided to tie two
ladders together, and lower them into the cleft from above, and join
them to the three which had been set up from below. With great trouble
they drew up the two ladders and secured the rope; they were then
suspended over the projecting rock, and hung swinging over the abyss,
and Rudy took his place on the lowest rung. It was an ice-cold
morning, and vapors rose from the black chasm. Rudy sat out there as a
fly sits on a waving straw which some bird has taken to the top of
some high factory-chimney; but the fly can fly away if the straw gets
loose, while Rudy can only break his neck. The wind whispered about
him, and below, in the abyss, rushed the hurrying water from the
melting glacier, the Ice-Maiden's palace.

When Rudy began to climb, the ladders trembled and swung like a
spider's web; but when he reached the fourth ladder he found it
secure, for the lashing had been well done. The topmost ladder was
flattened against the rock, yet it swung ominously with Rudy's weight.
And now came the most dangerous part of the climb. But Rudy knew this,
for the cat had taught him; he did not think about Giddiness, which
hovered in the air behind him, and stretched its octopus-like arms
towards him. Now he stood on the highest rung of the ladder, and found
that after all it did not reach high enough for him to see into the
nest; he could only reach up to it with his hands. He tested the
firmness of the thick plaited boughs that supported the lower part of
the nest, and when he found a thick and firm bough, he pulled himself
up by it till he got his head and chest over the nest. But there
poured upon him an overpowering smell of carrion; putrefying lambs,
chamois, and birds lay here torn to pieces. Giddiness, which was not
able to reach him, puffed the poisonous exhalation into his face, to
confuse him, and below, in the black gaping depth, over the hurrying
water, sat the Ice-Maiden herself, with her long greenish hair,
staring with deathly eyes like two gun-barrels, and saying to herself,
"Now I shall capture you!"

[Illustration: It was captured alive.]

In a corner of the nest he saw a large and powerful eaglet, which
could not yet fly. Rudy fastened his eyes on it, held himself with
all the force of one hand, and cast, with the other hand, a noose over
the young bird. Thus, with its legs entangled in the line, it was
captured alive. Rudy threw the noose with the bird in it over his
shoulder, so that it hung a good way below him, and by the help of a
rope he made himself fast till his toes reached the highest rung of
the ladder.

"Hold fast! don't believe you will fall, and you won't fall!" this was
his old lesson, and he stuck to it; he held fast, he scrambled, he was
certain he should not fall, and he did not fall.

And now was heard a yodel, so vigorous and joyful. Rudy stood on the
firm rock with his eaglet.



"Here is what you demanded!" said Rudy, entering the miller's house at
Bex; and, setting on the floor a large basket, he took off the cloth,
and there glared from it two yellow, black-rimmed eyes, so sparkling,
so wild, that they seemed to burn and devour everything they saw; the
short, strong beak gaped, ready to bite, the neck was red and downy.

"The eaglet!" shouted the miller. Babette gave one scream, and sprang
aside, but she could not turn her eyes away from Rudy or the eaglet.

"You are not to be frightened!" said the miller.

"And you always keep your word!" said Rudy; "each has his own

"But how is it you did not break your neck?" inquired the miller.

"Because I held fast!" answered Rudy, "and that I do still! I hold
fast to Babette!"

"First see that you have her!" said the miller with a laugh; and that
was a good sign, Babette knew.

"Let us get the eaglet out of the basket; it looks dangerous. How it
stares! How did you catch it?"

And Rudy had to tell them, and the miller stared, opening his eyes
wider and wider.

"With your boldness and luck you can maintain three wives!" said the

"Thank you! thank you!" cried Rudy.

"Yes; still you have not got Babette!" said the miller, and jestingly
slapped the young hunter on the shoulder.

"Have you heard the news in the mill?" said the parlor cat to the
kitchen cat. "Rudy has brought us the eaglet, and will take Babette in
exchange. They have kissed each other and let father see it! That is
as good as an engagement. The old man didn't kick; he drew in his
claws, and took his nap after dinner, and let the two sit and wag
their tails. They have so much to say, they won't be finished before

Nor had they finished before Christmas. The wind scattered the brown
leaves, the snow drifted in the valley and on the high mountains. The
Ice-Maiden sat in her noble palace, which grows in the winter; the
rocky walls were coated with ice, there were icicles ponderous as
elephants where in the summer the mountain-torrent poured its watery
deluge; ice-garlands of fantastic ice-crystals glittered on the
snow-powdered fir-trees. The Ice-Maiden rode on the whistling wind
across the deepest valleys. The snow carpet was spread quite down to
Bex, and she could come there and see Rudy within doors, more than he
was accustomed to, for he sat with Babette. The marriage was to take
place towards the summer; he often had a ringing in his ears, so
frequently did his friends talk of it. There was summer, glowing with
the most beautiful Alpine roses, the merry, laughing Babette,
beautiful as spring, the spring that makes all the birds sing of
summer and of weddings.

[Illustration: Rudy and Babette.]

"How can those two sit and hang over each other?" said the parlor cat.
"I am now quite tired of their mewing!"



The walnuts and chestnut-trees, all hung with the green garlands of
spring, spread from the bridge at St. Maurice to the margin of the
Lake of Geneva along the Rhone, which with violent speed rushes from
its source under the green glacier--the ice palace, where the
Ice-Maiden lives, whence she flies on the wind to the highest
snow-field, and there, in the strong sunlight, stretches herself on
her drifting bed. And as she sits there she looks with far-seeing
glance into the deepest valleys, where men, like ants on a sunlit
stone, busily move about.

"Powerful Spirits, as the Children of the Sun call you!" said the
Ice-Maiden, "you are creeping things! with a rolling snowball both you
and your houses and towns are crushed and effaced!" And she raised her
proud head higher, and looked about her and deep down with deathly
eyes. But from the valley was heard a rumbling, blasting of the rocks;
men were at work; roads and tunnels were being made for railways.

"They play like moles!" said she; "they are digging passages,
therefore I hear sounds like musket-shots. When I move my castle the
sound is louder than the rolling of thunder."

From the valley arose a smoke, which moved onward like a flickering
veil; it was the flying plume from a locomotive, which was drawing a
train on the recently opened railway, the winding serpent, whose
joints are the carriages.

"They play at masters down below, the Powerful Spirits!" said the
Ice-Maiden. "Yet the powers of nature are mightier!" and she laughed
and sang, and the valleys resounded.

"Now there is an avalanche rolling!" said the men below.

But the Children of the Sun sang yet higher of human ideas, the
powerful means which subdue the sea, remove mountains, fill up
valleys; human ideas, they are the lords of the powers of nature. At
the same moment there came over the snow-field, where the Ice-Maiden
sat, a party of mountain climbers; they had bound themselves to one
another with cords for greater security on the smooth plain of ice,
near the deep precipices.

"Creeping things!" said she. "You the lords of nature!" and she turned
herself away from them and looked mockingly down into the deep valley,
where the railway train was rushing past.

"There they sit, these _thinkers!_ they sit in their power! I see them
all! One sits proud as a king, alone! there they sit in a cluster!
there half of them are asleep! and when the steam dragon stops they
get out, and go their way. The thinkers go out into the world!" And
she laughed.

"There is an avalanche rolling again!" said those down below in the

"It will not reach us!" said two people behind the steam dragon; "two
souls with one thought," as they say. It was Rudy and Babette; the
miller also was with them.

"As luggage!" said he. "I am with them as something necessary!"

"There sit those two!" said the Ice-Maiden.

"Many chamois have I crushed, millions of Alpine roses have I snapped
and broken, not leaving the roots! I will blot them out! Thinkers!
Powerful Spirits!" And she laughed.

"There's an avalanche rolling again!" said those down below in the



At Montreux, one of the nearest towns which, with Clarens, Vernex, and
Glion, form a garland at the northeastern end of the Lake of Geneva,
lived Babette's godmother, an English lady of position, with her
daughters and a young relative; they had recently arrived, but the
miller had already paid them a visit, told them of Babette's
engagement, and of Rudy and the eaglet, and of his visit to
Interlaken--in short, the whole history--and they had been highly
delighted and pleased with Rudy and Babette, and with the miller; and
at last made them all three come, and so they came--Babette must see
her godmother, the godmother see Babette.

Near the little town of Villeneuve, at the end of the Lake of Geneva,
lay the steamboat which in its half-hour's journey to Vernex lies
under Montreux. This is a shore which poets have praised; here, under
the walnut-trees, on the deep blue-green lake, sat Byron, and wrote
his melodious lines on the prisoner in the Castle of Chillon. Yonder,
where Clarens is reflected with its weeping willows in the lake,
wandered Rousseau, dreaming of Heloïse. The river Rhone glides forth
under the high, snow-capped mountains of Savoy; here lies, not far
from its outlet in the lake, a little island--indeed, it is so small
that from the shore it seems to be a boat out there; it is a rock
which, more than a hundred years ago, a lady had surrounded with a
stone wall, covered with soil, and planted with three acacia-trees,
which now overshadow the whole island. Babette was quite enraptured
with the little spot--it was to her the most charming in the whole
voyage; she thought they ought to stay there, for it was a most
delightful place. But the steamboat passed by it, and stopped, as it
always did, at Vernex.

The little company wandered hence between the white, sunlit walls
which enclosed the vineyards about the little mountain town of
Montreux, where fig-trees cast a shade in front of the peasants'
cottages, and laurels and cypresses grow in the gardens. Half-way up
stood the boarding-house where the godmother was living.

They were very cordially received. The godmother was a tall, kind lady
with a round, smiling face; as a child she must have been like one of
Raphael's angel heads, but now she was an old angel head, as her
silvery hair was quite curly. The daughters were handsome,
delicate-looking, tall and slim. The young cousin, who was with them,
was entirely dressed in white from top to toe, with yellow hair and
whiskers, of which he had so much that it might have been divided
between three gentlemen, and he at once paid great attention to little

Handsomely bound books, pieces of music, and drawings were spread over
the large table, the balcony doors stood open overlooking the
beautiful, extensive lake, which was so bright and still that the
mountains of Savoy, with the country towns, woods, and snowy tops,
were all reflected in it.

Rudy, who was always bold, lively, and confident, felt himself out of
his element, as they say; and he moved about as if he were walking on
peas on a smooth floor. How slowly the hours passed! as if on the
treadmill. And now they went for a walk, and it was just as tedious;
Rudy might have taken two steps forward and then one back, and still
kept pace with the others. They walked down to Chillon, the old gloomy
castle on the rock, to see the instruments of torture, and
death-chambers, the rusty chains on the rocky walls, the stony bed for
those sentenced to death, the trap-doors through which the unfortunate
beings were precipitated downwards and impaled on the iron spikes
amidst the surf. They called it delightful to see all this. It was a
place of execution, elevated by Byron's song into the world of poetry.
Rudy felt it altogether the scene of executions; he leaned against the
great stone window-frames and looked into that deep, bluish-green
water, and over to the little solitary island with the three acacias;
he wished himself there, and away from the whole chattering party; but
Babette felt herself particularly cheerful. She said she had been
unusually entertained; she found the cousin perfect.

"Yes, a perfect chatterbox!" said Rudy; and it was the first time that
Rudy said anything which displeased her. The Englishman had presented
her with a little book as a memento of Chillon; it was a French
version of Byron's poem, _The Prisoner of Chillon_, which Babette
could read.

"The book may be good enough," said Rudy, "but I don't care for the
much-combed fellow who gave it you."

"He seemed to me like a meal-sack without any meal!" said the miller,
laughing at his own wit. Rudy also laughed, and said that it was very
well put.



A few days later, when Rudy came to call at the mill, he found the
young Englishman there. Babette was just offering him some boiled
trout, which she herself must have garnished with parsley, it looked
so dainty. That was quite unnecessary. What business had the
Englishman here? What did he come for? To enjoy refreshments from the
hands of Babette? Rudy was jealous, and that amused Babette; it
gratified her to get a glimpse of all sides of his disposition, both
strong and weak. Love was as yet but play to her, and she played with
Rudy's whole heart; and though, as one may say, he was her happiness,
the chief thought of her life, the best and grandest in the world;
yes--but the more gloomy did he look, so much the more did her eyes
laugh; she could almost have kissed the blond Englishman with the
yellow whiskers, if by that means she could succeed in sending Rudy
fuming away, for by that she would know how she was beloved by him.
But this was not right or prudent of little Babette, only she was no
more than nineteen. She did not think much of it; she thought still
less how she could explain her conduct, which was more free and easy
with the young Englishman than was suitable for the miller's modest
and recently betrothed daughter.

The mill was situated where the highroad from Bex runs under the
snow-covered peak which, the country people call the Diablerets, not
far from a rapid, grayish-white mountain stream, like foaming
soap-suds. This did not drive the mill; it was driven by a lesser
stream, which was precipitated from the rock on the other side of the
river, and was dammed up by a stone wall so as to increase its force
and headway, and carried into a closed wooden basin by a broad channel
away over the rapid river. This channel was so abundantly supplied
with water that it overflowed, and made a wet, slippery path for those
who used it as a short cut to the mill. The idea occurred to the young
Englishman to use it, and dressed in white, like a working miller, he
clambered over in the evening, guided by the light shining from
Babette's room. But he had not learnt to climb, and nearly went
head-foremost into the stream, but escaped with wet sleeves and
bespattered trousers. Muddy and dirty he came below Babette's windows,
clambered up into the old lime-tree and imitated the call of an owl,
for he could not sing like any other bird. Babette heard it, and
peeped through her thin curtains; but when she saw the white man, and
easily guessed who it was, her little heart beat with fright and with
resentment. She hastily put out her light, saw that all the
window-bolts were fastened, and left him to hoot.

[Illustration: "Babette peeped through the curtains."]

It would be terrible if Rudy were now in the mill, but Rudy was not in
the mill; no, what was much worse, he was just below it. There was
high talk, angry words; there would be fighting, perhaps murder.

Babette opened her window in alarm, called Rudy's name, and told him
to go away.

"You will not let me stay!" he shouted; "then it is an appointment!
You are expecting good friends, better than me! Shame on you,

"You are detestable!" said Babette; "I hate you!" and now she was
crying. "Go! go!"

"I have not deserved this treatment!" said he, and he went; his cheeks
were like fire, his heart was like fire.

Babette flung herself on her bed, and wept.

"I love you so much, Rudy! and you can believe that of me!"

And she was angry, very angry, and that did her good, for otherwise
she would have been deeply grieved; now she could fall asleep and
sleep the invigorating sleep of youth.



Rudy left Bex, and took the homeward path up the mountains, in the
fresh, cooling air, the domain of the Ice-Maiden. The thick foliage of
the trees deep below him looked as if they were potato plants; the
firs and the bushes appeared even less, the Alpine roses bloomed near
the snow, which lay in separate patches as if it were linen put out to
bleach. There was a single blue gentian, and he crushed it with the
butt-end of his gun.

Higher up he saw two chamois. Rudy's eyes sparkled, his thoughts took
a new flight; but he was not near enough to them for him to shoot with
confidence; so he climbed higher, where only coarse grass grew among
the blocks of stone; the chamois went placidly along the snow-fields.
Rudy hurried on eagerly, surrounded by misty clouds, and on a sudden
he stood in front of a precipitous rocky wall, and the rain began to
fall in torrents.

