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Title: Sidonia, the Sorceress : the Supposed Destroyer of the Whole Reigning Ducal House of Pomerania — Volume 2
Author: Meinhold, Wilhelm, 1797-1851
Language: English
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SIDONIA THE SORCERESS



THE SUPPOSED DESTROYER OF THE WHOLE REIGNING DUCAL HOUSE OF
POMERANIA.

TRANSLATED BY LADY WILDE

MARY SCHWEIDLER

THE AMBER WITCH BY WILLIAM MEINHOLD DOCTOR OF THEOLOGY

IN TWO VOLUMES VOL. II.


1894



CONTENTS

SIDONIA THE SORCERESS.



BOOK III.

Continued.

_FROM THE RECEPTION OF SIDONIA INTO THE CONVENT AT MARIENFLIESS
UP TILL HER EXECUTION, AUGUST_ 19TH, 1620.

CHAPTER IV.

How Dorothea Stettin is talked out of the sub-prioret by Sidonia,
and the priest is prohibited from visiting the convent.

CHAPTER V.

How Sidonia wounds Ambrosia von Guntersberg with an axe, because
she purposed to marry--And prays the convent porter, Matthias
Winterfeld, to death--For these, and other causes, the reverend
chaplain refuses to shrive the sorceress, and denounces her
publicly from the altar.

CHAPTER VI.

Dorothea Stettin falls sick, and how the doctor manages to bleed
her--Item, how Sidonia chases the princely commissioners into the
oak-forest.

CHAPTER VII.

How the assembled Pomeranian princes hold a council over Sidonia,
and at length cite her to appear at the ducal court.

CHAPTER VIII.

Of Sidonia's defence--Item, how she has a quarrel with Joachim
Wedel, and bewitches him to death.

CHAPTER IX.

How a strange woman (who must assuredly have been Sidonia) incites
the lieges of his Grace to great uproar and tumult in Stettin, by
reason of the new tax upon beer.

CHAPTER X.

Of the fearful events that take place at Marienfliess--Item, how
Dorothea Stettin becomes possessed by the devil.

CHAPTER XI.

Of the arrival of Diliana and the death of the convent priest--
Item, how the unfortunate corpse is torn by a wolf.

CHAPTER XII.

How Jobst Bork has himself carried to Marienfliess in his bed to
reclaim his fair young daughter Diliana--Item, how George
Putkammer threatens Sidonia with a drawn sword.

CHAPTER XIII.

How my gracious Lord Bishop Franciscus and the reverend Dr. Joel
go to the Jews' school at Old Stettin, in order to steal the Schem
Hamphorasch, and how the enterprise finishes with a sound.
cudgelling.

CHAPTER XIV.

How the Duke Francis seeks a virgin at Marienfliess to cite the
angel Och for him--Of Sidonia's evil plot thereupon, and the
terrible uproar caused thereby in the convent.

CHAPTER XV.

Of the death of the abbess, Magdalena von Petersdorfin--Item, how
Duke Francis makes Jobst Bork and his daughter, Diliana, come to
Camyn, and what happens there.

CHAPTER XVI.

Jobst Bork takes away his daughter by force from the Duke and Dr.
Joel; also is strengthened in his unbelief by Dr. Cramer--Item,
how my gracious Prince arrives at Marienfliess, and there
vehemently menaces Sidonia.

CHAPTER XVII.

Of the fearful death of his Highness, Duke Philip II. of
Pomerania, and of his melancholy but sumptuous burial.

CHAPTER XVIII.

How Jobst Bork and his little daughter are forced at last into the
"Opus Magicum"--Item, how his Highness, Duke Francis, appoints
Christian Ludecke, his attorney-general, to be witch-commissioner
of Pomerania.

CHAPTER XIX.

How Christian Ludecke begins the witch-burnings in Marienfliess,
and lets the poor dairy-mother die horribly on the rack.

CHAPTER XX.

What Sidonia said to these doings--Item, what our Lord God said;
and lastly, of the magical experiment performed upon George
Putkammer and Diliana, in Old Stettin.

CHAPTER XXI.

Of the awful and majestic appearance of the sun-angel, Och.

CHAPTER XXII.

How old Wolde is seized, confronted with Sidonia, and finally
burned before her window.

CHAPTER XXIII.

How Diliana Bork and George Putkammer are at length betrothed--
Item, how Sidonia is degraded from her conventual dignities and
carried to the witches' tower of Saatzig in chains.

CHAPTER XXIV.

Of the execution of Sidonia and the wedding of Diliana.

CONCLUSION.

Mournful destiny of the last princely Pomeranian remains--My visit
to the ducal Pomeranian vault in Wolgast, on the 6th May 1840.


THE AMBER WITCH.

PREFACE

INTRODUCTION

CHAPTER VII.

How the Imperialists robbed me of all that was left, and likewise
broke into the church and stole the _Vasa Sacra;_ also what
more befell us.

CHAPTER VIII.

How our need waxed sorer and sorer, and how I sent old Ilse with
another letter to Pudgla, and how heavy a misfortune this brought
upon me.

CHAPTER IX.

How the old maid-servant humbled me by her faith, and the Lord yet
blessed me, His unworthy servant.

CHAPTER X.

How we journeyed to Wolgast, and made good barter there.

CHAPTER XI.

How I fed all the congregation--Item, how I journeyed to the
horse-fair at Gützkow, and what befell me there.

CHAPTER XII.

What further joy and sorrow befell us-Item, how Wittich Appelmann
rode to Damerow to the wolf-hunt, and what he proposed to my
daughter.

CHAPTER XIII.

What more happened during the winter--Item, how in the spring
witchcraft began in the village.

CHAPTER XIV.

How old Seden disappeared all on a sudden--Item, how the great
Gustavus Adolphus came to Pomerania, and took the fort at
Peenemünde.

CHAPTER XV.

Of the arrival of the high and mighty King Gustavus Adolphus, and
what befell thereat.

CHAPTER XVI.

How little Mary Paasch was sorely plagued of the devil, and the
whole parish fell off from me.

CHAPTER XVII.

How my poor child was taken up for a witch, and carried to Pudgla.

CHAPTER XVIII.

Of the first trial, and what came thereof.

CHAPTER XIX.

How Satan, by the permission of the most righteous God, sought
altogether to ruin us, and how we lost all hope.

CHAPTER XX.

Of the malice of the Governor and of old Lizzie--Item, of the
examination of witnesses.

CHAPTER XXI.

_De confrontations testium_.

CHAPTER XXII.

How the _Syndicus Dom._ Michelson arrived, and prepared his
defence of my poor child.

CHAPTER XXIII.

How my poor child was sentenced to be put to the question.

CHAPTER XXIV.

How in my presence the devil fetched old Lizzie Kolken.

CHAPTER XXV.

How Satan sifted me like wheat, whereas my daughter withstood him
right bravely.

CHAPTER XXVI.

How I received the Holy Sacrament with my daughter and the old
maid-servant, and how she was then led for the last time before
the court, with the drawn sword and the outcry, to receive
sentence.

CHAPTER XXVII.

Of that which befell us by the way--Item, of the fearful death of
the sheriff at the mill.

CHAPTER XXVIII.

How my daughter was at length saved by the help of the all-merciful,
yea, of the all-merciful God.

CHAPTER XXIX.

Of our next great sorrow, and final joy.



BOOK III. Continued.

FROM THE RECEPTION OF SIDONIA INTO THE CONVENT AT MARIENFLIESS UP
TILL HER EXECUTION, AUGUST 19TH, 1620.

VOL. II.



CHAPTER IV.

_How Dorothea Stettin is talked out of the sub-prioret by
Sidonia, and the priest is prohibited from visiting the
convent._


If Sidonia could not be the pastor's wife, she was determined at
least to be sub-prioress, and commenced her preparations for this
object by knitting a little pair of red hose for her cat. Then she
sent for Dorothea Stettin, saying that she was weak and ill, and
no one took pity on her.

When the good Dorothea came as she was asked, there lay my serpent
on the bed in her nun's robes, groaning and moaning as if her last
hour had come; and scarcely had the sub-prioress taken a seat near
her, when my cat crept forth from under the bed, in his little red
hose, mewing and rubbing himself up against the robe of the
sub-prioress, as if praying her to remove this unwonted constraint
from him, of the little red hose.

After Dorothea had inquired about her sickness, she looked at the
cat, and asked wonderingly, what was the meaning of such a strange
dress?

_Illa_.--"Ah, dear friend, it was dreadful to my feelings to see the
little animal going about naked, therefore I knit little hose for
him, as you see; indeed, I am often tempted to wonder how the Lord
God could permit the poor animals to appear naked before us."

_Hæc_ (extending her arms for joy, so that she almost tumbled back
off the stool).--"Oh, God be praised and thanked, at last I have
found one chaste soul in this wicked world! (sobs, throws up her
eyes, falls upon Sidonia's neck, kisses her, and weeps over her:)
ah yes, one chaste soul at last, like herself!"

_Illa._--"True, Dorothea, there is no virtue so rare in this
evil world as chastity. Ah, why has the Lord God placed such
things before our eyes? I never can comprehend it, and never will.
What a sight for a chaste virgin these naked animals! What did the
dear sister think on the matter?"

_Hæc._--"Ah, she knew not what to think, had asked the priest
about it."

_Illa._--"And what did he say?"

_Hæc._--"He laughed at her."

_Illa._--"Just like him, the lewd, hypocritical pharisee."

_Hæc._--"Eh? she was too hard on the good priest. He was a
pure and upright servant of God."

_Illa._--"Ay, as Judas was. Had not sister Dorothea
heard----"

_Hæc._--"No; for God's sake, what? The dear sister frightened
her already."

_Illa._--"First, you confess that the priest laughed when you
talked about chastity?"

_Hæc._--"Yes, true, ah, indeed true."

_Illa._--"Then you remember that he preached a sermon lately
upon adul--upon adul--. No, she never could utter the word--the
horrible word. Upon the seventh commandment, to the great scandal
of the entire convent?"

_Hæc._--"Ah yes, ah yes, she was there, and had to stop one
ear with her finger, the other with her kerchief, not to hear all
the strange and dreadful things he was saying."

_Illa._--"And yet this was the man that ran in and out of the
cloister daily at his pleasure, sent for or not--a young unmarried
man--though the convent rules especially declared an _old_
man. Ah, if _she_ were sub-prioress, this scandal should
never be permitted."

_Hæc_.--"What could be done? it was a blessed thing to live
in peace. Besides, the priest was such a pious man."

_Illa_.--"Pious? Heaven defend us from such piety! Why, had
she not heard?--the whole convent talked about it."

_Hæc_.--"No, no; for God's sake, what had happened? tell
her--she had been making sausages all the morning, and had heard
nothing."

_Illa_.--"Then know, ah God, how it pained her to talk of
it--she had heard a great noise in the kitchen in the morning, as
if all the pots and pans were tumbled about, and when she ran in
to see--there was the priest--oh, her chaste eyes never had seen
such a sight--the _pious_ priest making love to her old maid,
Wolde."

_Hæc_.--"Impossible, impossible!--to her old maid, Wolde?"

_Illa_.-"Yea, and he was praying her for kisses, and praising
her fat hand, and extolling her white hair. But as to what more
she had seen----"

_Hæc_.--"For God's sake, sister, what more?"

_Illa_ (sighing, and covering her face with both hands).--"No,
no, that she could never bring her chaste lips to utter. Oh, that
such wickedness should be in the world (weeping bitterly). But she
would never enter the chapel again, and that priest there; nor
receive the rites from him. But this was not all; the dear sister
must hear how he revenged himself upon her, because she
interrupted his toying with the old hag. It was truth, all truth!
She (Sidonia) grew so ill with fright and horror that she was
unable to disrobe, and threw herself on the bed just as she was,
but growing weaker and weaker hour by hour, sent for the priest at
last, to pray with her, and afterwards to offer up general
supplication for her restoration, in the chapel with all the
sisterhood; but only think, the shameless hypocrite refused to
pray with her, because he spied an end of her black robe out of
the bed, declaring she was not ill at all, that she was a base
liar, all because she had lain down in her convent dress, and
finally went his way cursing and swearing, without even saying one
prayer, or uttering one word of comfort, as was his duty. And now,
alas! she must die without priest or sacrament! To what a Sodom
and Gomorrah she had come! But if an old hag like her maid was not
safe from the shameless parson, how could she or any of them be
safe? What was to be done? unless the dear sister, as
sub-prioress, took the matter in her own hands, and brought him to
task about it?"

At this proposal the other trembled like an aspen leaf, and seemed
more dead than alive. She wept, wrung her hands--for God's sake
what could she do? how could she talk on such a matter? Let the
abbess see to it, if she chose.

_Illa_.--"Stuff, the old pussy--the less said of _her_
the better. Why, she was worse than the old maid, Wolde, herself."

_Hæc_.--"The abbess? why, the whole convent, and the whole
world too, talked of her piety and virtue."

_Illa_.--"Very virtuous, truly, to have the priest locked up
with her; and when some of the sisters wished to remain,
suspecting that all was not right, the priest pushed them out at
the door with his own hands, and bolted it after them, as many
could testify to her had been done this very day. Oh, what a Sodom
and Gomorrah she had been betrayed into! (weeping, sobbing, and
falling upon Dorothea's neck.) I pray you, sister, for the sake of
our heavenly bridegroom, bring this evil to an end, otherwise fire
and brimstone will assuredly and justly be rained down upon our
poor cloister."

Still the other maintained, "That the dear sister must err as
regarded the abbess. It might be her chaste zeal that blinded her.
True enough, probably, what she said of the priest; but the worthy
abbess--no, never could she believe that."

_Illa_.--"Let her have proof then. It was not her custom to
weaken innocence; call her maid, Wolde."

Then as Wolde entered, Sidonia made a sign, and bid her tell the
sub-prioress all that the shameless priest had done.

_Ancilla_.--"He had asked her for little kisses, praised her
hands and hair, and her beautiful limp, and had sat up close to
her on the bench, then run after her into the kitchen, gave her
money (shows the money), asked again for kisses, then----"

Sidonia screams--

"Hold your tongue; no more, no more; enough, enough!"

At this story, Dorothea Stettin nearly went into convulsions--she
wrung her hands, crying--.

"How is it possible? O heaven, how is it possible?"

_Illa_.--"There is something more quite possible also; the
hag shall tell you what she saw at the room door of the abbess."

_Ancilla_.-"When the scandalous priest left her, he went
straight to the abbess, and there was taken with cramps, as she
heard, upon which all the convent ran thither, and she with the
rest. And he was lying stretched out on a bench, like one dead, no
doubt from shame; but the shame soon went off, and then he got up,
and bade them all leave the room. However, good Anna Apenborg did
not choose to go, for she suspected evil. Whereupon he seized her
by the hand, and put her out along with the others. She saw all
this herself, for she was standing in the passage, waiting to
speak to sister Anna. When, behold, she was pushed out, to her
great surprise, in this way by the priest, and they heard the door
bolted inside immediately after."

At this Dorothea Stettin fell upon Sidonia's bed, weeping,
sobbing, and ready to die with grief; but Sidonia bade her not
take on so; for perhaps, after all, the old hag had not told the
truth, at least concerning the dear, worthy abbess; but two
witnesses would be sufficient testimony. Whereupon she bid Wolde
watch for Anna Apenborg from the window, and beckon to her to come
in if she saw her going by.

And scarcely had Wolde stepped to the window, when she laughed and
said--

"Truly, there stands Anna chatting with Agnes Kleist's maid at the
well. Shall I run and call her?"

"Yes," said Sidonia.

In a little while Wolde returned with sister Anna. The girl looked
wildly round at first, stared at the broom-sticks which lay
crosswise under the table, and then asked, with a trembling voice,
what the good sister wanted with her, while she took a seat on a
trunk near the bed.

"My old maid," said Sidonia, "tells me that the reverend chaplain
took you by the hand, and put you out of the abbess's room, after
which he bolted the door. Is this true or not? Speak the whole
truth."

So Anna related the whole story as Wolde had done; but, while
talking, the curious damsel lifted up a corner of the quilt to
peep under the bed, upon which my cat in his little red hose crept
forth again, mewing and rubbing himself against Anna, at which she
gave a shriek of horror and sprang out of the room, down the steps
and into the courtyard, without ever once venturing to look behind
her. And many think that this cat was Sidonia's evil spirit Chim.
But Anna Apenborg saw afterwards a pair of terrible fiery eyes
glaring at her from Sidonia's window; so others said, that must
have been Chim. But we shall hear more of this same cat presently.

_Summa_.--Sidonia knew well enough what made the girl scream,
but she turned to Dorothea, and said--

"Ah, see how this wickedness has shocked the poor young nun!
Therefore, dear sister, you must, as sub-prioress, make an end of
the scandal, and prohibit this false priest from visiting the
convent; for, indeed, they who permitted him such freedom amongst
the nuns were more to blame for his sins than he himself."

Poor Dorothea groaned forth in answer--

"Alas, alas! why did I ever accept the sub-prioret? For the couple
of sacks of flour and the bit of corn which she got more than the
others, it was not worth while to be plagued to death. It was all
true about the priest. He must be dismissed. But then she loved
peace. How could she right such matters? Oh, that some one would
relieve her of this sub-prioret!"

_Illa_.--"That can be easily done if you will. Suppose you
ask Anna Apenborg to take it?"

_Hæc_.--"No, no; Anna had not sense enough for that; but if
the dear sister herself would take it, how happy she would feel."

_Illa_.--"She was too sick, probably going to die; who could
tell?"

_Hæc_.--"No, no; she would pray for her. The dear sister
could not be spared yet. Let her say yes (falling on her neck and
weeping), only let her say yes."

_Illa_.--"Well, out of love to her she would say yes; and if
the Lord raised her up from this sick bed, order and decorum
should reign again in the convent."

_Hæc_ (again embracing her with gratitude).--"No doubt they
would. She knew well that no such pure-minded nun was in the
convent as her dear sister Sidonia."

_Illa_.--"But, good Dorothea, in order to get rid of the
priest as soon as possible, we had better send the porter
immediately to summon the abbess and the entire sisterhood here,
for you to tender your resignation in their presence."

_Hæc_.--"But sister Sidonia must promise not to complain of
the priest or the abbess to the Prince."

_Illa_.--"No, no; I can settle the matter quietly, without
laying a complaint before the Prince."

_Hæc_.--"All right, then. Everything, if possible, in peace."

Hereupon Sidonia despatched the porter to the abbess with a
request that she and the whole convent would assemble in
half-an-hour at the refectory, as she had somewhat to communicate.
Meanwhile she instructed Dorothea in what she was to say, so as
not to disgrace the poor abbess before the whole convent.

At the end of the half-hour, the abbess and the entire sisterhood
appeared, but all with anger and mistrust depicted on their
countenances. Sidonia then spake--

"Since ye and your priest refused to pray for me, I have prayed
for myself, and the Lord hath heard me in my weakness, and made me
strong enough to listen to the request of this good sister,
Dorothea, and promise to fulfil it. Speak, sister Dorothea, what
was your prayer?"

So Dorothea advanced, weeping and wringing her hands--

"Ah, God! she could no longer be sub-prioress. She loved peace too
much. But there were bad doings in the convent--she would say no
more--only they must end. Therefore she had earnestly prayed her
dear sister Sidonia to relieve her from the duties of office, and
become sub-prioress in her stead."

Here she loosed the veil, which differed from the others, by
having a key embroidered in gold thereon--the abbess had two keys
on her veil--and bound it on Sidonia, who had by this time risen
from bed, taking Sidonia's veil for herself. Then leading the
fatal sorceress forward, she said--

"Good mother and dear sisters--behold your sub-prioress!"

Thereupon the abbess and the whole convent remained quite mute, so
great was their horror.

Then Sidonia asked--

"Have they aught to say against it? If so, let them speak."

But they all remained silent and trembling, till at last the
abbess murmured--

"Is this done with your free-will, Dorothea?"

"Ah, yes, yes, truly," she answered. "I told you before with what
earnest prayers I besought the dear sister to release me. God be
thanked she has consented at last. Who can keep order and decorum
so well throughout the convent?"

Then the abbess spoke again--

"Sister Sidonia, I have no opposition to make, as you know full
well. So, if the Prince, and the sheriff, our worthy
superintendent, consent, you shall be sub-prioress. Yet first you
must render an account of your strange doings this past night, for
things were seen and heard in your chamber which could not have
been accomplished without the help of the great enemy himself."

Hereat Sidonia laughed as if she would die. She would tell them
the whole trick. They all knew what a trouble to the convent was
this Anna Apenborg from her curiosity--not once or twice, but ten
times a day, running in and out with her chat and gossip. She had
tried all means to prevent her, but in vain. Even in the middle of
her prayers, the said Anna would come in to tell her what one
sister was cooking, and another getting, or some follies even
quite unfit for chaste ears. And that last night being very sick,
she sent for the priest, upon which she heard Anna calling out
from the window to the porter, "Will he come? will he come?"
_Item_, she had then crept down to listen at the door. So
after the priest went, notwithstanding all her weakness, she
(Sidonia) determined to give her a good fright, and thus prevent
her from spying and listening any more. Then she called Wolde, and
bid her dance, while she muttered some words out of the
cookery-book. But here Anna called out, "It is not true; there
were _three_ danced. Where is the carl with the deep bass
voice? Who could this be at that midnight hour, but the devil
bodily himself?"

At this, Sidonia laughed louder than before. It was her cat--her
own cat, who was springing about the room, because for divers
reasons she had put little red hose on him. On this she stoops
under the bed, seizes my cat by the leg, who howls (that was the
deep bass voice), and flings him into the middle of the room,
where all the nuns, when they beheld his strange jumps and springs
in the little hose, burst out into loud laughter, in which the
abbess herself could not refrain from joining. So as there was no
evidence against Sidonia, and Anna Apenborg was truly held of all
as a most troublesome chatterbox and spy, the inquiry ended. And
with somewhat more friendliness, putting the best face on a bad
matter, they accepted Sidonia for their sub-prioress.



CHAPTER V.

_How Sidonia wounds Ambrosia von Guntersberg with an axe,
because she purposed to marry--And prays the convent porter,
Matthias Winterfeld, to death--For these, and other causes, the
reverend chaplain refuses to shrive the sorceress, and denounces
her publicly from the altar_.


Sidonia's first act, as may easily be imagined, was to dismiss the
priest; and for this purpose she wrote him a letter, saying that
he must never more presume to set foot within the cloister, for if
old ice-grey mothers were not safe from him, how could she and the
other maidens hope to escape? If he disobeyed her orders, she
would summon him before the princely consistorium, where strange
things might be told of him.

So the reverend David consented right willingly, and never saw the
nuns except on Sundays in the chapel, but Sidonia herself never
appeared in the nuns' choir. She gave Dorothea many excellent and
convincing reasons for her absence. (But in my opinion, it was
caused by hate and abhorrence of the sacrament and the holy Word
of God; for such are a torment and a torture to the children of
the devil, even as the works of the devil are an abomination to
the children of God.)

When, however, the report came, that the reverend David was indeed
betrothed to Barbara Bamberg, Sidonia presented herself once in
the choir, kneeled down, and was heard to murmur, "Wed if thou
wilt, that I cannot hinder; but a child thou shalt never hold at
the font!" And truly was the evil curse fulfilled.

Meanwhile the fear and the dread of her increased daily in the
convent, for besides old Wolde, two other horrible hags were
observed frequently going in and out of her apartments--true
children of Satan, as one might see by their red, glowing eyes.
With these she practised many horrible sorceries, sometimes
quarrelled with them, however, and beat them out with the
broom-stick; but they always came back again, and were as well
received as ever.

Then she had strifes and disputes with every one who approached
her, and was notorious through all the courts of justice for her
wrangling and fighting, in particular with her brother's son, Otto
of Stramehl, for she sued him for an _alimentum_ pension, and
also demanded that the rents of her two farm-houses in Zachow
should be paid her, according to the sum to which they must have
accumulated during the last fifty years. But he answered, she
should have no money; why did she not live at her farm-houses? He
knew nothing of the rents, the whole matter was past and
forgotten, and she had no claim now on him, and so every month she
wrangled in the courts about this business. _Item_, she
fought with Preslar of Buslar, because, being a feudal vassal of
the Borks', she required him to kiss her hand, which he refused;
then her dog having strayed into his house, she accused him of
having stolen it. _Item_, she fought with the maid who acted
as cook in the convent kitchen, and said she never got a morsel
fit to eat. And the said maid (I forget her name now) having
salted the fish too much one day, she ran after her with a
broom-stick--once, indeed, beat her so severely, that she was lame
her life long after.

But worse than the fish-salting was the white kerchief which the
maid wore. For people, she said, might take her at a distance to
be one of the honourable convent ladies, therefore she must wear a
coloured one. This the maid would not do, so she was soon brought
to an untimely end also, along with all others who displeased her.

These things, and many more, came out upon her trial, but for
divers reasons I must pass them over. All her notes, messages, and
letters, she entrusted to the porter, Matthias Winterfeld, who was
often sent, may be five times a week, by her to Stargard. But he
dared not remonstrate, or she would have struck him with the
broom-stick.

However, all this is nothing in comparison with the way she
treated the unfortunate nuns. The younger and prettier they were,
so much the more she boxed, beat, and martyred them, even striking
them with the broom-stick. And if they ever smiled or seemed happy
talking to one another, she abused and reviled them, calling them
idle wantons, who thought of nothing but matrimony. None were
permitted outside the convent gates, not even to visit their
parents: they should not be flying back with their crumbs of
gossip about brides and weddings, forsooth, and such-like improper
thoughts. Neither should they go to the annual fair. She would go
herself and buy everything for them she thought needful, only let
them give her the gold.

And out of deadly fear the poor maidens bore this tyranny long
while silently; even the abbess feared to complain, so that
Sidonia soon usurped the entire government of the convent.

But the powder-mill broke out at last into vivid flames, as I
shall narrate here. It was on this wise:--Amongst the novices was
one beautiful young maiden, Ambrosia von Guntersberg by name. She
was fifth daughter of old Ambrosius of Falkenwald, a little town
near Jacobshagen. One day a young nobleman called Ewald von
Mellenthin beheld her in her cloister habit. Think you he forgot
her? No, he can never forget the maiden! One, two weeks pass over,
but she has sunk deeper and deeper into his heart; at last he rose
up and went to Falkenwald to her father, Ambrosius, asking her
hand in honourable marriage.

Now, the old man was well pleased, for he was poor, and had five
daughters; so he bid the young noble write a letter to his
daughter Ambrosia, which he would inclose in one from himself to
her. But no answer arrived from the maiden (we may guess why, for
Sidonia opened and read all the letters that came to the convent,
before they were handed to their owners. Those that displeased her
she burned; no doubt, therefore, the love-letter was the first in
the flames). But the young noble grew impatient for an answer, and
resolved to ride to Marienfliess. So he ties his good horse to a
cross in the churchyard, walks straight up to the convent, and
rings the bell. Immediately the old porter, Matthias, opened to
him, with his hands covered with blood (for he was killing a fat
ox for the nuns, close by); whereupon the noble lord prayed to
speak a few words to the young novice Ambrosia von Guntersberg, at
the grating; and in a little time the beautiful maiden appeared,
tripping along the convent court (but Sidonia is before her).
Ambrosia advanced modestly to the grating, and asked the handsome
knight, "What was his pleasure?" who answered, "Since I beheld you
in Guntersberg, dearest lady, my heart has been wholly yours; and
when I saw how diligently and cheerfully you ruled your father's
house during his sickness, I resolved to take you for my wife, if
such were possible; for I need a good and prudent spouse at my
castle of Lienke, and methinks no better or more beautiful could
be found than yourself. Therefore I obtained your father's
permission to open the matter to you in writing, and he inclosed
my letter in one of his own; but you have neither answered one nor
the other. Whereupon, in my impatience, I saddled my good horse,
and rode over here to have an answer at once from your own
beautiful lips."

When Sidonia heard this, she grew black in the face with
rage--"What! in her presence, before her very face, to dare to
hold such language to a young maiden--a mere child--who knew
nothing at all of what marriage meant. He must pack off this
instant, or the devil himself should turn him out of the
cloister."

Meanwhile the young maiden took heart (for the handsome knight
pleased her), and said, "Gracious Lady Prioress (Sidonia made them
all call her Gracious Lady, as if she were a born princess), I am
no more a child, as you say, and I know very well what marriage
means."

This boldness made the other so wroth that she screamed--"Wait! I
will teach you what marriage is;" and she sprang on her to box
her. But Ambrosia rushed through the side-door out into the court,
Sidonia following; however, not being able to reach her, she
seized up the axe with which the porter had been killing the ox,
and flung it after her, wounding the poor maiden so in the foot
that the red blood poured down over her white stockings, while the
young lover, who could not break the grating, screamed and stamped
for rage and despair. By the good mercy of God the wound was only
slight, still the fair novice fell to the ground; but seeing
Sidonia rushing at her again with the large butcher's knife which
the porter had been using, she sprang up and ran to the grating,
crying out to the noble, "Save me! save me!"

And at her screams all the nuns threw up their windows, right and
left, over the courtyard; but finding the young knight could not
help her, she ran to the old porter, still screaming, "Save me!
save me! she is going to murder me!"

Now the fellow was glad enough to be revenged on Sidonia, for she
had sent him running to Stargard for her late the night before,
and the moment the ox was to be quartered, he was to be off there
again at her command; so he rushed at the vile witch, and seizing
her up like a bundle of old rags, pitched her against the wall
with all his force, adding a right hearty curse; and there she lay
quaking like an old cat, while the handsome young noble laughed
loud from the grating.

But she was up again soon, shook her dry, withered fist at the
porter, and cried, "Ha! thou insolent churl, I will pray thee to
death for this!"

Whereupon she went off to her room, and locked herself up there,
while the fair Ambrosia ran to the grating, and stretching out her
little hands through the bars, exclaimed, "I am yours, dear
knight; oh, take me away from this horrible hell!"

This rejoiced my young noble heartily, and he kissed the little
hands and lamented over her foot--"And was it much hurt? She must
lift it up, and show him if the wound was deep."

So she raised up the dainty foot a little bit, and then saw that
her whole shoe was full of blood; but the old porter, who came by
just then, comforted the handsome youth, and told him he would
stop the blood directly, for the wound was but a trifle. Whereupon
he laid a couple of straws over it, murmured some words, and
behold, in a moment, the blood is staunched! Then the fair novice
thanked him courteously, and prayed him to unlock the wicket, for
she would go and stay a couple of hours with the miller's wife,
while this young noble, to whom she had plighted love and troth,
returned to her father's for a carriage to bring her home. After
what had passed now, never more would she enter the cloister.

But what happened? Scarcely had the good old porter unfastened the
grating, and the young knight taken the fair girl in his arms,
kissing her and pressing her to his heart (well Sidonia did not
see him), when Matthias screamed out, "My God, what ails me?" and
fell flat on the ground. At this the young knight left his bride,
and flew to raise him up. "What could ail him?" But the poor old
man can hardly speak, his eyes are turned in his head, and he
gasped, "It was as if a man were sitting inside his breast, and
crushing him to death. Oh, he could not breathe--his ribs were
breaking!"

The alarmed young noble then helped the poor creature to reach his
room, which lay close by the wicket; and having laid him on the
bed in care of his wife, and recommended him to the mercy of God,
he returned to his own fair bride, to carry her off from this
murder-hole, and place her in safety with the miller's wife. I may
as well mention here that he and the beautiful Ambrosia were
wedded in due time, and lived long in peace and happiness, blessed
with many lovely children; for all the evil which Sidonia tried to
bring upon them, as we shall hear, came to nought, through the
mercy of the great God.

But to return to the porter-on the third day he died; and during
that time, day and night, Sidonia prayed, and was never seen but
once. This was at the dividing of the salmon, when she threw up
her window, and shaking her withered clenched hand at them, and
her long white locks, threatened the nuns on their peril to touch
the tail-piece-the tail-piece was hers.

A general horror pervaded the convent now, in truth, when the
death of the porter was known. Anna Apenborg shut herself up,
trembling, in her cell, and even good Dorothea began somewhat to
doubt the virtues of the vile sorceress; for the corpse had a
strange and unnatural appearance, so that it was horrible to look
upon, by which signs it was easy to perceive that he had been
prayed to death, as the fearful night-hag had threatened.

I must notify these symptoms, for the corpses of many of Sidonia's
victims presented the same appearances; as the corpse of the
reverend David--_item_, Joachim Wedeln of
Cremzow--_item/_, Doctor Schwalenberg of Stargard, and Duke
Philip II., and lastly, the abbess, Magdalena von Petersdorf.
Whether her brother's son, Otto of Stramehl, whom she was
suspected also of having prayed to death, presented the like, I
cannot say with certainty. At this same time also his princely
Grace Duke Bogislaff XIII. expired, many say bewitched to death;
but of this I have no proof, as the body had quite a natural
aspect after death. Still he had just arranged to journey to
Marienfliess himself, and turn out Sidonia, in consequence of the
accusations of Sheriff Sparling and the convent chaplain, so that
his sudden death looks suspicious; however, as the _medicus_,
Dr. Nicolaus Schulz, pronounced, "Quod ex ramis venæ portæ Epatis
et lienis exporrectis, iste adustus sanguis eo prosiliiset" (for
he died by throwing up a black matter like his brothers); and
further, as the manikin on the three-legged hare did not appear
this time at the castle, I shall not lay the murder on Sidonia, to
increase her terrible burden at the last day, though I have my own
thoughts upon the matter.

_Summa._-My gracious Prince died _suddenly_. Alas, woe!
exactly like all his brothers; he was just sixty-one years old,
seven months, and fifteen days, and a more God-fearing prince
never sat on a throne. But my grief over the fate of this great
Pomeranian house has carried me away from the corpse of the old
porter. The appearances were these:--

1. The face brown, green, and yellow, particularly about the
_musculi frontales et temporales._

2. The _musculi pectorales_ so swelled, and the _cartilago
ensiformis_ so singularly raised, that the chest of the corpse
touched the mouth.

3. From the _patella_ of the left leg to the _malleolus
externus_ of the foot, all brown, green, and yellow, blended
together.

And on examination of the said corpse, Dr. Kukuck of Stargard
affirmed and was ready to swear, that no one tittle of the
signature of Satan was wanting thereupon.

_Summa_.--The poor carl was buried with great mourning on the
following Friday; and the reverend David preached a sermon
thereupon, in which he plainly spoke of his strange and unnatural
death, so that every one knew well whom he suspected. My hag heard
of this instantly, and therefore determined to attend the
sacrament on the following Sunday; for this end she despatched
Wolde to the priest, bidding her tell him she had a great desire
to attend the holy rite, and would go to confession that day after
noon. At this horrid blasphemy a cold shudder fell upon the priest
(and I trust every Christian man will feel the like as he reads
this), for he now saw through her motive clearly, how she wanted
to blind the eyes of the people as to the death of the porter, by
this mockery of the holiest rites of religion. Besides, amongst
the horrible abominations practised by witches, it is well known
that having received the sacred bread, they privately take the
same again from their mouth and feed their familiar therewith. And
one day when the convent was quite still, Anna Apenborg, having
crept down to peep through the key-hole of the refectory door, saw
enough to confirm this general belief.

No wonder then if the good priest stood long silent from horror;
then he spake--"Tell the prioress it is well;" but when Wolde was
gone, he threw himself upon his knees in his closet before God,
and wrestled long in prayer, with tears and wringing of hands,
that He would open to him what was his path of duty.

About noon he became more composed, through the great mercy of the
Lord; and bid his wife, Barbara, come to him, with whom he had
lived now a year and a half in perfect joy, though without
children. To her he disclosed the proposition of the horrible
sorceress, and afterwards spake thus:--

"And because, dear Barbara, after earnest prayer to God, I have
come to the resolution neither to shrive nor to give the Lord's
body to this daughter accursed of hell, do not be surprised if a
like death awaits me as happened to the porter, Matthias. When I
die, therefore, dear wife, take thee another spouse and bear
children. 'For the woman,' says the Scripture, 'shall be blessed
through childbearing, so as she continues in faith, and love, and
in holiness with sobriety' (I Tim. ii.). Thus thou wilt soon
forget me."

But the poor wife wept, and besought him to turn from his resolve,
and not incur the vengeance of Sidonia. So he answered, "Weep not,
or our parting will be more bitter; this poor flesh and blood is
weak enough, still never will I blaspheme the holy rite of our
Church, and 'cast pearls before swine' (Matt. vii.). And wherefore
weep? At the last day they would meet again, to smile for ever in
an eternity of joy. But could he hope for this if he were an
unfaithful steward of the mysteries of God? No; but it was
written, 'Death is swallowed up in victory. Death, where is thy
sting? Hell, where is thy victory? God be thanked who giveth us
the victory through Christ our Lord' (I Cor. xv.). In God
therefore he trusted, and in His strength would go now to the
confessional."

She must let him go; the sexton would soon ring the bell, and he
wished to pray some time alone in the church. Her tears had again
disturbed his spirit, and made him weak. But he would use the holy
keys of his office, which his Saviour had entrusted to him, to His
glory alone, even if this accursed sorceress were to bring him to
the grave for it. If the Lord will, He could protect him, but he
would still do his duty. Will she not let him go now, that he may
pray?

And when she unwound her arms, he took her again in his, kissed
her, sobbed, and wept; then tearing himself away, went out into
the church by the garden entrance.

Then the poor wife flung herself on a seat, weeping and praying,
but in a little while in came Dorothea Stettin, saying, "That she
was going to confession, and had no small silver for the
offertory. Could she give her change of a dollar?"

Then she asked about the other's grief; and having heard the
cause, promised to go to the priest herself, and beseech him not
to break the staff "Woe" over Sidonia. She went therefore
instantly to the church, and found him on his knees praying behind
the altar. Whereupon she entreated him, after her fashion, not to
break the blessed peace--peace above all things.

Meanwhile the sexton rung the bell, and Sidonia entered, sweeping
the nave of the church to the altar, followed by seven or eight
nuns. But when she beheld Dorothea come out at one side, and the
priest at the other, and that not another soul had been in the
church, she laughed aloud mockingly, and clapped her hands--"Ha!
the pious priest, would he tell them now what he and Dorothea were
doing behind the altar? The sisters were all witnesses how this
shameless parson conducted himself." Though she spoke this quite
loud for every one to hear, yet not one of the nuns made answer,
but stood trembling like doves who see the falcon ready to pounce
upon them. Yea, even as Dorothea came down the altar steps to take
her place in the choir, my hag laughed loud again like Satan, and
cried, "Ah! the chaste virgin! who meetest the priest behind the
altar! Thou shameless wanton, the prioress shall teach thee fitter
behaviour soon!"

Poor Dorothea turned quite pale with fright, and began--"Ah! dear
sister, only listen!"

But the dragon snapped at her, with--"Dear sister, forsooth!
What!--was she to bear this insolence? Let her know that the
gracious Lady Prioress was not to be talked to as 'dear sister '!"

Here the organ struck up the confession hymn; and the whole
congregation being assembled in the church, Sidonia and the seven
nuns ascended the steps of the altar, bowed to the priest, and
then took their seats, whereupon the organ ceased playing.

After a brief silence, the poor minister sighed heavily, and then
spake--"Sidonia, after all that has been stated concerning you,
particularly with regard to the death of the convent porter within
these last few days, I cannot, as a faithful servant of God, give
you either absolution or the holy rite of the Lord's Supper, until
you clear yourself from such imputations before a princely
consistorium."

At this my hag laughed loud from the altar, crying, "Eh?--that was
a strange story. What had she done to the convent porter?"

_Ille_.--"Prayed him to death, as every one believed, and his
appearance proved."

_Hæc_ (still laughing).--"He must have lost his senses. Let
him go home and bind asses' milk upon his temples; he would soon
be better."

_Ille_.--"She should remember where and what she spoke. Had
she not herself said, she would pray the porter to death?"

_Hæc_ (laughing yet louder).--"Oh! in truth, his little bit
of mother-wit was quite gone. When and where had it been ever
heard that one person could pray another to death? Then they might
pray them to life again. Shall she try it with the porter?"

_Ille_.--"Why then had she threatened it?"

_Hæc_ (still laughing).--"Ah! poor man! she saw now he was
quite foolish. Why had she threatened? Why, in anger, of course,
because the vile churl had flung her against the wall. Had he
never heard the poor people say to each other, 'May the devil take
you;' but if one happened to die soon after, did people really
think the devil had taken him? Why, he was as superstitious as an
old spinning-wife."

_Ille_.--"She had heard his resolve. This was no place to
argue with her; therefore she might go her ways, for he would
verily not give her absolution."

So Sidonia rose up raging from the confessional, clenched her
hand, and screamed out in the still church, so that all the people
shuddered with horror--"Ye are all my witnesses that this
worthless priest has denied me absolution, because, forsooth, he
says I killed the convent porter. Ha! ha! ha! Where is it said in
your Scriptures that one man can pray another to death? But the
licentiousness of the vile priest has turned his brain, and he
wallows in all most senseless superstitions. Did he not run after
my old hag of a servant, as I myself saw; and this was not enough,
but he must take Dorothea Stettin (the hypocritical wanton) behind
the altar alone; and because I and these seven maidens discovered
his iniquity, he refuses me the rites, and must have me before a
princely consistorium to revenge himself. But wait, priest, I will
drag the sheep's clothing from thee. Wait, thou shalt yet repent
this bitterly!"

After the horrible sorceress had so blasphemed, she departed as
quickly as possible from the church, muttering to herself. The
congregation remained silent from fear and terror; and the poor
priest, who seemed more dead than alive, prayed the sexton to
fetch him a cup of water, which he drank; and then being in some
degree recovered, he stepped forth, and addressed the congregation
thus:--

"Dear brethren and friends, after what ye have just heard, ye will
not wonder if I am unable to receive confessions this day, or to
administer the holy communion. Ye all know Dorothea Stettin,
neither is my character unknown to you; therefore remember the
words of St. Peter, 'The devil goeth about as a roaring lion,
seeking whom he may devour.' But we will resist him, steadfast in
the faith. Meet me, then, tomorrow here at the altar, and ye shall
hear my justification. After which, I will shrive those who desire
to be partakers of the holy sacrament."

And on the following morning, the holy minister of God preached
from Matthew v. 11--"Blessed are ye when men shall revile you and
persecute you, and say all manner of evil falsely against you, for
My sake; be glad and comforted, for ye shall be well recompensed
in heaven." And in this powerful sermon he drew a picture of
Sidonia from her youth up; so that many trembled for him when they
remembered her power, though they glorified God for the mighty
zeal and courage that burned in his words. But when Sidonia heard
of this sermon, she became almost frantic from rage.



CHAPTER VI.

_Dorothea Stettin falls sick, and how the doctor manages to
bleed her--Item, how Sidonia chases the princely commissioners
into the oak-forest._


Such a public humiliation the good virgin Dorothea Stettin found
it impossible to bear. She fell sick, and repented with bitter
tears of the trust and confidence she had reposed in Sidonia;
finally, the abbess sent off a message to Stargard for the
_medicus_, Dr. Schwalenberg.

This doctor was an excellent little man, rather past middle age
though still unmarried, upright and honest, but rough as
bean-straw. When he stood by Dorothea's bed and had heard all
particulars of her illness, he bid her put out her hand, that he
might feel her pulse. "No, no;" she answered, "that could she
never do; never in her life had a male creature felt her pulse."
At this my doctor laughed right merrily, and all the nuns who
stood round, and Sidonia's old maid, Wolde, laughed likewise; but
at last he persuaded Dorothea to stretch out her hand.

"I must bleed her," said the doctor. "This is _febris
putrida_; therefore was her thirst so great: she must strip her
arm till he bleed her." But no one can persuade her to this--strip
her arm! no, never could she do it; she would die first: if the
doctor could do nothing else, he may go his ways.

Now the doctor grew angry. Such a cursed fool of a woman he had
never come across in his life; if she did not strip her arm
instantly, he would do it by force. But Dorothea is inflexible;
say what he would, she would strip her arm for no man!

Even the abbess and the sisterhood tried to persuade her.

"Would she not do it for her health's sake; or, at least, for the
sake of peace?"

They were all here standing round her, but all in vain. At last
the doctor, half-laughing, half-cursing, said--

"He would bleed her in the foot. Would that do?"

"Yes, she would consent to that; but the doctor must leave the
room while she was getting ready."

So my doctor went out, but on entering again found her sitting on
the bed, dressed in her full convent robes, her head upon Anna
Apenborg's shoulder, and her foot upon a stool. As the foot,
however, was covered with a stocking, the doctor began to scold.

"What was the stocking for? Let him take off the stocking. Was she
making a fool of him? He advised her not to try it."

"No," Dorothea answered, "never would she strip her foot for him.
Die she would if die she must, but that she could never do! If he
could not bleed her through the stocking, he may go his ways."

_Summa_.--As neither prayers nor threatening were of any
avail, the doctor, in truth, had to bleed her through the
stocking; and scarcely had he finished, when Sidonia sent, saying.

"That she, too, was ill, and wished to be bled."

And there lay my hag alone, in bed, as the doctor entered. She was
right friendly.

"And was it indeed true, that absurd fool Dorothea did not choose
to be bled? Now he saw himself what a set of simpletons she had to
deal with in the convent. No wonder that they all blackened her
and belied her. She was sick from very disgust at such malice and
absurdity. Ah, she regretted now not having married when she had
the opportunity; it would have been better, and she had many
offers. But she always feared she was too poor. However, her
fortune was now excellent, for her sister had died without
children, and left her everything--a very large inheritance, as
she heard. But the dear doctor must taste her beer; she had tapped
some of the best, and there was a fresh can of it on the table."

But my doctor was too cunning not to see what she was driving at;
besides, he had heard of her beer-brewing, so he answered--

"He never drank beer; but what ailed her?"

"Ah, she didn't know herself, but she had a trembling in all her
limbs. Would he not take a glass of mead, or even water? Her old
servant should bring it to him."

"No. Let her just put out her hand for him to feel her pulse."

Instantly she stretched forth, not her hand alone, but her whole
naked, dry, and yellow arm from the bed. Whereupon the doctor
spoke--

"Eh? What should I bleed you for? The pulse is all right. In fact,
old people never should be bled without serious cause; for at
seventy or so, mind ye, every drop is worth a groschen."

"What!" exclaimed Sidonia, starting up; "what the devil, do ye
think I am seventy? Why, I am hardly fifty yet."

"Seventy or fifty," answered the doctor, "it is all much the same
with you women-folk."

"To the devil with you, rude churl!" screamed Sidonia. "If you
will not bleed me, I'll find another who will. Seventy indeed! So
rude a knave is not in the land!"

But my doctor goes away laughing; and as the ducal commissioners
had arrived to try Sidonia's case, with the convent chaplain, he
went down to meet them at Sheriff Sparling's, and these were the
commissioners:--

1. Christian Ludeck, state prosecutor; a brother of the priest's.

2. Johann Wedel of Cremzow.

3. Eggert Sparling, sheriff of Marienfliess.

4. Jobst Bork, governor of Saatzig.

This Jobst was son to that upright Marcus whose wife, Clara von
Dewitz, Sidonia had so miserably destroyed. For his good father's
sake, long since dead, their Graces of Stettin had continued him
in the government of Saatzig, for he walked in his father's steps,
only he was slow of speech; but he had a lovely daughter, yet more
praiseworthy than her grandmother, Clara of blessed memory, of
whom we shall hear more anon.

_Summa_.--The doctor found all the commissioners assembled in
the sheriff's parlour. _Item_, Anna Apenborg and the abbess
as witnesses, who deposed to all the circumstances which I have
heretofore related; also, the abbess set forth the prayer of the
sick Dorothea Stettin, that she might be restored to the
sub-prioret out of which the false Sidonia had wickedly talked
her, and now for thanks gave her insolent contempt and mocking
sneers.

Anna Apenborg further deposed, that, looking through the key-hole
of the refectory door one day, she spied the wicked witch boring a
hole in the wall; in this she placed a tun-dish, and immediately
after, a rich stream of cow's milk flowed down into a basin which
Sidonia held beneath, and that same day the best cow in the
convent stopped giving milk, and had never given one drop since.
And because the dairymaid, Trina Pantels, said openly this was
witchcraft, and accused Sidonia and the old hag Wolde of being
evil witches--for she was not a girl to hold her tongue, not
she--her knee swelled up to the size of a man's head, and day and
night she screamed for agony, until another old witch that visited
Sidonia, Lena of Uchtenhagen, for six pounds of wool, gave her a
plaster of honey and meal to put on the knee, and what should be
drawn out of the swelling, but quantities of pins and needles; and
how could this have been, but by Sidonia's witchcraft? [Footnote:
However improbable such accusations may seem, numbers of the like,
some even still more extraordinary, may be found in the witch
trials of that age, by any one who takes the trouble of referring
to them.]

Many witnesses could prove this fact; for Tewes Barth, Dinnies
Koch, and old Fritz were by, when the plaster was taken off.

Then Sheriff Sparling deposed, that having smothered his bees
lately, he sent a pot of pure honey to each of the nuns, as was
his custom; but Sidonia scolded, and said her pot was not large
enough, and abused him in a cruel manner about his stinginess in
not sending her more. So, some days after, as he was riding
quietly home to his house, across the convent court, suddenly the
whole ground before him became covered with the shadows of
bee-hives, and little shadows like bees went in and out, and
wheeled about just as real bees do. Whereupon, he looked in every
direction for the hives, for no shadows can be without a body, but
not a hive nor a bee was in the whole place round; but he heard a
peal of mocking laughter, and, on looking up, there was the wicked
witch looking out at him from a window, and she called out--

"Ho! sir sheriff, when you smother bees again, send me more honey.
A couple of pounds of the best--good weight!"

And this he did to have peace for the future.

Now the commissioners noted all this down diligently; but the
state prosecutor shook his head, and asked the abbess--

"Wherefore she had not long ago brought this vile witch before the
princely court?"

To which she answered, sighing--.

"What would that help? She had already tasted the vengeance of the
wicked sorceress, and feared to taste it again. Well, night and
day had she cried to God to free the convent from this she-devil,
and often resolved to unfold the whole Satan's work to his
Highness, though her own life would be perilled surely by so
doing. But she was ready, as a faithful mother of the convent, to
lay it down for her children, if, indeed, that could save them.
But how would her death help these poor young virgins? For
assuredly the moment Sidonia had brought her to a cruel end, she
would make herself abbess by force, and this was such a dread to
the sorrowing virgins, that they themselves entreated her to keep
silence and be patient, waiting for the mercy of God to help them.
For truly the power of this accursed sorceress was as great as her
wickedness."

Here answered Dr Schwalenberg--

"This power can soon be broken; he knew many receipts out of
Albertus Magnus, Raimundus Lallus, Theophrastus, Paracelsus, &c.,
against sorcery and evil witches."

This was a glad hearing to the state prosecutor, and he answered
with a joyful mien and voice--

"Marry, doctor, if you know how to get hold of this evil hag, do
it at once; we shall then bind her arms, so that she can make no
signs to hurt us, and clap a pitch-plaster on her mouth, to stop
the said mouth from calling the devil to her help; after which, I
can easily bring her with me to Stettin, and answer for all
proceedings to his Grace. Probably she is a-bed still; go back,
and pretend that, upon reflection, you think it will be better to
bleed her. Then, when you have hold of her arm, call in the
fellows, whom the sheriff will, I am sure, allow to accompany
you."

"Yes, yes," cried the sheriff, "take twenty of my men with you, my
good doctor, if you will."

"Well, then," resumed the state prosecutor, "let them rush in,
bind the dragon, clap the pitch-plaster on her mouth, and she is
ours in spite of all the devils."

"Right, all right," cried the doctor; "never fear but I'll pay her
for her matrimonial designs upon me."

And he began to prepare the plaster with some pitch he got from a
cobbler, when suddenly the state prosecutor screamed out--

"Merciful God! see there! Look at the shadow of a toad creeping
over my paper, whereon I move my hand!"

He springs up--wipes, wipes, wipes, but in vain; the unclean
shadow is there still, and crawls over the paper, though never a
toad is to be seen.

What a commotion of horror this Satan's work caused amongst the
bystanders, can be easily imagined. All stood up and looked at the
toad-shadow, when the abbess screamed out, "Merciful God! look
there! look there! The whole floor is covered with toad-shadows!"
Hereupon all the women-folk ran screaming from the room, but
screamed yet louder when they reached the door, and met there
Sidonia and her cat face to face. Round they all wheeled again,
rushed to the back-door, out into the yard, over the pond, and
into the oak-wood, without daring once to look behind them. But
the men remained, for the doctor said bravely, "Wait now, good
friends, patience, she can do us no harm;" and he murmured some
words.

But just as they all made the sign of the cross, and silently put
up a prayer to God, and gathered up their legs on the benches, so
that the unclean shadows might not crawl upon their boots, the
horrible hag appeared at the window, and her cat in his little red
hose clambered up on the sill, mewing and crying (and I think
myself that this cat was her spirit Chim, whom she had sent first
to the sheriff's house to hear what was going on; for how could
she have known it?).

_Summa_.--She laid one hand upon the window, the better to
look in, and clenching the other, shook it at them, crying out,
"Wait, ye accursed peasant boors, I, too, will judge ye for your
sins!" But seeing her cousin, Jobst Bork, present, she screamed
yet louder--"Eh! thou thick ploughman, hath the devil brought thee
here too? Art thou not ashamed to accuse thy own kinswoman? Wait,
I will give thee something to make thee remember our
relationship!"

And as she began to murmur some words, and spat out before them
all, the state prosecutor jumped up and rushed out after the
women, and Sheriff Sparling rushed out after him, and they never
stopped or stayed till both reached the oak-wood.

But Jobst said calmly, "Cousin, be reasonable; it is my duty!" My
doctor, however, wanted to pay her off for the marriage business,
so he seized a whip with which Sheriff Sparling had been thrashing
a boor, and hurrying out, cried, "I will make her reasonable! Thou
old hag of hell! here is the fit marriage for thee!" and so whack,
whack upon her thin, withered shoulders.

Truly the witch cried out now in earnest, but began to spit at the
same time, so that the doctor had given but four strokes when the
whip fell from his hand, and he tottered hither and thither,
crying, "O Lord! O Lord!" At this the sorceress laughed
scornfully, and mocking his movements, cried out likewise, "O
Lord! O Lord!" and when the poor doctor fell down flat upon the
earth like the old porter and others, she began to dance, chanting
her infernal psalm:--

   "Also kleien und also kratzen,
    Meine Hunde und meine Katzen"

And the cat in his little red hose danced beside her. After which,
she returned laughing to the convent to pray him to death, while
the poor fellow lay groaning and gasping upon the pavement. None
were there to help him, for the state prosecutor and Wedeln had
made off to Stargard as quick as they could go, and Sheriff
Sparling was still hiding in the bush. However, Jobst and the old
dairy-woman helped him up as best he could, and asked what ailed
him? to which he groaned in answer, "There seemed to be some one
sitting inside his breast, and breaking the _cartilago
ensiformis_ horribly asunder. Ah, God! ah, God! he was weak
indeed! his hour was come; let them lay him in a coach, and carry
him directly to Stargard."

This was done as soon as the sheriff could be found; but my
doctor's screams never ceased for three days, after which he gave
up the ghost, and the corpse had the same appearance as that of
the convent porter, which I have already noticed. Thus it happened
with the wise!

But Johann Wedeln fared little better, as we shall see; for after
the doctor's strange death, he said openly everywhere, he would
never rest till the accursed witch was burned. Anna Apenborg
repeated this in the convent, and to Sidonia's maid, upon which
the witch sent for Anna, and asked was the report true? And when
the other did not deny it, she exclaimed, "Now for this shall the
knave be contracted all his life long, and twist his mouth
_thus_." Whereupon she mimicked how his shoulders would be
drawn up to his ears, and twisted her mouth in horrible
contortions, so that it was a shame and sin to look at her. And
truly this misfortune fell upon him from that hour. And afterwards
when he heard of her wickedness, from Anna Apenborg and others,
and brought her to an account for her sorcery in Stettin, she made
him bite the dust and lie in his coffin ere long, out of malice
and terrible revenge, as we shall hear further on.



CHAPTER VII.

_How the assembled Pomeranian princes hold a council over
Sidonia_ [Footnote: Note of Bogislaff XIV.--I was not present
at this council, for I was holding my espousals at the time. (The
Duke married the Princess Elizabeth von Schleswig Holstein in
1615, but left no heirs.)] _and at length cite her to appear at
the ducal court._


When the state prosecutor, Christian Ludeck, reached Stettin with
his appalling news, the Duke was seriously troubled in mind as to
how he could best save the holy sisterhood, and indeed the whole
land, from the terrible Satanic power and murderous malice of this
cruel sorceress. So he summoned all the princes of his family to a
convocation on a certain day, at Old Stettin; but when they
arrived, his Grace was absent, for he had gone to Coblentz on some
business, and here was the matter.

His steward, Jeremias Schroter, was an unworthy agent, as his
Grace heard; and when the time came for the poor people to get
their oats or corn, he sent round and made them all give their
receipts first, saying "They should have their corn after;" but
when they went to bring it home, he beat them, and asked what they
meant--he had their receipts: they were cheats, and should get no
more corn from him.

Now, a poor parson's widow came up all the way to Stettin, to
complain of the steward to his Highness, who was shocked at such
knavery, and determined to go down himself to Coblentz and make
inquiries; for the steward swore that the people were liars, and
had defamed him.

The Duke therefore bid the chancellor, Martin Chemnitz, entertain
his princely brothers until his return, which would not be before
evening, and to show them his painting and sculpture galleries,
and whatever else in the castle might please them. And now to show
the good heart of his Grace, I must mention that, seeing the poor
widow was tired with her six miles' walk, he bid her get up beside
the coachman on the box of his carriage, and he would drive her
himself to her own place.

Meanwhile the young princes arrived, and the court marshal, the
chancellor, the aforesaid state prosecutor, and other high
officials, received them on behalf of his Highness. Doctor Cramer,
_vice-superintendens_, my esteemed father-in-law, was also
present--_item_, Doctor Constantius Oesler.

They were first led into the picture-gallery by the chancellor
(although Duke George cared little about such matters), where
there was a costly collection of paintings by Perugino, Raphael,
Titian, Bellini, &c.--_item_, statues, vases, coins, and
medals, all of which his Grace had brought lately from Italy. Here
also there was a large book, covered with crimson velvet, lying
open, in which his Grace the Duke had written down many extracts
from the sermons of Doctor Cramer and Mag. Reutzio, with marginal
Latin notes of his own; for the Duke had a table in his oratory or
closet in St. Mary's Church, that he might write down what pleased
him, and a Greek and Latin Bible laid thereon. This book was,
therefore, a right pleasing sight to Doctor Cramer, who stood and
read his own sermons over again with great relish, while the
others examined the paintings.

When they grew weary, the chancellor conducted them to the
library, which contained ten thousand books. But Duke Ulrich said,
"Marry, dear brothers, what the devil is there to see here? Let us
rather go down to the stables, and examine my new Danish horses;
then come up to my quarters (for his Grace lived with his brother,
Duke Philip), and have a good Pomeranian carouse to pass away the
time; for as to these fooleries, which have cost our good brother
such a mint of money, I would not give a dollar for them all."

So they ran down the steps leading to the stables; but first he
brought them into the hunting-hall, belonging to his quarter,
which was decorated, and covered all along the walls with
hunting-horns, rifles, cross-bows, and hunting-knives and pouches,
with the horns of all sorts of animals killed in the chase.
Whereupon Duke George said, "He was content to remain here--the
horses he could see on the morrow."

So he sat down by the wine-flask, which lay there already upon the
table; and while Duke Ulrich was trying to persuade him to come to
the stables, saying he could have the wine-flask after, the door
opened, and his Highness Duke Philip unexpectedly entered the
apartment.

He embraced all his dear brothers, and then, turning to Duke
Francis, the bishop, said, "Tell me, dear Fra (so he always called
him, for his Grace spoke Italian and Latin like German), is there
any hope of a christening at thy castle? Oh, say yes, and I will
give thee a duchy for my godchild."

But Bishop Francis answered mournfully, "No!" Then Duke Philip
turned to another--"How say you, brother--mayhap there is hope of
an heir to Wolgast?"

"None, alas!" was the answer.

"No, no!" exclaimed the Duke, "and there is no hope for me
either--none!" Then he walked up and down the hall in great
agitation, at last stopped, and lifting up his hands to heaven,
cried, "Merciful God, a child, a child! Is my whole ancient race
to perish? Wilt Thou slay us, as Thou didst the first-born of
Egypt? Oh! a child, a child!"

Here Doctor Cramerus advanced humbly, and said, "Your Highness
should have faith. Remember what St. Paul says (Rom. iv.)
concerning the faith of Abraham and Sarah; and Abraham was a
hundred years old, whereas your Highness is scarce forty,
therefore why despair of the mercy of God? Besides, many of his
brothers were still unwed."

Hereat his Grace stood silent, and looked round at his dear
brothers; but Duke George exclaimed, "You need not look at me,
dear brother, for I mean never to marry" (which, indeed, was the
truth, for he died some short time after at Buckow, whether
through Sidonia's witchcraft I know not, at the age of thirty-five
years, and unmarried. One thing, however, is certain, that his
death was as strange as the others; for in seven days he was well,
sick, dead, buried). [Footnote: There was formerly a Cistercian
monastery at Buckow, in the chapel of which still hangs a picture
of this Prince. Like most of his race, the face is in the highest
degree unmeaning; indeed, nothing more can be said of him than
that he was born and died.]

_Summa_.--His Highness first excused himself to his
illustrious brothers for his absence, and related the cause, how
his knave of a steward had been oppressing the poor, whereupon he
determined to go himself and avenge their injuries; for a prince
should be the father of his people, and it was a blessed work, the
Scripture said, to visit the fatherless and widows in their
affliction (James i. 27). So he hid himself in a little closet,
where he could hear everything in the widow's house, and then bid
her send for the steward; and when he came, the widow asked for
her corn, as usual, but he said, "She must give him the receipt
first, and then she might have it;" upon which she gave him the
receipt, and he went away. Then the Duke bid the widow send a
peasant and his cart for the corn; however, the old answer came
back--"She was a cheat--what did she mean? He had her receipt in
his hand."

Upon this the Duke drove himself to the knave, and made him, in
his presence, pay down all the arrears of corn to the widow; then
he beat him black and blue, for a little parting remembrance, and
dismissed him ignominiously from his service. After this he had
thoughts of driving round to visit Prechln of Buslar, for the
rumour was afloat that Sidonia had bewitched his little son
Bartel, scarcely yet a year old, and made him grow a beard on his
chin like an old carl's, that reached down to his little stomach.
But as his dear brothers were waiting for him, his Grace had given
up this journey, particularly as he wished to hear their opinions
without delay as to what could be done to free the land from this
evil sorceress Sidonia. Hereupon he bade Christian Ludeck, the
state prosecutor, to read the proceedings at Marienfliess from his
notes.

As he proceeded to read the Acta, the listeners crossed and
blessed themselves; at last Duke Francis, the bishop, spake--"Did
I not say well, when years ago, in Oderkrug, I prayed our father
of blessed memory to burn this vile limb of Satan for a terrible
example? But my good brother Philip sided against me with my
father, and he was deemed the wiser. Who is the wiser now, I
wonder--eh?"

Then Duke Philip asked Dr. Cramer, "What he thought of the matter
as _theologus_?" who answered, "Your Grace must spare me; I
will accuse no one, not even Sidonia, for though such things
appear verily to be done by the help of the devil, yet had they no
proof, seeing that no _medicus_ had hitherto dissected any
one of the _cadavera_ which it was avowed Sidonia had
bewitched to death."

Hereupon Dr. Constantius spake that he had already, by legal
permission, dissected the body of his colleague, Dr. Schwalenberg,
and delivered over the _visum repertum_ to his Grace's
chancellor. Then he described the appearances, which were truly
singular, particularly that of the _cartilago ensiformis_.
_Item_, concerning the _valvulae tricuspidales_, through
which the blood falls into the heart. They were so powerfully
contracted that the blood was forced to take another course, for
which reason, probably, the corpse seemed so dreadfully
discoloured. _Item_, the _vena pulmonalis_ had burst,
from which cause the doctor had spit blood to the last. And
lastly, the _glandulae sublinguales_ were so swollen that the
tongue could not remain in the mouth. Such a death was not
natural; that he averred. But whether Sidonia's sorcery had caused
it, or it were sent as a peculiar punishment by God, that he would
not say; he agreed with the excellent Dr. Cramer, and thought it
better to accuse no one.

"Now by the cross!" cried Duke Francis, "what else is it but
devil's work? But the lords were very lukewarm, and resolved not
to peril themselves; _that_ he saw. However, if his brother,
Duke Philip, permitted the whole princely race to be thus
bewitched to death, he would have to answer for it at the day of
judgment. He prayed him, therefore, for the love of God, to send
for the hag instantly, and drag her to the scaffold."

Hereat Duke Philip sank his head upon his arm, and was silent a
long space. But the state prosecutor gave answer--"Marry! will
your Episcopal Highness then take the trouble to tell us, who is
to seize the hag? I will do it not, and who else will? for,
methinks, whoever touches her must needs be sore tired of life."

"If no one else will," returned the bishop, "my Camyn executioner,
Master Radeck, will surely do it, for he never feared a witch;
besides, he knows all their _arcana_."

Meanwhile, as Duke Philip still sat in deep thought, and played
with a quill, the door opened, and a lacquey entered with a
message from the noble Prechln of Buslar, requesting an
_audienza_ of his Grace. He had an infant in his arms which a
wicked witch had prayed to death, and the child had a beard on it
like an old man, so that all in the castle were terrified at the
sight.

His Grace Duke Philip instantly started up. "Merciful God! is it
true?" waved his hand to the lacquey, who withdrew, and then
walked up and down, exclaiming still, "Merciful God! what can be
done?"

"Torture! burn! kill!" cried Duke Francis, the bishop "and
to-morrow, if it be possible. I shall send this night for my
executioner! trust to him. He will soon screw the soul out of the
vile hag; take my word for it."

"Ay! torture! burn! kill!" cried also the state prosecutor, "and
the sooner the better, gracious master. For God's sake, no mercy
more!"

