Here was a puzzle! It had never occurred to me that I did not know my way. Not a human being was to be seen in the quiet early morning whom I could question, and right before me the road divided into many roads, which went on far, far over the highest mountains, as though to the very end of the world—so that I actually grew giddy as I looked along them.
At last a peasant appeared, going to church I fancy, as it was Sunday, in an old-fashioned coat with large silver buttons, and swinging a long malacca cane with a massive silver head, which sparkled from afar in the sunlight. I immediately asked him very politely, “Can you tell me which is the road to Italy?” The fellow stood still, stared at me, thrust out his under lip reflectively, and stared at me again. I began once more: “To Italy, where oranges grow.” “What do I care for your oranges!” said the peasant, and walked on sturdily. I should have credited the fellow with more politeness, for he really looked very fine.
What was to be done? Turn round and go back to my native village? Why, the folks would have jeered me, and the boys would have run after me crying, “Oh, indeed! you’re welcome back from ‘out in the world.’ How does it look ‘out in the world?’ Haven’t you brought us some ginger-nuts from ‘out in the world?’” The Porter with the High Roman nose, who certainly was familiar with Universal History, used often to say to me, “Respected Herr Receiver, Italy is a beautiful country; the dear God takes care of every one there. You can lie on your back in the sunshine and raisins drop into your mouth; and if a tarantula bites you, you dance with the greatest ease, although you never in your life before learned to dance.” “Ay, to Italy! to Italy!” I shouted with delight, and, heedless of any choice of roads, hurried on along the first that came.
After I had gone a little way I saw on the right a most beautiful orchard, with the morning sun shimmering on the trunks and through the tree-tops so brilliantly that it looked as if the ground were spread with golden rugs. As no one was in sight, I clambered over the low fence and lay down comfortably on the grass under an apple-tree; all my limbs were still aching from camping out in the tree on the previous night. From where I lay I could see far abroad over the country, and as it was Sunday the sound of the church-bells from the far distance came to me over the quiet fields, and gaily-dressed peasants were walking across the meadows and along the lanes to church. I was glad at heart; the birds sang in the tree overhead; I thought of my father’s mill, and of the garden of the lovely Lady fair, and of how far, far away it all was—until I fell sound asleep. I dreamed that the Lady fair came walking, or rather slowly flying, toward me from the lovely landscape to the music of the church-bells, in long white robes that waved in the rosy morning. Then again it