He felt a parching thirst, his head was hot, but his limbs were cold.
He seized his hunting-flask, but it was empty; he had not thought of
it when he rushed up the mountain. He had never been ill, but now he
had a presentiment of it; he was tired, he felt a desire to throw
himself down and go to sleep, but everything was streaming with water.
Strange objects vibrated before his eyes, but he saw on a sudden, what
he had never seen there before, a newly-built low house, leaning
against the rock, and at the door stood a young maiden. He thought it
was the schoolmaster's Annette, whom he once had kissed at a dance,
but it was not Annette, and yet he had seen her before, perhaps near
Grindelwald, that night when he went home from the shooting match at

"Where do you come from?" he demanded.

"I am at home!" said she. "I am watching my flock."

"Your flock! Where do they graze? Here are only snow and rocks!"

"You are very clever!" said she with a laugh. "Here behind us, lower
down, is a beautiful meadow! that is where my goats go. I take good
care of them! I don't lose one; what is mine remains mine!"

[Illustration: She came out with a bowl of wine and gave it to Rudy to

"You are brave!" said Rudy.

"You also!" replied she.

"Have you any milk? Pray give me some, for I am intolerably thirsty!"

"I have something better than milk!" said she, "that you shall have!
Yesterday some travelers came here with their guide; they forgot half
a bottle of wine, such as you have never tasted; they will not fetch
it, and I don't drink it, so you can have it."

And she came out with the wine, poured it into a wooden bowl, and gave
it to Rudy.

"That is good!" said he. "I have never tasted any wine so warming and
fiery!" and his eyes sparkled, and there came an animation, a glow
into him, as if all sorrow and depression had evaporated; and the
gushing, fresh human nature coursed through his veins.

"But this is surely the schoolmaster's Annette!" he exclaimed. "Give
me a kiss!"

"Then give me the pretty ring you have on your finger!"

"My engagement ring?"

"Exactly so!" said the girl; and she poured wine into the bowl, and
held it to his lips, and he drank it. The joy of living was in his
blood, he felt as if all the world belonged to him, and why should he
worry? Everything is for us to enjoy and to make us happy! The stream
of life is a stream of joy; to ride on it, to let ourselves float on
its surface, that is felicity! He looked at the young girl: it was
Annette, and still it was not Annette; even less was it the goblin
phantom, as he had called her, he met near Grindelwald. The girl here
on the mountain was fresh as the new-fallen snow, blooming as an
Alpine rose, and nimble as a kid, but still formed out of Adam's ribs,
as human as Rudy. And he put his arms around her, and gazed into her
wonderfully clear eyes. It was only for a second, and in this--who can
explain it? was it the spirit of life or of death that filled
him?--was he raised on high, or did he sink down into the deep,
murderous abyss of ice, deeper, ever deeper? He saw the walls of ice
like blue-green glass; endless crevasses gaped around him, and water
dripped sounding like chimes, and gleaming like pearls in bluish-white
flames. The Ice-Maiden gave him a kiss, and it chilled him through his
backbone and into his brain. He gave one cry of pain, dragged himself
away, stumbled and fell, and it was night before his eyes. The powers
of evil had played their game.

[Illustration: "The Ice-maiden gave him a kiss."]

When he reopened his eyes the Alpine maiden was gone, as was also the
sheltering cottage. Water drove down the bare rocky wall, the snow lay
all round him; Rudy shivered with cold, he was soaked to the skin, and
his ring was gone, his engagement ring which Babette had given him.
His gun lay by him in the snow; he took it up and wished to discharge
it, but it missed fire. Watery clouds lay like solid masses of snow in
the crevasse; Giddiness sat there and lured on her helpless prey, and
under her there was a sound in the deep crevasse as if a huge rock
were falling, crushing and sweeping away everything that would stop it
in its fall.

But in the mill Babette sat weeping. Rudy had not been near her for
six days--he who was in the wrong, he who ought to ask her
forgiveness, because she loved him with her whole heart.



"What horrid nonsense it is with these human beings!" said the parlor
cat to the kitchen cat. "Now it is broken off again with Babette and
Rudy. She is crying, and he does not think any more of her."

"I can't endure that," said the kitchen cat.

"No more can I," said the parlor cat, "but I won't grieve over it!
Babette may now be the beloved of the red whiskers! but he has not
been here since he wished to get on the roof."

The powers of evil have their game, both without us and within us.
This Rudy had discovered and thought over. What was it that had taken
place about him and in him on the top of the mountain? Was it a
vision, or a feverish dream? Never before had he known fever or
illness. He had made an examination of his own heart when he judged
Babette. Could he confess to Babette the thoughts which assailed him
in the hour of temptation? He had lost her ring, and it was exactly in
that loss that she had regained him. Would she confess to him? It
seemed as if his heart would burst asunder when he thought of her;
there arose within him so many memories; he seemed really to see her,
laughing like a merry child. Many an affectionate word she had spoken
in the abundance of her heart came like a gleam of sunshine into his
breast, and soon it was all sunshine therein for Babette.

She might be able to confess to him, and she ought to do so.

He went to the mill, and confessed, beginning with a kiss, and ending
in the admission that he was the offender. It was a great offense in
him that he could distrust Babette's fidelity; it was almost
unpardonable! Such distrust, such impetuosity might bring them both to
grief. Yes, indeed! and therefore Babette lectured him, and she was
pleased with herself, and it suited her so well. But in one thing Rudy
was right--godmother's relation was a chatterbox! She wished to burn
the book which he had given her, and not have the least thing in her
possession that could remind her of him.

"Now that's all over!" said the parlor cat. "Rudy is here again, they
understand each other, and that is the greatest good fortune, they

"I heard in the night," said the kitchen cat, "the rats say the
greatest good fortune is to eat tallow-candles and to have quite
enough rancid bacon. Now, which shall I believe--rats, or a pair of

"Neither of them!" said the parlor cat. "That is always safest."

The greatest good fortune for Rudy and Babette was close at hand; the
wedding day--the most beautiful day, as they called it.

But the marriage was not to take place at the church at Bex, or in the
miller's house; the godmother wished the wedding to be held at her
house, and that they should be married in the pretty little church at
Montreux. The miller stuck to it that this request should be complied
with; he alone was aware what the godmother intended to give the
bride for a wedding present, and considered they ought to make so
slight a concession. The day was fixed. On the previous evening they
were to journey to Villeneuve, and to proceed in the early morning to
Montreux by boat, that the godmother's daughters might deck the bride.

"There will be a feast here the day after the wedding," said the
parlor cat. "Otherwise I would not give one mew for the lot."

"There _will_ be a feast!" said the kitchen cat; "ducks and pigeons
are killed, and a whole deer hangs on the wall. It makes my mouth
water to look at it! In the morning they start on their journey."

Yes, in the morning! This evening Rudy and Babette sat together, as
betrothed, for the last time at the mill.

Out of doors was the Alpine glow, the evening bells chimed, the
daughters of the sunbeams sang: "May the best thing happen!"



The sun was set, the clouds came down in the Rhone valley between the
high mountains, the wind blew from the south, a wind from Africa, but,
over the high Alps, a tempest, rending the clouds asunder, and, when
the wind had swept by, for one instant it was quite still; the torn
clouds hung in fantastic shapes among the tree-clad mountains, and
over the rushing Rhone; they hung in shapes like antediluvian
monsters, like eagles hovering in the air and like frogs leaping in a
pool; they came down over the rapid stream, they sailed over it
although they sailed in the air. The river bore on its surface a
pine-tree torn up by the roots, watery eddies flowed before it; that
was Giddiness--there were more than one--moving in a circle on the
onward-rushing stream. The moon shone on the snow-covered mountain
tops, on the black woods and the strange white clouds, visions of
night, spirits of the powers of nature; the mountain peasants saw
them through the windows, they sailed below in crowds before the
Ice-Maiden who came from her glacier palace, and sat on her
frail-craft, the uprooted pine-tree, carrying the glacier water with
her down the stream to the open lake.

"The wedding guests are coming!" That was what whistled and sang in
the air and the water.

There were visions without and visions within. Babette dreamed a
strange dream.

It appeared to her as if she was married to Rudy, and that many years
had passed. He was now hunting chamois, but she was at home, and there
sat with her the young Englishman with the yellow whiskers. His
glances were warm, his words had a power of witchcraft; he held out
his hands to her, and she was obliged to follow him. They left her
home and went down the mountain, ever down, and it seemed to Babette
as if there lay a burden on her heart, which was always growing
heavier. It was a sin against Rudy, a sin against God. And then on a
sudden she was standing deserted; her clothes were torn by the
thorns, her hair was gray. She looked up in her grief, and on the edge
of a cliff she saw Rudy. She held out her arms towards him, but did
not venture to call or pray. Nor would it have helped her, for she
quickly saw that it was not he, but only his hunting-jacket and hat,
which were hanging on his alpenstock, as hunters set them to deceive
the chamois. And in the depth of her affliction Babette wailed out:
"Oh, that I had died on the day I was married, the day of my greatest
happiness! that would have been a happy life! that would have been the
best thing that could happen for me and Rudy! None knows his future!"
and in her impious grief she precipitated herself into a deep chasm in
the rocks. The spell was broken, and with a cry she awoke.

The dream had vanished, but she knew that she had dreamed something
dreadful, and that she had dreamed of the young Englishman, whom she
had not seen or thought of for several months. Was he in Montreux? Was
she about to see him at the wedding? Her pretty lips tightened at the
thought, and she knit her brows. But soon there came a smile, and her
eyes gleamed; the sun was shining so beautifully outside, and the
morning was that of her wedding with Rudy.

He was already in the parlor when she came down, and soon they were
away to Villeneuve. They were a very happy couple; and the miller with
them laughed and beamed in the highest spirits; he was a good father
and an upright man.

"Now we are the masters at home!" said the parlor cat.



It was not yet evening when the three happy people reached Villeneuve,
and sat down to their repast. After dinner the miller sat in an
easy-chair with his pipe, and took a little nap. The young couple went
arm in arm out of the town, then by the carriage road under the rocks
so thick with bushes, skirting the deep bluish-green lake. The gloomy
Chillon reflected its gray walls and massive towers in the clear
water; the little island with the three acacia trees lay still nearer,
appearing like a bouquet in the lake.

"It must be delightful out there!" said Babette; she had still the
strongest inclination to go there, and that wish could be immediately
fulfilled; there lay a boat by the bank, the line that held it was
easy to unfasten. They could not see any one from whom to ask
permission, and so they took the boat, for Rudy could row well.

The oars caught hold of the water like the fins of a fish, the water
that is so pliable and yet so strong, that is all a back to bear, all
a mouth to devour, mildly smiling, softness itself, and yet
overwhelming and strong to rend asunder. The water foamed in the wake
of the boat, in which in a few minutes the couple had gained the
island, where they landed. There was not more than room enough on it
for two to dance.

Rudy turned Babette round two or three times, and then, hand in hand,
they seated themselves on the little bench beneath the overhanging
acacias, and gazed into each other's eyes, while all around them was
illuminated in the splendor of the setting sun. The pine forests on
the mountains put on a lilac hue like heather when in flower, and
where the trees ceased and the bare rock came into view it glowed as
if the mountain was transparent; the clouds in the heavens were
lighted up as if with red fire, the whole lake was like a fresh,
blushing rose-leaf. Already, as the shadows lifted themselves up to the
snow-clad hills of Savoy, they became bluish, but the topmost peaks
shone as if of red lava, and for one moment looked as if these glowing
masses had raised themselves from the bowels of the earth and were not
yet extinguished. That was an Alpine glow, such as Rudy and Babette
could never hope to see the equal of. The snow-covered Dent du Midi
had a splendor like the face of the full moon when it is rising.

"So much beauty! so much happiness!" they both said.

"The earth has no more to give me!" said Rudy. "An evening hour like
this is a whole lifetime! How often have I felt my good fortune as I
feel it now, and thought, 'If all were now ended, how fortunately I
should have lived! How blessed is this world!' and the day ended; but
a new one began again, and it seemed to me that it was fairer still!
Heaven is infinitely good, Babette!"

"I am so happy!" said she.

"Earth has nothing more to give me!" exclaimed Rudy.

And the evening bells chimed from the mountains of Savoy, from the
mountains of Switzerland; the dark blue Jura lifted itself towards the
west in a golden luster.

"God give thee what is grandest and best!" exclaimed Babette.

"That He will!" said Rudy. "To-morrow I shall have it! to-morrow thou
wilt be mine! my own little, charming wife!"

"The boat!" cried Babette at that moment.

The boat, which was to take them back, had broken loose and drifted
from the island.

"I will fetch it!" said Rudy, throwing off his coat; and he pulled off
his boots, sprang into the lake, and took rapid strokes towards the

Cold and deep was the clear, bluish-green water from the mountain
glacier. Rudy looked down below, only one single glance--and he
thought he saw a golden ring rolling, and gleaming, and playing--he
thought of his lost betrothal ring, and the ring became larger, and
expanded into a sparkling circle, and in that shone the clear glacier;
interminable deep crevasses yawned around him, and the dripping water
sounded like a carillon of bells and gleamed with bluish flames; in an
instant he saw what we have to tell in so many words. Young huntsmen
and young maidens, men and women, once swallowed up in the crevasses
of the glacier, stood here alive, with open eyes and smiling mouth,
and deep under them came the sound of church bells from submerged
towns; a congregation knelt under the church arches, pieces of ice
formed the organ-pipes, mountain torrents played on it. The Ice-Maiden
sat on the clear, transparent floor; she raised herself up towards
Rudy, kissed his feet, and there ran a deadly coldness through his
limbs, an electric shock--ice and fire! one does not know the
difference at the first touch.

"Mine! mine!" sounded about him and in him. "I kissed thee when thou
wast little! I kissed thee on the mouth! now I kiss thee on the toe
and on the heel--thou art mine altogether!"

And he was lost in the clear blue water.

All was still; the church bells ceased to ring, the last notes died
away with the splendor on the red clouds. "Mine thou art!" sounded
again in the depths; "Mine thou art!" sounded in the heights, from the

The icy kiss of Death overcame that which was corruptible; the prelude
was over before the drama of life could begin, the discord resolved
into harmony.

It is beautiful to fly from love to Love, from earth into the Heaven.

Do you call that a sad story?

Unfortunate Babette! It was a fearful time for her! the boat drifted
farther and farther away. No one on shore knew that the bridal pair
were on the little island. Night drew on; the clouds descended and it
became dark. She stood there alone, despairing, weeping. A furious
storm broke over her; lightning illuminated the mountains of Jura,
Switzerland, and Savoy, and thunder rolled continuously. The
lightning was almost as bright as the sun; one could see each single
vine as at midday, and then immediately everything would be shrouded
in the thickest darkness. The flashes formed knots, rings, zig-zags;
they struck round about the lake, they shone from all sides, while the
peals were increased by the echoes. On the land people drew the boats
higher up the banks; every living thing sought shelter, and the rain
poured down in torrents.

"Wherever are Rudy and Babette in this furious storm?" said the

Babette sat with clasped hands, with her head in her lap speechless
with grief.

"In that deep water!" she said within herself. "He is deep down, as
under the glacier!"

And she remembered what Rudy had told her of his mother's death, of
his own rescue, and how he had been brought up as one dead out of the
crevasse in the glacier. "The Ice-Maiden has him again!"

And the lightning flashed as blinding as a ray of the sun on the white
snow. Babette started; the lake lifted itself at that instant, like a
shining glacier; the Ice-Maiden stood there, majestic, pale blue,
shining, and at her feet lay Rudy's corpse. "Mine!" said she; and
round about was again darkness and gloom, and rushing water.

