“I beg your permission only here on the spot to be allowed to take up this noble shadow and put it in my pocket; how I shall do that, be my care. On the other hand, as a testimony of my grateful acknowledgment to you, I give you the choice of all the treasures which I carry in my pocket—the genuine Spring-root, the Mandrake-root, the Change-penny, the Rob-dollar, the Napkin of Roland’s Page, a Mandrake-man, at your own price. But these probably don’t interest you—rather Fortunatus’ Wishing-cap newly and stoutly repaired, and a lucky-bag such as he had!”
“The Luck-purse of Fortunatus!” I exclaimed, interrupting him; and great as my anxiety was, with that one word he had taken my whole mind captive. A dizziness seized me, and double ducats seemed to glitter before my eyes.
“Honored Sir, will you do me the favor to view, and to make trial of this purse?” He thrust his hand into his pocket, and drew out a tolerably large, well-sewed purse of stout Corduan leather, with two strong strings, and handed it to me. I plunged my hand into it, and drew out ten gold pieces, and again ten, and again ten, and again ten. I extended him eagerly my hand “Agreed! the business is done; for the purse you have my shadow!”
He closed with me; kneeled instantly down before me, and I beheld him, with an admirable dexterity, gently loosen my shadow from top to toe from the grass, lift it up, roll it together, fold it, and, finally, pocket it. He arose, made me another obeisance, and retreated toward the rosary. I fancied that I heard him there softly laughing to himself; but I held the purse fast by the strings; all round me lay the clear sunshine, and within me was yet no power of reflection.
At length I came to myself, and hastened to quit the place where I had nothing more to expect. In the first place I filled my pockets with gold; then I secured the strings of the purse fast round my neck, and concealed the purse itself in my bosom. I passed unobserved out of the park, reached the highway and took the road to the city. As, sunk in thought, I approached the gate, I heard a cry behind me—“Young gentleman! eh! young gentleman! hear you!” I looked round, an old woman called after me. “Do take care, sir, you have lost your shadow!” “Thank you, good mother!” I threw her a gold piece for her well-meant information, and stopped under the trees.
At the city gate I was compelled to hear again from the sentinel—“Where has the gentleman left his shadow?” And immediately again from some women—“Jesus Maria! the poor fellow has no shadow!” That began to irritate me, and I became especially careful not to walk in the sun. This could not, however, be accomplished everywhere—for instance, over the broad street which I next must cross, actually, as mischief would have it, at the very moment that the boys came out of school. A cursed hunch-backed rogue, I