“Mamma, do not go away, I will tell you everything; only stay with me.”
Her mother gladly turned back.
“We were shooting with the bow, though papa told us not to touch it, and we hit something and it cried out; and we were so frightened that we could not be happy any more at all.” Lili’s voice was hurried, and full of distress.
“I don’t wonder that you could not feel happy, and you cannot yet. Because of your disobedience, a poor little child is lying suffering in the next house, perhaps without its mother to comfort it, for it is a stranger here. Think of it there in a strange house, away from home, crying in pain all night long.”
“I will go right over there and stay with it,” said Lili dolefully, and she began to cry again. “I cannot sleep either mamma; I am so worried.” “We are always worried, my dear child, when we have done wrong. I will go now and find out whether the child is in need of help; and you will pray to God to give you an obedient spirit, and to turn aside the evil that your naughtiness may have caused an innocent child to suffer.”
Lili followed her mother’s advice. She could pray, now that she had confessed her fault; as she felt that she might now be forgiven. She prayed heartily for the recovery of the wounded child, and for forgiveness for herself.
Trine was sent over to the widow’s house, to inquire whether it was really a child that had been hit by the arrow, and whether it was badly hurt. Mrs. Kurd told Trine the whole story, and that the doctor had said, “We trust no serious harm is done,” and that he would come again the next day. Trine carried this report back to her mistress, and Mrs. Birkenfeld was very much relieved; for her first fear had been that the child’s eye might have been hit, even if no mortal wound had been inflicted, and she was thankful to find that things were no worse.
The next morning, Mrs. Birkenfeld went early to the widow’s house, where she was most cordially received; for she as well as her friend Lili had been a favorite pupil of Mrs. Kurd’s husband. What pleasure the ardent teacher had taken in these pupils, and what success he had had in teaching them! He had never been tired of talking about it, and his wife had never forgotten it.
Mrs. Birkenfeld was shown into the sitting-room, where Mrs. Kurd insisted on her taking a seat, saying that she had much to tell her, for she had not seen her before since she had had the strangers from Karlsruhe in her house. There was a great deal to say about them and especially about the accident of the day before. When the widow had talked herself out, Mrs. Birkenfeld asked if she could speak to the lady, and to the little girl who had been hurt.