Sidonia The Sorceress V1
Part 5 out of 8
her to Zachow, he promised, at last, to send her to Stettin on the
following day, for there were two market waggons going, and she
could travel in one, and thereby be more secure against all
danger. And so it was done.
_How Sidonia meets Claude Uckermann again, and solicits him to
wed her--Item, what he answered, and how my gracious Lord of
Stettin received her._
Sidonia, next morning, got a good soft seat in the waggon, upon
the sack of a cloth merchant; he was cousin to the burgomaster,
and promised to take her with him, out of friendship for him. All
the men in the waggon were armed with spears and muskets, for fear
of the robbers, who were growing more daring every day.
So they proceeded; but had not got far from the town when a
horseman galloped furiously after them, and called out that he
would accompany them; and this was Claude Uckermann, of whom I
have spoken so much in my former book. He, too, was going to
Stettin. Now when Sidonia saw him, her eyes glistened like a cat's
when she sees a mouse, and she rejoiced at the prospect of such
good company, for since the wedding of her sister, never had this
handsome youth come across her, though she was constantly looking
out for him. So as he rode up by the waggon, she greeted him, and
prayed him to alight and come and sit by her upon the sack, that
they might talk together of dear old times.
She imagined, no doubt, that he knew nothing of all that had
happened; but her disgrace was as public at Stargard as if it had
been pealed from the great bell of St. Mary's. He therefore knew
her whole story, and answered, that sitting by her was
disagreeable to him now; and he rode on. This was plain enough,
one would think; but Sidonia still held by her delusion; for as
they reached the first inn, and stopped to feed the horses, she
saw him stepping aside to avoid her, and seating himself at some
distance on a bank. So she put on her flattering face, and
advanced to him, saying, "Would not the dear young knight make up
with her?--what ailed him?--it was impossible he could resent her
silly fun at her sister's wedding. Oh! if he had come again and
asked her seriously to be his wife, in place of there in the
middle of the dancing, as if he had been only jesting, she would
never have had another husband, for from that till now, never had
so handsome a knight met her eyes; but she was still free."
Hereupon the young man (as he told me himself) made answer--"Yes,
she had rightly judged, he was only jesting, and taking his
pastime with her, as they sat there upon the carpet, for he held
in unspeakable aversion and disgust a cup from which every one
Still Sidonia would not comprehend him, and began to talk about
Wolgast. But he looked down straight before him in the grass, and
never spake a word, but turned on his heel, and entered the inn,
to see after his horse. So he got rid of her at last.
As the waggon set off again, she began to sing so merrily and
loudly, that all the wood rang with it. And the young knight was
not so stupid but that he truly discerned her meaning, which was
to show him that she cared little for his words, since she could
go away in such high spirits.
_Summa_, when they reached the inn at Stettin, Sidonia got
all her baggage carried in from the waggon, and there dressed
herself with all her finery: silken robes, golden hairnet, and
golden chains, rings, and jewels, that all the people saluted her
when she came forth, and went to the castle to ask for his
Highness the Duke. He was in his workshop, and had just finished
turning a spinning-wheel; he laughed aloud when she entered, ran
to her, embraced her, and cried, "What! my treasure!--where hast
thou been so long, my sugar-morsel? How I laughed when Master
Hansen, whom my old, silly, sour cousin of Wolgast sent with thee,
came in lately into my workshop, and told me he had brought thee
hither in a ducal coach! I ran directly to the courtyard; but when
the knave opened the door, my little thrush had flown. Where hast
thou been so long, my sugar-morsel?"
As his Grace put all these questions, he continued kissing her, so
that his long white beard got entangled in her golden chains; and
as she pushed him away, a bunch of hair remained sticking to her
brooch, so that he screamed for pain, and put his hand to his
chin. At this, in rushed the court marshal and the treasurer (who
were writing in the next chamber) as white as corpses, and asked,
"Who is murdering his Grace?" but his Grace held up his hand over
his bleeding mouth, and winked to them to go away. So when they
saw that it was only a maiden combat, they went their way
Hereupon speaks his Grace--"See now, treasure, what thou hast
done! Thou canst be so kind to a groom, yet thy own gracious
Prince will treat so harshly!"