"Cruel!" moaned Babette. "Why then should he die, when the happy day
was come! O God! enlighten my understanding! shine into my heart! I
cannot understand Thy ways, but I bow to Thy power and wisdom!"

And God shone into her heart. A flash of thought, a ray of light, her
dream of last night, as if it were real, seemed to shine through her;
she called to mind the words which she had spoken: she had wished for
_the best thing_ for herself and Rudy.

"Woe is me! was that the seed of sin in my heart? was my dream a future
life, whose string must be snapped for my salvation? Miserable me!"

She sat wailing in the gloomy, dark night. In the deep stillness she
thought that Rudy's words sounded again, the last he had uttered:
"Earth has nothing more to give me!" They had been said in the
abundance of happiness, they came back to her in the depth of her

[Illustration: The Ice-Maiden stood there, majestic, pale blue,
shining, and at her feet lay Rudy.]

A couple of years have elapsed. The lake smiles, the banks smile; the
vines put forth swelling grapes; steamboats with waving flags hurry
past, pleasure-boats with both their sails set fly like white
butterflies over the expanse of water; the railway above Chillon has
been opened, and leads deep into the Rhone valley. At every station
visitors get out, they come with their red guide-books and read to
themselves what remarkable things they have to see. They visit
Chillon, they see from thence in the lake the little island with the
three acacias, and read in the book of a bridal pair who, in the year
1856, sailed thither one evening, of the bridegroom's death and: "next
morning the bride's despairing cry was first heard on the shore."

But the guide-books make no mention of Babette's quiet life with her
father, not in the mill--strangers live there--but in the pretty
house near the railway station, where from the windows she often looks
out in the afternoon over the chestnut trees to the snow mountains
where Rudy used to disport himself; she sees in the evenings the
Alpine glow, the Children of the Sun encamping above and repeating the
song of the traveler whose mantle the whirlwind carried away; it took
the covering, but not the man himself.

There is a rosy luster on the snow of the mountains, there is a rosy
luster in every heart where the thought is: "God lets that which is
best come to pass!" but that is not always revealed to us as it was to
Babette in her dream.


Poor Johannes was sorely afflicted, for his father was ill, past all
hope of recovery. Besides their two selves, not a soul was present in
the little room. The lamp on the table was flickering, and it was late
at night.

"You have been a good son, Johannes," said the sick father, "and God
will, no doubt, help you on in the world." And he gazed at him with
mild and thoughtful eyes, fetched a deep sigh, and then died--though
he only looked as if he had gone to sleep. But Johannes wept; for now
he had nobody in the wide world--neither father, mother, sister, nor
brother. Poor Johannes! He knelt down beside the bed, kissed his dead
father's hand, and shed many, many bitter tears! But at length his
eyes closed, and he fell asleep against the hard bedpost.

He had then a strange dream. He thought the sun and moon came down to
him, and he saw his father again in full health and freshness, and
heard him laugh as he used to do when he was pleased. A pretty girl,
with a gold crown on her long, shining hair, presented her hand to
him; and his father said: "Look what a bride you have won. She is the
loveliest maid upon earth." He then woke, and all these fine things
vanished; his father lay dead and cold in his bed, and nobody was near
them. Poor Johannes!

In the following week, the dead man was buried. The son followed close
behind the coffin, for he was never again to behold the father who had
loved him so dearly. He heard them fling the earth down upon the
coffin, and still saw a little corner of it left; but, at the next
shovelful, even that disappeared. Then he felt as though his heart
would break, so afflicted was he. They sang a psalm round the grave,
and it sounded so beautiful that it brought tears into Johannes' eyes.
He wept, and felt relieved. The sun shone down gloriously on the green
trees, just as if it meant to say: "You must not be so mournful,
Johannes. Look how beautifully blue the sky is yonder! Your father is
up above, and is begging of the All-merciful that you may thrive at
all times!"

"I will always be good," said Johannes, "then I shall join my father
in heaven; and what joy it will be to meet him again! How much I shall
have to tell him, and how much he will have to teach me about the
delights of heaven, just as he used to teach me here on earth. Oh,
what joy that will be!"

He fancied it all so plainly that he smiled, while the tears still ran
down his cheeks. The birds in the chestnut trees kept twittering,
"Twit! twit!" They were gay, although they had been at the funeral;
but they knew that the dead man was now in heaven, and had wings much
larger and more beautiful than their own; and that he was happy,
because he had been good here on earth: and, therefore, they were
pleased. Johannes saw how they flew from the green trees out into the
wide world, and then he wished to fly away also. But he first cut out
a large wooden cross to place on his father's grave; and when he
brought it thither in the evening, he found the grave decked with
gravel and flowers. This had been done by strangers, who all esteemed
the worthy man who had gone to his last home.

Early the next morning, Johannes packed up his little bundle, and put
into his girdle his whole legacy, consisting of fifty dollars and a
couple of silver shillings, with which he meant to wander forth into
the world. But first of all he repaired to his father's grave in the
churchyard, where he repeated the Lord's Prayer, and then said,

Abroad in the fields through which he passed, all the flowers looked
fresh and lovely in the warm sunshine. And they nodded in the wind,
just as if they meant to say: "Welcome to the greenwood! Is it not
delightful here?" But Johannes turned round to give a last look at the
old church, in which he was christened as an infant, and where he used
to go with his father every Sunday to hear the service, and to sing
his psalm; and in so doing he perceived, in one of the upper loopholes
of the church tower, the little goblin belonging to it, who stood
with his little pointed, red cap on his head, shading his countenance
with his arm, so that the sun might not stream into his eyes. Johannes
nodded farewell to him; and the little goblin waved his red cap, laid
his hand on his heart, and then kissed his hand to him, to show that
he was kindly disposed towards him, and wished him a happy journey.

Johannes now thought of how many beautiful things he should see in the
wide world, so large and so magnificent as it was; and he went on and
on much further than he had ever been before. He did not know the
places through which he passed, nor the people whom he met. He was now
abroad in a foreign land.

The first night he was obliged to lie on a haycock in the open fields,
for he had no other bed. But this he thought was so nice a bed that
the king himself could not be better off. The field, and the haycock,
with the blue sky above, certainly formed a very pretty bed-chamber.
The green grass, dotted with little red and white flowers, was the
carpet; the elder bushes and hedges of wild roses were the nosegays
that decorated the room; and his washing-basin was the brook, with its
clear, pure waters, where the reeds were nodding to bid him good night
and good morning. The moon was a large lamp, high up in the blue
ceiling, and one that could not set fire to the curtains. Johannes
might sleep in peace, and he did so, nor did he wake till the sun
rose, and all the little birds around were singing: "Good morrow! Good
morrow! Are you not yet up?"

The bells were ringing for church, for it was Sunday. The people were
going to hear the preacher, and Johannes followed them, sang a psalm,
and heard the word of God. He felt just as if he were in his own
parish church, in which he had been christened, and where he sang
psalms with his father.

In the churchyard were several graves, some of which were overgrown
with very high grass. And he thought how his father's grave would grow
to look the same in the end, as he would not be there to weed it and
deck it. So he fell to work and tore up the grass, and set up the
wooden crosses that had fallen down, and replaced the wreaths that had
been blown away by the wind, thinking all the time, "Perhaps some one
is doing the same for my father's grave, as I am unable to take care
of it."

Before the church door stood an aged beggar, leaning on a crutch.
Johannes gave him his silver shillings, and then went forth on his
way, lighter and happier than he had felt before.

Towards evening there arose a violent storm, which made him hasten to
find a shelter. Darkness soon came on; but at length he reached a
small and lonely church that stood on a little hill.

"I will sit down in a corner," said he, as he went in; "I am so tired
that I need rest." He then sat down, and folded his hands, and said
his evening prayer; and before he perceived it, he was fast asleep,
and dreaming, while a thunderstorm was raging abroad.

When he awoke, it was in the middle of the night, but the fearful
storm was over, and the moon shone in through the window to greet him.
In the middle of the church stood an open coffin, in which lay the
body of a man, that was awaiting burial. Johannes was not fearful, for
he had a good conscience; and, besides, he knew that the dead never
injure any one. It is only living, wicked men that do any harm. Two
such bad characters stood beside the dead man that was lying in the
church awaiting burial, and they wanted to vent their spite, by not
letting him rest in his coffin, and casting his poor body outside the
church door.

"Why do you want to do so?" asked Johannes. "It would be very wicked.
In Christ's name, let him rest in peace!"

"Oh, stuff and nonsense!" said the two hideous men; "he has taken us
in. He owed us money, and couldn't pay it; and now he is dead into the
bargain, and we shan't recover a penny! Therefore we will take our
revenge, and he shall lie outside the church door like a dog."

"I have nothing in the world but fifty dollars," said Johannes, "which
form my whole patrimony; yet will I willingly give them to you,
provided you promise truly to leave the dead man in peace. I shall
manage without the money. I have strong and healthy limbs, and a
merciful God will assist me in times of need!"

"Of course," said the ugly men, "if you pay his debt, we will neither
of us lay a finger upon him--that you may depend upon." And hereupon
they took the money which he gave them, laughed aloud at his simple
good nature, and went their ways. Then he laid the body carefully back
into the coffin, folded the dead man's hands, took leave of him and
continued his way through a large forest, in a contented frame of

All around him, wherever the moon shone through the trees, he saw
numbers of elegant little elves at play. His presence did not disturb
them, for they knew him to be a good and harmless son of the earth;
for it is only bad people who are not privileged to see the elves.
Some of them were not taller than the breadth of one's finger, and
wore their long yellow hair fastened up with gold combs. They were
rocking themselves, two by two, on the large dewdrops that sparkled on
the leaves and the tall grass. Now and then the drop would roll away,
and down they fell between the long blades, occasioning a deal of
laughter and merriment amongst the tiny folk. It was a pretty sight.
Then they sang, and Johannes recognized distinctly all the pretty
songs he had learned as a little boy. Large speckled spiders, with
silver crowns upon their heads, were set to build suspension bridges
and palaces from one hedge to another, which, when spangled by the
dew, glittered like glass in the moonshine. These frolics continued
till sunrise, when the little elves crept into the flower-buds and the
wind took possession of their bridges and palaces, which were tossed
upon the air as cobwebs.

Johannes had just left the forest, when the full-toned voice of a man
cried out to him, "Ho there, comrade! whither are you going?"

"Into the wide world," said he. "I have neither father nor mother, and
am a poor boy; but the Lord will help me in time of need."

"I am likewise going into the wide world," said the stranger. "Shall
we keep each other company?"

"Willingly," said he; and so they walked on together. They soon felt a
mutual liking for each other, for both were good; only Johannes soon
found out that the stranger was much wiser than himself. He had
traveled throughout nearly the whole world, and could tell of
everything that existed.

The sun was already high when they sat down under a tree to eat their
breakfast, just as an old woman was coming up to them. She was very
aged, and almost bent double, and supported herself on a crutch-stick,
while she carried on her back a bundle of firewood, which she had
gathered in the forest. Her apron was tucked up, and Johannes saw
three large rods of fern and willow twigs peeping out at each end.
When she was quite close to our travelers, her foot slipped, and she
fell with a loud scream, for she had broken her leg--poor old woman!

Johannes at once proposed that they should carry the old woman home;
but the stranger opened his knapsack, and took out a box, saying that
he had an ointment which would immediately make her leg whole again,
and so strong that she would be able to walk home by herself, just as
if the accident had never happened: only he required that she should
give him in return the three rods she carried in her apron.

"That would be well paid," said the old woman, nodding her head in a
peculiar manner. She did not like giving up the rods; but, on the
other hand, it was still more disagreeable to be lying there with a
broken limb. So she gave him the rods, and the moment he had rubbed
her leg with the ointment the old dame got up, and walked much better
than before. Such were the effects of the ointment; and truly it was
not of a sort to be purchased at the apothecary's.

"What do you want with these rods?" asked Johannes of his

"They are three very pretty herb-brooms," said he, "and I like them,
because I am a foolish fellow."

They then went on a good deal further.

"Look how overcast the sky appears!" said Johannes, pointing before
them. "Those are frightfully heavy clouds."

"No," said his fellow-traveler, "they are not clouds; they are
mountains--fine, large mountains--at the top of which one may overlook
the clouds, and breathe fresh air. And delightful it is, believe me,
to stand there! To-morrow we shall assuredly be far out in the wide

But they were not so near as they looked, and it took a full day
before they had reached the mountains, where the black forests were
towering up to the sky, and where blocks of stone might be found as
huge as a large town. It seemed a somewhat difficult undertaking to
cross them; therefore, Johannes and his fellow-traveler turned into an
inn, in order to rest and gather strength for the next day's

A number of persons were assembled in the tap-room of the inn, where a
man was exhibiting a puppet-show. He had just set up his little
theater, and the people were sitting round to see the play. But, right
in front, a stout butcher had sat himself down in the very best place,
while a great bulldog by his side--who looked wondrously snappish--sat
staring like the rest of the audience.

The play now began. It was a very pretty piece, with a king and queen,
who sat on a splendid throne, with gold crowns on their heads and long
trains to their robes; for their means allowed them to indulge in such
luxuries. The prettiest little puppets, with glass eyes and large
mustaches, stood at all the doors, and opened and shut them, to let in
fresh air. It was a very agreeable play, and not at all mournful. But,
just as the queen got up, and passed across the stage, no one knows
what the huge bulldog took into his head; but, being no longer held by
the butcher, he jumped right into the theater, and seized the queen by
the middle of her slender waist, so that it cracked again. It was
quite shocking to hear.

The poor man who exhibited the show was both frightened and sorry for
the loss of his queen, for she was the most elegant puppet in his
stock, and the ugly bulldog had bitten her head off. But when the rest
of the spectators had retired, the stranger who traveled with Johannes
said that he would set her to rights, and taking out his box, he
smeared the puppet with the same ointment that had cured the old
woman's broken leg. The moment this was done, the puppet was whole
again, and could even move all her limbs of herself, and no longer
required to be pulled by wires. The puppet was like a human being,
except that it could not speak. The showman was vastly delighted, for
now he had no longer any occasion to hold this puppet, who could dance
of her own accord, which none of the others could do.

Late at night, when all the folks at the inn had gone to bed, somebody
was heard to sigh so dreadfully deep, and so frequently, that the
whole household got up, to see what could be the matter. The showman
went to his little theater, for it was from thence the sighing
proceeded. All the wooden puppets were lying in a heap; the king and
his body-guard it was who were sighing so piteously, and staring with
their glass eyes, because they wished to be smeared a little like the
queen, in order that they might move of themselves. The queen knelt
down and lifted up her pretty crown, saying, "Take this, but do smear
my husband and my courtiers." The poor showman could not then help
crying, for he was really sorry for his puppets. He immediately
promised Johannes' fellow-traveler all the money he might earn on the
following evening through his puppet-show, if he would only smear four
or five of his prettiest puppets. But the fellow-traveler said he did
not require anything but the large sword that he wore at his side, on
receiving which, he besmeared six puppets, that immediately danced so
gracefully that all living girls that beheld them were irresistibly
impelled to dance likewise. The coachman and the cook began dancing,
then the waiters and the chambermaids, and all the strangers present,
as well as the shovel and the tongs--only the latter fell down at the
very first leap. They had indeed, a merry night of it!

