“The next morning we found she had done herself no harm; and I asked her who were her parents, and what had brought her here; but she gave me a strange, confused answer. I am sure she must have been born far away, for these fifteen years have we kept her, without ever finding out where she came from; and besides, she is apt to let drop such marvellous things in her talk, that you might think she had lived in the moon. She will speak of golden castles, of crystal roofs, and I can’t tell what beside. The only thing she has told us clearly, is, that as she was sailing on the lake with her mother, she fell into the water, and when she recovered her senses found herself lying under these trees, in safety and comfort, upon our pretty shore.
“So now we had a serious, anxious charge thrown upon us. To keep and bring up the foundling, instead of our poor drowned child—that was soon resolved upon but who should tell us if she had yet been baptised or no? She knew how not how to answer the question. That she was one of God’s creatures, made for His glory and service, that much she knew; and anything that would glorify and please Him, she was willing to have done. So my wife and I said to each other: ’If she has never been baptised, there is no doubt it should be done; and if she was, better do too much than too little, in a matter of such consequence.’ We therefore began to seek a good name for the child. Dorothea seemed to us the best; for I had once heard that meant God’s gift; and she had indeed been sent us by Him as a special blessing, to comfort us in our misery. But she would not hear of that name. She said Undine was what her parents used to call her, and Undine she would still be. That, I thought, sounded like a heathen name, and occurred in no Calendar; and I took counsel with a priest in the town about it. He also objected to the name Undine; and at my earnest request, came home with me, through the dark forest, in order to baptise her. The little creature stood before us, looking so gay and charming in her holiday clothes, that the priest’s heart warmed toward her; and what with coaxing and wilfulness, she got the better of him, so that he clean forgot all the objections he had thought of to the name Undine. She was therefore so christened and behaved particularly well and decently during the sacred rite, wild and unruly as she had always been before. For, what my wife said just now was too true—we have indeed found her the wildest little fairy! If I were to tell you all—”
Here the Knight interrupted the Fisherman, to call his attention to a sound of roaring waters, which he had noticed already in the pauses of the old man’s speech, and which now rose in fury as it rushed past the windows. They both ran to the door. By the light of the newly risen moon, they saw the brook which gushed out of the forest breaking wildly over its banks, and whirling along stones and branches in its eddying course. A storm, as if awakened