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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 to come 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 wilder
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 swounded, 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 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 shyed, 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 Sheriffstood 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 archrogue 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 we 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.
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, * 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
* Or Usedom, a small town which gives its name to the whole island.
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,* 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
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
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
* 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.