Gambar halaman
PDF
ePub

hands and rolled right before the feet of the Sheriff, as though God himself would signify to him that his glass was soon to run out; and, indeed, he understood it right well, for he grew white as any chalk when he picked it up, and gave it back to Dom. Consul. The latter at last gave way, saying that this day would make him ten years older ; but he bade the impudent constable, who also went with us, lead me away if I made any rumor during the torture. And hereupon the whole court went below, save the Sheriff, who said his head ached, and that he believed his old malum, the gout, was coming upon him again, wherefore he went into another chamber; item, Pastor Benzensis likewise departed.

Down in the vault the constables first brought in tables and chairs, whereon the court sat, and Dom. Consul also pushed a chair toward me, but I sat not thereon, but threw myself upon my knees in a corner. When this was done they began again with their vile admonitions, and as my child, like her guileless Saviour before his unrighteous judges, answered not a word, Dom. Consul rose up and bade the tall constable lay her on the torture-bench.

She shook like an aspen leaf when he bound her hands and feet; and when he was about to bind over her sweet eyes a nasty old filthy clout wherein my maid had seen him carry fish but the day before, and which was still all over shining scales, I perceived it, and pulled off my silken neckerchief, begging him to use that instead, which he did. Hereupon the thumb-screw was put on her, and she was once more asked whether she would confess freely, but she only shook her poor blinded head, and sighed with her dying Saviour, “ Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani,'' and then in Greek, “ Oké pov, Oɛé uov, iva Ti pe éykaréActes."* Whereat Dom. Consul started back, and made the sign of the cross (for inasmuch as he knew no Greek, he believed, as he afterwards said himself, that she was calling upon the devil to help her), and then called to the constable with a loud voice, “Screw!"

But when I heard this I gave such a cry that the whole vault shook; and when my poor child, who was dying of terror and despair, had heard my voice, she first struggled with her bound hands and feet like a lamb that lies dying in the slaughter-house,

* My God, my God, why bast thou forsaken me --Matt. xxvii. 46.

and then cried out, “Loose me, and I will confess whatsoe'er you will.” Hereat Dom. Consul so greatly rejoiced, that while the constable unbound her, he fell on his knees, and thanked God for having spared him this anguish. But no sooner was my poor desperate child unbound, and had laid aside her crown of thorns (I mean my silken neckerchief), than she jumped off the ladder, and flung herself upon me, who lay for dead in the corner in a deep swound.

This greatly angered the worshipful court, and when the constable had borne me away, Rea was admonished to make her confession according to promise. But seeing she was too weak to stand upon her feet, Dom. Consul gave her a chair to sit upon, although Dom. Camerarius grumbled thereat, and these were the chief questions which were put to her by order of the most honourable high central court, as Dom. Consul said, and which were registered ad protocollum.

Q. Whether she could bewitch?—R. Yes, she could bewitch. Q. Who taught her to do so ?—R. Satan himself.

Q. How many devils had she?—R. One devil was enough for her.

Q. What was this devil called ?Illa (considering). His name was Disidæmonia.*

Hereat Dom. Consul shuddered and said that that must be a very terrible devil indeed, for that he had never heard such a name before, and that she must spell it, so that Scriba might make no error; which she did, and he then went on as follows:

Q. In what shape had he appeared to her ?—R. In the shape of the Sheriff, and sometimes as a goat with terrible horns.

Q. Whether Satan had re-baptized her, and where ?—R. In the sea.

Q. What name had he given her ?—R.

Q. Whether any of the neighbours had been by when she was re-baptized, and which of them ?—R. Hereupon my matchless child cast up her eyes towards heaven, as though doubting whether she should fyle old Lizzie or not, but at last she said, No! Q. She must have had sponsors; who were they? and what * AELOldaluovia-Superstition. What an extraordinary woman!

It was impossible to decipher this name in the MS.

gift had they given her as christening money ?—R. There were none there save spirits; wherefore old Lizzie could see no one when she came and looked on at her re-baptism.

