“Don’t chatter so.”
When she looked back again the carriage was quite near; somebody in it motioned from beneath a red umbrella, and away rolled the vehicle. Only Coaly Mathew’s dog barked after it for a while, and acted as if he wanted to seize the spokes with his teeth; but at the pond he turned back again, barked once more in front of the door, and then slunk into the house.
“Hurrah! she’s gone away!” cried Damie, as if he were glad of it. “It was Farmer Landfried’s wife. Didn’t you know Farmer Rodel’s black horses?—they carried her off. Don’t forget my leather breeches!” he cried at the top of his voice, although the carriage had already disappeared in the valley, and was presently seen creeping up the little hill by the Holderwasen.
The children returned quietly to the village. Who knows in what way this incident may take root in the inmost being, and what may sprout from it? For the present another feeling covers that of the first, bitter disappointment.
FROM THE TREE BY THE PARENTS’ HOUSE
On the eve of All Souls’ Day Black Marianne said to the children:
“Go, now, and gather some red berries, for we shall want them at the graveyard tomorrow.”
“I know where to find them! I can get some!” cried Damie with genuine eagerness and joy. And away he ran out of the village, at such a pace that Amrei could hardly keep up with him; and when she arrived at their parents’ house he was already up in the tree, teasing her in a boasting manner and calling for her to come up too—because he knew that she could not. And now he began to pluck the red berries and threw them down into his sister’s apron. She asked him to pick them with their stems on, because she wanted to make a wreath. He answered, “No, I shan’t!”—nevertheless no berries fell down after that without stems on them.
“Hark, how the sparrows are scolding!” cried Damie from the tree. “They’re angry because I’m taking their food away from them!” And finally, when he had plucked all the berries, he said: “I shan’t come down again, but shall stay up here day and night until I die and drop down, and shall never come to you at all any more, unless you promise me something!”
“What is it?”
“That you’ll never wear the necklace that Farmer Landfried’s wife gave you, so long as I can see it. Will you promise me that?”
“Then I shall never come down!”
“Very well,” said Amrei, and she went away with her berries. But before she had gone far, she sat down behind a pile of wood and started to make a wreath, every now and then peeping out to see if Damie was not coming. She put the wreath on her head. Suddenly an indescribable anxiety about Damie seized her; she ran back, and there was Damie, sitting astride a branch and leaning back against the trunk of the tree with his arms folded.