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her eyes toward heaven with a sigh, we heard Dom. Consul calling out behind us as loudly as he could : and, seeing that none could understand his words for the fearful storm and the tumult of the waters, he jumped down from the coach, and would have crossed the bridge on foot, but straightway he fell upon his nose, so that it bled, and he crept back again on his hands and feet, and held a long talk with Dom. Camerarius, who, howbeit, did not stir out of the coach. Meanwhile the driver and the constable had unyoked the maimed horse, bound it, and dragged it off the bridge, and now they came back to the cart, and bade us get down therefrom, and cross the bridge on foot, the which we did after that the constable had unbound my child, with many curses and ill words, threatening that, in return for her malice, he would keep her roasting till late in the evening. (I could not blame him much therefore ; for truly this was a strange thing!) But, albeit, my child herself got safe across; we two-I mean reverend Martinus and myself-like all the others, fell two or three times to the ground. At length we all, by God his grace, got safe and sound to the miller's house, where the constable delivered my child into the miller his hands, to guard her on forfeit of his life, while he ran down to the mill-pond to save the Sheriff his grey charger. The driver was bidden the while to get the cart and the other horses off the bewitched bridge. We had, however, stood but a short time with the miller, under the great oak before his door, when Dom. Consul, with the worshipful court, and all the folks, came over the little bridge, which is but a couple of musket-shots off from the first one, and he could scarce prevent the crowd from falling upon my child and tearing her in pieces, seeing that they all, as well as Dom. Consul himself, imagined that none other but she had brewed the storm, and bewitched the bridge (especially as she herself had not fallen thereon), and had likewise caused the Sheriff his death ; all of which, nevertheless, were foul lies, as ye shall hereafter hear. He, therefore, railed at her for a cursed she-devil, who, even after having confessed and received the holy Sacrament, had not yet renounced Satan; but that naught should save her, and she should, nevertheless, receive her reward. And, seeing that she kept silence, I hereupon answered, “Did he not see that the all-righteous God had so ordered it, that the Sheriff, who would
have robbed my innocent child of her honour and her life, had here forfeited his own life as a fearful example to others ?” But Dom. Consul would not see this, and said that a child might perceive that our Lord God had not made this storm, or did I peradventure believe that our Lord God had likewise bewitched the bridge? I had better cease to justify my wicked child, and rather begin to exhort her to repent, seeing that this was the second time that she had brewed a storm, and that no man with a grain of sense could believe what I said, &c.
Meanwhile the miller had already stopped the mill, item, turned off the water, and some four or five fellows had gone with the constable down to the great water-wheel, to take the Sheriff out of the fellies, wherein he had till datum still been carried round and round. This they could not do until they had first sawn out one of the fellies; and when at last they brought him to the bank, his neck was found to be broken, and he was as blue as a corn-flower. Moreover, his throat was frightfully torn, and the blood ran out of his nose and mouth. If the people had not reviled my child before, they reviled her doubly now, and would have thrown dirt and stones at her, had not the worshipful court interfered with might and main, saying that she would presently receive her well-deserved punishment.
Also, my dear gossip, the reverend Martinus, climbed up into the cart again, and admonished the people not to forestall the law; and seeing that the storm had somewhat abated, he could now be heard. And when they had become somewhat more quiet, Dom. Consul left the corpse of the Sheriff in charge with the miller, until such time as, by God's help, he should return. Item, he caused the grey charger to be tied up to the oak-tree till the same time, seeing that the miller swore that he had no room in the mill, inasmuch as his stable was filled with straw ; but that he would give the grey horse some hay, and keep good watch over him. And now were we wretched creatures forced to get into the cart again, after that the unsearchable will of God had once more dashed all our hopes. The constable gnashed his teeth with rage, while he took the cords out of his pocket to bind my poor child to the rail withal. As I saw right well what he was about to do, I pulled a few groats out of my pocket, and whispered into his ear, “Be merciful, for she cannot possibly run away, and do you hereafter help her to die quickly, and you shall get ten groats more from me!" This worked well, and albeit he pretended before the people to pull the ropes tight, seeing they all cried out with might and main, “Haul hard, haul hard," in truth, he bound her hands more gently than before, and even without making her fast to the rail ; but he sat up behind us again with the naked sword, and after that Dom. Consul had prayed aloud, “God the Father, dwell with us," likewise the Custos had led another hymn (I know not what he sang, neither does my child), we went on our way, according to the unfathomable will of God, after this fashion: the worshipful court went before, whereas all the folks to our great joy fell back, and the fellows with the pitchforks lingered a good way behind us, now that the Sheriff was dead.