Q. Whether she had ever lived with the devil ?—R. She never had lived anywhere save in her father's house.

Q. She did not choose to understand. He meant whether she had ever played the wanton with Satan, and known him carnally? Hereupon she blushed, and was so ashamed that she covered her face with her hands, and presently began to weep and to sob : and as, after many questions, she gave no answer, she was again admonished to speak the truth, or that the executioner should lift her up on the ladder again. At last she said “No!" which, howbeit the worshipful court would not believe, and bade the executioner seize her again, whereupon she answered “ Yes !”

Q. Whether she had found the devil hot or cold ?-R. She did not remember which.

Q. Whether she had ever conceived by Satan, and given birth to a changeling, and of what shape ?-R. No, never.

Q. Whether the foul fiend had given her any sign or mark about her body, and in what part thereof?—R. That the mark had already been seen by the worshipful court.

She was next charged with all the witchcraft done in the village, and owned to it all, save that she still said that she knew naught of old Seden his death, item, of little Paasch her sickness, nor, lastly, would she confess that she had, by the help of the foul fiend, raked up my crop or conjured the caterpillars into my orchard. And albeit they again threatened her with the question, and even ordered the executioner to lay her on the bench and put on the thumb-screw to frighten her; she remained firm, and said, " Why should you torture me, seeing that I have confessed far heavier crimes than these, which it will not save my life to deny ?”

Hereupon the worshipful court at last were satisfied, and suffered her to be lifted off the torture-bench, especially as she confessed the articulus principalis ; to wit, that Satan had really appeared to her on the mountain in the shape of a hairy giant. Of the storm and the frog, item, of the hedgehog, nothing was said, inasmuch as the worshipful court had by this time seen the folly of supposing that she could have brewed a storm while she quietly sat in the coach. Lastly, she prayed that it might be granted to her to suffer death clothed in the garments which she had worn when she went to greet the King of Sweden ; item, that they would suffer her wretched father to be driven with her to the stake, and to stand by while she was burned, seeing that she had promised him this in the presence of the worshipful court.

Hereupon she was once more given into the charge of the tall constable, who was ordered to put her into a stronger and severer prison. But he had not led her out of the chamber before the Sheriff his bastard, whom he had had by the housekeeper, came into the vault with a drum, and kept drumming and crying out, “Come to the roast goose ! come to the roast goose !" whereat Dom. Consul was exceeding wroth, and ran after him, but he could not catch him, seeing that the young varlet knew all the ins and outs of the vault. Without doubt it was the Lord who sent me the swound, so that I should be spared this fresh grief ; wherefore to him alone be honour and glory. Amen.

CHAPTER XXIV.

How in my presence the devil fetched old Lizzie Kolken.

th, bil beer doelen I opened suffered tyled here

WHEN I recovered from my above-mentioned șwound, I found my host, his wife, and my old maid standing over me, and pouring warm beer down my throat. The faithful old creature shrieked for joy when I opened my eyes again, and then told me that my daughter had not suffered herself to be racked, but had freely confessed her crimes and fyled herself as a witch. This seemed pleasant news to me in my misery, inasmuch as I deemed the death by fire to be a less heavy punishment than the torture. Howbeit when I would have prayed I could not, whereat I again fell into heavy grief and despair, fearing that the Holy Ghost had altogether turned away his face from me, wretched man that I was. And albeit the old maid, when she had seen this, came and stood before my bed and began to pray aloud to me; it was all in vain, and I remained a hardened sinner, But the Lord had pity upon me, although I deserved it not, insomuch that I presently fell into a deep sleep, and did not awake until next morning when the prayer-bell rang; and then I was once more able to pray, whereat I greatly rejoiced, and still thanked God in my heart, when my ploughman Claus Neels came in and told me that he had come yesterday to tell me about my oats, seeing that he had gotten them all in ; and that the constable came with him who had been to fetch old Lizzie Kolken, inasmuch as the honourable high court had ordered her to be brought up for trial. Hereat the whole village rejoiced, but Rea herself laughed, and shouted, and sang, and told him and the constable, by the way (for the constable had let her get up behind for a short time), that this should bring great luck to the Sheriff. They need only bring her up before the court, and in good sooth she would not hold her tongue within her teeth, but that all men should marvel at her confession; that such a court

« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »