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CHAPTER XI.

How I fed all the congregation: item, how I journeyed to the horse-fair at

Gützkow, and what befel 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 mean time 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 alway 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 nought: 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 shalt come back humbly before thou gett'st anything, but when thou comest thus, thou also shalt 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

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.* 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 ship-building. 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 a-piece; item, a cart for five florins; item, twenty-five bushels of rye which also came from Mecklenburg, at one Aorin the bushel, whereas it is hardly to be had now at Wolgast for love or money, and costs 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

• The fief of Mecklenburg was given by the Emperor to Wallenstein, who spared the country as much as he could.

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-embank· ment 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 Rüdiger 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 Gützkow 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 shoemaker 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,* 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

* Now Sauzin.

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