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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 Michelsen, 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 masters 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 !
How the Syndicus Dom. Michelson arrived, and prepared his defence of my
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 bad 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 ?” * 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 woodlice 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
** The Acts of the Apostles, xii. 7.
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 oft-times 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 wrath 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
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