Here the door opened, and Prechln of Buslar entered, pale as the
infant corpse that lay upon his arms. This corpse was dressed in
white with black ribbons, and a wreath of rosemary encircled the
little head; but, what was strange and horrible, a long black
beard depended from the infant's chin, which the wind, as the door
opened, blew backward and forward in the sorrowing father's face.
After him came his wife, wringing her hands wildly from grief, and
an old serving-maid.

Truly the whole convocation shuddered at the sight, but Bishop
Francis was the first to speak--

"And this is no devil's work?" he exclaimed. "Now, by my faith, ye
and your wise doctors are fools if ye deny this evidence. Come
nearer, poor fellow; set the corpse of your child down, and tell
us how it came to pass. We had heard of your strange affliction,
and just spoke thereon as you entered. Ha! the sorceress cannot
escape us now, methinks."

Now, when the mourning father began to tell the story, his wife
set up such a weeping and lamentation, and the old nurse followed
her example after such a lugubrious fashion, that their lordships
could not hear a word. Whereupon his Grace Duke Philip was obliged
earnestly to request that the women should keep silence whilst
Prechln of Buslar spoke.

I have already mentioned what grudge Sidonia had against him,
because he refused to acknowledge himself her feudal vassal by
kissing her hand; also, how she accused him afterward of stealing
her dog. This the poor knight related now at length, and with many
tears, and continued--

"During the strife between them, she one day spat upon both his
little sons, and the eldest, Dinnies, a fine fellow of seven years
old, who was playing with a slipper at the time under the table,
died first. But the accursed witch had stepped over to the cradle
where his little Bartholomew lay sleeping, while this old nurse,
Barbara Kadows, rocked him, and murmuring some words, spat upon
him, and then went away, cursing, from the house. So the spell was
put upon both children that same day, and Dinnies took sick
directly, and in three days was a corpse; but on his little Memi
first grew this great black beard which their lordships all saw,
and then he likewise died, after crying three days and three
nights in horrible torture." The old nurse confirmed all this, and
said--

"That when the horrible hag knelt down by the cradle to blow upon
the child, she turned up her eyes, so that nothing but the whites
could be seen. Ah! what a wicked old hag that could not spare a
child like that, and could put such an old man's beard on its
little face."

Then Duke Philip asked the knight if he had accused Sidonia of the
witchcraft, and what had she answered?

"Ah yes, he had done so, but by letter, for he feared to go to
Marienfliess, lest it might happen to him as to others who met her
face to face, and his messenger brought back a letter in answer,
by which their lordships could see how her arrogance equalled her
wickedness," and he drew forth her letter from his bosom, and
handed the same to his Highness. Now Bishop Francis would have
prevented his brother touching the letter, but Duke Philip had a
brave heart, and taking it boldly, read aloud as follows:--

"SIDONIA, BY THE GRACE OF GOD, PRIORESS OF THE NOBLE CONVENT OF
MARIENPLIESS, LADY AND HEIRESS OP THE LANDS AND CASTLE OF
STRAMEHL, LABES, REGENWALD, WANGERIN, AND OTHERS--GREETING."

"GOOD FRIEND AND VASSAL,"

"Touching your foul accusation respecting your two brats, and my
bewitching them to death, I shall only say you must be mad. I have
long thought that pride would turn your brain: now I see it has
been done. If Bartel has got a beard, send for soap and shave him.
As to yourself, I counsel you to come to Marienfliess to old
Kathe, she knows how to turn the brain right again with a wooden
bowl. Pour hot water therein, three times boiled, set the bowl on
your head, and over the bowl an inverted pot; then, as the water
is drawn up into the empty pot, so will the madness be drawn up
out of your brain into the wooden bowl, and all will be right
again. It is a good receipt; I counsel you to try it. She only
desires you to kiss her hand in return. Such is the advice of your
feudal lady and seigneuress,

"SIDONIA BORK."

His Highness had hardly finished reading the letter, when Bishop
Francis cried out--

"What the devil, brother, hast thou made the murderous dragon a
prioress?"

But his Highness knew nothing of it, and wondered much likewise.
Whereupon the state prosecutor told them how it came about, and
that poor Dorothea Stettin had been talked out of her situation by
the dragon, as was all here to be seen set down in full in the
indictment; but, as the case was not now under discussion, he
would pass it over, although great quarrels and scandal prevailed
in the convent in consequence, and poor Dorothea lay sick,
earnestly desiring to be restored to her prioret.

Bishop Francis now grew yet more angry--

"Give the witch a prioret in hell," he cried. "What would his dear
brother do, now that the proofs were in his hands?"

To which Duke Philip answered mildly--

"Dear Fra, think on my symbol, C. & R." (that is, _Christo et
Reipublicae_, for Christ and the State). "Let us not be
over-hasty. Suppose that Dr. Constantinus should first dissect
this poor infant, and see what really caused its death."

Thereat the doctor plunged his hand in his pocket, to draw forth
his case of instruments, but the mother screamed out, and ran to
tear the child from him--"No, no; they should never cut up her
little Memi!" _Item_, the maid screamed out, "No, no; she
would lose her life first!" _Item_, the father stood still
and trembled, but said never a word.

What was to be done now? His Grace repented of his hastiness, and
at last said--

"Well, then, friends, let the doctor examine the infant
externally, look into its mouth, &c."

And when the parents consented to this, his Grace prayed them
gently to withdraw with him into another apartment while the
examination was made, as such a sight might give them pain. To
this also they consented, and his Grace led the way to another
hall (giving a sign privately to the doctor to do his business
properly), where a splendid collation was served. After which,
just to detain them longer, his Grace brought them to visit the
picture-gallery.

_Summa_.--When they returned, the dissection had been
accomplished, at which sight the parents and the maid screamed;
but his Grace confuted them, saying--

"That the ends of justice required it. He would now take the case
into his own hands, and they might return quietly to their own
castle and bury their infant, who would sleep as well dissected as
entire."

Having at last calmed them somewhat, they kissed his hand and took
their leave.

Meanwhile the two young Dukes, Ulrich and George, finding the time
hang heavy, had slipped away from the council-board, and gone down
to the ducal stables.

When his Highness noticed their absence, he sent a page bidding
them return and give their opinion in council as to what should be
done next. But they sent back an answer--"Let the lords do what
they pleased; as for them they were off to the chase, seeing it
was pleasanter to hunt a hare than a witch."

Now Bishop Francis stormed in earnest.

"Marry, some folk would not believe in witchcraft, till they stood
with their heels turned toward heaven; and here these idle
younkers must needs ride off to the chase when the life and death
of our race hangs in the balance. I say again, brother, torture,
burn, kill, and as soon as may be."

But Duke Philip still answered mildly--

"Dear Fra, the _medicus_ hath just pronounced that the corpse
of the poor child presents no unnatural appearances; and as to the
beard, this may just as well be a _miraculum Dei_ as a
_miraculum damonis_, therefore I esteem it better to cite
Sidonia to our court, and admonish her strenuously to all good."

This course had little favour from Bishop Francis; but when the
state prosecutor agreed with his Highness, and Dr. Cramerus
praised so Christian and merciful a resolve, he was at last
content, particularly as some one said (I forget who, but I rather
think it was the chancellor, Martinus Chemnitz), that Mag. Joel of
Grypswald gave it as his opinion that it would be a matter of
trouble and danger to seize the witch, seeing that her familiar,
the spirit Chim, was a mighty and strong spirit, and capable of
taking great revenge on any who laid hand upon her; but that he,
Mag. Joel, would do for him easily if he came in his way.

This intelligence gave the bishop great comfort, and he instantly
despatched a letter to Mag. Joel, bidding him come forthwith to
Stettin, whilst the chancellor prepared a _Citationem realem
sive personalem_ for Sidonia, which contained the following:--

"WE, PHILIP, BY THE GRACE OF GOD, &c.,

"Command thee, Sidonia von Bork, conventual and not prioress of
the noble convent of Marienfliess, to appear before us, at our
court of Stettin, on the 15th day of July, at three of the clock,
to answer for the evil deeds whereof thou art accused, under
punishment of banishment, forfeiture, and great danger to thy body
and life. Against such, therefore, take thou heed.

"Signatum, Old Stettin, 10th July 1616.

"PHILIPPUS, _manu sua_."



CHAPTER VIII.

_Of Sidonia's defence--Item, how she has a quarrel with Joachim
Wedel, and bewitches him to death_.


At three of the clock on the appointed day, the grand Rittersaal
(knights' hall) of the stately castle of Old Stettin was crowded
with ministers, councillors, and officials, who had met there by
command of their illustrious mightinesses, Duke Philip, Prince and
Lord of Stettin, and Francis, Bishop of Camyn. Amongst the nobles
assembled were Albert, Count of Eberstein, Lord of Neugarten and
Massow; Eustache Flemming, hereditary Grand Marshal; Christoph von
Mildenitz, privy councillor and dean of the honourable chapter of
Camyn; Caspar von Stogentin, captain at Friedrichswald; Christoph
von Plate, master of the ceremonies; Martin Chemnitz, Chancellor
of Pomerania; Dr. Cramer, my worthy lord father-in-law,
_vice-superintendens_; Dr. Constantius Oesler,
_medicus_; Christian Ludeck, attorney-general; Mag. Joel of
Grypswald, and many others. These all stood in two long rows,
waiting for their princely Graces. For it was rumoured that
Sidonia had already arrived with the fish-sellers from Grabow,
which, indeed, was the case; and she had, moreover, packed seven
hogsheads of her best beer on the waggon along with her, purposing
to sell it to profit in the town; but the devil truly got his
profit out of the said beer, for by it not only our good town of
Stettin, but likewise the whole land, was nearly brought to ruin
and utter destruction, as we shall hear further on.

_Summa_.--When all the afore-named were ranged in rank and
order, the great doors of the hall were flung wide open, and Duke
Philip entered first. Every one knows that he was small, delicate,
almost thin in person, pale of face, with a moustache On his upper
lip, and his hair combed _à la Nazarena_. [Footnote: Divided
in the centre, and falling down straight at each side, as in the
pictures of our Saviour.] He wore a yellow doublet with
silver-coloured satin sleeves, scarlet hose trimmed with gold
lace, white silk stockings, and white boots, with gold spurs;
round his neck was a Spanish ruff of white point lace, and by his
side a jewel-hilted sword; his breast and girdle were also
profusely decorated with diamonds. So his Highness advanced up the
hall, wearing his grey beaver hat, from which drooped a stately
plume of black herons' feathers, fastened with an aigrette of
diamonds. This he did not remove, as was customary, until all
present had made their obeisance and deferentially kissed his
hand. Duke Francis followed in his episcopal robes, with a mitre
upon his head, and a bishop's crook of ivory in his hand. The
other young dukes, Ulrich, George, and Bogislaus, remained
cautiously away. [Footnote: Note of Bogislaff XIV.--Yes; but not
out of fear. I was celebrating my espousals, as I have said.]

And the blood-standard waved from the towers, and the princely
soldatesca, with all the officers, lined the castle court, so that
nothing was left undone that could impress this terrible sorceress
with due fear and respect for their illustrious Graces.

And when the order was given for Sidonia to be admitted, the two
Princes leaned proudly on a table at the upper end of the hall,
while the assembled nobles formed two long lines at each side.
Three rolls of the drum announced the approach of the prisoner.
But when she entered, accompanied by the lord provost, in her
nun's robes and white veil, on which the key of her office was
embroidered in gold, a visible shudder passed over her frame;
collecting herself, however, quickly, she advanced to kiss their
Graces' hands, but Bishop Francis, after he had drawn his
_symbolum_ with chalk before him on the table, namely, H, H,
H, that is, "Help, helper, help," cried out, "Back, Satan! stir
not from thy place; and know that if thou shouldst attempt any of
thy diabolical sorceries upon my dear lord and brother here (as
for me, this honourable, consecrated, and priestly robe saves me
from thy power) thou shalt be torn limb from limb, and thy members
flung to feed the dogs, while thou art yet living to behold it,
accursed, thrice-accursed witch!"

And his Grace, in his great rage against her, struck the table
with his ivory crook, so that he broke a bottle filled with red
ink which stood thereon, and the said ink (alas! what an evil
omen) poured down upon Duke Philip's white silk stockings, and
stained them red like blood.

Meanwhile Sidonia exclaimed, "What! is there no leech here to feel
the pulse of his Serene Highness? Surely the dog-days, that we are
in the middle of, have turned his brain completely. Any little bit
of mother-wit he might have had is clean gone. What! she had
scarcely entered--knew not yet of what she was accused, and she
was 'Satan!' 'a thrice-accursed witch!' who was to be cut up into
little bits to feed dogs! Had any man ever heard the like? Would
the nobles of Pomerania, whom she saw around her, suffer one of
their own rank--a lady of castles and lands--to be thus handled?
She called upon them all as witnesses, and after the
_audienza_ a notary should be summoned to note all down, for
she would assuredly appeal to the states of the kingdom, and bring
her cause before the Emperor."

Hereupon Duke Philip interposed--"Lady, our dear brother is of a
hasty temperament; yet you can scarce wonder at his speech, or
take it ill, when you consider the terrible evils which you have
brought upon our ancient and illustrious race. However, as an
upright and good prince must judge the cause of his subjects
before his own, I shall first inquire what caused the sudden
illness of the sheriff, Eggert Sparling, and of the abbess,
Magdalena, that time they brought my father's letter to you?--that
letter which you said was a forgery, and flung into the fire."

_Illa._--"What caused it? How could she remember? It was a
long time ago; but so far as she recollected, they came in when
she was brewing beer or cooking sausages, and she opened the
window to admit fresh air; before this window they both sat and
talked, to be out of the smell of the cooking; could they not have
got rheumatism by such means? Let his Grace ask the doctors did it
require witchcraft to give a man the rheumatism, who sat in a
draught of air?"

_The Duke_.--"But both were cured again as quickly as they
had taken it."

_Illa_.--"Ah, yes! She would have done her best to cure even
her greatest enemy, for the holy Saviour had said, 'Bless them
that curse you; do good to them that hate you; pray for them that
persecute you.' To such commands of her Lord she had ever been a
faithful servant, and therefore searched out of her cookery-book
for a _sympatheticum_, but for thanks, lo, now what she gets!
Such was the way of this wicked world. Perhaps my gracious lord
would like to know of the _sympatheticum_; she would say it
for him, if he wished."

"Keep it to yourself, woman," roared Duke Francis, "and tell us
why you burned my father's letter?"

_Illa_.--"Because, in truth, she deemed it a forgery. How
could she believe a knave who had already deceived his own
gracious Prince? For did not this base sheriff appropriate to his
own use eleven mares, one hundred sheep, sixteen head of cattle,
and forty-two boars, all the property of his Highness, to the
great detriment of the princely revenue. _Item_, at the last
cattle sale he had put three hundred florins into his own bag, and
many more evil deceits had this wicked cheat practised."

"Keep to the question," cried Duke Philip, "and answer only what
you are asked. What was that matter concerning the priest which
caused you to complain of him to our princely consistorium?"

_Illa._--"Ay! and no notice taken, though it was a scandal
that cried to Heaven, how this licentious young carl was admitted
into the convent as chaplain, when the regulations especially
declared that an honourable _old_ man should hold the office.
She prayed, therefore, that another priest might be appointed."

Hereat my worthy father-in-law, Dr. Cramer, said, "Good lady, be
not so hasty; from all we have heard, this priest is a right
worthy and discreet young man."

_Illa._--"Right worthy and discreet, truly! as her old maid
could testify; or the abbess, with whom he locked himself up; or
Dorothea Stettin, with whom he was discovered behind the holy
altar. Fie! The scandal that such a fellow should be convent
chaplain! and that a Christian government should suffer it!"
(spitting three times on the ground.)

_The Duke_.--"The inquiry concerning him was pending. For
what cause had she forced herself into the sub-prioret?"

_Illa._--"She! Forced herself! Forced herself into the
sub-prioret! What devil had invented this story? Why, the abbess
and the whole convent were witness that she was forced into it;
for as Dorothea Stettin was ashamed after that business behind the
altar when she was discovered with the priest--besides, was a
weak, silly thing at all times--she had consented to relieve her
from the sub-prioret at her (Dorothea's) earnest supplication and
prayer."

_The Duke_.--"Wherefore had she treated the novices with such
cruelty, and run at them with axes and knives, to do them grievous
bodily harm?"

_Illa._--"They were a set of young wantons, always gossiping
about marriage and loons, therefore she had held a strict hand
over them, which she would not deny; particularly as if any of the
nuns fell into sin, the law decreed that she was to be beheaded.
Was she therefore wrong or right? Truly the abbess said nothing,
for she was as bad as any of them, and had locked herself up with
the priest."

_The Duke._--"What caused the sudden death of the convent
porter?"

_Illa_.-"What! was this, too, laid on her as a crime? Why, at
last, if any one died in Wolgast, or another in Marienfliess
during her absence, she would have to answer for it."

_The Duke_.--"But Dr. Schwalenberg had died in the self-same
way, and as suddenly--tumbling down dead upon the pavement."

_Illa_.--"The knave was so drunk when he ran after her with a
horsewhip to beat her, that he tumbled down on the stones; and
mayhap the shock killed him, as it did that other knave who flung
her against the wall; or that he got a fit; for such would have
been a just judgment of God on him, as it is written (Malachi iii.
5), 'I will be a swift witness for the widow and the orphan.' Ah!
truly she was a poor orphan, and the just God had been her swift
witness; for which, all praise and glory be to His name for ever"
(weeping).

Here Christoph Mildenitz, canon of Camyn, exclaimed, "Marry, thou
wicked viper, I have seen the corpse of this same Schwalenberg
myself, and every one, even the physicians, said that he had died
no natural death."

_Illa_.--"Must the fat canon put in his word now? Ha! this
was her thanks for the gloves she had knit him, and which he wore
at this present moment, for she knew them, even at that distance,
by the black seams round the thumbs. But so it was ever: she had
no greater enemies than those whom she had done kindness to."

_The Duke_.--"Prechln von Buslar also accused her of having
brought his two sons to death, and making a long man's beard grow
upon the little Bartel."

_Illa_ (laughing).--"Ah! it is easy to see by your Grace that
we are in the dog-days. Your Highness must pardon my mirth; but
who could help it? Merciful God! are Thy wonders, sent to fright
the world and turn men from sin, to be called devil's sorceries!
To what a pass is the world come! Has your Highness forgotten all
history? Know you not that God gives many signs to His people, and
speaks in wonders? Yet, when did men, till now, say that these
signs were of the devil alone, and persecute and destroy helpless
women by reason of them? Speak, gracious Duke--speak, ye noble
lords--have ye not tortured, and burned, and put to death weak and
innocent women without number for these things, and must ye needs
now seek my life? And when was it ever known, till now, that
nobles sat in judgment upon one of their own rank--a lady of as
high blood and proud descent as any of ye here--for old wives'
tales like these, and children's fooleries? Speak! Whoso saith I
lie, let him step forward and convict me." [Footnote: It was a
fact that the persecution of witches had risen at this period
almost to a mania.]

There was a dead silence in the hall when she had ended, and even
Duke Philip looked down ashamed, for he could not but acknowledge
that she spoke the truth, however unwillingly he believed aught
the vile sorceress uttered.

At last Bishop Francis spake--"Why then didst thou blow upon the
children of Prechln of Buslar, if it were not to bewitch them to
death?"

Whereupon the witch answered scornfully--"If that could kill, then
were we all dead long since, for the wind blows on us every
minute, and we blow upon our hot broth to cool it, yet who dies
thereof? How could a bishop be so sunk in superstition? As to
Prechln of Buslar, no wonder if God had smitten him for his pride
and arrogance, as it is said (Luke i. 51), 'He scatters such as
are proud of heart,' for, though her feudal vassal, he had refused
to do her homage; therefore here was no witch-work, but only God's
work, testifying against sinful haughtiness and pride.

"Moreover, it was false that she had blown upon the children; the
silly fool Prechln had imagined it all--nothing was too absurd for
stupidity like his to believe; and what then? Can't people die but
by witchcraft? Did St. Peter bewitch that covetous knave Ananias
(Acts v.) when he fell down dead at his feet for having lied to
the Holy Ghost? Let the honourable convocation answer her truly."

_Summa_.--The end of all was (as we may imagine) that the cunning
Satan was allowed to depart in peace, only receiving a wholesome
admonition from his Highness Duke Philip, and another from my
worthy father-in-law, Dr. Cramer.

But what happened as she returned to her lodgment in the Rüdenberg
Street? Behold Joachim Wedel of Cremzow, whom she had made
contracted, sat at his window to enjoy the air, but the evil hag
no sooner looked up and saw him than she began to mock him,
twisting her mouth awry, even as he twisted his mouth. When he
observed her, his face grew red with anger, and he cried out of
the window, "Ha, thou accursed witch, I am not so
help--help--help--helpless as thou thinkest; so do not
twi--twi--twi--twist thy mouth at me that way."

To which Sidonia only answered with the one word "Wait!" and
passed on, but returned soon again with a notary and two witnesses
(one was the landlord of the inn where she had left her beer),
stepped up to the chamber where Joachim sat, and bid them take
down that he had called her an accursed witch while she was
quietly going along the street to her lodgment.

Poor Wedel vainly tried to speak in his defence; the hag
maintained her assertion, and prayed that the just God who brought
all liars to destruction would avenge her cause, if it were His
gracious will, for the Scripture said (Psalm v. 7), "I will
destroy them that speak leasing." Therefore she left him and all
her other enemies in the hand of God. He would take vengeance!

And oh, horror! scarcely had she returned to her lodgment when the
poor man began to scream, "There is some one sitting within my
breast, and lifting up the breast-bone!" Thus he screamed and
screamed three days and three nights long; no physician, not even
Dr. Constantinus, could help him, and finally, when he died, his
body presented the same appearances precisely as those of Dr.
Schwalenberg and the convent porter, as the doctors who dissected
him affirmed upon oath. He was a clever man, learned and well
read, and left _Annales_ behind him, a work which this cruel
witch caused to remain unfinished.

And further, it was a strange thing (whether of witchcraft or of
God, I cannot say) that except my gracious Duke Philip, almost
every one present at this remarkable _colloquium_ died within
the year; for example, Count Albert, Eustache Flemming, Caspar von
Stogentin, Christoph von Mildenitz--all lay in their graves before
the year was out. [Footnote: Some place the death of Joachim Wedel
so early as 1606. The whole matter is taken, almost word for word,
from the criminal records in the Berlin Library; and, according to
Dähnert, the first question on the book concerned the death of
this man. His, _Annales_ include the years from 1501 to 1606;
they contain the whole history of that period, but the work has
never been printed. Dähnert, however, vol. ii. Pomeranian Library,
gives some extracts therefrom; also, in Franz Kock's
"Recollections of Dr. John Bugenhagen," Stettin, 1817, we find
this chronicle quoted.]



CHAPTER IX.

_How a strange woman (who must assuredly have been Sidonia)
incites the lieges of his Grace to great uproar and tumult in
Stettin, by reason of the new tax upon beer_.


My gracious Prince will perhaps say, "But, Theodore, how comes it
that this hag, who in her youth could not be brought to learn the
catechism, quoted Scripture in her old days like a priest?"

I answer--Serene Prince and Lord, that seems in my opinion because
the evil witch found that Scripture, when not taught of God, can
be made to serve the devil's purposes. For this reason she studied
therein; not to make honey, but to extract poison, as your Grace
may have perceived in her strifes with individuals, and even with
the constituted authorities. Further, methinks, she must also have
studied in history books, for how else could she have discoursed
upon political matters so as to raise the whole population of
Stettin into open revolt, as we shall soon see. However, I leave
these questions undecided, and shall only state facts, leaving the
rest for your Highness's judgment.

The day following that on which Sidonia had been tried before the
noble convocation (and she must have still been in the town, I
think, for it was late in the previous evening when she bewitched
Joachim Wedel), the priest of St. Nicholas read out after the
sermon, before the whole congregation, the ducal order declaring
that, from that date forward, the quart of beer, hitherto sold for
a Stralsund shilling, should not be sold under sixteen Pomeranian
pence. This caused great murmurs and discontent among the people;
and when they came out of church they rushed to the inn, where
Sidonia had been staying, to discuss the matter freely, and
screamed and roared, and gesticulated amongst themselves, saying,
"The council had no right to raise the price of beer; they were a
set of rogues that ought to be hung," &c., and they struck
fiercely on the table, so that the glasses rang. Just then an old
hag came to the door, but not in a cloister habit. She had a black
plaster upon her nose, and complained how she had hurt herself by
falling on the sharp stones, which had put her nose out of joint.

"People talked of this new decree--was it true that the poor folk
were to pay sixteen Pomeranian pence for a quart of beer?--O God!
what the cruelty and avarice of princes could do. But she scarcely
believed the report, for she brewed beer herself better than any
brewer in the land, and yet could sell the quart for eightpence,
and have profit besides. Oh, that princes and ministers could rob
the poor man so! ay, they would take the very shirt off his back
to glut their own greed and covetousness. And what did they give
their hard-earned gold for? To build fine houses for the Prince,
forsooth, and fill them with fine pictures from Italy, and
statues, as if he were a brat of a school-girl, and must have his
dolls to play with."

"What sort is your beer, old dame?" asked a fellow. "Marry, it
must be strange trash, I warrant."

_Illa_.--"No, no; if they would not believe her word, let
them taste the beer. She wanted nothing further but to prove how
the wicked government oppressed the poor folk; for she was a
God-fearing woman, and her heart was filled with grief to see how
the princes lately, in this poor Pomerania, squeezed the very
life-blood out of the people," &c. Then she lifted up a barrel of
beer upon the table (I have already said that Sidonia had brought
some with her to sell), and invited the discontented people to
taste it, which they were nothing loth to do, and soon broached
the said barrel. Then, having tasted, they extolled her beer to
the skies--"No better had ever been brewed." Now other troops of
the discontented came pouring in from Lastadie, Wiek, &c.,
cursing, and swearing, and shouting--"The beer must not be raised;
they would force the government to take off the tax. Would not
their comrades join?"

This was fine fun to the old hag, and she produced another barrel
of beer, which the mob emptied speedily, and then began talking,
shouting, screaming, roaring like flocks of wild geese; and when
the old hag saw that they had got enough under their caps to make
them quite desperate, she began--

"Was not her beer as good as any beer in the duchy?"

"Ay, ay--better!" shouted the mob, "Where dost thou live, mother?"

To this she gave no answer, but continued: "Yet this beer cost but
eightpence a quart, by which they could see how the wicked and
cruel government oppressed them. Oh, it was a sin that cried to
Heaven, to see how princes and nobles scourged and skinned the
poor folk. They swilled wine of the best, and plenty, in their own
gorgeous castles, but grudged poor bitter poverty its can of beer!
Shame on such a government!"

"True, true!" shouted the mob; "she is right: we are scourged and
skinned by these worthless nobles. Come, brothers, let us off to
the council-hall, and if they will not take off the tax, we'll
murder every soul of them."

_Illa_.--"And be asses for their pains. Was that all they
could do--_pray_ the mighty council, forsooth, to lower the
tax? Oh, brave fellows! What! had they not the power in their own
hands, if they would only be united? Had they never heard how the
people of Anklam had, in former times, killed their rulers and
governors, and then did justice to themselves? What right had
prince, minister, or council to skin a people? They had all stout
arms and brave hearts here, as she saw; _could they not right
themselves?_--must they needs crouch for their own to prince or
minister? Did she lie, or did she speak the truth?"

Here the mob cheered and shouted, "True! true!" and they struck
the table till the glasses broke, roaring, "She is right,
brothers. Are we not strong? Can we not right ourselves? Why
should we go begging to a council? May the devil take all the
covetous, rich knaves, who drink the people's blood!"

_Illa_.--"But may be they wanted a prince--eh? The prince was
the shepherd, the council only the dog who bit the sheep as his
master commanded. Eh, children? is not a prince a fine thing, to
squeeze the sweat and life-blood out of ye, and turn it into gold
for himself? For what are his riches but your sweat and blood, if
ye reflect on it; and is it a sin to take your own? Methinks if
all princes were killed or banished, and their goods divided
amongst the people, ye would all have enough. Have ye not heard of
that brotherhood who set all princes and governments at defiance
for two hundred years, and lived like brothers amongst themselves,
dividing all goods alike, so that they were called Like-dealers;
and no beggar was found amongst them, for they had all things in
common. [Footnote: These Like-dealers were the communists of the
Middle Ages, and were for a number of years the plague of the
northern seas; until at the beginning of the fifteenth century
they were subdued, and many of them captured by the Dutch, who
nailed them up in barrels, leaving an aperture for the head, at
top, and then decapitated them. The best account of them is found
in "Raumer's Historical Note-book," vol. ii. p. 19. And if any one
wishes to see the result of communist teaching, they have only to
study here the horrible excesses to which it leads.

The communism of the apostolic age might have been suited to a
period in which it would be difficult to say whether faith or love
predominated most; but even then it by no means prevented the
existence of extreme poverty, for we read frequently in the Acts
and Epistles of the _collections_ made for the Christian
churches. But in our faithless, loveless, selfish, sin-drowned
century, such an attempt at community of goods would not only
annihilate all morality completely, but absolutely degrade us back
from civilisation and modern Catholicism into the rudest and most
meagre barbarism. The apostles of such doctrines now must speak,
though perhaps unconsciously, from the sole inspiration of Satan,
like Sidonia. The progress of humanity is not to be furthered by
such means. Let our merchants no longer degrade human beings into
machines for their factories, nor our princes degrade them into
automaton puppets for their armies, but of men make _living
men_. And the strong energy, the stern will, the vital
spiritual power that will thus be awakened, will and must produce
the regeneration of humanity.] Wherefore can ye not be
Like-dealers also? Are there not rich enough for ye to kill? And
if ye are united, who can withstand you? Look at the dog and the
cattle--how the poor stupid beasts let themselves be driven, and
bit, and beaten, just because they are used to it; but, lo! if the
cattle should all turn their horns against the dog and the
shepherd, what becomes of my fine pair? So is it with the Prince
and his council. Oh, if ye were only united! Fling off the parsons
too, for they are prime movers of all your misery. Do they not
teach you, and teach you from your youth up, that ye must have
princes and priests? Eh, brothers, where is that written in the
Scriptures?

"Doth not St. Peter say (1st Epistle, chap, ii.), 'Ye are a royal
priesthood'? What then! if ye are kings, princes, and priests
yourselves, must ye needs pay for other kings, princes, and
priests? Can ye not govern yourselves? can ye not pray for
yourselves? In my opinion, yes! Doth not the same St. Peter
likewise call ye 'a chosen people,' 'a people of inheritance;'
but, I pray you, where is your inheritance?--poor beggars as ye
are--to whom neither priest nor prince will give one can of beer.
Ha! go, I tell you--take back your kingship, your priesthood, your
inheritance. Become Like-dealers, brothers, even as the early
Christians, who had all things in common, before the greed of
priest or prince had robbed them of all. Like-dealers!
Like-dealers! run, run--kill, slay, strike all dead, and never
rest until ye drown the last priest in the blood of the last
prince!"

As the hag thus spoke, through the horrible inspiration of Satan,
the passions of the mob rose to frenzy, and they rushed out and
joined the bands in the streets, and the crowds that poured from
every door; and as they repeated her words from one to the other
the frenzy spread (for they were like oil to fire). But the hag
with the black plaster on her nose, when she saw herself left
alone in the chamber, looked out after them, and laughed, and
danced, and clapped her hands.

Now the Prince and court had withdrawn to Colbatz for safety, and
a council was summoned in all haste and anxiety. The water-gate
was barred likewise, to prevent a junction with the people of
Lastadie and Wiek, but the townspeople, who had gathered in
immense crowds, broke it in, and joining with the others,
proceeded to storm the council-hall, where the honourable council
were then sitting. They shouted, roared, menaced, and seizing the
clerk, Claude Lorenz, in the chamber, murdered him before the very
eyes of the burgomasters, and flung the body out of the window;
then rushing down the steps again, proceeded along the
corn-market, and by the high street into the horse-market, where
they sacked three breweries from the roof to the cellar; and
dragging out the barrels, staved in the bottom, and drank out of
their hats and caps, shouting, roaring, singing, and dancing,
while they swilled the good beer; so that the sight was a scandal
to God and man.

And the uproar waxed stronger and stronger throughout that whole
night. Not a word of remonstrance or expostulation will the people
listen to; they threaten to hang up the messengers of the
honourable council, and show no respect even to a mandate from his
Highness, under his own seal and hand, which a horseman brings
them. They laugh, mock, fling it into the gutter, sack more
breweries, and by ten of the clock, just as the citizens are going
to church, they number ten bands strong.

So my worthy father-in-law, Dr. Cramer, with the dean and
archdeacon of St Mary's, stood upon the steps at the church-door
as the bells rung, and the mob rushed by to sack more breweries.
And he spoke friendly to the rioters--"They should stop and hear
what the Word of God said about the uproar at Ephesus (Acts
xix.)."

And some would, and some would not. What did they want with
parsons? Strike all the parsons dead. They could play the priest
for themselves, and forgive their own sins. Yet many went in, for
it was the custom to attend the weekly preaching, and my worthy
father-in-law, turning round, addressed them from the nave of the
church--me-thinks they needed it!

One very beautiful comparison that he employed made a great
impression, and brought many to reason. For he spoke of the bees,
how, when they wander too far from the hive, they can be brought
back by soft, sweet melody, and so might this wild and wandering
human swarm be brought back to the true hive by the soft and
thrilling melody of God's holy Word. Then for conclusion he read
the princely mandate from the altar; but at this the uproar
recommenced, and they ran shouting and screaming out of the
church, and to their wild work again, staving in the barrels and
drinking the beer; and they insulted a magistrate that spoke
mildly to them, and said if they would be quiet, he would try and
have the tax removed. So they raged like the bands of Korah and
Abiram; wanted to kill every one, all the rich, and divide their
goods; for their riches were their blood and sweat. They would
drag the four guilds to the council-hall, and the chief
burgomasters, and hang them all up, and afterwards the honourable
council, and all the priests, &c. So passed the first and second
day.

On the third morning by six of the clock, his Highness Duke
Philip, with all his suite, drove in six coaches from Colbatz up
to the Oderstrasse, galloping into the middle of the crowd of
noisy, drunken rioters, who thronged the grass-market as thick as
bees in a swarm.

He wished to pass on quickly to the castle, but could not, so he
had to see and hear for himself how the insurrection raged, and
the mob surrounded the coach of his Highness with loud cries, in
which nothing could be heard distinctly, but on one side "Kill
him!" and on the other, "Let him go!" This made Bishop Francis
wild with anger, and he wanted to jump out of the coach and beat
back the people, but Duke Philip gently restrained him. "See you
not," he said, "the people are sick? Hot words will increase their
sickness." Then he motioned to Mag. Reutzio, the court chaplain,
who sat in the coach, to admonish the crowd.

But the moment the reverend M. Reutzio put his head out of the
window to address them, the people shouted, "Down with the parson!
what is he babbling for. Dr. Cramer told us all that yesterday. We
want no parsons; kill them! kill them! Down with priests! down
with princes!" And they sprang upon the horses to cut the traces,
but the coachman and outriders slashed away right and left with
their horsewhips, so that the mob recoiled; and then with loud
shouts of "Make way! make way!" the coachman lashed his horses
forward into a gallop.

But behold, as they crossed the Shoe-strasse, a coarse, thick-set
woman knelt by the kennel with her daughter, a half-grown girl,
and they were drinking beer from a barrel like calves. This same
woman was knocked down by the foremost horse, so that she fell
into the gutter. Hereat she roared and cursed his princely Grace,
and flung the beer-can at him, but it fell upon the horse, who
grew wild, and dashed off in a mad gallop across the Shoe-strasse
into the Pelzerstrasse, and up to the castle without pausing,
where a large crowd had already collected.

If the sovereign people had been wild before, they were ten times
more wild now, and ran to try and get into the castle after his
Highness; but the Duke ordered the gates to be closed. He, finding
that the courts and corridors were already filled with the members
of the venerable council, and three hundred of the militia, bade
the men stand to their arms, load the heavy artillery, and erect
the blood-standard on the tower, while he and the princes, with
the honourable members, considered what could best be done in this
grave and dangerous crisis. Whereupon he bade the council attend
him in the state banqueting-hall.

Now the honourable council declared they were ready to part life
and limb for their liege lord and the illustrious house of
Pomerania, according to the terms of their oath; but the burghers
would not. For when Duke Philip asked, would not the burghers go
forth, and help to disperse this armed and unruly mob, the militia
made sundry objections, and set forth numerous difficulties.
Whereupon Bishop Francis started up, and exclaimed, "Brother, I
pray thee, do not stoop to conciliate the people! If ye know not
how to die, I can go forth and die for all--since it has come to
this." And he rose to depart.

But his Highness seized him by the hand, and entreated patience
yet for one hour more. Then he turned to the militia, and again
admonished them of their duty, and bid them remember the oath; but
they answered sharply, "Why the devil should we go forth and shoot
our brothers, neighbours, and friends? They are more to us than
all." _Item_, they recapitulated their objections and
difficulties.

Hereupon his Highness exclaimed, "Alas! how comes it that my good
people of Stettin are so unruly? If the Stralsunders indeed had
risen, I would say nothing, but my dear Stettiners, who have ever
been so true and loyal, holding to their province through all
adversities, and now--ah! that I should live to see this day!"

Then Bishop Francis spake--"Truly, our good Stettiners are to be
known no longer. Were it possible to bewitch a whole people, I
would say this witch-devil of Marienfliess had done it. For in all
Pomeranian land was it ever heard that the people refused
obedience to their Prince as the burgher militia here have dared
to refuse this day?"

Just then the evil tidings arrived that the mob were sacking the
house of one of the chiefs of the council, whereupon his Highness
Duke Philip called out again, "Will ye stand by me or not? Here is
no time for hesitation, but action. Will ye follow me? Speak,
lieges!"

Hereat a couple of hundred voices responded "Yes, yes;" but the
"yes" fell as dull and cold upon the ear as the clang of a leaden
bell.

However, Bishop Francis instantly exclaimed, "Good! Go then, all
of ye, to the armoury, and arm yourselves with speed. Meanwhile I
shall see to the loading of the cannon in the castle court. Then
whosoever among you is for God and the Prince, follow me to
victory or death."

But Duke Philip interposed. "Not so, dear brother; not so, my good
lieges; let us try first what reconciliation will do, for they are
my erring children."

And though Duke Francis was sore displeased and impatient, yet my
gracious Prince despatched his chief equerry, Andreas Ehlers, as
herald to the people, dressed in complete armour, and with a drawn
sword in his hand, accompanied by three trumpeters, to read a new
princely proclamation to the people.

So the herald rode first to the grass-market, and when the trumpet
sounded, the people stood still and listened, whereupon he read
the following proclamation, in a loud voice:--

"The Serene and Illustrious Prince and Lord, Lord Philip, Duke of
Stettin, Pomerania, Cassuben, and Wenden, Prince of Rugen, Count
of Gutzkow, and Lord of the lands of Lauenburg and Butow, our
gracious Prince, Seigneur, and Lord, hereby commandeth all
present, from Lastadie, Wiek, Dragern, and other places assembled,
to lay down their arms, and retire each man to his own home in
peace and quietness, without offering further molestation to his
loyal lieges, burghers, and citizens, on pain of severe punishment
in person and life, and deprivation of all wonted privileges.
Further, if they have aught of complaint against the honourable
council or burgesses, let them bring the same before his Highness
himself. Meanwhile the quart of beer, until further orders, shall
be reduced to its original price, as agreed on yesterday in
council, and be sold henceforth for one Stralsund shilling.

"Signatum, Old Stettin, the 18th July, 1616.

"PHILIPPUS, _manu sua_."

When the herald had finished reading, and shown the princely
signature and seal to the ringleaders, a great murmur arose among
the crowd, of which, however, the herald took no heed, but rode on
to the horse-market, where he likewise read the proclamation, and
so on through the principal thorough-fares. Then he returned to
the grass-market, but lo! not a soul was to be seen; the crowds
had all dispersed, and quietness reigned everywhere. Whereupon the
herald rode joyfully to the horse-market, to see if the like had
happened there, and truly peace had returned here too. And all
along the principal streets where the proclamation had been read,
the people were thoroughly subdued by this princely clemency and
authority.

So when the herald returned to the castle, and related the success
of his mission, the tears filled the eyes of his Grace Duke
Philip, and taking his lord brother by the hand, he exclaimed,
"See, dear Francis, how true are the words of Cicero, '_Nihil
tam populare quam bonitas_.'" [Footnote: (Nothing so popular as
kindness.)] Then they both went forth and walked arm in arm
throughout the town, and wherever his Grace saw any group still
gathered round the beercans, he told them to be content, for the
beer should be sold to them at the Stralsund shilling. And thus
the riot was quelled, and the town returned to its accustomed
quietness and order.

Now truly the same Cicero says, "_In imperita muititudine est
varietas et inconstantia et crebra tanquam tempestatum, sic
sententiarum commutatio_." [Footnote: (The senseless multitude
are changeful and inconstant as the weather, and their opinions
suffer as many mutations.)]



CHAPTER X.

_Of the fearful events that take place at Marienfliess--Item,
bow Dorothea Stettin becomes possessed by the devil._


Meanwhile Satan hath not been less busy at Marienfliess in
Sidonia's absence, than at Old Stettin in her presence. But he
cunningly changed his mode of action, not to be recognised, and
truly Dorothea Stettin was the first he practised on. For having
recovered from her sickness, she one day presented herself at
church in the nun's choir as usual; but while joining in the
closing hymn, she suddenly changed colour, began to sob and
tremble in every limb, then continued the chant in a strange,
uncertain voice, sometimes treble, sometimes bass, like that of a
lad whose beard is just beginning to grow. At this the abbess and
the sisterhood listened and stared in wonder, then asked if the
dear sister had fallen ill again?

"No," she answered gruffly, "she only wanted to be married. She
was tired of playing the virgin. Did the abbess know, perchance,
of any one who would suit her as bridegroom? For she must and
would be married!"

Think now of the horror of the nuns. Still they thanked God that
such a _scandalum_ had happened during the singing, and not
at the blessed sermon. Then they seized her by the arms, and drew
her away to her cell. But woe, alas! scarcely had she reached it,
when she threw herself upon her bed in strong convulsions. Her
eyes turned so that only the whites were to be seen, and her face
grew so drawn and strange that it was a grief to look upon it, and
still she kept on screaming in the deep, gruff man's voice--"For a
bridegroom! a bridegroom!" she that was so modest, and had such a
delicate, gentle voice. Whereupon all the sisters rushed in to
hear her the moment the sermon was over; _item_, the priest
in his surplice.

But the unfortunate maiden no sooner beheld him, than she cried
out in the deep bass voice--"David, I must marry; wilt thou be my
bridegroom?" And when he answered, "Alas, poor girl! when was such
speech ever heard from you before? Satan himself must have
possessed you!" she cried out again, "Hold your chatter--will you,
or will you not?"

"How can I take you?" replied the priest; "you know well that I
have a wife already." Whereupon the gruff bass voice answered,
with mocking laughter, "Ha! ha! ha! what matter for that? Take
more wives!"

Here some of the young novices laughed, but others who had never
wept _bis dato_, now broke out in violent weeping, and the
abbess exclaimed, "Oh, merciful God! who hath ever heard the like
from this our chaste sister, whom we have known from her youth up?
Oh! deliver her from this wicked devil who reigns in her soul and
members!"

But at the mention of the holy name, the evil one raged more
furiously than ever within her. He tore her, so that she foamed at
the mouth, and--ah! woe is me that I must speak it--uttered coarse
and shameful words, such as the most shameless groom or jack-boy
would scarce pronounce.

These sent all the novices flying and screaming away; but the
abbess remained, with some of the nuns, also the priest, who
prepared now to exorcise the devil with the most powerful
conjurations. Yet ere he began, a strange thing happened; for the
possessed maiden became suddenly quite still, all her members
relaxed, and her eyes closed heavily as if in sleep. But it was
not so, for she then began, in her own soft, natural voice, to
chant a hymn in Dutch, although they all knew she never had
learned one word of that language. The words were these:--

"Oh, chaste Jesu! all whose being
Was so lovely to our seeing,
Thoughts and speech, and soul and senses,
Filled with noblest evidences.

Oh! the God that dwelt in Thee,
In His sinless purity!
Oh, Christ Immanuel,
Save me from the sinner's hell!

Make my soul, with power divine,
Chaste and holy, ev'n as Thine!"

Then she added in her own tongue--"Ah! ye must pray much before
this devil is cast out of me. But still pray, pray diligently, and
it will be done.

"Guard, Lord Christ, our deepest slumber,
Evil thoughts may come in dreams;
And the senses list the murmur,
Though the frail form sleeping seems.

Oh! if Thy hand do not keep us,
Even in sleep, from passion's flame,
Though our eyes close on temptation,
We may fall to sin and shame!
Amen."

"Yes, yes, oh, pray for me; be not weary, her judgment is
pronounced."

"What mean you?" spake the abbess, "whose judgment hath been
pronounced?"

_Illa_.--"Know you not, then? Sidonia's."

_Hæc_.--"How could she have bewitched you? She is far from
here."

_Illa_.--"Spirits know no distance."

_Hæc_.--"How then hath she done this?"

_Illa_.--"Her spirit Chim summoned another spirit last
evening, who entered into me as I gasped for air, after that
strife between you and your maid, for I was shocked to hear this
faithful creature called a thief."

_Hæc_.--"And is she not a thief?"

_Illa_.--"In no wise. She is as innocent as a new-born
child."

_Hæc_.--"But there was no one else in the chamber when I laid
down my purse, and when she went away it was gone."

_Illa_.--"Ah! your dog Watcher was there, and the purse was
made of calf's skin, greased with your hands, for you had been
rolling butter; so the dog swallowed it, having got no dinner.
Kill the dog, therefore, and you will find your purse."

_Hæc_.--"For the love of Heaven! how know you aught of my
rolling butter?"

_Illa_.--"A beautiful form like an angel sits at my head, and
whispers all to me."

_Hæc_.--"That must be the devil, who has gone out of thee,
for fear of the priest."

_Illa_.--"Oh, no! He sits under my liver. See!--there is the
angel again! Ha! how terribly his eyes are flashing!"

_Hæc_.--"Canst thou see, then? Thine eyes are close shut"
(opening Dorothea's eyes by force, but the pupil is not to be
seen, only the white).

_Illa_.--"I see, but not through the eyes--through the
stomach."

_Hæc_.--"What? Thou canst see through the stomach?"

_Illa_.--"Ay, truly! I can see everything: there is Anna
Apenborg peeping under the bed; now she lets the quilt drop in
fright. Is it not so?"

The abbess clasps her hands together, looks at the priest in
astonishment, and cries, "For the love of God, tell me what does
all this betoken?"

To which the priest answers, "My reason is overwhelmed here, and I
might almost believe what the ancients pretended, and Cornelius
Agrippa also maintained, that two _dæmones_ or spirits attend
each man from infancy to the grave; and that each spirit strives
to blend himself with the mortal, and make the human being like
unto himself, whether it be for good or evil. [Footnote: Cornelius
Agrippa, of the noble race of Nettersheim, natural philosopher,
jurist, physician, soldier, necromancer, and professor of the
black art--in fine, learned in all natural and supernatural
wisdom, closed his restless life at Grenoble, 1535. His principal
work, from which the above is quoted (cap. xx.), is entitled _De
Occulta Philosophia_. That Socrates had an attendant spirit or
demon from his youth up, whose suggestions he followed as an
oracle, is known to us from the _Theages_ of Plato. But of
the nature of this genius, spirit, or voice, we have no certain
indications from the ancients, though the subject has been much
investigated in numerous writings, beginning with the monographs
of Apulejus and Plutarch. The first (Apulejus), _De Deo
Socratis_, makes the strange assertion, that it was a common
thing with the Pythagoreans to have such a spirit; so much so,
that if any among them declared he had _not_ one, it was
deemed strange and singular.]

"However, I esteem this apparition to be truly Satan, who has
changed himself into an angel of light to deceive more easily, as
is his wont; therefore, as this our poor sister hath also a
prophesying spirit, like that maiden mentioned, Acts xvi. 16, let
us do even as St. Paul, and conjure it to leave her. But first, it
would be advisable to see if she hath spoken truth respecting the
dog."

So my dog was killed, and there in truth was the purse of gold
found in his stomach, to the wonderment of all, and the great joy
of the poor damsel who had been accused of stealing it.
Immediately after, the poor possessed one turned herself on the
couch, sighed, opened her eyes, and asked, "Where am I?" for she
knew nothing at all of what she had uttered during her sleep, and
only complained of a weakness through her entire frame. [Footnote:
That poor Dorothea was in the somnambulistic state (according to
our phraseology) is evident. A similar instance in which the
demoniac passed over into the magnetic state is given by Kerner,
"History of Possession," p. 73. I must just remark here, that
Kieser ("System of Tellurism") is probably in error when he
asserts, from the attitudes discovered amongst some of the
Egyptian hieroglyphics, that the ancients were acquainted with the
mode of producing the magnetic state by manipulation or passes,
for Jamblicbus enumerates all the modes known to the ancients of
producing the divining crisis, in his book _De Mysteriis
Ægyptorium_, in the chapter, _Insperatas vacat ab actione
propria_, page 58, and never mentions manipulation amongst
them, of which mode, indeed, Mesmer seems to have been the
original discoverer. The ancients, too, were aware (as we are)
that the magnetic and divining state can be produced only in young
and somewhat simple (_simpliciores_) persons. Porphyry
confirms this in his remarkable letter to the Egyptian priest of
Anubis (to which I earnestly direct the physiologists), in which
he asks, "Wherefore it happens that only simple (_aplontxronz
kai nxonz_) and young persons were fitted for divination?" Yet
there were many even then, as we learn from Jamblich and the later
Psellus, who maintained the modern rationalistic view, that all
these phenomena were produced only by a certain condition of our
own spiritual and bodily nature; although all somnambulists affirm
the contrary, and declare they are the result of external
_spiritual_ influences working upon them.] After this, the
evil spirit left her in peace for two days, and every one hoped
that he had gone out of her; but on the third day he began to rage
within the unfortunate maiden worse than ever, so that they had to
send quickly for the priest to exorcise him. But behold, as he
entered in his surplice, and uttered the salutation, "The peace of
our Lord Jesus Christ be upon this maid," the evil spirit with the
man's coarse voice cried out of poor Dorothea's mouth--

"Come here, parson, I'll soon settle for you."

Then it cursed, swore, and blasphemed God, and raged within the
poor maiden, so that the foam gathered on her pale lips. But the
reverend David is not to be frightened from his duty by the foul
fiend. He kneeled down first, with all present, and prayed
earnestly to God; then endeavoured to make the possessed maiden
repeat the Lord's Prayer and the Creed after him; but the devil
would not let her. He raged, roared, laughed scornfully, and
abused the priest with such unseemly words that it was a grief and
horror to hear them.

"Wait, parson," it screamed, "in three days thou shalt be as I am.
(Namely, a spirit; though no one knew then what the devil meant.)
I will make thee pay for this, because thou tormentest me."

But neither menaces nor blasphemies could deter the good priest.
He lifted his eyes to heaven, and prayed that beautiful prayer
from the Pomeranian liturgy, page 244, which he had by heart:--

"O Lord Jesu Christ, Thou Son of the living God, at whose name
every knee must bend, in heaven, upon the earth, and under the
earth; God and man; our Saviour, our brother, our Redeemer; who
hast conquered sin, and death, and hell, trod on the devil's head
and destroyed his works--Thou hast promised, Thou holy Saviour,
'that whatever we ask the Father in Thy name, Thou wilt grant unto
us.' Therefore, by that holy promise, we pray Thee, Lord Christ,
to look with pity upon this our sister, who hath been baptized in
Thy holy name, redeemed by Thy precious blood, washed from all
sin, anointed by Thy Holy Spirit, and made one with Thee, a member
of the living temple of Thy body. Relieve her from the tyranny and
power of the devil; graciously cast out this unclean spirit, that
so Thy holy name may be praised and glorified, for ever and ever.
Amen."

Then he laid his hand upon the sick maiden's head, while the
hellish fiend raged and roared more furiously than ever, so that
all present were seized with trembling, and exclaimed--

"In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and in the strength of the
Lord Jesus Christ, and in the power of the Lord Jesus Christ, I
bid, desire, and command thee, thou unclean spirit, to come forth,
and give place to the Holy Spirit of God! Amen."

Whereupon the convulsions ceased in the sick maiden's limbs, and
she sank down gently on her bed, as a sail falls when the cords
are loosed and the wind ceases; and thus she lay for a long time
quite still.

After which, she said in her own natural voice--

"Now I see him no more!"

"Who is it that you see no more?" asked the abbess.

_Illa_.--"The evil spirit, my angel says. He has gone forth
from me. Woe, woe, alas!"

_Hæc_.--"Why dost thou cry, alas, when he has in truth gone
out from thee?"

_Illa.--"My angel says, he will first strangle the priest who
has cast him forth, then will he return, as it is written in the
Scripture (Matt. xi. 24), 'After three days I will return to my
house from which I had gone forth.' Ah, look! the good priest is
growing pale. But let him be comforted, for he shall have his
reward in heaven, as the Lord saith (Matt, v.)."

_Hæc_.--"But why does the great God permit such power to the
devil, if what thou sayest be true?"

_Illa_ is silent.

_Hæc_.--"Thou art silent; what says thy angel?"

_Illa_.--"He is silent also--now he speaks again."

_Hæc_.--"What says he then?"

_Illa_.--"The wisdom of God is silent."

The abbess repeats the words, while the priest falls back against
the wall, as white as chalk, and exclaims--

"Your angel is right. I feel as if a mouse were running up and
down through my body. Alas! now the bones of my chest are
breaking. Farewell, dear sisters; in heaven we shall meet again.
Farewell; pray for me. I go to lay my head upon my death-pillow."

And he was scarcely gone out at the door when a great cry and
weeping arose amongst the sisters present, and the abbess asked,
weeping likewise--

"Is this, too, Sidonia's work?"

_Illa_.--"Whose else? She hath never forgiven him because he
rejected her love, and hath only delayed his death to a fitting
opportunity."

_Hæc_.--"Merciful God! and will this murderous nun be brought
to judgment?"

_Illa_.--"Yes, when her hour comes, she will be burned and
beheaded--not many years after this."

_Hæc_.--"And what will become of you? Will you die, if Satan
often takes up his dwelling-place in your heart?"

_Illa_.--"If you do not prevent him, I shall die; if he leave
me, I shall grow well."

_Hæc_.--"What can we, miserable mortals, do to prevent him?"

_Illa_.--"Jobst Bork of Saatzig has three rings, which the
spirits made, and gave to his grandmother in Pansin. _Item_,
he has also a beautiful daughter called Diliana, and as no second
on earth bears her name, [Footnote: In fact, I have nowhere else
met with the name "Diliana," whereas that of "Sidonia" is by no
means uncommon. Virgil calls Dido "Sidonia" (Æn. i, v. 446), with
somewhat of poetic license, for she was not born in Sidon but in
Tyre. About the time of the Reformation this name became very
common in the regal houses. For example, King George of Bohemia,
Duke Henry of Saxony, Duke Franz of Westphalia, and others, had
daughters called "Sidonia." For this reason, therefore, the proud
knight of Stramehl probably gave the same name to his daughter. In
the Middle Ages I find only one Sidonia or Sittavia, the spouse of
Count Manfred of Xingelheim, who built the town of Zittau, and
died in the year 1021.] so is there no other who equals her in
goodness, piety, humility, chastity, and courage. If this Diliana
lays one of the rings on my stomach, in the name of God, the devil
can no more enter in me, and I shall be healed. But what do I
see?--there she comes herself."

_Hæc_.--"Who comes?"

_Illa_.--"Diliana. She has run away from her father, and will
offer herself as servant to Sidonia, because old Wolde is sick."

_Hæc_.--"She must be foolish then, if this be true."

_Illa_.--"Ay, she is foolish, but it is from pure love, which
indeed is a godlike folly; for Sidonia hath bewitched her poor
father, and he grows worse and worse, and her prayers to the
sorceress are of no avail to help him, so she hath privately left
her father's castle, to offer herself as servant to Sidonia; for
no wench, far or near, will be found who will take old Wolde's
place, and she hopes, in return for this, that the sorceress will
give her something from her herbal to cure her old father. Ha!
what do I see? How her beautiful hair streams behind her upon the
wind! How she runs like a deer over the heather, and looks back
often, for her heart is trembling lest her father might send after
her. Now she enters the wood; see, she kneels down, and prays for
her father and for herself, that God will keep her steps. Let us
pray also, dear sisters, for her, for the poor priest, and for the
unfortunate maiden."

Whereupon they all fell upon their knees, and the possessed virgin
offered up so beautiful a prayer that none had ever heard the like
before, and every face was bedewed with tears. After which she
awoke, and, as the first time, remembered nothing whatever of what
had passed, or of what she had uttered.



CHAPTER XI.

_Of the arrival of Diliana and the death of the convent
priest--Item, how the unfortunate corpse is torn by a wolf_.


Scarcely had the abbess returned to her apartment when Diliana
sprang in, with flowing hair, and her beautiful, blooming face
looking like a rose sprinkled with morning dew. So the worthy
matron screamed first with wonder that all should be true, then
taking the lovely young maiden in her arms, pressed her to her
heart, and asked--

"Wherefore comest thou here, my beloved Diliana?"

_Illa_.--"I have run away from my father, good mother, and
will serve my cousin Sidonia Bork as her waiting-maid, hoping that
in return she will give him something out of her herbal to heal
his poor frame, which is distracted day and night with pain, even
as she healed you and Sheriff Sparling; and she will do this, I am
sure, because I hear that her maid, Anne Wolde, is sick, and no
one in all the country round will take service with her, they
say."

_Hæc_.--"Poor child, thou knowest not what thou dost. She
will slay thee, or ill-treat thee in her wickedness, or may be
bring some worse evil than either on thee."

_Illa_.--"And I will do as the Lord commanded--if she strike
me on one cheek, I will turn to her the other also, whereby she
will be softened, and consent to help my poor father."

_Hæc_.--"She will help him in nothing, and then how wilt
thou bear the disgrace of servitude?"

_Illa_.--"Disgrace? If the soul suffer not disgrace, the
body, methinks, can suffer it never."

_Hæc_.--"But how canst thou do the duties of a serving-wench?
Thou, brought up the lady of a castle!"

_Illa_.--"I have learned everything privately from Lisette;
trust me, I can feed the pigs and sheep, milk the cow, and wash
the dishes, &c."

_Hæc_.--"But what put it into thy head, child, to serve her
as a maid?"

_Illa_.--"When I last entreated my cousin Sidonia to help my
poor father, she said, 'Get me a good maid who will do my business
well, and then I shall see what can be done to help him. Now, as
no one will take service with her, what else can I do, but play
the trencher-woman myself, and thus save my poor father's life?"

_Hæc_.--"Thou hast saved it once before, as I have heard."

_Illa_ is silent.

_Hæc_.--"How was it? Tell me, that I may see if they told me
the story truly."

_Illa_.--"Ah, good mother, speak no more of it. It was as you
have heard, no doubt."

_Hæc_.--"People say that a horse threw your father, dragged
him along, and attempted to kick him, upon which, while all the
men-folk stood and gaped, you flew like the wind, seized the
bridle of the animal, and held him fast till your father was up
again."

_Illa_.--"Well, mother, there was nothing very wonderful in
that."

_Hæc_.--"Also, they tell that one day at the hunt you came
upon a part of the wood where two robbers were beating a noble
almost to death, after having plundered him. You sprang forward,
menaced them, and finally made them take to their heels, after
which you helped the poor wounded man upon your own palfrey, like
a good Samaritan indeed, and without thought of the danger or
fatigue, walked beside him, leading the horse by the bridle until
clear out of the wood, and thus----"

_Illa_.--"Ah, good mother, do not make me more red than I am;
for know, the poor wounded noble thought so much of what I had
done, that he must needs ask me for his bride, though truly I
would have done the like for a beggar."

_Hæc_.--"Then it was George Putkammer, and thou wilt not have
him?"

_Illa_.--"I may say with Sara (Tobias iii.), 'Thou knowest,
Lord, that I have desired no man, and have kept my soul pure from
all evil lusts;' but indeed to save my father's life is more to me
than a bridegroom. A bridegroom may be offered many times in life
to a young thing like me, but a father comes never again."

_Hæc_.--"God grant that thou mayest save him, but never tell
thy cousin Sidonia of George Putkammer's love, else, methinks, it
will be all over with thee."

_Illa_.--"But if she ask me, I cannot lie unto her----"

Just then the cry was heard, "The priest is dying;" whereupon the
abbess, Diliana, indeed the whole convent, rushed out to visit him
at the glebe-house. The priest, however, was dead when they
arrived, and his corpse had the same signature of Satan as the
others who died before him, save only that his right hand was
uplifted, and had stiffened into the same position in which he
held it when he exorcised the evil spirit out of Dorothea.

So they all stood around pale and trembling, while they listened
to his poor widow telling how his breast-bone rose up higher and
higher, until at length he died in horrible agony.

But behold, the door flies open, and Sidonia, who had just
returned from her long journey, enters, with her long black habit
trailing after her through the chamber. Whereupon they all become
dumb with horror and disgust, and stand there like so many marble
or enchanted figures.

"Ah, what is this I hear," exclaimed the accursed sorceress, "just
on my return home? Is the worthy and upright man really dead? Woe!
alas, that I could have saved him from this! How did it happen?
Thank God that I was not here at the time, or the wicked world,
which lays all manner of crimes upon me falsely, might have
accused me of this likewise. Yes, I thank God a thousand times
that I was absent! Speak, poor Barbara! how did it happen that
your dear spouse fell so suddenly ill?"

But the poor wife only trembled, and sank powerless against the
bed where the corpse of her husband lay stretched; for when
Sidonia advanced close to it, the red blood oozed from the mouth
of the dead man, as if to accuse his murderess before God and man.

And no one could speak a word, not even a sob was heard in answer
to her questions; whereupon the sorceress spake again--

"Alas, what is all this which has happened in my absence! Good
Dorothea, they tell me, is possessed by a devil; but, at least,
people can see now that I am as innocent as a new-born infant;
though, assuredly, some terrible sinner must be lurking amongst
us, though we know it not, or all this judgment would not come
upon the convent. I would not willingly condemn any Christian
soul; but, if I err not, the old dairy-woman is the person!"

This she said from revenge, because the woman had refused to give
her seven cheeses for a florin, when she was on her way to
Stettin. Of the misfortunes which grew out of these same cheeses
for the poor dairy-woman, we shall hear more in due time.

At this horrible hypocrisy and falsehood the abbess could no
longer hold her peace, and cried, "In my opinion, sister, you err
much; the old dairy-mother is a pious and honest woman, as all the
convent can testify, and attended diligently on our dead pastor
here to be catechised."

_Illa_.--"Who then, else? It was incomprehensible. A thousand
times thank God that she had been away during it all. Now they
must hold their tongues, they who had blackened her to the Prince;
but his Grace had done her justice, and dismissed her honourably
from the trial at Stettin."

_Hæc_.--"I have a different version of the story; for his
Highness has commanded you to resign the sub-prioret to Dorothea
Stettin forthwith--_item_, you are to be kept close within
the convent walls, for which purpose I shall order the great
padlock to be placed again upon the gates. Thus his Grace
commands; and as we have a chapter assembled here already, I may
announce the resolve with all due form."

_Illa_.--"What! you tell me this, in the presence of the
priest's wife and your serving-wenches? Do they belong to the
chapter of noble virgins? I shall forward a _protocollum_ to
his Highness, setting forth all that has happened in my absence,
and get all the sisterhood to sign it, that the Duke may know what
kind of folk the abbess summons to her chapter; but as touching
the sub-prioret, it is well known to you all how it was forced
upon me by Dorothea, as I fully explained to the princes in
council. However, speak, sisters; if ye indeed wish this light,
silly creature, this devil-possessed Dorothea Stettin, for your
sub-prioress again, take her, and welcome--I will not prevent you.
She can teach you all the shameful words which, as I hear, flow so
liberally from her lips--eh, sisters, will ye have the wanton or
not?"

And when the nuns all cried "No, no!" the accursed witch went on--

"Well, then, I bid ye all to assemble instantly in my apartment,
to testify the same to his Highness; also to bear witness of the
evil deeds done in my absence, for that the poor priest has died
no natural death, is evident; therefore his Grace, I trust, will
probe the business to the uttermost, and find out who is the evil
Satan amongst us--ay, and tear off the deceitful mask, that my
good name thereby may be justified before the Prince and the whole
world."

Diliana now stepped forward from amidst a crowd of serving-women
among whom she had concealed herself, and bowed low in salutation
to Sidonia; but the witch laughed scornfully, and cried, "What!
has your worthy father sent you to me?"

_Illa_.--"Ah, no; she came out of her own free will, to serve
her good cousin Sidonia, for she heard that no maid could be found
to hire with her, therefore she would play the serving-wench
herself, and ask no other wages but a cure from her receipt-book
for her dear father, who was daily growing worse and worse."

_Hæc_.--"She required much from her maid; and on her way home
she had bought six little pigs--_item_, she had a cow, cocks
and hens, geese, and seven sheep. All these the maid must feed and
look after, besides doing all the indoor work."

_Illa_.--"She could do all that easily, for old Lisa had
instructed her in everything."

_Hæc_.--"But how was it that she was not ashamed to play the
serving-wench--she, a castle and land dowered maiden, with that
illustrious name she bore?"

_Illa_.--"There was but one thing of which men need be
ashamed, and that was sin; but this was not sin."

_Hæc_.--"She was very sharp with her answers. Why did she not
talk to her father, who had made her brother's son, Otto of
Stramehl, give up to him her two farm-houses in Zachow, with all
the rents appertaining; but Otto had been justly punished by the
good God, for she had just got tidings of his death."

_Illa_.--"But my father will restore you all, good cousin, as
he wrote to you himself."

_Hæc_.--"Ay, the old houses, may be, he'll give back, but
will he restore the rents that have been gathering for fifty
years? No, no, he refuses the money, even as my nephew Otto
refused it (but God has struck him dead for it, as I said before).
[Footnote: He died suddenly just at this time; and Sidonia
confessed, at the eleventh torture question, that she had caused
his death, (Dähnert, p. 430.)] Oh, truly these proud knights of my
own kin and name stood bravely for me against the world! ay, I owe
them many thanks for turning me out, a poor young maiden,
unfriended and alone, till I became a world's wonder, and the
scorn of every base and lying tongue; but persecution was ever the
lot of the children of God."

_Illa_.--"Her poor father had not the gold; for five
rix-dollars a year would amount in fifty years to five hundred
rix-dollars, and such a sum her father could not command."

_Hæc_.--"Yet he had enough to spend on horses, falcons,
hunting, and the like; only for her he had naught."

_Illa_ (kissing her hand).--"Ah, good cousin, leave him in
peace, and help him if you can; I will serve thee as well as I am
able--my life long, if you ask it of me."

_Hæc_.--"Away! thou silly, childish thing; how should the
meek Sidonia ever bear to be served by a noble lady as thou art?
If the world had not blackened me before, it might begin now in
earnest, and justly."

_Illa_.--"Ah, good, kind cousin, will you then heal my father
for nothing?"

_Hæc_.--"Well, I shall see about it, if, perchance, it be
God's will."

_Illa_ (kissing her hand again).--"Dear cousin, how good you
are! Now see, all of ye, what a kind cousin I have in Sidonia, who
has promised to cure my loved father" (dancing for joy like a
child).

_Hæc_.--"Come, then, all present, to my apartment; thou,
Diliana, mayest draw up the _protocollum_, and better,
perhaps, than a bad notary. Come!"

So they all proceeded to the refectory, and the
_protocollum_, was drawn up and signed, and Sidonia compelled
the new convent porter to carry it off, that very night, to his
Highness at Stettin.

Meanwhile the poor widow, along with some other women, including
the old dairy-mother, prepared the poor priest's corpse for
burial, and they put on him his black Geneva gown--_item_,
black plush breeches, which his brother-in-law in Jacobshagen had
made him a present of. I note the plush breeches especially, for
what reason my readers will soon see; and because the parsonage
swarmed with rats, they had the corpse carried before nightfall
into the church, and set down close beside the altar; and by
command of the sheriff the windows were thrown open to admit fresh
air, on account of the dead body lying there.

An hour after the poor widow went into the church, to see if the
blood yet flowed from the mouth of her dear murdered husband. But
what sees she?--the corpse is lying on its face in the coffin in
place of on its back. She calls the dairy-mother in, trembling
with horror, and they turn him between them. Then they go forth,
but return in a little while again, and see, the corpse is again
turned upon its face. And no one is able to comprehend how the
corpse can turn of itself, or be turned by any one, for the widow
has one key of the church and the abbess has the other; therefore
the poor wife, simple as she is, resolves to hide herself in the
church for the night, and light the altar candles, that she might
see how it happened that the corpse turned in the coffin. And the
dairy-mother agreed to watch with her; _item_, Anna Apenborg,
who heard the story from them; _item_, Diliana, for as
Sidonia had no bed to give her, the young maiden had gone to sleep
with Anna, and there the priest's maid told them of the horrible
way her poor master's corpse had turned in the coffin. So the
weeping widow let them all watch with her gladly, for she feared
to be alone, but warned them to speak no word, lest the evil-doer,
whoever it might be, should perceive them, and keep away. There
was no man within call, either, to help them, for the porter had
gone away to Stettin; so they four, after commending themselves to
God, went secretly into the church at ten of the clock, laid the
corpse right upon its back, and lit candles round it, as the
custom is. Item, they lit the candles on the altar, and then hid
themselves in the dark confession-box, which lay close by the
altar, and from which they could see the coffin perfectly.

After waiting for an hour or more, sighing and weeping, and when
the hour-glass which they had brought with them showed it was the
twelfth hour--hark! there was a noise in the coffin that made them
all start to their feet, and at the same instant the private door
of the nuns' choir opened gently, and something came down the
steps of the gallery, step by step, on to the coffin, and the
blood now froze in their veins, for they perceived that it was a
wolf; and he laid his paws upon the corpse, and began to tear it.

At this sight the poor widow screamed aloud, whereupon the wolf
sprang back and attempted to make off, but Diliana bounded on its
track, crying, "A wolf! a wolf!" and seeing upon the altar an old
tin crucifix, which some of the workmen who had been opening the
vault had brought up from below, she seized it and pursued the
wolf out of the great gate into the churchyard, while the rest
followed screaming. And as the wolf ran fast, and made for the
graves, as if to hide itself, the daring virgin, not being able to
get near enough to strike it, flung the crucifix at the unclean
beast, when lo! the wolf suddenly disappeared, and nothing was to
be seen but Sidonia in the clear moonlight, standing trembling
beside a grave.

"Good cousin!" exclaimed Diliana in horror, "where has the wolf
gone? we were pursuing a wolf." Upon which the horrible and
accursed night-raven recovered herself quickly, and pointing with
her finger to the crucifix which lay upon the ground, said with a
tone of mingled scorn and anger, "There, thou stupid fool! he sank
beneath that cross!"

The poor innocent child believed her, and ran forward to pick up
the crucifix, looking in every direction around for the wolf; but
the others, who were wiser, saw full well that the wolf had been
none other than Sidonia herself, for her lips were bloody, and
round them, like a beard, were sticking small black threads, which
were indeed from the black silk hose of the poor corpse. And when
they looked at her horrible mouth they trembled, but were silent
from fear; all except the inquisitive Anna Apenborg, who asked,
"Dear sister, what makes you here at midnight in the churchyard?"

Here the horrible witch-demon mastered her anger, and answered in
a melancholy, plaintive tone, "Ah, good sister Anna! I had a
miserable toothache, so that I could not sleep, and I just crept
down here into the fresh air, thinking it might do me good. But
what are you all doing here by night in the churchyard?"

No one replied; indeed, she seemed not to care for an answer, but
put up her kerchief to her horrible and traitorous mouth, and
turned away whimpering. The others, however, went back to the
church, where the corpse truly lay upon its back as they had left
it, but the hose were rent at the knee, and the flesh torn and
bloody.

How can I tell now of the poor widow's screams and tears?

_Summa_.--The corpse was buried the next day, and as no man
had been a witness of the night-scene, only the weeping women, no
one would believe their strange story, neither on the last trial
would the judges even credit so wild a tale as that Sidonia could
change herself into a wolf, and pronounced as their opinion, that
fear must have made the women blind, or distracted their heads,
and that no doubt a real wolf had attacked the corpse, which was
by no means a strange or unusual occurrence. (But I have my own
opinion on the subject, and many who read this will think
differently from the judges, I warrant.)

For no more horrible vengeance could have been devised by
Beelzebub himself, the chief of the devils, than this of the
she-wolf Sidonia Bork (for Bork means wolf in the Gothic tongue),
to revenge herself on the priest because he disdained her love.
But why and wherefore the unfortunate corpse was found so often
turned upon its face, that I cannot explain, and it must ever
remain a mystery, I think. However, I shall pass on now to other
matters, for truly we have had enough of these disgusting horrors.
[Footnote: One of the most inveterately rooted of our
superstitions is this belief in the existence of man-wolves. Ovid
mentions it in his _Lycaon_, and even Herodotus. Many modern
examples are given in Dr. Weggand's natural history, which book I
recommend to all lovers of the marvellous, for they will find much
in it which far surpasses what we have related above concerning
Sidonia. The belief in a vampire, which Lord Byron has clothed
with his genius, belongs to the same order of superstitions; and
Horst, in his Magic Library, furnishes some very curious remarks
concerning it. Even Luther himself believed in the possibility of
such existences.]



CHAPTER XII.

_How Jobst Bork has himself carried to Marienfliess in his bed,
to reclaim his fair young daughter Diliana--Item, how George
Putkammer threatens Sidonia with a drawn sword._


Now Jobst Bork of Saatzig had but this one daughter, the fair
Diliana, whom he loved ten times more than his life; and no sooner
had he heard of her flight than he guessed readily whither, and
for what cause, she had flown; for, that day and night her
thoughts were bent on how to help him, he knew well; also, the
teachings of old Lisa were not unknown to him. So he resolved to
go and seek her, and sent for twelve peasants to carry him, as he
was, in his bed, to Marienfliess, for his limbs were so contracted
from gout that he could neither ride, walk, nor stand.

Accordingly, next morning early, the twelve peasants bearing the
couch on which lay the poor knight, entered the great gate of the
convent, and they set down the bed, by command of the knight, just
beneath Sidonia's window. Whereupon the miserable father stretched
forth his right hand, and cried out, as loud as he was able,
"Sidonia Bork, I conjure you by the living God, give me my child
again!"

Three times he repeated this adjuration. So we may imagine how the
whole convent ran together to see who was there. Anna Apenborg and
Diliana were, however, not amongst them, for they had been up late
watching by the corpse, and were still fast asleep; _item_,
Sidonia, I think, was snoring likewise, for she never appeared,
until at last she threw up the window, half-dressed, and screamed
out, "What wants the cursed knave? Hath the devil possessed you,
Jobst, in earnest? Good people, take the fellow to Dorothea's
cell--they are fit company for one another!"

But the knight again stretched forth his trembling arm from the
bed, and repeated his adjuration solemnly, using the same words.

At this, Sidonia's face glowed with anger; and seizing her
broom-stick, she rushed out of the room, down the steps, and into
the courtyard, while her long, thin, white hair flew wildly about
her face and shoulders, and her red eyes glared like two red coals
in her head. (I have omitted to notice that this horrible Satan's
hag had long since got his signature in her red eyes; for, as the
slaves of vice are known by their ash-pale colour, and the
_black_ circle round their eyes, so the slaves of Satan are
known by the _red_ circle.) But when the evil witch reached
the spot where the sick knight lay on his bed, and saw the crowd
standing round him, she changed her demeanour, and leaning on the
broom-stick, exclaimed, "Methinks, Jobst, you are mad; and you and
your daughter ought to be put at once into a mad-house; for, judge
all of ye who stand here round us, how unjustly I am accused.
Yesterday this man's daughter comes to me, and says she will play
my serving-wench, if I promise to cure her father; just as if I
were the Lord God, and could heal sickness as I willed; but I
refused to take her, as was meet, and the whole convent can
testify this of me; when, see now, here comes this fool of a
father, and, taking the Lord's name in vain, demands his daughter
of me, though I never had her, nor detained her; and she can go
this moment whither she likes, as ye all know."

Hereupon the abbess herself advanced to the bed, and spake--"In
truth, you err, sir knight. Sidonia hath refused to accept your
daughter's service! But here comes the fair maiden herself--ask
her if it is not so."

And Diliana, who had thrown on her clothes in haste, and ran with
Anna out of her cell, sprang forward, and fell sobbing upon her
father's bosom, who sobbed likewise, and cries, in an agitated
voice, "God be thanked, I have thee again; now I shall die happy!
Ah! silly child, how couldst thou run away from me! Dearest!--my
heart's dearest!--my own joy-giving Diliana! ah, leave me not
again before I die--it will not be long, perhaps."

Here the weeping of the peasants interrupted him, for they loved
the good knight dearly, and the rude boors sobbed, and blew their
noses, in great affliction, like so many children. But the knight
was too proud to beg a cure from Sidonia; he would rather
die--better death than humiliation. So he spake--"Children, lift
me up again, in the name of God, and bear me home; and thou, my
Diliana, walk thou by my side, sweet girl, that my eyes may not
lose thee for an instant."

So the peasants lifted up the bed again on their shoulders; but
Diliana exclaimed, "Wait, ah, my heart's dearest father, you do
our good cousin Sidonia sore injustice. Only think, she has
promised to cure you, without any recompense at all! Is it not
true, dear cousin? Set the bed down again, good vassals! Is it not
true, dear cousin?"

As she thus spoke, and kissed the claws of the horrible hell-wolf
with her beautiful bright lips, such an expression of rage and
unutterable hatred passed over Sidonia's face, that all, even the
peasants, shuddered with horror, and nearly let the bed fall from
their trembling hands; but the fair young girl was unaware of it,
for she was bending down upon the hand of the evil sorceress.

However, my hag soon composed herself; and, no doubt, fearing the
vengeance of Duke Francis, or hoping perhaps to cover her evil
deeds by this one public act of charity, and so gain a good name
before the world, and the fair opinion of their Highnesses, to
whom she had written the day previous, she rested her arm once
more upon the broom-stick, and turning to the crowd, thus spake--

"Ye shall see now that Sidonia hath a truly Christian heart in her
bosom; for, by the help of God, I will try and heap coals of fire
upon mine enemy's head. Yes, he is mine enemy. None have
persecuted me more than he and his race, though, God be good to
me, it is my own race likewise. His false father was the first to
malign me, and yet more guilty was his still falser mother; but
God punished her hypocrisy with a just judgment, for she died in
child-birth of him, so true is it what the Scripture says, 'The
Lord abhors both the bloodthirsty and deceitful man.' Ah, she was
deceitful beyond all I have met with upon earth--also, this her
son, the false Clara's son, hath made my nephew, Otto of Stramehl,
in a traitorous and unknightly manner, give him up my two
farm-houses at Zachow, and he now refuses to restore me either my
farms or the rents thereto belonging."

Here Jobst cried out, "'Tis false, Sidonia! I shall say nothing of
thy statements respecting my parents, for all who knew them
testify that they were righteous and honourable their life long,
therefore let them rest in their graves; but as touching thy
farm-houses, thou shalt have them back, as I have already written
to thee. The accumulated rents, however, thou canst not have, for
it were a strange and unjust thing, truly, to demand fifty years'
rent from me, who have only been in possession of the farms for
half a year."

"What! thou unjust knave," screamed Sidonia furiously; but then
suddenly strangled the wrath in her throat with a convulsion, as
if a wolf were gulping a bone, and continued--"It may be a hard
struggle to help one of thy name, but I remember the words of my
heavenly Bridegroom (oh, that the horrible blasphemy did not choke
her), 'I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse
you, do good to them that hate you;' and so, Jobst Bork, I will do
good to thee out of my herbal, if the merciful God will assist my
efforts, as I hope."

Then she turned her hypocritical, Satanic eyes up to heaven,
sighed, and stepping to the bed, murmured some words; then asked,
"How is it with thee now, Jobst? is there ease already?"

"Oh yes, good cousin," he answered, "I am better, much better,
thanks, good cousin! Lift me up again, children, and bear me
homeward--I thank thee, cousin!" and with these words he was borne
out of the convent gates, the fair young Diliana following him
closely; and scarcely had they left the town and reached the moor,
when the knight called out from the bed, "Oh, it is true, my own
dear daughter--praise be to God, I am indeed better; but I am so
weary!"

And he sank back almost immediately into a deep sleep, which
continued till they reached the castle of Saatzig, and the bearers
laid the bed down again in its old place in the knight's
chamber--still he woke not.

Then Diliana kneeled down beside him, and thanked the Lord with
burning tears; sprang up again quickly, and bade them saddle her
palfrey, for she must ride away, but would return again before a
couple of hours. If her father woke up in the meantime, let them
say he must not be uneasy, for that she would return soon and tell
him herself whither and on what errand she had been.

Hereupon she went to a large cabinet that stood in her father's
chamber, took out a little casket containing three golden rings,
mounted her palfrey, and rode back with all speed on the road to
Marienfliess. But I must here relate how these magic golden rings
came into possession of the family; the tradition runs as
follows:--

A long while ago the castle of Pansin, which had originally
belonged to the Knights Templars, became a fief of the Bork
family, and the Count who was then in possession went to the wars
in the Holy Land, leaving his fair young wife alone in her sorrow:
and lo! one night, as she was weeping bitterly, a spirit appeared
in her chamber, and motioned her to rise from bed and follow him
to the castle garden. But she was horror-struck, and crept
trembling under the quilt. Next night the ghost again stood by her
bed, made the same gestures even menacingly, but she was
frightened, and hid her head beneath the clothes.

The third night brought the ghost likewise; but this time the fair
lady took courage, rose from bed, and followed him in silence down
the steps into the castle garden, on to a small island, where the
two streams, the Ihna and the Krampehl, meet. Here there was a
large fire, and around it many spirits were seated. Hereupon her
ghost spake--

"Fear nothing, but fill thy apron with coals from the fire, and
return to the castle; but, I warn thee, do not look back."

The fair chatelaine did as she was desired, filled her apron, and
returned to the castle; but all the way, close behind her, there
was a terrible uproar, and the rushing and roaring as of many
people. However, she never looked back, only on reaching the
castle gates she thought she might take one peep round just as she
was closing them; but, lo! instantly her apron was rent, and the
coals fell hither and thither on the ground, and out of all she
could only save three pieces, with which she rushed on to her own
apartment, never again looking behind her, though the uproar
continued close to her very heels all the way up to her chamber
door; and trembling with dread, and commending herself to all the
saints, she at last threw herself on her bed once more in safety.
But next morning, on looking for the coals, she found three golden
rings in their stead bearing strange inscriptions, which no man
hath been able to decipher until this day. As to those she had
dropped at the castle gate, they were nowhere to be seen; and on
the fourth night the ghost comes again, and scolds her for
disobeying his orders, but admonishes her to preserve the three
rings safely, for if she lost one, a great misfortune would fall
upon the village, and the castle be rent violently--_item_,
but two of her race would ever be alive at the same time; if the
second were lost, her race would be reduced to direst poverty; and
if the third ring were lost, the race would disappear entirely
from the earth.

After this, when her knightly spouse returned from Jerusalem, and
she told him the wonderful story of the three rings, he had a
costly casket made for them, in which they were safely locked,
with a rose of Jericho placed above them, which he had himself
brought from the Holy Land; and this wonderful treasure has been
preserved by the Count's descendants with jealous care, even until
this day. I have said that no man could read the inscriptions on
the rings: they were all the same--the three as like as the leaves
of a trefoil. They were all large enough for the largest man's
thumb, and made of the purest crown gold: the shield was of a
circular form, bearing in the centre the figure of a Knight
Templar in full armour, with spur and shield, keeping watch before
the Temple at Jerusalem; but what the characters around the figure
signified, I leave unsaid, and many, I am thinking, will leave
unsaid likewise. [Footnote: It is a fact, that no one up to the
present time has been able to decipher this very remarkable
inscription, not even Silvestre de Sacy himself, to whom it was
sent some years ago. Dreger's reading, given in Dähnert's
Pomeranian Library, iv. p. 295, is manifestly wrong--_Ordo
Hierosolymitamis_. But two of the rings are forthcoming now;
and in fulfilment of the tradition, a tremendous rent really
followed the loss of the first in the old castle of Pansin, which
may yet be seen in this fine ruin, whose like is not to be found
in all Pomerania, nor, indeed, in the north of Germany. The two
remaining rings, with the rose of Jericho, are still to be seen in
the original casket, which is of curious and costly workmanship,
and this casket is again enclosed in another of iron, with strong
hoops and clasps. Should any of my readers desire to discover the
meaning of the inscription, he will do me the highest favour by
communicating the same to me.]

_In summa_.--When Diliana arrived with these rings, the poor
Dorothea lay again in the devil's fetters. She roared, and
screamed, and raged horribly, and tore her bed-clothes, and foamed
at the mouth, and even abused and reviled the beautiful young
virgin, who took, however, no heed thereof, but with permission of
the abbess laid the three rings upon the stomach of the sick nun,
who immediately became quite still, and so lay for a little while,
after which, with a loud roar, Satan went out of her, while the
windows clattered and the glasses rang upon the table. Then she
fell into a deep sleep, and on awakening remembered nothing of
what had happened, but seeing Diliana prepared to set out on her
homeward ride, asked with wonder, "Who is this strange young
maiden, and what does she here?"

After this, as I may as well briefly notice here, Dorothea became
quite well, and by the mercy of God remained for ever after
untouched by the demon claws of the great enemy of mankind.

Meanwhile the good Diliana felt it to be her duty to descend to
the refectory, and thank the hell-dragon for the refreshing sleep
which her father, Jobst, had obtained by her means. But, ah! how
does she find my dragon? Her eyes shoot fire and flame, and in an
instant she flew at poor Diliana on the subject of marriage--

"What! she wanted to marry too! She was scarcely out of school,
and yet already was thinking about marriage!"

"Good cousin," answered the other, "I have indeed no thoughts of
marriage, and no desire for it has ever entered my heart."

"What!" screamed my dragon; "you lie to me, child! The whole
convent talks of it; and Anna Apenborg herself told me that you
are betrothed to that beardless boy George Putkammer. Fie! a
fellow without a beard."

Hereupon she began to spit out. But George Putkammer that instant
clattered up the steps; for the news had come to Pansin, of which
castle Jobst Bork had made him castellan, seeing that he set much
store by the brave young knight, and would willingly have had him
for his son-in-law, if his fair little daughter Diliana had not
resisted his entreaties, _bis dalo_; the news came, I say,
now that Diliana had run away from her father, and gone to play
the serving-wench to Sidonia. So the knight seized his good sword,
and went forth, like another Perseus, to save his Andromeda, and
deliver her from the dragon, even if his own life were to pay the
cost. He knew not that the damning dragon despised the service of
the mild, innocent girl, nor that Jobst Bork had gone to offer
himself as a sacrifice in her place.

So he clattered up the steps, dashed open the door, and finding
Sidonia in the very act of spitting out, he drew his sword, and
roared--

"Dare to touch even a finger of that angel beside thee, and thy
black toad's blood shall rust upon this sword."

And when Sidonia started back alarmed, he continued--

"O Diliana, much loved and beautiful maiden, what does my queen
here? Where have you heard that the angels of God seek help and
shelter from the devil, as you have done here? Return with me to
Saatzig, and, by my faith, some other means shall make this vile
wretch help your poor father."

Sidonia now screamed with rage--

"What wants this silly varlet here, this beardless young
profligate? Ha, youngster, thou shalt pay for thy bold, saucy
tongue!"

_Ille_.--"Hold thy accursed mouth, or I will give thee such a
blow that thou shalt never need it again, but to groan. Listen,
cursed beast of hell, and mark my words. Since our gracious Lord
of Stettin handles thee so gently, and lets thee heap evil upon
evil at thine own vile will, I and another noble have sworn
solemnly to rid the land from such a curse. Let it cost our lives
or not, we shall avenge our country in thy blood, unless thou
ceasest to work all thy diabolical wickedness. Now, therefore,
hear me. Delay one instant to heal the upright Jobst and to remove
thy accursed witch-spell from off him, and this sword shall take a
bloody revenge; or if but a finger ache of this beautiful maiden
here, thy death is certain. Think not to escape. Thou mayst lame
me, like Jobst or Wedel, or murder me as others, it will not help
thee; for my friend hath sworn, if such happen, that he will ride
straight to Marienfliess, and run his sword through thy body
without a word. Two horses stand, day and night, ready saddled in
my stall, and in a quarter of an hour we are here--he or I, it
matters not, whichever is left alive, or both together, and we
shall hew thee from head to foot, even as I hew this jar in two
that stands upon the table, so that human hand shall never lift it
more."

So saying, he struck the jar with his sword, when it flew into a
thousand pieces, and the beer dashed over the hag's clothes, so
that she raised a cry of terror, for such speech had no man ever
yet dared to hold to her.

But the brave Diliana seized hold of the young knight's sword,
crying--

"For God's sake, sir knight, what mean you? You do my good cousin
sore injustice; I have never seen you thus before. Sidonia hath
declined to take me for her maid, and has helped my poor father,
of her own free will, for he was here yesterday, and now rests
safe in Saatzig in a deep and healthful sleep; for which cause I
come hither to thank my good cousin for her kindness. Where is
your justice, sir knight--your honour? Bethink you how often you
have extolled these noble virtues yourself to me!"

As the knight listened, and heard that her father was already
cured, he marvelled greatly; inquired all the particulars, but
shook his head at the end, saying--

"'A corrupt tree cannot bring forth good fruit, and figs are not
to be gathered from thorns.' That she has helped your father, I
take as no sign of her kindness, but of her fear; therefore my
resolve stands good. Sidonia, thou accursed hag, touch but one
finger of this maiden or her father, and I will hew thee in
pieces, even as I cleft this jar. But you, fair lady, permit me to
ride home with you to your father's castle, and see how it stands
with the brave knight's health, and whether he has in truth been
cured."

Meanwhile Sidonia hath spat forth again, and begins running like a
wild cat in her rage round the room, so that her kerchief falls
off, and her two sharp, dry, ash-coloured shoulder-bones stick up
to sight, like pegs for hanging baskets on; and she curses and
blasphemes the young knight and his whole race, who, however,
cares little for her wrath, but gently taking Diliana by the hand,
said tenderly--

"Come, dear lady, come from this hell-hole, and leave the old
dragon to dance and rage at her pleasure, as much as she likes."

The lady, however, withdrew her hand, saying, "Ride back alone to
Saatzig, sir knight! It is not seemly for a young maiden to ride
through the wood with a young man alone. Besides, I must stay a
little, and comfort my poor cousin for all your hard words--see
how you have vexed her!"

But Sidonia paused, and laughed loud and long, mocking the young
knight's disappointment; so after he had again prayed the maiden
in vain to accompany him, he left the refectory in silence, sprang
upon his barb, and rode on to the wood, resolving to wait there
till Diliana came up.

And in truth he had to wait long. At last, however, she appeared
through the trees, and on seeing him she was angry, and bade him
ride his ways. So my knight entreats for the love of God that she
will listen to him, for he can no longer live without her. By day
and by night her image floats before him, and wherefore should she
be so hard and cruel-hearted towards him? Better to have let him
die at once under the hands of the murderers in the forest, than
to let him die daily and hourly before her eyes, of the bitter
love-death. Was he, then, really such an object of abhorrence to
her, such a fire in her eyes? Alas! alas! could she but know his
torments!"

"Sir knight," she answered, "you are no fire in my eyes, unless it
be the cold fire of the moon. Have patience, sir knight; why do
you press me for a promise when you have heard my resolve?"

_Ille._--"Patience! How could he have patience longer? Ah!
her father had long since consented, but she was but as the moon
in the brook to the child who tries to lay hold of it, since she
had talked of the moon."

_Hæc_.--"Sir knight, you compel me to a confidence."

_Ille._ (riding up close to her palfrey).--"Speak! dearest
Diliana."

_Hæc_ (drawing back).--"Come no nearer. What if any one saw
us. Listen! Yesterday six weeks, my grandmother, Clara von Dewitz,
who died, as you know, giving birth to my father, appeared to me
in a dream. She was wrapped in a bloody shroud, and her eyes were
starting forth horribly from her head, when I shuddered with
terror, and the poor ghost spoke--'Diliana, I am Clara von Dewitz,
and thou art the one selected to avenge me, provided thou dost
keep thy virgin honour pure in thought, word, and deed!' With
this she disappeared, and now, sir knight, judge for yourself what
is henceforth my duty."

Now the knight tried to laugh her out of her belief in this ghost
story, said it was all fancy, the same had often happened to
himself; not once, but a hundred times, had he seen a ghost, as he
thought, but found out afterwards there was no ghost at all in the
business, &c. However, his words and smiles have no effect. She
knew what she knew, and whether she was deceived or not about this
apparition of her grandmother, time would show, and _bis
dalo_, she would remain obedient to her commands, and preserve
her virgin honour pure in thought, word, and deed, even if it were
to be for her life long, until she saw clearly what purpose God
destined her to accomplish.

Now as my poor knight began his solicitations again yet more
earnestly, the fair maiden drew herself up gravely, and said,
"Adieu! sir knight, ride your own path, I go mine! At present I
shall select no spouse; but if I ever give my hand to man, you
shall be the selected one, sir knight, and no other. Now return to
your own castle. If you wish to see my father, come to-morrow to
Saatzig, for I shall ride there alone now. Farewell!"

And off she cantered on her palfrey, hop, hop, hop, as fast as an
arrow from a bow, and her red feathers gleamed through the green
leaves of the forest trees, so that my knight stood watching, her,
filled with as much joy as sorrow, for the maiden now seemed to
him so beautiful, and he watched her as long as a glimpse of her
feathers could be had through the trees, and then he listened as
long as the tramp of her palfrey could be heard (for he told me
this himself), then he alighted, and kneeling down, prayed to God
the Lord to bless this beautiful darling of his heart, whilst he
sobbed like a child, for sorrow and the sweet anguish of love.
Then he rose up, and obedient to her commands, took his way back
to the stately castle of Pansin.

But next morning early, he was at Saatzig, where the good knight
Jobst receives him joyfully at table, quite restored to health.
Nor has aught evil happened to the beautiful Diliana, as the
knight feared from the spitting of Sidonia. However, he heard from
the maiden, that after he left the refectory, Sidonia spat a
second time, probably to remove the first witch-spell (for no
doubt she feared the knight would hold his word, and hew her in
pieces if aught evil happened to the fair young maiden). And for
the rest, the knight ceased to trouble Diliana with his
solicitations; but he made father and daughter promise to give him
instant notice if but a finger ached, and he would instantly find
one sure way to bind the wild beast of Marienfliess for ever,
namely, with his good sword.



CHAPTER XIII.

_How my gracious Lord Bishop Franciscus and the reverend Dr.
Joel go to the Jews' school at Old Stettin, in order to steal the
Schem Hamphorasch, and how the enterprise finishes with a sound
cudgelling._


Meanwhile my gracious Duke Francis was puzzling his brain, day and
night, how best to bind this malicious dragon, and hinder her from
utterly destroying his whole race. He wanted to effect, by the
agency of spirits, what George Putkammer had already effected by
his good sword, as we have related before. So his Highness must
needs send for Dr. Joel, in all haste, to Old Stettin, to ask him
whether it were not possible to break the power of the evil witch
by spiritual agency; for as to human, it was out of the question,
since no one could be found to lay hands on her. They would as
soon touch the bodily Satan himself.

Whereupon my _magister_ answered, that he had already, to
serve his Grace, consulted divers spirits as to what could be done
in this sore strait, but none would undertake a contest with
Sidonia's spirit, which was powerful and strong, and, acting in
concert always with the spirit of old Wolde, had the might in
himself, as it were, of two demons. For this reason they must try
two modes of casting out the evil thing. The first was to exorcise
the sun-spirit, according to the form in the _Clavicula
Salomonis_, for he was the most powerful of all the astral
spirits, and question him as to what should be done. But for this
conjuration a pure young virgin was necessary, not merely pure in
act, but in thought, in soul. Even her very garments must be woven
by a virgin's hands, otherwise the holy angels, who neither marry
nor are given in marriage, would not appear. For they obey only
the summons of one who is as pure as themselves, in body and in
soul. Such a being he had once possessed in his only little
daughter, a virgin of eighteen years. All her clothes had been
spun and woven by virgin hands, and as she had a brave spirit, she
had often helped him to cite the astral angel _Och_. But the
last time she had assisted at the conjuration, the angel himself
had strangled her with his own hands, twisting her neck so
horribly that her tongue hung out of her mouth. And thus she died
before his very face. The cause was, as he, poor father, had heard
afterwards, that she had suffered a young student to kiss her, and
so the pure virginity of her soul was lost. Now if the gracious
Prince knew of any such pure virgin, who besides must be brave and
courageous as an amazon, matters would proceed easily, they would
make an end of the demon Sidonia without the least difficulty. He
had the clothes ready, all spun by virgins; _item_, all the
necessary _instruments_.

So my gracious Prince sits and thinks awhile, then shakes his
head, and says, laughing, "Methinks such a virgin were rarer than
a white raven. It would be easy to find one pure in form, but a
virgin pure in soul--and then as brave as Deborah and Judith. Mag.
Joel, such a virgin, methinks, is not to be had, and you did evil
to put your poor little daughter to such a test. For woman-flesh
is a weak flesh since the day of Eve, as we all know. But you
talked of a second mode: what is it? Let me hear."

Hereupon the _magister_ sighed for grief, wiped his eyes, and
spake--"Ah, yes! you are right, my good lord. Fool that I was, I
might have had my little daughter still, for though she only
allowed the student to kiss her, yet by that one kiss the pure
mirror of her soul was dimmed, and before the angels of God she
was henceforth unholy. However, as touching the second method, it
is the Schem Hamphorasch, through which all things are possible."

_The Duke_.--"What is the Schem Hamphorasch?"

_Ille_.--"The seventy names of the Most High and ever-blessed
God, according to the seventy nations, and the seventy tongues,
and the seventy elders of Moses, and the seventy disciples of
Christ, and the seventy weeks of Daniel. To him who knows this
name, the holy God will appear again as He did aforetime in the
days of the patriarchs."

_The Duke_.--"You are raving, good Joel; yet--but how can
this be possible?"

_Ille_.--"I am not raving, gracious Prince; for tell me,
wherefore is it that the great God does not appear to men now as
He did in times long past? I answer, because we no longer know His
name. This name, or the Schem Hamphorasch, Adam knew in Paradise,
and therefore spake with God, as well as with all animals and
plants. Noah, Abraham, Moses, Elijah, &c.--all knew this name, and
performed their wonders by it alone. But when the beastly and
idolatrous Jews gave themselves over to covetousness and all
uncleanness, they forgot this holy name; so, as a punishment, they
endured a year of slavery for each of the seventy names which they
had forgotten; and we find them, therefore, serving seventy years
in Babylonian bonds. After this they never learned it again, and
all miracles and wonders ceased from amongst them, until the
ever-blessed God sent His Son into the world, to teach them once
more the revelation of the Schem Hamphorasch; and to all who
believed on Him He freely imparted this name, by which also they
worked wonders; and that it might be fixed for ever in their
hearts, He taught them the blessed Pater Noster, in which they
were bid each day to repeat the words, 'Hallowed be Thy name.'
Yea, even in that last glorious high-priestly prayer of His--in
face of the bitter anguish and death that was awaiting Him, He
says, 'Father, keep them in Thy name;' or, as Luther translates
it, 'Keep them above Thy name.' For how easily this name is lost,
we learn from David, who says that he spelt it over in the night,
so that it might not pass from his mind (Psalm cxix. 55).
_Item_, after the resurrection, He gave command to go and
baptize all nations-not in the name of the Father, of the Son, and
of the Holy Ghost, as Luther has falsely rendered the passage, but
_for_, or _by_, the name-that such might always be kept
before their eyes, and never more pass away from the knowledge of
mankind. And the holy apostles faithfully kept it, and St. Paul
made it known to the heathen, as we learn (Acts ix, 15). And all
miracles that they performed were by this name. Now the knowledge
remained also with the early Christians, and each person was
baptized _by_ this name; and he who knew it by heart could
work miracles likewise, as we know by Justin Martyr and others,
who have written of the power and miraculous gifts of the early
Church. But when the pure doctrine became corrupted, and the
Christian Church (like the Jewish of former times) gave itself up
to idolatry, masses, image-worship, and the like, the knowledge of
the mystic name was withdrawn, and all miracles have ceased in the
Church from that up to this day."

While Magister Joel so spake, his Highness Duke Francis fell into
a deep fit of musing. At last he exclaimed, "Good Joel, you are a
fanatic, an enthusiast--surely we know the name of God; or what
hinders us from knowing it?"

_Ille_.--"You err, my gracious Prince, for this name is the
holy and mystic _Tetragrammaton_, 'Jehovah,' which is the
chief and highest name of God, and which truly is found written in
the Scriptures; but of the true pronunciation of the name no man
knoweth at this day, for the letters J H V H are wanting in all
the old manuscripts." [Footnote: For those who are unacquainted
with Hebrew, I shall just observe here, that, in fact, the proper
pronunciation of the name "Jehovah" is a vexed question with the
learned up to this hour. Ewald, one of the latest authorities, and
who has taken much trouble in investigating the subject, says,
that there is the highest probability that the word should be
pronounced "Jahve," signifying, He who should come
(hoxrcho'menos), for which reason the Baptist's disciples asked
Christ (Matt. xi. 13), "Art Thou He who should come?"--namely, the
Messias, Jahve, or, as we call it, Jehovah. Compare Heb. x. 37;
Hagg. ii. 6, 7; Rev. i. 8. I must observe, next, that all the
Theophanisms (God manifestations) recorded in the Old Testament,
to which the theosophistic, cabalistic Dr. Joel refers, were
considered by the earty Christian fathers as manifestations to the
senses, not of _God_--whom no man hath seen or can see--but
of the asarchos Christ. Even the elder rabbins understand, in
these Theophanisms, not _God_, but the Mediator between God
and the world--the angel Metatron. For the rest, I need scarcely
remark that the exegesis of Dr. Joel is false throughout. The
Bible has been so tortured to support each man's individual,
strange, crude dogma, that it is no wonder even Protestants are
falling back upon _tradition_ as the best and surest
interpreter of Scripture, and the clearest light to read it by.]

Magister Joel continues--"But be comforted; there were some
faithful souls on the earth, who did not entirely lose the
remembrance of the Schem Hamphorasch; and your Highness will
wonder to hear, that even in this very town the secret exists, in
the possession of an old man, who has it, really and truly, locked
up in his trunk, though, I confess, he is as great a rogue himself
as ever breathed."

Hereupon his Grace jumped up, and embraced the _magister_.
"Let him not spare the gold; only bring him this treasure. How
could it be done? How did the man get it? Let him tell the whole
story."

_Ille_.--"It was a long story; but he would just give it in
brief:--A Jew out of Anklam, named Benjamin, went on a pilgrimage
to Jerusalem; and having suffered great hardships and distress by
the way, was taken in and sheltered by a hermit, in the desert,
who converted and baptized him. The Jew stayed with the old hermit
till he died; and the old man, as a costly legacy, left him the
Schem Hamphorasch, written on seventy palm-leaves. But as Benjamin
could not read a word of Hebrew, he resolved to return home to
Pomerania, where his mother's brother lived-the Rabbi Reuben Ben
Joachai, of Stettin. However, when he presented himself, poor and
naked as he was, at his uncle's door, the rabbi pushed him away,
and shut the door in his face the moment he said he had a favour
to ask of him. This treatment so afflicted Benjamin that he took
ill on his return to the inn; but having nothing wherewith to pay
the host, he sent a message to his uncle, the rabbi, bidding him
come to him, as he had a secret to impart.

"When the rabbi arrived, Benjamin asked, 'What he would give for
the Schem Hamphorasch, for people told him that it was the
greatest of all treasures?--to him, however, it was useless, since
he could not read Hebrew.'

"Hereat the rabbi's eyes sparkled; he took the palm-leaves in his
hand, and seeing that all was correct, offered a ducat for the
whole; this Benjamin refused. Whereupon, after many cunning
efforts to possess himself of it, which were all in vain, the
rabbi had to depart without the treasure. However, Benjamin,
suspecting that he would come back for it in a little while, cut
out two of the leaves from revenge, and when my knave of a rabbi
returned, he sold him the incomplete copy for five ducats at last.

"This same Benjamin I (the _magister_) attended afterwards in
hospital when he was dying, and as the poor wretch had no money,
he gave me himself, upon his death-bed, the two abstracted
palm-leaves out of gratitude, being all he had to offer. These two
are now in my possession, and if we could only obtain the other
portion, your Highness would have the holy and mystic Schem
Hamphorasch complete. But how to get it? Gold he had already
offered in vain to the Jew, Rabbi Reuben, who even denied having
the Schem Hamphorasch at all; but his servant, Meir, for a good
bribe, told him in confidence that his master, the rabbi, really
and in truth had this treasure, though the knave denied the fact
to him. It lay in a drawer in the Jewish school, beside the book
of the law or the _Thora_, and my magister thought they might
manage to gain admittance some night into the Jews' school by
bribing the man Meir well. Then they could easily possess
themselves of the Schem Hamphorasch (which indeed was of no use to
the old knave of a rabbi), for the drawer could be known at once
by the tapestry which hung before it, in imitation of the veil of
the Temple. If they once had the treasure, the angel Metatron
would appear to them, the mightiest of all angels, and his
Highness could not only obtain his protection against the devil's
magic of the sorceress of Marienfliess, but also induce him to
look graciously upon his Grace's dear spouse, whom this evil
dragon had bewitched, as all the world saw plainly, so that she
remained childless, as well as all the other dukes and duchesses
of dear Pomerania land, who were rendered barren and unfruitful
likewise by some demon spell."

Hereupon his Grace cried out with joy, "True, true! I will make
him do all that; and when I obtain the Schem Hamphorasch I will
learn it myself by heart, and repeat it day and night like King
David, so that it never shall go out of my head--_item_, all
priests in the land shall learn it by heart; and I will gather
them together three times a year at Camyn, and hear them myself,
man by man, repeat this said Schem Hamphorasch, so that never more
can it pass from the memory of our Church, as it did from that of
the filthy Jews, or the impure Christians of the Papacy."

_Summa_.--The rabbi's servant, Meir, is bribed, and he
promises to admit them both next night into the Jews' school, for
there was to be a meeting there of the elders, and his master, the
said Rabbi Reuben Ben Joachai, was to examine a _moranu_ or
teacher. They could conceal themselves in the women's gallery,
where no one would discover them, and after every one had gone,
slip down and take what they pleased out of the drawer, then make
off, for he would leave the door open for them--that was all he
could do--his master might come, &c.

So all was done as agreed upon; the Prince and Mag. Joel crept up
to the women's gallery, in which were little bull's-eyes, through
which they could see clearly all that was going on; and scarcely
were the candles lit when my knave of a rabbi enters (he was a
long, dry carl, with a white beard, and ragged coat bound round
the waist with a girdle); _item_, the candidate, I think he
was called David, a little man, with curly red beard, and long red
locks falling down at each side upon his breast; _item_,
seven elders, and they place themselves in their great hats round
a table. Then the Rabbi Reuben demands of the candidate to pay his
dues first, for a knave had lately run away without paying them at
all; the dues were ten ducats.

When the candidate had reckoned down the gold, Rabbi Reuben
commenced to question him in Hebrew; whereupon the other excused
himself, said he knew Hebrew, but could not answer in it; prayed,
therefore, the master would conduct the examination in German.
Hereupon my knave of a rabbi looked grave, seemed to think that
would be impossible, consulted with the elders, and finally asked
them, if the candidate David paid down each of them two ducats,
and ten to himself, would they consent to have the examination
conducted in the language of the German sow? Would they consent to
this, out of great charity and mercy to the candidate David?

"Yea, yea--even so let it be," screamed the elders; "God is
merciful likewise."

So my David again unbuttoned his coat, and reckoned down the fine;
whereupon the examination began in German, and I shall here note
part of it down, that all men may know what horrible blindness and
folly has fallen upon the Jews, by permission of the Lord God,
since they imprecated the blood of Christ upon their own heads.
Not even amongst the blindest of the heathen have such base, low,
grovelling superstitions and dogmas been discovered as these
accursed Jews have forged for themselves since the dispersion, and
collected in the Talmud. Well may the blessed Luther say, "If a
Christian seeks instruction in the Scripture from a Jew, what else
is it than seeking sight from the blind, reason from the mad, life
from the dead, grace and truth from the devil?"

And this madness and blindness of the accursed race would never
have been fully known, only that the examination was held in
German (for in general it is conducted in Hebrew, to please the
vain Jews), by which means the Prince and Doctor Joel heard every
word, and wrote it all down on their return home; and when
afterwards his Highness Duke Francis succeeded to the government,
he banished this rabbi and the elders, with their whole forge of
blasphemy and lies, for ever from his capital.

Here, therefore, are some of the most remarkable questions; but I
must premise that K. means my Knave, namely, the rabbi, and C. the
_Candidates_. [Footnote: Lest my reader might think that what
follows is a malicious invention of my own to bring the Jews into
disrepute, I shall add the precise page of the Talmud from which
each question is taken (from Eisenmenger's "Judaism Unveiled,"
Königsberg, 1711, and other sources). The Jews, I know, endeavour
to deny that they hold these doctrines; but it is nevertheless
quite true that all their learned men who have been converted to
Christianity since the time of the Reformation confessed that
these dogmas were intimately woven into their belief, and formed
its groundwork.]

_K_.--"Which is holier, the Talmud or the Scriptures?"

_C_.--"I think the Talmud."

_K_.--"Wherefore, wherefore?"

_C_.--"Because Raf Aschi hath said, he who goes from the
Hálacha (the Talmudical teaching) to the Scripture will have no
more luck; [Footnote: Talmud, tract. Chagiga, fol. X. col. I. Raf
Aschi, the author the Gemara, a portion of the Talmud.] and good
luck we all prize dearly above all things--eh, my master?"

_K._--"Right, right. Who is he like who reads only in the
Scripture, and not in the Talmud? What say our fathers of blessed
memory?"

_C_.--"They say that he is like one who has no God."
[Footnote: Talmud, tract. Eruvin.]

_K._--"Can the holy and ever-blessed One sin? What is the
greatest sin He has committed?"

_C._--"First; He made the moon smaller than the sun."

_K._--"Our rabbis of blessed memory are doubtful upon this
point, as Jonathan, the son of Usiel, says, in the Targum of
Moses. [Footnote: The ancient Chaldee paraphrase of the Old
Testament is called Targum by the Jews. It is split into the
Jerusalemitan, and the Babylonian Targum.] But which is the
greatest sin of all that the holy and ever-blessed One committed?"

_C._--"I think it was when He forswore himself. [Footnote:
Talmud, tract. Sanhedrin.] For He first swore, saith Rabbi
Eliaser, that the children of Israel, who were wandering in the
desert, should have no part in eternal life; and then His oath lay
heavy on Him, so that He got the angel Mi to absolve Him
therefrom."

_K._--"It was, in truth, a great sin, but a greater,
methinks, was, that He created the accursed Nazarene--the
Jesu--the idol of the children of Edom. I mean the Christ."

_C._--"Rabbi, that is not in the Talmud."

_K._--"Fool! it is the same. _I_ have said it, therefore
it is true. Knowest thou not, when a rabbi says, 'This thy right
hand is thy left, and this thy left hand is thy right,' thou must
believe it, or thou wilt be dammed?" [Footnote: Targum upon Deut.
xvii. 11.]

Here all the elders cried out--

"Yea, yea; the word of a rabbi is more to be esteemed than the
words of the law, and their words are more beautiful than the
words of the prophets, for they are words of the living God."
[Footnote: Talmud, tract. Sanhedrin.]

_K._--"Now answer--what says the Talmud of that Adam Belial,
that Jesu, that crucified, of whom the Christians say that he was
God?"

_C._--"That he was the son of an evil woman, who learned
sorcery in Egypt, and he hid the sorcery in his flesh, in a wound
which he made therein, and with the magic he deceived the people,
and turned them from God. He practised idolatry with a baked
stone, and prostrated himself before his own idol; and finally, as
a fit punishment, he was first stoned to death, upon the eve of
the passover, and then hung up upon a cross made of a
cabbage-stalk, after which, Onkelos, the fallen Titus' sister's
son, conjured him up out of hell." [Footnote: Although the Jews
deny that Christ is named in the Talmud, saying that another Jesus
is meant, yet Eisenmenger has fully proved the contrary, on the
most convincing grounds.]

_K_.--"Is it possible to find more detestable Gojim than
these impure and dumb children of Talvus--these Christian swine?"
[Footnote: Children of Edom, children of harlots, swine, dogs,
abominations, worshippers of the crucified, idolaters, are titles
of honour freely given to Christians by the rabbis.--See
Eisenmenger.]

_C_.--"No; that were impossible."

_K_.--"It permitted us to deceive them and spoil them of
their goods."

_C_.--"Eh? Wherefore are we the selected people, if we could
not spoil the children of Edom? They are our slaves, for we have
gold and they have none."

_K_.--"Good, good; but where is it written that we may spoil
the swine and take their goods?"

_C_.--"The Talmud says, it is permitted to deceive a Goi, and
take his goods." [Footnote: Tract. Bava Mezia.]

_K_.--"Forget not the principal passage, Tract. Megilla, fol.
13--'What, is it then permitted to the just to deal deceitfully?
And he answered, Yea, for it is written, With the pure thou shalt
be pure, and with the froward thou shalt learn frowardness.'
[Footnote: 2 Sam. xxii. 27; a specimen of how the Talmudists
interpret the Bible.] _Item_, it is written expressly in the
_Parascha Bereschith_, 'It is permitted to the just to deal
deceitfully, even as Jacob dealt;' and if our fathers of blessed
memory acted thus, we were fools indeed not to skin the Christian
dogs and flog them to the death. (Spitting out.) Curse on the
unclean swine!"

_C._--"I will be no such fool, rabbi, and if they compel me
to take an oath, I will do as Rabbi Akkiva of blessed memory."

_K._--"Right, my son; pity thou canst not speak Hebrew;
methinks then thou wouldst have been a light in Israel. Speak--how
hath the Rabbi Akkiva sworn?"

_C._--"The Talmud says, 'Hereupon the Rabbi Akkiva took the
oath with his lips, but in his heart he abjured it." [Footnote:
Talmud, tract. Calla.]

_K._--"The Rabbi Akkiva, of blessed memory, was but a sorry
liver. Canst thou, too, defend the violation of the marriage vow?"

_C._--"With the wives of the unclean Christian dogs,
wherefore not? For Moses saith (Lev. xx. 10), 'He who committeth
adultery with his _neighbour's_ wife shall be put to death;'
so saith the Talmud, the wives of _others_ are excepted; and
Rabbi Solomon expressly says on this passage, that under the word
'others' the wives of Gojim, or the Christian dogs, are meant."
[Footnote: Eisenmenger quotes a prayer-book of the Jews on this
subject, called _The Great Tephilla_.]

_K._--"Yea, cursed be they and their whole race. Dost thou
curse them daily, as is thy duty?"

_C._--"My duty is to curse them once; I curse them thrice."
[Footnote: Talmud, tract. Sanhedrin.]

_K._--"Then wilt thou be recompensed threefold when Messias
comes, and the fine dishes and the fine clothes will grow out of
the blessed earth of themselves, that it will be a pleasure to see
them. [Footnote: Talmud, tract. Kethuvoth.] Speak--what saith the
Talmud? How large will the grapes then be?"

_C._--"So large that a man will put a single grape in the
corner of his house, and tap it as if it were a beer-barrel. Is
not that almost too large, master!"

_K_.--"Look at my pert wisehead! Knowest thou not, that he
who mocks the words of the wise goes straight to hell, as happened
to that disciple who laughed at the Rabbi Jochanan when he said
that precious stones should be set in the gates of Jerusalem,
three ells long and three ells broad? [Footnote: Talmud, tract
Bava Bathra.] _Item_, hast thou not read how Rabbi Jacob Ben
Dosethai went one morning from Lud to Ono for three miles in pure
honey, or how Rabbi Ben Levi saw grapes in the land of Canaan so
large that he mistook them for fatted calves. What, then, will it
not be when Messias comes? [Footnote: In tractat Kethuvoth] But
who will _not_ partake these blessings?"

_C._--"The accursed swine, the Christians." [Footnote:
Eisenmenger ii. 777, &c. On this point he brings forward numerous
quotations from the later rabbinical writings; for it is certain
that on _this_ subject the Talmud judges more mildly.]

_K_.--"Wherefore not?"

_C._--"Because they cat swine's flesh, and believe on the
Talvus, who deceived the people through his sorceries."

_K_.--"All true; but when the Talmud says that the impure
Nazarene brought all his sorceries out of Egypt, what say our
rabbis of blessed memory against that?"

_C._--"That he secretly stole the Schem Hamphorasch out of
the Temple, and stitched it into his flesh." [Footnote: An extract
from the horrible book of curses against the Saviour, the
_Toledotk Jeschu_, is given in Eisenmenger; the entire is
printed in Dr. Wagenseil's _Tela Ignea Satanæ_]

_K_.--"What is the Schem Hamphorasch?"

_C._--"God's wonder, His greatest! the seventy names of the
holy and ever-blessed God; and to him who knows them will the
angel Metatron appear, as he appeared to our forefathers, and all
stones can he turn to diamonds, and all loam to gold."

_K_.--"Dost thou know, my son, that I myself possess this
Schem Hamphorasch?"

_C_ (clasping his hands).--"Wonder of God! can it be? And
have you all these riches?"

_K_.--"One of the accursed Christian dogs deceived me, and
kept back two of the leaves (may God plague him in eternity for
it), but still it effects much. I sell the holy Schem in little
pieces, as a cure for all diseases; yea, even bits no larger than
a grain will bring three ducats; _item_, I sell bits of it to
the dying to lay upon their stomachs, that so they may gain
eternal blessedness. Wilt thou buy a little grain too--eh? Ask the
elders here if ever better physic were found than the least grain
of dust from the holy Schem Hamphorasch?"

So the elders swore as my knave bid them, and said that no better
physic could be, and told of the various diseases which it had
cured in their own persons; _item_, that no Jew in the whole
town was without a morsel, be it large or small, to lay on his
stomach when dying; "but the greater the piece," said the rabbi,
"the greater the blessedness."

Now as the red-haired disciple seemed much inclined to purchase a
bit, the rabbi went over to the drawer, withdrew the tapestry, and
lifting up the golden jad, [Footnote: The jad--a gold or silver
hand with which a priest pointed out each line to the reader of
the Tora.] pointed smilingly to the palm-leaves therein with it.
"This," he said to the disciple, "was the ever-blessed Schem
Hamphorasch itself, if he had not already believed his words."

Meanwhile the aforesaid Meir, the rabbi's servant, crept forth
from under the women's gallery, and spake--"Now may ye stick two
Christian dogs dead, who are hiding here to steal the blessed
golden treasure from my master the rabbi: the clock has struck
eleven, and the Christian swine are snoring in all quarters of the
city. Up to the women's gallery! up to the women's gallery! There
they sit! Their six ducats I have safe: kill the dumb
uncircumcised dogs! strike them dead! For a ducat I will fling
them into the Oder. Come, come! here are knives! here are knives."

When the Duke and Doctor Joel heard all this, and saw all through
the little bulls'-eyes, they jumped up and clattered down the
stairs, the Duke drawing his dagger, which by good luck he had
brought with him. But the Jews are already on them, and the rabbi
strikes the Duke on the face with the golden jad, screaming--

"Accursed dog! there is one golden blow for thee, and a second
golden blow for thee, and a third golden blow for thee; put them
out to interest, and thou wilt have enough to buy the Schem
Hamphorasch." And the others fell upon the doctor, beating him
till their fists were bloody, and sticking him with their knives.
So my _magister_ roared, "Oh, gracious lord! tell your name,
I beseech you, or in truth they will murder us--they will beat us
to death!"

But the Duke had hit the rabbi such a blow with his dagger across
the hand, that the golden jad fell to the ground, and the Duke,
leaning his back against a pillar, hewed right and left, and kept
them all at bay.

But this did not help, for the traitor knave, Meir, creeping along
on his knees, got hold of the Duke's foot, and lifting it up
suddenly in the air, made him lose his balance, and my gracious
Prince stumbled forward, and the dagger fell far from his hand,
upon which he cried out, "Listen, ye cursed Jewish brood! I am
your Prince, the Duke of Pomerania! My brother shall make ye pay
for this: your flesh shall be torn from the bones, and flung to
dogs by to-morrow, if you do not instantly give free passage to me
and my attendant." Then taking his signet from his finger, he held
it up, and cried, "Look here, ye cursed brood; here are my
arms--the ducal Pomeranian arms--behold! behold!"

At this hearing, the rabbi turned as pale as chalk, and all the
others started back from Dr. Joel, trembling with terror, while
the Duke continued--"We came not here to steal the Schem
Hamphorasch, as your traitor knave has given out, but to hear your
accursed Satan's crew with our own ears, which also we have done."

"Oh, your Highness," cried the rabbi, "it was a jest--all a mere
innocent jest. The accursed knave is guilty of all. Come, gracious
Prince, I will unbar the door; it was a jest--may I perish if it
was anything more than a merry jest, all this you have heard."

And scarcely had the door been closed upon the Duke and Dr. Joel,
when they heard the Jews inside falling upon the traitorous knave
and beating him till he roared for pain, as if in truth they had
stuck him on a pike. But they cared little what became of him, and
hastened back with all speed to the ducal residence.



CHAPTER XIV.

_How the Duke Francis seeks a virgin at Marienfliess to cite the
angel Och for him--Of Sidonia's evil plot thereupon, and the
terrible uproar caused thereby in the convent._


After his Highness found that to obtain the Schem Hamphorasch was
an impossible thing, he resolved to seek throughout all Pomerania
for a pure and brave-hearted virgin, by whose aid he could break
Sidonia's demon spells, and preserve his whole princely race from
fearful and certain destruction. He therefore addressed a circular
to all the abbesses, conjecturing that if such a virgin were to be
found, it could only be in a cloister; and this was the letter:--

"FRANCISCUS, BY THE GRACE OF GOD, DUKE OF POMERANIA, STETTIN,
CASSUBEN, AND WENDEN, BISHOP OF CAMYN, PRINCE OP RUGEN, COUNT OF
GUTZKOW, LORD OF THE LANDS OF LAUENBURG AND BUTOW, &C.

"WORTHY ABBESS, TRUSTY AND GOOD FRIEND,--Be it known to you that
we have immediate need of the services of a pure virgin--but in
all honour--and are diligently seeking for such throughout our
ducal and ecclesiastical states; but understand, not alone a
virgin in act--for they can be met with in every house--but a
virgin in soul, pure in thought and word, for by her agency we
mean to build up a holy and virtuous work; as Gregory Nyssensis
says (_De Virginitate_, Opp. tom. ii. fol. 593):--'Virginity
must be the fundamentum upon which all virtue is built up, then
are the works of virtue noble and holy; but virginity, which is
only of the form, and exists not in the soul, is nothing but a
jewel of gold in a swine's snout, or a pearl which is trodden
under foot of swine.'

"Further, the said virgin must be of a brave, steadfast, and
man-like spirit, who fears nothing, and can defy death and the
devil, if need be.

"If ye have such a virgin, upon whom, with God's help, I can build
up my great virtuous work, send her to our court without delay,
and know that we shall watch over such virgin with all princely
goodness and clemency; but know also, that if on trial such virgin
is not found pure in thought and word, great danger is in store
for her, perchance even death.

"Signatum Camyn, 1st September 1617.

"FRANCISCUS, _manu sua_.

"_Postscriptum._--Are the winter gloves ready? Forget not to
send them with the beer-waggon; my canons esteem them highly."

When this letter reached the abbess of Marienfliess by the
beer-waggon of the honourable chapter of Camyn, she was much
troubled as to how she ought to proceed. Truly there were two
young novices lately arrived, of about fifteen or sixteen, named
Anna Holborne and Catharina Maria von Wedel. These the abbess
thought would assuredly suit his Highness--_item_, they were
of a wonderful brave spirit, and had gone down at night to the
church to chase away the martens, though they bit them cruelly,
because they prevented the people sleeping; and, further, never
feared any ghost-work or devil's work that might be in the church,
but laughed over it. When these same virgins, however, heard what
the abbess wanted, they excused themselves, and said they had not
courage to peril their lives, though in truth they were pure
virgins in thought and word. But they could not hold their tongue
quiet, but must needs blab (alas, woe!) to Anna Apenborg, who runs
off instantly to the refectory to Sidonia, whom she had appeased
by means of some sausages, and tells her the whole story, and of
his Grace's wonderful letter.

So my hag laughed--never suspecting that she was the cause of
all--and said, "She would soon make out if such a virgin were to
be found in the convent; but would Anna promise secrecy?" And when
the other asseverated that she would be as silent as a stone in
the earth, my hag continued--

"I have got a receipt from that learned man, Albertus Magnus--his
book upon women--and we shall try it upon the nuns; but thou must
hold thy tongue, Anna."

"Oh, she would sooner have her tongue cut out than blab a word;
but what was the receipt?"

Here Sidonia answered, "She would soon see. She would give the
sisterhood a little of her fine beer to drink, with some of it
therein; and as she had got fresh sausages, and other good things
in plenty by her, she would pray the abbess and the whole convent
to dine with her on the following Monday; then the dear sister
should see wonders."

And in truth my hag was so shameless, that on Sunday, after
church, she prayed all the virgins, saying, "Would the dear
sisters eat their mid-day meal with her next day, to show that
they forgave her, if she had ever been over-hasty? Ah, God! she
loved peace above everything; but they must each bring their own
can, for she had not cans enough for all; and her new beer was
worth tasting-a better beer had she never brewed."

_Summa_.--All the sisterhood gladly accepted her invitation,
thinking from her Christian mildness of speech in the church that
she indeed wished to be reconciled to them; _item_, the
abbess promised to come, holding that compliance brings grace, but
harshness disfavour; but here the reverse was the case.

Early on this same Monday, the waggon returned laden with beer for
the honourable chapter, and the abbess despatched an answer by it
to his Highness the Bishop, as follows:--

MOST REVEREND BISHOP AND ILLUSTRIOUS PRINCE, MY FRIENDLY SERVICES
TO YOUR GRACE.

"GRACIOUS LORD,--Concerning the matter of which your Highness
writes, I think there is no lack here of such virgins as you
describe, but none are of steadfast enough heart to brave the
great danger with which your Highness says they are menaced; for
we have a nature like all women, and are weak and faint-hearted.
But, methinks, there is one brave enough, and in all things pure,
who would be of the service your Grace demands--I mean Diliana
Bork, daughter of Jobst Bork of Saatzig; I counsel your Grace,
therefore, to try her.

"Now, as touching the winter gloves, I shall send some along with
this; but Sidonia will knit no gloves, and says, 'The fat canons
are like enough to old women already, without putting gloves on
them;' by which your Highness may judge of her impure mouth. God
better her.

"Your princely Grace's and my reverend Bishop's humble servant and
subject,

"MAGDELENA V. PETERSDORFIN.

"Marienfliess, 5th Sept. 1617."

Now when twelve o'clock struck, and mid-day shone on the blessed
land, all the nuns proceeded in their long black habits and white
veils to Sidonia's apartment, each with her beer-can in her hand
(woe is me! how soon they rushed back again in storm and anger).

Then they sat down to the sausages and other good morsels, while
Anna Apenborg was on tiptoe of expectation to see what would
happen; and old Wolde was there quite well again (for ill weeds
never die--no winter is cold enough for that). And she filled each
of their cans with the beer which Sidonia had brewed, after a new
formula; but, lo! no sooner had they tasted it than first Dorothea
Stettin starts up, and Sidonia asks what ails her.

To which she answers: "She is not superstitious, but there was
surely something wrong in the beer. She felt quite strange." And
she left the room, then another, and another--in fine, all who had
tasted the beer started up in like manner and followed Dorothea.
Only the abbess and some others who had not partaken of it
remained. Anna Apenborg had disappeared amongst the first, and
presently a terrific cry was heard from the courtyard, as if not
alone the cloister, but the whole world was in flames. Curses,
cries, menaces, threats, screams, all mingled together, and shouts
of "Run for a broomstick! the accursed witch! the evil hag! let us
punish her for this!"

Whereupon the abbess jumps up, flings open the window, and beholds
Dorothea Stettin so changed in mien, voice, gestures--in fine, in
her whole being--that she was hardly to be recognised. She looks
black and blue in the face, has her fists clenched, stamps with
her feet, and screams.

"For God's sake! what ails you, Dorothea?" asked the alarmed
abbess. But no answer can she hear; for all the virgins scream,
roar, howl, and curse in one grand chorus, as if indeed the last
day itself were come. So she runs down the steps as quick as she
can, while Sidonia looks out at the window, and laughing, said,
"Eh, dear sisters, this is a strange pastime you have got; better
come up quickly, or the pudding will be cold."

At this the screeching and howling were redoubled, and Dorothea
spat up at the window, and another flung up a broomstick, so that
my hag got a bloody nose, and drew in her head screaming now
likewise.

Then they all wanted to rush up into the refectory, each armed
with a broomstick to punish Sidonia, and they would not heed the
abbess, who still vainly asked what had angered them? but the
other sisters who were descending met them half way, and prevented
their ascent; whereupon the abbess raised her voice and called out
loud: "Whoever does not return instantly at my command as abbess,
shall be imprisoned forthwith, and condemned to bread and water
for a whole day! _Item_, whoever speaks until I address her,
shall be kept half-a-day on bread and water. Now Dorothea,
speak--you alone, and let every one of you descend the steps and
return here to the courtyard." This menace availed at last, and
with many sobs and groans, Dorothea at last told of Sidonia's
horrible plot, as Anna Apenborg had explained to them. How she had
invited them on purpose to disgrace them for ever in the eyes of
the Prince and of the whole world, and the abbess could now judge
herself, if they had not a right to be angry. But she must have
her sub-prioret back again, out of which the scandalous witch had
tricked her, and the abbess must forthwith despatch a messenger to
his Highness, praying him to chase this unclean beast out of the
convent, and into the streets again, from which they had taken
her; for neither God nor man had peace or rest from her.

Sidonia overhearing this from the window, stretched out her grey
head again, wiped away with her hand the blood that was streaming
from her nose, and then menacing the abbess with her bloody fist,
screamed out, "Write if you dare! write if you dare!" So the
curses, howls, yells, screeches, all break loose again; some pitch
their shoes up at the windows, others let fly the broomsticks at
the old hag, and Dorothea cried out, "Let all pure and honourable
virgins follow me!" Yet still a great many of the sisters gathered
round the abbess, weeping and wringing their hands, and praying
for peace, declaring they would not leave her; but all the younger
nuns, particularly they who had drunk of Sidonia's accursed beer,
followed the sub-prioress, and as the discontented Roman people
withdrew once to the Aventine mount, so the cloister malcontents
withdrew to the Muhlenberg, howling and sobbing, and casting
themselves on the ground from despair. In vain the abbess ran
after them, conjuring them not to expose themselves before God and
man: it was all useless, my virgins screamed in chorus--"No, that
they would never do, but to the cloister they would not return
till the princely answer arrived, expelling the dragon for ever.
Let what would become of them, they would not return. The jewel of
their honour was dearer to them than life."

