Thus she spoke, and was come, meanwhile, with her
silent companion, Far as the floor of the barn, at
the furthermost end of the garden, Where was the sick
woman lying, whom, glad, she had left with her
Those late rescued maidens: fair pictures of innocence were they. Both of them entered the barn; and, e’en as they did so, the justice, Leading a child in each hand, came in from the other direction. These had been lost, hitherto, from the sight of their sorrowing mother; But in the midst of the crowd the old man now had descried them. Joyfully sprang they forward to meet their dear mother’s embraces, And to salute with delight their brother, their unknown companion. Next upon Dorothea they sprang with affectionate greeting, Asking for bread and fruit, but more than all else for some water. So then she handed the water about; and not only the children Drank, but the sick woman, too, and her daughters, and with them
All were refreshed, and highly commended the glorious water; Acid it was to the taste, and reviving, and wholesome to drink of.
Then with a serious face the maiden replied to them,
“Friends, for the last time now to your mouth have I lifted my pitcher;
And for the last time by me have your lips been moistened with water.
But henceforth in the heat of the day when the draught shall refresh you,
When in the shade ye enjoy your rest beside a clear fountain,
Think of me then sometimes and of all my affectionate service,
Prompted more by my love than the duty I owed you as kindred.
I shall acknowledge as long as I live the kindness ye’ve shown me.
’Tis with regret that I leave you; but every one now is a burden,
More than a help to his neighbor, and all must be finally scattered
Far through a foreign land, if return to our homes be denied us.
See, here stands the youth to whom we owe thanks for the presents.
He gave the cloak for the baby, and all these welcome provisions.
Now he is come, and has asked me if I will make one in his dwelling,
That I may serve therein his wealthy and excellent parents.
And I refuse not the offer; for maidens must always be serving;
Burdensome were it for them to rest and be served in the household.
Therefore I follow him gladly. A youth of intelligence seems he,
And so will also the parents be, as becometh the wealthy.
So then farewell, dear friend; and may’st thou rejoice in thy nursling,
Living, and into thy face already so healthfully looking!
When thou shalt press him against thy breast in these gay-colored
Oh, then remember the kindly youth who bestowed them upon us,
And who me also henceforth, thy sister, will shelter and nourish.
Thou, too, excellent man!” she said as she turned to the justice;
“Take my thanks that in many a need I have found thee a father.”