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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 fire-side 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 Polters and Quatzners of Anklam and Lassan* 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
* 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.
walk five or ten miles a day; for that then we would beg our way to Hamburg, to my departed wife her step-brother, 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 maranding 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 Grüssow, 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.
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.”*
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
* Matt. vi. 34.
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 , “ 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.* 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
* This happens frequently even now, and has occurred to the editor him. self. 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-Königsberg.