Now Sidonia was watching all this from her window, and as she
justly feared that now in earnest the wrath and anger of the two
Princes would fall on her, she goes straight to the abbess, who
sits in her cell weeping and wringing her hands, menaces her again
with her bloody fist, and says, "Will you write? will you write?
ay, you may, but you will never live to hear the answer!" Upon
which, murmuring to herself, she left the chamber. What can the
poor abbess do? And the cry now comes to her, that not only the
miller and his men, but half the town likewise, are gathered round
the virgins. Oh, what a scandal! She wrings her hands in prayer to
God, and at last resolves to lay down her poor life, so that she
may fulfil her hard duty bravely as beseems her, goes then
straight to the Muhlenberg and arranges the evil business
thus:--Let the virgins return instantly to the cloister, and she
would herself write to the Duke, and despatch the messenger this
very night. But she begged for just two hours to herself, that she
might make her will, and send for the sheriff's secretary to draw
it up properly; also to search for her shroud which lay in her
chest. For since her cruel children demanded her life, she would
give it to them. The Duke's answer she would never live to hear.
So Sidonia had prophesied just now.

Then she descended the hill, chanting that beautiful hymn of Dr.
Nicolai's, while the virgins followed, and some lifted up their
weeping voices in unison with hers:--

    'Awake! the watchers on the tower
 Chant aloud the midnight hour;
  Awake, thou bride Jerusalem!
 Through the city's gloomy porches
  See the flashing bridal torches;
    Awake, thou bride Jerusalem!
  Come forth, come forth, ye virgin choir,
  Light your lamps with altar fire!
    Hallelujah! in His pride
    Comes the Bridegroom to His bride;
      Awake, thou fair Jerusalem!

    Zion heard the watchers singing,
  From her couch in beauty springing,
    She wakes, and hastens joyful out.
  Lo! He comes in heavenly beauty,
  Strong in love, in grace, in duty;
    Now her heart is free from doubt.
  Light and glory flash before Him,
  Heaven's star is shining o'er Him,
    On His brow the kingly crown,
    For the Bridegroom is THE SON.
    Hallelujah! follow all
    To the heavenly bridal-hall,
    There the Lamb holds festival!'

But behold, as they reached the convent gates, chanting their
heavenly melody, there stood the demon-witch, dancing and singing
her hellish melody--

   "Also kleien und also kratzen,
   Meine Hunde und meine Katzen."

And old Wolde and the cat, in his little red stockings, danced
right and left beside her.

At this horrible sight the poor virgins scampered off hither and
thither to their cells, like doves flying to their nests, without
uttering a word, only the abbess exclaimed--"But two hours, my
children, in the church!" Whereupon she goes, makes her will, and
prepares her shroud. _Item_, sends for the dairy-mother,
gives her the shroud. _Item_, a sack of moss and hops to make
a pillow for her coffin, for such she would like her poor corpse
to have. Then sends for the convent carpenter, and makes him take
her measure for a coffin; and, lastly, strengthened in God, goes
to the church to write her own death-warrant, namely, the letter
to his Highness. Yet many of the virgins, for fear of Sidonia,
refused to affix their signatures thereto, among whom was Anna
Apenborg, who, as soon as she left the church, ran up to the
refectory to chatter over the whole business with Sidonia.
_Item_, how the new convent-porter was to be sent that same
midnight with the letter to his Highness.

So Sidonia began now to scold, because Anna could not hold her
tongue, and had betrayed her secret to the sisters. But the other
said--

"She thought it was all a pure jest, and had told them for fun,
that they might have a good laugh together; for how could she know
that they would all grow raging mad like that!"

So my hag forgave her, and bid her sit down and eat some sausage
for her supper, in return for the news she had brought her.
Meanwhile, she would write a letter to his Highness likewise, and
Anna should give it to the convent-porter, to take with him along
with that of the abbess. This was the letter:--

"SERENE PRINCE AND GRACIOUS LORD,--

"Now will your Highness perceive, by this writing, how faithful
and true a servant I am to your princely house, though the godless
world has raised up an evil cry against me in your Highness's
ears. Gracious Prince, the reverend Lord Bishop wrote to our
worthy abbess of Marienfliess, bidding her seek out for him a
virgin, pure in thought, word, and deed, by whose help he might
perform some great virtue-work. Now, the abbess confided her
perplexities on the matter to me, as sub-prioress; whereupon I
said, 'That to serve your Highness, I would show whether such a
virgin were in the convent, but she must keep silence;' this she
promised. Whereon I brewed a drink, according to Albertus
Magnus--it is at the 95th page--and bade them all to dinner, when
I secretly put the drink into some of my best beer. Now Albertus
states that the drink will have no effect on a pure virgin, only
on the reverse. Your Highness, therefore, may judge what sort of
sisterhood we have, when, no sooner had they drank, than almost
all rose up raging mad, and rushed out of the convent into the
courtyard, where such a _scandalum_ arose--screams, curses,
yells, and shrieks, that your Grace may surely judge no honourable
virgin was to be found amongst them. In fact, the worthy abbess, a
few others, and I myself, were the only persons who remained
unaffected by the draught. Therefore, I counsel our gracious
Bishop to select one from amongst us, for his great virtue-work.
I, indeed, have the strongest heart of all, and the bravest
courage.

"But, assuredly, the worst of all these light wantons was Dorothea
Stettin, from whom I received the sub-prioret, because, as your
Grace heard, she held unchaste discourse during her illness, and,
therefore, is as much suited to be sub-prioress as a jewel of gold
to a swine's snout. She, therefore, drew off all the other raging
wantons to the Muhlenberg, declaring that they would not return
until I, who had done this great service to my Lord Bishop, was
turned out into the streets. Then the lewd common folk gathered
round the sisters on the hill, who betrayed their own evil case,
methinks, by their rage, and mocked and jeered them, till the
abbess herself had to go forth and entreat them to return; but
they despised her, and the sheriff must needs gallop up with his
horsewhip, and whip them before him, but in vain; the evil is too
strong in them. They still said, that I, unfortunate maiden, 'must
be accused to your Highness of all this scandal,' for the silly
abbess had betrayed what I had done; 'and that till I was turned
out of the convent, they would not come back.' Now the poor abbess
fell sick at such base contempt and insult to her authority, and,
feeling her end near, she made her will, and took out the shroud
from her trunk, and had the carpenter to measure her for her
coffin, and at last consented to write to your Grace, because by
no other means would these evil wantons be satisfied, or the great
scandal and disgrace to the convent be averted. But, I think, if
your Grace would write her a private letter, she would change her
opinion (Ah, yes, the hag means her to receive it!) and make a far
different resolve when your Grace sees how true and faithful I
have acted as,

"Your Highness's most humble maiden,

"SIDONIA BORK,

"Otto Bork's only and unfortunate orphan.

"Marienfliess, 6th Sept. 1617.

"P.S.--If she dies, I pray your Grace to hold me in your
remembrance."



CHAPTER XV.

_Of the death of the abbess, Magdalena von Petersdorfin--Item,
how Duke Francis makes Jobst Bork and his daughter, Diliana, come
to Camyn, and what happens there._


Now the messenger had hardly departed, when Sidonia arranged her
food for three days, laid two new brooms crosswise under the
table; _item_, had her bath carried up by old Wolde from the
kitchen to the refectory, and lastly, locked herself up, giving
out that she must and will pray to God to pardon her fallen
sisters for all their sins, and that up to Friday night no one
should disturb her.

_Summa_.-The unfortunate abbess ascertained, but too well,
that same night, what such praying betokened. She screamed out,
like all the others, that it seemed as if a miner was in her
breast, and hammered there, striving to raise up the bones; and
the good dairy-mother, a pious and tender-hearted creature, not
very old either, never left her side during all her martyrdom. For
three days and three nights she took no rest, but watched by the
sick abbess; lifting her from the bed to the cold floor, and from
the cold floor to the bed, and refused a piece of gold the abbess
offered for her trouble, begging it might be given to Lisa
Behlken, a little gipsy maiden, whose thievish and heathenish
parents had left her behind them in the town, but who had been
taken in and sheltered by the poor widow, though she had enough to
do to get her living alone.

_Summa_.--On the Friday night the worthy abbess expired in
horrible tortures; and, in consequence, such a fear and horror
fell upon the whole convent, that they trembled and shook like
aspen leaves, and bitterly repented now of their folly with loud
cries and weeping, in having, with their own hands, helped to cast
down their only stay and support.

So, next morning, Sidonia summoned the whole chapter to her
apartment, drew herself up like a black adder, as she was, menaced
them with her dry fists, and spake--

"See now, ye shameless wantons, what ye have done! Ye have
murdered the worthy abbess, though she told you herself, it would
be her death if ye came not down from the Muhlenberg; giving up
your honour and the honour of our convent, ye vile crew, as a prey
to the malicious world. In vain have I cried to God three days and
three nights for pardon for your heavy sins, and for support for
our dear mother; your sins are an offence to the Lord, and He
would not hearken to me. For this morning I hear, to my great
terror, that the good abbess, just as I feared, has been done to
death by your vile obduracy and disobedience."

As the blasphemous devil thus went on, all were silent round her.
Even Dorothea Stettin had not a word--for, though her wrath was
great, her fear was yet greater. Only Anna Apenborg, who had her
eyes always about, cried out--"See there, dear sisters, there
comes the porter back from Old Stettin. Ah, that he should find
our good mother in her coffin, as she prophesied!"

So Sidonia despatches a sister for the princely letter, and bids
the others remain; and when the letter is brought, Sidonia breaks
the seal, runs over the contents to herself, laughs, and then
says, at last--

"Listen to the message his Grace sends to our, alas! now dead
mother, as a kind and just father!" Reads--

"HONOURABLE MOTHER, WORTHY ABBESS,--

"As our serene and gracious Prince is just setting off to hunt
with the illustrious patricio, Philip Heinhofer of Augsburg, his
Grace bids me say that he will visit the convent himself next
month on his way to New Stettin, to advise with you, and
investigate, in person, this evil business with the sisterhood. As
to Sidonia, he reserves a different treatment for her.

"Your good son and friend, "FRANCISCA BLODOW," Ducal Secretary.

"Old Stettin, 8th Sept. 1617."

Hereupon she stuck the letter in her pocket, clapped her hand over
it, and continued--

"That is what I call a just, good father; and if I had not
interposed with Christian charity, who knows what heaps of vile,
shameless wantons might not be cast forth upon the streets. But I
remember the words of my heavenly Bridegroom--'Forgive, and it
shall be forgiven you!' And now to end, good sisters, since our
worthy mother is no more, we must have a ruler over this
uproarious convent. Therefore, let us proceed at once to elect her
successor from amongst ourselves, that so our gracious Prince may
be able to confirm your choice on his arrival next month. Proceed,
then, since ye are all assembled here, that the convent may know
in whom it may place confidence. Speak, Anna Apenborg, whom dost
thou name for an abbess, my much-loved sister?"

With Sidonia's sausage still in her stomach, what else could she
do, but bow and say--

"I think no one so worthy as our good sister Sidonia."

Hereat laughed my hag, and went on to ask the other virgins; and
all those who had not been affected by the hellish drink cried out
"Sidonia!" while those who had been were afraid to dissent, and so
cried out too for her. In fine, "Sidonia! Sidonia!" was heard from
all lips, and so they took her for their abbess, whom but a few
days before they would have flung out into the streets. Even
Dorothea Stettin consented, on condition that she received back
the sub-prioret. Whereupon Sidonia loosed her veil with the one
golden key, and restored it to Dorothea with the Judas kiss; then
bid her fetch the veil of the abbess with the two golden keys, for
this was an heirloom in the cloister. When it arrived, Sidonia
goes to her trunk, and takes out a large regal cape that looked
like ermine, but was only white cat's skin. She hung this upon her
neck, and exclaimed--

"Hitherto I was lady of castles and lands--now, as abbess, I am of
princely rank, for many princesses were abbesses in the time of
the Papacy; therefore, it is meet that I array myself as a
princess, and I command ye all to treat me as a princess, and
honour me as your abbess, and kiss my hand, which is the proper,
due, and fitting reverence to be paid to my rank. The late worthy
matron, indeed, suffered ye to treat her with little respect, and
your late vile contempt of her on the Muhlenberg shows (God be
good to us!) but too well what fruit her neglect of these things
brought forth."

Truly the pride of this hag was equal to her wickedness; for mark,
already for a year and a day before this, she had made the
convent-porter and others bring her white cats and black cats;
these she killed and skinned, and sewed the black cats' tails on
the white skins, to make a show withal, for ermine skin was above
her price, I am thinking. Yet no one knew wherefore she killed the
cats, and for what cause. Now it all came to light.

No doubt these circumstances gave rise to that error which runs
through the Pomeranian cotemporary authors, who assert all of
them, that Sidonia was abbess of Marienfliess--though, in truth,
she never was duly elected. [Footnote: Cramer and Mikrælius make
the same mistake.]

But let us return now to his Highness, Bishop Francis. He sent to
Jobst Bork, bidding him come instantly to Camyn with his little
daughter, Diliana. They knew nothing of his Grace's purpose, but
were soon informed on entering the episcopal palace. For, after
his Highness, with whom was Doctor Joel, desired them to be
seated, the Doctor placed Diliana upon a stool, close to the
window, beside which my magister had hung up a magic screen on
purpose; and, as the blessed sun poured in through the window,
Diliana's beautiful, delicate form was shadowed forth upon the
pure white linen with which it was covered. Whereupon the magister
bent down, stuck his hands on his fat sides, knit his brows, and
contemplated the image steadily for some time; then, starting up,
gave a loud huzzah, and cried out--

"Gracious Prince, we have found it, we have found it! Here is a
pure virgin. I know by the formation of the shadows along the
virgin-linen that she is pure as the sun-angel--as the ascending
morning dew."

Here Jobst Bork shook his head, and the maiden blushed to her
finger-ends, and looked down ashamed in her lap. Then his Grace
said, laughing--

"Do not wonder at our joy, for the destiny of our whole race, good
Jobst, lies now in you and your daughter's hands. Through the
witchcraft of Sidonia Bork, as ye know, and all the world
testifies, our ancient race has been melted away till but a few
dry twigs remain, and no young eyes look up to us when our old
eyes are failing. But what Sidonia Bork has destroyed, Diliana
Bork, by God's help, can restore. For, mark! after all human help
had been found of no avail, this man whom ye see here, a
_magister artium_ of Grypswald, Joel by name, inquired of the
spirits how the great evil could be turned away from our race; but
they declared that none knew except the sun-angel, because he saw
all that passed upon the earth. This angel, however, being the
greatest of all spirits, will not appear unless a brave and pure
virgin--pure in thought, word, and work--stand within the magic
circle; therefore, we have sent for your daughter, hearing that
she was such an one, and the magister hath proved the truth of the
report even now. It rests with you, therefore, much-prized
Diliana, sister to the angels in purity, and last and only hope of
my perishing race, to save them at my earnest petition."

When he ended, Diliana remained quite silent, but Jobst wriggled
on his chair, and at last spake--

"Serene Prince, you know me for the most obedient of your
subjects, but with the devil's work I will have nothing to do;
besides, I see not why you must trouble spirits about my evil
cousin, the sorceress of Marienfliess. Send to my castellan of
Pansin, George Putkammer, he will thrust her in a sack to-night,
and carry her to-morrow to Camyn--_that_ you may believe, my
Lord Duke!"

Then he related what the brave knight had done, and how Sidonia
had in truth left him in peace ever since, all through fear of the
young knight's good sword. His Grace wondered much at this. "Never
could I have believed that so stouthearted a man was to be found
in all Pomerania--one that would dare to touch this notorious
witch."

And he fell into deep musing, keeping his eyes upon Jobst's
jack-boots, in which he had stuck a great hunting-knife. At last
he spake--"But if I seize her and burn her, will it be better with
our race? I trow not; for she can leave the evil spell on us,
perhaps, even if she were a hundred times burned. Her magic hath
great power. Will burning her break the spell? No; we must act
more cunningly with the dragon. Earth cannot help us in this. And
here you see, Jobst, why I demand your daughter's help to conjure
the angels of God."

"Then seek another virgin, my Prince," answered Jobst, "mine you
shall never have. I have been once in the devil's claws, and I
won't thrust myself into them again--much less my only darling
child, whom I love a thousand times better than my life. No, no,
her body and soul shall never be endangered by my consent."

"But where is the danger?" said the Duke. "It is with an angel,
not a devil, your daughter is to speak; and surely no evil, then,
could happen to our dear and chaste little sister?"

At last Diliana exclaimed eagerly, "Ah; can it be possible to
speak with the blessed angels, as the evil women speak with the
devil? In truth, I would like to see an angel."

At this the Duke looked significantly at the magister, who
immediately advanced, and began to explain the _opus magicum et
theurgicum_ to the maiden, as follows:--

"You know, fair young virgin, that our Saviour saith of the
innocent children, 'Their angels always see the face of My Father
which is in heaven' (Matt xviii.). _Item/_, St. Paul (Heb.
i.): 'Are not the angels ministering spirits, sent forth for the
service of those who are heirs of salvation?' This is no new
doctrine, but one as old as the world. For you know, further, that
Adam, Noah, the holy patriarchs, the prophets, &c., talked with
angels, because their faith was great. _Item_, you know that,
even in the New Testament, angels were stated to have appeared and
talked with men; but later still, during the papal times even, the
angels of God appeared to divers persons, as was well known, and
of their own free will. For they did not always appear of _free
will_; and therefore, from the beginning, conjurations were
employed to _compel/_ them, and fragments of these have come
down to us _ex traditione_, as we magistri say, from the time
of Shem, the son of Noah, who revealed them to his son Misraim;
and so, from son to son, they have reached to our day, and are
still powerful."

"But," spake Diliana, "is it then possible for man to compel
angels?"

_Ille_.-"Yes, by three different modes; first, through the
word, or the intellectual vinculum; secondly, through the heavenly
bodies, or the astral vinculum; lastly, through the earthly
creatures, or the elementary vinculum.

"Respecting first the _word_, you know that all things were
made by it, and without it was nothing made that is made. With God
the Lord, therefore, _word_ and _thing_ are one and the
same; for when He speaks it is done; He commands, and it stands
there. Also, with our father, Adam, was the _word_
all-powerful; for he ruled over all beasts of the field, and
birds, and creeping things by the _name_ which he gave unto
them, that is, by the _word_ (Gen. ii.). This power, too, the
word of Noah possessed, and by it he drew the beasts into the ark
(Gen. vii.); for we do not read that he _drave_ them, which
would be necessary now, but they _went_ into the ark after
him, two and two, _i.e._, compelled by the power of his word.
" Next follows the _astral vinculum, i.e._, the sympathy
between us and those heavenly bodies or stars wherein the angels
dwell or rule. We must know their divers aspects, configurations,
risings, settings, and the like, also the precise time, hour, and
minute in which they exercise an influence over angel, man, and
lower creatures, according as the ancients, and particularly the
Chaldeans have taught us; for spirit cannot influence spirit at
every moment, but only at particular times and under particular
circumstances.

"Lastly comes the _elementary vinculum_, or the sympathy which
binds all earthly creatures together--men, animals, plants,
stones, vapours and exhalations, &c., but above all, this
cementing sympathy is strongest in pure virgins, as you,
much-praised Diliana----"

Hereupon she spake surprised: "How can all this be? Is it not
folly to suppose that the blessed angels could be compelled by
influences from plants and stones?"

"It is no folly, dear maiden, but a great and profound truth,
which I will demonstrate to you briefly. Everything throughout the
universe is effected by two opposing forces, _attraction_ or
sympathy, _repulsion_ or antipathy. All things in heaven as
well as upon earth act on each other by means of these two
forces."

"And as all within, above, beneath, in the heaven and on the
earth, are types insensibly repeated of one grand archetype, so we
find that the sun himself is a magnet, and by his different poles
repels or attracts the planets, and amongst them our earth; in
winter he repels her, and she moves darkly and mournfully along;
in spring he begins to draw her towards him, and she comes
joyfully, amidst songs of the holy angels, out of night and
darkness, like a bride into the arms of her beloved. And though no
ear upon earth can mark this song, yet the sympathies of each
creature are attracted and excited thereby, and man, beast, bird,
fish, tree, flower, grass, stones, all exhale forth their
subtlest, most spiritual, sweetest life to blend with the holy
singers.

"O maiden, maiden, this is no folly! Truly might we say that each
thing feels, for each thing loves and hates--the animate as the
inanimate, the earthly as the heavenly, the visible as the
invisible. For what is love but attraction or sympathy towards
some object, whereby we desire to blend with it? And what is hate
but repulsion or antipathy, whereby we are forced to fly or recoil
from it?

"We, silly men, tear and tatter to pieces the rude coarse
_materia_ of things, and think we know the nature of an
object, because, like a child with a mirror, we break it to find
the image. But the life of the thing--the inner, hidden mystic
life of _sympathies_--of this we know nothing, and yet we
call ourselves wise!

"But what is the signification of this widespread law of love and
hate which rules the universe as far as we know? Nothing else than
the dark signature of _faith_ impressed upon every creature.
For what the thing loves, that is its God; and what the thing
hates, that is its devil. So when the upright and perfect soul
ascends to God, the source of all attraction, God descends to it
in sympathy, and blends with it, as Christ says, 'Whoso loves Me,
and keeps My word, My Father will love him, and we will come and
take up our abode with him.' But if the perverted soul descends to
the source of all repulsion, which is the devil, God will turn
away from him, and he will hate God and love the devil, as our
blessed Saviour says (Matt. vi.), 'No man can serve two masters,
he will _hate_ one and _love_ the other; ye cannot serve
God and the devil.' Such will be the law of the universe until the
desire of all creatures is fulfilled, until the living Word again
descends from heaven, and says, 'Let there be light!' and the new
light will fall upon the soul. Then will the old serpent be cast
out of the new heaven and the new earth. Hate and repulsion will
exist no longer, but as Esaias saith, 'The wolf and the lamb, the
leopard and the kid, will lie down together, and the child may
play fearlessly upon the den of the adder.' Hallelujah! Then will
creation be free! then will it pass from the bondage of corruption
into the lordly freedom of the children of God (Rom. viii.), and

                   Sun,
               Moon, stars,
            Earth, angels, men,
           Beasts, plants, stones,
           The living as the dead,
           The great as the small,
          The visible as the invisible,
              Will find at last
          The source of all attraction
    Which they have ever ardently desired--
      Round which they will ever circle
        Day on day, night on night,
Century on century, millennium on millennium,
      Lost in the infinite and eternal abyss
                Of all love--
                   GOD!"

 [Footnote: Almost with the last words of this sketch, the second
part of _Kosmos_, by Alexander von Humboldt, came to my hand.
Evidently the great author (who so well deserves immortality for
his contributions to science) views the world also as a whole; and
wherever in ancient or modern times, even a glimpse of this
doctrine can be found, he quotes it and brings it to light. But
yet, in a most incomprehensible manner, he has passed over those
very systems in which, above all others, this idea finds ample
room; namely, the new platonism of the ancients (the Theurgic
Philosophy), and the later Cabalistic, Alchymical, Mystic
Philosophy (White Magic), from which system the deductions of
Magister Joel are borrowed; but above all, we must name
_Plotinus_, as the father of the new Platonists, to whom
nature is throughout but one vast unity, one divine totality, one
power united with one life. In later times, we find that Albertus
Magnus, Cornelius Agrippa, and Theophrastus Paracelsus held the
same view. The latter uses the above word "attraction" in the
sense of sympathy. And the systems of these philosophers, which
are in many places full of profound truths, are based upon this
idea.]



CHAPTER XVI.

_Jobst Bork takes away his daughter by force from the Duke and
Dr. Joel; also is strengthened in his unbelief by Dr.
Cramer--Item, how my gracious Prince arrives at Marienfliess, and
there vehemently menaces Sidonia._


When Dr. Joel had ended his discourse, the fair young virgin's
eyes overflowed with tears; and clasping her hands, she sprang up,
and seizing my magister by the hand, exclaimed, "O sir, let us see
the blessed angels! Let me talk with them."

But her father, who was dry and brief in speech, tore her away,
saying sourly, "Have done, child; you must not dare to do it!"
Then they all prayed him to consent--the Duke, and the magister,
and Diliana herself; and the magister said, that in a few days the
sun would be in Libra, which would be the fitting and best time;
if they delayed, then a whole year must pass over without
obtaining any help, for he had already demonstrated that each
spirit had its particular time of influence. And so my magister
went on. But all was in vain. So Diliana stroked her father's
beard with her little hands and said, "Think, dear papa, on
grandmamma--her poor ghost; and that I can avenge her if I keep my
virgin honour pure in thought, word, and deed! Is it not strange
that my gracious Prince should just now come and demand the proof
of my purity? Let me pass the trial, and then I can avenge the
poor ghost, and calm the fears of his Highness all at once; for
assuredly he has cause to fear Sidonia." So the Duke and Magister
Joel inquired eagerly what she meant by the ghost; and when they
heard, they rejoiced, and said the finger of God was in it. "Would
the knight still strive against God?"

"No," he answered, "but against the devil; for Luther says, 'Such
ghost-work must be of the devil, since the departed soul must
either be in heaven or in hell; if in heaven, it would have rest,'
therefore he feared the ghost of his poor mother had nothing good
about it, and he would take care and keep his child from the claws
of the devil."

Thus the argument and strife went on, till Jobst at last cried out
sharply, "Diliana, dost thou esteem the fifth commandment? If so,
come with me." Whereupon the pious virgin threw herself upon his
neck, exclaiming, "Father, I come!"

But my magister took her by the hand, to draw her from her father,
whereat Jobst seized the hunting-knife that he had stuck in his
jack-boots, and brandishing it, cried out, "Hands off, fellow, or
I'll paint a red sign upon thee! My Lord Duke, in the name of the
three devils, seek out another virgin; but my virgin, your
Highness shall never have." Then seizing his little daughter by
the waist, he rushed out of the room with her, growling like a
bear with his cub, and down the stairs, and through the streets,
never stopping or staying till he reached the inn, nor even once
looking behind him or heeding his Grace, who screamed out after
him, "Good Jobst, only one word; only one word, dear Jobst!"

And when my Jobst reached the inn, he roared for the coachman, bid
him follow him with all speed to the road, paid down his reckoning
to mine host, and was off, and already out of the town, just as
the Duke and Dr. Joel reached the inn, to try and get him back
again. So they return raging and swearing, while Jobst crouches
down behind a thorn-bush with his little daughter, till the coach
comes up. And they have scarcely mounted it, when Dr. Cramer, of
Old Stettin, drives up; for he was on his way to induct a rector
(I know not whom) into his parish, as the ecclesiastical
superintendent lay sick in his bed. This meeting rejoiced the
knight's heart mightily; and after he had peered out of the coach
windows, to see if the Duke or the doctor were on his track, and
making sure that he was not pursued, he prayed Dr. Cramer to bide
a while, and discourse him on a matter that lay heavy on his
conscience. The doctor having consented, they all alighted, and
seated themselves in a hollow, where the coachman could not
overhear their discourse. Then Jobst related all that had
happened, and asked had he acted rightly?

"In all things you have done well, brave knight," answered my
excellent godfather, "for though, doubtless, spirits can and do
appear, yet is there always great danger to body and soul in
practising these conjurations; and no one can say with security
whether such apparition be angel or devil; because St. Paul says
(2 Cor. xi. 14), that 'Satan often changes himself into an angel
of light;' and respecting the ghost of your mother, in my opinion,
it was a devil sent to tempt your dear little daughter; for it is
written (Wisdom xxxi.), 'The just are in the hand of God, and no
evil troubles them.'"

He is going on with his quotations, when Diliana calls out,
"Godfather, here is a coach coming as fast as it can drive; and
surely two men are therein!"

"Adieu! adieu!" cried the knight, springing up, and dragging his
daughter into the coach as quick as he could. Then he bid the
coachman drive for life and death; and when they reached the wood,
to take the first shortest cut to the left.

Meanwhile, the Duke and Dr. Joel come up with my worthy godfather,
stop him, and ask what the knight, Jobst Bork, was saying to him?
for they had seen them both together, sitting in the hollow, along
with Diliana.

On this, the dry sheep's cough got into my worthy godfather's
throat from pure fright, for a lie had never passed his lips in
all his life; therefore he told the whole story truly and
honestly.

Meanwhile, the other coach drove on rapidly through the wood; and
the coachman did as he was desired, and took the first path to the
left, where they soon came on a fine thick hazel grove. Here Jobst
stopped to listen, and truly they could hear the other coach
distinctly crushing the fallen leaves, and the voice of the Duke
screaming, "Jobst, dost thou hear?--Jobst, may the devil take
thee, wilt thou stop?"

"Ay, my Lord Duke," thought Jobst to himself, "I will stop as you
wish, but I trust the devil will neither take me nor my daughter."
Then he lifted the fair Diliana himself out of the coach, and laid
her on the green grass, under the thick nut trees, saying, "Where
shall we fly to, my daughter? What thinkest thou?"

_Illa_.--"Why, to thy good castle of Saatzig, my father."

_Ille_.--"Marry, I'll take good care I won't--to fly from one
danger to another; for will he not hunt us there--ay, till his
spurs are red, and shouting all the way after me till his lungs
burst like an old wind-bag."

_Illa_.--"Whither, then, my father?"

_Ille_.--"To Stramehl, methinks, to my cousin Bastien, where
we shall remain until the time is passed in which he can question
the spirits; for, if I remember rightly, the sun will enter Libra
in a few days."

_Illa_.--"But, dear father, is it not cruel thus to torment
the good Prince? Oh! it must be so beautiful to talk to an angel!"

_Ille_.--"Do not anger me, my heart's daughter, do not anger
me. Better be George Putkammer's good loving wife; turn thy
thoughts that way, my daughter, and in a year there will be
something better worth looking at in the cradle than a spirit."

_Illa_ blushes and plucks the nuts over her head.

_Ille_.--"What sayest thou? Art thou for ever to put off
these marriage thoughts?"

_Illa_.--"Ah! my heart's dear father, what would my poor
grandmother say in eternity? It is impossible that, without God's
will, the Duke and the poor ghost should have come upon the same
thoughts about me."

_Ille_.--"Anger me not, child; thou art a silly,
superstitious thing; without God's will, it may well be, but not
without the devil's will. Thou hast heard what Luther says of
ghosts, and we must believe him. Eh?"

_Illa_.--"But my Lord Duke and Dr. Joel say quite
differently. Ah, father, let me see the blessed angels! Dr. Joel
surely has seen them often, and yet no danger befell him."

_Ille_.--"Anger me not, daughter, I say, for the third time.
It is written, 'Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God;' and is not
this tempting Him--setting heaven and hell in an uproar all about
a wicked old hag of a witch? Wherefore is the Duke such a goose?
But I will give him no child of mine to run a race with to hell.
Now rise, child, and follow me to the coach!"

_Illa_.--"But you must make me one promise" (weeping).

_Ille_.--"What then?"

_Illa_.--"Speak no more of marriage to me till I say,
'Father, now let the marriage be.'"

_Ille_.--"With the young knight, George?"

_Illa_.-"I have no objection to offer to him; but the young
man is not to come before my eyes until then."

_Ille_.--"Ah, thou art as obstinate as the Rügen geese! Well,
have it thy own way, child. And now to Stramehl!"

Still the Duke was hunting after them, through thick and thin, and
roaring for the knight at the top of his voice, till the wood
re-echoed; and though some squires, who came up through the
forest, declared that no carriage had passed their way, yet he
continued his chase, feeling certain that no matter what bypath
the knave had taken, yet he would assuredly come up with him at
Saatzig.

So the next day he reached the castle, for it lay but ten miles
from Camyn, but no knight was there. The Duke waited for two days,
still no sign of him. So he amused the time by fishing, and making
inquiries amongst all the neighbouring people about Sidonia, and
so strange were the tales repeated by the simple, superstitious
folk, that his Highness resolved to make a detour home by
Marienfliess, just to get a passing glimpse of this devil's
residence. Here he met a shepherd, who told many strange things,
and swore that he had seen her many times flying out of the
chimney on her broomstick; and, as the convent lay right before
them, his Grace asked which was Sidonia's chimney, and the carl
pointed out the chimney with his hand--it was the fourth from the
church there, where the smoke was rising. Whereupon my Lord Duke
shuddered, and went his way as quick as he could up the Vossberg.
He knew not that upon that very day his brother, Duke Philip, had
arrived at Marienfliess from Old Stettin, on his way to the diet
at New Stettin. The herald had been despatched by his Highness,
some days before, to inform Sheriff Eggert Sparling of his
approach, and that his Highness and suite would arrive about noon.
He was also to say the same to the nuns, particularly to Sidonia
Bork.

So at mid-day my sheriff set off to the cloister, with the steward
and the secretaries, and waited there in the nuns' courtyard for
the arrival of the Duke, and a boy was placed in the mill to wave
his cap the moment his Highness came in sight. Yet my Eggert was
suffering terrible anguish all the time in his mind, for he
thought that the Duke might bid him seize the devil's witch.

Soon the cry rose that the Duke was coming--his six coaches had
just come in sight. Then the convent gate opened, and my hag
appeared at the head of the entire sisterhood, all in their black
robes and white veils; she the same, except that she wore the
abbess veil whereon two golden keys were embroidered. _Item_,
the white cats'-skin cape, which I have noticed before, was
displayed upon her shoulders. Thus she came forth from the convent
gate with all the sisters, two and two, and she threw up her eyes,
and raised the hymn of St. Ambrose, just as the Duke and his six
coaches drove into the courtyard, and the whole convent joining,
they advanced thus singing to meet his Highness.

Now, his Highness was a meek man and seldom angry, but his brow
grew black with wrath, when Sidonia, stepping up to the coach,
bowed low, and in her cats' tippet--herself a cat in cunning and
deceit--threw up her eyes hypocritically to heaven.

"How now," cried his Grace; "who the devil hath suffered you,
Sidonia, to play the abbess over these virgins?"

To which my hag replied--

"Gracious Prince, ask these virgins here if they have not selected
me as their abbess of their own free will, and they are now come
to entreat your Highness to confirm the choice of their hearts."

"Marry," quoth the Duke, "I have heard enough of your doings from
the neighbouring nobles and others. I know well how you made the
poor abbess Magdalena bite the dust; _item_, how you forced
these poor virgins to elect you abbess through mortal and deadly
fear. Speak, dear sisters, fear nothing--I, your Prince, command
you: have ye not elected this piece of sin and vanity to be your
abbess simply through fear of your lives?"

But the virgins looked down upon the ground, were silent and
trembled, while my sheriff plunged his hand into his wide boots
for the kerchief to wipe his face, for he saw well how it would
end, and the sweat of anguish was dripping from his brow. A second
time his Grace asked--"Was it from fear?" When at last one
answered, named Agnes Kleist, not the stout Dinnies' sister, but
another--

"In truth, gracious Prince, it was from pure bodily fear alone
that we elected Sidonia as our abbess."

Her courage pleased the Duke so much that he inquired her name,
and hearing it, said--

"Ay, I thought you must be a Kleist; and now, for your truth and
courage, I make you abbess of Marienfliess; _item_, Dorothea
Stettin sub-prioress. And mark me, Sidonia Bork--it is for the
last time--if you attempt to dispute my will, or make the least
disturbance in the convent in consequence of my decision, you
shall be sent over the frontier. I have tried kindness long enough
by you--now for justice!"

"Sparling, I command you by your duty to me as your Prince, if
this evil and notorious hag should make the least disturbance or
strife in the convent, seize her that instant, either yourself or
by means of your bailiffs, and chase her over the frontiers.
_Item_, you are not to permit her to leave the convent, to
alarm or intimidate the neighbouring nobles, as she hath hitherto
done. Therefore I command the new abbess to replace the heavy
padlock on the gate from this day forth. Do you hear this,
Sidonia? These poor maidens shall have peace at last. Too long
they have been your sport and mockery, but it shall end."

So the new abbess answered--"Your Highness shall be obeyed!"

But my sheriff could not utter a word from horror, and seemed
stifling with a thick, husky cough in his throat. But when Sidonia
crept up close to him, and menaced him privately with her dry,
clenched hand, he forgot himself entirely, and made a spring that
brought him clean over the churchyard wall, while his sword
clattered after him, and his plumed beaver dropt from his head to
the ground. All the lacqueys laughed loud at the sight, even his
Grace laughed. But my sheriff makes the best of it, and calls
out--

"Ah, see, my Lord Duke, how the little boys have stolen the
flowers that I myself planted on the grave of the blessed abbess.
I'll make them pay for it, the thieving brats!"

Hereat his Grace asked why the abbess was not buried within the
church, but in the graveyard. And they answered, she had so
commanded. Whereupon he said mildly--

"The good mother is worthy of a prayer; I shall go and say a
paternoster upon her grave, and see if the youngsters have left me
a flower to carry away for memory."

So he alighted, made Eggert show him the grave, removed his hat,
and prayed, while all his suite in the six coaches uncovered their
heads likewise. Lastly, he made the sign of the cross, and bent
over the grave to pluck a flower. But just then a warm heavy wind
blew across the graves, and all the flowers drooped, faded, and
turned yellow as it passed. Yea, even a yellow stripe seemed to
mark its passage straight across all the graves over the court, up
to the spot where the thrice-accursed witch stood upon the convent
wall, and people afterwards remarked that all plants, grass,
flowers, and shrubs within that same stripe turned pale and faded,
only some poison plants, as hemlock, nightshade, and the like,
stood up green and stiff along that livid line. When the Duke
observed this, he shook his head, but made no remark, stepped
hastily, however, into his carriage, after again earnestly
admonishing Sidonia; _item_, the sheriff to remember his
commands. He ordered the procession to start, and proceeded on his
way to the Diet.

It may be easily believed that no one ventured to put the commands
of his Grace into execution; therefore, Sidonia remained abbess as
heretofore. Agnes Kleist, indeed, that same day, had the great
padlock put upon the gate; but my hag no sooner sees it than she
calls for the convent servant, saying she must go forth to drive,
then takes her hatchet, and with it hews away at the padlock,
until it falls to the ground. Whereupon, laughing scornfully, she
went her way out into the road; and the new abbess could not
remonstrate, for on Sidonia's return home (I forgot to say that,
latterly, she had gone much about amongst the neighbouring nobles,
even as his Highness observed, frightening them to death with her
visits) she shut herself up again; and Anna Apenborg soon brings
the news from Wolde, "The lady is praying;" and Anna, having
privately slid under the window, found that it was even so.

So the whole convent shuddered; but no one dared to say a word,
though each sister judged for herself what the praying betokened,
without venturing to speak her surmise. But this time she did not
pray for three days and three nights, only once in the week, when
her bath-day came; by which, people suspected that his Highness
was destined to a slower death than the other victims of her
demoniac malice.



CHAPTER XVII.

_Of the fearful death of his Highness, Duke Philip II. of
Pomerania, and of his melancholy but sumptuous burial._


After the before-mentioned festival of the jubilee, it happened
that one day Anna Apenborg went to the brew-house, which lay
inside the convent walls (it was one of Sidonia's praying days),
and there she saw a strange apparition of a three-legged hare. She
runs and calls the other sisters; whereupon they all scamper out
of their cells, and down the steps, to see the miracle, and
behold, there sits the three-legged hare; but when Agnes Kleist
took off her slipper, and threw it at the devil's sprite, my hare
is off, and never a trace of him could be found again in the whole
brew-house or in the whole convent court. Hereat the nuns
shuddered, and each virgin has her opinion on the matter, but
speaks it not; for just then, too, comes Sidonia forth, with old
Wolde and the cat, and the three begin their devil's dance, while
the cat squalls and wails, and the old witch-hag screams her usual
hell psalm:--

   "Also kleien und also kratzen,
   Meine Hunde und meine Katzen."

Next day, however, the poor virgins heard, to their deep sorrow,
what the three-legged hare betokened even as they had suspected;
for the cry came to the convent that his Grace, good Duke Philip,
was dead, and the tidings ran like a signal-fire through the
people, that this kind, wise, just Prince had been bewitched to
death. (Ah! where in Pomerania land--yea, in all German
fatherland--was such a wise, pious, and learned Prince to be
found? No other fault had he but one, and that was not having,
long before, burned this devil's witch, this accursed sorceress,
with fire and faggot.)

And now I must tell how his Grace had scarcely left Marienfliess
and reached Saatzig (they were but a mile from each other) when he
felt suddenly weak. He wondered much to find that his dear lord
brother, Duke Francis, had only left the castle two hours before.
_Item_, that Jobst Bork had not arrived there, and no man
knew whither the knight had flown. Here the Duke grew so much
worse, that his ministers earnestly entreated him to postpone the
diet at New Stettin, and return home; for how could it please the
knights and burgesses to see their beloved Prince in this sad
extremity of suffering?

Hereupon his Highness replied with the beautiful Latin words,
"_Officio mihi officio_." (And after his death, these words
were stamped on the burial-medals. _Item_, a rose, half-eaten
by a worm, with the inscription, "_Ut rosa rodimur omnes;_"
whereby many think allusion is made to the livid breath that
passed over the flowers at Marienfliess, but I leave these things
undecided.)

_Summa_.--His Highness proceeded to New Stettin, and decided
all the boundary disputes amongst the nobles, &c., returned then
to his court at Old Stettin, to hold the evangelical jubilee; but,
by that time, all the doctors from far and near could do naught to
help him; and though he lingered some months, yet, from the first,
he knew that death was on him; for nothing could appease the
tortures he suffered in his breast, even as all the others whom
Sidonia had murdered, and finally, on the 3rd day of February
1618, at ten of the clock, he expired--his age being forty-four
years, six months, and six days. And the corpse presented the same
signature of Satan, though his Grace's sickness had differed in
some particulars from that of Sidonia's other victims. To this
appearance of the princely corpse I myself can testify, for I
beheld it, along with many others, when it lay in state in the
great hall.

On the 19th of March following, the princely ceremony of interment
took place. Let me see if my tears will permit me to describe
it:--

After the deputies from the three honourable estates had
assembled--the Stettin, the Wolgastian, and the ecclesiastical--in
the castle church, with the Princes of the blood, the nobles,
knights, and magnates of the land, three cannons were fired; and
at nine of the clock in the evening, the princely corpse was
carried first into the count's chamber, then to the knights'
chamber, from thence to the grand state-hall, by torchlight, by
twenty-four nobles, and from that to the castle square, which was
entirely covered with black cloth. Here it was laid down, and
sixty students from the university of Grypswald, and forty boys
from the town-school, sung the burial psalms from their books;
while, at intervals, the priests chanted the appointed portions of
the liturgy; after which all the bells of the town began to toll,
and the swan song was raised, "Now in joy I pass from earth."
Whereupon the nobles lifted up the bier again, and the procession
moved forwards. And could my gracious Prince have looked out
through the little window above his head, he would have seen not
only the blessed cross, but also his dear town, from street to
tower, covered with weeping human faces: for the procession passed
on through the main street, across the coal market, through castle
street, into the crane court--all which streets were lined with
the princely soldatesca, who also, each man, carried a torch in
his hand, besides the group of regular torch-bearers in the
procession--and windows, roofs, towers, presented one living mass
of human heads all along the way. And the order was thus:--

1. The song-master, _cum choro-item_, the rector, pædagogis,
with his collegis.

2. The honourable ministerium from all the three states.

3. The Duke's trumpeters and drummers, with instruments reversed,
and drums covered with crape.

4. The rector magnificus, and the four deacons of the university
of Grypswald, among whom came Dr. Joel.

5. The land-marshal, with his black marshal's staff, alone; then
the pages, three and three, in mourning cloaks, and faces covered
with black taffety up to their noses.

6. The court-marshal, and the marshals of the three
states--_item_, the ambassadors, and other high officials of
foreign princes, &c.

7. Twelve knights, in full armour, upon twelve horses; each knight
bearing his standard, and each horse covered entirely with black
cloth, and having the arms of his rider embroidered on the
forehead-piece, and on the two sides was led by a noble on foot.

The supreme court-marshal followed these, his drawn sword covered
with crape, in his hand, the point to the ground.

Next the chancellor, with the seals covered with crape, and laid
upon a black velvet cushion.

The princely corpse, borne by twenty-four nobles, on a bier
covered with black velvet, and beneath a bluish-velvet canopy
embroidered on all sides with the arms of his Grace's illustrious
ancestors, with all their helmets, shields, devices, and
quarterings, gorgeously represented in gold and silver.
_Item_, on each side, twelve nobles, with lighted wax
torches, from which streamers of black crape floated, and twelve
halberdiers, with halberds reversed.

The last poor faded trefoil of our dear fatherland, namely, the
serene and illustrious Princes, Dukes, and Lords--Francis, Ulrich,
and Bogislaff, the princely brothers of Pomerania--all in long
velvet mantles, and their faces covered with black crape up to the
eyes. [Footnote: Note of Duke Bogislaff XIV.-The three accompanied
him to the grave; but who will walk mourner beside my bier? Ah!
that long ere this I had lain calmly in my coffin, and looked up
from the little window to my Lord, and rested in the God of my
salvation! Amen.]

His princely Highness, Duke Philip Julius of Wolgast--the last of
his name--and, like his cousins, wearing crape over his face to
the eyes.

The honourable chapter of Camyn.

The councillors, _medici_, and other officers.

The chamberlain, knights, and pages of the princely widow's
household.

The princely widow herself, with all her ladies, in long black
silk mantles, their faces covered with black taffety up to the
eyes, and accompanied by their Graces the Elector of Brandenburg
and the Duke of Mechlenburg.

The princely widow, Hedwig, the bereaved spouse of Ernest Ludovic
of blessed memory--who was doomed to follow her whole illustrious
race to the grave--conducted by Duke William of Courland, and
Henry of Mangerson, ambassador from Brunswick.

The Countess von Eberstein, and Baroness von Putbus, with the
ladies in waiting to her princely Highness.

The noble ladies and maids of honour, amongst whom came Diliana
Bork.

Burgomasters, sheriffs, and council of the good town of Old
Stettin.

Trumpeters and drummers, as before, and another songmaster _cum
choro_, as at the beginning; and so closed the procession.

And how can I ever forget the lamentations that broke forth from
all the people, as the princely bier approached--men, women,
children, all sobbed and wept, as if indeed their own father lay
there, and turned their torches down to view the blessed body
better, from the windows and the towers (for mostly all the people
carried torches). Then arose such a lamentation and cry as if no
comfort more was left for them upon earth, only in heaven must
they look for it; and as I stood in the coal-market, leaning my
shoulder against a post, and heard this great cry of a whole
people, and saw the flashing torches all bent upon this one point
in the dark midnight, behold the bright gold crucifix on the
coffin glittered as if in the clear light of the sun; and the
blaze of the torches was reflected from the black concave of
heaven, so that a glory seemed to rest around and above the bier,
and all shone and glittered in that radiant circle, so that it was
a pleasure and a wonder to gaze upon.

  "Thus through sin and sorrow loometh,
  Light of light from God that cometh,
    Shining o'er life's saddest night.
  For His glory ever stayeth,
  On the soul that weeps and prayeth;
  May the words that Jesu sayeth
    Guide us onward towards that light!
                                      Amen!"

The procession now returned again to the castle square, and from
thence to the chapel.

Now when the coffin was laid down before the altar, and all the
twelve knights with their standard gathered round it, my esteemed
godfather, Dr. Cramer, advanced up the nave to the altar, chanting
the Kyrie Eleison, and all the twelve knights lowered their
standards upon the coffin, and beat their breasts, crying
out--"Kyrie Eleison!" which cry was caught up by the whole
congregation, and they likewise--nobles, priests, people, prince,
peasant, men, women, children--all smote their breasts and cried
out, "Kyrie Eleison!" so that my blessed godfather, his voice
failed through weeping, and three times in vain he tried to speak.

After the sermon, the coffin was lifted up and lowered into the
vault, and the signet-ring of his Highness broken by the
land-marshal, and flung upon the coffin. But the twelve standards
were set down by the altar, and the marshal presented his staff to
Bishop Francis, now the serene and illustrious reigning Duke of
Pomerania; and the supreme court-marshal delivered up the sword,
and the chancellor the seals to his Serene Highness, and so this
mournful ceremony terminated.



CHAPTER XVIII.

_How Joist Bork and his little daughter are forced at last into
the "Opus Magicum"--Item, how his Highness, Duke Francis, appoints
Christian Ludecke, his attorney-general, to be witch-commissioner
of Pomerania._


Now my Jobst, guessing well what was in store for him if he
remained at the ducal court, ordered his horses to be ready
harnessed by four of the clock, on the morning after the funeral,
that he might get clear off with his daughter before my lord Duke
knew anything of the matter. But his Highness knew better than
that, for just as the knight and his daughter were stepping into
the coach, four of the Duke's equerries sprang forth and seized
the horses' heads, while four pages rushed down the castle steps,
and informed the knight that he must accompany them with his
daughter back to the castle, and up to the private apartment of
his Grace, for that the Duke had a word to say to him before his
departure. What could my Jobst do? He must take his Diliana out of
the coach again, and follow the pages through the castle up to the
Duke's quarters, which were filled with all beautiful things,
statues and paintings, &c., from Italy; and his private room was
decorated with the finest pieces of sculpture. So here they find
his Grace and Dr. Joel seated at a table, with the wine-can before
them, for they had sat up all night discoursing.

And when my Jobst enters with his sour face, holding his daughter
by the hand, the Duke calls out--

"Marry, brave vassal, why so sour? _I_ might well look sour,
since you and your little daughter lately chose to play
blind-man's-buff with your lawful Prince, making a mock of him.
But I pardon you, and hope you have come to your senses since.
Come, sit down; drink my health in the wine cup. I trow this wine
will please your palate."

But Jobst excused himself: "He never drank so early." Whereupon
the Duke continued--

"Well, as you please; but, good Jobst, you must be harder than a
stone, if you refuse now to assist me in binding this accursed
witch of Marienfliess, when you see this last evil which she has
done, and how all the weeping land mourns for its Prince. Will you
and your little daughter, this virgin, not deliver me and my
ancient race from so great and terrible a foe? What say ye, brave
Jobst? Come, sit down beside your afflicted Prince, you and your
little daughter, and tell me what help and comfort ye mean to
bring me in my sore grief and sorrow. Speak, Jobst; ah! say was
ever Prince like unto this Prince--and yet childless, childless,
as we are all! Have pity on my noble ancient race, or, even as he
lamented on his death-bed, 'Pomerania will pass in a little while
into stranger hands!'"

Now, my Jobst, who had sat down with his daughter on a couch near
the table, got the dry sheep's cough in his throat again, and, in
his embarrassment, snuffed out the candle; but, making a great
effort, at last said--

"His Grace must be resigned: who could withstand the will of God?
Yet he must say, in all honesty, that he had talked to many
persons about the matter, and some said it was folly and nonsense,
and there could be no reason in it. Others, amongst whom was Dr.
Cramer, said, if not folly, yet it was a dangerous business to
body and soul, and ought not to be attempted."

But my Jobst grows disturbed, and at last says, "Well, then, I
must speak out the truth. My child is not the pure virgin whom ye
seek. I mean in her thoughts, for she has already been betrothed
to a bridegroom."

At this the Duke clapped his hand to his forehead and sighed-"Then
my last hope has perished!" _Item_, the magister was quite
thunderstruck. But Diliana, who blushed to her finger-ends while
her father spoke, started from the couch, seized the hand of my
gracious Lord, and exclaimed--

"Be calm, my Lord Duke, my father hath said this but to free me,
as he thinks, from this dungeon business. But even against him I
must defend my honour, for in truth my soul has been ever pure
from all vain or sinful lusts, even as it is written (Tobias
iii.). And though my father has proposed a bridegroom to me, yet
up to this day I have constantly rejected him, partly for the sake
of my poor grandmother, whose ghost admonished me, and partly that
I might serve your gracious Highness as a pure and honourable
virgin." This hearing so rejoiced the Duke, that he kissed her
hand; but the fair young virgin, when she saw her father rise up
and walk hither and thither in great agitation, began to weep, and
ran to throw herself on his neck, sobbing forth, "Comfort
yourself, dear father, it could not be otherwise, for when you
uttered such hard words of your daughter, what could I do but
defend my honour, even against my own earthly father? Ah, dear
father! it was the cruellest word your little daughter ever heard
from you in her life--but one little kiss, and all will be right
again!"

The poor knight now fairly sobs like a child, and at last stammers
out, "Well then, you must let me be present; if the devil takes my
child, let him take me too along with him. I would rather be with
my little daughter in hell, than without her in heaven."

"Good knight," answered Joel, "that may not be; only three can be
present, the Duke, your daughter, and myself. I handle the
intellectual vinculum or the conjuration. Diliana takes the
elementary vinculum, as dove's blood, the blood of the
field-mouse, virgin wax, and the censer, in her pure hands, and
the Duke holds the astral vinculum, and questions the spirit."

Still my Jobst answers, "It may not be, unless I am present." And
the strife continued in this wise for a good space, until it was
at last agreed upon that the knight should keep watch before the
door with his drawn sword during the conjuration, and that in
autumn, when the sun entered Libra, they would begin the great
work.

Jobst now rose to take his leave, but his little daughter,
Diliana, stood awhile silent, then blushed, looked upon the
ground, and spoke at last--

"My Lord Duke, will your Grace make my father promise, upon his
knightly word, never to bring the young noble, George Putkammer,
whom he has destined for my husband, into my presence from this
day forth until after I have questioned the spirit. For I have a
liking for the young knight, and I am but a poor, weak thing, like
our mother Eve and all other women: who knows what thoughts might
rise in my heart, if I beheld his face or listened to his
entreaties? and then the whole good work would come to nought, or
perchance I might repent it my life long. I would therefore now
rather go to Stramehl, where I can pray and become strong in
spirit, so that perchance I shall find favour in the sight of the
angel of God, as Hagar the handmaid of Abraham in the desert."

Then the beautiful child folded her hands, and looked up to heaven
with such trust and innocence, that all were moved, and the knight
pledged his word to the Duke; after which he pressed his little
lamb to his heart, and then both of them left the chamber of his
Highness.

Now the Duke at last was joyful, for he had hope in the great
work, and fell upon his knees with the magister to pray God for
mercy upon himself, his race, and the young virgin. _Item_,
promised by his honour to seek out and burn all the witches in the
land, that so the kingdom of God might be built up, and the
kingdom of the prince of this world sink to ruin and utter
destruction. And on the following morning, he sent for Christian
Ludecke (brother to the priest who had been bewitched to death),
appointed him special witch-commissioner of the kingdom, and bade
him search throughout the length and breadth of the land, and
wherever he found one of these evil and accursed sorceresses, to
burn her for the honour and glory of God. [Footnote: An equally
notorious witch-finder was one Hopkins of England. See Sir Walter
Scott's "Letters upon Demonology and Witchcraft."]

"Let him show no mercy towards this hell-brood of Satan, for the
devil lately had become so powerful everywhere, but especially in
dear Pomerania-land, that, if not prevented, he would soon pervert
the whole people, and turn them away from the pure and blessed
evangelical doctrine. Still he must have them all tried fairly
before the sheriff's court ere he tortured or burned. His brother
of blessed memory had too long delayed the burning, therefore he
must now be the more diligent; and, by next autumn, he trusted,
with the help of God, to be able to burn Sidonia herself."

Hereupon, my Ludecke wondered much that his Grace should be so
confident about burning Sidonia, but answered bravely, "All should
be done as his Highness wished; for since the cruel death of his
poor brother, the priest, his motto was--'Torture! burn! kill!'
But would to God that his Highness could bind Sidonia's familiar
first, for he was a powerful spirit, every one said; and could not
this learned magister exorcise him? The rumour went that he meant
so to do." But his Grace rebuked such curiosity, and answered
coldly, "He could not tell how the magister meant to proceed; but
his (Ludecke's) duty lay clear before him, let him do it."

Hereupon, my Ludecke looked rather confused, and took his leave.
And soon after, the witch-burnings began in such fearful rise
through the land, that in many parishes six or seven poor women,
young or old, innocent or guilty, it was all the same--yea, even
children of ten to twelve years were yearly burned to powder; and
by the wonderful providence of God, it happened that the burnings
began first in Marienfliess, and truly with one of Sidonia's
friends, the old pugnosed hag of Uchtenhagen, whom I have
mentioned before, and that she visited Sidonia frequently; and
this was the way of it:--One day, Sidonia beat this same Pug-nose
most unmercifully with the broomstick, and chased her out into the
convent square, still striking at her, which sight, however, the
nuns little heeded, for this _spectaculum_ was now so common
that they only thanked their stars it was not their turn, and
passed on. But Anna Apenborg met her by the well, and as the
horrible old Pug-nose was screeching and roaring at the top of her
voice, and cursing Sidonia, she asked, "What now?--what ailed
her?--what had she and the Lady Sidonia been quarrelling about?"
And some others came up, principally the wenches from the kitchen,
to hear what all the roaring was for. Whereupon, Pug-nose told her
story: "The cursed lady-witch had bid her lately go to the holy
sacrament, and when she received the blessed wafer, to take the
same out of her mouth privately, and bring it to her at
Marienfliess, wherewith to feed her familiar, whom she kept in the
form of a toad. At this blasphemy she (Pug-nose) remained silent,
for she feared the hag and her anger; but on the Sunday she
swallowed the bread, as other Christian people; whereupon Sidonia
sends for her, pretending she had spinning to give her, but no
sooner had she entered the room, than the terrible she-devil asked
for the wafer; so she confessed she had swallowed it. How could
she commit such a horrible sacrilege? At this, the accursed witch
ran at her with the broomstick, and beat her all the way down into
the court."

This story soon spread over the convent, and the priest's wife
told it to the fish-seller, who came up there that day, bidding
him run to her brother-in-law, Christian Ludecke, with the news of
the last sorcery going on in the convent.

This was a fine hearing to the witch commissioner, who resolved
instantly to seize Pug-nose, and begin the burnings in the parish
of Marienfliess, to frighten Sidonia, and keep her in check until
autumn. So he took the executioner, with all the torture
instruments, and a scriba along with him in the carriage, and set
off for Uchtenhagen, where the old hag dwelt.



CHAPTER XIX.

_How Christian Ludecke begins the witch-burnings in
Marienfliess, and lets the poor dairy-mother die horribly on the
rack._


Now it happened about this time in Marienfliess that the
dairy-mother (I have tried to remember her name, but in vain, she
was daughter to Trina Bergen I know, as is noticed _libro
secundo_) sold a kid to the bailiff, Brose [Footnote:
Ambrosius.] Bucher, grandson of that Zabel Bucher who was going to
burn old Wolde years before, which kid soon grew sick and died.
_Item_, the bailiff's wife had quarrelled with the
dairy-mother (ah, if I could remember her name) about the price;
the said wife assured her husband the bailiff that the
dairy-mother had bewitched the kid to death out of spite, because
she would not give her as much as she asked for it. This he easily
credited, and talked of it to the country people, and now the old
hag must be an evil witch, her mother indeed he knew had been in
bad repute likewise, for how but by witchcraft could the poor
little kid have died off all of a sudden. So all the malicious
women's tongues were set going with their spinning-wheels, and
this poor worthy dairy-mother, whose piety, charity, and kindness
I have noticed already, was in a few days the common talk of the
parish.

About this time, Beatus Schact, the convent chaplain, was summoned
to baptize a shepherd's dying child, and he had just packed up his
book, when he observed through the window a waggon, drawn by four
horses, coming down the Stargard street, with the sound of singing
from the persons within. Foremost on the waggon sit three
official-looking personages, in scarlet mantles, and one of them
bears a red banner, with a black cross thereon, in his hand.
Behind them are three women bound, and the psalm which they chant
is the death-psalm--"Now pray we to the Holy Ghost." As the priest
looks upon this strange sight, _bis dato_, never seen in
Pomerania-land, the waggon halts close by the church wall, and one
of the men with the red mantles sounded a trumpet, so that all the
people run to see what was going forward, and the priest runs
likewise. _Item_, all the nuns gather thick at the convent
gate, and peep over other's shoulders; for people think it must be
pickleherring, or some such strolling mummers, come to exhibit to
the folk during the evening.

Meanwhile, a peasant observes that his own sister, Ussel, wife to
a peasant at Pegelow, was one of the three poor wretches who sat
there with bound hands. Whereupon he springs to the waggon, and
asks with wonder, "Ussel, what brings thee here?" But for answer
she only pours forth tears and lamentations. However, commissioner
Ludecke (for you may well guess it was he with his witch-waggon)
would not let them discourse further; but bid the peasant stand
back, unless he wished the executioner to seize him and tear his
hide for him; then speaks--

"Know, good people, that our serene and gracious Prince and Lord,
the illustrious and eminent Duke Francis George of Stettin,
Pomerania, having heard that the devil is loose in our dear
fatherland, and carries on his demon work, especially amongst the
women folk, tempting them into all horrible sorceries, filthiness,
and ungodly deeds, has appointed me, Christian Ludecke (brother of
your late pastor), to be witch-commissioner for the whole kingdom,
that so I may purge the land by fire, bringing these devil's hags
to their just punishment, for the great glory of God, and terror
of all godless sorceresses, witches, and others in this or any
other place. Ye are also to name me the honourable
attorney-general, which also I am."

Here the peasant cried out--

"But his sister Ussel, who sat there bound upon the cart, was no
witch, and every one knew that. His worship might take pity on her
tears and let her free. She had a husband, and four innocent
little children likewise; who would take care of them now?"

"No, no," shouted Ludecke; "true sign that she is a witch since
she howls! Had she a good conscience wherefore should she do it?
He came to know whether there was a witch, perchance, also in
Marienfliess?"

Here the bailiff's wife nudged her husband in the side with her
elbow, and whispers--"The dairy-mother," but the carl would not
utter a word. So she screamed out herself--

"Ay, there is the dairy-mother of the parish, a horrible old
witch, as all the town knows."

And here I have just bethought me of the name of the dairy-mother.
It was Benigna Ficht; she was widow of old Ficht, the peasant.

At this several voices cried out, "No, no;" but she screamed out--

"Yea, yea! it was true; and her mother before her had been an evil
witch, and had let witches sit in her cellar, so that she must be
a witch herself." [Footnote: This idea runs through all the witch
trials. Woe to the woman whose mother had been accused of
witchcraft, she seldom got off with her life.]

This pleased the bloodthirsty attorney-general, and he asked if
the bailiff were present. And when my Brose stepped forward with a
profound bow, Ludecke went on--

"Was this the case about the dairy-mother? Was she, in truth, an
evil witch?"

Whereupon his malicious wife nudged him again with her elbows in
the side, till he answered--"Ay, the people say so."

Ludecke continued--"Were there more witches in the place beside
the dairy-mother?"

The fellow was silent and seemed disturbed, until being menaced by
the commissioner with all temporal and eternal punishment if he
spoke not the truth, my Brose stepped up upon the wheel, and
whispered in his ear, while he cast a frightened glance at the
convent gate--

"Ay, there is another, one of the convent sisters called Sidonia
Bork, she is the very devil itself."

But Ludecke seemed as though he could not believe him--

"It was impossible; he had always heard that this lady was a model
of all goodness, piety, and wisdom, who had healed the sheriff
himself of some great sickness;" but he squinted all the time over
at the convent gate, where the black robes were crowding, and then
whispered the bailiff--"Is Sidonia amongst them, think you?"

My carl squinted likewise at the gate, then whispered back again
in his ear--"No, Sidonia is not there, as far as I can see."

Meanwhile the _pastor loci_, a simple, timid little man, as I
have said, got up all his courage, and feeling it to be his duty
to defend his parishioner, the poor dairy-mother, advanced to the
waggon, saying--

"Would his worship the lord attorney-general permit him a few
words? He was the priest of the parish, had married the widow of
his late brother, as no doubt his worship had heard by letters
from his dear spouse. His duty compelled him to take the part of
this poor dairy-woman, whose character evil tongues had blackened
to his worship, for she was the most pious person in all the
parish, and every evening brought her spinning along with other
pious women to his house, to hear the blessed Word of God, and be
examined in the catechism--any one who knew her pious honest life
could not believe this of her."

"So much the more likely she is a witch," cried Ludecke; "they are
all hypocrites. Look at that pious and honest trio in the cart,
how they cast down their eyes and look so innocent, and yet they
were three of the vilest witches; for what made them look down, if
it were not their evil conscience?"

Now it happened that just then old Wolde came limping by, with a
new broom which she had bought in the town for Sidonia, no doubt
to lay under the table, as she was wont; so Brose whispered--

"Yea, yea, there was one hobbling by with the broom, and she was
the worst of all, Sidonia's servant, old Wolde." Whereupon the
commissioner thought within himself, how could he terrify Sidonia
more than by seizing her maid, and sending her to the rack and the
stake. So he bid the executioner lay hold on that lame hag with
the broom, and fling her into the cart along with the others. This
was soon done; for, though old Wolde made some resistance, and
screeched and roared, yet she was thrown down upon the ground,
bound, and flung into the nest in spite of all.

Anna Apenborg saw all this from the convent gate, and, to make
friends with Sidonia, she ran to the refectory with the news of
Ludecke's doings. Whereupon Sidonia, who knew the coward knave
well, seized her broomstick and ran down the steps, beating the
nuns right and left about the ears, who were gathered thick and
black around the gate, so that they all flew screaming away, and
then presented herself, glowing with fury, and brandishing her
broomstick, to the eyes of the terrified Ludecke, whereat all the
four hags cried out from the waggon--

"Help us, O Lady Prioress! Help us, O Lady Prioress!"

And Sidonia screamed in answer, "I come, I come!" swung her
broomstick and called out--"Wait, thou accursed quill-driver,
wait!"

But my Ludecke no sooner saw her rushing at him, with her thin
white hair flying about her face, than he jumped from the cart,
and took to his heels so fast that nothing could be seen of him
through the dust he raised but the bright nails of his shoes, as
he scampered away to the furze bushes. _Item_, followed the
scriba, and lastly the executioner, to the great amusement of the
common folk, who stood round the waggon, and now laughed and gibed
at the authorities. Then the afore-mentioned peasant jumped upon
the cart, and cut the cords that bound his sister, Ussel, and the
others. Whereat they likewise took to their heels and went hither
and thither, to hide themselves in the wood, while old Wolde
returned calmly with Sidonia to the convent, and two of the hags
got clear off, and were fed by their kinsfolk, I take it, for
months in the pits and hollow trees where they had sheltered
themselves, for never a trace could Ludecke get of them more,
though he searched day and night in every village, and house, and
nook, and corner. But Pug-nose, who was half-blind with fright, in
place of running away, ran straight up into the very mouth of the
executioner, who was crouching with the clerk his master behind a
thorn-bush.

Eh, how she roared when Master Hansen stretched out his arm and
caught hold of her by the coat! Then he bound her again, and so
she was carried to the sheriff's house, for Ludecke had set up his
quarters with Sheriff Sparling, and that same day he resolved to
open the criminal commission _nomine serenissim_a with
Pug-nose.

_Summa_.--The hag confessed upon the rack to Sidonia being a
witch, and named several other women besides. So my Ludecke has to
write off for another executioner and seven bailiffs, fearing his
own would have more work on their hands than they could do. And
every day messengers were despatched to Stargard with bundles of
indictments and writs. And in the sheriff's court, day after day,
there was nothing but trying witches and condemning them, and
torturings, and burnings. And though many saved themselves by
flight, and others got off with only a sharp reprimand, yet in
four weeks no less than four wretched women were burned close by
Sidonia's window, so that she might see them smoking to powder.

And Pug-nose was the first whom the bloodthirsty knave ordered to
be burned (I say nothing against that, for it is all right and
according to law), but the bloodhound went rather beyond the law
sometimes, thinking to terrify Sidonia, for it was the custom to
build a sort of little chamber at top of the pile within which the
wretched victims were bound, so that they could be stifled by the
smoke before the flames reached them. But he would allow of no
little chamber, and had a stake erected on the summit of the pile,
round which an iron chain was fastened, and to the end of this
chain the miserable criminal: and truly many hearts were moved
with pity when Pug-nose was fastened to the stake, and the pile
was lit, seeing how she ran right and left to escape the flames,
with the chain clattering after her, in her white death-shift,
stitched with black, which Sidonia gave out she made for her out
of pure Christian charity--screaming horribly all the while, till
finally the fire blazed up over her, and she fell down a blackened
heap.

Three weeks after three more women were burned upon three separate
piles, on the same day, and at the same hour, straight in view of
Sidonia's window; and they likewise each one were bound to the
chain, and their screams were heard plainly as far as Stargard.
And for four miles round the smell of roast human flesh was
plainly perceptible, which, as every one knows, has quite a
different odour from any other burned flesh. Yet the death of the
poor dairy-mother was still more horrible if possible, and though
it may well make my tears to flow again, yet I will relate it. But
tears here, tears there, what will it help?

So to begin:--

My worthy father-in-law, M. Beutzius, formerly court-chaplain, but
who had lately been made general-superintendent by Duke Francis,
for the reason before mentioned, went about this time to attend
the synod, at the little town of Jacobshagen; and on his way home,
in the morning about eleven o'clock (for he had slept at
Stargard), while passing the court-house at Marienfliess, had his
attention attracted by two young peasant girls, who were standing
before a window wringing their hands, and screaming as piteously
as if the world itself were going to be destroyed.

He stopped his coach instantly, listened, and then distinctly
heard groans proceeding from the little room; but the sound was so
hollow and unnatural that two pigs that were rooting up the earth
near him lifted up their snouts. As soon as they heard it, they
started off in fright, then stopped and stood listening and
trembling in the distance. So my worthy father-in-law called out,
while his hair stood on end with terror, "Children, for the love
of God, what is the matter?" But the poor girls, for their sobbing
and weeping, could utter nothing but "Our mother! our poor
mother!" Upon which he sprang from the coach, advanced closer, and
asked, "What is it, poor girls? what has happened?"

"Oh sir!" answered one at last, "our poor innocent mother has been
lying two whole hours on the rack within there, and the savage
knaves won't leave their breakfast to come and release her!"

So the good man looked shudderingly through the window, and there
beheld the unfortunate dairy-mother lying bound half naked upon a
plank, so that her white hair swept the ground. And her hands were
bound round her neck, and under each arm lay a coal-pan, from
which a blue flame ascended as if sulphur were burning therein, so
that her arms were burned quite black already.

"My God! where is the executioner?" screamed my father-in-law, and
when the girl, sobbing, pointed to the tavern, the old man ran off
as quick as he was able the whole way to the place, where the
executioner and his fellows sat by the beer-jug, laughing and
making merry. And when he arrived, the old man's breath was
well-nigh gone, and he could scarcely tell of the horrors he had
seen and heard; but when he had ended the executioner answered he
could not help it. "His worship the attorney-general was at
breakfast likewise at the court-house, and had the keys. When he
was done he would send for them." The worthy priest then ran back
again all the way from the tavern to the court-house, as quick as
he could, but stopping his ears the while as he came nearer, not
to hear the groans of the poor dairy-mother, and the screams of
her daughters, who were running hither and thither round the
walls, as if indeed the wretched girls had quite lost their
senses. And at last he reached the sheriff's quarter, where
another kind of roaring saluted his ears--I mean the shouts and
laughter of the drunken noisy crew within.

For the ferocious bloodhound, Christian Ludecke, had invited
friends over from Old Stettin, and there they all sat, Sheriff
Sparling too amongst them, round the table like coupled hounds,
for a fine metal wire had been passed through all their ears as
they sat drinking, so that none could go away without having his
ear torn by the wire. Or if one of the beastly drunken pigs
swilled so much, that he fell under the table, and his ear tore in
consequence, it was a source of great laughter and merriment to
the other pigs.

When the old man beheld this, he thought that between grief,
anger, and horror, he would have fallen to the ground. And for a
long while he stood gazing at the scene, unable to utter a word,
whilst they roared to him to take his place, and shoved the
wine-can over: "But he must have his ear pierced first like the
others; for the good old laws were in force here, and he must
drain the cup at a draught till his breath was gone, and his two
cheeks remained full--this was the true Pomeranian draught."

At this beastly proposition, the pious priest crossed himself, and
at last got out the words--"Mercy for the criminal! mercy for the
poor dairy-mother!"

At this, the attorney-general, Christian Ludecke, clapped his hand
upon his forehead, exclaiming, "'Fore God, it is true, I have let
that cursed hag lie on the rack these two hours. I forgot all
about her. Send to the executioner, and bid him release her. Let
her rest for to-day."

"And you could forget a fellow-creature thus!" exclaimed the
priest, with indignation. "Oh! you are more savage than a heathen,
or the very brute beasts there without, who trembled at the groans
of the poor martyr; yea, hell itself could not be more merciless!"

"What, thou cursed parson!" cried the commissioner, starting from
his seat in fury. But just then, as he sprang up, the wire tore
through his ear, and the red blood flowed down upon his fine white
ruff, whereat the others burst out into a yell of laughter, which
increased the villain's fury ten times more.

"Now the damned hag should stay on the rack till night. What did
people mean coming with begging prayers for the devil's brood? As
well pray mercy for the devil himself--the reverend parson was
very tender about his friends the witches." At which he laughed so
loud that the roof rang, and all the others roared in chorus.

But the priest replied gravely, "I shall repeat every word you
have uttered to his Highness the Duke, with a statement of how I
found ye all employed, unless this instant you give orders to
release the dairy-mother."

"Never! never!" shouted the bloodhound, and struck the table till
the glasses rang. "What is it to thee, damned priest? I am
witch-commissioner of Pomerania; and his Highness expressly
charged me to show no mercy to these cursed devil's hags,
therefore, I am ready to answer to God, the Prince, and my
conscience, for what I do."

However, my worthy father-in-law had scarcely left the room,
sighing deeply at his unsuccessful mission, when the coward
despatched his scriba with the keys to release the dairy-mother.
But it was too late--the horrible agony had already killed her;
and when the hands of the corpse were unbound, both arms fell of
themselves to the ground, out of the sockets. [Footnote: Such
scenes of satanic cruelty and beastly debauch, mingled together
with the proceedings of justice, were very frequent during the
witch-trials. How would it rejoice me if, upon contemplating this
present age, I could exclaim with my whole heart, "What
progression--infinite progression--in manners and humanity!" But,
alas! our modern laws, with their womanish feebleness, and
sentimental whimperings, sin quite as much against a lofty and
noble justice as those of earlier times by their tyrannical and
cannibal ferocity. And yet now, as then, _conscience_ is
appealed to as the excuse for all. O conscience, conscience! how
wilt thou answer for all that is laid upon thee! To-day, for
example, it is a triumphal denial of God and thy Saviour Jesus
Christ: a crime at which a Ludecke would have shuddered, even as
we shudder now at his; and yet no sense of shame or disquietude
seems to pass over thee, although by the Word of God thy crime is
a thousandfold greater than his. Matt. xii. 31; John viii. 24;
Ephes. v. 6.]



CHAPTER XX.

_What Sidonia said to these doings--Item, what our Lord God
said; and, lastly, of the magical experiment performed upon George
Patkammer and Diliana, in Old Stettin_.


I think my bloodhound gained his end at last respecting Sidonia;
for truly a terrible anguish fell upon her--a foretaste of that
hell-anguish she would one day suffer, I take it; yet she only
betrayed this terror by the disquietude of her bearing, and the
uneasiness which she exhibited day and night; _item_, through
an increase of her horrible hypocrisy, which grew more flagrant
than ever; for now, standing or going, her eyes were turned up to
heaven, and three or four times a day she compelled the nuns to
attend prayers in the chapel. Yet when the news was brought her,
that the coward knave, Christian Ludecke, had extolled her virtues
himself to the bailiff, Brose, she concluded that he meant nothing
serious with her. However, she continued sending Anna Apenborg
diligently to the sheriff's house, to pick up all the gossip she
could from the servants and others. And at length Anna brought
word that a maid at the court-house said, the scriba said, in
confidence, that his Grace of Stettin said, Sidonia should be
burned next autumn.

When Sidonia heard this, she turned as pale as a corpse, and her
breath seemed stifling, but recovering herself soon, attempted to
smile, turned up her eyes to heaven, and, sighing, said, "He that
walketh innocently walketh surely" (Prov. x. 9), and then rang for
the nuns to go and pray in the chapel. Yet that same day, when she
heard of the fearful death of the dairy-mother, she turned her
hypocritical mouth to another tune, raged, and stormed, and abused
the bloodthirsty savage of a commissioner, who had let the most
pious person of the whole parish die so horribly on the rack; then
bid the whole chapter assemble in her room, to state the matter to
his Highness, for if these evil doings went on, not even the most
innocent amongst them was safe from a like bitter death.

Whereupon Anna Apenborg, who had grown the bravest of all, since
she found that Sidonia could not do without her, said, "But,
gracious Lady Prioress, you yourself accused the dairy-mother of
witchcraft when you came back from Stettin, and found the poor
priest in his coffin!" which impertinence, however, my hag so
resented, that she hit Anna a blow on the mouth, and exclaimed in
great wrath, "Take that for thy impudence, thou daring peasant
wench!" But, calming herself in a moment, added, "Ah, good Anna,
is it not human to err?--have you never been deceived yourself?"

_Summa_.--The nuns must write and sign. Whereupon my Ludecke,
out of fear of Sidonia's revenge, withdrew to Saatzig after the
death of the dairy-mother, from thence to Dölitz, Pyritz, and so
on, still faithful to his motto, "Torture! burn! kill!" for he
found as many witches as he pleased in every place; so that the
executioner, Curt Worger, who, when he first arrived at
Marienfliess, wore nothing but a sorry grey mantle, now appeared
decked out like a noble, in a bright scarlet cloak; _item_, a
hat with a red feather, a buff jerkin, and jack-boots with gilded
spurs; neither would he sit any longer on the cart with the
witches, but rode by the side of the commissioner, on a jet black
horse, which carried a red flag between its ears; and his drawn
sword rested upon his shoulder. Thus they proceeded through the
land; and upon entering a town, the executioner always struck up a
psalm, in which not only the attorney-general and his secretary
frequently joined, but also the wretched witches themselves who
sat in the cart.

And though the Duke received complaints daily, not only from the
priest Beutzius, and the convent, but from every town where the
special commission was held, of the horrible cruelties practised
and permitted by his Grace's officials; yet the Duke remained firm
in his determination to root out witchcraft, by these or any
means; for whatever the ferocious bloodhound, Ludecke, prated to
his Highness, the Duke believed, and therefore would say nothing
against any of his acts. But our Lord God had a great deal to say
against them; for observe all the signs and wonders that appeared
about this time through different parts of the land, which brought
many a one to serious reflection.

First, some women, who were cooking meal and pease at Pyritz,
found the mess changed into blood; baked bread, likewise, the
same. And a like miracle happened at Wriezen also, for the deacon,
Caspar Rohten, preached a sermon on the occasion, which has since
been printed. _Item_, at Stralsund there was a red rain--yea,
the whole sea had the appearance as if it were turned into blood;
and some think this was a foreshadowing of the great and real
blood-rain at Prague, and of all the evils which afterwards fell
upon our whole German fatherland. Next the news was brought to
court, that, at the same hour, on the same night, strange and
supernatural voices were heard at the following places, in
Pomerania:--

1. W-edderwill, a house, as every one knows, close to Stramehl,
and the birthplace of Sidonia.

2. E-ggesin, a town near Uckermand, at the other end of Pomerania.

3. H-ohenmoeker, near Demmin.

4. P-yritz, the town where the witch-burnings had raged the most
cruelly.

5. O-derkrug, close to his Grace in Stettin.

6. M-arienfliess, where Sidonia defied man, and blasphemed God,
and organised all the evil that fell upon the land.

Now when the Duke read this account he was filled with horror,
that heaven itself should cry, "Woe;" for when he placed the
initial letters of each town together, he observed, to his dismay,
that they read, "Weh Pom--" [Footnote: Weh is called Woe, and
Pomerania, _Pommern_ in the original.] Yet as the last
syllable, _mern_, was wanting, the Duke comforted himself,
and thought, "Perhaps it is the other Pomerania, where my cousin
Philip Julius rules, over which God has cried 'Woe.'" So he wrote
letters; but, alas! received for answer, that in the self-same
night the strange voices had been heard in the following places:--

E-ixen, a town near Franzburg.

R-appin, in Rügen.

N-etzelkow, on the island of Usedom.

Thus passing directly across the land.

Yet the Duke still had some little comfort remaining, for there
was an _m_ wanting--people always wrote Pommern, not
Pomern--therefore by this the All-merciful God showed that He
meant to preserve one _m_, that is, a _man_, of the
noble Pomeranian house, whereby to build it up and make it
flourishing again. To this faith he clung in his sore grief; and
Doctor Joel further comforted him about the angel, saying that he
would assuredly tell him what the sign denoted, and this _m_
in particular, which was kept back from the word Pomerania. But
the magister knew right well--as many others, though they would
not tell the Duke--that the Lord God had spelled the word
correctly; for the name in the Wendisch and Polish tongues is
_Pomorswa_, spelt with but one _m_, and means a land
lying by the sea, and therefore many of the old people still wrote
Pomern for Pommern. Had the Duke, however, as well as his princely
brothers, heard of the awful appearances which accompanied the
voices in every place, methinks they would have despaired utterly.
For the clouds gathered themselves into forms resembling each of
the four princely Dukes in succession, as like as if a painter had
drawn them upon the sky; thence they were, each lying on his black
bier, from east to west, in the clear moonlight of heaven.

And his Highness, Duke Francis, was the first, lying on his bier,
with his hair combed _à la Nazarene_, as was his custom, and
his face turned to the moon, behind which he presently
disappeared.

Next came Duke Udalricus, and his face was so distinct that it
seemed cut out of paper, lying there in his coffin; and he, too,
sank behind the moon, and was seen no more.

Philip Julius of Wolgast was the third, and the blessed moon shone
bright upon his black moustache in the coffin; and, lastly--woe,
alas! Whereupon night and darkness fell upon the sky. [Footnote:
Latin note of Bogislaff XIV.--"Tune ego ipse, nonne? hoc nobis
infelicibus bene taciturnitate nostrum cohibitum est; Elector
Brandenburgiæ sane omnia rapiet!" (Then I myself--is it not so?
This was kept secret from us unfortunates. The Elector of
Brandenburg will rob all.) Then in German he added:--"Yet the Lord
is my light, of whom then shall I be afraid? Ah, that my poor
soul, in truth, rested calm in heaven! For I am ready to be
offered up like St. Paul (meaning through Wallenstein): 'Would
that the time of my departure were at hand! '--2 Tim. iv. 6. Yea,
come and take my heritage, George of Brandenburgh, I am weary of
this life."]

But these fearful signs were as carefully concealed from their
Highnesses as if the whole people had conspired to keep the
secret; besides, the figures were not observed at every place
where the voices sounded. However, Doctor Joel himself came to the
conclusion, in his own mind, that, after these open declarations
from heaven, it would be quite useless to consult the angel.
Nevertheless, to calm the mind of the Duke, he resolved to go
through with the conjuration if possible, at least he might bind
the hell-dragon of Marienfliess, and save others from her evil
spells, if even the Duke and his illustrious race were already
doomed.

Now, having cast Sidonia's nativity, he found that the time in
which alone her powerful evil spirit or familiar could be bound,
coincided exactly with that in which the sun-angel might be made
to appear; thus, the helpless hag could be seized at Marienfliess
without danger or difficulty, at this precise hour and moment. So
he determined to commence his conjuration at once by the magical
bloodletting, and for this purpose wrote the following letter to
Diliana, with which his Highness instantly despatched a horseman
to Stramehl:--


    *     *     *     *     *     *

JESUS!

"NOBLE AND PURE VIRGIN,--Having found, _ex namtate Sidoniæ_,
that it is possible to bind her evil spirit just at the moment in
which we three stand within the circle to question the sun-angel,
we must seek out a brave youth in Marienfliess whom you trust, and
who by nature is so sympathetical with you, that he will
experience the same sensations in his body while there, precisely
at the same moment in which they are excited in you at Old
Stettin. This can be accomplished only by the magic bleeding,
performed upon you both; therefore I pray you, in the name of his
Highness, to communicate with such an one, if so be there is a
youth in whom you place trust, and by the next new moon come with
him to Old Stettin, where I shall perform the magic bleeding on
you both, that no time may be lost in commencing this mighty work,
which, by God's help, will save the land. God keep you. Pray for
me!

"Your servant to command," M. JOEL.

"Old Stettin, 19th June 1618."

This letter grieved the young virgin, for she saw the magister
would not cease his importunities. Nevertheless, to show her
obedience to his Highness, and by the advice of her cousin
Bastien, she consented to undertake the journey. Bastien likewise
offered willingly to go through the magic bleeding along with her,
but the maiden declined, and wrote privately to George Putkammer
at Pansin the following letter:--

"Be it known to you, Sir Knight, that his Highness of Stettin has
solicited my aid in a mighty magic-work, and desired me to seek
out a youth in whom I trust, that magister Joel of Grypswald may
perform a magic bleeding upon us both. So I have selected you, and
desire therefore to meet you on St. John the Baptist's day, by ten
of the clock in the forenoon, at the castle of Old Stettin. But my
father or Saatzig is to know nothing of the matter; and you must
promise neither to look upon me, nor sigh, nor press my hand, nor
speak of marriage, whether we be alone or not. In this I trust to
your knightly honour and noble nature.

"DILIANA BORK.

"Stramehl, 22nd July 1618."

So on the appointed day Diliana arrived at the castle of Stettin,
and his Highness was rejoiced to see her, and bade the magister
Joel himself to bring all sorts of dainties for her refreshment,
in order that the lacqueys might not be coming in and out, spying
at what was going on. And immediately after, the court marshal
flung open the door a second time, and my young knight
appeared--marry, how handsome he looked--dressed just like a
bridegroom! He wore a buff doublet, with sleeves of blue satin,
bordered with scarlet velvet; scarlet hose broidered in
gold--_item_, Spanish boots with gold spurs, and round his
throat a ruff of the finest lace--_item_, ruffles of the
same. So with his long sword by his side he entered, carrying his
plumed beaver in his hand; and truly he blushed up to his very
ears when he beheld Diliana seated there in her pomp and beauty,
and he stammered and cast down his eyes upon his boots when the
Duke addressed him, so that his Highness grew provoked, and
exclaimed--

"What the devil, young man! have you an evil conscience? Can you
not look any one straight in the face?"

At this the young knight lifted his eyes boldly and fixed them
upon his Grace, answering haughtily--"My Lord Duke, I can look the
devil himself straight in the face, if need be; but what is this
comedy which you are about to play with me and this young maiden?"

This speech offended his Highness. "It was no mumming work they
had in hand, but a grave and serious matter, which, as he did not
understand, the magister would explain to him."

So my magister began, and demonstrated the whole _opus
theurgicum_; but the knight is as unbelieving as Jobst, and
says--

"But what need of the angel? Can we not do the business ourselves?
My lord Duke, it is now eleven o'clock; give me permission, and by
this hour to-morrow morning Sidonia shall be here in a pig-sack.
And long ago I would have done this of myself, or stabbed her with
my dagger for her late evil deeds, if your Grace had not forbade
me so to do at the burial of our gracious lord, Duke Philip II.
The devil himself must laugh at our cowardice, that we cannot
seize an old withered hag whom a cowboy of ten years old would
knock down with his left hand."

To which his Highness answered, "You are foolhardy, young man, to
esteem so lightly the power of her evil spirit; for know that it
is a mighty and terrible spirit, who could strangle you as easily
as he has murdered others, for all your defiant speeches!
Therefore we must conquer him by other means; and for this reason
I look with hope to the appearance of the angel, who will teach
us, perhaps, how to remove the spell from my illustrious race,
which Sidonia's inhuman malice has laid on them, making them to
perish childless off the face of the earth. If even you succeeded
in seizing her, how would this help? She would revenge herself by
standing there deaf and mute as a corpse, and would sooner be
burned at the stake than speak one word that would remove this
great calamity from our house."

Then the knight said, "He would never consent that Diliana should
run the great danger of citing a spirit."

Which, when the maiden heard, she grew as red as the young knight
when he first entered, and said with a grave and haughty mien--

"Sir knight, who gave you any right over my words or works? There
may be other men in whom I place trust as well as you; and speak
but another word of the like nature, and I will prove it to you by
my acts."

Marry, that was a slap on the mouth to my young knight, who grew
as red as scarlet, and cast down his eyes upon his boots, while M.
Joel began to demonstrate the magic blood-letting to them as
follows--

"See here, young knight, and you, fair virgin, here are two little
boxes of white ivory, of the same size and weight; and see, within
each of them is suspended a little magnet, both cut from the one
loadstone, and round in a circle are all the letters of the
alphabet. Now, let each of you take a little box, carry it
delicately, and by its help you can converse with each other
though you were a hundred miles apart. This sympathy between you
is established by means of the magic blood-letting. I make an
incision in each of your arms, placed together in the form of a
cross, then touch the knight's wound with the blood of the virgin,
and the virgin's with the blood of the knight, so will your blood
be mingled; and then, if one of you press the wound on the arm,
the other will feel the same pressure sympathetically on the arm
at the same instant, though ye be ever so far removed from one
another. Now suppose that you, fair maiden, feel a pressure
suddenly on the wound in your arm, you place the magnet box
thereon, and the needle will point of itself, by sympathy, to the
letters necessary to form a word, which word will be the same as
that found by the magnet of the knight, who will likewise have the
box on his arm at the same moment; thus ye can read each other's
thoughts instantaneously, and this results entirely from the laws
of sympathy, as described by the renowned Abbot Johannes
Trithemius, and Hercules de Sunde."

To all this my knight made no answer, but seemed much disturbed.
However, the magister ordered him to retire into the next chamber
and remove his doublet. _Item_, he bade the young maiden
likewise to take off her robe, seeing that the sleeves were very
tight. It was a blue silk bodice she had on, trimmed round the
bosom with golden fringe, and a mantle of yellow silk embroidered
in violets and gold. Now the maiden was angry at first with the
magister for his request, but laughed afterwards, when she thought
of Dorothea Stettin, and her absurdities with the doctor.

So she said, "Here, cut open my sleeve, it matters not. I have
more dresses with me at my lodging." This my magister does
immediately, and draws forth the beautiful arm white as a
snow-flake, throws the sleeve back upon the shoulder, and places
Diliana with her face turned towards the window, on a seat which
his Highness, the Duke, laid for her himself, while he exclaimed
earnestly, "Now, Diliana, guard thy soul well from any evil
thought!"

Hereupon the poor young virgin began to weep, and said, "Ah! my
Lord Duke, I have indeed need to pray for support, but I will look
up to the Lord my Saviour, whose strength is made perfect in my
weakness. Now the young knight may come, but let me not see him."

On this, the magister called in the young man, and sat him on the
same seat with Diliana, but back to back. Then he stepped to one
side, and looking at them, said, "Eh, my Lord Duke, see the
beautiful James's head. That betokens good luck. Pity that the
younker has no beard! Young man, you have more hair on your teeth
than on your chin, I take it. [FOOTNOTE: Having hair on the teeth,
means being a brave, fearless person, one who will stand up boldly
for his own.] Why do you not scrape diligently; shall I give you a
receipt?"

But the knight made no answer, only grew red for shame. Whereupon
my magister left off jesting; and taking the young man's arm, laid
it upon the maiden's, in the form of a cross, then opened a vein
in each, murmuring some words, while the blood-stream poured down
into two silver cups which were held by his Highness, the Duke.

But, woe! my knight sinks down in a dead faint off his side of the
couch to the ground. Which, when Diliana heard, she springs up
with her arm still bleeding, and exclaims, "The knight is dead!
Oh, save the knight!" Then the poor child wept. "Ah, what will
become of me? What is this you mean to do with us?"

So the magister gave over the young knight to the care of his
Highness, who held a smelling-flask to his nose, while Dr. Joel
took some of his blood and poured it into Diliana's arm, after
which he bound it up. And then, when the young knight began to
recover, she hastened, weeping, out of the apartment, saying,
"Tell the knight not to touch his arm. When there is necessity I
shall press mine. Farewell, gracious Lord Duke, and help me day
and night with the sixth petition in the Lord's Prayer!" And she
would not return, though the Duke called out after her, "A word,
one word!" _Item_, M. Joel, "Bring a shift with you that
belonged to your grandmother! Nothing can be done unless you bring
this with you!" She hastens on to the inn, and when the knight
recovered sufficiently to follow after her, behold, there was her
carriage already crossing the Oder bridge, which so afflicted him,
that the tears poured from his eyes, and he cursed the whole world
in his great love-agony, particularly his Grace, the magister, and
the ghost of Clara. For to these three he imputed all the grievous
vexations and misfortunes he endured with regard to the fair
maiden.

Yet he lived in hope that she would soon press her wounded arm,
and thus establish a sympathy of thought between them. So he set
spurs to his horse and rode back again to his good castle of
Pansin.



CHAPTER XXI.

_Of the awful and majestic appearance of the sun-angel, Och._


At last the blessed autumn arrived, and found my Ludecke still
torturing and burning, and Sidonia still practising her evil
sorceries upon man and beast, of which, however, it would be
tiresome here to notice all the particulars. And on the 11th day
of September, Jobst and his fair daughter arrived at Old Stettin,
where the knight again tried to remonstrate with his Highness
about the conjuration, but without any success, as we may easily
suppose. Thereupon the Duke and the magister commenced a
discipline of fastings. _Item_, every day they had magic
baths, and this continued up to the midnight of the 22nd day, when
they at last resolved to begin the great work, for the sun entered
Libra that year on the 23rd day of September, at twenty minutes
after two o'clock A.M.

So they all three put on garments of virgin-white linen, and
Diliana drew over hers a shift which had belonged to her
grandmother of blessed memory, Clara von Dewitz, for she had not
omitted to bring one with her, having searched for it with great
diligence. Then she said to the magister, "Much do I wish to ask
the angel, wherefore it is that God gives such power to Satan upon
the earth? No man hath yet answered me on this point. May I dare
to ask the angel?"

Hereupon he answered, "She might fearlessly do it, he was himself
curious." So they conversed, and meantime placed caps on their
heads, made likewise of virgin linen, with the Holy
_Tetragrammaton_ [Footnote: I have observed before, this was
the name, Jehovah, in the Hebrew.] bound thereon. Then the
magister, taking a hazel-wand in his right hand, placed the magic
circle upon his breast with the left, which circle was made of
parchment, and carved all over with magic characters, and taking
up his book, bade the Duke bear the vinculum of the heavenly
bodies, that is, the signet of the spirit; _item_, Diliana,
the vinculum of the earthly creature, as her own pure body, the
blood of the white dove, of the field-mouse, incense, and
swallow's feathers. Whereupon, he lastly made the sign of the
cross, and led the way to the great knights' hall, which was
already illuminated with magic lights of virgin wax, according to
his directions.

Now as they all stepped out of the door in their white robes and
high caps, shaped like the mitre of a bishop, there stood my Jobst
in the corridor, purple with anguish and bathed in sweat--"He
would go with them;" and when the magister put him back, saying,
"Impossible," the poor knight began to sob, embraced his little
daughter, "for who could tell whether he would ever see his only
joy upon earth alive again? Ah, into what straits had the Duke
brought him and his dear little daughter!"

However, the magister bade him be of good heart, for that no evil
could happen to his fair daughter, seeing that she had again and
again assured him of her pure virgin soul; but they must lose no
time now, if the knight chose to stand outside he might do so. To
this Jobst consented, but when the three others had entered the
knights' hall, my magister turned round to bolt the door, on which
the alarmed father shook the door violently--

"He would never consent to have it bolted; if it were, he would
burst it in with a noise that would waken the whole castle. He was
a father, and if any danger were in there, he could spring in and
save his poor little worm, or die with her if need be."

So the magister consented at last not to bolt the door, but
clapped it to, so that the knight could not peep through. He is
not to be outwitted, however; drew off his buff doublet, took out
a gimlet from his pocket, and bored a hole in the door, laid his
hat upon the doublet, took his naked sword between his legs, and,
resting both hands firmly on the hilt, bent down and placed his
eye at the gimlet-hole, through which he could distinctly see all
that passed in the room. And the three walked up to the centre of
the hall, where the magic lights were burning, and the magister
unloosed the circle from his breast and spread it out upon the
ground, as far as it would reach, then he drew a figure with white
chalk at each of the four corners, like interlaced triangles, and
taking the vinculum of the heavenly creature, or the signet of the
sun-angel, which was written with the blood of a coal-black raven
upon virgin parchment, out of the hand of the Duke, hung it upon a
new dagger, which no man had ever used, and fixed the same in the
circle towards the north--

"For," said he, "the spirit will come from the north: only watch
well for the little white cloud that always precedes him, and be
not alarmed at anything, for I have too often practised this
conjuration to anticipate danger now."

After all this was done, and the pan of perfume, with the vinculum
of the earthly creature, had been placed in the centre, the
magister spake--"In the name of God the Father, of the Son, and of
the Holy Ghost. Amen!" And stepped from the north side the first
into the circle, within which he kneeled down and repeated a
beautiful prayer.

And the two others responded "Amen." Whereupon the wise Theurgist,
the brave priest of the grand primitive old faith, rose up, made
the sign of the cross at the north, and began the conjuration of
the angel with a loud voice.

They were harsh and barbarous words that he uttered, which no one
understood, and they lasted a good paternoster long; after which,
the priest stopped and said--

"Gracious Prince, lay thy left hand upon the vinculum of the
heavenly creature;--virgin, step with thy left foot upon the
signet of the spirit, in the north of the circle. After the third
_pause_ he must appear."

With these words he began the conjuration again; but, behold, as
it was ended, a form appeared, not at the north but at the south,
and glided on in a white bloody shroud, until it reached the
centre of the circle. At this sight the magister was transfixed
with horror, and made the sign of the cross, then said in an
agitated voice--

"All good spirits praise God the Lord!"

Upon which the spirit answered--

"In eternity. Amen!"

Whilst Diliana exclaimed--

"Grandmother! grandmother! art thou indeed her spirit?"

So the spirit glided three times round the circle, with a
plaintive wailing sound, then stopped before Diliana, and making
the sign of the cross, said--

"Daughter, take that shift of mine from off thee, it betokens
misfortune. It is No. 7, and see, I have No. 6 for my bloody
shroud."

Whereupon it pointed to the throat, where indeed the red number 6
was plainly discernible.

Diliana spake--

"Grandmother, how did these things come to pass?"

But the spirit laid the forefinger on its mouth in silence.
Whereupon she asked again--

"Grandmother, art thou happy?" The spirit answered--

"I hope to become so, but take off that shift, the angel must soon
appear; it will be Sidonia's death shroud."

As the spirit said these words it disappeared again towards the
south, whereupon the knight at the gimlet-hole cried out--

"There was some one here, was it the angel?"

"No, no," screamed Diliana, while she quickly stepped out of the
circle, and drew off the shift. "No, it was my poor grandmother!"

"Silence," cried the magister; "for God's sake, no talking more,
we have already lost ten seconds by that ghost. Now quick with the
vinculum of the earthly creature! My Prince, strew the incense
upon the burner; virgin, dip the swallow's feathers in the blood
of the white dove, and streak my two lips with them. Now all be
still if you value your life. Eternity is listening to us, and the
whole apartment is full of invisible spirits."

Then he repeated the conjuration for the third time, and, behold,
at the last word, a white cloud appeared at the north, that at
every moment became brighter and brighter, until a red pillar of
light, about an arm's thickness, shot forth from the centre of it,
and the most exquisite fragrance with soft tones of music were
diffused over the whole north end of the hall; then the cloud
seemed to rain down radiant flowers of hues and beauty, such as
earth had never seen, after which a tremendous sound, as if a clap
of thunder shook not only the castle to its foundation, but seemed
to shake heaven and earth itself, and the cloud, parting in twain,
disclosed the sun-angel in the centre. Yet the knight outside
never heard this sound, nor did old Kruger, the Duke's
boot-cleaner, who sat in the very next room reading the Bible; he
merely thought that the clock had run down in the corridor, and
sent his wife out to see, and this seems to me a very strange
thing, but the knight, through his gimlet-hole, saw plainly that a
chair, which they had forgotten to take out the way of the angel
at the north side, was utterly consumed by his presence, and when
he had passed, lay there a heap of ashes.

And the angel in truth appeared in the form of a beautiful boy of
twelve years old, and from head to foot shone with a dazzling
light. A blue mantle, sown with silver stars, was flung around
him, but so glittering to the eye that it seemed a portion of the
milky way he had torn from heaven, as he passed along, and wrapped
round his angelic form. On his feet, rosy as the first clouds of
morning, were bound golden sandals, and on his yellow hair a
crown; and thus surrounded by radiant flowers, odours, and the
soft tones of heavenly music, he swept down in grace and glorious
beauty to earth. When the Theurgist beheld this, he fell on his
knees along with the others, and prayed--

"We praise thee, we bless thee, we adore thee, O lofty spirit of
God!--thou throne-angel of the Almighty!--that thou hast deigned
by the word of our father Adae, by the word of our father Henoch,
and by the word of our father Noah, to enter the darkness of this
our second world, and appear before our eyes. Help us, blessed
angel!--help us!"

And the angel said, "What will ye?"

Here the Duke took heart, and gave for answer, "Lord, an evil
witch, a devil's sorceress, wickeder than anything yet known upon
earth, Sidonia Bork by name----"

But the angel let him continue no further, and with a glance of
terrible anger exclaimed, "Silence, thou drunken man of blood!"

Then, looking upon Diliana, murmured softly, "Speak, thou pure and
blessed maiden!"

At this the virgin took courage, and answered, "Our gracious
Prince would know how the evil spirit of my cousin Sidonia can be
overcome?"

"Seize Wolde first," replied the angel, "then the evil spirit of
Sidonia will become powerless. What wouldst thou know further?"

Hereupon the modest virgin blushed, stammered, and looked down;
then from awe and terror, scarcely knowing what she said, made
answer--

"Behold, thy servant would know wherefore the All-mighty and
All-merciful God hath, since the beginning of time, allowed so
much power to Satan over His creatures, the works of His own
hands?"

Then the angel spake--"That is a grave and serious question,
maiden, and the answer would be above thy comprehension; yet this
much I will explain to thee--if there were no devil and no evil,
many attributes of the Almighty God our Lord would have remained
for ever hid from you, children of humanity, as well as from us,
spirits of heaven. Therefore, from the beginning, hath God
permitted such power to the devil as might show forth these His
attributes to the wondering universe. First, after the fall, His
_justice_ was revealed, as you have seen displayed in the old
covenant, and this attribute could never have been manifested
unless evil and the devil had entered into the world. Now, thought
the devil when he beheld the manifestation of this terrible
attribute, the whole human race must fall for ever to perdition,
and the Lord God must be the first to murder the work of His own
hands. But, lo! before heaven and earth, the great God manifested
two new attributes; namely, mercy and love, for He fulfilled His
word given to Satan in Paradise. The serpent-treader entered into
the world, and oh! infinite wonder! heaven and earth, which till
then had seen God but in His goodness, now beheld His love bleed
from the wounds of His Son on Golgotha, and the world reconciled
to Him for ever, through Christ.

"Yet Satan still thinks to regain his lost dominion over the
world; therefore it shall come to pass that the Lord will suffer
him to become a mock and derision to all mankind, and for the
first time since the world was made men will doubt his existence
and disbelieve his power, and his name will be a scorn and idle
word to the very children, and the old wives by their
spinning-wheels. Then will be manifested some new attribute of
divinity, of which as yet thou, nor I, nor any creature, may have
an opportunity to contemplate. All this has lain in the purpose of
God, in order to increase the happiness of His creatures; for all
the other attributes of the Almighty, such as Infinity,
Omnipresence, Omnipotence, awaken only _awe_ in the mind of
the finite; but those attributes which He manifests in His triumph
over sin and Satan, are what truly awaken _love_, and through
love, above all, is the happiness of the creature advanced. When
God has thus manifested all His attributes by means of sin and
Satan, to the joy of His faithful servants, men and angels, for
all eternity, who without sin and Satan would never have known
them, then the great day of the Lord will come, when the wine of
His love-spirit will inspire every creature that believes on Him
in heaven, and on earth, and under the earth! Further----"

But behold, at this word of the angel, a blue ray, about the
thickness of an arm, came up from the south into the middle of the
circle, and blended itself, trembling and glittering, with the
radiant cloud and flowers. When the angel beheld this, he said--

"Lo! I am summoned to the ruins of Nineveh. Let me depart!"

At this the Duke took heart again to speak, and began, "Lord, how
is my ancient race----"

But the angel again interrupted him with, "Silence, thou drunken
man of blood!"

And when the magister repeated the form which broke the
conjuration, the angel disappeared as he had come, with a terrible
clap of thunder; and clouds, light, flowers, odours, and music,
all passed away with him, and the hall became dark and silent as
the grave.

But in a couple of seconds, just as the magister had stepped out
of the circle with the virgin, who trembled in every limb, even as
he did himself, my Jobst comes rushing in at the door with joyful
mien, thanks God, sobs, embraces his little daughter twice,
thrice--embraces her again, and at last asks, "What said the
angel?"

And they told him all--_item_, about the ghost of his poor
mother, and what it desired. Then, for the first time, they
observed that the Duke stood still within the circle with folded
arms, and eyes bent upon the ground.

"My Lord Duke, will you not step out of the circle?" exclaimed the
magister.

Whereupon the Duke started, sprang from the circle to the spot
where they stood, and, seizing the magister by the throat, roared,
"Dog of a sorcerer! this is some of thy black-art. Jobst here was
right; thou hast raised no angel, but a devil!"

At this the terrified magister first tried to release himself from
his Grace's hold, then began to explain, but the Duke would listen
to nothing.

"It was clear as the sun this was no angel, but a devil, who, as
St. Paul says, had transformed himself into an angel of light;
for, first, the hellish emissary had called him a bloodhound. Now,
what blood had he ever shed, except the blood of accursed witches?
and this, as a just ruler, he had done upon the express command of
God Himself (Ex. xxii. 18), where it is written:--'Thou shalt not
suffer a witch to live.' No one, therefore, from heaven or upon
earth, could blame him for fulfilling the commands of God, yet the
spirit had blamed him. _Ergo_, he was not an angel, but a
devil. Next, the knave twice called me a drunkard. Here clearly he
showed himself no angel, but, as the Lord Jesus named him, the
'father of lies;' for tell me, friends, was I drunk to-day? If I
do take a sleeping draught after the fatigues of the day--tell me,
what does that matter to this impudent devil? So I say with that
Mecklenburgh nobleman in Dobberan:--

  'Away, away, thou devil, from me,
  I care not a single hair for thee;
  In spite of the devil, a noble man
  Should drain to the last his drinking-can.
  I'll sup with the Lord and the saints the first,
  While thou, poor devil, must ever thirst.
  I'll drain the mead from the flowing bowl,
  While the devil is sitting in hellish dole;
  Therefore, away, thou devil, from me,
  I care not a single hair for thee.

 [Footnote: This inscription is still to be seen upon a tombstone
in Dobberan.]

And doth not Martinus Lutherus say--

  'Who loves not wine, women, and song,
  Remains a fool his whole life long'?

Marry, the grievous devil may wait long enough before he makes me
a fool. I am too sharp for the stuff with which he humbugs you, my
wise chattering magister!"

But the magister began to demonstrate how unlikely it was that
Satan would give advice how to subdue himself; "For how then could
his kingdom stand?" as the Lord said (Luke xi.). So the Duke
listened, and grew thoughtful--at last exclaimed, "Well, come,
we'll settle that over the wine-cup; and to spite the knave, we'll
keep up the carouse till morning; the night is already half spent,
and I have some glorious Muscadel in the cellar."

My Jobst, however, will not remain; and Diliana asks, "What his
Grace will do about Wolde?"

This set his Grace again upon abusing the spirit--"Ay, truly, he
must have been a devil--Master Beelzebub himself, and no good
angel--for had he not bid him twice to hold his tongue when he
began to ask about his old illustrious race, and what should be
done to preserve it from utter destruction? The magister might go
to the devil himself now, with all his magic; he saw clearly
through the whole business."

So a great strife arose between them, which ended in the Duke
permitting the blessed maiden to press the wound in her arm, in
order to communicate, by means of the magnetic alphabet, with the
knight, who at that moment was keeping watch with his good sword
in the chapel of Marienfliess. Everything, however, must be
performed before the eyes of the Duke, else he would not believe
it; so the young maiden, blushing for shame, pressed the wound on
her arm; and after a brief space, cried out with wonder--"In truth
I feel the pressure now of itself." Whereupon, at the command of
the magister, she threw up her wide sleeve (for she still wore the
magic robe), and placed the little box with the magnet on her arm,
directing the magnetic needle, with a fine stick, to the letters,
thus:--

S--E--I--Z--E----W--O--L--D--E.

She then retired to a chamber, to put on her own dress, and had
scarcely finished when she feels the pressure on her arm again.
Whereupon she calls to his Grace and the magister, who set the
magnet immediately on her arm, when, to the great surprise of his
Grace, the needle turns of itself to the letters--

S--H--E----I--S----S--E--I--Z--E--D.

This sight gave my gracious Lord fresh courage: "And after all,
perhaps that was an angel; for surely Sidonia would have protected
her maid, if her evil spirit had not become powerless, as the
spirit had foretold. And now they would soon have the
arch-sorceress herself. He would send a horseman instantly to
Christian Ludecke, who was burning witches at Colbatz, to hasten,
without delay, to Marienfliess."

At last he permits Jobst, since he will not drink, to take his
leave; "yet he and his fair daughter must first promise, by their
honour, not to breathe a word of the magic conjuration, since the
ignorant and stupid people would only make a mock of such matters;
and why cast pearls before swine, or holy mysteries to dogs?" And
truly they kept the secret of his Grace, so that not a word was
known thereof until Duke Bogislaff the Fourteenth communicated the
same to me, precisely as he had the facts from his brother, and
gave me permission to publish them in my "History of Sidonia."



CHAPTER XXII.

_How old Wolde is seized, confronted with Sidonia, and finally
burned before her window._


Meanwhile the young knight, George Putkammer, had ridden over to
Marienfliess on the appointed day, to Sheriff Eggert Sparling's.
He mentioned nothing of the great magic work, as the Duke had
forbidden him to do so, but merely said that he had orders from
the Prince to seize Sidonia that night.

At this, my sheriff shuddered: "The young knight should reflect on
what he was about; young people were often foolhardy and
confident, to their utter ruin. What did he want from him? If he
got half the world for it, he would not touch even the clothes of
the devil's hag. He had tried it once, and that would do him for
his life."

But the knight answered, "He had pledged his word to the Duke, and
must hold by it. His worship must just give him a couple of stout
fellows to help him."

_Ille_.--"Did he really think that in the whole bailiwick a
fellow could be got to go with him, when it was known he was going
to seize the sorceress--the devil's night-bird? Ha! ha! ha!"

_Hic_.--"Then he would do it alone. His worship must just
give him some cords, and show him a prison where he could put the
vile witch."

_Ille_.--"Cords he should have, as many as he wished, but on
no account must the hag be brought to the court-house. He knew her
well, and would take care to have nothing to do with her."

_Hic_.--"At least, then, his worship must lend him a horse,
and he would bind the dragon thereon with stout cords, and carry
her away to his good castle of Pansin, where there was a deep
dungeon, in which he could lay her, until he knew the Duke's
pleasure."

_Ille_.--"The horse he might have, and choose one himself
from the stall, and if it pleased him, bind the witch on its back
there in the churchyard, under the linden-trees; but to the
court-house the witch must not come--certainly not--or she would
suspect him of having a hand in her capture. Yet let the knight
think again, and give up this dangerous business, or surely they
had beheld each other for the last time."

But the knight only waited until the clock pointed to ten; then
taking a lantern, he goes and chooses out a stout white mare (for
such, they say, are antipathetical to witches), ties her to a
linden in the churchyard, enters the church, lights the altar
candles, and sits there, reading in the large Bible; until about
the hour that the conjuration was taking place at Old Stettin,
when a strange feeling of uneasiness came over him, and he rose up
and walked to and fro in the church in great agitation. Suddenly
he felt a pressure on his wounded arm, and turning up the sleeve
of his doublet, pressed in return, after which, he laid the magnet
upon it, and, to his surprise, read that he was to seize Wolde,
not Sidonia. Instantly he took up the lantern and the cords, put
his good sword under his arm, and ascended the steps up to the
nuns' gallery, and from that, entered the convent corridor, as the
door between always lay open; but stumbling, by chance, into Anna
Apenborg's cell, she led him down a flight of stairs to the ground
floor, and close to the refectory, where she pointed to a little
chamber adjoining, whispering, "There is where the old cat
snores;" then creeps behind a barrel, to watch, while the knight,
holding the light before him, stepped at once into the cell,
crying, "Stand up, old night-bird, and get on thy rags, thine hour
hath come."

A scream of horror was the answer from the hag, and she clapped
violently at the refectory wall, calling out, "Help me! help!
help! a fellow has seized me, Lady Prioress!" But the knight was
resolved to make quick work of it; and hearing a stir already in
Sidonia's apartment, threw himself upon the hag, and bound her
hands tight with the cords, while she screamed, and struggled, and
yelled piteously for the Lady Prioress; then dragging her up, he
exclaimed, "Since thou didst not heed me, now thou shalt come off
naked as thou art; better the devil should not have a rag to catch
hold of. Come!"

But a fearful-looking form just then rushed into the room--it was
Sidonia, just as she had risen from bed, bearing a lamp in her
hand, with her white hair flowing wildly about her face and
shoulders, and her red glowing eyes fixed menacingly upon the
knight. She had just begun a terrific curse, when the young man,
seeing the cat in his red hose following, lifted his sword and
with one blow cut him clean in two, but started back, for the
first time, in terror, when he beheld one half, on its two legs,
run quickly under Wolde's bed, and the other half, on the two
other legs, make off for the refectory, through the door which had
been left open. Even Sidonia recoiled at the sight; but soon, with
increased ferocity, sprang at the knight, screaming and clenching
her hands. But he cried out, "Hold! or I will cleave thee in
twain, even as thy cat." And in truth she stopped stone-still, but
soon began to spit and murmur. Whereupon he cried out again, "Ay,
spit and mumble; but know that my good friend, of whom I told
thee, stands without, and if but a finger of mine aches, now or in
future, he hath sworn thy death."

Then swinging Wolde's clothes, which lay on the bed, over her
shoulder with the point of his sword, he exclaimed to
Sidonia--"Away, away, or the like will be done to thee!"

Whereupon, amidst the howling of the hag, and the horrible curses
and maledictions of Sidonia, he re-crossed the gallery and the
church, the lame she-devil still howling before him, till they
entered the churchyard; after which my brave knight bound her feet
upon the white mare, and rode away with her to his good castle of
Pansin.

I had forgotten to notice before, that the pastor was not buried
within the church, as his widow first intended, but was laid
outside in the blessed earth, because she feared that the man-wolf
might get at him again within the church-vault and tear him.

_Summa_.--That same evening the witch-commissioner, Christian
Ludecke, arrived with his secretary at Marienfliess, according to
the mandate of the Prince; and behind them come two waggons, on
one of which sits the executioner with his assistants, the red
flag floating above him, and the second is laden with the
instruments of torture and the rack; for those belonging to the
court-house of Marienfliess were not considered powerful enough.
And, as usual, they enter the town chanting a sacred hymn, at
which sound every one shudders, but my sheriff is particularly
horror-struck; and, rushing out to meet them at the court-house,
cried out--

"What the devil! is the bloodhound back again? Did he think that
witches grew up in the town like cabbages?" but held his peace
instantly, when he heard that all was done by command of the
Prince.

So the lame hag was brought back again from Pansin that night, and
the _articuli indictionales_ were drawn up against her, in
which it was not forgotten that years before she had sat in the
cellar of the poor dairy-woman's mother, and there bewitched the
cocks and hens, as many old people still living could testify; and
the bailiff's wife is by no means slack either in helping her to
the same death as the poor dairy-mother. While the whole town and
adjacent country rang with these proceedings, Sidonia's
disquietude became evident. Every day she sent Anna Apenborg up to
the court-house, and there the said Anna and the serving-maid of
the scriba were seen with their heads together in every corner
conversing, and each day brought less comfort to the terrible
witch of Marienfliess. Therefore, about this time, she changed her
demeanour to the nuns, and in place of her usual fierce and cruel
bearing, she now became quite mild, threw up her eyes, went
regularly to church every Sunday, and sighed deeply during the
sermon. Day and night she was singing spiritual songs, and sent to
Stargard to purchase prayer-books, all to make the world think
that she had grown truly religious. _Item_, she sent her new
maid, Anna Dorings by name, to Stargard, to purchase mercury for
her from the apothecary; and when the maid handed the same to her,
she heard her murmur as if to herself, while she locked up the
poison in her press--

"So now, at least, they can do nothing worse with me than behead
me!"

Then she went herself one day to Stargard, and visited a
celebrated advocate, called Elias Pauli. "The world was now so
hard-hearted, and the devil so active, that she feared her turn
might come next to be tried for a witch, just for the sympathy she
showed for the poor creatures. Alas! how Satan blinded the reason
of men; for when were such cruelties ever heard of as were
practised now on poor helpless women? (Weeping.) And would not my
Elias defend her from this ferocious bloodhound, Christian
Ludecke, who had come again to Marienfliess, and boasted loudly
that, when he had made an end of her old maid, Wolde, he would
seize her next; and even sworn that, to make a terrible example of
her, her nose and ears should be torn off with red-hot pincers ere
she was tied to the stake. And what would my Elias do for her? She
had a few dozen gold crowns which her sister Dorothea had left her
by will, and willingly she would give them, if he turned the base
malice of her enemies to shame. Ah, he might take pity on her; for
she was a good and holy virgin, and as innocent of all they
charged her with as the child in the cradle!" (Weeps and sobs
again.)

So the cunning witch had struck the right nail on the head, for my
Elias was a great lover of coins; and though he had a few silver
and many copper, yet not a single gold one did he possess.
Therefore he became thoughtful after her speech, and walked up and
down the room for a quarter of an hour, after which he stood
still, and answered--

"Lady, you know as well as I do that your name is notorious
throughout the whole land, and little hope can I give you if you
are brought to trial. However, I will do what I can to delay the
time as much as possible; perchance from your great age, and the
bitter heart-remorse you must, no doubt, suffer, you may end your
miserable life before they can lay violent hands on you. Pray to
the Lord God, therefore, day by day, for your speedy death! I
will, likewise, pray for you. Meanwhile, if any evil befall you, I
will write petitions in your favour to all the neighbouring
princes, to the resident nobles, and to the Duke himself in
Stettin, for your race is one of the most illustrious in all
Pomerania. And respecting the gold crowns which you promise, send
them speedily; for remember from the moment they arrest you, your
_inventorium_ is sealed."

This my hag promised, and took her leave; but, woe! the first news
she heard upon her return home was, that her maid, by a decree of
the council at Stettin, had that day been put to the torture; and
having on the rack confessed that she (Sidonia) was the true
arch-sorceress, they were to be confronted with each other on the
morrow. This news Anna Apenborg told her before she had well
descended from the coach--_item_, many of the other nuns
confirmed the rumour; so that the unfortunate wretch at last
resolved, in despair, to put an end to herself. However, she had
little inclination to taste the mercury, I think.

So in the twilight she creeps out behind the brew-house, which
stood three or four feet from the convent wall, so that no one in
the convent could see what she was about, draws a ladder after
her, sets it against the wall, and mounts, intending to spring
down into the river below and drown herself.

Now it happened that in the oak-wood, at the opposite side of the
stream, my Ludecke and the sheriff were walking up and down, and
the sheriff's teeth were chattering in his head from pure fright;
for a courier from Stettin had arrived that very evening with an
order from his Grace, commanding him, under pain of severe
punishment and princely disfavour, to be present, along with Jobst
Bork, on the following morning, when Sidonia and Wolde were
confronted. Their eyes were suddenly attracted to a head rising
above the opposite wall, then long white hair fluttered wildly in
the evening breeze, and afterwards a thin black form appeared,
until the entire figure stood upon the top of the wall, and
extended its arms as a young stork its wings, when it essays to
leave the nest, while the eyes were fixed on the water below.
Instantly they both recognised Sidonia, and saw what her purpose
was.

"Let her, let her," whispered the sheriff to the other; "if she is
dead, if she is dead, we shall all rest in peace!"

But the other seized a stone, and flung it with all his might at
the wall, crying out, "Wait, thou shameless witch; doth thy
conscience move thee so?"

Whereupon the black figure dropped down again behind the wall as
quickly as possible. And my Ludecke, being loath to lose the fat
morsel he had ready for the flames, resolved to place four guards
over her in the refectory; but though the whole town was
searched--_item_, menaced that the executioner should scourge
them man by man, yet no one will undertake the dangerous office.
At last four fellows are found, who promise, for a tun of beer at
the very least, to hold watch in the convent square, so that the
witch cannot get away out of the building, with which my
bloodhound is obliged to be content.

Next morning, at nine of the clock, Sidonia was cited to appear in
court, but as she did not come, and mocked the messenger who was
sent for her, Ludecke commanded the executioner to go himself, and
if she would not come by fair means, to drag her by force. The
fellow hesitated, however--

"It was a dangerous business; but if his worship was very anxious,
why, for a good horse from the ducal stables, he might dare it,
since his own nag had fallen lame."

So this being promised, he departed, and, in a short time, they
beheld the carl in his red mantle dragging Sidonia up to the
court-house; and, methinks, many within shuddered at the sight;
for there were present sitting round the green table--Christian
Ludecke, Eggert Sparling, Jobst Bork, and the scriba, Christopher
Kahn.

But when the executioner threw open the door, and bade the witch
take off her shoes and enter backwards, she refused and scolded--

"What? her bitterest enemies were to be her judges. The thick
ploughman from Saatzig, who had stolen her rents from the
farm-houses at Zachow; _item_, the arch-cheat Sparling, who
robbed his Prince every day--such rabble--burgher carls--secretary
fellows, and the like--no; she would never enter. She was the lady
of castles and lands; besides, her advocate was not here, and she
had engaged one at Stargard;" finally she pushed the door to with
her foot.

"Master," cried the bloodhound within, "seize the witch in the
name of the Prince!"

Whereupon the door was again thrown open, and my hag, sobbing
loudly, was forced into the court in her socks, and backwards.
[Footnote: Because the judges on witch-trials feared the evil
influence of the glances of the accused.]

"And what did they want with her?" she asked, still sobbing.

Whereupon the commissioner made a sign to the executioner, who
instantly admitted old Wolde Albrecht by the same door. She
entered barefoot, and in the black shift worn upon the rack, upon
which the red blood lay in deep fresh stains. When Sidonia beheld
this she shuddered. But Ludecke rose up and admonished Wolde to
speak the truth without fear, and to remember that, on the morrow
morning, at that very hour, she would stand before the throne of
God--there was yet time to save her poor soul.

So the old lame hag began to sob likewise, and lament, and says at
last--

"O Lady Prioress, I must save my poor soul! I would not betray you
else."

Then she spoke out, and told bravely all she knew about Sidonia,
and her evil spirit Chim; and how Chim used to help her own
familiar, whose name was Jurgen, to get rid of Sidonia's enemies;
_item_, that the devil Chim sometimes took the form of a man,
for she had seen him frequently in Sidonia's chamber.

At this Sidonia raged and scolded, and flew at Wolde to seize her
by the hair, but Ludecke interposed, and threatened, if she were
not quiet, to give her up to Master Hansen for a few turns or so
for trial; upon which she remained silent from terror apace, but
soon began again to sob, and exclaimed--

"Yes, yes; she must think of her blessed Saviour, who likewise was
betrayed and trodden under foot by one who had broken bread with
Him! She had not only given bread to this wretch, but twice had
given her life. Oh, woe, woe to the shameless creature, who could
step before the throne of God with such a lie in her mouth!"

At which the other wept, and answered with loud sobs--

"Ah, gracious Lady Prioress, if I had not my poor soul to save, I
would betray you never!"

Then by desire of the court, she confirmed by oath her previous
statements. Whereupon Sidonia was led back to her cell in the
convent by the executioner, and forbidden, upon pain of death, to
leave it without permission. Whereupon her rage knew no bounds;
she scolded, stamped, menaced, and finally cursed her cousin
Jobst, as well as the commissioner, jailers, and hangmen, as they
were.

The third day the pile is erected again by the executioner, there
where the others stood, that is, not far from the window of
Sidonia, and as it was necessary for one of the criminal judges to
be present at the burning of a witch, Jobst Bork proceeded thither
with a great concourse of people, for my Eggert had excused
himself, saying he was sick, though, methinks, I know what
sickness he had--namely, the hare's sickness; and Jobst admonished
the witch, who hobbled along in her white shift and black cap,
leaning on a crutch, not to accuse his poor cousin falsely, for
let her think where she would stand in a few moments. There was
the pile before her eyes, an image of the eternal hell-fire. But
she held by her first confession, and even after the executioner
made her ascend the ladder, she turned round at the third step,
and cried--

"Give her shoulder as good a wrench as ye gave mine, and she will
soon confess, I warrant."

But behold, when the executioner, by desire of the upright Jobst,
had bound her fast with wet cords, in order soon to make an end of
her, and lit the pile up round about, the flames were still blown
away from the stake by the wind, and would not touch the hag, so
that many saw in it a miracle of Satan, and wondered, till an old
peasant stepped forth from the crowd, and cried, "Ha, ha, I will
soon settle her." Then seizing her crutch, which she had dropped
at the foot of the pile, he stepped up the ladder, and pitched off
her black cap with his stick, whereupon a black raven flew out,
with loud croakings, and disappeared towards the north, and
instantly after the flames blazed up around her, covering her all
over like a yellow mantle, with such rapidity that the people only
heard her shriek once.



CHAPTER XXIII.

_How Diliana Bork and George Putkammer are at length
betrothed--Item, how Sidonia is degraded from her conventual
dignities and carried to the witches' tower of Saatzig in
chains._


When Jobst returned home to Saatzig from the execution, he seemed
much disturbed in his mind, which was unusual to him, and sat by
the stove plunged in deep thought. At length he calls his little
daughter Diliana from the spinning wheel where she sat.

"Ah, the Prince had set his life in great peril, but more than the
Prince himself did she, his little daughter, plague him by showing
herself so cold to the brave young knight. She ought to leave off
this prudery, else he feared by the next time the sun was in the
propitious position, that his Highness would send for her again to
question the devil--there was nothing such a fanatic would not do;
but if she would only press her arm now, and bid the young knight
come. Where could she meet with a braver husband?"

At this the young maiden blushed up to her very eyes, and asked
earnestly--

"Father, think you the good knight stays away because I have not
summoned him?"

_Ille_.--"Of course, my child. Thou forbadst him to approach
thee until summoned; and now where could be a greater proof of his
love than in having obeyed thee?"

_Hæc_.--"Ah me, I have wondered so, father, why he never
sought me. I never meant that; you surely misunderstood me. But,
father, if you wish--shall I summon him by the magnetic sign?"

_Ille_ nods his head, laughing.

Whereupon Diliana, blushing yet more, pressed her arm, and feeling
a pressure in return almost immediately, pushed up her sleeve, set
the magic box thereon, and with her golden breastpin directed the
magnetic needle to the letters--

C--O--M--E---D--E--A--R--E--S--T.

Whilst my Jobst looked over her shoulder, so that his long grey
beard fell upon her neck, and when he read the letters he embraced
and kissed her, telling her that a better kisser would soon come
and save him the trouble--meaning the knight; and truly scarce
half-an-hour had passed, when the cloud of dust could be seen
through the trees, which was raised as he rode along, and, panting
and agitated, he sprang into the room, exclaiming to my
Jobst--"Where is Diliana?" But she sits mute in the corner, red as
a rose, and looks down upon the ground.

So my Jobst laughed, and pointed to the blushing rose in the
corner, whereupon the young knight, George, in a moment is by her
side, and had her hand in his, and asks--

"If his loved Rachel will not end his weary years of serving now,
and be his for evermore?"

"Yes," she murmured through her soft tears. "I will be yours now
for evermore;" and she extended her two arms towards him.

Marry, how soon my young knight took the trouble off the old
father; so that Jobst danced for joy at the sight, and clapped his
hands, and swore that such a wedding should be held at Saatzig,
that people would talk about it for fifty years.

But, alas! the wedding must wait for a year and a day! for, in two
days the young knight is laid upon a sick bed, and brought so low
that at one time his life was despaired of. However, he comforted
himself by pressing his wounded arm three times a day, and thus
corresponding with his betrothed by means of the magnet. So they
told their grief and their love to each other daily in these few
words. And many think that his sickness was a devil's work of
Sidonia, or of old Wolde's planning; but he himself rather judged
it arose from the wild ride to his young bride on the morning she
bade him come. This matter, therefore, I leave undecided.

Yet no one can surely fathom all the cunning wiles of Satan; for
though many said Sidonia's power is now broken by Wolde's death,
and indeed the poor sheriff was the only one who still played the
hare, and kept the roaring ox safe up in the stall--still, so
strange a thing happened at this time to the knight, Ewald von
Mellenthin, that the criminal court thought proper to take
cognisance of the matter, and so we find it noted down in the
records of the trial. For, mark! This same knight, being summoned
to give evidence, deposed to Sidonia having in his presence flung
a hatchet at his dear bride, Ambrosia von Guntersberg, who had
been now a long while his well-beloved spouse, which hatchet had
wounded her in the foot. Then turning to the hag, he exclaimed
wrathfully--

"Ha! thou devil's witch, hast thou found thy recompense at last?"

Whereupon Sidonia made a face at him after her fashion, and
menaced him with the vengeance of her friends.

But what friend had she but Satan, who avenged her on this wise.
For, as some days after, the knight Ewald was driving with his
cousin Detloff, between Schlotenitz and Schellin, such an awful
roaring, and raging, and storming was heard in the air over their
heads, that the two foremost horses took fright, broke their
traces, threw the coachman, who was nearly killed, and dashed off
across the field through thick and thin, and never stopped till
they reached Stargard, trembling, panting, and exhausted, about
evening time.

The knight laid all this evidence before the criminal commission,
and my hare grew so frightened thereupon, that next day, while
listening to the depositions of more witnesses, seeing a shadow
hop along his paper, he started up in horror, screaming, "There
are the toad-shadows again! O God, keep me! There are the
toad-shadows again!" But the special commissioner, who had also
observed the shadow, and got up to look out at the window, now
called out, laughing heartily, "Marry, good Sparling, the shadow
belongs to one of your worship's brothers--a poor little sparrow,
who is hopping there on the house-top. Go out and see, if you
don't believe me." Whereupon the whole court burst out into a loud
fit of laughter, to the great annoyance of my hare.

Whilst Ludecke is drawing up his _articulus inquisitionalis_,
Sidonia's advocate, Dr. Elias Pauli, was not idle. And first he
stirred up the whole race of the Borks in her favour, letting it
come to the Duke's ears through his grand chamberlain, Matzke
Bork, that if Sidonia were treated with gentleness, and thereby
brought to make confession, assuredly there was great hope that
for this grace and indulgence she would untie the magic knots of
the girdle wherewith she had bewitched the whole princely race,
and laid the spell of barrenness upon them. But if extreme
measures were resorted to, never would she do this for his
Highness.

So the Duke was half moved to consent, and bade his
superintendent, Mag. Reutzius, come to him, and he should
instantly repair to Marienfliess, visit the sorceress in her
apartment, where she was _bis dato_, guarded a close
prisoner. Let him read out the seventy-four articles of the
indictment to her himself, admonish her to confess, and in his
(the Duke's) name, offer her pardon if she would untie the knots
of the girdle. Did she refuse, however, let her be brought the
following Sunday to the convent-chapel, there, in the presence of
the whole congregation, before the altar he was again to admonish
her. If she still persisted in her lies and wickedness, then let
him summon the executioner to strip her of her cloister habit
before the eyes of all the people. When he had further pronounced
her degradation from all her conventual dignities, she was to be
put in fetters and carried to the witches' tower at Saatzig.

My worthy father-in-law offered many objections against this
public degradation, but his Highness was resolved, and would
listen to no reasons, his wrath was so great against the hag.

Now it may be easily conjectured what crowds of people gathered in
the chapel when the blessed Sabbath bell rang, and the news ran
from mouth to mouth, that the witch was to be denounced and
degraded that day before the altar. Never had so many folk been
seen within the walls. And when the church was so full that not a
soul more could squeeze in at the doors, the people broke in the
windows, and setting ladders against them, clambered through, and
swung themselves right and left on the balustrades, and above and
below, and on all sides, there was not a spot without a human
face. Yea, four younkers crowded under the baldaquin of the
pulpit, and another carl got on the altar behind the crucifix, and
would have knocked it down, but my worthy father-in-law, seeing it
shake, caught hold of the carl by the tail of his coat, and
dragged him forth. _Item_, the whole criminal commission is
present; _item_, all the nuns in their gallery, with the
exception of the sub-prioress, Dorothea Stettin, who, along with
two other women, had devoted themselves to a fearful act of
vengeance (which I would hardly have believed of them), but it
will be related presently.