Next morning, Johannes started with his fellow-traveler, before any of
the others were astir, and crossed the large forest of fir-trees, in
their way up the high mountains. They climbed to such a height that
the church steeples below looked like little blue berries in the green
grass, and they could see for miles and miles around, where they had
never yet been. Johannes had never before seen so much at once of the
beauties of this lovely world. And then the sun shone so warmly
through the fresh blue air, and the huntsmen's horns echoed so
beautifully between the mountains, that tears came into his eyes, and
he could not forbear exclaiming, "All-merciful God! what a kind Father
Thou art to us, to have given us all the fine things to be seen in the

His fellow-traveler likewise stood with folded hands, and gazed upon
the forest, and the towns that lay in the bright sunshine. At the same
moment, they heard a lovely sound above their heads, and on looking
up, they perceived a large white swan hovering in the air, and singing
as no bird had ever sung before. But its voice grew weaker and weaker,
till its head drooped, and it slowly dropped down to their feet, where
the poor bird lay quite dead.

"Two such beautiful wings," said the fellow-traveler, "so white and so
large as this bird's, are worth some money; so I will take them with
me. You see it was well that I obtained a sword." And he cut off the
two wings of the dead swan at a single blow, and kept them.

They now traveled many miles across the mountains till they at length
reached a large city containing hundreds of towers, that shone like
silver in the sunshine. In the midst of the town stood a handsome
marble palace, roofed with pure red gold, in which dwelt the king.

Johannes and his fellow-traveler did not care to enter the town
immediately, but went into an inn, situated in the outskirts, in order
to dress themselves; for they wished to look tidy when they walked
through the streets. The landlord informed them how good a man the
king was, and that he never injured anybody; but as to his
daughter--heaven defend us!--she was a bad princess indeed! Beauty she
possessed in abundance: nobody was prettier or more elegant than
herself. But what of that? She was a wicked witch, and was the cause
of many accomplished princes having lost their lives. She had given
leave to everybody to woo her. Any one might present himself, be he a
prince or a beggar; it was all the same to her. Only he must guess
three things that she had thought of and questioned him about. If he
succeeded, he was to marry her, and become king over all the land at
her father's death; but if he could not guess the three things, he was
then to be hung, or to have his head struck off. Her father the old
king, was deeply concerned at all this: but he could not forbid her
being so wicked because he had once declared that he would never
meddle with her lovers and that she might do as she liked about them.
Every time a prince came to try his luck at guessing, in order to
obtain the princess's hand, he was sure to fail, and was, therefore,
hung or beheaded. He had been warned betimes that it would be safer to
desist from his suit. The old king was so afflicted at the mourning
and wretchedness thus occasioned that, for one whole day in the year,
he and all his soldiers used to kneel and pray that the princess might
grow good; but she would not. The old women who tippled brandy used to
color it quite black before they drank it; this was their way of
mourning, and they could not well do more.

"What a shocking princess!" said Johannes. "She deserves the rod, and
it would do her good. If I were the old king, she should have been
thrashed long ago."

They now heard the mob cheering outside the inn. The princess was
passing, and she was really so beautiful that everybody forgot how
wicked she was, and therefore hurrahed. Twelve beautiful maidens,
dressed in white silk clothes and holding golden tulips in their
hands, rode by her side on coal-black horses. The princess herself was
mounted on a snow-white steed, with diamond and ruby trappings. Her
riding-dress was of gold brocade; and the whip she held in her hand
looked like a sunbeam. The gold crown on her head resembled the little
stars twinkling in the heavens, while her mantle consisted of
thousands of splendid butterflies' wings stitched together. Yet, in
spite of this magnificence, she was herself far more beautiful than
her clothes.

When Johannes caught sight of her, his face grew as red as a drop of
blood, and he was struck completely dumb; for the princess exactly
resembled the beautiful girl with the golden crown, whom he had
dreamed of the night his father died. He thought her most beautiful,
and could not help loving her passionately. It could not be possible,
thought he, that she was a wicked witch, who ordered people to be hung
or beheaded when they were unable to guess what she asked. "But since
every one, down to the poorest beggar, is free to woo her," said he,
"I will repair to the palace, for I cannot resist doing so." Everybody
advised him not to attempt such a thing, as he must inevitably fail
like the rest. His fellow-traveler, likewise, warned him to desist;
but Johannes thought he should succeed. He brushed his shoes and his
coat, washed his hands and face, combed his pretty flaxen hair, and
then went alone into the town, and proceeded to the palace.

"Come in," said the old king, when Johannes knocked at the door.
Johannes opened it, and the old king came forward to meet him in his
dressing-gown and embroidered slippers; he wore his crown on his
head, and bore his scepter in one hand and his ball in the other.
"Wait a bit," said he, putting the ball under his arm, to leave one
hand free to present to Johannes. But the moment he heard he came as a
suitor, he began to weep so violently that both ball and scepter fell
on the floor, and he was fain to wipe his eyes with the skirts of his
dressing-gown. Poor old king!

"Think not of it," said he, "you will fare as badly as all the others.
Come, you shall see."

He then led him into the princess's pleasure-garden, and a frightful
sight was there to behold! From every tree hung three or four kings'
sons who had wooed the princess, but had been unable to guess her
riddles. At every breeze that blew, all these skeletons rattled till
the little birds were frightened, and never dared to come into the
garden. All the flowers were propped with human bones; and human
skulls might be seen grinning in flowerpots. It was an odd garden for
a princess.

"Now, you see," said the old king, "your fate will be just the same as
that of all the others whose remains you behold. Therefore give up
the attempt. You really make me quite unhappy, for I take it so to

Johannes kissed the good old king's hand, and assured him that all
would be well; for he was quite enchanted with the lovely princess.

As the princess then rode into the palaceyard, accompanied by all her
ladies, they went out to greet her. She was marvelously fair to look
upon, as she presented her hand to Johannes. And he thought a great
deal more of her than he did before; and felt certain she could not be
a wicked witch, as everybody said she was. They then went into a room
where little pages handed them sweetmeats and gingerbread-nuts. But
the old king was so out of sorts, he could not eat at all. Besides,
the gingerbread-nuts were too hard for him.

It was agreed that Johannes should return to the palace on the
following morning, when the judges and the whole council would be
assembled to see and hear how the guessing was carried on. If he
succeeded, he was then to return twice more; but there never yet had
been anybody who had been able to solve any question the first time,
and in each case his life was forfeited.

Johannes felt no anxiety as to how he should fare. On the contrary, he
was pleased, and thought only of the beautiful princess; and was quite
confident that God would help him through his trials. Though how this
was to be accomplished he knew not, and preferred not troubling
himself to think about the matter. He capered along on the high-road,
as he returned to the inn where his fellow-traveler was waiting his

Johannes could not cease expatiating on the gracious reception he had
met with from the princess, and on her extreme beauty. He quite longed
for the morrow, when he was to go to the palace and try his luck at

But his fellow-traveler shook his head mournfully. "I wish you so
well!" said he. "We might have remained together a good deal longer,
and now I must lose you! Poor, dear Johannes! I could weep, only I
will not spoil your joy on the last evening that we may ever spend
together. We will be merry--right merry! To-morrow, when you are gone,
I shall be able to weep undisturbed."

All the inhabitants of the town had immediately heard that there was a
new suitor for the princess's hand, and there prevailed universal
consternation. The theater was closed; the pastry-cooks put crape
round their sugar-husbands; and the king and the priests were on their
knees in the church. This sadness was occasioned by the conviction
that Johannes could not succeed better than all the other suitors had

Towards evening Johannes' fellow-traveler prepared a goodly bowl of
punch, and said: "Now let us be merry, and drink the princess's
health." But after drinking a couple of glasses, Johannes proved so
sleepy, that he could not possibly keep his eyes open, and fell fast
asleep. His fellow-traveler then lifted him gently out of his chair,
and laid him in bed; and when it was quite dark, he took the two large
wings he had cut off from the dead swan, and fastened them firmly to
his own shoulders. He then put into his pocket the largest rod that
he had obtained from the old woman who fell and broke her leg; and
opening the window, he flew over the town, straight to the palace,
where he placed himself in an upper corner of the building right under
the princess's bed-chamber.

The whole town was perfectly quiet. The clock now struck a quarter to
twelve, when the window opened, and the princess, wrapped in a flowing
white mantle, and provided with a pair of black wings, flew over the
city towards a large mountain. But the fellow-traveler made himself
invisible; and as he flew behind the princess, he thrashed her with
his rod till she bled. What a strange flight through the air it was!
The wind caught her mantle, which swelled out on all sides like the
large sail of a ship, and the moon shone through it.

"How it does hail, to be sure!" said the princess, at every blow she
received from the rod; and such weather suited her. At last she
reached the mountain, and knocked for admittance. Then came a noise
like a clap of thunder, while the mountain opened, and the princess
went in. The fellow-traveler followed her, for nobody could see him,
as he was invisible. They went through a long, wide passage, where the
walls shone brilliantly from the light of above a thousand glittering
spiders that were running up and down and illuminating them like fire.
They next entered a large hall built of silver and gold; red and blue
flowers as large as sunflowers were beaming from the walls; but nobody
could pluck them, for the stems were ugly, venomous serpents, and the
flowers were the flames their jaws kept vomiting forth. The whole
ceiling was covered with glow-worms and light-blue bats that were
flapping their thin wings. It looked quite frightful. In the middle of
the floor stood a throne that was supported by the skeletons of four
horses, whose harness had been furnished by the red, fiery spiders.
The throne itself was of milk-white glass, and the cushions were
little black mice that kept biting each other's tails. Above it was a
canopy of a deep-red cobweb, dotted with the prettiest little green
flies that sparkled like precious stones. On the throne sat an old
magician, with a crown on his ugly head and a scepter in his hand. He
kissed the princess on her forehead, and placed her beside him on his
splendid throne, and then the music struck up. Huge black grasshoppers
played the jew's-harp, while the owl beat a tattoo on its own body,
having no better drum. It was a ludicrous concert. Little dark-colored
goblins, with a will-o'-the-wisp in their caps, danced about the room.
But nobody could see the fellow-traveler, who had placed himself right
behind the throne, where he could see and hear everything. The
courtiers, who now came in, were very delicate and genteel. But
anybody who could see what is what, would quickly perceive what they
were made of. They were nothing better than broomsticks with cabbages
for their heads, whom the magician had conjured into life, and whom he
had tricked out in embroidered clothes. However, they did just as
well, as they were only wanted for show.

After a little dancing, the princess related to the magician that she
had a new suitor, and consulted him as to what she should ask him
next morning when he came to the palace.

"I will tell you what," said the magician; "you must choose something
easy, and then he'll never hit upon it. Think of one of your shoes.
He'll never guess that. Then you will have him beheaded, and mind you
don't forget to bring me his eyes to-morrow night."

The princess bowed, and said she would not forget to bring them. The
magician then opened the mountain, and she flew back; but the
fellow-traveler followed her, and struck her so smartly with the rod,
that she sighed most deeply over such a hail-storm, and hastened all
she could to reach her bed-chamber through the window. The
fellow-traveler then returned to the inn, where Johannes was still
asleep, took off his wings, and went to bed likewise, for he might
well be tired.

Johannes woke at an early hour next morning. His fellow-traveler got
up, and told him that he had had a strange dream that night about the
princess and her shoe, and therefore urged him to ask whether it was
not her shoe that the princess was thinking about? For this he had
learned from the magician in the mountain.

"I may as well ask that as anything else," said Johannes. "Perhaps
your dream may turn out to be the truth, for I trust in God to help me
through. Still, I will take leave of you, because should I guess
wrong, I shall never see you again."

They then embraced one another, and Johannes went into the town, and
walked to the palace. The whole hall was filled with people. The
judges sat in their armchairs, with their heads propped up by
eider-down cushions, because they had so much to think about. The old
king stood wiping his eyes with a white pocket-handkerchief. The
princess now entered. She looked more beautiful than even the day
before, and saluted the assembly with charming grace. But she extended
her hand to Johannes, saying: "Good morning to you."

Johannes was now called upon to guess what she had thought of. Bless
me! how kindly she did look at him! But no sooner had he pronounced
the single word "shoe," than she turned as pale as chalk, and trembled
all over. Still, this did not serve her much, since he had guessed

But, goodness! how pleased the old king was--he cut a caper that was
quite pleasant to behold! And all present clapped their hands, to
cheer both him and Johannes, who had been successful in this, his
first ordeal.

The fellow-traveler was likewise much rejoiced on hearing how matters
had turned out. But Johannes folded his hands and thanked his God, who
he felt certain would help him through the two next times. On the
following day, he was to make a second attempt at guessing.

The evening passed much the same as the foregoing one. When Johannes
had gone to sleep, his fellow-traveler flew after the princess to the
mountain, and thrashed her more violently than before, having taken
two rods with him. Nobody saw him, and he heard all that was said. The
princess was to think of her glove, and this he repeated to Johannes,
as if it had been a dream. So that he was able to guess correctly,
which occasioned great joy amongst the inmates of the palace. The
whole court cut capers as they had seen the king do the first time.
But the princess lay on the sofa, and would not speak a word. All now
depended on whether Johannes could guess right the third time. If he
succeeded, he was to marry the beautiful princess, and reign over the
land at the old king's death. But if he guessed wrong, he was to
forfeit his life, and the magician would have his beautiful blue eyes.

On the preceding evening, Johannes went to bed early, said his
prayers, and then fell into a quiet sleep. But his fellow-traveler
tied his wings to his back, and put his sword at his side, and taking
the three rods with him, flew towards the palace.

It was as dark as pitch, and there was such a storm that the tiles
were flying off from the roofs of the houses, and the trees in the
garden, where hung the skeletons, bent like so many reeds beneath the
wind. It lightened every moment, and the thunder rolled along as
though it was a single clap that lasted through the whole night. The
window now opened, and the princess flew out. She was as pale as
death, but she laughed at the bad weather, and thought it was scarcely
bad enough. And her white mantle fluttered in the wind like a large
sail, while the fellow-traveler thrashed her with the three rods till
her blood flowed, and she could scarcely fly any farther. She managed,
however, to reach the mountain.

"This is a violent hail-storm," said she; "I was never out in such
weather before."

"There may be too much of a good thing," observed the magician.

She now told him that Johannes had guessed aright the second time, and
should he succeed again on the following morning, he would then have
won, and she would never again be able to come to the mountain, or to
practise magic arts as she had hitherto done; therefore was she quite
out of spirits.

"He shall not be able to guess it," said the magician, "for I will
find out something that he will never hit upon, unless he is a greater
conjurer than myself. But now let's be merry!" And then he took both
the princess's hands, and they danced about with all the little
goblins, wearing will-o'-the-wisp lights, that were in the room. The
red spiders jumped just as merrily up and down the walls; it looked as
if the fiery flowers were emitting sparks. The owl beat the drum, the
crickets whistled, and the black grasshoppers played on the
jew's-harp. It was a frolicsome ball.

When they had danced enough the princess was obliged to go home, for
fear of being missed in the palace. The magician said he would
accompany her, that they might be together a little longer.

They then flew away through the bad weather, while the fellow-traveler
broke his three rods across their shoulders. The magician had never
been out in such a hail-storm before. Just on reaching the palace, and
on bidding the princess farewell, he whispered, "Think of my head."
But the fellow-traveler heard him, and just as the princess slipped in
at her bedroom window, and the magician was about to turn round, he
seized him by the long black beard, and cut off his ugly head at a
single stroke from his sword, so that the magician had not even time
to see him. He then threw the body into the sea, to serve as food for
the fishes; but he merely dipped the head in the waters, and then tied
it up in his silk handkerchief, and took it to the inn, and went to

Next morning he gave the bundle to Johannes, bidding him not open it
till the princess should ask him what she was thinking of.

There were so many spectators in the large hall of the palace, that
they stood as thick as radishes tied in a bunch. The council sat on
their armchairs with the soft cushions, and the old king was dressed
in new clothes; his golden crown and scepter had been furbished up;
and the whole scene looked very solemn. But the princess was pale as
ashes, and wore a coal-black dress, as though she were attending a
funeral. "What have I thought of?" asked she of Johannes. And he
immediately opened the silk handkerchief, when he was himself quite
startled on beholding the ugly magician's head. Everybody shuddered,
for it was frightful to look at; but the princess sat like a statue,
and could not speak a word. At length she rose and gave her hand to
Johannes, for he had guessed aright. She looked neither to the right
nor the left, but sighed out: "Now you are my master! Our wedding will
be celebrated this evening."

"So much the better," said the old king, "that's just what I wish."
All present cried "Hurrah!" The soldiers on parade struck up their
music in the streets, the bells were set-a-ringing, the pastry-cooks
took the black crape off their sugar-husbands, and rejoicings were
held everywhere. Three oxen, stuffed with ducks and chickens, and
roasted whole, were placed in the middle of the market-place, and
every one was free to cut a slice; the fountains spouted the most
delicious wine; and if one bought a penny cracknel at the baker's one
received six large biscuits as a present--and the biscuits had raisins
in them!

Towards night the whole town was illuminated, the soldiers fired
cannons, and the boys let off pop-guns; and there was a deal of
eating, and drinking, and crushing, and capering at the palace. All
the fine gentlemen and the beautiful young ladies danced together, and
one might hear them from afar singing the following song:--

    "Here are many maidens fair,
      Who twirl like any spinning-wheel,
    And tread the floor as light as air;
      Still round and round, sweet maiden, reel,
    And dance away the mazes through,
    Until the sole has left your shoe."

But the princess was still a witch, and could not endure Johannes.
This struck his fellow-traveler, and therefore he gave Johannes three
feathers out of the swan's wings, and a small phial containing only a
few drops, and told him to place a large vat full of water in front of
the princess's bed, and when the princess was about to get into bed,
he must give her a slight push, so that she should fall into the
water, into which he must dip her three times, having taken care first
to shake in the feathers and the contents of the phial. The magic
spell would then be broken, and she would love him tenderly.

Johannes did all that his fellow-traveler suggested. The princess
shrieked aloud when he dipped her into the water, and struggled out of
his hands under the form of a coal-black swan with fiery eyes. The
second time she rose to the surface the swan had become white, all but
a black ruff round its neck. Johannes prayed to God, and made the bird
dive down a third time, when it was suddenly transformed to the most
beautiful princess. She was far lovelier than before, and thanked him,
with tears in her eyes, for having broken the spell that bound her.

On the following morning, the old king came with all his court, and
the congratulations lasted till late in the day. Last of all came
Johannes' fellow-traveler, with his stick in his hand, and his
knapsack at his back. Johannes embraced him affectionately, and said
that he must not go away, but stay with him, for he was the cause of
all his happiness. But his fellow-traveler shook his head, and said in
a mild and friendly voice: "No; my time is now up. I have but paid a
debt. Do you remember the dead man whom his wicked creditors would
fain have ill-used? You gave all you possessed that he might rest in
peace in his grave. I am that dead man!"

And at the same moment he vanished.

The wedding rejoicings now lasted a full month. Johannes and the
princess loved each other dearly, and the old king lived to see many a
happy day, and dandled his little grand-children on his knee, and let
them play with his scepter. And Johannes became king over the whole


There is a street in Copenhagen oddly named Hysken Strâde, and one
naturally asks what Hysken signifies, and why Hysken at all. Common
report says it is a German word, but in justice to the German tongue
this is not the case, since it would then have been Hauschen, of which
Hysken is the Danish corruption, and it means "the street of tiny

For many a year it consisted of nothing but wooden booths, such as may
be seen to this day in the market-place; possibly they were a little
larger. The window-panes were not of glass, but horn, for at that time
glass was too expensive for general use. Remember, we are speaking of
many years ago. Your great-grandfather would have called them "the
olden times." Yes, several hundred years ago.

Trade in Copenhagen was entirely, or nearly so, in the hands of
wealthy Bremen and Lübeck merchants, whose clerks (for they themselves
stayed at home) lived in the Hysken Sträde, in the booths of this
street of tiny houses, and sold beer and groceries. Delicious German
beer it was too, and all kinds for sale--Bremen, Prussian, and
Brunswick, and spices of every variety--saffron, aniseed, ginger and
above all pepper. Indeed, this was the staple commodity--hence the
German clerks in Denmark acquired the nickname Pepper-folk--and since
they were bound not to marry whilst in that country, many grew old and
gray in service, and, as they performed their own domestic services
themselves they became crabbed old fellows with whimsical ideas. This
being so, it became usual to dub all crotchety old bachelors
"pepper-fogeys," an expression now naturalized into the German
language. This must be borne in mind if you would understand what

These pepper-fogeys used to be unmercifully ridiculed, and told to
pull down a nightcap over their ears and toddle off to bed, and many
are the doggerel verses in which the nightcap figures. Yes, fun was
poked at the pepper-fogeys with their nightcaps, just because they
were so little known. And why should not one wish for a nightcap? you
may ask. Listen, and I will tell you.

Hauschen Street was in those days unpaved, and wayfarers stumbled
along as if it were a little side-alley. So narrow indeed was it, and
so huddled together the booths, that in summertime a sail would be
stretched from side to side, and strong was the fragrance of saffron
and ginger pervading the stalls, behind which there served for the
most part old men. They were not, however, clothed, as in the
portraits of our ancestors, with peruke, knee-breeches, elegant
waistcoat and tunic of ample cut, as you might suppose.

No, these old pepper-fogeys were no dandies to be portrayed on canvas,
though one could well wish to have a picture of one as he stood at the
counter, or betook himself with leisurely gait to church on holy days.
A broad-brimmed hat, high in the crown, in which maybe the younger
among them would sport a feather, a woolen shirt beneath a wide
flapping collar, a close-fitting jacket, a loose cloak worn over it,
and the trousers tucked into the broadly-peaked shoes, for stockings
had they none. At his belt a knife and fork, and a larger knife for
self-defense--a necessary precaution in those days.

Such was the costume of old Anthony, one of the oldest of the
pepper-fogeys, only in place of the broad-brimmed high-crowned hat he
always wore a sort of bonnet, under which was a knitted skullcap, a
veritable nightcap, which never left his head. One or other, for he
had two, was always on his head day and night. He formed a perfect
study for an artist, so lean and wizened was he, so wrinkled his brow,
his fingers so skinny, his eyebrows so bushy. He was said to be a
native of Bremen; but in truth, though his master was, old Anthony was
born at Eisenach, hard by the Wartburg. He never told the others, but
pondered over it the more.

The old fellows did not often come together. He stayed in his own
room, a dim light penetrating the opaque window-panes. Seated on the
bed, he chanted his evening psalm. Theirs was not a happy
lot--strangers in a strange land, heeded by none, save to be brushed
aside when in the way.

On black nights, when the rain was pelting down outside, it was far
from cosy within. Not a lamp visible, save that which threw a light on
a picture of the Virgin painted on the wall. Hark to the rain beating
in torrents on the masonry of the castle-wharf! Such evenings were
long and dreary without some task. To arrange and rearrange things in
the house, to make paper bags, to polish scales, is not work for every
day. One must find other things to do, as did old Anthony. He would
darn his clothes, and patch up his boots. And when at last he went to
bed, true to his habit, down he would draw his nightcap, but soon
raised it to see the candle was quite extinguished. He would snuff out
the wick between finger and thumb, pull down his nightcap, and turn
over to sleep. But it occurred to him to see if the ashes on the
little hearth in the corner were quite burnt out; if they were damped
enough, lest a stray spark should kindle a fire, and do damage.

Up he would get again, creep down the ladder (for steps they could not
be called), and finding not a spark in the ash-pan, would go back in
peace. But before he was half in bed he would have a doubt whether the
bolts and shutters of the shop were secured, and down once more went
the tottering feet, his teeth a-chattering with the cold, for never
such biting frost as in late winter. Then, pulling up the coverlet and
drawing down his nightcap, he would dismiss all thoughts of business
and the day's toil from his mind. But no happier than before--old
memories would weave their fantastic shapes before his fancy, and a
many thorn lay hidden in the garlands.

When one pricks one's finger tears brim to the eyelids, and oftentimes
old Anthony shed hot and bitter tears, that glistened like pearls. The
largest pearls would fall on the coverlet with so sad a sound that it
seemed his heart's strings were breaking.

Brightly would they glisten and illumine pictures of his childhood,
never fading memories.

As he dried his tears on the nightcap, the scenes would vanish, but
not the source of his tears: that lay deep in his heart.

The scenes did not follow the natural sequence of life; the saddest
and most joyful together, but the last had the deepest shadows.

The beech forests of Denmark are admitted by all to be fine, but
fairer still to the eyes of old Anthony were those around the
Wartburg. More majestic and lofty the aged trees around the baronial
castle, where the foliage of creepers trailed over the stone
buttresses. Sweeter there the perfume of apple-blossoms. Vividly did
he call them to mind, and a shining tear rolled down his cheek,
wherein he saw two children, a boy and a girl, at play. The boy,
rosy-cheeked and curly-haired, with clear blue eyes, was himself, the
little Anthony. The girl had brown eyes, dark hair, and a merry,
bright expression. She was the Burgomaster's daughter, Molly. The
children were playing with an apple, which they shook to hear the pips
rattle inside. They shared the apple and ate it up, all but one pip,
which the little girl proposed they should plant in the earth.

"Then you will see something you'd never think of," said she; "an
apple tree will grow, but not all at once." So they busied themselves
planting it in a flower-pot. He made a hole, and she laid the pip in,
and both heaped on the earth.

"Mind," said she, "you don't dig up the pip to see if it has struck
root. Indeed, you mustn't. I did so--only twice--because I knew no
better, and the flowers withered." Anthony kept the flower-pot, and
every day the winter through watched it, but nothing was to be seen
but the black earth. Then came the spring and warm sunshine, and two
little twigs peeped forth from the pot. "Oh, how lovely!" cried
Anthony, "they are for Molly and me."

Soon came another shoot; whom could that represent? Then another and
yet another, and every week it grew, till it became a big plant. All
this was mirrored in a single tear. Brush it away as he might, the
source dwelled deep in his bosom.

Not far from Eisenach is a ridge of rocky heights, treeless and bare,
known as the Venusberg.

Here was the abode of Venus, goddess of heathen mythology, known also
to every child round about as Lady Holle. She it was who lured the
knightly Tannhäuser, the minstrel of the Wartburg, to her mountain.

Little Molly and Anthony would ofttimes stand at the foot of the
mountain, and one day she asked him, "Do you dare knock and say, 'Lady
Holle! Lady Holle! open the door. Tannhäuser is here'?" But Anthony
was afraid, only his playmate ventured.

"Lady Holle! Lady Holle!" she cried, loud and clear, but the rest so
low and indistinct that he believed that she did not utter it. She
looked so winning and was of such high spirit. When they were at play
with other children in the garden, Molly alone of them all would dare
to kiss him, just because he was unwilling and resisted. "I dare kiss
him," she would cry, and throw her arms round his neck, and the boy
would submit to her embrace, for how charming, how saucy she was, to
be sure!

Lady Holle, so people said, was beautiful, but her beauty was that of
a wicked temptress. The noblest type of beauty was that of the devout
Elizabeth, tutelary saint of the land, the pious lady whose gracious
actions were known near and far. Her picture hangs in the chapel lit
up by silver lamps, but she and Molly bore no resemblance to one

The apple tree they had planted grew year by year till it was so large
it had to be planted anew in the open air, where the dew fell and the
sun shed his warm rays; and it flourished and grew hardy, and could
bear the wintry blast, blossoming in the springtide as if for very
joy. In the autumn it bore two apples--one for Molly, one for Anthony.
Rapidly grew the tree, and with it grew Molly, fresh as one of its
blossoms; but not for long was Anthony fated to watch this fair

All things here on earth are subject to change.

Molly's father left the old home and went afar. Nowadays, by the
railroad, it takes but some few hours, but in those times over a day
and night, to travel so far east as to Weimar.

Both Molly and Anthony cried, and she told him he was more to her
than all the fine folk in Weimar could be.

A year passed by--two, three years--and only two letters came: the
first sent by a letter-carrier, the other by a traveler--a long and
devious way by town and hamlet.

How often had he and Molly together read the story of Tristan and
Isolde, and bethought them the name Tristan meant "conceived in
tribulation." But with Anthony no such thought could be harbored as
"She has forsaken me."

True, Isolde did _not_ forsake Tristan; buried side by side in the
little churchyard, the lime trees met and entwined over their graves.
Anthony loved this story, sad though it was.

But no sad fate could await him and Molly, and blithely he sang as he
rode in the clear moonlight towards Weimar to visit Molly.

He would fain come unexpected, and unexpected he came.

And welcome they made him. Wine-cups filled to the brim, distinguished
company, a comfortable room, all these he found, but it was not as he
had pictured it, dreamed of it.

Poor Anthony could not make it out, could not understand them, but we
can. We know how one may be in the midst of others and yet be
solitary; how one talks as fellow-voyagers in a post-chaise, boring
one another, and each wishing the other far away.

One day Molly spoke to him. "I am straight-forward, I will tell you
all. Since we were playmates together much has altered. It is not only
an outward change in me, you see. Habit and will do not control our
affections. I wish you well, Anthony, and would not have you bitter
towards me when I am far away, but love, deep love, I cannot feel for
you. Fare thee well!"

So Anthony bade her farewell. No tear bedimmed his eye, but he felt he
had lost a friend. Within four and twenty hours he was back in
Eisenach; the horse that bore him, bore him no more.

"What matter?" said he, "I am lost. I will destroy whatever reminds me
of the Lady Holle. The apple tree--I will uproot it, shatter it. Never
more shall it bloom and bear fruit."

But the tree was not injured. Anthony lay on his bed, stricken with
fever. What can avail him. Suddenly a medicine, the bitterest medicine
known to man, cured his fever, convulsing body and soul. Anthony's
father was no longer the rich merchant he had been!

Troublous days, days of trial, awaited them. Misfortune fell upon the
home; the father, dogged by fate, became poor. So Anthony had other
things to think about than the resentment he cherished in his heart
towards Molly. He must take his father's place, he must go out into
the great world and earn his bread.

He reached Bremen: hardship and dreary days were his lot--days that
harden the heart or sometimes make it very tender. How he had
misjudged his fellow-men in his young days! He became resigned and
cheerful. God's way is best, was his thought. How had it been if
heaven had not turned her affection to another before this calamity?
"Thanks be to heaven," he would say. "She was not to blame, and I have
felt so bitter towards her."

Time passed on. Anthony's father died, and strangers occupied the old
home. But he was destined to see it once more. His wealthy master sent
him on business that brought him once more to Eisenach, his native

The old Wartburg was unchanged--the monk and nun hewn on its stones.
The grand old trees set off the landscape as of old. Over the valley
the Venusberg rose, a gray mass in the twilight. He longed to say,
"Lady Holle! Lady Holle! open the door to me. Fain would I stay
forever." It was a sinful thought, and he crossed himself. Old
memories crowded to his mind as he gazed with tear-bedewed eyes at the
town of childhood's days. The old homestead stood unchanged, but the
garden was not the same. A roadway crossed one corner of it. The apple
tree, which he had _not_ destroyed, was no longer in the garden, but
across the way.