How my daughter was at length saved by the help of the all-merciful, yea,
of the all-merciful God.
MEANWHILE, by reason of my unbelief, wherewith Satan again tempted me, I had become so weak that I was forced to lean my back against the constable his knees, and expected not to live even till we should come to the mountain ; for the last hope I had cherished was now gone, and I saw that my innocent lamb was in the same plight. Moreover, the reverend Martinus began to upbraid her, saying that he, too, now saw that all her oaths were lies, and that she really could brew storms. Hereupon, she answered with a smile, although, indeed, she was as white as a sheet, “ Alas, reverend godfather, do you then really believe that the weather and the storms no longer obey our Lord God? Are storms, then, so rare at this season of the year, that none save the foul fiend can cause them ? Nay, I have never broken the baptismal vow you once made in my name, nor will I ever break it, as I hope that God will be merciful to me in my last hour, which is now at hand.” But the reverend Martinus shook his head doubtingly, and said, “ The Evil One must have promised thee much, seeing thou remainest so stubborn even unto thy life's end, and blasphemest the Lord thy God; but wait, and thou wilt soon learn with horror that the devil is a liar, and the father of it!" (St. John viii.). Whilst he yet spake this, and more of a like kind, we came to Uekeritze, where all the people, both great and small, rushed out of their doors, also Jacob Schwarten his wife, who, as we afterwards heard, had only been brought to bed the night before, and her goodman came running after her to fetch her back, in vain. She told him he was a fool, and had been one for many a weary day, and that if she had to Crawl up the mountain on her bare knees, she would go to see the parson's witch burnt; that she had reckoned upon it for so long, and if he did not let her go, she would give him a thump on the chaps, &c.
Thus did the coarse and foul-mouthed people riot around the cart wherein we sat, and as they knew not what had befallen, they ran so near us that the wheel went over the foot of a boy. Nevertheless they all crowded up again, more especially the lasses, and felt my daughter her clothes, and would even see her shoes and stockings, and asked her how she felt. Item, one fellow asked whether she would drink somewhat, with many more fooleries besides, till at last, when several came and asked her for her garland and her golden chain, she turned towards me and smiled, saying, “ Father, I must begin to speak some Latin again, otherwise the folks will leave me no peace.” But it was not wanted this time; for our guards, with the pitchforks, had now reached the hindmost, and, doubtless, told them what had happened, as we presently heard a great shouting behind us, for the love of God to turn back before the witch did them a mischief; and as Jacob Schwarten his wife heeded it not, but still plagued my child to give her her apron to make a christening coat for her baby, for that it was pity to let it be burnt, her goodman gave her such a thump on her back with a knotted stick which he had pulled out of the hedge, that she fell down with loud shrieks; and when he went to help her up she pulled him down by his hair, and, as reverend Martinus said, now executed what she had threatened ; inasmuch as she struck him on the nose with her fist with might and main, until the other people came running up to them, and held her back. Meanwhile, however, the storm had almost passed over, and sank down toward the sea.
And when we had gone through the little wood, we suddenly saw the Streckelberg before us, covered with people, and the pile and stake upon the top, upon the which the tall constable jumped up when he saw us coming, and beckoned with his cap with all his might. Thereat my senses left me, and my sweet lamb was not much better; for she bent to and fro like a reed, and stretching her bound hands toward heaven, she once more cried out:
“Rex tremendæ majestatis !
Salva me, fons pietatis !”*
* Vide p. 146.