“The sun is setting, and there is a chill in the air,” said Bertha’s father. “Let us go home.”
WHAT THE WAVES BRING
Bertha’s mother had just come in from a hard morning’s work in the fields. She had been helping her husband weed the garden.
She spent a great deal of time outdoors in the summer-time, as many German peasant women do. They do a large share of the work in ploughing the grain-fields and harvesting the crops. They are much stronger than their American cousins.
“Supper is all ready and waiting for you,” said Bertha.
The little girl had prepared a dish of sweet fruit soup which her mother had taught her to make.
[Illustration: Bertha’s Home.]
“It is very good,” said her father when he had tasted it. “My little Bertha is getting to be quite a housekeeper.”
“Indeed, it is very good,” said her mother. “You learned your lesson well, my child.”
Bertha was quite abashed by so much praise. She looked down upon her plate and did not lift her eyes again till Gretchen began to tell of a new amber bracelet which had just been given to one of the neighbours.
“It is beautiful,” said Gretchen, quite excitedly. “The beads are such a clear, lovely yellow. They look so pretty on Frau Braun’s neck, I don’t wonder she is greatly pleased with her present.”
“Who sent it to her?” asked her mother.
“Her brother in Cologne. He is doing well at his trade, and so he bought this necklace at a fair and sent it to his sister as a remembrance. He wrote her a letter all about the sights in Cologne, and asked Frau Braun to come and visit him and his wife.
“He promised her in the letter that if she would come, he would take her to see the grand Cologne cathedral. He said thousands of strangers visit it every year, because every one knows it is one of the most beautiful buildings in all Europe.
“Then he said she should also see the Church of Saint Ursula, where the bones of the eleven thousand maidens can still be seen in their glass cases.”
“Do you know the story of St. Ursula, Gretchen?” asked her father.
“Yes, indeed, sir. Ursula was the daughter of an English king. She was about to be married, but she said that before the wedding she would go to Rome on a pilgrimage.
“Eleven thousand young girls went with the princess. On her way home she was married, but when the wedding party had got as far as Cologne, they were attacked by the savage Huns. Every one was killed,—Ursula, her husband, and the eleven thousand maidens. The church was afterward built in her memory. Ursula was made a saint by the Pope, and the bones of the young girls were preserved in glass cases in the church.”
“Did Frau Braun tell of anything else her brother wrote?” asked her mother.