Still, as of old, bathed in sunshine and dew, the old tree bore
richly, and its boughs were laden with fruit. One of its branches was
broken. Wilful hands had done this, for the tree now stood by the

Passers-by plucked its blossoms, gathered its fruit, and broke its
branches. Well might one say, as one says of men, "This was not its
destiny as it lay in its cradle." So fair its prospects, that this
should be the end! Neglected, forsaken, no longer tended, there
between field and highway it stood--bare to the storm, shattered and
rent. As the years roll by it puts forth fewer blossoms, less
fruit--and its story comes to a close!

So mused Anthony many a lonely evening in his room in the wooden booth
in a strange land, in the narrow street in Copenhagen, whither his
rich master sent him bound by his vow not to marry.

Marriage, forsooth, for him! Ha, ha! he laughed a strange laugh.

The winter was early that year with sharp frost. Outside raged a
blinding snowstorm, so that every one that could stayed indoors. And
so it befell that his neighbors never saw that for two days his shop
was unopened, nor Anthony been seen, for who would venture out if not
compelled to?

Those were sad, dismal days in his room, where the panes were not of
glass, and--at best but faintly lighted--it was often pitch dark. For
two days did Anthony keep his bed; he lacked strength to rise. The
bitter weather affected his old joints. Forgotten was the
pepper-fogey; helpless he lay. Scarce could he reach the water-jug by
the bedside, and the last drop was drunk. Not fever, not sickness,
laid him low: it was old age.

It was perpetual night to him as he lay there.

A little spider spun a web over the bed, as if for a pall when he
should close his eyes forever.

Long and very dreary was the time. Yet he shed no tears, nor did he
suffer pain. His only thought was that the world and its turmoil were
not for him; that he was away from them even as he had passed from the
thoughts of others.

At one time he seemed to feel the pangs of hunger, to faint with
thirst. Was no one coming? None could come. He thought of those who
perished of thirst, thought how the saintly Elizabeth, the noble lady
of Thüringen, visited the lowliest hovels, bearing hope to and
succoring the sick. Her pious deeds inspired his thoughts; he
remembered how she would console those in pain, bind up their wounds,
and though her stern lord and master stormed with rage, bear
sustenance to the starving. He called to mind the legend how her
husband followed her as she bore a well-stocked basket to the poor,
and confronting her demanded what lay within. How in her great dread
she replied, "Flowers I have culled in the garden." How when he
snatched aside the cloth to see whether her words were true, wine,
bread, and all the basket held miraculously changed to roses.

Such was the picture of the saint; so his weary eyes imagined her
standing by his bed in the little room in a strange land. He raised
his head and gazed into her gentle eyes. All round seemed bright and
rosy-hued. The flowers expanded, and now he smelt the perfume of
apple-blossoms; he saw an apple tree in bloom, its branches waving
above him. It was the tree the children had planted in the flower-pot

And the drooping leaves fanned his burning brow and cooled his parched
lips; they were as wine and bread on his breast. He felt calm and
serene, and composed himself to sleep.

"Now I will sleep, and it will bring relief. To-morrow I shall be
well; to-morrow I will rise. I planted it in love; I see it now in
heavenly radiance." And he sunk to rest.

       *       *       *       *       *

On the morrow--the third day--the storm abated, and his neighbors came
to see old Anthony. Prone he lay, clasping in death his old nightcap
in his hands.

Where were the tears he had shed, where the pearls? They were still in
the nightcap. True pearls change not. The old thoughts, the tears of
long ago--yes, they remained in the nightcap of the old pepper-fogey.

Covet not the old nightcap. It would make your brow burn, your pulse
beat fast. It brings strange dreams. The first to put it on was to
know this. It was fifty years later that the Burgomaster, who lived in
luxury with wife and children, put it on. His dreams were of unhappy
love, ruin, and starvation.

"Phew! how the nightcap burns," said he, and tore it off, and pearl
after pearl fell from it to the ground. "Good gracious!" cried the
Burgomaster, "I must be feverish; how they sparkle before my eyes."
They were tears, wept half a century before by old Anthony of

To all who thereafter put on the nightcap came agitating visions and
dreams. His own history was changed to that of Anthony, till it became
quite a story. There may be many such stories; we, however, leave
others to tell them.

We have told the first, and our last words shall be, "Don't wish for
the old bachelor's nightcap."



There once lived a king's son, who possessed a larger and more
beautiful collection of books than anybody ever had before. He could
read in their pages all the events that had ever taken place in the
world, and see them illustrated by the most exquisite engravings. He
could obtain information about any people or any country, only not a
word could he ever find as to the geographical position of the Garden
of the World; and this was just what he was most desirous of

His grandmother had told him, when he was quite a little boy, and
beginning to go to school, that each flower in the Garden of the World
was the most delicious cake, and had its stamina filled with luscious
wine; on one stood written historical facts, on another geography or
arithmetical tables--and so one need only eat cakes to learn one's
lesson, and the more one ate, the more history, geography, and
arithmetic one acquired.

He used to believe this. But when he grew a little older, and had
learned more and become wiser, he began to understand that there must
be better delights than these in the Garden of the World.

He was now seventeen, and nothing ran in his head but this garden.

One day he went to take a walk in the forest, all alone, as he best
liked to be.

As evening came on, the sky grew overcast, and there came on such a
shower, that it seemed as if the heavens had become one vast sluice
that kept pouring down water; besides this, it was darker than it
usually is, even at night, except at the bottom of the deepest well.
At every step, he either slipped on the wet grass, or stumbled over
some bare rock. Everything was dripping wet, and the poor prince had
not a dry thread about him. He was obliged to climb over huge blocks
of stone, where water was running down from the thick moss. He was
near fainting away, when he heard a singular rushing noise, and
perceived a large cavern, lighted up by a huge fire, piled up in the
middle, and fit to roast a whole deer. And this, indeed, was being
done. A very fine deer, with its branching horns, was placed on a
spit, and slowly turned round between the felled trunks of two
pine-trees. An elderly woman, as bony and masculine as though she were
a man in female attire, sat by the fire, and kept throwing in one log
of wood after another.

"Come nearer," said she, "and sit by the fire, and dry your clothes."

"There is a great draught here," observed the prince, sitting down on
the ground.

"It will be much worse when my sons come home," returned the woman.
"You are in the Cavern of the Winds. My sons are the Four Winds of
Heaven--can you understand that?"

"Where are your sons?" asked the prince.

"It is difficult to answer a silly question," said the woman. "My sons
are now at it, with their own hands. They are playing at shuttle-cock
with the clouds, up there in the King's hall." And she pointed above.

"Oh, that's it!" quoth the prince. "But you seem to speak rather
harshly, and are not as gentle as the women I am accustomed to see."

"Because they have nothing else to do. But I must be harsh, to keep my
boys in any order; which I manage to do, headstrong as they are. You
see those four bags hanging on the wall? Well, they are every bit as
much afraid of them as you used to be of the rod behind the
looking-glass. I bend the boys in two, I can tell you, and then pop
them into the bag, without their making the least resistance. There
they stay, and don't dare come out till I think it proper they should.
But here comes one of them."

It was the North Wind who came in, diffusing an icy coldness around.
Large hailstones jumped about on the floor, and snowflakes were
scattered in all directions. He wore a bearskin jacket and clothes;
his cap of sea-dog's skin came down over his ears; long icicles clung
to his beard, and one hailstone after another fell from the collar of
his jacket.

"Don't go too near the fire at once," said the prince, "or your face
and hands might easily get frozen."

"Frozen, quotha!" said the North Wind, with a loud laugh. "Why, cold
is my greatest delight! But what kind of little snip are you? How did
you come into the Cavern of the Winds?"

"He is my guest," said the old woman; "and if that does not satisfy
you, why, you need only get into the bag. Do you understand me now?"

Well, this did the business at once; and the North Wind then began to
relate whence he came, and where he had been staying for nearly a
month past.

"I come from the Arctic Sea," said he, "and I have been on Bear's
Island, with the Russian sea-cow hunters. I sat and slept at the helm,
as they sailed away from the North Cape; but whenever I happened to
wake, the petrels were flying about my legs. What comical birds they
are! They will flap their wings suddenly, and then remain poised upon
them, and quite motionless, as if they had had enough of flying."

"Don't be so diffuse," said the mother of the Winds. "And so you
reached Bear's Island?"

"It's a beautiful place! There's a ballroom floor for you, as smooth
as a plate! Heaps of half-thawed snow, slightly covered with moss,
sharp stones, and skeletons of sea-cows and bears were lying about,
together with the arms and legs of giants in a state of green decay.
It looks as if the sun had never shone there. I blew slightly on the
mist, that the hovels might be visible, and there appeared a hut,
built from the remains of a ship that had been wrecked, and covered
over with sea-cows' skins. The fleshy side was turned outwards, and it
was both red and green. A living bear sat growling on the roof. I went
to the shore, and looked after birds' nests, and saw the unfledged
youngsters opening their beaks and screaming lustily; so I blew into
their thousands of throats, and they learned to shut their mouths. A
little farther on, the sea-cows were rolling about like giant worms
with pigs' heads, and teeth a yard long."

"You tell your adventures right pleasantly, my son," said his mother;
"it makes my mouth water to hear you."

"Then the hunting began. The harpoon was flung right into the
sea-cow's chest, so that a smoking jet of blood spurted forth like
water from a fountain, and besprinkled the ice. Then I thought of my
part of the game. I began to blow, and set my vessels, the towering
icebergs, to stick the boats fast. Oh! what a whistling and a bawling
there was! Only I whistled louder than all of them. They were obliged
to unpack the dead sea-cows, the chests, and the tackle upon the ice;
I then shook snowflakes over them, and left them and their spoils to
sail in their pent-up vessels towards the south, to drink salt-water.
They will never return to Bear's Island."

"Then you have done mischief?" said the mother of the Winds.

"Let others tell of the good I may have done!" said he. "But here
comes my brother from the West. I like him the best, because he smacks
of the sea, and brings a nice bracing cold with him."

"Is that the little Zephyr?" asked the prince.

"Yes, that is the Zephyr!" said the old woman; "but he's not so very
little either. Some years ago he was a pretty boy; but that is now

He looked like a wild man; but he wore a roller round his head, that
he might not get hurt. In his hand he held a mahogany club, hewn from
an American mahogany forest. It was no small weight to carry.

"Whence do you come?" asked the mother.

"From the wild forests," said he, "where tangled bindweed forms a
hedge between each tree, where water-snakes lie in the damp grass, and
where man seems to be a superfluous nonentity."

"What have you been doing there?"

"I looked into the deep river, and saw it had rushed down from the
rocks, and then became dust, and flew towards the clouds to support
the rainbow. I saw a wild buffalo swimming in the river, but he was
carried away by the tide. He had joined a flock of wild ducks, who
flew up into the air the moment the waters dashed downwards. The
buffalo was obliged to be hurled into the precipice. This pleased me,
and I raised a storm, so that the oldest trees sailed down the river,
and were reduced to splinters."

"And was that all you did?" asked the old woman.

"I cut capers in the savannahs, I stroked wild horses and shook
cocoanut trees. Oh! I have plenty of tales to tell! Only one must not
tell all one knows, as you well know, good mammy." And he kissed his
mother so roughly, that she had nearly fallen backwards. He was a
shocking wild lad.

Now, in came the South Wind in a turban and Bedouin's flying mantle.

"It is very cold hereabouts!" said he, throwing wood upon the fire.
"It is easy to perceive that the North Wind has preceded me."

"It is hot enough here to roast a northern bear!" said the North Wind.

"You are a bear yourself!" answered the South Wind.

"Have you a mind to be both put into the bag?" asked the old woman.
"There! sit down on that stone, and tell us where you have been."

"In Africa, mother," returned he. "I was amongst the Hottentots, who
were lion-hunting in Caffraria. The grass in their plains looks as
green as an olive. An ostrich ran a race with me, but I beat him
hollow. I reached the yellow sands of the desert, which look like the
bottom of the sea. I met a caravan. They killed their last camel to
obtain some water; but they only got a very little. The sun was
scorching above, and the sand equally scorching beneath one's feet.
The desert stretched out into boundless expanse. I then rolled in the
fine loose sand, and made it whirl about in large columns. A fine
dance I led it! You should have seen how dejected the dromedaries
looked as they stood stock still, and how the merchants pulled their
caftans over their heads. They threw themselves on the ground before
me as they would before Allah, their God. They are now all buried
beneath a pyramid of sand; and when I come to puff it away, the sun
will bleach their bones, and travelers will see that others have been
there before them: a fact which is seldom believed in the desert,
short of some tangible proof."

"Then you have done nothing but mischief!" said his mother. "Into the
bag with you!" And before he had time to perceive it, she had taken
the South Wind round the waist, and popped him into the bag. He
wiggled about on the ground; but she sat upon him, and then he was
forced to lie still.

"Your sons are a set of lively boys!" said the prince.

"Yes," answered she; "and I know how to correct them. Here comes the

This was the East Wind, who was dressed like a Chinese.

"Oh! you come from that neighborhood, do you?" said his mother. "I
thought you had been to the Garden of the World?"

"I am going there to-morrow," said the East Wind. "To-morrow will be a
hundred years since I was there. I have just returned from China,
where I danced round the porcelain tower till all the bells were set
a-jingling. The government officers were being beaten in the street;
the bamboo stick was broken across their shoulders; and these were
people belonging to the several degrees from the first to the ninth.
They cried out: 'Many thanks, my fatherly benefactor!' But the words
did not come from their hearts, so I made the bells jingle, and sang!
'Tsing! tsang! tsu!'"

"You are a wanton boy!" said the old woman. "It is well you are going
to-morrow to the Garden of the World, for that always improves your
mind. Pray drink abundantly from the fountain of wisdom, and take a
small phial and bring it home full for me."

"I will," said the East Wind. "But why have you put my brother from
the South into the bag? Take him out again; I want him to tell me
about the phœnix, for the princess in the Garden of the World
always asks after him when I pay her my visit every hundredth year.
Open the bag, there's a dear mammy, and I'll give you two pocketfuls
of tea-leaves, all green and fresh, just as I plucked them from the
bush on the spot where it grew."

"Well, for the sake of the tea, and because you are mammy's own boy, I
will open the bag."

This she accordingly did, and out crept the South Wind, looking rather
foolish, because the strange prince had witnessed his disgrace.

"There is a palm-tree leaf for the princess," said the South Wind.
"The old phœnix, the only bird of his sort in the wide world, gave
me this leaf. He has traced upon it with his beak the whole history of
his life during the hundred years that form its span. She may,
therefore, be now enabled to read how the phœnix set fire to his
nest, and sat upon it as it was burning, like the widow of a Hindoo.
How the dried twigs did crackle! and what a smoke there was! At length
out burst the flames: the old phœnix was burnt to ashes, but an egg
lay glowing hot in the fire. It burst with a loud report, and the
young bird flew out; and now he is king over all the other birds, and
the only phœnix in the world. He has bitten a hole in the leaf
which I gave you, and that is his way of sending his duty to the

"Now let us eat something," said the mother of the Winds. And they all
sat down to partake of the roast deer. The prince sat beside the East
Wind; therefore, they soon became good friends.

