Many of Lord Walter’s people followed her, weeping and bewailing the fickleness of fortune. Griselda did not turn to them, nor speak, nor weep. She quietly went on her way.
When the tidings reached her father, he wished that he had never been born, so sad was he in the sorrow of his beautiful daughter. He hastened out to meet her, and wrapped her tenderly in her old cloak, and led her home with tears.
Griselda spoke no word of complaint, nor did she speak of her former happiness. Once more she tended the sheep on the common. Once more she carried water from the well. Once more she thought first of her father.
After some weeks Lord Walter sent for Griselda. She went to the castle and greeted him humbly as of old. She showed no grudge because of his unkindness.
“Griselda,” he said, “thou knowest, as doth no other, how all this castle should be ordered for my pleasure. Stay thou then, and have all in readiness for the fair young bride whom I shall wed to-morrow. It is my will that she be welcomed royally.”
“My whole desire is to serve thee, my Lord. Neither weal nor woe shall ever make me cease to love thee with all my heart.”
At once Griselda took control of all who worked in the castle. Of them all she was the neatest and the quickest. Soon every room in the tower was sweet and clean. The great hall was decked for the wedding-feast, and the table glittered with silver.
Early next morning many horsemen came to the castle. Among them was a beautiful girl dressed in a shimmering white robe. Near her rode a charming boy younger than the maiden. Round them were many nobles, and a guard of soldiers, who had brought them to Lord Walter’s court.
The people crowded round the gates. So charmed were they with the fair young maid, that some of them forgot their love for Griselda, and were ready to welcome the bride whose coming caused her so much sorrow.
Still Griselda moved about the castle in her old worn clothes. She went to the gate to welcome the bride. Then she received the guests and greeted each of them according to his degree.
The stranger nobles wondered who Griselda could be. She was so wise and gentle, and yet so meanly dressed.
Before the feast began, Lord Walter called Griselda to him. Then he asked her, “What dost thou think of my wife? Is she beautiful?”
“Never have I seen a fairer,” said Griselda. “Joy be with you both evermore! But oh! I beg of thee, torment not this child as thou didst me. She has been tenderly cared for. She could not bear what I have borne.”
When Lord Walter saw her great patience, and thought of the pain he had caused her, his heart went out to her in great pity, and he cried, “It is enough, Griselda; fear no more, nor be thou longer sad. I have tried thy faith and thy sweetness, as faith and sweetness have never before been tried.”