But Sidonia began to weep bitterly. "What did he think of her? The
whole story was an invention by his old sour cousin of Wolgast to
ruin her because she would not learn her catechism (and then she
told the same tale as to her father); but would not his Grace take
pity on a poor forsaken maiden, seeing that Prince Ernest could
not deny he had promised to make her his bride, and wed her
privately at Crummyn, on the very next night to that on which her
Grace had so shamefully outraged her?"
"My sweet treasure!" answered the Duke, "the young Prince was only
making a fool of you; therefore be content that things are no
worse. For even if he had wedded you privately, it would have been
all in vain, seeing that neither the princely widow nor the
Elector of Brandenburg, his godfather, nor any of the princes of
the holy Roman Empire, nor lastly, the Pomeranian States, would
ever have permitted so unequal a marriage. Therefore, what the
priest joined in Crummyn would have been put asunder next day by
the tribunals. My poor nephew is a silly enthusiast not to have
perceived this all along, before he put such absurdities in your
head. That he talked gallantry to you was very natural, and I
wished him all success; but that he should ever have talked of
marriage shows him to be even sillier than I expected from his
Here Sidonia's tears burst forth anew. "Who would care for her now
that her father was dead, and had left her penniless? All because
he believed that old hypocrite of Wolgast more than his own
daughter. Alas! alas! she was a poor orphan now! and all her
possessions would be torn from her by her hard-hearted, avaricious
brother. Yet surely his Grace might at least take pity on her
His Grace wondered much when he heard of Otto's death, for the
letters brought by the market waggon from the honourable council,
acquainting him with the matter, had not yet arrived, and he
scratched behind his ear, and said, "It was an evil deed of that
proud devil her father, to claim the Jena dues. He had got his
answer at Wolgast, and ought to have left the dues alone. What
right had he to break the peace of the land, to gratify his lust
and greed? It was well that he was dead; but as concerning his
testament, that must not be interfered with, he had no power over
the property of individuals. Each one might leave his goods as
best pleased him; yet he would make his treasurer write a letter
in her favour to her brother Otto: that was all that he could do."
This threw Sidonia into despair; she fell at his feet, and told
him, that let what would become of her, she would never go a step
to Zachow, and her harsh brother would never give her one
groschen, unless he were forced to it. His Grace ought to remember
that it was by his advice she had gone to Wolgast, where all her
misery had commenced; for by the traitorous conduct of the widow,
there she had been robbed, not only of her good name, but also of
her fortune. So his Grace comforted her, and said that as long as
he lived she would want for nothing. He had a pretty house behind
St. Mary's, and six young maidens lived there, who had nothing to
do but spin and embroider, or comb out the beautiful herons'
feathers as the birds moulted; for he had a large stock of herons
close to the house; and there was a darling little chamber there,
which she could have immediately for herself. As to clothes, they
might all get the handsomest they pleased, and their meals were
supplied from the ducal kitchen.
As his Grace ended, and lifted up Sidonia and kissed her, she wept
and sighed more than ever. "Could he think this of her? No; she
would never enter the house which was the talk of all Pomerania.
If she consented, then, indeed, would the world believe all the
falsehoods that were told of her--of her, who was as innocent as a
child!" Hereupon his Grace answered stiff and stern (yet this was
not his wont, for he was a right tender master), "Then go your
ways. Into that house or nowhere else." (Alas! let every maiden
take warning, by this example, to guard against the first false
step. Amen, chaste Jesus! Amen.)
That evening Sidonia took up her abode in the house. But that same
evening there was a great _scandalum,_ and tearing of each
other's hair among the girls. For one of them, named Trina
Wehlers, was a baker's daughter from Stramehl, and on the occasion
of Clara's wedding she had headed a procession of young peasants
to join the bridal party, but Sidonia had haughtily pushed her
back, and forbid them to approach. This Trina was a fine rosy
wench, and my Lord Duke took a fancy to her then, so that she
looked with great jealousy on any one that threatened to rob her
of his favour. Now when Sidonia entered the house and saw the
baker's daughter, she commenced again to play the part of the
great lady, but the other only laughed, and mockingly asked her,
"Where was the princely spouse, Duke Ernest of Wolgast? Would his
Highness come to meet her there?"
