Beltane the Smith eBook

Jeffery Farnol
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 506 pages of information about Beltane the Smith.
brook and the faint stirring of leaves.  And now, clear and strong the tender radiance fell athwart the lonely habitation and her heart leapt at the sight, her eyes grew moist and tender and she hurried forward with flying steps, then—­beholding the ruin of thatch and wall, she stopped and stood aghast, gazing wide-eyed and with her heart numb in her bosom.  Then she shivered, her proud head drooped and a great sob brake from her, for that she knew she was come too late, her dreams of wandering with Beltane through sunny glades were nought but dreams after all.  Beltane the Smith was gone!

Then a great loneliness and desolation came upon her and, sinking down at the foot of that tree whereby he had been wont to lean so often, her yearning arms crept about its rugged hole and she lay there in the passion of her grief weeping long and bitterly.

But the gentle trees ceased mourning over their own coming sorrow in wonder at the sight, and bending their heads together, seemed to whisper one to the other saying: 

“He is gone, Beltane the Smith is gone!”

CHAPTER V

WHICH TELLS OF THE STORY OF AMBROSE THE HERMIT

Deep, deep within the green twilight of the woods Ambrose the Hermit had builded him a hut; had built and framed it of rude stones and thatched it with grass and mosses.  And from the door of the hut he had formed likewise a path strewn thick with jagged stones and sharp flints, a cruel track, the which, winding away through the green, led to where upon a gentle eminence stood a wooden cross most artfully wrought and carven by the hermit’s skilled and loving fingers.

Morning and evening, winter and summer it was his custom ever to tread this painful way, wetting the stones with the blood of his atonement.

Now upon a certain rosy dawn, ere yet the sun was up, Beltane standing amid the leaves, saw the hermit issue forth of the hut and, with bowed head and folded hands, set out upon his appointed way.  The cruel stones grew red beneath his feet yet he faltered not nor stayed until, being come to the cross, he kneeled there and, with gaunt arms upraised, prayed long and fervently so that the tears of his passion streamed down his furrowed cheeks and wetted the snow of his beard.

In a while, having made an end, he arose and being come to his hut once more, he of a sudden espied Beltane standing amid the leaves; and because he was so fair and goodly to look upon in his youth and might, the pale cheek of the hermit flushed and a glow leapt within his sunken eyes, and lifting up his hand, he blessed him.

“Welcome to this my solitude, my son,” quoth he, “and wherefore hast thou tarried in thy coming?  I have watched for thee these many days.  Come, sit you here beside me in this blessed sun and tell me of thy latter doings.”

But the eyes of Beltane were sad and his tongue unready, so that he stammered in his speech, looking ever upon the ground; then, suddenly up-starting to his feet, he strode before the hut, while Ambrose the wise looked, and saw, yet spake not.  So, presently, Beltane paused, and looking him within the eyes spake hurriedly on this wise: 

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Beltane the Smith from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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