“I suppose he was tired of us,” Brother Basil said with a sigh. “He is only a boy.”
But Padraig was only a few miles away, high up among the hills where a stream flowed through a ravine,—digging. He remembered seeing something there long ago, before ever he came to the Abbey. He worked for two or three days without finding anything at all. Then, just at sunset, he saw a gleam of something like sunshine in a shadow where no sun shone. He grubbed like a mole for a few minutes, and half a dozen tiny grains of gold lay in his palm.
There was not much gold in the stream, but there was some. He dug and pried and washed the scanty soil until he was sure that no more was there, and then toward evening of the next day started home to the Abbey. When he reached the gate it was dark, and the porter was astonished to see him.
By the light of a rush candle Brother Basil and the Abbot looked at the precious grains of river-washed gold, twinkling like fairy stars. Brother Basil’s heart was content, not only because of the gold, but because his most promising pupil, the wild herd-boy from the mountains, had not really been weary of the work, but had proved his love for it and for his master.
The most excited person who heard of the discovery Padraig had made was Simon the clerk. He had never lived in any country where gold could be picked up in the streams, and he did not know, as Brother Basil did, that these little dots of gold-dust had probably been washed down from some rocky height miles away. He badgered Padraig in the hope of making him tell where he had found them, but Padraig would not. It was one of his best fishing-places, and he had no mind to have it ruined by a gold-hungry clerk, seeking what had been put there for Brother Basil.
At last he grew tired of Simon’s questioning, and took him aside and told him a secret.
“I wonder,” said Brother Basil, as he and his pupil went along a hillside one day at the long, swinging trot they kept for long excursions, “what Simon the clerk is doing there by the marsh. He seems to be looking for something.”
“He is,” said Padraig with an impish grin. “He thinks the Cluricaune comes there mornings to catch frogs, and if he can catch the Cluricaune he can make him tell where all his gold is.”
Brother Basil bit his lips to keep back a smile. “Now I wonder,” he said gravely, “who could have told him such a tale?”
“I did,” said Padraig. “That is, I said old Granny Dooley told it to me when I was small. I’ve hid in the bushes to watch for the Cluricaune myself.”
Where the downward-swaying branches
Shiver, quiver in the sun,
And with low persistent murmur
The hidden waters run,
Far from bell and book and candle
With their grisly ban,
In the tangle of the rushes
Sits the great god Pan.