Then Sidonia raged from shame and despair, that this peasant girl
should dare to insult her, and she ran weeping to her chamber; but
when supper was served, the _scandalum_ broke out in earnest.
For Sidonia had now grown a little comforted, and as there were
many dainty dishes from the Duke's table sent to them, she began
to enjoy herself somewhat, when all of a sudden the baker's
daughter gave her a smart blow over the fingers with a fork.
Sidonia instantly seized her by the hair; and now there was such
an uproar of blows, screams, and tongues, that my gracious lord,
the Duke, was sent for. Whereupon he scolded the baker's daughter
right seriously for her insolence, and told her that as Sidonia
was the only noble maiden amongst them, she was to bear rule. And
if the others did not obey her humbly, as befitted her rank, they
should all be whipped. His Grace wore a patch of black plaister on
his chin, and attempted to kiss Sidonia again, but she pushed him
away, saying that he must have told all that happened at Wolgast
to these girls, otherwise how could the baker's daughter have
mocked her about it.
Whereupon my gracious lord consoled her, and said that if she were
quiet and well-behaved, he would take her with him to the Diet at
Wollin, for all the young dukes of Pomerania were to attend it,
and Prince Ernest amongst the number, seeing that he had summoned
them all there, in order to give up the government of the land
into their hands, as he was too old now himself to be tormented
with state affairs.
When Sidonia heard this, hope sprang up within her heart, and she
resolved to bear her destiny calmly.
_How they went on meantime at Wolgast--Item, of the Diet at
Wollin, and what happened there._
With regard to their Serene Highnesses of Wolgast, I have already
related, _libro primo,_ that the young lord, Ernest
Ludovicus, was carried out of Sidonia's chamber like one dead,
when he beheld her abominable wickedness with his own eyes
and all can easily believe that he lay for a long while sick unto
death. In vain Dr. Pomius offered his celebrated specific; he
would take nothing, did nothing day or night but sigh and groan--
"Ah, Sidonia; ah, my beloved heart's bride, Sidonia, can it be
possible? Adored Sidonia, my heart is breaking. Sidonia, Sidonia,
can it be possible?"
At last the idea struck Dr. Pomius that there must be magic and
devil's work in it. So he searched through all his learned books,
and finally came upon a recipe which was infallible in such cases.
This was to burn the tooth of a dead man to powder, and let the
sick bewitched person smoke the ashes. Such was solemnly
recommended by Petrus Hispanus Ulyxbonensis, who, under the name
of John XXII., ascended the papal throne. See his _Thesaurus
Pauperum,_ cap. ult.
But the Prince would neither take anything nor smoke anything, and
the _delirium amatorium_ grew more violent and alarming day
by day, so that the whole ducal house was plunged into the deepest
grief and despair.
Now there was a prisoner in the bastion tower at Wolgast, a carl
from Katzow, who had been arrested and condemned for practising
horrible sorceries and magic--namely, having changed the calves of
his neighbours into young hares, which instinctively started off
to the woods, and were never seen more, as the whole town
testified; and other devil's doings he had practised, which I now
forget; but they were fully proved against him, and so he was
sentenced to be burned.
This man now sent a message to the authorities, that if they
pardoned him and allowed him free passage from the town, he would
tell of something to cure the young lord. This was agreed to; and
when he was brought to the chamber of the Prince, he laid his ear
down upon his breast, to listen if it were witchcraft that ailed
him. Then he spake--
"Yes; the heart beats quite unnaturally, the sound was like the
whimpering of a fly caught in a spider's web; their lordships
might listen for themselves."