As to Sidonia, she had been brought in already, and placed on the
penitential stool before the altar, after which the organ struck
up that terrible hymn,

"Eternity, thou thunder word!"

Yet, as it happened that the congregation had not got this hymn in
their Psalm-books, seeing that it was quite a new one (which
circumstance had been overlooked in the general agitation), they
were obliged to sing that other, beginning,

"Now the awful hour has come."

Then the reverend priest, M. Reutzius, advanced to the altar,
having first chanted the litany, and there, to obey the Duke's
behests as nearly as possible, opened his sermon with some verses
from the afore-mentioned hymn, which I shall set down here for the
sake of the curious reader:--

  "Eternity, thou thunder word!
Piercing the soul like sharpest sword,
   Beginning without ending!
Eternity! Time without Time,
I know not in my grief and crime
   Whereto my soul is tending.
The fainting heart recoils in fear
To see thy shadow drawing near.

In all the world there is no grief
To which Time brings not some relief,
   Though sorrow wildest rages;
But thou, Eternity, can bring
No balm to lessen hell's fierce sting,
   Through never-ending ages.
For even Christ Himself hath said,
'There's no repentance for the dead.'

So long as God in Heaven reigns,
So long shall last the sinner's pains,
   In hell's fierce tortures lying.
Eternal fires will plague the soul,
Thirst, hunger, horror, fear, and dole,
   The soul itself undying.
For hell's dark shades will never flee,
Till God Himself hath ceased to be!"

After which he read out the words of his text to the criminal,
telling her how his Serene Highness had selected the same himself
out of paternal clemency and in all uprightness. Then he explained
it, admonishing her yet once more to save her poor soul and not
plunge it into eternal perdition. After this, he kneeled down
along with the whole congregation, and prayed to the Holy Spirit
for her conversion, so that every one in the church wept and
trembled and sobbed. Then he rose up again and spake: "I ask you,
for the last time, Sidonia von Bork, do you confess yourself
guilty or not?"

And while every one held their breath suspended, the terrible
sorceress rose up and spake out with bold defiance--

"I am innocent. Curse upon the bloodthirsty Prince, who has
brought me to this shame; my blood be upon him and upon his race!"

"No!" cried the priest from the altar; "he hath saved his soul;
thy blood be upon thyself, and thy perdition upon thine own head!"

Then he lifted his right hand as a signal to the executioner,
whereupon Master Worger stepped forward in his red mantle with six
assistants. And first he draws forth a pair of scissors from
beneath his cloak, and cuts off her nun's veil (for by command of
the criminal judge, she had only a simple veil on to-day), and he
and his assistants trampled it beneath their feet. Then he cuts a
slit in her black robe, just beneath the chin, and tore it down
from head to foot, as a draper tears linen, and at this sight, and
the harsh sound in the silence of the church, many amongst the
nuns fainted. When all this had been done, and Sidonia now stood
there in her white under-garment, Master Worger, by command of the
court, put fetters on her, and riveted them tightly. So that at
the terrible sound of the hammering and clanking, and the
thundering reverberation through the vaulted church, so great a
horror and fear fell upon every one present, that all the nuns who
had not fainted rushed out of the gallery; _item_, a crowd of
people from the nave, and even the priest holding his hands before
his eyes, hastened after them.

She was soon lifted up by the executioner and his assistants, and
thrown into the cart over which the red flag waved; then driven
off without delay to Saatzig, a great crowd of people trotting
along with her. And even in Saatzig the whole town ran together
when the cart with the criminal was seen emerging from the wood,
and the executioner blew his trumpet to give notice to the warder
on the tower of their approach, as had been agreed upon.

Amongst the crowd, however, my Jobst is not to be seen; yet when
the cart stops, the beautiful form of Diliana is seen pressing
forward. She is dressed in a deep mourning mantle, and bears a
golden beaker of wine in her hand--weeps, and says mildly--

"Here, dear cousin, drink! You shall have everything as good as I
can make it for you, and eat what I and my father eat. Ah! cousin,
cousin, wherefore did you not make full confession?"

Herewith she reached out the beaker to the cart, but the evil
witch screamed out--

"Confess! What should I confess, you fool? Away with your stuff; I
will not be fed by your charity!"

Whereupon she dashed aside the beaker so fiercely that it fell to
the ground, and the wine splashed all over the young maiden's
robe. Then, clenching her withered hand, she shook it at the
window--

"Ha! the thick ploughman. Where hath the devil hid him? the thief
that stole my rents from Zachow! This is my reward for having
cured him! But wait, I will make him repent it yet," &c.

And she would have gone on much longer with her curses, but the
executioner gave her another blow with his fist, which made her
hold her tongue. Then he and his fellows lifted her from the cart,
and as she was unable to walk from shame, and despair, and wrath,
they carried her up the winding stairs to the witches' tower; and
she glowered into the little chamber which she had occupied fifty
years before, at the time she murdered poor Clara von Dewitz, for
they had to pass by it to reach the witches' tower, which lay two
flights of stairs higher up.

And when Master Worger laid her down in the damp dark hole, and
shook out some straw for her to lie on, the knave grinned and
said--"What would she do now for company? The devil would scarcely
come; still a companion would be pleasant."

The witch, however, made no answer, only looked down upon the
ground, muttering to herself. Whereupon the knave laughed again
and cried, "Eh, wait, I have got a companion for you!"

And opening a sack he had brought with him, took out a blackened
human head, and then two long, black, half-burned bones; placed
the bones crosswise on the ground, and set the head atop of them,
then said, "So, now you have right merry company. That is Wolde's
head, as you may perceive; and now ye may conjure the devil
together as ye were wont." Then, grinning maliciously, he went
out, locking the prison door upon the unfortunate wretch and the
death's-head.

Meanwhile, my Jobst and his fair daughter are plunged in great
perplexity and despair at the Duke's cruel order to have Sidonia
sent to their castle of Saatzig. Therefore, the indignant knight
sat down and wrote an earnest remonstrance to his Highness the
Duke, and prayed his Grace, therefore, to remove this millstone
from his neck, or he would resign the post of Governor of Saatzig,
and withdraw to his own good castle of Pansin. This letter he
despatched by a running courier to Old Stettin, and it produced a
good effect upon the Duke; for, in three days, an order arrived
for Sidonia's removal to Oderburg; and the crowds gathered round
the cart, from all parts, to see her as she passed along--as thick
as if it had been the time of the annual fair.

God be thanked, I have now got her as far as the Odenburg! For as
concerning her long imprisonment there, her frequent examinations,
and, finally, the question by torture, what need for me to relate
them here, seeing that your Highness and your illustrious brothers
were present during all behind the green screen? I, too, Doctor
Theodore Plonnies, assisted at the trial as high-sheriff, Anton
Petersdorf was _protonotarius_ to the criminal court, and
Johann Caude, the _notarius_, conducted the
_protocollum_. Besides, when I look back and think of her
shrieks, and how the dry withered limbs writhed and cracked upon
the wheel, till the black blood poured forth from her nails and
teeth, my head swims and the sight leaves my eyes--therefore, away
with it! This only will I notice, that her advocate, Doctor Elias
Pauli, preserved her in truth for a year and a day from the rack
and a bitter death, by his keen and cunning devices, thinking that
she would make away with herself some way or other, by mercury or
else, to escape the stake. But no such thing: she was as afraid of
death as a cat of hot broth; so at last he had to suffer justice
to take its course. Whereupon this Satan's hag, on the 28th July
1620, at four o'clock in the afternoon, pursuant to a decree of
the electoral-court of judges of Magdeburg in Saxony, was brought
into the great hall at Oderburg. and there stretched upon the
rack, as I have above mentioned, to force her to a confession upon
seventeen _artlculos inquisitionales_, many of which I have
noticed here and there through the preceding chapters.



CHAPTER XXIV.

_Of the execution of Sidonia and the wedding of Diliana._


After the torture, the poor malicious old wretch became so weak
that she thought herself like to die, and therefore bade my worthy
godfather, Doctor Cramer, to be brought to her that she might make
full confession at last. And her repentance, in truth, seemed
earnest and real now; for after the communion she bade them bring
her coffin--then sat up, and looking at it for a long while in
silence, at last said--

"I shall soon rest there in peace; meantime, carry it out again
till I am dead."

But such a hunger for the blessed sacrament was caused by her
death fears, and not by holy repentance; for as she did not die,
but rather after some days grew strong again (probably because the
Lord God chose to spare her yet longer, for a more fearful and
terrible warning to all sinners), she returned, "like a sow, to
her wallowing in the mire." And more particularly did she spit
forth her poisonous curses upon the whole princely race, when the
court-painter, Matthias Eller, arrived at the prison with an order
from his Highness, to paint her portrait, now in her hideous old
age, behind that which he had seen at Wolgast, representing her in
the prime of youthful beauty. Long did she weep and groan when she
looked upon the portrait of what she had been sixty years before;
then clenched her fists, and cursed to all eternity the princely
race which had first brought her to public dishonour--she so young
and innocent--and not content with that, now thirsted to see her
noble blood flow from the gallows.

"Ah, that was indeed the portrait of her youth! for her princely
bridegroom had got it painted secretly, because of his haughty
arrogant mother, by a painter in Wolgast; but she had revenged
herself on the proud old woman at last. The golden chain was her
own, but the gold hair-band and the sable collar had been a
present from her young bridegroom, And now, what was left of all
her pomp and magnificence! See what these accursed princes had
brought her to with their envy, arrogance, and savage
vengeance--she that was the richest lady in the land was now the
poorest beggar, and had not wherewithal even to purchase a
death-shift."

Meanwhile the report spread throughout all Pomerania land that
Sidonia was dead, and had been privately buried. The cause was
this,--when the executioner and his fellows carried out her coffin
after she had seen it, they told the eager and curious rabble, who
gathered round and had been roaring out for her death, that she
was dead already and lay within, and so they would lose the fun of
seeing her burned; and this they said in jest, to disappoint the
filthy and savage mob. So the news spread through the land and
reached Saatzig, where it was confirmed by an honourable knight
from Old Stettin, who answered them on oath that he had seen her
coffin carried out with his own eyes. So my Jobst and his fair
daughter are glad, and thank God that one of their noble race had
been spared the disgrace of falling by the hands of the hangman;
the young Diliana, in especial, rejoices, and when her lover
arrived from Pansin in the afternoon (for he was grown well and
strong again), she threw herself on his bosom, rapturously
exclaiming--

"Dearest George, our poor cousin is dead; now may the wedding
be--now may the banns be published!"

However, the news soon came how the mistake had happened, and that
Sidonia was still alive. But as the banns had been already
published and the wedding fixed for the 18th of July, Diliana at
length consented to abide by the arrangement, particularly as they
heard also that the execution would be delayed for some time, in
consequence of the Elector of Saxony having sent in his protest
against it to the Ducal Court of Stettin. Indeed, so many powerful
princes protested against this public disgrace, by reason of
Sidonia's high rank, that many thought she would be allowed to go
away perfectly free.

_Summa_.--Already, by the evening of the 17th, the noble
guests had gathered at Saatzig, and of the Borks, almost the whole
illustrious race is present; among whom were particularly
noticeable the Honourable Aulic Councillors, and Councillors of
Administration, Just, Andreas, and Henning. _Item_, all the
Putkammers, among whom came the old burgomaster Wolff, with his
sons, Benedictus, Asso, Gerson, Matthias, Wolfgang, &c. So that by
midnight the castle rang with merriment and revelry; and old Jobst
Bork was so beside himself with joy, that he flung the empty
flasks, as he drained them, up at the monks' heads which were
carved round the capitals of the pillars in the great knights'
hall, crying out, "That is for thee, monk!"

But the festive night hath a sad morning, without talking of all
the drinkers who snored till mid-day. However, all were ready at
last to go to the bridal, only waiting for Matzke Bork, the
princely chamberlain, who had promised, if possible, to be present
at the marriage, along with his Serene Highness himself, Duke
Francis. So they watched from the windows, and they watched from
the towers, but never a one of them is to be seen; and the guests
impatiently pace up and down the great hall, which is all wreathed
and decorated with flowers and banners. But the young bridegroom
is the most impatient of all. He paced up and down the hall,
arm-in-arm, with his betrothed, when at last a carriage was heard
approaching, and every eye was turned to the window, but Matzke
Bork sits in it alone. He enters disturbed and mournful, and when
the knight of Saatzig asks him where he has left his Highness the
Duke, he answers--

"The Duke will drink blood in place of wine to-day! Listen, good
cousins, to what the Duke hath resolved concerning our kinswoman
Sidonia. Her sentence hath been pronounced, and this very day will
be carried into effect: first, her nose and ears are to be torn up
with red-hot irons, at three different quarters of the town, by
the public hangman, and afterwards she is to be burned alive at a
slow fire."

When he ended, all the Borks present screamed with horror, and
gathered round him: "And was it not possible yet to change this
sentence?"

But Matzke answered, "He had tried all entreaties, but in vain;
even three times he had cast himself on his knees before his
Highness, yet could obtain no mitigation; for his Grace was
incensed against the witch, because of her arrogant defiance, and
her stubborn refusal to remove the spell from the princely race,
and sent orders to the executioner to build the pile by eight of
the clock on the following morning, and burn her alive thereon."

When he ceased speaking, the uproar in the hall rose to the
highest. Some of Sidonia's kin, amongst whom was Jobst, swore the
devil's hag deserved it all; and how could her death bring
dishonour upon them? But some thought evil of the insult offered
to their race, and cursed his Highness, and would spring to their
saddles and ride to Stettin on the instant.

Matzke, however, lifted his voice, and bade them have reason.
"They must endure what could not be altered. Jobst was right: was
the proud oak the worse because a rotten branch was lopped off?
Were they to come before his Highness with such mien and gesture,
why, he would straight order them all to be clapped into prison,
and then, indeed, would disgrace rest on their illustrious name.
No, no; for God's sake, let them rest here. His Grace was too full
of wrath now to listen even to his preachers, the ministers of
God. How, then, would he hear them? Let them rather rest in peace,
and forget the fate of their evil cousin in the festivities of the
bridal."

"Ay, good cousins and guests," quoth the bridegroom, "let us to
the bridal, and the Word of God will calm us, and bring us upon
other thoughts. But where is my beloved Diliana?"

They sought her in the hall--in vain! They ran all through the
castle--in vain! Diliana is away, and no one knows whither she has
gone.


But the maiden hath a brave spirit, and hath wrapped a black
mantle belonging to her mourning robes over her bridal dress, and
drawn the hood over her myrtle wreath; then taking the shift of
her grandmother, Clara, in her hand, which she had kept ready by
her for such a case, she descended to the stables, where there
were only two grooms to be seen, all the others having joined the
crowd round the church to catch a sight of the bridal procession,
had the best palfrey saddled, took one groom with her, pressed
some money into the hand of the other, and bade him not tell, for
three hours, that she had gone to Old Stettin. Then rode away,
striking, however, into a bypath, to deceive the guests, in case
they should attempt to follow her. And her journey ended all
safely; for in four hours she was in Old Stettin, without having
been pursued. And reaching the ducal residence, she alighted,
hastened up the stairs, bowed proudly to the princely official
without uttering a word, and proceeded straight to the apartment
of the Duke. There threw off her travelling hood and mantle, and
knocked bravely at the door.

"Enter!" exclaimed the voice of his Highness. Upon which the
beautiful maiden in her bridal robes, and the myrtle wreath on her
hair, stepped in. At which sight his Grace, who was reclining on a
couch, started up, took her hand smiling, and asked--"For the love
of Heaven, what brought her hither upon her festal-day?"

So she began: "This was no festal-day, but a day of shame to her
and her whole race, because of the horrible and incredible tidings
brought to them by Matzke Bork, respecting their old kinswoman,
Sidonia; therefore she had left bridegroom, bridal, and festival,
and ridden away alone, to see if she could not turn away such a
disgrace from her noble race, and such horrible torture from her
poor old kinswoman. Had she not freely perilled her life for his
Grace? If they had not succeeded, at least it was no fault of
hers. Let him recall the terrible decree, and if her cousin
deserved death, as she doubted not, command her to be beheaded, as
had at first been agreed upon. This, at least, was a more
honourable and less painful death. His Grace must grant her
prayer, for she would not move from the spot until he did so."

But his Grace is inexorable, and recapitulates all the sins of the
demon hag; "how she had defied him, and made a mock of the holy
sacrament; and wherefore did he bear the sword from God, if it
were not as a just Prince, to set her forth a terrible warning and
example to all; for witchcraft was increasing day by day in the
land, and witches were almost as plenty as flies."

His Grace then paced up and down a long while in silence. At last
spake--

"Now, for thy sake, the first decree shall hold good, although
never was one so unworthy of my favour as this hag."

Whereat the young virgin was so moved with gratitude, that she
fell down on her knees before his Grace, and bedewed his hand with
her tears.

Just then some one knocked, and the jailer entered--

"The witch had taken another fit of conversion, and prayed for a
priest. _Item_, for a fresh shift, for she had not changed
her linen for four weeks, and no one would give her a fresh
shift."

When Diliana heard this she wondered much over the dark providence
of God, and said--"Wait, I will give thee a shift for her;"
stepped out into the gallery and took Clara's, No. 7, which she
had brought with her, out of her travelling mantle, and, in truth,
this was the very shift in which the murderess was carried to her
death.

_Summa_.--The jailer hath scarcely got the said shift under
his arm, when the clatter of footsteps is heard upon the stairs,
and then another knock at the Duke's apartment, and this was my
knight George Putkamraer, who rushed in, arrayed in his wedding
finery, but all covered over with dust, since he had not given
himself time to fling a cloak over his dress. He clasped his young
bride to his heart, and half scolded her for leaving him privately
before the bridal. But when he heard of her noble courage, and
what she had accomplished, he was glad again, and kissed the hand
of his Grace, and he must now grant them one favour more, and
return with them to the wedding. "The distance was only five
miles, and he had the finest Malmsey that ever was drunk to
present to his Highness."

At this hearing his Grace exclaimed--

"Eh, George, where have you got the Malmsey? Ha! younker, hast
thou a cup of Malmsey? I will go with thee right heartily to
Saatzig!"

And his Grace wanted to order carriages instantly to carry them
all off, that so they might arrive that same evening at the
castle, but Diliana objected--

"No, she would stand by her word, and never hold bridal in Saatzig
until her poor cousin lay at rest in her grave. This night she
would remain in the town, and not leave it until she had seen the
last of her poor cousin."

A long strife now ensued, but Diliana remained firm to her
resolve. So his Highness said, at last, that he would play the
messenger himself, and journey off to the wedding the moment he
had given orders to his chancellor respecting the change of
Sidonia's sentence. He was better pleased not to be in the place
when she was executed. Diliana could stay the night in the castle
with his dear spouse, the Duchess, and the knight might look after
a place for himself. He would desire all the wedding-guests to be
ready to-morrow at midday for the bridal, and if Diliana and the
knight disliked riding, let them order a carriage from the marshal
of his stables, with fresh Frisian horses, and in a couple of
hours they would be at Saatzig.

However, Diliana would not remain the night in the castle, but
went to her cousin, the lady of Matzke Bork, because her house
stood not far from the place of execution, although the place
itself was not visible, and my younker went down sorrowfully to
the inn to pass the night there, but betimes in the morning was up
and off to his dear little bride. He finds her in the second
story, but no longer in her bridal magnificence; a black mourning
garment covered her entire person; and when the knight started in
dismay at her appearance, she said--

"That no other robes beseemed a Bork when one of their race was
going to her death; and she heard that the procession to the
scaffold was to come that way from the Otterburg, and would pass
in half-an-hour, therefore she was prepared to behold it. It was
well that the scaffold itself was hidden from their sight; but
would her dear George just go over and bid some one hoist a flag
when the head of her cousin fell."

So the knight did her will, but when he returned said--

"Diliana, if thou givest me so many nuts to crack when we are
married, methinks it will be an evil thing."

To which she answered mildly--

"No, dear George, after marriage it is the wife who cracks all the
hard nuts, but to-day, dearest, it is thy office. I know not why,
but I have a feeling over me to-day as if the soul of my poor
grandmother would be at rest after this execution, and that
Sidonia herself will be, in some sense, pardoned through the means
of that death-shift, No. 7; yet wherefore I think this I know
not."

Just then a dull, hoarse, murmuring sound was heard in the
distance, like the heaving of the waves when thunder is in the
air, and the Lady Matzke's maid rushed in exclaiming--"She's
coming! she's coming!" Then Diliana trembled and turned pale, but
still advanced to the balcony with her cousin and the young
knight.

At length the terrible sorceress herself appears in sight,
accompanied by the school, chanting the death-psalm. She wore a
white robe seamed with black, and Diliana recognises, with a
shudder, that this is indeed Clara's shift, for she had herself
thus stitched the seams in order to know it; but besides, the No.
7 was plainly discernible on the neck. She walked barefoot, and
round her head was bound a black fillet flowered with gold, from
beneath which her long white hair fluttered in the wind.

Diliana contemplates all this awhile shudderingly, then covers her
face with both hands, and sobs and weeps, so that the tears pour
down through the delicate little fingers, and my younker hath
enough to do to comfort her. But when the procession disappears
she dries her eyes, re-enters the chamber, and folding her hands
across her bosom, walks up and down, praying earnestly, until the
red Danish flag shoots up. Then she sighed deeply, and drying her
beautiful eyes again said softly--

"May God have mercy upon her soul, now her tortures are over!"

Scarcely are the words uttered ere a dense cloud of smoke ascends
above the fisher's house, rising higher and higher, like a lofty
black tower in the air, so that they all conjectured--"Now she is
burning on the pile," and shuddered, yet are content withal that
at last her fearful life has ended.

Then they all knelt down and repeated the Lord's Prayer; then
rising, addressed themselves in earnest for their homeward
journey.

And here, with the death of Sidonia, I might justly close my book,
merely stating in addition, that her ashes were laid in the burial
ground for the poor, and that some time after the gentle Diliana
caused a tombstone to be erected over them, out of Christian
charity and forgiveness. But as some say his Highness the Duke got
his death at the wedding of Diliana, I shall briefly narrate the
facts here, to please the curious reader.

For the said Duke was so much taken with the Malmsey wine, that he
sat up drinking the whole night, and next morning his legs were
swelled to that degree that his boots had to be cut oft with
knives. So that when the bridal pair arrived, his Grace had to
receive them in slippers, yet rejoiced much at hearing that all
was over; and then, scarcely giving Diliana time to recover
herself, despatched the whole company off to the church. Not,
however, without giving serious admonitions, both to the priest
and the knight, George, not to let the ring drop. For if Dr.
Luther, the thoughtless lubberhead, had not let the ring fall at
the wedding of his grandfather in Forgau, it would have been
better with him and his whole race, as his grandmother of blessed
memory had always said, and now indeed he saw she had spoken
wisely.

Now my Jobst in the confusion of voices, hearing only the word
"monk," thought his Grace was speaking of the monks' heads on the
capitals of the pillars in the hall. So seeing two empty flasks,
shouted, "Ay, that is for thee, monk!" and pitched them crash!
crash! with such force up at the monks, that the pieces flew about
the ears of the musicians who were to play before the bridal pair
going to church, and a loud peal of laughter rang through the
hall--after which they all set off for the wedding at last. And in
truth this was a blessed marriage.

But respecting the illustrious and princely race of Pomerania,
they perished each and all without leaving behind one single
inheritor of their name or possessions. Not, methinks, because of
the spell which the demoniac sorceress laid on them, but because
He loved this race so well, that He withdrew them from this evil
world before the dreadful strifes, wars, and calamities came upon
them, which our poor fatherland now endures. For before these
storms broke over our heads, He called them one by one from this
vale of tears, and truly, the first was his Highness Duke Francis,
for in a few months after Sidonia's execution, after a brief
illness, on the 27th December 1620, he fell asleep in God, aged 43
years, 8 months, and 3 days, without leaving children. The next
was Bishop Udalricus, who likewise became suddenly ill at
Pribbernow, near Stepnitz, with swollen body and limbs, and had to
lie there until his death, on the 31st October 1622, when, to the
great grief and consternation of the whole land, his young life
closed at the early age of 34 years, and he too left no children,
though he had a young and beautiful spouse. The next who died was
Duke Philip Julius of Wolgast, the only son of Ernest Ludovicus
and his spouse Hedwig. He was a wise and just ruler, but followed
the others soon, on the 16th February 1625, aged only 40 years, 1
month, and 28 days--likewise, as all the rest, left no children.

But our Lord God hath not withdrawn so many and noble princes from
the world without sending forth strange and wonderful signs to
forewarn the land; for, without speaking of the great thunderclap
which was heard all of a sudden in the middle of clear fine
weather, the winter after Sidonia's death, and the numberless mock
suns that appeared in different places, or of that strange rain,
when a sulphureous matter, like starch in appearance, fell from
the air (_item_, a snow-white pike was caught at Colzow in
Wellin, seven quarters long, and half an ell broad, with red round
eyes, and red fins), a stranger wonder than all was seen at
Wolgast; for suddenly, during a review held there, one of the
soldier's muskets went off without a finger being laid on it, and
the ball went right through the princely Pomeranian standard with
such precision, that the arms seemed to have been cut out all
round with a sharp knife. At Stettin also, in the castle-chapel,
one of the crowns suspended over the stalls fell down of itself;
but still more awful was what happened respecting Bogislaus XIII.,
last father of all the Pomeranian princes. For all along, by the
pillars of the aisle, there are figures in armour representing the
deceased dukes. And during the sermon one Sunday, the sword fell
clanging to the ground from the hand of the armed figure
representing Bogislaus XIII., though no human hand ever touched
it. At this sight every one was troubled in spirit, but woe, alas!
we now see what all these supernatural signs and wonders denoted!
Yet still we have one noble prince remaining with the ancient
blood of Pomerania in his veins. May the Lord God spare him long
to us, and bless him, like Abraham, with a son in his old age.
Such an Isaac would be a blessed sight to me; for when the last
branch falls, I know that my poor heart will break also!

DR. THEODORUS PLÖNNIES.



CONCLUSION.

_Mournful destiny of the last princely Pomeranian remains--My
visit to the ducal Pomeranian vault in Wolgast, on the 6th May
1840._


Bogislaf XIV., who as a truth-loving, amicable, and pious
glossator, has annotated so many places in our text, found this
"last and happy hour," which he had so long desired, on the 10th
March 1637. When he had attained the age of fifty-seven years, his
death occurred at a period of unexampled misery, the like of which
before or since was never seen in our whole German fatherland. Yet
the destiny of the Zantalides which followed the princely
Pomeranian house, seemed in no way propitiated even by their
death. No; it raged, and rages still, against the last poor
remains of their mouldering clay. Bogislaff, during the horrors of
the thirty years' war, remained for _seventeen_ years
unburied, because none of the princes who fought for the
possession of Pomerania' would consent to bear the expense of the
burial, and the land was too poor to take the cost upon itself.
Yet his corpse suffered no further indignities like those of his
princely kinsfolk of Wolgast. For after ninety-four years we find
him still lying calmly in his coffin, looking upward to his God
through the little window which he so often sighed after. We shall
first take a look at him before we descend into the Wolgast vault
to contemplate the disgusting sacrilege which has been perpetrated
and permitted there. Every reader of sensibility will feel
interested in the following details, which are taken from
Oelrich's valuable work, "Memorials of the Pomeranian Dukes," p.
87:--

"On the 19th of April 1731, a royal commission opened the vault in
the castle-church of Stettin, wherein many of the noble princes of
Pomerania lay buried, and the coffin of Duke Bogislaff was broken
open by especial command. The body was found quite perfect. Even
the face was tolerably preserved, though the eyes had fallen in;
for the skin had dried over the features, and the beard was long
and somewhat red; the coffin was lined throughout with violet
velvet (some say black), bordered with stones which had the
appearance of turquoise. The corpse was dressed in a surplice,
similar in form to that worn by priests at the present day, but
fringed with silver, and likewise ornamented with turquoise. Upon
the left hand there was a diamond ring and another. The diamond
was quite pale, and the right hand was lying close to the side, as
if going to seize the dagger. Farther, they found a long and
massive gold chain suspended round the neck, and upon the breast a
silver plate, like the bottom of a silver beaker, upon which the
Pomeranian arms were engraved.

"Beneath the coffin of this last Duke of Pomerania lay the ducal
flag, but the pole was broken in two, either from design or in
consequence of decay; and above the coffin were remains of crape
and mouldered fragments of velvet. _Lave anima pia!_

"But the princely remains of Wolgast had indeed a mournful
destiny. True; they were not left unburied for a number of years,
but they were plundered and outraged, in such a disgraceful and
revolting manner, by church-robbers, that it is impossible even to
read the account of it in the Swedish protocol of 21st June 1688,
from which Heller gives extracts in his 'Chronicle of the Town of
Wolgast,' p. 346, without as much pain as emotion.
[Footnote: Only one of these robbers was seized-he was whipped
and banished; the second hanged himself, and the other escaped.
One was a Jew; the other two were the sexton and gravedigger of
the church.]

"Yet the Swedish Government seemed content to rest with the simple
investigation, and took no trouble about, or showed the least
respect for, the ashes of those to whom they were indebted for
land and people. For the coffins lay there just as the robbers
left them--broken open with axes and hatchets, or wrenched asunder
with crowbars, and still lie in this state. However the vault was
closed up, and no one was permitted to enter it unless in the
presence of one of the reigning family; for this reason very few
ever beheld these mournful remains. I myself would probably never
have had an opportunity of so doing, only that the Prussian
Government resolved on building some additions to the Wolgast
church; and, at the same time, desired the foundation to be
evened, for it had sunk in various places, and afterwards to wall
up the princely vault for ever. In order to work at the
foundation, it was necessary to remove the great stone which
covered the entrance to the vault, and many along with myself
availed themselves of this last opportunity to visit the interior.
Therefore, on the day named above, I descended with deep emotion
the steps that led to it. I found the vault was divided into two
compartments, having vaulted roofs of about seven or eight feet
high. In the first partition no coffin whatever was to be seen,
but I could distinguish already the glitter of the tin coffins in
the second compartment, which was reached by a further descent of
a few steps, and lit up by the torches and lanterns of numerous
visitors who had preceded me. The coffins were nine in number, and
mostly covered with tin; each lay on a tressel of mason-work, and
bore the marks, more or less, of the violence that had been
employed to wrench them open.

"The strong Philip I. began the mournful range. A gentleman handed
me his skull, in which scarcely a tooth was wanting. Then I
searched in the adjoining coffin for that of his spouse Maria, 'my
gracious Lady of Wolgast,' of Doctor Theodore's History. I found
it, took it in the other hand, and cannot describe the strange
feeling which came over me.

"When I had indulged some time in strange and deep emotions, I
laid down the honourable relics again in their coffins, and
stepped to that of Ernest Ludovic, the unfortunate lover of the
still more unfortunate Sidonia. According to the protocol of 1688,
which I held in my hand, there was to be seen there a violet
velvet mantle, and a cap without anything inside. There they
were--nothing more to find--all fallen in dust, the weak head as
the weak heart! Close to him lay his unfortunate wife, Sophia
Hedwig of Brunswick, both the most beautiful persons of their
time.

"But my interest was excited most by the contemplation of Philip
Julius, the last Duke of Pommern-Wolgast, who has only received a
passing notice in this book, but who was one of the most gifted,
and probably the most lamented Prince of his thousand-year-old
race. His coffin was of far costlier workmanship than the others,
and decorated with a row of gilded angels' heads; near it stood
the black wooden tressel, upon which it had originally been
placed, and which looked as fresh as if it had been only just
placed there, instead of having lain in the vault for two hundred
and fifteen years. A strange sensation crept over me! We were both
silent, till at last the gentleman began to search with his hand
in the grey mouldering dust, and along with some rags of velvet,
he brought up a damp, discoloured scrap of paper, which he
carelessly tore; but I instantly seized it, and joined the pieces
together again, for the signification of such little notes in the
coffins of old times was not unknown to me.

"And, in fact, I found what I sought; there was not only marked on
it the date of the Duke's burial, the 6th of May, which had a
mystic significance to me, since it was on the very 6th of May
that I was now standing to contemplate these mute yet eloquent
graves, but also there was noted down the text from which the
funeral sermon had been preached (2 Tim. iv. 7), as well as the
list of the psalms sung on the occasion, among which the closing
psalm--'When sorrow assails thee,' is still to be found in most
hymn-books. But my poor old Pomeranian heart could bear no more: I
placed the paper again in the coffin; and, while the tears poured
from my eyes as I ascended the steps, those beautiful old verses
came into my head, and I could not help reciting them aloud:--

'So must human pomp and stat
In the grave lie desolate.
He who wore the kingly crown,
With the base worm lieth down:
Ermined robe, and purple pall,
Leaveth he at death's weird call.

Fleeting, cheating human life,
Souls are perilled in thy strife;
Yet the pomps in which we trust,
All must perish!--dust to dust.
God alone will ever be;
Who serves Him reigns eternally!'"



MARY SCHWEIDLER



THE AMBER WITCH



THE MOST INTERESTING TRIAL FOR WITCHCRAFT EVER KNOWN

PRINTED FROM AN IMPERFECT MANUSCRIPT BY HER FATHER ABRAHAM
SCHWEIDLER, THE PASTOR OP COSEROW IN THE ISLAND OF USEDOM

EDITED BY

WILLIAM MEINHOLD DOCTOR OF THEOLOGY

TRANSLATED FROM THE GERMAN BY

LADY DUFF GORDON



PREFACE

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

During the earlier centuries of the Middle Ages little was known
of witchcraft. The crime of magic, when it did occur, was
leniently punished. For instance, the council of Ancyra (314)
ordained the whole punishment of witches to consist in expulsion
from the Christian community. The Visigoths punished them with
stripes, and Charlemagne, by advice of his bishops, confined them
in prison until such time as they should sincerely repent.
[Footnote: Horst, _Zauberbibliothek_, vi. p. 231.] It was not
until very soon before the Reformation, that Innocent VIII.
lamented that the complaints of universal Christendom against the
evil practices of these women had become so general and so loud,
that the most vigorous measures must be taken against them; and
towards the end of the year 1489, he caused the notorious Hammer
for Witches (_Malleus Malleficarurn_) to be published,
according to which proceedings were set on foot with the most
fanatical zeal, not only in Catholic, but, strange to say, even in
Protestant Christendom, which in other respects abhorred
everything belonging to Catholicism. Indeed, the Protestants far
outdid the Catholics in cruelty, until, among the latter, the
nobleminded Jesuit, J. Spee, and among the former, but not until
seventy years later, the excellent Thomasius, by degrees put a
stop to these horrors.

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

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

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

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

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

3d. Signs and wonders in the heavens, which were seen here and
there, and which are recorded by other Pomeranian writers of these
fearful times; for instance, by Micrælius. [Footnote: Vom Alten
Pommerlande (Of Old Pomerania), book v.] But when these events
formed part of the tale itself, as, for instance, the cross on the
Streckelberg, I, of course, allowed them to stand.

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

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

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

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

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

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

MEINHOLD.



THE AMBER WITCH



INTRODUCTION.


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

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

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

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



CHAPTER VII.

_How the Imperialists robbed me of all that was left, and
likewise broke into the church and stole the Vasa Sacra; also what
more befell us._


After a few days, when we had eaten almost all our food, my last
cow fell down dead (the wolves had already devoured the others, as
mentioned above), not without a strong suspicion that Lizzie had a
hand in it, seeing that the poor beast had eaten heartily the day
before; but I leave that to a higher judge, seeing that I would
not willingly calumniate any one; and it may have been the will of
God, whose wrath I have well deserved. _Summa_, I was once
more in great need, and my daughter Mary pierced my heart with her
sighs, when the cry was raised that another troop of Imperialists
was come to Uekeritze, and was marauding there more cruelly than
ever, and, moreover, had burnt half the village. Wherefore I no
longer thought myself safe in my cottage; and after I had
commended everything to the Lord in a fervent prayer, I went up
with my daughter and old Ilse into the Streckelberg, [Footnote: A
considerable mountain close to the sea near Coserow.] where I
already had looked out for ourselves a hole like a cavern, well
grown over with brambles, against the time when the troubles
should drive us thither. We therefore took with us all we had left
to us for the support of our bodies, and fled into the woods,
sighing and weeping, whither we soon were followed by the old men,
and the women and children; these raised a great cry of hunger
when they saw my daughter sitting on a log and eating a bit of
bread and meat, and the little things came with their tiny hands
stretched out and cried, "Have some too, have some too." Therefore
being justly moved by such great distress, I hindered not my
daughter from sharing all the bread and meat that remained among
the hungry children. But first I made them pray--"The eyes of all
wait upon Thee;" [Footnote: Ps. cxlv. 15, 16.] upon which words I
then spake comfortably to the people, telling them that the Lord,
who had now fed their little children, would find means to fill
their own bellies, and that they must not be weary of trusting in
Him.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

When we were satisfied with food, I said the thanksgiving from
Luke xii. 24, where the Lord saith, "Consider the ravens: for they
neither sow nor reap; which neither have storehouse nor barn; and
God feedeth them: how much more are ye better than the fowls?" But
our sins stank before the Lord. For old Lizzie, as I afterwards
heard, would not eat her birds because she thought them unsavoury,
but threw them among the juniper bushes; whereupon the wrath of
the Lord was kindled against us as of old against the people of
Israel, and at night we found but seven birds in the snares, and
next morning but two. Neither did any raven come again to give us
bread. Wherefore I rebuked old Lizzie, and admonished the people
to take upon themselves willingly the righteous chastisement of
the Most High God, to pray without ceasing, to return to their
desolate dwellings, and to see whether the all-merciful God would
peradventure give them more on the sea. That I also would call
upon Him with prayer night and day, remaining for a time in the
cavern with my daughter and the maid to watch the springes, and
see whether His wrath might be turned from us. That they should,
meanwhile put my manse to rights to the best of their power,
seeing that the cold was become very irksome to me. This they
promised me, and departed with many sighs. What a little flock! I
counted but twenty-five souls where there used to be above eighty;
all the rest had been slain by hunger, pestilence, or the sword.
[Footnote: This took place in the year 1628, and the horrors of
the Thirty Years' War were spread most fearfully over this island;
pity that the description of the old vicar, which he doubtless
gave in the preceding pages, has been lost.] I then abode awhile
alone and sorrowing in the cave, praying to God, and sent my
daughter with the maid into the village to see how things stood at
the manse; _item_, to gather together the books and papers,
and also to bring me word whether Hinze the carpenter, whom I had
straightway sent back to the village, had knocked together some
coffins for the poor corpses, so that I might bury them next day.
I then went to look at the springes, but found only one single
little bird, whereby I saw that the wrath of God had not yet
passed away. Howbeit, I found a fine blackberry bush, from which I
gathered nearly a pint of berries, and put them, together with the
bird, in Staffer Zuter his pot, which the honest fellow had left
with us for a while, and set them on the fire for supper against
my child and the maid should return. It was not long before they
came through the coppice, and told me of the fearful devastation
which Satan had made in the village and manse by the permission of
all-righteous God. My child had gathered together a few books,
which she brought with her, above all, a _Virgilius_ and a
Greek Bible. And after she had told me that the carpenter would
not have done till next day, and we had satisfied the cravings of
hunger, I made her read to me again, for the greater strengthening
of my faith, the _locus_ about the blessed raven from the
Greek of Luke, at the twelfth chapter; also, the beautiful
_locus parallelus_, Matt. vi. After which the maid said the
evening blessing, and we all went into the cave to rest for the
night. When I awoke next morning, just as the blessed sun rose out
the sea and peeped over the mountain, I heard my poor hungry
child, already standing outside the cave, reciting the beautiful
verses about the joys of paradise which St. Augustine wrote and I
had taught her. [Footnote: This is an error. The following verses
are written by the Cardinal Bishop of Ostia, Peter Damianus (d.
23d Feb. 1072), after Augustine's prose.] She sobbed for grief as
she spoke the words:--

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

 [Footnote:  The following version is from the pen of a
friend.--_Trans_.

  "In that far land the citizens all share one equal bread,
  And keep desire and hunger still, although to fulness fed:
  Unwearied by satiety, unracked by hunger's strife,
  The air they breathe is nourishment, and spiritual life!
  Around them, bright with endless Spring, perpetual roses bloom;
  Warm balsams gratefully exude luxurious perfume;
  Red crocuses, and lilies white, shine dazzling in the sun;
  Green meadows yield them harvests green, and streams with honey
run;
  Unbroken droop the laden boughs, with heavy fruitage bent,
  Of incense and of odours strange the air is redolent;
  And neither sun, nor moon, nor stars, dispense their changeful
light,
  But the Lamb's eternal glory makes the happy city bright!"

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



CHAPTER VIII.

_How our need waxed sorer and sorer, and how I sent old Ilse
with another letter to Pudgla, and how heavy a misfortune this
brought upon me_.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



CHAPTER IX.

_How the old maid-servant humbled me by her faith, and the Lord
yet blessed me His unworthy servant_.


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

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

After we had both woke in the morning with deep sighs, and called
upon the Lord to manifest to us, in our hearts, what we should do,
we still could not make up our minds. I therefore called to my
child, if she felt strong enough, to leave her bed and light a
fire in the stove herself, as our maid was gone; that we would
then consider the matter further. She accordingly got up, but came
back in an instant with cries of joy, because the maid had
privately stolen back into the house, and had already made a fire.
Hereupon I sent for her to my bedside, and wondered at her
disobedience, and asked what she now wanted here, but to torment
me and my daughter still more, and why she did not go yesterday
with old Paasch? But she lamented and wept so sore that she scarce
could speak, and I understood only thus much: that she had eaten
with us, and would likewise starve with us, for that she could
never part from her young mistress, whom she had known from her
cradle. Such faithful love moved me so, that I said almost with
tears, "But hast thou not heard that my daughter and I have
determined to wander as beggars about the country; where, then,
wilt thou remain?" To this she answered that neither would she
stay behind, seeing it was more fitting for her to beg than for
us; but that she could not yet see why I wished to go out into the
wide world; whether I had already forgotten that I had said, in my
induction sermon, that I would abide with my flock in affliction
and in death? That I should stay yet a little longer where I was,
and send her to Liepe, as she hoped to get something worth having
for us there, from her friends and others. These words, especially
those about my induction sermon, fell heavy on my conscience, and
I was ashamed of my want of faith, since, not my daughter only,
but yet more, even my maid, had stronger faith than I, who,
nevertheless, professed to be a servant of God's Word. I believed
that the Lord, to keep me, poor fearful hireling, and at the same
time to humble me, had awakened the spirit of this poor
maid-servant to prove me, as the maid in the palace of the
high-priest had also proved the fearful St. Peter. Wherefore I
turned my face towards the wall, like Hezekiah, and humbled myself
before the Lord; which scarce had I done before my child ran into
the room again with a cry of joy. For behold some Christian heart
had stolen quietly into the house in the night, and had laid in
the chamber two loaves, a good piece of meat, a bag of oatmeal,
_item_, a bag of salt, holding near a pint. Any one may guess
what shouts of joy we all raised. Neither was I ashamed to confess
my sins before my maid; and in our common morning prayer, which we
said on our knees, I made fresh vows to the Lord of obedience and
faith. Thus we had that morning a grand breakfast, and sent
something to old Paasch besides; _item_, my daughter again
sent for all the little children to come, and kindly fed them with
our store, before they said their tasks; and when in my heart of
little faith I sighed thereat, although I said naught, she smiled,
and said, "Take therefore no thought for the morrow, for the
morrow shall take thought for the things of itself." [Footnote:
Matt. vi. 34.]

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

That while she was seeking for blackberries in a dell near the
shore, she saw somewhat glistening in the sun, and on coming near,
she found this wondrous godsend, seeing that the wind had blown
the sand away from off a black vein of amber. [Footnote: This
happens frequently even now, and has occurred to the editor
himself. The small dark vein held indeed a few pieces of amber,
mixed with charcoal, a sure proof of its vegetable origin, of
which we may observe in passing there is now scarce any doubt,
since whole trees of amber have been found in Prussia, and are
preserved in the museum at Konigsberg.] That she straightway had
broken off these pieces with a stick, and that there was plenty
more to be got, seeing that it rattled about under the stick when
she thrust it into the sand, neither could she force it farther
than, at most, a foot deep into the ground; _item_, she told
me that she had covered the place all over again with sand, and
swept it smooth with her apron so as to leave no traces.

Moreover, that no stranger was at all likely to go thither, seeing
that no blackberries grew very near, and she had gone to the spot,
moved by curiosity and a wish to look upon the sea, rather than
from any need; but that she could easily find the place again
herself, inasmuch as she had marked it with three little stones.
What was our first act after the all-merciful God had rescued us
out of such misery, nay, even as it seemed, endowed us with great
riches, any one may guess. When we at length got up off our knees
my child would straightway have run to tell the maid our joyful
news. But I forbade her, seeing that we could not be sure that the
maid might not tell it again to her friends, albeit in all other
things she was a faithful woman, and feared God; but that if she
did that, the sheriff would be sure to hear of it, and to seize
upon our treasure for his princely Highness the Duke, that is to
say, for himself; and that naught would be left to us but the
sight thereof, and our want would begin all over again; that we
therefore would say, when folks asked about the luck that had
befallen us, that my deceased brother, who was a councillor at
Rotterdam, had left us a good lump of money; and indeed it was
true that I had inherited near 200 florins from him a year ago,
which, however, the soldiery (as mentioned above) cruelly robbed
me of; _item_, that I would go to Wolgast myself next day,
and sell the little bits as best I might, saying that thou hadst
picked them up by the seaside; thou mayst tell the maid the same
if thou wilt, but show the larger pieces to no one, and I will
send them to thy uncle at Hamburg, to be turned into money for us;
perchance I may be able to sell one of them at Wolgast, if I find
occasion, so as to buy clothes enough for the winter, for thee and
for me, wherefore thou too mayst go with me. We will take the few
farthings which the congregation have brought together to pay the
ferry, and thou canst order the maid to wait for us till eventide
at the water-side to carry home the victuals. She agreed to all
this, but said we had better first break off some more amber, so
that we might get a good round sum for it at Hamburg; and I
thought so too, wherefore we stopped at home next day, seeing that
we did not want for food, and that my child, as well as myself,
both wished to refresh ourselves a little before we set out on our
journey; _item_, we likewise bethought us that old Master
Rothoog, of Loddin, who is a cabinet-maker, might knock together a
little box for us, to put the amber in, wherefore I sent the maid
to him in the afternoon. Meanwhile we ourselves went up the
Streckelberg, where I cut a young fir-tree with my pocket knife,
which I had saved from the enemy, and shaped it like a spade, so
that I might be better able to dig deep therewith. First, however,
we looked about us well on the mountain, and seeing nobody, my
daughter walked on to the place, which she straightway found
again. Great God! what a mass of amber, was there! The vein was
hard upon twenty feet long, as near as I could feel, and the depth
of it I could not sound. Nevertheless, save four good-sized
pieces, none, however, so big as those of yesterday, we this day
only broke out little splinters, such as the apothecaries bruise
for incense. After we had most carefully covered and smoothed over
the place, a great mishap was very near befalling us; for we met
Witthan her little girl, who was seeking blackberries, and she
asked what my daughter carried in her apron, who straightway grew
red, and stammered so that our secret would have been betrayed if
I had not presently said, "What is that to thee? she has got
fir-apples, for firing," which the child believed. Wherefore we
resolved in future only to go up the mountain at night by
moonlight, and we went home and got there before the maid, and hid
our treasure in the bedstead, so that she should not see it.



CHAPTER X.

_How we journeyed to Wolgast, and made good barter there._


Two days after, so says my daughter, but old Ilse thinks it was
three (and I myself know not which is true), we at last went to
the town, seeing that Master Rothoog had not got the box ready
before. My daughter covered it over with a piece of my departed
wife her wedding gown, which the Imperialists had indeed torn to
pieces, but as they had left it lying outside, the wind had blown
it into the orchard, where we found it. It was very shabby before,
otherwise I doubt not they would have carried it off with them. On
account of the box we took old Ilse with us, who had to carry it,
and as amber is very light ware, she readily believed that the box
held nothing but eatables. At daybreak, then, we took our staves
in our hands, and set out with God. Near Zitze, [Footnote: A
village half way between Coserow and Wolgast, now called
Zinnowitz.] a hare ran across the road before us, which they say
bodes no good. Well-a-day!--When we came near Bannemin I asked a
fellow if it was true that here a mother had slaughtered her own
child, from hunger, as I had heard. He said it was, and that the
old woman's name was Zisse; but that God had been wroth at such a
horrid deed, and she had got no good by it, seeing that she
vomited so much upon eating it that she forthwith gave up the
ghost. On the whole, he thought things were already going rather
better with the parish, as Almighty God had richly blessed them
with fish, both out of the sea and the Achterwater. Nevertheless a
great number of people had died of hunger here also. He told us
that their vicar, his reverence Johannes Lampius, [Footnote: The
present parish archives contain several short and incomplete
notices of his sufferings during these dreadful wars.] had had his
house burnt down by the Imperialists, and was lying in a hovel
near the church. I sent him my greeting, desiring that he would
soon come to visit me (which the fellow promised he would take
care to deliver to him), for the reverend Johannes is a pious and
learned man, and has also composed sundry Latin
_Chronosticha_ on these wretched times, in _metrum
heroicum_, which, I must say, pleased me greatly. [Footnote:
The old vicar has introduced them among the still existing
parochial accounts, and we will here give a specimen of them:--

  For 1620.
  VsqVe qVo Do MIne IrasCerls, sIs nobIs pater!

  For 1628.
  InqVe tVa DeXtra fer operaM tV ChrIste benIgne!]

When we had crossed the ferry we went in at Sehms his house, on
the castle green, who keeps an ale-house; he told us that the
pestilence had not yet altogether ceased in the town; whereat I
was much afraid, more especially as he described to us so many
other horrors and miseries of these fearful times, both here and
in other places, _e.g._, of the great famine in the island of
Rügen, where a number of people had grown as black as Moors from
hunger; a wondrous thing if it be true, and one might almost
gather therefrom how the first blackamoors came about. [Footnote:
Micrælius also, in his "Ancient Pomerania" (vol. Ixxi. 2),
mentions this circumstance, but only says:--"Those who came over
to Stralsund were quite black from the hunger they had suffered."
This accounts for the strange exaggeration of mine host, and the
still stranger conclusion of our author.] But be that as it may.
_Summa_. When Master Sehms had told us all the news he had
heard, and we had thus learnt to our great comfort that the Lord
had not visited us only in these times of heavy need, I called him
aside into a chamber and asked him whether I could not here find
means to get money for a piece of amber, which my daughter had
found by the sea. At first he said "No;" but then recollecting, he
began, "Stay, let me see, at Nicolas Graeke's, the inn at the
castle, there are two great Dutch merchants, Dieterich von Pehnen
and Jacob Kiekebusch, who are come to buy pitch and boards,
_item_, timber for ships and beams; perchance they may like
to cheapen your amber too; but you had better go up to the castle
yourself, for I do not know for certain whether they still are
there." This I did, although I had not yet eaten anything in the
man's house, seeing that I wanted to know first what sort of
bargain I might make, and to save the farthings belonging to the
church until then. So I went into the castle yard. Gracious God!
what a desert had even his princely Highness' house become within
a short time! The Danes had ruined the stables and hunting-lodge,
anno 1628; _item_, destroyed several rooms in the castle; and
in the _locamentum_ of his princely Highness Duke Philippus,
where, anno 22, he so graciously entertained me and my child, as
will be told further on, now dwelt the innkeeper Nicolas Graeke;
and all the fair tapestries, whereon was represented the
pilgrimage to Jerusalem of his princely Highness Bogislaus X.,
were torn down, and the walls left grey and bare. [Footnote:
Compare Heller's "Chronicle of the Town of Wolgast," p. 42, &c.
The riots were caused by the successor of Philippus Julius (d. 6th
Feb. 1625), who was also the last Duke of Pomerania, Bogislaus
XIV., choosing to reside in Stettin. At the present time the
castle is a mere ruin, and only several large vaulted cellars
remain, wherein some of the tradesmen of the present day keep
their shops.] At this sight my heart was sorely grieved; but I
presently inquired for the merchants, who sat at the table
drinking their parting cup, with their travelling equipments
already lying by them, seeing that they were just going to set out
on their way to Stettin; straightway one of them jumped up from
his liquor, a little fellow with a right noble paunch, and a black
plaster on his nose, and asked me what I would of them? I took him
aside into a window, and told him I had some fine amber, if he had
a mind to buy it of me, which he straightway agreed to do. And
when he had whispered somewhat into the ear of his fellow, he
began to look very pleasant, and reached me the pitcher before we
went to my inn. I drank to him right heartily, seeing that, as I
have already said, I was still fasting, so that I felt my very
heart warmed by it in an instant. (Gracious God! what can go
beyond a good draught of wine taken within measure!) After this we
went to my inn, and told the maid to carry the box on one side
into a small chamber. I had scarce opened it and taken away the
gown, when the man (whose name was Dieterich von Pehnen, as he had
told me by the way), held up both hands for joy, and said he had
never seen such wealth of amber, and how had I come by it? I
answered that my child had found it on the sea-shore; whereat he
wondered greatly that we had so much amber here, and offered me
300 florins for the whole box. I was quite beside myself for joy
at such an offer, but took care not to let him see it, and
bargained with him till I got 500 florins, and I was to go with
him to the castle, and take the money forthwith. Hereupon I
ordered mine host to make ready at once a mug of beer, and a good
dinner for my child, and went back to the castle with the man, and
the maid who carried the box, begging him, in order to avoid
common talk, to say nothing of my good fortune to mine host, nor
indeed to any one else in the town, and to count out the money to
me privately, seeing that I could not be sure that the thieves
might not lay in wait for me on the road home if they heard of it.
And this the man did; for he whispered something into the ear of
his fellow, who straightway opened his leathern surcoat,
_item_, his doublet and hose, and unbuckled from his paunch a
well-filled purse which he gave to him. _Summa_.--Before long
I had my riches in my pocket, and, moreover, the man begged me to
write to him at Amsterdam whenever I found any more amber, the
which I promised to do. But the worthy fellow, as I have since
heard, died of the plague at Stettin, together with his
companion--truly I wish it had happened otherwise. [Footnote:
Micrælius mentions these Dutch merchants, p. 171, but asserts that
the cause of their death was doubtful, and that the town
physician, Dr. Laurentius Eichstadius, in Stettin, had written a
special medical paper on the subject. However, he calls one of
them Kiekepost, instead of Kiekebusch.] Shortly after, I was very
near getting into great trouble; for, as I had an extreme longing
to fall on my knees, so that I could not wait until such time as I
should have got back to my inn, I went up three or four steps of
the castle stairs, and entered into a small chamber, where I
humbled myself before the Lord. But the host, Nicolas Graeke,
followed me, thinking I was a thief, and would have stopped me, so
that I knew not how to excuse myself but by saying that I had been
made drunken by the wine which the strange merchants had given to
me (for he had seen what a good pull I had made at it), seeing I
had not broken my fast that morning, and that I was looking for a
chamber wherein I might sleep a while, which lie he believed (if
in truth it were a lie, for I was really drunken, though not with
wine, but with love and gratitude to my Maker), and accordingly he
let me go.

But I must now tell my story of his princely Highness, as I
promised above. Anno 22, as I chanced to walk with my daughter,
who was then a child of about twelve years old, in the castle
garden at Wolgast, and was showing her the beautiful flowers that
grew there, it chanced that as we came round from behind some
bushes we espied my gracious lord the Duke Philippus Julius, with
his princely Highness the Duke Bogislaff, who lay here on a visit,
standing on a mount and conversing, wherefore we were about to
return. But as my gracious lords presently walked on towards the
drawbridge, we went to look at the mount where they had stood; of
a sudden my little girl shouted loudly for joy, seeing that she
found on the earth a costly signet-ring, which one of their
princely Highnesses doubtless had dropped. I therefore said,
"Come, and we will follow our gracious lords with all speed, and
thou shalt say to them in Latin: _Serenissimi principes, quis
vestrum hunc annulum deperdidit_? (for, as I have mentioned
above, I had instructed her in the Latin tongue ever since her
seventh year), and if one of them says _Ego_, give to him the
ring. _Item_, should he ask thee in Latin to whom thou
belongest, be not abashed, and say: _Ego sum filia pastoris
Coserowiensis_; for thou wilt thus find favour in the eyes of
their princely Highnesses, for they are both gracious gentlemen,
more especially the taller one, who is our gracious ruler
Philippus Julius himself." This she promised to do; but as she
trembled sorely as she went, I encouraged her yet more and
promised her a new gown if she did it, seeing that even as a
little child she would have given a great deal for fine clothes.
As soon, then, as we were come into the courtyard, I stood by the
statue of his princely Highness Ernest Ludewig, [Footnote: The
father of Philippus Julius, died at Wolgast 17th June 1592.] and
whispered her to run boldly after them, as their princely
Highnesses were only a few steps before us, and had already turned
toward the great entrance. This she did, but of a sudden she stood
still, and would have turned back, because she was frightened by
the spurs of their princely Highnesses, as she afterwards told me,
seeing that they rattled and jingled very loudly.

But my gracious lady the Duchess Agnes saw her from the open
window wherein she lay, and called to his princely Highness, "My
lord, there is a little maiden behind you, who, it seems, would
speak with you," whereupon his princely Highness straightway
turned him round, smiling pleasantly, so that my little maid
presently took courage, and, holding up the ring, spoke in Latin
as I had told her. Hereat both the princes wondered beyond
measure, and after my gracious Duke Philippus had felt his finger,
he answered, "_Dulcissima puella, ego perdidi_;" whereupon
she gave it to him. Then he patted her cheek, and again asked,
"_Sed quoenam es, et unde venis_?" whereupon she boldly gave
her answer, and at the same time pointed with her finger to where
I stood by the statue; whereupon his princely Highness motioned me
to draw near. My gracious lady saw all that passed from the
window, but all at once she left it. She, however, came back to it
again before I had time even humbly to draw near to my gracious
lord, and beckoned to my child, and held a cake out of the window
for her. On my telling her she ran up to the window, but her
princely Highness could not reach so low nor she so high above her
as to take it, wherefore my gracious lady commanded her to come up
into the castle, and as she looked anxiously round after me,
motioned me also, as did my gracious lord himself, who presently
took the timid little maid by the hand and went up with his
princely Highness the Duke Bogislaff. My gracious lady came to
meet us at the door, and caressed and embraced my little daughter,
so that she soon grew quite bold and ate the cake. When my
gracious lord had asked me my name, _item_, why I had in so
singular a manner taught my daughter the Latin tongue, I answered
that I had heard much from a cousin at Cologne of Maria Schurman,
[Footnote: Anna Maria Schurman, born at Cologne on the 5th Nov.
1607, died at Wiewardin the 5th May 1678, was, according to the
unanimous testimony of her contemporaries, a prodigy of learning,
and perhaps the most learned woman that ever lived. The Frenchman
Naudé says of her, "You find in her alone all that the hand can
fashion or the mind conceive. No one paints better, no one works
better in brass, wax, and wood. In needlework she excels all women
past or present. It is impossible to say in what branch of
knowledge she is most distinguished. Not content with the European
languages, she understands Hebrew, Arabic, Syriac, and writes
Latin so well that no one who has devoted his whole life to it can
do it better." The celebrated Netherlander Spanheim calls her a
teacher of the Graces and the Muses; the still more celebrated
Salmasius confesses that he knows not in which branch of learning
to say she excels: and the Pole Rotyer calls her "The sole example
of all wondrous works in one single learned person, and a perfect
_monstrum_ of her sex, yet without fault or blame." For, in
truth, with all her extraordinary knowledge she was marvellously
humble, although she herself confesses that the immoderate praises
of the learned even yet at times blinded her to her own defects.
In her later years she went over to the sect of the Labadists,
which appears to have some points in common with that of the
Muckers. She died unmarried, as an early love affair in her
fifteenth year with the Dutchman Caets had been broken off. It is
related of her, as a strange fancy, that she liked to eat spiders.
The celebrated Spanheim was the first to publish an edition of her
works under the title of _Annæ Mariæ a Schurman Opuscula_.
Leyden, 1648.] and as I had observed a very excellent
_ingenium_ in my child, and also had time enough in my lonely
cure, I did not hesitate to take her in hand, and teach her from
her youth up, seeing I had no boy alive. Hereat their princely
Highnesses marvelled greatly, and put some more questions to her
in Latin, which she answered without any prompting from me.
Whereupon my gracious lord Duke Philippus said in the vulgar
tongue, "When thou art grown up and art one day to be married,
tell it to me, and thou shalt then have another ring from me, and
whatsoever else pertains to a bride, for thou hast this day done
me good service, seeing that this ring is a precious jewel to me,
as I had it from my wife." Hereupon I whispered her to kiss his
princely Highness' hand for such a promise, and so she did.

(But alas, most gracious God, it is one thing to promise and quite
another to hold! Where is his princely Highness at this time?
Wherefore let me ever keep in mind that "Thou only art faithful,
and that which Thou hast promised Thou wilt surely hold." Ps.
xxxiii. 4. Amen. [Footnote: Luther's version.]) _Item_.--When
his princely Highness had also inquired concerning myself and my
cure, and heard that I was of ancient and noble family, and my
_salarium_ very small, he called from the window to his
chancellor, D. Rungius, who stood without, looking at the
sun-dial, and told him that I was to have an addition from the
convent at Pudgla, _item_, from the crownlands at Ernsthoff,
as I mentioned above; but, more's the pity, I never have received
the same, although the _instrumentum donationis_ was sent me
soon after by his princely Highness' chancellor.

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

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



CHAPTER XI.

_How I fed all the congregation--Item, how I journeyed to the
horse-fair at Gützkow, and what befell me there._


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

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

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

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

I also, on seeing such a great crowd, ran thither with many
others, to look at the fellow. He trembled like an aspen leaf; and
when he was roughly told to make a clean breast, whereby he might
peradventure save his own life, if it appeared that he had
murdered no one, he confessed that he had got his wife to make him
a gallows dress, which he had put on, and had sat on the wheel
before the dead man, when, from the darkness and the distance, no
one could see that the two were sitting there together; and this
he did more especially when he knew that a cart was going from the
town to Wolgast. When the cart came by, and he jumped down and ran
after it, all the people were so affrighted that they no longer
kept their eyes upon the gallows, but only on him, flogged the
horses, and galloped with much noise and clatter over the log
embankment. This was heard by his fellows in Strellin and
Dammbecke (two villages which are about three-fourths on the way),
who held themselves ready to unyoke the horses and to plunder the
travellers when they came up with them. That after the dead man
was buried he could play the ghost more easily still, &c. That
this was the whole truth, and that he himself had never in his
life robbed, still less murdered, any one; wherefore he begged to
be forgiven: that all the robberies and murders which had happened
had been done by his fellows alone. Ah, thou cunning knave! But I
heard afterwards that he and his fellows were broken on the wheel
together, as was but fair. And now to come back to my journey. The
young nobleman abode that night with me at the inn, and early next
morning we both set forth; and as we had grown into good
fellowship together, I got into his coach with him as he offered
me, so as to talk by the way, and my Claus drove behind us. I soon
found that he was a well-bred, honest, and learned gentleman,
seeing that he despised the wild student life, and was glad that
he had now done with their scandalous drinking-bouts: moreover, he
talked his Latin readily. I had therefore much pleasure with him
in the coach. However, at Wolgast the rope of the ferry-boat
broke, so that we were carried down the stream to Zeuzin,
[Footnote: Now Sauzin.] and at length we only got ashore with
great trouble. Meanwhile it grew late, and we did not get into
Coserow till nine, when I asked the young lord to abide the night
with me, which he agreed to do. We found my child sitting in the
chimney corner, making a petticoat for her little god-daughter out
of her own old clothes. She was greatly frighted, and changed
colour when she saw the young lord come in with me, and heard that
he was to lie there that night, seeing that as yet we had no more
beds than we had bought for our own need from old Zabel Nering the
forest-ranger his widow, at Uekeritze. Wherefore she took me
aside: What was to be done? My bed was in an ill plight, her
little godchild having lain on it that morning; and she could no
wise put the young nobleman into hers, although she would
willingly creep in by the maid herself. And when I asked her why
not? she blushed scarlet, and began to cry, and would not show
herself again the whole evening, so that the maid had to see to
everything, even to the putting white sheets on my child's bed for
the young lord, as she would not do it herself. I only tell this
to show how maidens are. For next morning she came into the room
with her red silk bodice, and the net on her hair, and the apron;
_summa,_ dressed in all the things I had bought her at
Wolgast, so that the young lord was amazed, and talked much with
her over the morning meal. Whereupon he took his leave, and
desired me to visit him at his castle.



CHAPTER XII.

_What further joy and sorrow befell us; item, how Wittich
Appelmann rode to Damerow to the wolf-hunt, and what he proposed
to my daughter._


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

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

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

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

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

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

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



CHAPTER XIII.

_What more happened during the winter--Item, how in the spring
witchcraft began in the village._


Nothing else of note happened during the winter, save that the
merciful God bestowed a great plenty of fish both from the
Achterwater and the sea, and the parish again had good food; so
that it might be said of us, as it is written, "For a small moment
have I forsaken thee; but with great mercies will I gather thee."
[Footnote: Isa. liv. 7.] Wherefore we were not weary of praising
the Lord; and the whole congregation did much for the church,
buying new pulpit and altar cloths, seeing that the enemy had
stolen the old ones. _Item_, they desired to make good to me
the money I had paid for the new cups, which, however, I would not
take.