"And pray what kind of a princess may she be whom you are talking so
much about and where lies the Garden of the World?"

"Ho, ho!" said the East Wind. "What! have you a mind to go there?
Well, you can fly over with me to-morrow, though I must tell you no
mortal ever visited it before. It is inhabited by a fairy queen, and,
in it lies the Island of Happiness, a lovely spot where death never
intrudes. Get upon my back to-morrow, and I'll take you with me; for I
think it can be managed. But now don't speak any more, for I want to

And then to sleep they all went.

The prince awoke at an early hour next morning, and was not a little
surprised on finding himself high above the clouds. He sat on the
back of the East Wind, who was holding him faithfully; and they were
so high in the air that forests, fields, rivers, and lakes lay beneath
them like a painted map.

"Good morning!" said the East Wind. "You might just as well have slept
a bit longer, for there is not much to be seen in the flat country
beneath us, except you have a mind to count the churches. They look
like chalk dots on the green board."

It was the fields and the meadows that he called the "green board."

"It was uncivil of me not to take leave of your mother and brothers,"
observed the prince.

"When one is asleep, one is to be excused," replied the East Wind.

And they began to fly quicker than ever. When they swept across the
tree-tops, you might have heard a rustling in all their leaves and
branches. On the sea and on the lakes, wherever they flew, the waves
rose higher and the large ships dipped down into the water like
swimming swans.

Towards evening, when it grew dark, the large towns looked beautiful.
They were dotted here and there with lights, much after the fashion of
a piece of paper that has burned till it is black, when one sees all
the little sparks going out one after another. The prince clapped his
hands with delight, but the East Wind begged him to let such
demonstrations alone, and rather attend to holding fast, or else he
might easily fall down and remain dangling on a church steeple.

Fast as the eagle flew through the black forests, the East Wind flew
still faster. The Cossack was scouring the plains on his little horse,
but the prince soon outstripped him.

"You can now see Himalaya," said the East Wind, "the highest mountain
in Asia--and now we shall soon reach the Garden of the World." They
then turned more southwards, and the air was soon perfumed with spices
and flowers. Figs and pomegranates grew wild, and clusters of blue and
red grapes hung from wild vines. They now descended to the earth, and
reclined on the soft grass, where the flowers seemed to nod to the
wind as though they had said--"Welcome!"

"Are we now in the Garden of the World?" asked the prince.

"No, indeed!" replied the East Wind; "but we soon shall be. Do you see
yon wall of rocks, and that broad cavern, where the vines hang down
like a huge green curtain? That's the road through which we must pass.
Wrap yourself in your mantle, for burning hot as the sun is just
hereabout, it is as cold as ice a few steps farther. The bird who
flies past the cavern feels one wing to be in the warm summer abroad
while the other is in the depth of winter."

"So then this seems to be the way to the Garden of the World?" asked
the prince.

They now entered the cavern. Oh, how icy cold it was! Only it did not
last long. The East Wind spread out his wings, and they beamed like
the brightest fire. But what a cavern it was, to be sure! The huge
blocks of stone from which the water kept dripping down, hung over
them in the oddest shapes, sometimes narrowing up till they were
obliged to creep on all-fours, at other times widening into an
expanse as lofty as though situated in the open air. It looked like a
chapel for the dead, with petrified organs and dumb organ-pipes.

"We seem to be crossing through an abode of Death to reach the Garden
of the World!" said the prince. But the East Wind did not answer a
syllable, and merely pointed forwards where the loveliest blue light
met their eyes. The blocks of stone above their heads rolled away into
a mist that finished by assuming the shape of a white cloud on a
moonlight night. They were now in a most delightfully mild atmosphere,
as cool as the mountain breeze, and as perfumed as a valley of roses.
A river, clear as the air itself, was running along, filled with gold
and silver fishes; scarlet eels, that emitted blue sparks at every
motion, were disporting in the depths of the waters; while the broad
leaves of the water-lilies that lay on its surface showed all the
tints of the rainbow; the flower itself was a reddish-yellow burning
flame that received its nourishment from the water as oil feeds the
flame of a lamp. A marble bridge, as delicately sculptured as though
it had been made of lace and glass beads, led across the water to the
Island of Happiness, where bloomed the Garden of the World.

The East Wind took the prince on his arm and carried him over. And the
flowers and leaves sang the sweetest songs of his childhood, but in so
lovely a strain of melody as no human voice ever yet sang.

Were they palm-trees or gigantic water-plants that grew on this
favored spot? The prince could not tell, for never had he seen such
large and luxuriant trees before. The most singular creepers, too,
such as one only sees represented in gold and colors in the margins of
illuminated old missals, or twined around the first letter in a
chapter, were hanging in long festoons on all sides. It was a most
curious mixture of birds, and flowers, and scrolls. Just by a flock of
peacocks were standing on the grass displaying their gorgeous fan-like
tails. The prince took them for live creatures, but found, on touching
them, that they were only plants--large burdock leaves, which, in this
favored spot, beamed with all the glorious colors of the peacock's
tail. A lion and tiger were disporting with all the pliancy of cats
amongst the green hedges, that were perfumed like the flower of the
olive-tree; and both the lion and the tiger were tame. The wild
wood-pigeon's plumage sparkled like the fairest pearl, and the bird
flapped the lion's mane with its wings; while the antelope, usually so
shy, stood near and nodded its head, as if willing to join them at

Now came the fairy of the garden. Her clothes were radiant as the sun,
and her countenance was as serene as that of a happy mother rejoicing
over her child. She was young and beautiful, and was followed by a
train of lovely girls, each wearing a beaming star in her hair. The
East Wind gave her the leaf sent by the phoenix, when her eyes
sparkled with joy. She took the prince by the hand and led him into
her palace, whose walls were of the hues of the most splendid tulip
when it is turned towards the sun. The ceiling was a large radiant
flower, and the more one looked at it, the deeper its calyx appeared
to grow. The prince stepped to the window, and looked through one of
the panes, on which was depicted Jacob's dream. The ladder seemed to
reach to the real sky, and the angels seemed to be flapping their
wings. The fairy smiled at his astonished look, and explained that
time had engraved its events on each pane, but they were not merely
lifeless images, for the leaves rustled, and the persons went and came
as in a looking-glass. He then looked through other panes, where he
saw depicted the events of ancient history. For all that had happened
in the world lived and moved upon these panes; time only could have
engraved so cunning a masterpiece.

The fairy then led him into a lofty, noble hall, with transparent
walls. Here were a number of portraits, each of which seemed more
beautiful than the other. There were millions of happy faces whose
laughing and singing seemed to melt into one harmonious whole; those
above were so small that they appeared less than the smallest rosebud
when represented on paper by a mere dot. In the midst of the hall
stood a large tree with luxuriant drooping branches. Golden, apples,
both great and small, hung like china oranges amid the green leaves.
From each leaf fell a sparkling red dewdrop, as if the tree were
shedding tears of blood.

"We will now get into the boat," said the fairy, "and enjoy the
coolness of the water. The boat rocks, but does not stir from the
spot, while all the countries of the earth glide past us." And it was
wonderful to behold how the whole coast moved. First came the lofty
snow-capped Alps, overhung with clouds and overgrown with fir-trees.
The horn was sounding its melancholy notes, while the shepherd was
caroling in the vale. Then banana-trees flung their drooping branches
over the boat; coal-black swans swam on the water, and flowers and
animals of the strangest description might be seen on the shore. This
was New Holland, the fifth part of the world, that glided past, with a
view of the blue mountains. One could hear the hymns of the priests
and see the savages dancing to the sound of drums and trumpets made of
bones. Egypt's pyramids reaching to the clouds, overturned columns and
sphinxes, half buried in the sand, followed in their turn. The aurora
borealis next shone upon the extinguished volcanoes of the north.
These were fireworks that nobody could have imitated! The prince was
delighted; and he saw a hundred times more than what we have

"Can I remain here forever?" asked he.

"That depends on yourself," replied the fairy. "If you do not long for
what is forbidden, you may stay here forever."

"I will not touch the apple on the Tree of Knowledge," said the
prince; "here are thousands of fruits equally fine."

"Examine your own heart, and if you do not feel sufficient strength,
return with the East Wind who brought you hither. He is now about to
fly back, and will not appear again in this place for the next hundred
years. The time would seem to you here to be only a hundred hours, but
even that is a long span for temptation and sin. Every evening, on
leaving you, I shall be obliged to say: 'Come with me!' I shall make a
sign with my hand, yet you must stay away. If once you followed, your
longing would increase at every step. You would then enter the hall
where grows the Tree of Knowledge I sleep beneath its perfumed,
drooping branches. You would bend over me, and I should be forced to
smile. But if you pressed a kiss on my lips, then would the garden
sink into the earth and be lost for you. The sharp winds of the desert
would howl around you, the cold rain would trickle over your head, and
sorrow and distress would fall to your lot."

"I will remain here," said the prince. And the East Wind kissed his
forehead, saying, "Be firm, and then we shall meet again in a hundred
years. Farewell! farewell!" And the East Wind spread his large wings,
and they shone like the lightning in harvest time, or like the
northern lights in a cold winter.

"Farewell! farewell!" sounded from the flowers and the trees. Storks
and pelicans flew in long rows, like streaming ribbons to accompany
him to the boundaries of the garden.

"We will now begin our dances," said the fairy. "At the close, when
I'm dancing with you, and just as the sun is sinking, you will see me
make a sign, and you will hear me say, 'Come with me.' But do not do
it. For a hundred years shall I be obliged to repeat the same thing
every evening; and each time when it is over will you gain fresh
strength. In the end you'll cease to think about it. This evening will
be the first time--and now you are warned."

The fairy then led him into a large room made of white transparent
lilies. The yellow stamina in each flower pictured a little golden
harp that yielded a sweet music partaking of the combined sounds of
stringed instruments and the tones of the flute. Lovely girls with
slender aerial figures, and dressed in lightest gauze, floated through
the mazes of the dance, and sang of the delights of living and being
immortal, and blooming forever in the Garden of the World.

The sun now set. The whole sky was one mass of gold that imparted the
tints of the richest roses to the lilies; and the prince drank of the
sparkling wine handed to him by the young maidens, and felt a bliss
he had never before experienced. He saw the background of the ballroom
now opening, and the Tree of Knowledge stood before him in such
streams of light that his eyes were dazzled. The singing that rang in
his ears was soft and lovely as his mother's voice, and it seemed as
if she sang, "My child! my beloved child!"

The fairy then made him a sign with her eyes, and cried most sweetly:
"Come with me! Come with me!" And he rushed towards her, forgetting
his promise, though it was but the first evening, and she continued to
beckon to him and to smile. The spicy perfumes around grew yet more
intoxicating; the harps sounded sweeter; and it was as if the millions
of smiling faces in the room, where grew the tree, nodded and sang:
"We must know everything! Man is the lord of the earth!" And there
were no more tears of blood dropping down from the leaves of the Tree
of Knowledge; but he thought he saw red sparkling stars instead.

"Come with me! come with me!" said the thrilling tones; and at each
step the prince's cheeks glowed more intensely, and his blood rushed
more wildly.

"I must!" said he; "it is no sin, and cannot be one! Why not follow
when beauty calls? I will see her asleep; and provided I do not kiss
her, there will be no harm done--and kiss I will not, for I have
strength to resist, and a firm will."

And the fairy cast aside her dazzling attire, bent back the boughs,
and in another moment was completely concealed.

"I have not yet sinned," said the prince, "and do not intend to sin!"
And then he pushed the boughs aside; there she lay already asleep, and
lovely as only the fairy of the Garden of the World is privileged to
be. She smiled in her dreams; yet as he bent over her, he saw tears
trembling between her eyelashes.

"And do you weep for me?" whispered he. "Oh, weep not, most admirable
of women! I now begin to understand the happiness to be found in this
place. It penetrates into my blood, and I feel the joys of the blessed
in this my earthly form! Though it were ever after eternally dark for
me, one moment like this is happiness enough!" And he kissed the tears
in her eyes, and his mouth pressed her lips.

Then came a thunder-clap, so loud and so tremendous as never was heard
before. Down everything fell to ruins--the beautiful fairy, the
blooming garden, all sank deeper and deeper still. The prince saw the
garden sinking into the dark abyss below, and it soon only shone like
a little star in the distance. He turned as cold as death, and closed
his eyes, and lay senseless.

The cold rain fell on his face, and the sharp wind blew over his head.
He then returned to consciousness. "What have I done?" sighed he.
"Alas! I have sinned, and the Island of Happiness has sunk down into
the earth!" And he opened his eyes and saw a distant star like that of
the sinking garden; but it was the morning star in the sky.

He got up and found himself in the large forest close to the Cavern of
the Winds. The mother of the Winds sat by him, and looked angry, and
raised her arm aloft.

"The very first evening," said she. "I thought it would be so! If you
were my son, you should be put into the bag presently."

"Into it he shall go, sure enough!" said Death. He was a stalwart man
with a scythe in his hand, and large black wings. "In his coffin shall
he be laid, but not yet. I'll only mark him now, and allow him to
wander about the world yet awhile, to expiate his sins and to grow
better. But I shall come at last. When he least expects it, I shall
put him into the black bag, place it on my head, and fly up to the
stars. There, too, blooms a lovely garden, and if he be good and
pious, he will be allowed to enter it; but should his thoughts be
wicked, and his heart still full of sin, then will he sink in his
coffin yet lower than he saw the Garden of the World sink down; and it
will be only once in every thousand years that I shall go and fetch
him, when he will either be condemned to sink still deeper, or be
borne aloft to the beaming stars above."

       *       *       *       *       *

    A. L. Burt's Catalogue of Books for
    Young People by Popular Writers, 52-58
    Duane Street, New York


=Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. By LEWIS CARROLL.= 12mo,
cloth, 42 illustrations, price 75 cents.

    "From first to last, almost without exception, this story is
    delightfully droll, humorous and illustrated in harmony with the
    story."--=New York Express.=

=Through the Looking Glass, and What Alice Found There.= By LEWIS
CARROLL. 12mo, cloth, 50 illustrations, price 75 cents.

    "A delight alike to the young people and their elders, extremely
    funny both in text and illustrations."--=Boston Express.=

=Little Lucy's Wonderful Globe.= By CHARLOTTE M. YONGE. 12mo,
cloth, illustrated, price 75 cents.

    "This story is unique among tales intended for children, alike
    for pleasant instruction, quaintness of humor, gentle pathos,
    and the subtlety with which lessons moral and otherwise are
    conveyed to children, and perhaps to their seniors as
    well."--=The Spectator.=

=Joan's Adventures at the North Pole and Elsewhere.= BY ALICE
CORKRAN. 12mo, cloth, illustrated, price 75 cents.

    "Wonderful as the adventures of Joan are, it must be admitted
    that they are very naturally worked out and very plausibly
    presented. Altogether this is an excellent story for
    girls."--=Saturday Review.=

=Count Up the Sunny Days=: A Story for Girls and Boys. By C. A.
JONES. 12mo, cloth, illustrated, price 75 cents.

    "An unusually good children's story."--=Glasgow Herald.=

=The Dove in the Eagle's Nest.= By CHARLOTTE M. YONGE. 12mo,
cloth, illustrated, price $1.00.

