The Devil's Pool eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 145 pages of information about The Devil's Pool.
Thereupon, there was triumph in the bridegroom’s camp, they sang in chorus at the tops of their voices, and every one believed that the adverse party would make default; but when the final stanza was half finished, the old hemp-beater’s harsh, hoarse voice would bellow out the last words; whereupon he would shout:  “You don’t need to tire yourselves out by singing such long ones, my children!  We have them at our fingers’ ends!”

Once or twice, however, the hemp-beater made a wry face, drew his eyebrows together, and turned with a disappointed air toward the observant matrons.  The grave-digger was singing something so old that his adversary had forgotten it, or perhaps had never known it; but the good dames instantly sang the victorious refrain through their noses, in tones as shrill as those of the sea-gull; and the grave-digger, summoned to surrender, passed to something else.

It would have been too long to wait until one side or the other won the victory.  The bride’s party announced that they would show mercy on condition that the others should offer her a gift worthy of her.

Thereupon, the song of the livrees began, to an air as solemn as a church chant.

The men outside sang in unison: 

     “Ouvrez la porte, ouvrez,
     Marie, ma mignonne,
    J’ons de beaux cadeaux a vous presenter. 
    Helas! ma mie, laissez-nous entrer."[3]

To which the women replied from the interior, in falsetto, in doleful tones: 

    “Mon pere est en chagrin, ma mere en grand’ tristesse,
    Et moi je suis fille de trop grand’ merci
    Pour ouvrir ma porte a cette heure ici."[4]

The men repeated the first stanza down to the fourth line, which they modified thus: 

    “J’ons un beau mouchoir a vous presenter."[5]

But the women replied, in the name of the bride, in the same words as before.

Through twenty stanzas, at least, the men enumerated all the gifts in the livree, always mentioning a new article in the last verse:  a beautiful devanteau,—­apron,—­lovely ribbons, a cloth dress, lace, a gold cross, even to a hundred pins to complete the bride’s modest outfit.  The matrons invariably refused; but at last the young men decided to mention a handsome husband to offer, and they replied by addressing the bride, and singing to her with the men: 

     “Ouvrez la porte, ouvrez,
     Marie, ma mignonne,
    C’est un beau man qui vient vous chercher. 
    Allons, ma mie, laissons-les entrer."[6]



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The Devil's Pool from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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