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

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

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

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

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

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

_Item_, Katy Berow had bought a little pig with the money my
daughter had paid her in the winter for spinning, and the poor
woman kept it like a child, and let it run about her room. This
little pig got the mischief, like all the rest, in the twinkling
of an eye; and when my daughter was called it grew no better, but
also died under her hands; whereupon the poor woman made a great
outcry and tore her hair for grief, so that my child was moved to
pity her, and promised her another pig next time my sow should
litter. Meantime another week passed over, during which I went on,
together with the whole congregation, to call upon the Lord for
His merciful help, but all in vain, when the same thing happened
to old wife Seden her little pig. Whereupon she again came running
for my daughter with loud outcries, and although my child told her
that she must have seen herself that nothing she could do for the
cattle cured them any longer, she ceased not to beg and pray her,
and to lament, till she went forth to do what she could for her
with the help of God. But it was all to no purpose, inasmuch as
the little pig died before she left the stye.

What think you this devil's whore then did? After she had run
screaming through the village she said that any one might see that
my daughter was no longer a maid, else why could she now do no
good to the cattle, whereas she had formerly cured them? She
supposed my child had lost her maiden honour on the Streckelberg,
whither she went so often this spring, and that God only knew who
had taken it! But she said no more then, and we did not hear the
whole until afterwards. And it is indeed true that my child had
often walked on the Streckelberg this spring both with me and also
alone, in order to seek for flowers and to look upon the blessed
sea, while she recited aloud, as she was wont, such verses out of
_Virgilius_ as pleased her best (for whatever she read a few
times that she remembered).

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

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

Meanwhile, however, it befell that the young _nobilis_
Rüdiger of Nienkerken came riding one day to gather news of the
terrible witchcraft that went on in the village. When I told him
all about it he shook his head doubtingly, and said he believed
that all witchcraft was nothing but lies and deceit; whereat I was
struck with great horror, inasmuch as I had hitherto held the
young lord to be a wiser man, and now could not but see that he
was an atheist. He guessed what my thoughts were, and with a smile
he answered me by asking whether I had ever read Johannes Wierus,
[Footnote: A Netherland physician, who, long before Spee or
Thomasius, attacked the wicked follies of the belief in witchcraft
prevalent in his time in the paper entitled _Confulatio
opinionum de magorum Dæmonomia_, Frankfort, 1590, and was
therefore denounced by Bodinus and others as one of the worst
magicians. It is curious that this liberal man had in another
book, _De præstigiis Dæmonum_, taught the method of raising
devils, and described the whole of hell, with the names and
surnames of its 572 princes.] who would hear nothing of
witchcraft, and who argued that all witches were melancholy
persons who only imagined to themselves that they had a
_pactum_ with the devil; and that to him they seemed more
worthy of pity than of punishment? Hereupon I answered that I had
not indeed read any such book (for say, who can read all that
fools write?), but that the appearances here and in all other
places proved that it was a monstrous error to deny the reality of
witchcraft, inasmuch as people might then likewise deny that there
were such things as murder, adultery, and theft.

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

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

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

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

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

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



CHAPTER XIV.

_How old Seden disappeared all on a sudden--Item, how the great
Gustavus Adolphus came to Pomeranla, and took the fort at
Peenemünde._


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

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

But be that as it may. _Summa:_ my old warden grew worse and
worse; and though I visited him every morning and evening, as I
use to do to my sick, in order to pray with him, and often
observed that he had somewhat on his mind, nevertheless he could
not disburthen himself of it, seeing that old Lizzie never left
her post.

This went on for a while, when at last one day about noon, he sent
to beg me to scrape a little silver off the new sacramental cup,
because he had been told that he should get better if he took it
mixed with the dung of fowls. For some time I would not consent,
seeing that I straightway suspected that there was some devilish
mischief behind it; but he begged and prayed, till I did as he
would have me.

And lo and behold, he mended from that very hour, so that when I
went to pray with him at evening, I found him already sitting on
the bench with a bowl between his knees, out of which he was
supping broth. However, he would not pray (which was strange,
seeing that he used to pray so gladly, and often could not wait
patiently for my coming, insomuch that he sent after me two or
three times if I was not at hand, or elsewhere employed), but he
told me he had prayed already, and that he would give me the cock,
whose dung he had taken, for my trouble, as it was a fine large
cock, and he had nothing better to offer for my Sunday's dinner.
And as the poultry was by this time gone to roost, he went up to
the perch which was behind the stove, and reached down the cock,
and put it under the arm of the maid, who was just come to call me
away.

Not for all the world, however, would I have eaten the cock, but I
turned it out to breed. I went to him once more and asked whether
I should give thanks to the Lord next Sunday for his recovery;
whereupon he answered that I might do as I pleased in the matter.
Hereat I shook my head, and left the house, resolving to send for
him as soon as ever I should hear that his old Lizzie was from
home (for she often went to fetch flax to spin from the sheriff).
But mark what befell within a few days! We heard an outcry that
old Seden was missing, and that no one could tell what had become
of him. His wife thought he had gone up into the Streckelberg,
whereupon the accursed witch ran howling to our house and asked my
daughter whether she had not seen anything of her goodman, seeing
that she went up the mountain every day. My daughter said she had
not; but, woe is me, she was soon to hear enough of him. For one
morning, before sunrise, as she came down into the wood on her way
back from her forbidden digging after amber, she heard a
woodpecker (which, no doubt, was old Lizzie herself), crying so
dolefully, close beside her, that she went in among the bushes to
see what was the matter. There was the woodpecker, sitting on the
ground before a bunch of hair, which was red, and just like what
old Seden's had been, and as soon as it espied her it flew up with
its beak full of the hair, and slipped into a hollow tree. While
my daughter still stood looking at this devil's work, up came old
Paasch, who also had heard the cries of the woodpecker, as he was
cutting roofing shingles on the mountain, with his boy, and was
likewise struck with horror when he saw the hair on the ground. At
first they thought a wolf must have eaten him, and searched all
about, but could not find a single bone. On looking up they
fancied they saw something red at the very top of the tree, so
they made the boy climb up, and he forthwith cried out that here,
too, there was a great bunch of red hair, stuck to some leaves as
if with pitch, but that it was not pitch, but something speckled
red and white, like fish-guts; _item_, that the leaves all
around, even where there was no hair, were stained and spotted,
and had a very ill smell. Hereupon the lad, at his master's
bidding, threw down the clotted branch, and they two below
straightway judged that this was the hair and brains of old Seden,
and that the devil had carried him off bodily, because he would
not pray nor give thanks to the Lord for his recovery. I myself
believed the same, and told it on the Sunday as a warning to the
congregation. But further on it will be seen that the Lord had yet
greater cause for giving him into the hands of Satan, inasmuch as
he had been talked over by his wicked wife to renounce his Maker,
in the hopes of getting better. Now, however, this devil's whore
did as if her heart was broken, tearing out her red hair by whole
handfuls when she heard about the woodpecker from my child and old
Paasch, and bewailing that she was now a poor widow, and who was
to take care of her for the future, &c.

Meanwhile we celebrated on this barren shore, as best we could and
might, together with the whole Protestant Church, the 25th day
_mensis Junii_, whereon, one hundred years ago, the Estates
of the Holy Roman Empire laid their confession before the most
high and mighty Emperor Carolus V., at Augsburg; and I preached a
sermon on Matt. x. 32, of the right confession of our Lord and
Saviour Jesus Christ, whereupon the whole congregation came to the
Sacrament. Now towards the evening of the self-same day, as I
walked with my daughter by the sea-shore, we saw several hundred
sail of ships, both great and small, round about Ruden, and
plainly heard firing, whereupon we judged forthwith that this must
be the most high and mighty king Gustavus Adolphus, who was now
coming, as he had promised, to the aid of poor persecuted
Christendom. While we were still debating a boat sailed towards us
from Oie, [Footnote: Ruden and Oie, two small islands between
Usedom and Rügen.] wherein was Kate Berow her son, who is a farmer
there, and was coming to see his old mother. The same told us that
it really was the king, who had this morning run before Ruden with
his fleet from Rügen; that a few men of Oie were fishing there at
the time, and saw how he went ashore with his officers, and
straightway bared his head and fell upon his knees. [Footnote: See
also the _Theatrum Europeum_, p. 226 fl.]

Thus, then, most gracious God, did I Thy unworthy servant enjoy a
still greater happiness and delight that blessed evening than I
had done on the blessed morn; and any one may think that I delayed
not for a moment to fall on my knees with my child, and to follow
the example of the king; and God knows I never in my life prayed
so fervently as that evening, whereon the Lord showed such a
wondrous sign upon us as to cause the deliverer of His poor
Christian people to come among them on the very day when they had
everywhere called upon Him, on their knees, for His gracious help
against the murderous wiles of the Pope and the devil. That night
I could not sleep for joy, but went quite early in the morning to
Damerow, where something had befallen Vithe his boy. I supposed
that he, too, was bewitched; but this time it was not witchcraft,
seeing that the boy had eaten something unwholesome in the forest.
He could not tell what kind of berries they were, but the
_malum_, which turned all his skin bright scarlet, soon
passed over. As I therefore was returning home shortly after, I
met a messenger from Peenemünde, whom his Majesty the high and
mighty king Gustavus Adolphus had sent to tell the sheriff that on
the 29th of June, at ten o'clock in the morning, he was to send
three guides to meet his Majesty at Coserow, and to guide him
through the woods to Swine, where the Imperialists were encamped.
_Item_, he related how his Majesty had taken the fort at
Peenemünde yesterday (doubtless the cause of the firing we heard
last evening), and that the Imperialists had run away as fast as
they could, and played the bush-ranger properly, for after setting
their camp on fire they all fled into the woods and coppices, and
part escaped to Wolgast and part to Swine.

Straightway I resolved in my joy to invent a _carmen
gratulatorium_ to his Majesty, whom, by the grace of Almighty
God, I was to see, the which my little daughter might present to
him. I accordingly proposed it to her as soon as I got home, and
she straightway fell on my neck for joy, and then began to dance
about the room. But when she had considered a little, she thought
her clothes were not good enough to wear before his Majesty, and
that I should buy her a blue silk gown, with a yellow apron,
seeing that these were the Swedish colours, and would please his
Majesty right well. For a long time I would not, seeing that I
hate this kind of pride; but she teased me with her kisses and
coaxing words, till I, like an old fool, said yes, and ordered my
ploughman to drive her over to Wolgast to-day to buy the stuff.
Wherefore I think that the just God, who hateth the proud and
showeth mercy on the humble, did rightly chastise me for such
pride. For I myself felt a sinful pleasure when she came back with
two women who were to help her to sew, and laid the stuff before
me. Next day she set to work at sunrise to sew, and I composed my
_carmen_ the while. I had not got very far in it when the
young Lord Rüdiger of Nienkerken came riding up, in order, as he
said, to inquire whether his Majesty were indeed going to march
through Coserow. And when I told him all I knew of the matter,
_item_, informed him of our plan, he praised it exceedingly,
and instructed my daughter (who looked more kindly upon him to-day
than I altogether liked) how the Swedes use to pronounce the
Latin, as _ratscho_ pro _ratio_, _uet_ pro
_ut_, _schis_ pro _scis_ &c., so that she might be
able to answer his Majesty with all due readiness. He said,
moreover, that he had held much converse with Swedes at
Wittenberg, as well as at Griepswald, wherefore if she pleased
they might act a short _colloquium_, wherein he would play
the king. Hereupon he sat down on the bench before her, and they
both began chattering together, which vexed me sore, especially
when I saw that she made but small haste with her needle the
while. But say, dear reader, what was I to do?--Wherefore I went
my ways, and let them chatter till near noon, when the young lord
at last took leave. But he promised to come again on Tuesday when
the king was here, and believed that the whole island would flock
together at Coserow. As soon as he was gone, seeing that my
_vena poetica_ (as may be easily guessed) was still stopped
up, I had the horses put to and drove all over the parish,
exhorting the people in every village to be at the Giant's Stone
by Coserow at nine o'clock on Tuesday, and that they were all to
fall on their knees as soon as they should see the king coming and
that I knelt down; _item_, to join at once in singing the
Ambrosian hymn of praise, which I should lead off as soon as the
bells began to ring. This they all promised to do; and after I had
again exhorted them to it on Sunday in church, and prayed to the
Lord for his Majesty out of the fulness of my heart, we scarce
could await the blessed Tuesday for joyful impatience.



CHAPTER XV.

_Of the arrival of the high and mighty King Gustavus Adolphus,
and what befell thereat._


Meanwhile I finished my _carmen_ in _metrum elegiacum_,
which my daughter transcribed (seeing that her handwriting is
fairer than mine) and diligently learned, so that she might say it
to his Majesty. _Item_, her clothes were gotten ready, and
became her purely; and on Monday she went up to the Streckelberg,
although the heat was such that the crows gasped on the hedges:
for she wanted to gather flowers for a garland she designed to
wear, and which was also to be blue and yellow. Towards evening
she came home with her apron filled with all manner of flowers;
but her hair was quite wet, and hung all matted about her
shoulders. (My God, my God, was everything to come together to
destroy me, wretched man that I am!) I asked, therefore, where she
had been that her hair was so wet and matted; whereupon she
answered that she had gathered flowers round the Kölpin,
[Footnote: a small lake near the sea.] and from thence she had
gone down to the sea-shore, where she had bathed in the sea,
seeing that it was very hot and no one could see her. Thus, said
she, jesting, she should appear before his Majesty to-morrow
doubly a clean maid. This displeased me at the time, and I looked
grave, although I said naught.

Next morning at six o'clock all the people were already at the
Giant's Stone, men, women, and children. _Summa_, everybody
that was able to walk was there. At eight o'clock my daughter was
already dressed in all her bravery, namely, a blue silken gown,
with a yellow apron and kerchief, and a yellow hair-net, with a
garland of blue and yellow flowers round her head. It was not long
before my young lord arrived, finely dressed as became a nobleman.
He wanted to inquire, as he said, by which road I should go up to
the Stone with my daughter, seeing that his father, Hans von
Nienkerken, _item_, Wittich Appelmann, and the Lepels of
Gnitze, were also going, and that there was much people on all the
high roads, as though a fair was being held. But I straightway
perceived that all he wanted was to see my daughter, inasmuch as
he presently occupied himself about her, and began chattering with
her in the Latin again. He made her repeat to him the
_carmen_ to his Majesty; whereupon he, in the person of the
king, answered her, "_Dulcissima et venustissima puella, quæ
mihi in coloribus cœli, ut angelus Domini appares, utinam semper
mecum esses, nunquam mihi male caderei_;" whereupon she grew
red, as likewise did I, but from vexation, as may be easily
guessed. I therefore begged that his lordship would but go forward
toward the Stone, seeing that my daughter had yet to help me on
with my surplice; whereupon, however, he answered, that he would
wait for us the while in the chamber, and that we might then go
together. _Summa_: I blessed myself from this young lord; but
what could I do? As he would not go, I was forced to wink at it
all: and before long we went up to the Stone, where I straightway
chose three sturdy fellows from the crowd, and sent them up the
steeple that they might begin to ring the bells as soon as they
should see me get up upon the Stone and wave my napkin. This they
promised to do, and straightway departed; whereupon I sat down on
the Stone with my daughter, thinking that the young lord would
surely stand apart, as became his dignity; albeit he did not, but
sat down with us on the Stone. And we three sat there all alone,
and all the folk looked at us, but none drew near to see my
child's fine clothes, not even the young lasses, as is their wont
to do; but this I did not observe till afterwards, when I heard
how matters stood with us even then. Towards nine o'clock, Hans
von Nienkerken and Wittich Appelmann galloped up, and old
Nienkerken called to his son in an angry voice; and seeing that
the young lord heard him not, he rode up to the Stone, and cried
out so loud that all the folk might hear, "Can'st thou not
hearken, boy, when thy father calls thee?" Whereupon Rüdiger
followed him in much displeasure, and we saw from a distance how
the old lord seemed to threaten his son, and spat out before him;
but knew not what this might signify: we were to learn it soon
enough, though, more's the pity! Soon after the two Lepels of
Gnitze [Footnote: a peninsula in Usedom] came from the Damerow;
and the noblemen saluted one another on the green sward close
beside us, but without looking on us. And I heard the Lepels say
that naught could yet be seen of his Majesty, but that the
coast-guard fleet around Ruden was in motion, and that several
hundred ships were sailing this way. As soon as this news was
known, all the folk ran to the sea-shore (which is but a step from
the Stone); and the noblemen rode thither too, all save Wittich,
who had dismounted, and who, when he saw that I sent old Paasch
his boy up into a tall oak-tree to look out for the king,
straightway busied himself about my daughter again, who now sat
all alone upon the Stone: "Why had she not taken his huntsman? and
whether she would not change her mind on the matter and have him
now, or else come into service with him (the sheriff) himself? for
that if she would not, he believed she might be sorry for it one
day." Whereupon she answered him (as she told me), that there was
but one thing she was sorry for, namely, that his lordship would
take so much useless pains upon her; whereupon she rose with all
haste and came to where I stood under the tree, looking after the
lad who was climbing up it. But our old Ilse said that he swore a
great curse when my daughter turned her back upon him, and went
straightway into the alder-grove close by the high road, where
stood the old witch Lizzie Kolken.

Meanwhile I went with my daughter to the sea-shore and found it
quite true that the whole fleet was sailing over from Ruden and
Oie towards Wollin, and several ships passed so close before us
that we could see the soldiers standing upon them and the flashing
of their arms. _Item_, we heard the horses neigh and the
soldiery laugh. On one ship, too, they were drumming, and on
another cattle lowed and sheep bleated. Whilst we yet gazed we saw
smoke come out from one of the ships, followed by a great noise,
and presently we were aware of the ball bounding over the water,
which foamed and splashed on either side, and coming straight
towards us. Hereupon the crowd ran away on every side with loud
cries, and we plainly heard the soldiery in the ships laugh
thereat. But the ball flew up and struck into the midst of an oak
hard by Paasch his boy, so that nearly two cart-loads of boughs
fell to the earth with a great crash, and covered all the road by
which his Majesty was to come. Hereupon the boy would stop no
longer in the tree, however much I exhorted him thereto, but cried
out to us as he came down that a great troop of soldiers was
marching out of the forest by Damerow, and that likely enough the
king was among them. Hereupon the sheriff ordered the road to be
cleared forthwith, and this was some time a-doing, seeing that the
thick boughs were stuck fast in the trees all around; the nobles,
as soon as all was made ready, would have ridden to meet his
Majesty, but stayed still on the little greensward, because we
already heard the noise of horses, carriages, and voices close to
us in the forest.

It was not long before the cannons broke through the brushwood
with the three guides seated upon them. And seeing that one of
them was known to me (it was Stoffer Krauthahn, of Peenemünde), I
drew near and begged him that he would tell me when the king
should come. But he answered that he was going forward with the
cannon to Coserow, and that I was only to watch for a tall dark
man, with a hat and feather and a gold chain round his neck, for
that that was the king, and that he rode next after the great
standard whereon was a yellow lion.

Wherefore I narrowly watched the procession as it wound out of the
forest. And next after the artillery came the Finnish and Lapland
bowmen, who went clothed all in furs, although it was now the
height of summer, whereat I greatly wondered. After these there
came much people, but I know not what they were. Presently I
espied over the hazel-tree which stood in my way, so that I could
not see everything as soon as it came forth out of the coppice,
the great flag with the lion on it, and, behind that, the head of
a very dark man with a golden chain round his neck, whereupon
straightway I judged this must be the king. I therefore waved my
napkin toward the steeple, whereupon the bells forthwith rang out,
and while the dark man rode nearer to us, I pulled off my
skull-cap, fell upon my knees, and led the Ambrosian hymn of
praise, and all the people plucked their hats from their heads and
knelt down on the ground all around singing after me; men, women,
and children, save only the nobles, who stood still on the
greensward, and did not take off their hats and behave with
attention until they saw that his Majesty drew in his horse. (It
was a coal-black charger, and stopped with its two forefeet right
upon my field, which I took as a sign of good fortune.) When we
had finished, the sheriff quickly got off his horse, and would
have approached the king with his three guides who followed after
him; _item_, I had taken my child by the hand, and would also
have drawn near to the king. Howbeit, his Majesty motioned away
the sheriff and beckoned us to approach, whereupon I wished his
Majesty joy in the Latin tongue, and extolled his magnanimous
heart, seeing that he had deigned to visit German ground for the
protection and aid of poor persecuted Christendom; and praised it
as a sign from God that such had happened on this the highest
festival of our poor Church, and I prayed his Majesty graciously
to receive what my daughter desired to present to him; whereupon
his Majesty looked on her and smiled pleasantly. Such gracious
bearing made her bold again, albeit she trembled visibly just
before, and she reached him a blue and yellow wreath whereon lay
the _carmen_, saying, "_Accipe hanc vilem coronam et
hæc_," whereupon she began to recite the _carmen_.
Meanwhile his Majesty grew more and more gracious, looking now on
her and now on the _carmen_, and nodded with especial
kindness towards the end, which was as follows:--

     "Tempus erit, quo tu reversus ab hostibus ultor
     Intrabis patriæ libera regna meæ;
  Tune meliora student nostræ tibi carmina musæ,
     Tunc tua, maxime rex, Martia facta canam.
  Tu modo versiculis ne spernas vilibus ausum
     Auguror et res est ista futura brevi!
  Sis fœlix, fortisque diu, vive optlme princeps,
  Omnia, et ut possis vincere, dura. Vale!"

 [Footnote:
    Thou shall return chastier of the foe,
    To the freed kingdoms of my native land!
  Then shall our song with loftier cadence flow,
    Boasting the deeds of thy heroic hand!
  Scorn not, meanwhile, the feeble lines which thus
    Thy future glory and success foretell.
  Live, prince beloved! be brave, be prosperous;
  Conquer, howe'er opposed,--and fare thee well!]

As soon as she held her peace his Majesty said, "_Propius
accedas, patria virgo, ut te osculer_;" whereupon she drew near
to his horse, blushing deeply. I thought he would only have kissed
her forehead, as potentates commonly use to do; but not at all, he
kissed her lips with a loud smack, and the long feathers on his
hat drooped over her neck, so that I was quite afraid for her
again. But he soon raised up his head, and taking off his gold
chain, whereon dangled his own effigy, he hung it round my child's
neck with these words, "_Hocce tuæ pulchritudini! et si favente
Deo redux fuero victor, promissum carmen et præterea duo oscula
exspecto_."

Hereupon the sheriff, with his three men, again came forward and
bowed down to the ground before his Majesty. But as he knew no
Latin, _item_, no Italian nor French, I had to act as
interpreter. For his Majesty inquired how far it was to Swine, and
whether there was still much foreign soldiery there? And the
sheriff thought there were still about 200 Croats in the camp.
Whereupon his Majesty spurred on his horse, and, nodding
graciously, cried "_Valete_!" And now came the rest of the
troops, about 3000 strong, out of the coppice, which likewise had
a valiant bearing, and attempted no fooleries, as troops are wont
to do, when they passed by us and the women, but marched on in
honest quietness, and we followed the train until the forest
beyond Coserow, where we commended it to the care of the Almighty,
and every one went on his way home.



CHAPTER XVI.

_How little Mary Paasch was sorely plagued of the devil, and the
whole parish fell off from me._


Before I proceed any further, I will first mark that the
illustrious king Gustavus Adolphus, as we presently heard, had cut
down the 300 Croats at Swine, and was thence gone by sea to
Stettin. May God be for ever gracious to him! Amen.

But my sorrows increased from day to day, seeing that the devil
now played pranks such as he never had played before. I had begun
to think that the ears of God had hearkened to our ardent prayers,
but it pleased Him to try us yet more hardly than ever. For, a few
days after the arrival of the most illustrious king Gustavus
Adolphus, it was bruited about that my child her little
god-daughter was possessed of the evil one, and tumbled about most
piteously on her bed, insomuch that no one was able to hold her.
My child straightway went to see her little god-daughter, but
presently came weeping home. Old Paasch would not suffer her even
to come near her, but railed at her very angrily, and said that
she should never come within his doors again, as his child had got
the mischief from the white roll which she had given her that
morning. It was true that my child had given her a roll, seeing
that the maid had been, the day before, to Wolgast, and had
brought back a napkin full of them.

Such news vexed me sore, and after putting on my cassock I went to
old Paasch his house, to exorcise the foul fiend, and to remove
such disgrace from my child. I found the old man standing on the
floor by the cockloft steps, weeping; and after I had spoken "The
peace of God," I asked him first of all, whether he really
believed that his little Mary had been bewitched by means of the
roll which my child had given her? He said "Yes!" And when I
answered, That in that case I also must have been bewitched,
_item_, Pagel his little girl, seeing that we both had eaten
of the rolls, he was silent, and asked me with a sigh, whether I
would not go into the room, and see for myself how matters stood.
I then entered with "The peace of God," and found six people
standing round little Mary her bed; her eyes were shut, and she
was as stiff as a board; wherefore Kit Wels (who was a young and
sturdy fellow) seized the little child by one leg, and held her
out like a hedge-stake, so that I might see how the devil plagued
her. I now said a prayer, and Satan, perceiving that a servant of
Christ was come, began to tear the child so fearfully that it was
pitiful to behold; for she flung about her hands and feet, so that
four strong men were scarce able to hold her; _item_, she was
afflicted with extraordinary risings and fallings of her belly, as
if a living creature were therein, so that at last the old witch
Lizzie Kolken sat herself upon her belly, whereupon the child
seemed to be somewhat better, and I told her to repeat the
Apostles' Creed, so as to see whether it really were the devil who
possessed her. [Footnote: It was imagined in those fearful times
that when the sick person could repeat the three articles of
belief, and especially some passages from the Bible bearing
particular reference to the work of redemption, he was not
possessed, since "no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by
the Holy Ghost" (I Cor, xii. 3).] She straightway grew worse than
before, and began to gnash her teeth, to roll her eyes, and to
strike so hard with her hands and feet that she flung her father,
who held one of her legs, right into the middle of the room, and
then struck her foot so hard against the bedstead that the blood
flowed, and Lizzie Kolken was thrown about on her belly, as though
she had been in a swing. And as I ceased not, but exorcised Satan
that he should leave her, she began to howl and to bark like a
dog, _item_, to laugh, and spoke at last, with a gruff bass
voice like an old man's, "I will not depart." But he should soon
have been forced to depart out of her, had not both father and
mother besought me, by God's holy Sacrament, to leave their poor
child in peace, seeing that nothing did her any good, but rather
made her worse. I was therefore forced to desist, and only
admonished the parents to seek for help like the Canaanitish
woman, in true repentance and incessant prayer, and with her to
sigh in constant faith, "Have mercy upon me, O Lord, thou son of
David, my daughter is grievously vexed of a devil" (Matt. xv.);
that the heart of our Lord would then melt, so that He would have
mercy on their child, and command Satan to depart from her.
_Item_, I promised to pray for the little child on the
following Sunday with the whole congregation, and told them to
bring her, if it were any ways possible, to the church, seeing
that the ardent prayer of the whole congregation has power to rise
beyond the clouds. This they promised to do, and I then went home
sorely troubled, where I soon learned that she was somewhat
better; thus it still is sure that Satan hates nothing so much,
after the Lord Jesus, as the servants of the Gospel. But wait, and
I shall even yet "bruise thy head with my heel" (Gen. iii.);
naught shall avail thee.

Howbeit, before the blessed Sunday came I perceived that many of
my people went out of my way, both in the village and elsewhere in
the parish, where I went to visit sundry sick folks. When I went
to Uekeritze to see young Tittelwitz, there even befell me as
follows. Claus Pieper the peasant stood in his yard chopping wood,
and on seeing me he flung the axe out of his hand so hastily that
it stuck in the ground, and he ran towards the pig-stye, making
the sign of the cross. I motioned him to stop, and asked why he
thus ran from me his confessor? Whether, peradventure, he also
believed that my daughter had bewitched her little godchild?
_Ille_. Yes, he believed it, because the whole parish did.
_Ego_. Why, then, had she been so kind to her formerly, and
kept her like a sister, through the worst of the famine?
_Ille_. This was not the only mischief she had done.
_Ego_. What, then, had she done besides? _Ille_. That
was all one to me. _Ego_. He should tell me, or I would
complain to the magistrate. _Ille_. That I might do, if I
pleased. Whereupon he went his way insolently. Any one may guess
that I was not slow to inquire everywhere, what people thought my
daughter had done; but no one would tell me anything, and I might
have grieved to death at such evil reports. Moreover, not one
child came during this whole week to school to my daughter; and
when I sent out the maid to ask the reason, she brought back word
that the children were ill, or that the parents wanted them for
their work. I thought and thought, but all to no purpose, until
the blessed Sunday came round, when I meant to have held a great
Sacrament, seeing that many people had made known their intention
to come to the Lord's Table. It seemed strange to me that I saw no
one standing, as was their wont, about the church door; I thought,
however, that they might have gone into the houses. But when I
went into the church with my daughter, there were not more than
six people assembled, among whom was old Lizzie Kolken; and the
accursed witch no sooner saw my daughter follow me, than she made
the sign of the cross and ran out of the door under the steeple;
whereupon the five others, among them mine own churchwarden Claus
Bulken (I had not appointed any one in the room of old Seden),
followed her. I was so horror-struck that my blood curdled, and I
began to tremble, so that I fell with my shoulder against the
confessional. My child, to whom I had as yet told nothing, in
order to spare her, then asked me, "Father, what is the matter
with all the people? are they, too, bewitched?" Whereupon I came
to myself again, and went into the churchyard to look after them.
But all were gone save my churchwarden Claus Bulken, who stood
under the lime-tree whistling to himself. I stepped up to him, and
asked what had come to the people? whereupon he answered, he could
not tell; and when I asked him again, why, then, he himself had
left the church, he said, What was he to do there alone, seeing
that no collection could be made? I then implored him to tell me
the truth, and what horrid suspicion had arisen against me in the
parish? But he answered, I should very soon find it out for
myself; and he jumped over the wall and went into old Lizzie her
house, which stands close by the churchyard.

My child had made ready some veal broth for dinner, for which I
mostly use to leave everything else; but I could not swallow one
spoonful, but sat resting my head on my hand, and doubted whether
I should tell her or no. Meanwhile the old maid came in, ready for
a journey, and with a bundle in her hand, and begged me with tears
to give her leave to go. My poor child turned pale as a corpse,
and asked in amaze what had come to her? but she merely answered,
"Nothing!" and wiped her eyes with her apron. When I recovered my
speech, which had well-nigh left me at seeing that this faithful
old creature was also about to forsake me, I began to question her
why she wished to go; she who had dwelt with me so long, and who
would not forsake us even in the great famine, but had faithfully
borne up against it, and indeed had humbled me by her faith, and
had exhorted me to stand out gallantly to the last, for which I
should be grateful to her as long as I lived. Hereupon she merely
wept and sobbed yet more, and at length brought out that she still
had an old mother of eighty, living in Liepe, and that she wished
to go and nurse her till her end. Hereupon my daughter jumped up,
and answered with tears, "Alas, old Ilse, why wilt thou leave us,
for thy mother is with thy brother! Do but tell me why thou wilt
forsake me, and what harm have I done thee, that I may make it
good to thee again." But she hid her face in her apron, and
sobbed, and could not get out a single word; whereupon my child
drew away the apron from her face, and would have stroked her
cheeks, to make her speak. But when Ilse saw this she struck my
poor child's hand, and cried "Ugh!" spat out before her, and
straightway went out at the door. Such a thing she had never done
even when my child was a little girl, and we were both so shocked
that we could neither of us say a word.

Before long my poor child gave a loud cry, and cast herself upon
the bench, weeping and wailing, "What has happened, what has
happened?" I therefore thought I ought to tell her what I had
heard, namely, that she was looked upon as a witch. Whereat she
began to smile instead of weeping any more, and ran out of the
door to overtake the maid, who had already left the house, as we
had seen. She returned after an hour crying out that all the
people in the village had run away from her, when she would have
asked them whither the maid was gone. _Item_, the little
children, for whom she had kept school, had screamed, and had
hidden themselves from her: also no one would answer her a single
word, but all spat out before her, as the maid had done. On her
way home she had seen a boat on the water, and had run as fast as
she could to the shore, and called with might and main after old
Ilse, who was in the boat. But she had taken no notice of her, not
even once to look round after her, but had motioned her to be
gone. And now she went on to weep and to sob the whole day and the
whole night, so that I was more miserable than even in the time of
the great famine. But the worst was yet to come, as will be shown
in the following chapter.



CHAPTER XVII.

_How my poor child was taken up for a witch, and carried to
Pudgla._


The next day, Monday, the 12th July, at about eight in the
morning, while we sat in our grief, wondering who could have
prepared such great sorrow for us, and speedily agreed that it
could be none other than the accursed witch Lizzie Kolken, a coach
with four horses drove quickly up to the door, wherein sat six
fellows, who straightway all jumped out. Two went and stood at the
front, two at the back door, and two more, one of whom was the
constable Jacob Knake, came into the room, and handed me a warrant
from the sheriff for the arrest of my daughter, as in common
repute of being a wicked witch, and for her examination before the
criminal court. Any one may guess how my heart sunk within me when
I read this. I dropped to the earth like a felled tree, and when I
came to myself my child had thrown herself upon me with loud
cries, and her hot tears ran down over my face. When she saw that
I came to myself, she began to praise God therefore with a loud
voice, and essayed to comfort me, saying that she was innocent,
and should appear with a clean conscience before her judges.
_Item_, she repeated to me the beautiful text from Matthew,
chap. v.: "Blessed are ye when men shall revile you, and persecute
you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely for My
sake."

And she begged me to rise and to throw my cassock over my doublet,
and go with her, for that without me she would not suffer herself
to be carried before the sheriff. Meanwhile, however, all the
village--men, women, and children--had thronged together before my
door; but they remained quiet, and only peeped in at the windows
as though they would have looked right through the house. When we
had both made us ready, and the constable, who at first would not
take me with them, had thought better of it, by reason of a good
fee which my daughter gave him, we walked to the coach; but I was
so helpless that I could not get up into it.

Old Paasch, when he saw this, came and helped me up into the
coach, saying, "God comfort ye! Alas, that you should ever see
your child come to this!" and he kissed my hand to take leave.

A few others came up to the coach, and would have done likewise;
but I besought them not to make my heart still heavier, and to
take Christian charge of my house and my affairs until I should
return. Also to pray diligently for me and my daughter, so that
the evil one, who had long gone about our village like a roaring
lion, and who now threatened to devour me, might not prevail
against us, but might be forced to depart from me and from my
child as from our guileless Saviour in the wilderness. But to this
none answered a word; and I heard right well, as we drove away,
that many spat out after us, and one said (my child thought it was
Berow her voice), "We would far sooner lay fire under thy coats
than pray for thee." We were still sighing over such words as
these, when we came near to the churchyard, and there sat the
accursed witch Lizzie Kolken at the door of her house with her
hymn-book in her lap, screeching out at the top of her voice, "God
the Father, dwell with us," as we drove past her: the which vexed
my poor child so sore that she swooned, and fell like one dead
upon me. I begged the driver to stop, and called to old Lizzie to
bring us a pitcher of water; but she did as though she had not
heard me, and went on to sing so that it rang again. Whereupon the
constable jumped down, and at my request ran back to my house to
fetch a pitcher of water; and he presently came back with it, and
the people after him, who began to say aloud that my child's bad
conscience had stricken her, and that she had now betrayed
herself. Wherefore I thanked God when she came to life again, and
we could leave the village. But at Uekeritze it was just the same,
for all the people had flocked together, and were standing on the
green before Labahn his house when we went by.

Nevertheless, they were quiet enough as we drove past, albeit some
few cried, "How can it be, how can it be?" I heard nothing else.
But in the forest near the watermill the miller and all his men
ran out and shouted, laughing, "Look at the witch, look at the
witch!" Whereupon one of the men struck at my poor child with the
sack which he held in his hand, so that she turned quite white,
and the flour flew all about the coach like a cloud. When I
rebuked him, the wicked rogue laughed and said, That if no other
smoke than that ever came under her nose, so much the better for
her. _Item_, it was worse in Pudgla than even at the mill.
The people stood so thick on the hill, before the castle, that we
could scarce force our way through, and the sheriff caused the
death-bell in the castle tower to toll as an _avisum_.
Whereupon more and more people came running out of the ale-houses
and cottages. Some cried out, "Is that the witch?" Others, again,
"Look at the parson's witch! the parson's witch!" and much more,
which for very shame I may not write. They scraped up the mud out
of the gutter which ran from the castle kitchen and threw it upon
us; _item_, a great stone, the which struck one of the horses
so that it shied, and belike would have upset the coach had not a
man sprung forward and held it in. All this happened before the
castle gates, where the sheriff stood smiling and looking on, with
a heron's feather stuck in his grey hat. But so soon as the horse
was quiet again he came to the coach and mocked at my child,
saying, "See, young maid, thou wouldest not come to me, and here
thou art nevertheless!" Whereupon she answered, "Yea, I come; and
may you one day come before your Judge as I come before you;"
whereunto I said, Amen, and asked him how his lordship could
answer before God and man for what he had done to a wretched man
like myself and to my child? But he answered, saying, Why had I
come with her? And when I told him of the rude people here,
_item_, of the churlish miller's man, he said that it was not
his fault, and threatened the people all around with his fist, for
they were making a great noise. Thereupon he commanded my child to
get down and to follow him, and went before her into the castle;
motioned the constable, who would have gone with them, to stay at
the foot of the steps, and began to mount the winding staircase to
the upper rooms alone with my child.

But she whispered me privately, "Do not leave me, father;" and I
presently followed softly after them. Hearing by their voices in
which chamber they were, I laid my ear against the door to listen.
And the villain offered to her that if she would love him naught
should harm her, saying he had power to save her from the people;
but that if she would not, she should go before the court next
day, and she might guess herself how it would fare with her,
seeing that he had many witnesses to prove that she had played the
wanton with Satan, and had suffered him to kiss her. Hereupon she
was silent, and only sobbed, which the arch rogue took as a good
sign, and went on, "If you have had Satan himself for a
sweetheart, you surely may love me." And he went to her and would
have taken her in his arms, as I perceived; for she gave a loud
scream, and flew to the door; but he held her fast, and begged and
threatened as the devil prompted him. I was about to go in when I
heard her strike him in the face, saying, "Get thee behind me,
Satan," so that he let her go. Whereupon she ran out at the door
so suddenly that she threw me on the ground, and fell upon me with
a loud cry. Hereat the sheriff, who had followed her, started, but
presently cried out, "Wait, thou prying parson, I will teach thee
to listen!" and ran out and beckoned to the constable who stood on
the steps below. He bade him first shut me up in one dungeon,
seeing that I was an eavesdropper, and then return and thrust my
child into another. But he thought better of it when he had come
half way down the winding-stair, and said he would excuse me this
time, and that the constable might let me go, and only lock up my
child very fast, and bring the key to him, seeing she was a
stubborn person, as he had seen at the very first hearing which he
had given her.

Hereupon my poor child was torn from me, and I fell in a swound
upon the steps. I know not how I got down them; but when I came to
myself, I was in the constable his room, and his wife was throwing
water in my face. There I passed the night sitting in a chair, and
sorrowed more than I prayed, seeing that my faith was greatly
shaken, and the Lord came not to strengthen it.



CHAPTER XVIII.

_Of the first trial, and what came thereof._


Next morning, as I walked up and down in the court, seeing that I
had many times asked the constable in vain to lead me to my child
(he would not even tell me where she lay), and for very
disquietude I had at last begun to wander about there; about six
o'clock there came a coach from Uzdom, [Footnote: Or Usedom, a
small town which gives its name to the whole island.] wherein sat
his worship, Master Samuel Pieper, _consul dirigens_,
_item_, the _camerarius_ Gebhard Wenzel, and a
_scriba_, whose name, indeed, I heard, but have forgotten it
again; and my daughter forgot it too, albeit in other things she
has an excellent memory, and, indeed, told me most of what
follows, for my old head well-nigh burst, so that I myself could
remember but little. I straightway went up to the coach, and
begged that the worshipful court would suffer me to be present at
the trial, seeing that my daughter was yet in her nonage, but
which the sheriff, who meanwhile had stepped up to the coach from
the terrace, whence he had seen all, had denied me. But his
worship Master Samuel Pieper, who was a little round man, with a
fat paunch, and a beard mingled with grey hanging down to his
middle, reached me his hand, and condoled with me like a Christian
in my trouble: I might come into court in God's name; and he
wished with all his heart that all whereof my daughter was fyled
might prove to be foul lies. Nevertheless I had still to wait full
two hours before their worships came down the winding stair again.
At last towards nine o'clock I heard the constable moving about
the chairs and benches in the judgment chamber; and as I conceived
that the time was now come, I went in and sat myself down on a
bench. No one, however, was yet there, save the constable and his
young daughter, who was wiping the table, and held a rosebud
between her lips. I was fain to beg her to give it me, so that I
might have it to smell to; and I believe that I should have been
carried dead out of the room that day if I had not had it. God is
thus able to preserve our lives even by means of a poor flower, if
so He wills it!

At length their worships came in and sat round the table,
whereupon _Dom. Consul_ motioned the constable to fetch in my
child. Meanwhile he asked the sheriff whether he had put
_Rea_ in chains, and when he said No, he gave him such a
reprimand that it went through my very marrow. But the sheriff
excused himself, saying that he had not done so from regard to her
quality, but had locked her up in so fast a dungeon, that she
could not possibly escape therefrom. Whereupon _Dom. Consul_
answered that much is possible to the devil, and that they would
have to answer for it should _Rea_ escape. This angered the
sheriff, and he replied that if the devil could convey her through
walls seven feet thick, and through three doors, he could very
easily break her chains too. Whereupon _Dom. Consul_ said
that hereafter he would look at the prison himself; and I think
that the sheriff had been so kind only because he yet hoped (as,
indeed, will hereafter be shown) to talk over my daughter to let
him have his will of her.

And now the door opened, and my poor child came in with the
constable, but walking backwards, [Footnote: This ridiculous
proceeding always took place at the first examination of a witch,
as it was imagined that she would otherwise bewitch the judges
with her looks. On this occasion indeed such an event was not
unlikely.] and without her shoes, the which she was forced to
leave without. The fellow had seized her by her long hair, and
thus dragged her up to the table, when first she was to turn round
and look upon her judges. He had a vast deal to say in the matter,
and was in every way a bold and impudent rogue, as will soon be
shown. After _Dom. Consul_ had heaved a deep sigh, and gazed
at her from head to foot, he first asked her her name, and how old
she was; _item_, if she knew why she was summoned before
them? On the last point she answered that the sheriff had already
told her father the reason; that she wished not to wrong any one,
but thought that the sheriff himself had brought upon her the
repute of a witch, in order to gain her to his wicked will.
Hereupon she told all his ways with her, from the very first, and
how he would by all means have had her for his housekeeper; and
that when she would not (although he had many times come himself
to her father his house), one day, as he went out of the door, he
had muttered in his beard, "I will have her, despite of all!"
which their servant Claus Neels had heard, as he stood in the
stable; and he had also sought to gain his ends by means of an
ungodly woman, one Lizzie Kolken, who had formerly been in his
service; that this woman, belike, had contrived the spells which
they laid to her charge: she herself knew nothing of witchcraft;
_item_, she related what the sheriff had done to her the
evening before, when she had just come, and when he for the first
time spoke out plainly, thinking that she was then altogether in
his power: nay, more, that he had come to her that very night
again, in her dungeon, and had made her the same offers, saying
that he would set her free if she would let him have his will of
her; and that when she denied him, he had struggled with her,
whereupon she had screamed aloud, and had scratched him across the
nose, as might yet be seen, whereupon he had left her; wherefore
she would not acknowledge the sheriff as her judge, and trusted in
God to save her from the hand of her enemies, as of old He had
saved the chaste Susannah.

When she now held her peace amid loud sobs, _Dom. Consul_
started up after he had looked, as we all did, at the sheriff's
nose, and had in truth espied the scar upon it, and cried out in
amaze, "Speak, for God His sake, speak, what is this that I hear
of your lordship?" Whereupon the sheriff, without changing colour,
answered, that although, indeed, he was not called upon to say
anything to their worships, seeing that he was the head of the
court, and that _Rea_, as appeared from numberless
_indicia_, was a wicked witch, and therefore could not bear
witness against him or any one else; he, nevertheless, would
speak, so as to give no cause of scandal to the court; that all
the charges brought against him by this person were foul lies; it
was, indeed, true, that he would have hired her for a housekeeper,
whereof he stood greatly in need, seeing that his old Dorothy was
already growing infirm; it was also true that he had yesterday
questioned her in private, hoping to get her to confess by fair
means, whereby her sentence would be softened, inasmuch as he had
pity on her great youth; but that he had not said one naughty word
to her, nor had he been to her in the night; and that it was his
little lap-dog, called Below, which had scratched him, while he
played with it that very morning; that his old Dorothy could bear
witness to this, and that the cunning witch had only made use of
this wile to divide the court against itself, thereby, and with
the devil's help, to gain her own advantage, inasmuch as she was a
most cunning creature, as the court would soon find out.

Hereupon I plucked up a heart, and declared that all my daughter
had said was true, and that the evening before I myself had heard,
through the door, how his lordship had made offers to her, and
would have done wantonness with her; _item_, that he had
already sought to kiss her once at Coserow; _item_, the
troubles which his lordship had formerly brought upon me in the
matter of the first-fruits.

Howbeit the sheriff presently talked me down, saying, that if I
had slandered him, an innocent man, in church, from the pulpit, as
the whole congregation could bear witness, I should doubtless find
it easy to do as much here, before the court; not to mention that
a father could, in no case, be a witness for his own child.

But _Dom. Consul_ seemed quite confounded, and was silent,
and leaned his head on the table, as in deep thought. Meanwhile
the impudent constable began to finger his beard from under his
arm; and _Dom. Consul_, thinking it was a fly, struck at him
with his hand, without even looking up; but when he felt the
constable his hand, he jumped up and asked him what he wanted?
whereupon the fellow answered, "Oh, only a louse was creeping
there, and I would have caught it."

At such impudence his worship was so exceeding wroth that he
struck the constable on the mouth, and ordered him, on pain of
heavy punishment, to leave the room.

Hereupon he turned to the sheriff, and cried angrily, "Why, in the
name of all the ten devils, is it thus your lordship keeps the
constable in order? and truly, in this whole matter there is
something which passes my understanding." But the sheriff
answered, "Not so; should you not understand it all when you think
upon the eels?"

Hereat _Dom. Consul_ of a sudden turned ghastly pale, and
began to tremble, as it appeared to me, and called the sheriff
aside into another chamber. I have never been able to learn what
that about the eels could mean.

Meanwhile _Dominus Camerarius_ Gebhard Wenzel sat biting his
pen and looking furiously--now at me, and now at my child, but
said not a word; neither did he answer _Scriba_, who often
whispered somewhat into his ear, save by a growl. At length both
their worships came back into the chamber together, and _Dom.
Consul_, after he and the sheriff had seated themselves, began
to reproach my poor child violently, saying that she had sought to
make a disturbance in the worshipful court; that his lordship had
shown him the very dog which had scratched his nose, and that,
moreover, the fact had been sworn to by the old housekeeper.

(Truly _she_ was not likely to betray him, for the old harlot
had lived with him for years, and she had a good big boy by him,
as will be seen hereafter.)

_Item_, he said that so many _indicia_ of her guilt had
come to light, that it was impossible to believe anything she
might say; she was therefore to give glory to God, and openly to
confess everything, so as to soften her punishment; whereby she
might perchance, in pity for her youth, escape with life, &c.

Hereupon he put his spectacles on his nose, and began to
cross-question her, during near four hours, from a paper which he
held in his hand. These were the main articles, as far as we both
can remember:

_Quæstio_. Whether she could bewitch?--_Responsio_. No;
she knew nothing of witchcraft.

_Q_. Whether she could charm?--_R_. Of that she knew as
little.

_Q_. Whether she had ever been on the Blocksberg?--_R_.
That was too far off for her; she knew few hills save the
Streckelberg, where she had been very often.

_Q_. What had she done there?--_R_. She had looked out
over the sea, or gathered flowers; _item_, at times carried
home an apronful of dry brushwood.

_Q_. Whether she had ever called upon the devil
there?--_R_. That had never come into her mind.

_Q_. Whether, then, the devil had appeared to her there,
uncalled?--R. God defend her from such a thing.

_Q_. So she could not bewitch?--_R_. No.

_Q_. What, then, befell Kit Zuter his spotted cow, that it
suddenly died in her presence?--_R_. She did not know; and
that was a strange question.

_Q_.. Then it would be as strange a question, why Katie Berow
her little pig had died?--_R_. Assuredly; she wondered what
they would lay to her charge.

_Q_. Then she had not bewitched them?--_R_. No; God
forbid it.

_Q_. Why, then, if she were innocent, had she promised old
Katie another little pig, when her sow should litter?--_R_.
She did that out of kind-heartedness. (And hereupon she began to
weep bitterly, and said she plainly saw that she had to thank old
Lizzie Kolken for all this, inasmuch as she had often threatened
her when she would not fulfil all her greedy desires, for she
wanted everything that came in her way; moreover, that Lizzie had
gone all about the village when the cattle were bewitched,
persuading the people that if only a pure maid pulled a few hairs
out of the beasts' tails they would get better. That she pitied
them, and knowing herself to be a maid, went to help them; and
indeed, at first it cured them, but latterly not.)

_Q_. What cattle had she cured?--_R_. Zabel his red cow;
_item_, Witthan her pig, and old Lizzie's own cow.

_Q_. Why could she afterwards cure them no more?--_R_.
She did not know, but thought-albeit she had no wish to fyle any
one--that old Lizzie Kolken, who for many a long year had been in
common repute as a witch, had done it all, and bewitched the cows
in her name and then charmed them back again, as she pleased, only
to bring her to misfortune.

_Q_. Why, then, had old Lizzie bewitched her own cow,
_item_, suffered her own pig to die, if it was she that had
made all the disturbance in the village, and could really
charm?--_R_. She did not know; but belike there was some one
(and here she looked at the sheriff) who paid her double for it
all.

_Q_. It was in vain that she sought to shift the guilt from
off herself; had she not bewitched old Paasch his crop, nay, even
her own father's, and caused it to be trodden down by the devil,
_item_, conjured all the caterpillars into her father's
orchard?--_R_. The question was almost as monstrous as the
deed would have been. There sat her father, and his worship might
ask him whether she ever had shown herself an undutiful child to
him. (Hereupon I would have risen to speak, but _Dom. Consul_
suffered me not to open my mouth, but went on with his
examination; whereupon I remained silent and downcast.)

_Q_. Whether she did likewise deny that it was through her
malice that the woman Witthan had given birth to a devil's imp,
which straightway started up and flew out at the window, so that
when the midwife sought for it it had disappeared?--_R_.
Truly she did; and indeed she had all the days of her life done
good to the people instead of harm, for during the terrible famine
she had often taken the bread out of her own mouth to share it
among the others, especially the little children. To this the
whole parish must needs bear witness, if they were asked; whereas
witches and warlocks always did evil and no good to men, as our
Lord Jesus taught (Matt. xii.), when the Pharisees blasphemed Him,
saying that He cast out devils by Beelzebub the prince of the
devils; hence his worship might see whether she could in truth be
a witch.

_Q_. He would soon teach her to talk of blasphemies; he saw
that her tongue was well hung; but she must answer the questions
he asked her, and say nothing more. The question was not what good
she had done to the poor, but _wherewithal_ she had done it?
She must now show how she and her father had of a sudden grown so
rich that she could go pranking about in silken raiment, whereas
she used to be so very poor?

Hereupon she looked towards me, and said, "Father, shall I tell?"
Whereupon I answered, "Yes, my child, now thou must openly tell
all, even though we thereby become beggars." She accordingly told
how, when our need was sorest, she had found the amber, and how
much we had gotten for it from the Dutch merchants.

_Q_. What were the names of these merchants?--_R_.
Dieterich von Pehnen and Jakob Kiekebusch; but, as we have heard
from a schipper, they since died of the plague at Stettin.

_Q_. Why had we said nothing of such a godsend?--_R_.
Out of fear of our enemy the sheriff, who, as it seemed, had
condemned us to die of hunger, inasmuch as he forbade the
parishioners, under pain of heavy displeasure, to supply us with
anything, saying that he would soon send them a better parson.

Hereupon _Dom. Consul_ again looked the sheriff sharply in
the face, who answered that it was true he had said this, seeing
that the parson had preached at him in the most scandalous manner
from the pulpit; but that he knew very well, at the time, that
they were far enough from dying of hunger.

_Q_. How came so much amber on the Streckelberg? She had best
confess at once that the devil had brought it to her.--_R_.
She knew nothing about that. But there was a great vein of amber
there, as she could show to them all that very day; and she had
broken out the amber, and covered the hole well over with
fir-twigs, so that none should find it.

_Q_. When had she gone up the Streckelberg; by day or by
night?--_R_. Hereupon she blushed, and for a moment held her
peace; but presently made answer, "Sometimes by day, and sometimes
by night."

_Q_. Why did she hesitate? She had better make a full
confession of all, so that her punishment might be less heavy. Had
she not there given over old Seden to Satan, who had carried him
off through the air, and left only a part of his hair and brains
sticking to the top of an oak?--_R_. She did not know whether
that was his hair and brains at all, nor how it came there. She
went to the tree one morning because she heard a woodpecker cry so
dolefully. _Item_, old Paasch, who also had heard the cries,
came up with his axe in his hand.

_Q_. Whether the woodpecker was not the devil himself, who
had carried off old Seden?--_R_. She did not know: but he
must have been dead some time, seeing that the blood and brains
which the lad fetched down out of the tree were quite dried up.

_Q_. How and when, then, had he come by his death?--_R_.
That Almighty God only knew. But Zuter his little girl had said
that one day, while she gathered nettles for the cows under Seden
his hedge, she heard the goodman threaten his squint-eyed wife
that he would tell the parson that he now knew of a certainty that
she had a familiar spirit; whereupon the goodman had presently
disappeared. But that this was a child's tale, and she would fyle
no one on the strength of it.

Hereupon _Dom. Consul_ again looked the sheriff steadily in
the face, and said, "Old Lizzie Kolken must be brought before us
this very day:" whereto the sheriff made no answer; and he went on
to ask--

_Q_. Whether, then, she still maintained that she knew
nothing of the devil?--_R_. She maintained it now, and would
maintain it until her life's end.

_Q_. And nevertheless, as had been seen by witnesses, she had
been re-baptized by him in the sea in broad daylight.--Here again
she blushed, and for a moment was silent.

_Q_. Why did she blush again? She should for God His sake
think on her salvation, and confess the truth.--_R_. She had
bathed herself in the sea, seeing that the day was very hot; that
was the whole truth.

_Q_. What chaste maiden would ever bathe in the sea? Thou
liest; or wilt thou even yet deny that thou didst bewitch old
Paasch his little girl with a white roll?--_R_. Alas! alas!
she loved the child as though it were her own little sister; not
only had she taught her as well as all the other children without
reward, but during the heavy famine she had often taken the bit
from her own mouth to put it into the little child's. How then
could she have wished to do her such grievous harm?

_Q_. Wilt thou even yet deny? Reverend Abraham, how stubborn
is your child! See here, is this no witches' salve, [Footnote: It
was believed that the devil gave the witches a salve, by the use
of which they made themselves invisible, changed themselves into
animals, flew through the air, &c.] which the constable fetched
out of thy coffer last night? Is this no witches' salve,
eh?--_R_. It was a salve for the skin, which would make it
soft and white, as the apothecary at Wolgast had told her, of whom
she bought it.

_Q_. Hereupon he shook his head, and went on: How! wilt thou
then lastly deny that on this last Saturday the 10th July, at
twelve o'clock at night, thou didst on the Streckelberg call upon
thy paramour the devil in dreadful words, whereupon he appeared to
thee in the shape of a great hairy giant, and clipped thee and
toyed with thee?

At these words she grew more pale than a corpse, and tottered so
that she was forced to hold by a chair; and I, wretched man, who
would readily have sworn away my life for her, when I saw and
heard this, my senses forsook me, so that I fell down from the
bench, and _Dom. Consul_ had to call in the constable to help
me up.

When I had come to myself a little, and the impudent varlet saw
our common consternation, he cried out, grinning at the court the
while, "Is it all out? is it all out? has she confessed?"
Whereupon _Dom. Consul_ again showed him the door with a
sharp rebuke, as might have been expected; and it is said that
this knave played the pimp for the sheriff, and indeed I think he
would not otherwise have been so bold.

_Summa_: I should well-nigh have perished in my distress, but
for the little rose, which by the help of God's mercy kept me up
bravely; and now the whole court rose and exhorted my poor
fainting child, by the living God, and as she would save her soul,
to deny no longer, but in pity to herself and her father to
confess the truth.

Hereupon she heaved a deep sigh, and grew as red as she had been
pale before, insomuch that even her hand upon the chair was like
scarlet, and she did not raise her eyes from the ground.

_R_. She would now then confess the simple truth, as she saw
right well that wicked people had stolen after and watched her at
nights. That she had been to seek for amber on the mountain, and
that to drive away fear she had, as she was wont to do at her
work, recited the Latin _carmen_ which her father had made on
the illustrious king Gustavus Adolphus: when young Rüdiger of
Nienkerken, who had ofttimes been at her father's house and talked
of love to her, came out of the coppice, and when she cried out
for fear, spoke to her in Latin, and clasped her in his arms. That
he wore a great wolf's-skin coat, so that folks should not know
him if they met him, and tell the lord his father that he had been
on the mountain by night.

At this her confession I fell into sheer despair, and cried in
great wrath, "O thou ungodly and undutiful child, after all, then,
thou hast a paramour! Did not I forbid thee to go up the mountain
by night? What didst thou want on the mountain by night?" and I
began to moan and weep and wring my hands, so that _Dom.
Consul_ even had pity on me, and drew near to comfort me.
Meanwhile she herself came towards me, and began to defend
herself, saying, with many tears, that she had gone up the
mountain by night, against my commands, to get so much amber that
she might secretly buy for me, against my birthday, the _Opera
Sancti Augustini_, which the Cantor at Wolgast wanted to sell.
That it was not her fault that the young lord lay in wait for her
one night; and that she would swear to me, by the living God, that
naught that was unseemly had happened between them there, and that
she was still a maid.

And herewith the first hearing was at end, for after _Dom.
Consul_ had whispered somewhat into the ear of the sheriff, he
called in the constable again, and bade him keep good watch over
_Rea_; _item_, not to leave her at large in her dungeon
any longer, but to put her in chains. These words pierced my very
heart, and I besought his worship to consider my sacred office,
and my ancient noble birth, and not to do me such dishonour as to
put my daughter in chains. That I would answer for her to the
worshipful court with my own head that she would not escape.
Whereupon _Dom. Consul_, after he had gone to look at the
dungeon himself, granted me my request, and commanded the
constable to leave her as she had been hitherto.



CHAPTER XIX.

_How Satan, by the permission of the most righteous God, sought
altogether to ruin us, and how we lost all hope._


The same day, at about three in the afternoon, when I was gone to
Conrad Seep his ale-house to eat something, seeing that it was now
nearly two days since I had tasted aught save my tears, and he had
placed before me some bread and sausage, together with a mug of
beer, the constable came into the room and greeted me from the
sheriff, without, however, so much as touching his cap, asking
whether I would not dine with his lordship; that his lordship had
not remembered till now that I belike was still fasting, seeing
the trial had lasted so long. Hereupon I made answer to the
constable that I already had my dinner before me, as he saw
himself, and desired that his lordship would hold me excused.
Hereat the fellow wondered greatly, and answered, Did I not see
that his lordship wished me well, albeit I had preached at him as
though he were a Jew? I should think on my daughter, and be
somewhat more ready to do his lordship's will, whereby
peradventure all would yet end well. For his lordship was not such
a rough ass as _Dom. Consul_, and meant well by my child and
me, as beseemed a righteous magistrate.

After I had with some trouble rid myself of this impudent fox, I
tried to eat a bit, but nothing would go down save the beer. I
therefore soon sat and thought again whether I would not lodge
with Conrad Seep, so as to be always near my child; _item_,
whether I should not hand over my poor misguided flock to M.
Vigelius, the pastor of Benz, for such time as the Lord still
should prove me. In about an hour I saw through the window how
that an empty coach drove to the castle, and the sheriff and
_Dom. Consul_ straightway stepped thereinto with my child;
_item_, the constable climbed up behind. Hereupon I left
everything on the table and ran to the coach, asking humbly
whither they were about to take my poor child; and when I heard
they were going to the Streckelberg to look after the amber, I
begged them to take me also, and to suffer me to sit by my child,
for who could tell how much longer I might yet sit by her! This
was granted to me, and on the way the sheriff offered me to take
up my abode in the castle and to dine at his table as often as I
pleased, and that he would, moreover, send my child her meat from
his own table. For that he had a Christian heart, and well knew
that we were to forgive our enemies. But I refused his kindness
with humble thanks, as my child did also, seeing we were not yet
so poor that we could not maintain ourselves. As we passed by the
water-mill the ungodly varlet there again thrust his head out of a
hole and pulled wry faces at my child; but, dear reader, he got
something to remember it by; for the sheriff beckoned to the
constable to fetch the fellow out, and after he had reproached him
with the tricks he had twice played my child, the constable had to
take the coachman his new whip and to give him fifty lashes,
which, God knows, were not laid on with a feather. He bellowed
like a bull, which, however, no one heard for the noise of the
mill-wheels, and when at last he did as though he could not stir,
we left him lying on the ground and went on our way.

As we drove through Uekeritze a number of people flocked together,
but were quiet enough, save one fellow who, _salvâ veniâ_,
mocked at us with unseemly gestures in the midst of the road when
he saw us coming. The constable had to jump down again, but could
not catch him, and the others would not give him up, but pretended
that they had only looked at our coach and had not marked him. May
be this was true! and I am therefore inclined to think that it was
Satan himself who did it to mock at us; for mark, for God's sake,
what happened to us on the Streckelberg! Alas! through the
delusions of the foul fiend, we could not find the spot where we
had dug for the amber. For when we came to where we thought it
must be, a huge hill of sand had been heaped up as by a whirlwind,
and the fir-twigs which my child had covered over it were gone.
She was near falling in a swound when she saw this, and wrung her
hands and cried out with her Saviour, "My God, my God, why hast
Thou forsaken me!"

Howbeit, the constable and the coachman were ordered to dig, but
not one bit of amber was to be found, even so big as a grain of
corn, whereupon _Dom. Consul_ shook his head and violently
upbraided my child; and when I answered that Satan himself, as it
seemed, had filled up the hollow in order to bring us altogether
into his power, the constable was ordered to fetch a long stake
out of the coppice which we might thrust still deeper into the
sand. But no hard _objectum_ was anywhere to be felt,
notwithstanding the sheriff, _Dom. Consul_, and myself in my
anguish did try everywhere with the stake.

Hereupon my child besought her judges to go with her to Coserow,
where she still had much amber in her coffer which she had found
here, and that if it were the gift of the devil it would all be
changed, since it was well known that all the presents the devil
makes to witches straightway turn to mud and ashes.

But, God be merciful to us, God be merciful to us! when we
returned to Coserow, amid the wonderment of all the village, and
my daughter went to her coffer, the things therein were all tossed
about, and the amber gone. Hereupon she shrieked so loud that it
would have softened a stone, and cried out, "The wicked constable
hath done this! when he fetched the salve out of my coffer, he
stole the amber from me, unhappy maid." But the constable, who
stood by, would have torn her hair, and cried out, "Thou witch,
thou damned witch, is it not enough that thou hast belied my lord,
but thou must now belie me too?" But _Dom. Consul_ forbade
him, so that he did not dare lay hands upon her. _Item_, all
the money was gone which she had hoarded up from the amber she had
privately sold, and which she thought already came to about ten
florins.

But the gown which she had worn at the arrival of the most
illustrious king Gustavus Adolphus, as well as the golden chain
with his effigy which he had given her, I had locked up as though
it were a relic in the chest in the vestry, among the altar and
pulpit cloths, and there we found them still; and when I excused
myself therefor, saying that I had thought to have saved them up
for her there against her bridal day, she gazed with fixed and
glazed eyes into the box, and cried out, "Yes, against the day
when I shall be burnt! O Jesu, Jesu, Jesu!" Hereat _Dom.
Consul_ shuddered and said, "See how thou still dost smite
thyself with thine own words. For the sake of God and thy
salvation, confess, for if thou knowest thyself to be innocent,
how, then, canst thou think that thou wilt be burnt?" But she
still looked him fixedly in the face, and cried aloud in Latin,
"_Innocentia, quid est innocentia! Ubi libido dominatur,
innocentia leve præsidium est._" [Footnote: These words are
from Cicero, if I do not mistake.]

Hereupon _Dom. Consul_ again shuddered, so that his beard
wagged, and said, "What, dost thou indeed know Latin? Where didst
thou learn the Latin?" And when I answered this question as well
as I was able for sobbing, he shook his head, and said, "I never
in my life heard of a woman that knew Latin." Upon this he knelt
down before her coffer, and turned over everything therein, drew
it away from the wall, and when he found nothing he bade us show
him her bed, and did the same with that. This, at length, vexed
the sheriff, who asked him whither they should not drive back
again, seeing that night was coming on? But he answered, "Nay, I
must first have the written paction which Satan has given her;"
and he went on with his search until it was almost dark.
[Footnote: At this time it was believed that as a man bound
himself to the devil by writing, so did the devil in like manner
to the man.] But they found nothing at all, although _Dom.
Consul_, together with the constable, passed over no hole or
corner, even in the kitchen and cellar. Hereupon he got up again
into the coach, muttering to himself, and bade my daughter sit so
that she should not look upon him.

And now we once more had the same _spectaculum_ with the
accursed old witch Lizzie Kolken, seeing that she again sat at her
door as we drove by, and began to sing at the top of her voice,
"We praise thee, O Lord." But she screeched like a stuck pig, so
that _Dom. Consul_ was amazed thereat, and when he had heard
who she was, he asked the sheriff whether he would not that she
should be seized by the constable and be tied behind the coach, to
run after it, as we had no room for her elsewhere; for that he had
often been told that all old women who had red squinting eyes and
sharp voices were witches, not to mention the suspicious things
which _Rea_ had declared against her. But he answered that he
could not do this, seeing that old Lizzie was a woman in good
repute, and fearing God, as _Dom. Consul_ might learn for
himself; but that, nevertheless, he had had her summoned for the
morrow, together with the other witnesses.

