Gambar halaman
PDF
ePub

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 dinè 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 watermill 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 therefore, 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; Oh, 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." *

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 whether 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 hers" and he went on with his search until it was almost dark.f 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 woman in good repute, and fearing God, as Dom. Consul might

* These words are from Cicero, if I do not mistake.

† 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.

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,* 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,t 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

* Such sudden storms were attributed to witches. † It is so called to the present day, and is distant a mile from Coserow.

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.

« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »