The Well at the World's End: a tale eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 674 pages of information about The Well at the World's End.

“She had but twice or thrice spoken to me so many words together as this; but I answered never a word, but stood watching her warily.  And of a sudden she gave forth a dreadful screaming roar, wherewith all the wood rang again, and rushed at me; but my hand came from behind my back, and how it was I know not, but she touched me not till the blade had sunk into her breast, and she fell across my feet, her right hand clutching my raiment.  So I loosed her fingers from the cloth, shuddering with horror the while, and drew myself away from her and stood a little aloof, wondering what should happen next.  And indeed I scarce believed but she would presently rise up from the ground and clutch me in her hands, and begin the tormenting of me.  But she moved no more, and the grass all about her was reddened with her blood; and at last I gathered heart to kneel down beside her, and found that she no more breathed than one of those conies or partridges which I had been used to slay for her.

“Then I stood and considered what I should do, and indeed I had been pondering this all the way from the Dale thereto, in case I should escape my mistress.  So I soon made up my mind that I would not dwell in that house even for one night; lest my mistress should come to me though dead, and torment me.  I went into the house while it was yet light, and looked about the chamber, and saw three great books there laid on the lectern, but durst not have taken them even had I been able to carry them; nor durst I even to look into them, for fear that some spell might get to work in them if they were opened; but I found a rye loaf whereof I had eaten somewhat in the morning, and another untouched, and hanging to a horn of the lectern I found the necklace which my mistress had taken from the dead woman.  These I put into my scrip, and as to the necklace, I will tell thee how I bestowed it later on.  Then I stepped out into the twilight which was fair and golden, and full fain I was of it.  Then I drove the goats out of their house and went my way towards the Dale of Lore, and said to myself that the carline would teach me what further to do, and I came there before the summer dark had quite prevailed, and slept sweetly and softly amongst my goats after I had tethered them in the best of the pasture.

CHAPTER 5

Yet More of the Lady’s Story

“Lo thou, beloved,” she said, “thou hast seen me in the wildwood with little good quickened in me:  doth not thine heart sink at the thought of thy love and thy life given over to the keeping of such an one?” He smiled in her face, and said:  “Belike thou hast done worse than all thou hast told me:  and these days past I have wondered often what there was in the stories which they of the Burg had against thee:  yet sooth to say, they told little of what thou hast done:  no more belike than being their foe.”  She sighed and said:  “Well, hearken; yet shall I not tell thee every deed that I have been partaker in.

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The Well at the World's End: a tale from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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