“William Tell!” said Stauffacher in astonishment. “I heard from Walter Fuerst that you were a prisoner. Thank Heaven that you are free again.”
“I am free,” said Tell; “you, too, are free. Gessler is dead.”
“Gessler dead!” exclaimed Stauffacher. “Now indeed have we cause for thankfulness. Tell me, how did it happen?” and he drew William Tell into the house.
Tell soon told all his story. Then Stauffacher, seeing how weary he was, gave him food and made him rest.
That night Tell slept well. All next day he remained hidden in Stauffacher’s house. “You must not go,” said his friend, “Gessler’s soldiers will be searching for you.” But when evening came Tell crept out into the dark again, and kind friends rowed him across the lake back to Flueelen. There, where a few days before he had been a prisoner, he landed, now free.
Tell went at once to Walter Fuerst’s house, and soon messengers were hurrying all through the land to gather together again the Confederates, as those who had met on that eventful night were called.
This time they gathered with less fear and less secrecy, for was not the dreaded governor dead? Not one but was glad, yet some of the Confederates blamed Tell, for they had all promised to wait until the first of January before doing anything. “I know,” said Tell, “but he drove me to it.” And every man there who had left a little boy at home felt that he too might have done the same thing.
Now that Tell had struck the first blow, some of the Confederates wished to rise at once. But others said, “No, it is only a few weeks now until New Year’s Day. Let us wait.”
So they waited, and everything seemed quiet and peaceful in the land, for the Emperor sent no governor to take Gessler’s place, as he was far away in Austria, too busy fighting and quarreling there to think of Switzerland in the meantime. “When I have finished this war,” he said, “it will be time enough to crush these Swiss rebels.”
THE SEVEN ADVENTURES OF RUSTEM
King Keikobad died, and his son Kaoues sat upon his throne. At first he was a moderate and prudent prince; but finding his riches increase, and his armies grow more and more numerous, he began to believe that there was no one equal to him in the whole world, and that he could do what he would. One day as he sat drinking in one of the chambers of his palace, and boasting after his custom, a Genius, disguised as a minstrel, came to the King’s chamberlain, and desired to be admitted to the royal presence. “I came,” he said, “from the country of the Genii, and I am a sweet singer. Maybe the King, if he were to hear me, would give me a post in his court.”