Whereupon all present, one after the other, laid their ear upon
the breast of the young Prince, and heard really as he had
The earl now said that he would give his Highness a potion which
would make him, from that hour, hate the woman who had bewitched
him as much as he had adored her. _Item,_ the young lord must
sleep for three days, and when he woke, his strength would have
returned to him; to procure this sleep, he must anoint his temples
with goat's milk, which they must instantly bring him, and during
his sleep the Lady Duchess must, every two hours, lay fresh
ox-flesh upon his stomach.
When her Grace heard this, she rejoiced that her dear son would so
soon hold the harlot in abhorrence who had bewitched him. And the
earl gave him a red syrup, which he had no sooner swallowed than
all care for Sidonia seemed to have vanished from his mind. Even
before the goat's milk came, he exclaimed--
"Now that I think over it, what a great blessing that we have got
rid of Sidonia."
And no sooner were his temples bathed with the milk than he fell
into a deep sleep, which lasted for three days, and when he opened
his eyes, his first words were--
"Where is that Sidonia? Is the wanton still here? Bring her before
me, that I may tell her how I hate her. Oh, fool that I was, to
peril my princely honour for a harlot. Where is she? I must have
my revenge upon the light wanton."
Her Grace could hardly speak for joy when she heard these words;
and she gave the earl, who had watched all the time by the bedside
of the young Prince, so much ham and sausages from the ducal
kitchen, that he finally could not walk, but was obliged to be
drawn out of the town in a car. Then she asked Dr. Pomius how such
a miracle could have been effected. At which he laid his finger on
his nose, after his manner, and replied, such was accomplished
through the introduction of the natural Life Balsam, which the
learned called _confermentationem Mumie_, and so the fool
went on prating, and her Grace devouring his words as if they were
_Summa._--After a few days the young lord was able to leave
his bed, and as they kept fresh ox-flesh continually applied to
his stomach, he soon regained his strength, so that, in a couple
of weeks, he could ride, fish, and hunt, and his cheeks were as
fresh and rosy as ever. One day he mentioned "the groom's
mistress," as he called her, and wished he could give her a lesson
in lute-playing, it would be one to make her tremble. But when the
letter arrived from Duke Barnim, declaring that, from his great
age, he proposed resigning the government of Pomerania into the
hands of her Grace's sons, there was no end to the rejoicings at
Wolgast, and her Grace declared that she would herself accompany
them to the Diet at Wollin.
We shall now see what a treat was waiting her at the old castle
there. It was built wholly of wood, and has long since fallen; but
at the time I write of, it was standing in all its glory.
Monday, the 15th May 1569, at eleven in the forenoon, his Grace of
Stettin came with seven coaches and two hundred and fourteen
horsemen into the courtyard. And there, on the steps of the
castle, stood my gracious Lady of Wolgast, holding the little
Casimir by the hand, in waiting to receive his Highness, and all
her other sons stood round her--namely, the illustrious Bishop of
Camyn, Johann Frederick, in his bishop's robes, with the staff and
mitre. _Item,_ Duke Bogislaus, who had presented her Grace
with a tame sea-gull. _Item,_ Ernest Ludovicus, in a Spanish
mantle of black velvet, embossed in gold, and upon his head a
black velvet Spanish hat, looped up with diamonds, from which long
white plumes descended to his shoulder. _Item,_ Barnim the
younger, who wore a dress similar to his brother's. _Item,_
the Grand Chamberlain, Ulrich von Schwerin, and with him a great
crowd of the counsellors and state officers of Wolgast, besides
all the nobles, prelates, knights, and chief burghers of the
duchy. Among the nobles stood Otto von Bork, brother to Sidonia;
and the burgomaster, Jacob Appelmann, held his place among the
As Duke Barnim drove up to the castle, the guards fired a salute,
and the bells rang, and the cannon roared, and all the vessels in
the harbour hoisted their flags, while the streets, houses, and
courtyards were decorated with flowers, and all the people of the
little town trotted round the carriage, shouting, "Vivat! vivat!
vivat!" so that the like was never seen before in Wollin.
