In this extremity of distress, it gave him unspeakable comfort to descry a wagon slowly descending the stony road behind him. He called out for help: a man’s voice replied telling him to have patience, but promising to come to his aid; soon two white horses became visible through the thicket, and next the white smock-frock of the wagoner, and a large sheet of white linen that covered his goods inside. “Ho, stop!” cried the man, and the obedient horses stood still. “I see well enough,” said he, “what ails the beast. When first I came through these parts my horses were just as troublesome; because there is a wicked water-sprite living hard by, who takes delight in making them play tricks. But I know a charm for this; if you will give me leave to whisper it in your horse’s ear, you will see him as quiet as mine yonder in a moment.”—“Try your charm, if it will do any good!” said the impatient Knight. The driver pulled the unruly horse’s head toward him, and whispered a couple of words in his ear. At once the animal stood still, tamed and pacified, and showed no remains of his former fury but by panting and snorting, as if he still chafed inwardly. This was no time for Huldbrand to inquire how it had been done. He agreed with the wagoner that Bertalda should be taken into the wagon, which by his account was loaded with bales of soft cotton, and conveyed to the Castle of Ringstetten, while the Knight followed on horseback. But his horse seemed too much spent by his former violence to be able to carry his master so far, and the man persuaded Huldbrand to get into the wagon with Bertalda. The horse was to be fastened behind. “We shall go down hill,” said the man, “and that is light work for my horses.” The Knight placed himself by Bertalda, his horse quietly followed them, and the driver walked by steadily and carefully.
In the deep stillness of night, while the storm growled more and more distant, and in the consciousness of safety and easy progress, Huldbrand and Bertalda insensibly got into confidential discourse. He tenderly reproached her for having so hastily fled; she excused herself with bashful emotions, and through all she said it appeared most clearly that her heart was all his own. Huldbrand was too much engrossed by the expression of her words to attend to their apparent meaning, and he only replied to the former. Upon this, the wagoner cried out in a voice that rent the air, “Now my horses, up with you; show us what you are made of, my fine fellows.” The Knight put out his head and saw the horses treading or rather swimming through the foaming waters, while the wheels whirled loudly and rapidly like those of a water-mill, and the wagoner was standing upon the top of his wagon, overlooking the floods. “Why, what road is this? It will take us into the middle of the stream,” cried Huldbrand. “No, sir,” cried the driver laughing; “it is just the other way. The stream is coming into the middle of the road. Look round, and see how it is all flooded.”