Yea, in truth, an excellently devout and worthy woman!--for
scarcely were we out of the village, when so fearful a storm of
thunder, lightning, wind, and hail burst over our heads, that the
corn all around us was beaten down as with a flail, and the horses
before the coach were quite maddened; however, it did not last
long. But my poor child had to bear all the blame again,
[Footnote: Such sudden storms were attributed to witches.]
inasmuch as _Dom. Consul_ thought that it was not old Lizzie,
which, nevertheless, was as clear as the sun at noon-day, but my
poor daughter who brewed the storm;--for, beloved reader, what
could it have profited her, even if she had known the black art?
This, however, did not strike _Dom. Consul_, and Satan, by
the permission of the all-righteous God, was presently to use us
still worse; for just as we got to the Master's Dam, [Footnote: It
is also called to the present day, and is distant a mile from
Coserow.] he came flying over us in the shape of a stork, and
dropped a frog so exactly over us that it fell into my daughter
her lap: she gave a shrill scream, but I whispered her to sit
still, and that I would secretly throw the frog away by one leg.

But the constable had seen it, and cried out, "Hey, sirs! hey,
look at the cursed witch! what has the devil just thrown into her
lap?" Whereupon the sheriff and _Dom. Consul_ looked round
and saw the frog, which crawled in her lap, and the constable,
after he had blown upon it three times, took it up and showed it
to their lordships. Hereat _Dom. Consul_ began to spew, and
when he had done, he ordered the coachman to stop, got down from
the coach, and said we might drive home, that he felt qualmish,
and would go a-foot and see if he got better. But first he
privately whispered to the constable, which, howbeit, we heard
right well, that when he got home he should lay my poor child in
chains, but not so as to hurt her much; to which neither she nor I
could answer save by tears and sobs. But the sheriff had heard it
too, and when his worship was out of sight he began to stroke my
child her cheeks from behind her back, telling her to be easy, as
he also had a word to say in the matter, and that the constable
should not lay her in chains. But that she must leave off being so
hard to him as she had been hitherto, and come and sit on the seat
beside him, that he might privately give her some good advice as
to what was to be done. To this she answered, with many tears,
that she wished to sit only by her father, as she knew not how
much longer she might sit by him at all; and she begged for
nothing more save that his lordship would leave her in peace. But
this he would not do, but pinched her back and sides with his
knees; and as she bore with this, seeing that there was no help
for it, he waxed bolder, taking it for a good sign. Meanwhile
_Dom. Consul_ called out close behind us (for being
frightened he ran just after the coach), "Constable, constable,
come here quick; here lies a hedgehog in the midst of the road!"
whereupon the constable jumped down from the coach.

This made the sheriff still bolder; and at last my child rose up
and said, "Father, let us also go a-foot; I can no longer guard
myself from him here behind!" But he pulled her down again by her
clothes, and cried out angrily, "Wait, thou wicked witch, I will
help thee to go a-foot if thou art so wilful; thou shalt be
chained to the block this very night." Whereupon she answered, "Do
you do that which you cannot help doing: the righteous God, it is
to be hoped, will one day do unto you what He cannot help doing."

Meanwhile we had reached the castle, and scarcely were we got out
of the coach, when _Dom. Consul_, who had run till he was all
of a sweat, came up, together with the constable, and straightway
gave over my child into his charge, so that I had scarce time to
bid her farewell. I was left standing on the floor below, wringing
my hands in the dark, and hearkened whither they were leading her,
inasmuch as I had not the heart to follow; when _Dom.
Consul_, who had stepped into a room with the sheriff, looked
out at the door again, and called after the constable to bring
_Rea_ once more before them. And when he had done so, and I
went into the room with them, _Dom. Consul_ held a letter in
his hand, and, after spitting thrice, he began thus, "Wilt thou
still deny, thou stubborn witch? Hear what the old knight, Hans
von Nienkerken, writes to the court!" Whereupon he read out to us,
that his son was so disturbed by the tale the accursed witch had
told of him, that he had fallen sick from that very hour, and that
he, the father, was not much better. That his son, Rüdiger, had
indeed at times, when he went that way, been to see Pastor
Schweidler, whom he had first known upon a journey; but that he
swore that he wished he might turn black if he had ever used any
folly or jesting with the cursed devil's whore his daughter; much
less ever been with her by night on the Streckelberg, or embraced
her there.

At this dreadful news we both (I mean my child and I) fell down in
a swound together, seeing that we had rested our last hopes on the
young lord; and I know not what further happened. For when I came
to myself, my host, Conrad Seep, was standing over me, holding a
funnel between my teeth, through which he ladled some warm beer
down my throat, and I never felt more wretched in all my life;
insomuch that Master Seep had to undress me like a little child,
and to help me into bed.



CHAPTER XX.

_Of the malice of the Governor and of old Lizzie--item, of the
examination of witnesses._


The next morning my hairs, which till _datum_ had been
mingled with grey, were white as snow, albeit the Lord otherwise
blessed me wondrously. For near daybreak a nightingale flew into
the elder-bush beneath my window, and sang so sweetly that
straightway I thought it must be a good angel. For after I had
hearkened awhile to it, I was all at once able again to pray,
which since last Sunday I could not do; and the spirit of our Lord
Jesus Christ began to speak within me, "Abba, Father;" [Footnote:
Gal. iv. 6.] and straightway I was of good cheer, trusting that
God would once more be gracious unto me His wretched child; and
when I had given Him thanks for such great mercy, I fell into a
refreshing slumber, and slept so long that the blessed sun stood
high in the heavens when I awoke.

And seeing that my heart was still of good cheer, I sat up in my
bed, and sang with a loud voice, "Be not dismayed, thou little
flock:" whereupon Master Seep came into the room, thinking I had
called him. But he stood reverently waiting till I had done; and
after marvelling at my snow-white hair, he told me it was already
seven; _item_, that half my congregation, among others, my
ploughman, Claus Neels, were already assembled in his house to
bear witness that day. When I heard this, I bade mine host
forthwith send Claus to the castle, to ask when the court would
open, and he brought word back that no one knew, seeing that
_Dom. Consul_ was already gone that morning to Mellenthin to
see old Nienkerken, and was not yet come back. This message gave
me good courage, and I asked the fellow whether he also had come
to bear witness against my poor child? To which he answered, "Nay,
I know naught save good of her, and I would give the fellows their
due, only----"

These words surprised me, and I vehemently urged him to open his
heart to me. But he began to weep, and at last said that he knew
nothing. Alas! he knew but too much, and could then have saved my
poor child if he had willed. But from fear of the torture he held
his peace, as he since owned; and I will here relate what had
befallen him that very morning.

He had set out betimes that morning, so as to be alone with his
sweetheart, who was to go along with him (she is Steffen of Zempin
his daughter, not farmer Steffen, but the lame gouty Steffen), and
had got to Pudgla about five, where he found no one in the
ale-house save old Lizzie Kolken, who straightway hobbled up to
the castle; and when his sweetheart was gone home again, time hung
heavy on his hands, and he climbed over the wall into the castle
garden, where he threw himself on his face behind a hedge to
sleep. But before long the sheriff came with old Lizzie, and after
they had looked all round and seen no one, they went into an
arbour close by him, and conversed as follows:--

_Ille_.--Now that they were alone together, what did she want
of him?

_Illa_.--She came to get the money for the witchcraft she had
contrived in the village.

_Ille_.--Of what use had all this witchcraft been to him? My
child, so far from being frightened, defied him more and more; and
he doubted whether he should ever have his will of her.

_Illa_.--He should only have patience; when she was laid upon
the rack she would soon learn to be fond.

_Ille_.--That might be, but till then she (Lizzie) should get
no money.

_Illa_.--What! Must she then do his cattle a mischief?

_Ille_.--Yes, if she felt chilly, and wanted a burning faggot
to warm her _podex_, she had better. Moreover, he thought
that she had bewitched him, seeing that his desire for the
parson's daughter was such as he had never felt before.

_Illa_ (laughing).--He had said the same thing some thirty
years ago, when he first came after her.

_Ille_.--Ugh! thou old baggage, don't remind me of such
things, but see to it that you get three witnesses, as I told you
before, or else methinks they will rack your old joints for you
after all.

_Illa_.--She had the three witnesses ready, and would leave
the rest to him. But that if she were racked she would reveal all
she knew.

_Ille_.--She should hold her ugly tongue, and go to the
devil.

_Illa_.--So she would, but first she must have her money.

_Ille_.--She should have no money till he had had his will of
my daughter.

_Illa_.--He might at least pay her for her little pig which
she herself had bewitched to death, in order that she might not
get into evil repute.

_Ille_.--She might choose one when his pigs were driven by,
and say she had paid for it. Hereupon, said my Claus, the pigs
were driven by, and one ran into the garden, the door being open,
and as the swineherd followed it, they parted; but the witch
muttered to herself, "Now help, devil, help, that I may----" but
he heard no further.

The cowardly fellow, however, hid all this from me, as I have said
above, and only said, with tears, that he knew nothing. I believed
him, and sat down at the window to see when _Dom. Consul_
should return; and when I saw him I rose and went to the castle,
where the constable, who was already there with my child, met me
before the judgment-chamber. Alas! she looked more joyful than I
had seen her for a long time, and smiled at me with her sweet
little mouth: but when she saw my snow-white hair, she gave a cry,
which made _Dom. Consul_ throw open the door of the
judgment-chamber, and say, "Ha, ha! thou knowest well what news I
have brought thee; come in, thou stubborn devil's brat!" Whereupon
we stepped into the chamber to him, and he lift up his voice and
spake to me, after he had sat down with the sheriff, who was by.

He said that yester-even, after he had caused me to be carried
like one dead to Master Seep his ale-house, and that my stubborn
child had been brought to life again, he had once more adjured
her, to the utmost of his power, no longer to lie before the face
of the living God, but to confess the truth; whereupon she had
borne herself very unruly, and had wrung her hands and wept and
sobbed, and at last answered that the young _nobilis_ never
could have said such things, but that his father must have written
them, who hated her, as she had plainly seen when the Swedish king
was at Coserow. That he, _Dom. Consul_, had indeed doubted
the truth of this at the time, but as a just judge had gone that
morning right early with the _scriba_ to Mellenthin, to
question the young lord himself.

That I might now see myself what horrible malice was in my
daughter. For that the old knight had led him to his son's
bedside, who still lay sick from vexation, and that he had
confirmed all his father had written, and had cursed the
scandalous she-devil (as he called my daughter) for seeking to rob
him of his knightly honour. "What sayest thou now?" he continued;
"wilt thou still deny thy great wickedness? See here the
_protocollum_ which the young lord hath signed _manu
propriâ!_" But the wretched maid had meanwhile fallen on the
ground again, and the constable had no sooner seen this than he
ran into the kitchen, and came back with a burning brimstone
match, which he was about to hold under her nose.

But I hindered him, and sprinkled her face with water, so that she
opened her eyes, and raised herself up by a table. She then stood
awhile, without saying a word or regarding my sorrow. At last she
smiled sadly, and spake thus: That she clearly saw how true was
that spoken by the Holy Ghost, "Cursed be the man that trusteth in
man;" [Footnote: Jer. xvii. 5.] and that the faithlessness of the
young lord had surely broken her poor heart if the all-merciful
God had not graciously prevented him, and sent her a dream that
night, which she would tell, not hoping to persuade the judges,
but to raise up the white head of her poor father.

"After I had sat and watched all the night," quoth she, "towards
morning I heard a nightingale sing in the castle garden so sweetly
that my eyes closed, and I slept. Then methought I was a lamb,
grazing quietly in my meadow at Coserow. Suddenly the sheriff
jumped over the hedge, and turned into a wolf, who seized me in
his jaws, and ran with me towards the Streckelberg, where he had
his lair. I, poor little lamb, trembled and bleated in vain, and
saw death before my eyes, when he laid me down before his lair,
where lay the she-wolf and her young. But behold a hand, like the
hand of a man, straightway came out of the bushes, and touched the
wolves, each one with one finger, and crushed them so that naught
was left of them save a grey powder. Hereupon the hand took me up,
and carried me back to my meadow."

Only think, beloved reader, how I felt when I heard all this, and
about the dear nightingale too, which no one can doubt to have
been the servant of God. I clasped my child with many tears, and
told her what had happened to me, and we both won such courage and
confidence as we had never yet felt, to the wonderment of _Dom.
Consul_, as it seemed; but the sheriff turned as pale as a
sheet when she stepped towards their worships and said, "And now
do with me as you will, the lamb fears not, for she is in the
hands of the Good Shepherd!" Meanwhile _Dom. Camerarius_ came
in with the _scriba_, but was terrified as he chanced to
touch my daughter's apron with the skirts of his coat; and stood
and scraped at his coat as a woman scrapes a fish. At last, after
he had spat out thrice, he asked the court whether it would not
begin to examine witnesses, seeing that all the people had been
waiting some time both in the castle and at the ale-house.
Hereunto they agreed, and the constable was ordered to guard my
child in his room, until it should please the court to summon her.
I therefore went with her, but we had to endure much from the
impudent rogue, seeing he was not ashamed to lay his arm round my
child her shoulders, and to ask for a kiss _in meâ
presentiâ_. But, before I could get out a word, she tore
herself from him, and said, "Ah, thou wicked knave, must I
complain of thee to the court; hast thou forgotten what thou hast
already done to me?" To which he answered, laughing, "See, see!
how coy;" and still sought to persuade her to be more willing, and
not to forget her own interest; for that he meant as well by her
as his master; she might believe it or not; with many other
scandalous words besides which I have forgot; for I took my child
upon my knees and laid my head on her neck, and we sat and wept.



CHAPTER XXI.

_De confrontatione testium_.


When we were summoned before the court again, the whole court was
full of people, and some shuddered when they saw us, but others
wept; my child told the same tale as before. But when our old Ilse
was called, who sat on a bench behind, so that we had not seen
her, the strength wherewith the Lord had gifted her was again at
an end, and she repeated the words of our Saviour, "He that eateth
bread with Me hath lift up his heel against Me:" and she held fast
by my chair. Old Ilse, too, could not walk straight for very
grief, nor could she speak for tears, but she twisted and wound
herself about before the court, like a woman in travail. But when
_Dom. Consul_ threatened that the constable should presently
help her to her words, she testified that my child had very often
got up in the night, and called aloud upon the foul fiend.

_Q_. Whether she had ever heard Satan answer her?--_R_.
She never had heard him at all.

_Q_. Whether she had perceived that _Rea_ had a familiar
spirit, and in what shape? She should think upon her oath, and
speak the truth.--_R_. She had never seen one.

_Q_. Whether she had ever heard her fly up the
chimney?--_R_. Nay, she had always gone softly out at the
door.

_Q_. Whether she never at mornings had missed her broom or
pitchfork?--_R_. Once the broom was gone, but she had found
it again behind the stove, and may be left it there herself by
mistake.

_Q_. Whether she had never heard _Rea_ cast a spell, or
wish harm to this or that person?--_R_. No, never; she had
always wished her neighbours nothing but good, and even in the
time of bitter famine had taken the bread out of her own mouth to
give it to others.

_Q_.--Whether she did not know the salve which had been found
in _Rea_ her coffer?--_R_. Oh, yes! her young mistress
had brought it back from Wolgast for her skin, and had once given
her some when she had chapped hands, and it had done her a vast
deal of good.

_Q_. Whether she had anything further to say?--_R_. No,
nothing but good.

Hereupon my man Claus Neels was called up. He also came forward in
tears, but answered every question with a "nay," and at last
testified that he had never seen nor heard anything bad of my
child, and knew naught of her doings by night, seeing that he
slept in the stable with the horses; and that he firmly believed
that evil folks--and here he looked at old Lizzie--had brought
this misfortune upon her, and that she was quite innocent.

When it came to the turn of this old limb of Satan, who was to be
the chief witness, my child again declared that she would not
accept old Lizzie's testimony against her, and called upon the
court for justice, for that she had hated her from her youth up,
and had been longer by habit and repute a witch than she herself.

But the old hag cried out, "God forgive thee thy sins; the whole
village knows that I am a devout woman, and one serving the Lord
in all things;" whereupon she called up old Zuter Witthahn and my
churchwarden Claus Bulk, who bore witness hereto. But old Paasch
stood and shook his head; nevertheless when my child said,
"Paasch, wherefore dost thou shake thy head?" he started, and
answered, "Oh, nothing!"

Howbeit, _Dom. Consul_ likewise perceived this, and asked
him, whether he had any charge to bring against old Lizzie; if so,
he should give glory to God, and state the same; _item_, it
was competent to every one so to do; indeed, the court required of
him to speak out all he knew.

But from fear of the old dragon, all were still as mice, so that
you might have heard the flies buzz about the inkstand. I then
stood up, wretched as I was, and stretched out my arms over my
amazed and faint-hearted people, and spake: "Can ye thus crucify
me together with my poor child? have I deserved this at your
hands? Speak, then; alas, will none speak?" I heard, indeed, how
several wept aloud, but not one spake; and hereupon my poor child
was forced to submit.

And the malice of the old hag was such that she not only accused
my child of the most horrible witchcraft, but also reckoned to a
day when she had given herself up to Satan to rob her of her
maiden honour; and she said that Satan had, without doubt, then
defiled her, when she could no longer heal the cattle, and when
they all died. Hereupon my child said naught, save that she cast
down her eyes and blushed deep for shame at such filthiness; and
to the other blasphemous slander which the old hag uttered with
many tears, namely, that my daughter had given up her (Lizzie's)
husband, body and soul, to Satan, she answered as she had done
before. But when the old hag came to her re-baptism in the sea,
and gave out that while seeking for strawberries in the coppice
she had recognised my child's voice, and stolen towards her, and
perceived these devil's doings, my child fell in smiling, and
answered, "Oh, thou evil woman! how couldst thou hear my voice
speaking down by the sea, being thyself in the forest upon the
mountain? surely thou liest, seeing that the murmur of the waves
would make that impossible." This angered the old dragon, and
seeking to get out of the blunder she fell still deeper into it,
for she said, "I saw thee move thy lips, and from that I knew that
thou didst call upon thy paramour the devil!" for my child
straightway replied, "Oh, thou ungodly woman! thou saidst thou
wert in the forest when thou didst hear my voice; how then up in
the forest couldst thou see whether I, who was below by the water,
moved my lips or not?"

Such contradictions amazed even _Dom. Consul_, and he began
to threaten the old hag with the rack if she told such lies;
whereupon she answered and said, "List, then, whether I lie! When
she went naked into the water she had no mark on her body, but
when she came out again I saw that she had between her breasts a
mark the size of a silver penny, whence I perceived that the devil
had given it her, although I had not seen him about her, nor,
indeed, had I seen any one, either spirit or child of man, for she
seemed to be quite alone."

Hereupon the sheriff jumped up from his seat, and cried, "Search
must straightway be made for this mark;" whereupon _Dom.
Consul_ answered, "Yea, but not by us, but by two women of good
repute," for he would not hearken to what my child said, that it
was a mole, and that she had had it from her youth up. Wherefore
the constable his wife was sent for, and _Dom. Consul_
muttered somewhat into her ear, and as prayers and tears were of
no avail, my child was forced to go with her. Howbeit, she
obtained this favour, that old Lizzie Kolken was not to follow
her, as she would have done, but our old maid Ilse. I, too, went
in my sorrow, seeing that I knew not what the women might do to
her. She wept bitterly as they undressed her, and held her hands
over her eyes for very shame.

Well-a-day, her body was just as white as my departed wife's;
although in her childhood, as I remember, she was very yellow, and
I saw with amazement the mole between her breasts, whereof I had
never heard aught before. But she suddenly screamed violently and
started back, seeing that the constable his wife, when nobody
watched her, had run a needle into the mole, so deep that the red
blood ran down over her breasts. I was sorely angered thereat, but
the woman said that she had done it by order of the judge,
[Footnote: It was believed that these marks were the infallible
sign of a witch when they were insensible, and that they were
given by the devil; and every one suspected of witchcraft was
invariably searched for them.] which, indeed, was true; for when
we came back into court, and the sheriff asked how it was, she
testified that there was a mark of the size of a silver penny, of
a yellowish colour, but that it had feeling, seeing that
_Rea_ had screamed aloud, when she had, unperceived, driven a
needle therein. Meanwhile, however, _Dom. Camerarius_
suddenly rose, and stepping up to my child, drew her eyelids
asunder and cried out, beginning to tremble, "Behold the sign
which never fails:" [Footnote: See, among other authorities,
Delrio, _Disquisit. magicæ_, lib. v. tit. xiv. No. 28.]
whereupon the whole court started to their feet, and looked at the
little spot under her right eyelid, which in truth had been left
there by a sty, but this none would believe. _Dom. Consul_
now said, "See, Satan hath marked thee on body and soul! and thou
dost still continue to lie unto the Holy Ghost; but it shall not
avail thee, and thy punishment will only be the heavier. Oh, thou
shameless woman! thou hast refused to accept the testimony of old
Lizzie; wilt thou also refuse that of these people, who have all
heard thee on the mountain call upon the devil thy paramour, and
seen him appear in the likeness of a hairy giant, and kiss and
caress thee?"

Hereupon old Paasch, goodwife Witthahn, and Zuter, came forward
and bare witness, that they had seen this happen about midnight,
and that on this declaration they would live and die; that old
Lizzie had awakened them one Saturday night about eleven o'clock,
had given them a can of beer, and persuaded them to follow the
parson's daughter privately, and to see what she did upon the
mountain. At first they refused; but in order to get at the truth
about the witchcraft in the village, they had at last, after a
devout prayer, consented, and had followed her in God's name.

They had soon through the bushes seen the witch in the moonshine;
she seemed to dig, and spake in some strange tongue the while,
whereupon the grim arch-fiend suddenly appeared, and fell upon her
neck. Hereupon they ran away in consternation, but, by the help of
the Almighty God, on whom from the very first they had set their
faith, they were preserved from the power of the evil one. For,
notwithstanding he had turned round on hearing a rustling in the
bushes, he had had no power to harm them.

Finally, it was even charged to my child as a crime, that she had
fainted on the road from Coserow to Pudgla, and none would believe
that this had been caused by vexation at old Lizzie her singing,
and not from a bad conscience, as stated by the judge.

When all the witnesses had been examined, _Dom. Consul_ asked
her whether she had brewed the storm, what was the meaning of the
frog that dropped into her lap, _item_, the hedgehog which
lay directly in his path? To all of which she answered, that she
had caused the one as little as she knew of the other. Whereupon
_Dom. Consul_ shook his head, and asked her, last of all,
whether she would have an advocate, or trust entirely in the good
judgment of the court. To this she gave answer, that she would by
all means have an advocate. Wherefore I sent my ploughman, Claus
Neels, the next day to Wolgast to fetch the _Syndicus_
Michelson, who is a worthy man, and in whose house I have been
many times when I went to the town, seeing that he courteously
invited me.

I must also note here that at this time my old Ilse came back to
live with me; for after the witnesses were gone she stayed behind
in the chamber, and came boldly up to me, and besought me to
suffer her once more to serve her old master and her dear young
mistress; for that now she had saved her poor soul, and confessed
all she knew. Wherefore she could no longer bear to see her old
master in such woeful plight, without so much as a mouthful of
victuals, seeing that she had heard that old wife Seep, who had
till _datum_ prepared the food for me and my child, often let
the porridge burn; _item_, over-salted the fish and the meat.
Moreover that I was so weakened by age and misery, that I needed
help and support, which she would faithfully give me, and was
ready to sleep in the stable, if needs must be; that she wanted no
wages for it, I was only not to turn her away. Such kindness made
my daughter to weep, and she said to me, "Behold, father, the good
folks come back to us again; think you, then, that the good angels
will forsake us for ever? I thank thee, old Ilse; thou shalt
indeed prepare my food for me, and always bring it as far as the
prison-door, if thou mayest come no further; and mark, then, I
pray thee, what the constable does therewith."

This the maid promised to do, and from this time forth took up her
abode in the stable. May God repay her at the day of judgment for
what she then did for me and for my poor child!



CHAPTER XXII.

_How the Syndicus Dom. Michelson arrived, and prepared his
defence of my poor child._


The next day, at about three o'clock P.M., _Dom. Syndicus_
came driving up, and got out of his coach at my inn. He had a huge
bag full of books with him, but was not so friendly in his manner
as was usual with him, but very grave and silent. And after he had
saluted me in my own room, and had asked how it was possible for
my child to have come to such misfortune, I related to him the
whole affair, whereat, however, he only shook his head. On my
asking him whether he would not see my child that same day, he
answered, "Nay;" he would rather first study the _Acta_. And
after he had eaten of some wild duck which my old Ilse had roasted
for him, he would tarry no longer, but straightway went up to the
castle, whence he did not return till the following afternoon. His
manner was not more friendly now than at his first coming, and I
followed him with sighs when he asked me to lead him to my
daughter. As we went in with the constable, and I, for the first
time, saw my child in chains before me--she who in her whole life
had never hurt a worm--I again felt as though I should die for
very grief. But she smiled and cried out to _Dom. Syndicus_,
"Are you indeed the good angel who will cause my chains to fall
from my hands, as was done of yore to St. Peter?" [Footnote: The
Acts of the Apostles, xii. 7.] To which he replied, with a sigh,
"May the Almighty God grant it;" and as, save the chair whereon my
child sat against the wall, there was none other in the dungeon
(which was a filthy and stinking hole, wherein were more wood-lice
than ever I saw in my life), _Dom. Syndicus_ and I sat down
on her bed, which had been left for her at my prayer; and he
ordered the constable to go his ways, until he should call him
back. Hereupon he asked my child what she had to say in her
justification; and she had not gone far in her defence when I
perceived, from the shadow at the door, that some one must be
standing without. I therefore went quickly to the door, which was
half open, and found the impudent constable, who stood there to
listen. This so angered _Dom. Syndicus_ that he snatched up
his staff in order to hasten his going, but the arch-rogue took to
his heels as soon as he saw this. My child took this opportunity
to tell her worshipful _defensor_ what she had suffered from
the impudence of this fellow, and to beg that some other constable
might be set over her, seeing that this one had come to her last
night again with evil designs, so that she at last had shrieked
aloud and beaten him on the head with her chains; whereupon he had
left her. This _Dom. Syndicus_ promised to obtain for her;
but with regard to the _defensio_, wherewith she now went on,
he thought it would be better to make no further mention of the
_impetus_ which the sheriff had made on her chastity. "For,"
said he, "as the princely central court at Wolgast has to give
sentence upon thee, this statement would do thee far more harm
than good, seeing that the _præses_ thereof is a cousin of
the sheriff, and ofttimes goes a hunting with him. Besides, thou
being charged with a capital crime hast no _fides_,
especially as thou canst bring no witnesses against him. Thou
couldst, therefore, gain no belief even if thou didst confirm the
charge on the rack, wherefrom, moreover, I am come hither to save
thee by my _defensio_." These reasons seemed sufficient to us
both, and we resolved to leave vengeance to Almighty God, who
seeth in secret, and to complain of our wrongs to Him, as we might
not complain to men. But all my daughter said about old
Lizzie--_item_, of the good report wherein she herself had,
till now, stood with everybody--he said he would write down, and
add thereunto as much and as well of his own as he was able, so
as, by the help of Almighty God, to save her from the torture.
That she was to make herself easy and commend herself to God;
within two days he hoped to have his _defensio_ ready and to
read it to her. And now, when he called the constable back again,
the fellow did not come, but sent his wife to lock the prison, and
I took leave of my child with many tears: _Dom. Syndicus_
told the woman the while what her impudent rogue of a husband had
done, that she might let him hear more of it. Then he sent the
woman away again and came back to my daughter, saying that he had
forgotten to ascertain whether she really knew the Latin tongue,
and that she was to say her _defensio_ over again in Latin,
if she was able. Hereupon she began and went on therewith for a
quarter of an hour or more, in such wise that not only _Dom.
Syndicus_ but I myself also was amazed, seeing that she did not
stop for a single word, save the word "hedgehog," which we both
had forgotten at the moment when she asked us what it was.
_Summa.--Dom. Syndicus_ grew far more gracious when she had
finished her oration, and took leave of her, promising that he
would set to work forthwith.

After this I did not see him again till the morning of the third
day at ten o'clock, seeing that he sat at work in a room at the
castle, which the sheriff had given him, and also ate there, as he
sent me word by old Ilse when she carried him his breakfast next
day.

At the above-named time, he sent the new constable for me, who,
meanwhile, had been fetched from Uzdom at his desire. For the
sheriff was exceeding wroth when he heard that the impudent fellow
had attempted my child in the prison, and cried out in a rage,
"S'death and 'ouns, I'll mend thy coaxing!" Whereupon he gave him
a sound threshing with a dog-whip he held in his hand, to make
sure that she should be at peace from him.

But, alas! the new constable was even worse than the old, as will
be shown hereafter. His name was Master Köppner, and he was a tall
fellow with a grim face, and a mouth so wide that at every word he
said the spittle ran out at the corners, and stuck in his long
beard like soapsuds, so that my child had an especial fear and
loathing of him. Moreover, on all occasions he seemed to laugh in
mockery and scorn, as he did when he opened the prison-door to us,
and saw my poor child sitting in her grief and distress. But he
straightway left us without waiting to be told, whereupon _Dom.
Syndicus_ drew his defence out of his pocket, and read it to
us; we have remembered the main points thereof, and I will recount
them here, but most of the _auctores_ we have forgotten.

1. He began by saying that my daughter had ever till now stood in
good repute, as not only the whole village, but even my servants,
bore witness; _ergo_, she could not be a witch, inasmuch as
the Saviour hath said, "A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit,
neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit" (Matt. vii.).

2. With regard to the witchcraft in the village, that belike was
the contrivance of old Lizzie, seeing that she bore a great hatred
towards _Rea_, and had long been in evil repute, for that the
parishioners dared not to speak out, only from fear of the old
witch; wherefore Zuter her little girl must be examined, who had
heard old Lizzie her goodman tell her she had a familiar spirit,
and that he would tell it to the parson; for that notwithstanding
the above-named was but a child, still it was written in Ps.
viii., "Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings hast Thou ordained
strength...;" and the Saviour Himself appealed (Matt. xxi.) to the
testimony of little children.

3. Furthermore, old Lizzie might have bewitched the crops; item,
the fruit-trees, inasmuch as none could believe that _Rea_,
who had ever shown herself a dutiful child, would have bewitched
her own father's corn, or made caterpillars come on his trees; for
no one, according to Scripture, can serve two masters.

4. _Item_, she (old Lizzie) might very well have been the
woodpecker that was seen by _Rea_ and old Paasch on the
Streckelberg, and herself have given over her goodman to the evil
one for fear of the parson, inasmuch as Spitzel, _De
Expugnatione Orci_, asserts; _item_, the _Malleus
Malesicarum_ [Footnote: The celebrated "Hammer for Witches" of
Innocent VIII, which appeared 1489, and gave directions for the
whole course of proceeding to be observed at trials for
witchcraft.] proves beyond doubt, that the wicked children of
Satan ofttimes change themselves into all manner of beasts, as the
foul fiend himself likewise seduced our first parents in the shape
of a serpent (Gen. iii).

5. That old Lizzie had most likely made the wild weather when
_Dom. Consul_ was coming home with _Rea_ from the
Streckelberg, seeing it was impossible that _Rea_ could have
done it, as she was sitting in the coach, whereas witches when
they raise storms always stand in the water and throw it over
their heads backwards; _item_, beat the stones soundly with a
stick, as Hannold relates. Wherefore she too, may be, knew best
about the frog and the hedgehog.

6. That _Rea_ was erroneously charged with that as a
_crimen_ which ought rather to serve as her justification,
namely, her sudden riches. For the _Malleus Malesicarum_
expressly says that a witch can never grow rich, seeing that
Satan, to do dishonour to God, always buys them for a vile price,
so that they should not betray themselves by their riches.
[Footnote: The original words of the "Hammer for Witches," tom. i.
quest. 18, in answer to the questions, _Cur maleficœ non
ditentur?_ are, _Ut juxta complacentiam dæmonis in
contumeliam Creatoris, quantum possibile est, pro vilissimo pretio
emantur, et secundo, ne in divitas notentur_.] Wherefore that as
_Rea_ had grown rich, she could not have got her wealth from
the foul fiend, but it must be true that she had found amber on
the mountain; that the spells of old Lizzie might have been the
cause why they could not find the vein of amber again, or that the
sea might have washed away the cliff below, as often happens,
whereupon the top had slipped down, so that only a _miraculum
naturale_ had taken place. The proof which he brought forward
from Scripture we have quite forgotten, seeing it was but
middling.

7. With regard to her re-baptism, the old hag had said herself
that she had not seen the devil or any other spirit or man about
_Rea_, wherefore she might in truth have been only naturally
bathing, in order to greet the King of Sweden next day, seeing
that the weather was hot, and that bathing was not of itself
sufficient to impair the modesty of a maiden. For that she had as
little thought any would see her as Bathsheba the daughter of
Eliam, and wife of Uriah the Hittite, who in like manner did bathe
herself, as is written (2 Sam. xi. 2), without knowing that David
could see her. Neither could her mark be a mark given by Satan,
inasmuch as there was feeling therein; _ergo_, it must be a
natural mole, and it was a lie that she had it not before bathing.
Moreover, that on this point the old harlot was nowise to be
believed, seeing that she had fallen from one contradiction into
another about it, as stated in the _Acta_.

8. Neither was it just to accuse _Rea_ of having bewitched
Paasch his little daughter; for as old Lizzie was going in and out
of the room, nay, even sat herself down on the little girl her
belly when the pastor went to see her, it most likely was that
wicked woman (who was known to have a great spite against
_Rea_) that contrived the spell through the power of the foul
fiend, and by permission of the all-just God; for that Satan was
"a liar and the father of it," as our Lord Christ says (John
viii.).

9. With regard to the appearance of the foul fiend on the mountain
in the shape of a hairy giant, that indeed was the heaviest
_gravamen_, inasmuch as not only old Lizzie, but likewise
three trustworthy witnesses, had seen him. But who could tell
whether it was not old Lizzie herself who had contrived this
devilish apparition in order to ruin her enemy altogether; for
that notwithstanding the apparition was not the young nobleman, as
_Rea_ had declared it to be, it still was very likely that
she had not lied, but had mistaken Satan for the young lord, as he
appeared in his shape; _exemplum_, for this was to be found
even in Scripture: for that all _Theologi_ of the whole
Protestant Church were agreed, that the vision which the witch of
Endor showed to King Saul was not Samuel himself, but the
arch-fiend; nevertheless, Saul had taken it for Samuel. In like
manner the old harlot might have conjured up the devil before
_Rea_, who did not perceive that it was not the young lord,
but Satan, who had put on that shape in order to seduce her; for
as _Rea_ was a fair woman, none could wonder that the devil
gave himself more trouble for her than for an old withered hag,
seeing he has ever sought after fair women to lie with them.
[Footnote: Gen. vi. 2.]

Lastly, he argued that _Rea_ was in nowise marked as a witch,
for that she neither had bleared and squinting eyes nor a hooked
nose, whereas old Lizzie had both, which Theophrastus Paracelsus
declares to be an unfailing mark of a witch, saying, "Nature
marketh none thus unless by abortion, for these are the chiefest
signs whereby witches be known whom the spirit _Asiendens_
hath subdued unto himself."

When _Dom. Syndicus_ had read his _defensio_, my
daughter was so rejoiced thereat that she would have kissed his
hand, but he snatched it from her and breathed upon it thrice,
whereby we could easily see that he himself was nowise in earnest
with his _defensio_. Soon after he took leave in an
ill-humour, after commending her to the care of the Most High, and
begged that I would make my farewell as short as might be, seeing
that he purposed to return home that very day, the which, alas! I
very unwillingly did.



CHAPTER XXIII.

_How my poor child was sentenced to be put to the question._


After _Acta_ had been sent to the honourable the central
court, about fourteen days passed over before any answer was
received. My lord the sheriff was especially gracious towards me
the while, and allowed me to see my daughter as often as I would
(seeing that the rest of the court were gone home), wherefore I
was with her nearly all day. And when the constable grew impatient
of keeping watch over me, I gave him a fee to lock me in together
with my child. And the all-merciful God was gracious unto us, and
caused us often and gladly to pray, for we had a steadfast hope,
believing that the cross we had seen in the heavens would now soon
pass away from us, and that the ravening wolf would receive his
reward when the honourable high court had read through the
_Acta_, and should come to the excellent _defensio_
which _Dom. Syndicus_ had constructed for my child. Wherefore
I began to be of good cheer again, especially when I saw my
daughter her cheeks growing of a right lovely red. But on
Thursday, 25th _mensis Augusti_, at noon, the worshipful
court drove into the castle yard again as I sat in the prison with
my child, as I was wont; and old Ilse brought us our food, but
could not tell us the news for weeping. But the tall constable
peeped in at the door grinning, and cried, "Oh, ho! they are come,
they are come; now the tickling will begin:" whereat my poor child
shuddered, but less at the news than at sight of the fellow
himself. Scarce was he gone than he came back again to take off
her chains and to fetch her away. So I followed her into the
judgment-chamber, where _Dom. Consul_ read out the sentence
of the honourable high court as follows:--That she should once
more be questioned in kindness touching the articles contained in
the indictment; and if she then continued stubborn she should be
subjected to the _peine forte et dure_, for that the
_defensio_ she had set up did not suffice, and that there
were _indicia legitima, prægnantia et sufficientia ad torturam
ipsam_; to wit--1. _Mala sama_.

2. _Malesicum, publicè commissum_.

3. _Apparitio dæmonis in monte_.

Whereupon the most honourable central court cited about 20
_auctores_, whereof, howbeit, we remember but little. When
_Don. Consul_ had read out this to my child, he once more
lift up his voice and admonished her with many words to confess of
her own free will, for that the truth must now come to light.

Hereupon she steadfastly replied, that after the _defensio_
of _Dom. Syndicus_ she had indeed hoped for a better
sentence; but that, as it was the will of God to try her yet more
hardly, she resigned herself altogether into His gracious hands,
and could not confess aught save what she had said before, namely,
that she was innocent, and that evil men had brought this misery
upon her. Hereupon _Dom. Consul_ motioned the constable, who
straightway opened the door of the next room, and admitted
_Pastor Benzensis_ [Footnote: The minister at Bentz, a
village situated at a short distance from Pudgla.] in his
surplice, who had been sent for by the court to admonish her still
better out of the Word of God. He heaved a deep sigh, and said,
"Mary, Mary, is it thus I must meet thee again?" Whereupon she
began to weep bitterly, and to protest her innocence afresh. But
he heeded not her distress; and as soon as he had heard her pray,
"Our Father," "The eyes of all wait upon Thee," and "God the
Father dwell with us," he lift up his voice and declared to her
the hatred of the living God to all witches and warlocks, seeing
that not only is the punishment of fire awarded to them in the Old
Testament, but that the Holy Ghost expressly saith in the New
Testament (Gal. v.), "That they which do such things shall not
inherit the kingdom of God;" but "shall have their part in the
lake which burneth with fire and brimstone; which is the second
death" (Apocal. xxi.). Wherefore she must not be stubborn nor
murmur against the court when she was tormented, seeing that it
was all done out of Christian love, and to save her poor soul.
That, for the sake of God and her salvation, she should no longer
delay repentance, and thereby cause her body to be tormented and
give over her wretched soul to Satan, who certainly would not
fulfil those promises in hell which he had made her here upon
earth; seeing that "he was a murderer from the beginning--a liar
and the father of it" (John viii.). "Oh!" cried he, "Mary, my
child, who so oft hast sat upon my knees, and for whom I now cry
every morning and every night unto my God, if thou wilt have no
pity upon thee and me, have pity at least upon thy worthy father,
whom I cannot look upon without tears, seeing that his hairs have
turned snow white within a few days, and save thy soul, my child,
and confess! Behold, thy Heavenly Father grieveth over thee no
less than thy fleshly father, and the holy angels veil their faces
for sorrow that thou, who wert once their darling sister, art now
become the sister and bride of the devil. Return, therefore, and
repent! This day thy Saviour calleth thee, poor stray lamb, back
into His flock, 'And ought not this woman, being a daughter of
Abraham, whom Satan hath bound... be loosed from this bond?' Such
are His merciful words (Luke xiii.); _item_, 'Return, thou
backsliding Israel, saith the Lord, and I will not cause Mine
anger to fall upon you, for I am merciful' (Jer. iii.). Return
then, thou backsliding soul, unto the Lord thy God! He who heard
the prayer of the idolatrous Manasseh when 'he besought the Lord
his God and humbled himself (2 Chron. xxxiii.); who, through Paul,
accepted the repentance of the sorcerers at Ephesus (Acts xix.),
the same merciful God now crieth unto thee as unto the angel of
the church of Ephesus, 'Remember, therefore, from whence thou art
fallen and repent' (Apocal. ii.). O Mary, Mary, remember, my
child, from whence thou art fallen, and repent!"

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hereupon the admonitions began all over again, and _Dom.
Consul_ bade her look upon the brown spots that were upon the
black shift, for that they were the blood of old wife Biehlke, and
to consider that within a few minutes it would in like manner be
stained with her own blood. Hereupon she answered, "I have
considered that right well, but I hope that my faithful Saviour,
who hath laid this torment upon me, being innocent, will likewise
help me to bear it, as He helped the holy martyrs of old; for if
these, through God's help, overcame by faith the torments
inflicted on them by blind heathens, I also can overcome the
torture inflicted on me by blind heathens, who, indeed, call
themselves Christians, but who are more cruel than those of yore;
for the old heathens only caused the holy virgins to be torn of
savage beasts, but ye which have received the new commandment,
'That ye love one another; as your Saviour hath loved you, that ye
also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are His
disciples' (St. John xiii.); yourselves will act the part of
savage beasts, and tear with your own hands the body of an
innocent maiden, your sister, who has never done aught to harm
you. Do then as ye list, but have a care how ye will answer it to
the highest Judge of all. Again, I say, the lamb feareth naught,
for it is in the hand of the Good Shepherd." When my matchless
child had thus spoken, _Dom. Consul_ rose, pulled off the
black skull-cap which he ever wore, because the top of his head
was already bald, bowed to the court, and said, "We hereby make
known to the worshipful court, that the question ordinary and
extraordinary of the stubborn and blaspheming witch, Mary
Schweidler, is about to begin, in the name of the Father, and of
the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen."

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

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

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

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

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

She shook like an aspen leaf when he bound her hands and feet; and
when he was about to bind over her sweet eyes a nasty old filthy
clout wherein my maid had seen him carry fish but the day before,
and which was still all over shining scales, I perceived it, and
pulled off my silken neckerchief, begging him to use that instead,
which he did. Hereupon the thumb-screw was put on her, and she was
once more asked whether she would confess freely, but she only
shook her poor blinded head, and sighed with her dying Saviour,
"Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani," and then in Greek, "Theé mou, theé
mou, hiva thi me hegkatélipes." [Footnote: "My God, My God, why
hast Thou forsaken Me?"-Matt, xxvii. 46.] Whereat _Dom.
Consul_ started back, and made the sign of the cross (for
inasmuch as he knew no Greek, he believed, as he afterwards said
himself, that she was calling upon the devil to help her), and
then called to the constable with a loud voice, "Screw!"

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

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

_Q._ Whether she could bewitch?--_R._ Yes, she could
bewitch.

_Q._ Who taught her to do so?--_R._ Satan himself.

_Q._ How many devils had she?--_R._ One devil was enough
for her.

_Q_. What was this devil called?--_Illa_ (considering).
His name was _Disidæmonia_. [Footnote: Greek--Superstition.
What an extraordinary woman!]

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

_Q_. In what shape had he appeared to her?--_R_. In the
shape of the sheriff, and sometimes as a goat with terrible horns.

_Q_. Whether Satan had re-baptized her, and where?--_R_.
In the sea.

_Q_. What name had he given her?--_R_.-------.
[Footnote: It was impossible to decipher this name in the
manuscript.]

_Q_. Whether any of the neighbours had been by when she was
re-baptized, and which of them?--_R_. Hereupon my matchless
child cast up her eyes towards heaven, as though doubting whether
she should fyle old Lizzie or not, but at last she said, No!

_Q_. She must have had sponsors; who were they? and what gift
had they given her as christening money?--_R_. There were
none there save spirits; wherefore old Lizzie could see no one
when she came and looked on at her re-baptism.

_Q_. Whether she had ever lived with the devil?--_R_.
She never had lived anywhere save in her father's house.

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

_Q._ Whether she had found the devil hot or cold?--_R_.
She did not remember which.

_Q_. Whether she had ever conceived by Satan, and given birth
to a changeling, and of what shape?--_R_. No, never.

_Q_. Whether the foul fiend had given her any sign or mark
about her body, and in what part thereof?--_R_. That the mark
had already been seen by the worshipful court.

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

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

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



CHAPTER XXIV.

_How in my presence the devil fetched old Lizzie Kolken_.


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

Upon hearing this I once more felt a strong hope, and rose to go
to old Lizzie. But I was not quite dressed before she sent the
impudent constable to beg that I would go to her with all speed
and give her the sacrament, seeing that she had become very weak
during the night. I had my own thoughts on the matter, and
followed the constable as fast as I could, though not to give her
the sacrament, as indeed anybody may suppose. But in my haste I,
weak old man that I was, forgot to take my witnesses with me; for
all the misery I had hitherto suffered had so clouded my senses
that it never once came into my head. None followed me save the
impudent constable; and it will soon appear how that this villain
had given himself over body and soul to Satan to destroy my child,
whereas he might have saved her. For when he had opened the prison
(it was the same cell wherein my child had first been shut up), we
found old Lizzie lying on the ground on a truss of straw, with a
broom for a pillow (as though she were about to fly to hell upon
it, as she no longer could fly to Blockula), so that I shuddered
when I caught sight of her.

Scarce was I come in when she cried out fearfully, "I'm a witch,
I'm a witch! Have pity upon me, and give me the sacrament quick,
and I will confess everything to you!" And when I said to her,
"Confess then!" she owned that she, with the help of the sheriff,
had contrived all the witchcraft in the village, and that my child
was as innocent thereof as the blessed sun in heaven. Howbeit that
the sheriff had the greatest guilt, inasmuch as he was a warlock
and a witch's priest, and had a spirit far stronger than hers,
called Dudaim, [Footnote: This remarkable word occurs in the I
Mos. xxx. 15 ff. as the name of a plant which produces
fruitfulness in women; but the commentators are by no means agreed
as to its nature and its properties. The LXX. render it by
_Mandragoras_, which has been understood by the most eminent
ancient and modern theologians to mean the mandrake (Alraunwurzel)
so famous in the history of witchcraft. In many instances the
devils, strangely enough, receive Christian names; thus the
familiar spirit of old Lizzie is afterwards called Kit,
_i.e._, Christopher.] which spirit had given her such a blow
on the head in the night as she should never recover. This same
Dudaim it was that had raked up the crops, heaped sand over the
amber, made the storm, and dropped the frog into my daughter her
lap; _item_, carried off her old goodman through the air.

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

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

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

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

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



CHAPTER XXV.

_How Satan sifted me like wheat, whereas my daughter withstood
him right bravely._


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

Hereupon I went all round about the castle, and laid my ear
against every little window that looked as though it might be her
window, and cried, "Mary, my child, where art thou?" _Item_,
at every grating I found I kneeled down, bowed my head, and called
in like manner into the vault below. But all in vain; I got no
answer anywhere. The sheriff at length saw what I was about, and
came down out of the castle to me with a very gracious air, and
taking me by the hand, he asked me what I sought? But when I
answered him that I had not seen my only child since last
Thursday, and prayed him to show pity upon me, and let me be led
to her, he said that could not be, but that I was to come up into
his chamber, and talk further of the matter. By the way he said,
"Well, so the old witch told you fine things about me, but you see
how Almighty God has sent His righteous judgment upon her. She has
long been ripe for the fire; but my great long-suffering, wherein
a good magistrate should ever strive to be like unto the Lord, has
made me overlook it till _datum_, and in return for my
goodness she raises this outcry against me." And when I replied,
"How does your lordship know that the witch raised such an outcry
against you?" he first began to stammer, and then said, "Why, you
yourself charged me thereon before the judge. But I bear you no
anger therefor, and God knows that I pity you, who are a poor weak
old man, and would gladly help you if I were able." Meanwhile he
led me up four or five flights of stairs, so that I, old man that
I am, could follow him no further, and stood still gasping for
breath. But he took me by the hand and said, "Come, I must first
show you how matters really stand, or I fear you will not accept
my help, but will plunge yourself into destruction." Hereupon we
stepped out upon a terrace at the top of the castle, which looked
toward the water; and the villain went on to say, "Reverend
Abraham, can you see well afar off?" and when I answered that I
once could see very well, but that the many tears I had shed had
now peradventure dimmed my eyes, he pointed to the Streckelberg,
and said, "Do you then see nothing there?" _Ego_. "Naught
save a black speck, which I cannot make out." _Ille_. "Know
then that that is the pile whereon your daughter is to burn at ten
o'clock to-morrow morning, and which the constables are now
raising." When this hell-hound had thus spoken, I gave a loud cry
and swounded. O blessed Lord! I know not how I lived through such
distress; Thou alone didst strengthen me beyond nature, in order,
"after so much weeping and wailing, to heap joys and blessings
upon me;" without Thee I never could have lived through such
misery: "therefore to Thy name ever be all honour and glory, O
Thou God of Israel!" [Footnote: Tobit iii. 22, 23, Luther's
Version.]

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

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

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

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

IESVS!

Pater infelix!

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

MARIA S., captiva.

[Footnote: It is evidently written by a female hand, and probably
the original letter; there are, however, no traces of sealing-wax
or wax upon it, whence I infer that it was sent open, which, from
its being written in a foreign language, would have been perfectly
safe. I have purposely left the few grammatical errors it
contains, as the smallest alteration of this gem would appear to
me in the light of a treason against the character of this
incomparable woman.

Translation.


JESUS!

Unhappy Father!

I shall not to-morrow grow more pale at sight of the pile, nor
will the pile grow more red on receiving me, than I grew pale and
then red while reading thy letter. How? and hath Satan so tempted
thee, pious father, pious servant of the Lord, that thou hast made
common cause with mine enemies, and that thou understandest not
that in such life is death, and in such death is life? For if the
all-merciful God forgave Mary Magdalene and other sinners, He
forgave them because they repented of the weakness of their flesh,
and sinned not again. And shall I sin with so great abhorrence of
the flesh, and that not once but again and again without return
even until death? How could the all-merciful God forgive this to
the vilest of women? Unhappy father! remember what thou hast told
me of the holy martyrs, and of the virgins of the Lord, who all
lost their lives rather than lose their chastity. These will I
follow, hoping that my spouse Jesus Christ will also give to
wretched me a crown of eternal glory, although, indeed, I have not
less offended through the weakness of the flesh than Mary,
declaring myself to be guilty, whereas I am innocent. Be strong,
therefore, and pray for me unto God, and not unto the devil, so
that I may soon pray for thee before the face of God.

MARY S., a Prisoner.]

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



CHAPTER XXVI,

_How I received the Holy Sacrament with my daughter and the old
maid-servant, and how she was then led for the last time before
the court, with the drawn sword and the outcry, to receive
sentence._


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

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

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

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

And when he had ended this comfortable address, and asked her
whether she would willingly bear until her last hour that cross
which the most merciful God, according to His unsearchable will,
had laid upon her, she spake such beautiful words that my gossip
afterwards said he should not forget them so long as he should
live, seeing that he had never witnessed a bearing at once so full
of faith and joy, and withal so deeply sorrowful. She spake after
this manner: "Oh, holy cross, which my Jesus hath sanctified by
His innocent suffering; oh, dear cross, which is laid upon me by
the hand of a merciful Father; oh, blessed cross, whereby I am
made like unto my Lord Jesus, and am called unto eternal glory and
blessedness: how! shall I not willingly bear thee, thou sweet
cross of my bridegroom, of my brother?" The reverend Johannes had
scarce given us absolution, and after this, with many tears, the
Holy Sacrament, when we heard a loud trampling upon the floor, and
presently the impudent constable looked into the room and asked
whether we were ready, seeing that the worshipful court was now
waiting for us; and when he had been told that we were ready, my
child would have first taken leave of me, but I forbade her,
saying, "Not so; thou knowest that which thou hast promised me;
... 'and whither thou goest I will go, and where thou lodgest I
will lodge: ...where thou diest will I die ...'; [Footnote: Ruth
i. 16,] if that the Lord, as I hope, will hear the ardent sighs of
my poor soul." Hereupon she let me go, and embraced only the old
maid-servant, thanking her for all the kindness she had shown her
from her youth up, and begging her not to go with her to make her
death yet more bitter by her cries. The faithful old creature was
unable for a long time to say a word for tears. Howbeit at last
she begged forgiveness of my child, for that she had unwittingly
accused her, and said, that out of her wages she had bought five
pounds' weight of flax to hasten her death; that the shepherd of
Pudgla had that very morning taken it with him to Coserow, and
that she should wind it closely round her body; for that she had
seen how old wife Schurne, who was burnt in Liepe, had suffered
great torments before she came to her death, by reason of the damp
wood.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"_Publicatum_ at the castle of Pudgla, the 30th day _mensis
Augusti, anno Salutis_ 1630." [Footnote: Readers who are
unacquainted with the atrocious administration of justice in those
days, will be surprised at this rapid and arbitrary mode of
proceeding. But I have seen authentic witch-trials wherein a mere
notary condemned the accused to the torture and to death without
the smallest hesitation; and it may be considered as a mark of
humanity whenever the acts on which judgment was given were sent
to an university, or to some other tribunal. For the sentence of
death appears to have been almost invariably passed by the
inferior courts, and no appeal seems to have been possible; indeed
in these affairs their worships, as in this case, usually made
incredible haste, which, it must beadmitted, is perhaps the only
good quality which the modern courts of justice might borrow from
the old ones.]

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



CHAPTER XXVII.

_Of that which befell us by the way--Item, of the fearful death
of the sheriff at the mill._


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

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

[Footnote:

"Around them, bright with endless Spring, perpetual roses bloom,
Warm balsams gratefully exude luxurious perfume;
Red crocuses, and lilies white, shine dazzling in the sun;
Green meadows yield them harvests green, and streams with honey
run;
Unbroken droop the laden boughs, with heavy fruitage bent,
Of incense and of odours strange the air is redolent:
And neither sun, nor moon, nor stars dispense their changeful
light,
But the Lamb's eternal glory makes the happy city bright!"]

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

  "Judex ergo cum sedebit
  Quidquid latet apparebit
  Nil inultum remanebit:
        _Item_,
  Rex tremendæ majestatis
  Qui salvandos salvas gratis
  Salva me, fons pietatis!"

 [Footnote:
  "The judge ascends his awful throne,
  He makes each secret sin be known,
  And all with shame confess their own.

  Thou mighty formidable king!
  Thou mercy's unexhausted spring,
  Some comfortable pity bring."--_Old Version._]

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

Meanwhile, however, the storm came up from the southward, with
thunder, lightning, hail, and such a wind, as though the
all-righteous God would manifest His wrath against these ruthless
murderers; and the tops of the lofty beeches around us were beaten
together like besoms, so that our cart was covered with leaves as
with hail, and no one could hear his own voice for the noise. This
happened just as we were entering the forest from the convent dam,
and the sheriff now rode close behind us, beside the coach wherein
was _Dom. Consul_. Moreover, just as we were crossing the
bridge over the mill-race, we were seized by the blast, which
swept up a hollow from the Achterwater with such force that we
conceived it must drive our cart down the abyss, which was at
least forty feet deep or more; and seeing that, at the same time,
the horses did as though they were upon ice, and could not stand,
the driver halted to let the storm pass over, the which the
sheriff no sooner perceived, than he galloped up and bade him go
on forthwith. Whereupon the man flogged on the horses, but they
slipped about after so strange a fashion, that our guards with the
pitchforks fell back, and my child cried aloud for fear; and when
we were come to the place where the great waterwheel turned just
below us, the driver fell with his horse, which broke one of its
legs. Then the constable jumped down from the cart, but
straightway fell too, on the slippery ground; Item, the driver,
after getting on his legs again, fell a second time. Hereupon the
sheriff with a curse spurred on his grey charger, which likewise
began to slip as our horses had also done. Nevertheless, he came
sliding towards us, without, however, falling down; and when he
saw that the horse with the broken leg still tried to get up, but
always straightway fell again on the slippery ground, he hallooed
and beckoned the fellows with pitchforks to come and unharness the
mare; _item_, to push the cart over the bridge, lest it
should be carried down the precipice. Presently a long flash of
lightning shot into the water below us, followed by a clap of
thunder so sudden and so awful that the whole bridge shook, and
the sheriff his horse (our horses stood quite still) started back
a few paces, lost its footing, and, together with its rider, shot
headlong down upon the great mill-wheel below, whereupon a fearful
cry arose from all those that stood behind us on the bridge. For a
while naught could be seen for the white foam, until the sheriff
his legs and body were borne up into the air by the wheel, his
head being stuck fast between the fellies; and thus, fearful to
behold, he went round and round upon the wheel. Naught ailed the
grey charger, which swam about in the mill-pond below. When I saw
this, I seized the hand of my innocent lamb, and cried, "Behold,
Mary, our Lord God yet liveth! 'And he rode upon a cherub, and did
fly; yea, he did fly upon the wings of the wind. Then did he beat
them small as the dust before the wind; he did cast them out as
the dirt in the streets.' [Footnote: Ps. xviii. 10, 42.] Look
down, and see what the Almighty God hath done." While she hereupon
raised her eyes toward heaven with a sigh, we heard _Dom.
Consul_ calling out behind us as loudly as he could: and,
seeing that none could understand his words for the fearful storm
and the tumult of the waters, he jumped down from the coach, and
would have crossed the bridge on foot, but straightway he fell
upon his nose, so that it bled, and he crept back again on his
hands and feet, and held a long talk with _Dom. Camerarius_,
who, howbeit, did not stir out of the coach. Meanwhile, the driver
and the constable had unyoked the maimed horse, bound it, and
dragged it off the bridge, and now they came back to the cart, and
bade us get down therefrom, and cross the bridge on foot, the
which we did after that the constable had unbound my child, with
many curses and ill words, threatening that, in return for her
malice, he would keep her roasting till late in the evening. (I
could not blame him much therefore; for truly this was a strange
thing!) But, albeit, my child herself got safe across; we two--I
mean reverend Martinus and myself--like all the others, fell two
or three times to the ground. At length we all, by God His grace,
got safe and sound to the miller's house, where the constable
delivered my child into the miller his hands, to guard her on
forfeit of his life, while he ran down to the mill-pond to save
the sheriff his grey charger. The driver was bidden the while to
get the cart and the other horses off the bewitched bridge. We
had, however, stood but a short time with the miller, under the
great oak before his door, when _Dom. Consul_ with the
worshipful court, and all the folks, came over the little bridge,
which is but a couple of musket shots off from the first one, and
he could scarce prevent the crowd from falling upon my child and
tearing her in pieces, seeing that they all, as well as _Dom.
Consul_ himself, imagined that none other but she had brewed
the storm, and bewitched the bridge (especially as she herself had
not fallen thereon), and had likewise caused the sheriff his
death; all of which, nevertheless, were foul lies, as ye shall
hereafter hear. He, therefore, railed at her for a cursed
she-devil, who, even after having confessed and received the holy
Sacrament, had not yet renounced Satan; but that naught should
save her, and she should, nevertheless, receive her reward. And,
seeing that she kept silence, I hereupon answered, "Did he not see
that the all-righteous God had so ordered it, that the sheriff,
who would have robbed my innocent child of her honour and her
life, had here forfeited his own life as a fearful example to
others?" But _Dom. Consul_ would not see this, and said that
a child might perceive that our Lord God had not made this storm,
or did I peradventure believe that our Lord God had likewise
bewitched the bridge? I had better cease to justify my wicked
child, and rather begin to exhort her to repent, seeing that this
was the second time that she had brewed a storm, and that no man
with a grain of sense could believe what I said, &c.

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

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



CHAPTER XXVIII.

_How my daughter was at length saved by the help of the
all-merciful, yea, of the all-merciful God._


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

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

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

     "Rex tremendæ majestatis!
   Qui salvandos salvas gratis,
   Salva me, fons pietatis!" [Footnote: Vide p. 395.]

And, behold, scarce had she spoken these words, when the sun came
out and formed a rainbow right over the mountain most pleasant to
behold; and it is clear that this was a sign from the merciful
God, such as He often gives us, but which we blind and unbelieving
men do not rightly mark. Neither did my child heed it; for albeit
she thought upon that first rainbow which shadowed forth our
troubles, yet it seemed to her impossible that she could now be
saved, wherefore she grew so faint, that she no longer heeded the
blessed sign of mercy, and her head fell forwards (for she could
no longer lean it upon me, seeing that I lay my length at the
bottom of the cart), till her garland almost touched my worthy
gossip his knees. Thereupon, he bade the driver stop for a moment
and pulled out a small flask filled with wine, which he always
carries in his pocket when witches are to be burnt, [Footnote:
Which so often happened at that time, that in many parishes of
Pomerania six or seven of these unhappy women were brought to the
stake every year.] in order to comfort them therewith in their
terror. (Henceforth, I myself will ever do the like, for this
fashion of my dear gossip pleases me well.) He first poured some
of this wine down my throat, and afterwards down my child's; and
we had scarce come to ourselves again, when a fearful noise and
tumult arose among the people behind us, and they not only cried
out in deadly fear, "The sheriff is come back! the sheriff is come
again!" but as they could neither run away forwards nor backwards
(being afraid of the ghost behind and of my child before them),
they ran on either side, some rushing into the coppice, and others
wading into the Achterwater up to their necks. _Item_, as
soon as _Dom. Camerarius_ saw the ghost come out of the
coppice with a grey hat and a grey feather, such as the sheriff
wore, riding on the grey charger, he crept under a bundle of straw
in the cart: and _Dom. Consul_ cursed my child again, and
bade the coachmen drive on as madly as they could, even should all
the horses die of it, when the impudent constable behind us called
to him, "It is not the sheriff, but the young lord of Nienkerken,
who will surely seek to save the witch: shall I, then, cut her
throat with my sword?" At these fearful words my child and I came
to ourselves again, and the fellow had already lift up his naked
sword to smite her, seeing _Dom. Consul_ had made him a sign
with his hand, when my dear gossip, who saw it, pulled my child
with all his strength back into his lap. (May God reward him on
the day of judgment, for I never can.) The villain would have
stabbed her as she lay in his lap; but the young lord was already
there, and seeing what he was about to do, thrust the boar-spear,
which he held in his hand, in between the constable's shoulders,
so that he fell headlong on the earth, and his own sword, by the
guidance of the most righteous God, went into his ribs on one
side, and out again at the other. He lay there and bellowed, but
the young lord heeded him not, but said to my child, "Sweet maid,
God be praised that you are safe!" When, however, he saw her bound
hands, he gnashed his teeth, and, cursing her judges, he jumped
off his horse, and cut the rope with his sword, which he held in
his right hand, took her hand in his, and said, "Alas, sweet maid,
how have I sorrowed for you! but I could not save you, as I myself
also lay in chains, which you may see from my looks."

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



CHAPTER XXIX.

_Of our next great sorrow, and final joy._


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

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

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

 [Footnote:
  "But furious Dido, with dark thoughts involv'd,
   Shook at the mighty mischief she resolv'd.
   With livid spots distinguish'd was her face,
   Red were her rolling eyes, and discompos'd her pace;

   Ghastly she gazed, with pain she drew her breath,
   And nature shiver'd at approaching death.
   Then swiftly to the fatal place she pass'd,
   And mounts the funeral pile with furious haste."

--DRYDEN'S _Virgil._]

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

And now my grief was greater than ever it had been before; so
patient and resigned to the will of God as my child had shown
herself heretofore, and no martyr could have met her last hour
stronger in God and Christ, so impatient and despairing was she
now. She gave up all hope, and took it into her head that in these
heavy times of war the young lord had been killed by robbers.
Naught availed with her, not even prayer, for when I called upon
God with her, on my knees, she straightway began so grievously to
bewail that the Lord had cast her off, and that she was condemned
to naught save misfortunes in this world; that it pierced through
my heart like a knife, and my thoughts forsook me at her words.
She lay also at night, and "like a crane or a swallow so did she
chatter; she did mourn like a dove; her eyes did fail with looking
upward," [Footnote: Isa. xxxviii. 14.] because no sleep came upon
her eyelids. I called to her from my bed, "Dear child, wilt thou
then never cease? sleep, I pray thee!" and she answered and said,
"Do you sleep, dearest father; I cannot sleep until I sleep the
sleep of death. Alas, my father; that I was not burned!" But how
could I sleep when she could not? I, indeed, said each morning
that I had slept awhile in order to content her; but it was not
so; but, like David, "all the night made I my bed to swim; I
watered my couch with my tears." [Footnote: Ps. vi. 6.] Moreover,
I again fell into heavy unbelief, so that I neither could nor
would pray. Nevertheless the Lord "did not deal with me after my
sins, nor reward me according to mine iniquities. For as the
heaven is high above the earth, so great was His mercy toward" me,
miserable sinner! [Footnote: Ps ciii. 10,11.]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      *       *       *       *       *

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

All further historical traces of their existence, as well as that
of the pastor, have disappeared, and nothing remains but a tablet
fixed in the wall of the church at Mellenthin, on which the
incomparable lord, and his yet more incomparable wife, are
represented. On his faithful breast still hangs "the golden chain,
with the effigy of the Swedish king." They both seem to have died
within a short time of each other, and to have been buried in the
same coffin. For in the vault under the church there is still a
large double coffin, in which, according to tradition, lies a
chain of gold of incalculable value. Some twenty years ago, the
owner of Mellenthin, whose unequalled extravagance had reduced him
to the verge of beggary, attempted to open the coffin in order to
take out this precious relic, but he was not able. It appeared as
if some powerful spell held it firmly together; and it has
remained unopened down to the present time. May it remain so until
the last awful day, and may the impious hand of avarice or
curiosity never desecrate these holy ashes of holy beings!

THE END.





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