    "Among all the modern writers we believe Miss Yonge first, not
    in genius, but in this, that she employs her great abilities for
    a high and noble purpose. We know of few modern writers whose
    works may be so safely commended as hers."--=Cleveland Times.=

=Jan of the Windmill.= A Story of the Plains. By MRS. J. H.
EWING. 12mo, cloth, illustrated, price $1.00.

    "Never has Mrs. Ewing published a more charming volume, and that
    is saying a very great deal. From the first to the last the book
    overflows with the strange knowledge of child-nature which so
    rarely survives childhood: and moreover, with inexhaustible
    quiet humor, which is never anything but innocent and well-bred,
    never priggish, and never clumsy."--=Academy.=

=A Sweet Girl Graduate.= By L. T. MEADE. 12mo, cloth,
illustrated, price $1.00.

    "One of this popular author's best. The characters are well
    imagined and drawn. The story moves with plenty of spirit and
    the interest does not flag until the end too quickly
    comes."--=Providence Journal.=

=Six to Sixteen=: A Story for Girls. By JULIANA HORATIA EWING.
12mo, cloth, illustrated, price $1.00.

    "There is no doubt as to the good quality and attractiveness of
    'Six to Sixteen.' The book is one which would enrich any girl's
    book shelf."--=St. James' Gazette.=

=The Palace Beautiful=: A Story for Girls. By L. T. MEADE. 12mo,
cloth, illustrated, price $1.00.

    "A bright and interesting story. The many admirers of Mrs. L. T.
    Meade in this country will be delighted with the 'Palace
    Beautiful' for more reasons than one. It is a charming book for
    girls."--=New York Recorder.=

=A World of Girls=: The Story of a School. By L. T. MEADE. 12mo,
cloth, illustrated, price $1.00.

    "One of those wholesome stories which it does one good to read.
    It will afford pure delight to numerous readers. This book
    should be on every girl's book shelf."--=Boston Home Journal.=

=The Lady of the Forest=: A Story for Girls. By L. T. MEADE.
12mo, cloth, illustrated, price $1.00.

    "This story is written in the author's well-known, fresh and
    easy style. All girls fond of reading will be charmed by this
    well-written story. It is told with the author's customary grace
    and spirit."--=Boston Times.=

=At the Back of the North Wind.= By GEORGE MACDONALD. 12mo,
cloth, illustrated, price $1.00.

    "A very pretty story, with much of the freshness and vigor of
    Mr. Macdonald's earlier work.... It is a sweet, earnest, and
    wholesome fairy story, and the quaint native humor is
    delightful. A most delightful volume for young
    readers."--=Philadelphia Times.=

=The Water Babies=: A Fairy Tale for a Land Baby. By CHARLES
KINGSLEY. 12mo, cloth, illustrated, price $1.00.

    "The strength of his work, as well as its peculiar charms,
    consist in his description of the experiences of a youth with
    life under water in the luxuriant wealth of which he revels with
    all the ardor of a poetical nature."--=New York Tribune.=

=Our Bessie.= By ROSA N. CAREY. 12mo, cloth, illustrated, price

    "One of the most entertaining stories of the season, full of
    vigorous action, and strong in character-painting. Elder girls
    will be charmed with it, and adults may read its pages with
    profit."--=The Teachers' Aid.=

=Wild Kitty.= A Story of Middleton School. By L. T. MEADE. 12mo,
cloth, illustrated, price $1.00.

    "Kitty is a true heroine--warm-hearted, self-sacrificing, and,
    as all good women nowadays are, largely touched with the
    enthusiasm of humanity. One of the most attractive gift books of
    the season."--=The Academy.=

=A Young Mutineer.= A Story for Girls. By L. T. MEADE. 12mo,
cloth, illustrated, price $1.00.

    "One of Mrs. Meade's charming books for girls, narrated in that
    simple and picturesque style which marks the authoress as one of
    the first among writers for young people."--=The Spectator.=

=Sue and I.= By MRS. O'REILLY. 12mo, cloth, illustrated, price 75

    "A thoroughly delightful book, full of sound wisdom as well as

=The Princess and the Goblin.= A Fairy Story. By GEORGE
MACDONALD. 12mo, cloth, illustrated, price 75 cents.

    "If a child once begins this book, it will get so deeply
    interested in it that when bedtime comes it will altogether
    forget the moral, and will weary its parents with importunities
    for just a few minutes more to see how everything
    ends."--=Saturday Review.=

=Pythia's Pupils=: A Story of a School. By EVA HARTNER. 12mo,
cloth, illustrated, price $1.00.

    "This story of the doings of several bright school girls is sure
    to interest girl readers. Among many good stories for girls this
    is undoubtedly one of the very best."--=Teachers' Aid.=

=A Story of a Short Life.= By JULIANA HORATIA EWING. 12mo, cloth,
illustrated, price $1.00.

    "The book is one we can heartily recommend, for it is not only
    bright and interesting, but also pure and healthy in tone and

=The Sleepy King.= A Fairy Tale. By AUBREY HOPWOOD AND SEYMOUR
HICKS. 12mo, cloth, illustrated, price 75 cents.

    "Wonderful as the adventures of Bluebell are, it must be
    admitted that they are very naturally worked out and very
    plausibly presented. Altogether this is an excellent story for
    girls."--=Saturday Review.=

=Two Little Waifs.= By MRS. MOLESWORTH. 12mo, cloth, illustrated,
price 75 cents.

    "Mrs. Molesworth's delightful story of 'Two Little Waifs' will
    charm all the small people who find it in their stockings. It
    relates the adventures of two lovable English children lost in
    Paris, and is just wonderful enough to pleasantly wring the
    youthful heart."--=New York Tribune.=

=Adventures in Toyland.= By EDITH KING HALL. 12mo, cloth,
illustrated, price 75 cents.

    "The author is such a bright, cheery writer, that her stories
    are always acceptable to all who are not confirmed cynics, and
    her record of the adventures is as entertaining and enjoyable as
    we might expect."--=Boston Courier.=

=Adventures in Wallypug Land.= By G. E. FARROW. 12mo, cloth,
illustrated, price 75 cents.

    "These adventures are simply inimitable, and will delight boys
    and girls of mature age, as well as their juniors. No happier
    combination of author and artist than this volume presents could
    be found to furnish healthy amusement to the young folks. The
    book is an artistic one in every sense."--=Toronto Mail.=

=Fussbudget's Folks.= A Story for Young Girls. By ANNA F.
BURNHAM. 12mo, cloth, illustrated, price $1.00.

    "Mrs. Burnham has a rare gift for composing stories for
    children. With a light, yet forcible touch, she paints sweet and
    artless, yet natural and strong,

=Mixed Pickles.= A Story for Girls. By MRS. E. M. FIELD. 12mo,
cloth, illustrated, price 75 cents.

    "It is, in its way, a little classic, of which the real beauty
    and pathos can hardly be appreciated by young people. It is not
    too much to say of the story that it is perfect of its
    kind."--=Good Literature.=

=Miss Mouse and Her Boys.= A Story for Girls, By MRS. MOLESWORTH.
12mo, cloth, illustrated, price 75 cents.

    "Mrs. Molesworth's books are cheery, wholesome, and particularly
    well adapted to refined life. It is safe to add that she is the
    best English prose writer for children. A new volume from Mrs.
    Molesworth is always a treat."--=The Beacon.=

=Gilly Flower.= A Story for Girls. By the author of "=Miss
Toosey's Mission=." 12mo, cloth, illustrated, price $1.00.

    "Jill is a little guardian angel to three lively brothers who
    tease and play with her.. .. Her unconscious goodness brings
    right thoughts and resolves to several persons who come into
    contact with her. There is no goodiness in this tale, but its
    influence is of the best kind."--=Literary World.=

=The Chaplet of Pearls=; or, The White and Black Ribaumont. By
CHARLOTTE M. YONGE. 12mo, cloth, illustrated, price $1.00.

    "Full of spirit and life, so well sustained throughout that
    grown-up readers may enjoy it as much as children. It is one of
    the best books of the season."--=Guardian.=

=Naughty Miss Bunny=: Her Tricks and Troubles. By CLARA
MULHOLLAND. 12mo, cloth, illustrated, price 75 cents.

    "The naughty child is positively delightful. Papas should not
    omit the book from their list of juvenile presents."--=Land and

=Meg's Friend.= By ALICE CORKRAN. 12mo, cloth, illustrated, price

    "One of Miss Corkran's charming books for girls, narrated in
    that simple and picturesque style which marks the authoress as
    one of the first among writers for young people."--=The

=Averil.= By ROSA N. CAREY. 12mo, cloth, illustrated, price

    "A charming story for young folks. Averil is a delightful
    creature--piquant, tender, and true--and her varying fortunes
    are perfectly realistic."--=World.=

=Aunt Diana.= By ROSA N. CAREY. 12mo, cloth, illustrated, price

    "An excellent story, the interest being sustained from first to
    last. This is, both in its intention and the way the story is
    told, one of the best books of its kind which has come before us
    this year."--=Saturday Review.=

=Little Sunshine's Holiday=: A Picture from Life. By MISS MULOCK.
12mo, cloth, illustrated, price 75 cents.

    "This is a pretty narrative of child life, describing the simple
    doings and sayings of a very charming and rather precocious
    child. This is a delightful book for young people."--=Gazette.=

=Esther's Charge.= A Story for Girls. By ELLEN EVERETT GREEN.
12mo, cloth, illustrated, price $1.00.

    "...This is a story showing in a charming way how one little
    girl's jealousy and bad temper were conquered; one of the best,
    most suggestive and improving of the Christmas juveniles."--=New
    York Tribune.=

=Fairy Land of Science.= By ARABELLA B. BUCKLEY. 12mo, cloth,
illustrated, price $1.00.

    "We can highly recommend it; not only for the valuable
    information it gives on the special subjects to which it is
    dedicated, but also as a book teaching natural sciences in an
    interesting way. A fascinating little volume, which will make
    friends in every household in which there are children."--=Daily

=Merle's Crusade.= By ROSA N. CAREY. 12mo, cloth, illustrated,
price $1.00.

    "Among the books for young people we have seen nothing more
    unique than this book. Like all of this author's stories it will
    please young readers by the very attractive and charming style
    in which it is written."--=Journal.=

=Birdie=: A Tale of Child Life. By H. L. CHILDE-PEMBERTON. 12mo,
cloth, illustrated, price 75 cents.

    "The story is quaint and simple, but there is a freshness about
    it that makes one hear again the ringing laugh and the cheery
    shout of children at play which charmed his earlier
    years."--=New York Express.=

=The Days of Bruce=: A Story from Scottish History. By GRACE
AGUILAR. 12mo, cloth, illustrated, price $1.00.

    "There is a delightful freshness, sincerity and vivacity about
    all of Grace Aguilar's stories which cannot fail to win the
    interest and admiration of every lover of good
    reading."--=Boston Beacon.=

=Three Bright Girls=: A Story of Chance and Mischance. By ANNIE
E. ARMSTRONG. 12mo, cloth, illustrated, price $1.00.

    "The charm of the story lies in the cheery helpfulness of spirit
    developed in the girls by their changed circumstances; while the
    author finds a pleasant ending to all their happy makeshifts.
    The story is charmingly told, and the book can be warmly
    recommended as a present for girls."--=Standard.=

=Giannetta=: A Girl's Story of Herself. By ROSA MULHOLLAND. 12mo,
cloth, illustrated, price $1.00.

    "Extremely well told and full of interest. Giannetta is a true
    heroine--warm-hearted, self-sacrificing, and, as all good women
    nowadays are, largely touched with enthusiasm of humanity. The
    illustrations are unusually good. One of the most attractive
    gift books of the season."--=The Academy.=

=Margery Merton's Girlhood.= By ALICE CORKRAN. 12mo, cloth,
illustrated, price $1.00.

    "The experiences of an orphan girl who in infancy is left by her
    father to the care of an elderly aunt residing near Paris. The
    accounts of the various persons who have an after influence on
    the story are singularly vivid. There is a subtle attraction
    about the book which will make it a great favorite with
    thoughtful girls."--=Saturday Review.=

=Under False Colors=: A Story from Two Girls' Lives. By SARAH
DOUDNEY. 12mo, cloth, illustrated, price $1.00.

    "Sarah Doudney has no superior as a writer of high-toned
    stories--pure in style, original in conception, and with
    skillfully wrought out plots; but we have seen nothing equal in
    dramatic energy to this book."--=Christian Leader.=

=Down the Snow Stairs=; or, From Good-night to Good-morning. By
ALICE CORKRAN. 12mo, cloth, illustrated, price 75 cents.

    "Among all the Christmas volumes which the year has brought to
    our table this one stands out =facile princeps=--a gem of the
    first water, bearing upon every one of its pages the signet mark
    of genius.. .. All is told with such simplicity and perfect
    naturalness that the dream appears to be a solid reality. It is
    indeed a Little Pilgrim's Progress."--=Christian Leader.=

=The Tapestry Room=: A Child's Romance. By MRS. MOLESWORTH. 12mo,
cloth, illustrated, price 75 cents.

    "Mrs. Molesworth is a charming painter of the nature and ways of
    children; and she has done good service in giving us this
    charming juvenile which will delight the young
    people."--=Athenæum, London.=

=Little Miss Peggy=: Only a Nursery Story. By MRS. MOLESWORTH.
12mo, cloth, illustrated, price 75 cents.

    Mrs. Molesworth's children are finished studies. A joyous
    earnest spirit pervades her work, and her sympathy is unbounded.
    She loves them with her whole heart, while she lays bare their
    little minds, and expresses their foibles, their faults, their
    virtues, their inward struggles, their conception of duty, and
    their instinctive knowledge of the right and wrong of things.
    She knows their characters, she understands their wants, and she
    desires to help them.

=Polly=: A New Fashioned Girl. By L. T. MEADE. 12mo, cloth,
illustrated, price $1.00.

    Few authors have achieved a popularity equal to Mrs. Meade as a
    writer of stories for young girls. Her characters are living
    beings of flesh and blood, not lay figures of conventional type.
    Into the trials and crosses, and everyday experiences, the
    reader enters at once with zest and hearty sympathy. While Mrs.
    Meade always writes with a high moral purpose, her lessons of
    life, purity and nobility of character are rather inculcated by
    example than intruded as sermons.

=One of a Covey.= By the author of "Miss Toosey's Mission." 12mo,
cloth, illustrated, price 75 cents.

    "Full of spirit and life, so well sustained throughout that
    grown-up readers may enjoy it as much as children. This 'Covey'
    consists of the twelve children of a hard-pressed Dr. Partridge
    out of which is chosen a little girl to be adopted by a spoiled,
    fine lady. We have rarely read a story for boys and girls with
    greater pleasure. One of the chief characters would not have
    disgraced Dickens' pen."--=Literary World.=

=The Little Princess of Tower Hill.= By L. T. MEADE. 12mo, cloth,
illustrated, price 75 cents.

    "This is one of the prettiest books for children published, as
    pretty as a pond-lily, and quite as fragrant. Nothing could be
    imagined more attractive to young people than such a combination
    of fresh pages and fair pictures; and while children will
    rejoice over it--which is much better than crying for it--it is
    a book that can be read with pleasure even by older boys and
    girls."--=Boston Advertiser.=

For sale by all booksellers, or sent postpaid on receipt of price by
the publisher, =A. L. BURT, 52-58 Duane Street, New York=.

Transcriber's Note:

Archaic and inconsistent spelling and punctuation retained.

*** End of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "Rudy and Babette - Or, Capture of The Eagle's Nest" ***

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