Now, when the coach stopped, her Grace the Duchess advanced to
meet his Highness; and as old Duke Barnim's head appeared at the
window, with his long white beard and yellow leather cap, her
Grace stepped forward, and said--"Welcome, dearest Un------"
But she could get no farther, and stood as stiff as Lot's wife
when she was turned into a pillar of salt, for there was Sidonia
seated in the carriage beside the Duke! Old Ulrich, who followed,
soon spied the cause of her Grace's dismay, and exclaimed--
"Three thousand devils, what does your Highness mean by bringing
the accursed harlot a third time amongst us?"
But his Highness only laughed, and drew forth his last puppet, it
was a Satan as he tempted Eve, saying--
"Hold this for me, good Ulrich, till I am out of the coach, and
then I shall hear all about it."
To which the other answered--
"If you let me catch hold of this other Satan, whom ye bring with
you, I think it were wiser done!"
Prince Ernest now sprang down the steps, his eye flaming with
rage, and drawing his sword, cried--
"Hold me, or I will stab the serpent to the heart, who so
disgraced me and my family honour. I will murder her there in the
coach before your eyes."
Whereupon old Ulrich flung the little wooden Satan to the ground,
and seized the young man by the arm, while Sidonia screamed
violently. But the old Duke stepped deliberately out of the coach.
Seeing, however, his wooden Satan lying broken on the ground, he
became very wroth, and called loudly for a turner with his
glue-pot. Then he ascended the steps, and when all had greeted him
deferentially, he began--
"Dear niece, worthy cousins, and friends, ye have no doubt heard
of the misfortune which hath befallen Sidonia von Bork, who sits
there in the carriage. Her father has died; and, further, she has
been disinherited. Thereupon she fled to me to seek a refuge. Now
ye all know well that the Von Borks are an ancient, honourable,
and illustrious race--none more so; therefore I had compassion
upon the orphan, and brought her hither to effect a reconciliation
between her and Otto Bork, her brother. Step forward, Otto Bork,
where are you hiding? Step forth, and hand your sister from the
carriage; I saw you amongst the nobles here to-day. Step forth!"
But Otto had disappeared; and as the Duke found he would not
answer to his summons, he bid Sidonia come forth herself.
Whereupon the young Prince swore fiercely that, if she but put a
foot upon the step he would murder her. "What the devil! young
man," said the Duke, laughing; "first you must needs wed her, and
now you will slay her dead at our feet! This is somewhat
inconsistent. Come forth, Sidonia; he will not be so cruel."
But she sat in the coach, and wept like a child who has lost its
nurse. So my gracious lady stepped forward, and commanded the
coachman to drive instantly with the maiden to the town inn; and
so it was done.
Now the old Duke never ceased for the whole forenoon soliciting
Otto Bork to take the poor orphan home with him, and there to
treat her as a faithful and kind brother, in compensation for her
father's harsh and unnatural will; but it was all in vain, as she
indeed had prophesied. "Not the weight of a feather more should
she get than the two farmhouses in Zachow; and never let her call
him brother, for ancient as his race was, never had one of them
borne the brand of infamy till now."
In the afternoon, all the prelates, nobles, and burghers assembled
in the grand hall; then entered the ducal family, Barnim the elder
at their head. He was dressed in a long black robe, such as the
priests wear now, with white ruffles and Spanish frill, and was
bareheaded. He took his seat at the top of the table, and thus
"Illustrious Princess, dear cousins, nobles, and faithful
burghers, ye all know that I have ruled this Pomeranian land for
fifty years, upholding the pure doctrine of Doctor Martin Luther,
and casting down papacy in all places and at all times. But as I
am now old, and find it hard sometimes to keep my unruly vassals
in order, whereof we have had a proof lately, it is my will and
purpose to resign the government into the hands of my dear
cousins, the illustrious Princes von Pommern-Wolgast, and retire
to Oderburg in Old Stettin, there to rest in peace for the
remainder of my days; but there are four princes (for the fifth,
Casimir, to-morrow or next day shall get a church endowment) and
but two duchies. For ye know that, by the Act passed in 1541, the
Duchy of Pomerania can only be divided into two portions, the
other princes of the family being entitled but to life-annuities.
