Famous Stories Every Child Should Know eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 279 pages of information about Famous Stories Every Child Should Know.
the hearth looking uneasy, and neither of them having ventured to speak his thoughts yet.  The Priest seemed to be secretly praying for deliverance from evil.  But when the young husband appeared, beaming with happiness, the care-worn faces brightened up; nay, the Fisherman ventured upon a few courteous jokes with the Knight, which won a smile even from the good housewife.  Meanwhile Undine had dressed herself, and now came in; they could not help rising to meet her, and stood still, astonished; the young creature was the same, yet so different.  The Priest was the first to address her, with an air of paternal kindness, and when he raised his hands in benediction, the fair woman sank on her knees, trembling with pious awe.  In a few meek and humble words, she begged him to forgive the folly of the day before, and besought him, with great emotion, to pray for the salvation of her soul.  Then rising, she kissed her foster parents, and thanking them for all their kindness, she said:  “Oh, now I feel from the bottom of my heart how much you have done for me, how deeply grateful I ought to be, dear, dear people!” She seemed as if she could not caress them enough; but soon, observing the dame glance toward the breakfast, she went toward the hearth, busied herself arranging and preparing the meal, and would not suffer the good woman to take the least trouble herself.

So she went on all day; at once a young matron, and a bashful, tender, delicate bride.  The three who knew her best were every moment expecting this mood to change, and give place to one of her crazy fits; but they watched in vain.  There was still the same angelic mildness and sweetness.  The Priest could not keep his eyes away from her, and he said more than once to the bridegroom, “Sir, it was a great treasure which Heaven bestowed upon you yesterday, by my poor ministration; cherish her worthily, and she will be to you a blessing in time and eternity.”

Toward evening, Undine clasped the Knight’s arm with modest tenderness, and gently led him out before the door, where the rays of the setting sun were lighting up the fresh grass, and the tall, taper stems of trees.  The young wife’s face wore a melting expression of love and sadness, and her lips quivered with some anxious, momentous secret, which as yet betrayed itself only by scarce audible sighs.  She silently led her companion onward; if he spoke, she replied by a look which gave him no direct answer, but revealed a whole heaven of love and timid submission.  So they reached the banks of the stream which had overflowed, and the Knight started on finding the wild torrent changed into a gentle rippling brook, without a trace of its former violence left.  “By to-morrow it will have dried up completely,” said the bride, in a faltering voice, “and thou mayest begone whither thou wilt.”—­“Not without thee, my Undine,” said the Knight, playfully; “consider, if I had a mind to forsake thee, the Church, the Emperor, and his ministers might step in, and bring thy truant

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Famous Stories Every Child Should Know from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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