Therefore I have resolved to let it be decided by lot amongst the
four Pomeranian princes (according to the example set us by the
holy apostles), which of them shall succeed me in Stettin, which
is to rule in Wolgast in the room of my loved brother, Philippus
Primus of blessed memory; and, finally, which is to be content
only with the life-annuity. And this shall now be ascertained in
Having ended, he commanded the Grand Marshal, Von Flemming, to
bring the golden lottery-box with the tickets, and beckoned the
young princes to the table. Then, while they drew the lots, he
commanded all the nobles, knights, and burghers present to lift up
their hands and repeat the Lord's Prayer aloud. So every hand was
elevated, even the Duke and my gracious lady uplifting theirs, and
the three young princes drew the lots, but not the fourth, and
this was Bogislaff. So Duke Barnim wondered, and asked the reason.
Whereupon he answered, "That he would not tempt God in aught. To
govern a land was a serious thing; and he who had little to rule
had little to be responsible for before God. He would therefore
freely withdraw his claims, and be content with the annuity; then
he could remain with his dear mother, and console her in her
widowhood. He did not fear that he would ever repent his choice,
for he had more pleasure in study than in the pomp of the world;
and if he took the government, then must his beloved library be
given up for food to the moths and spiders."
All arguments were vain to turn him from his resolve: so the lots
were drawn, and it was found that Johann Frederick had come by the
Dukedom of Stettin, and Ernest Ludovicus by that of Wolgast.
But as Barnim the younger went away empty, he was filled with envy
and mortification, showing quite a different spirit from his meek,
humble-minded brother, Bogislaff. He swore, and cursed his ill
luck. "Why did not that fool of a bookworm give over his chance to
him, if he would not profit by it himself? Why the devil should he
descend to play the commoner, when he was born to play the
prince?" and suchlike unamiable and ill-tempered speeches.
However, he was now silenced by the drums and trumpets, which
struck up the _Te Deum_, in which all present joined. Then
Doctor Dannenbaum offered up a prayer, and so that grand ceremony
concluded. But the feasting and drinking was carried on with such
spirit all through the evening, and far into the night, that all
the young lords, except Bogislaff, had well nigh drowned their
senses in the wine-cup; and Ernest started up about midnight,
declaring that he would go to the inn and murder Sidonia. Barnim
was busy quarrelling with Johann Frederick about his annuity. So
Ernest would certainly have gone to Sidonia, if one of the nobles,
by name Dinnies Kleist, a man of huge strength, had not detained
him in a singular manner. For he laid a wager that, just with his
little finger in the girdle of the young Prince, he would hold him
fast; and if he (the Prince) moved but one inch from the spot
where he stood, he was content to lose his wager.
And, in truth, Prince Ernest found that he could not stir one step
from the spot where Dinnies Kleist held him; so he called a noble
to assist him, who seized his hand and tried to draw him away, but
in vain; then he called a second, a third, a fourth, up to a
dozen, and they all held each other by the hand, and pulled and
pulled away till their heads nearly touched the floor, but in
vain; not one inch could they make the Prince to move. So Dinnies
Kleist won his wager; and the Duke, Johann Frederick, was so
delighted with this proof of his giant strength, that he took him
into his service from that hour. So the whole night Dinnies amused
the guests by performing equally wonderful feats even until day
Now, there was an enormous golden becker which Duke Ratibor I. had
taken away from the rich town of Konghalla, in Norway land, when
he fell upon it and plundered it. This becker stood on the table
filled with wine, and as the Duke handed it to him to pledge him,
Dinnies said, "Shall I crush this in my hand, like fresh bread,
for your Grace?" "You may try," said the Duke, laughing; and
instantly he crushed it together with such force, that the wine
dashed down all over the table-cover. _Item_, the Duke threw
down some gold and silver medals--"Could he break them?"
"Ay, truly, if they were given to him; not else."
"Take, then, as many as you can break," said the Duke. So he broke
them all as easily as altar wafers, and thrust them, laughing,
into his pocket.
_Item_, there had been large quantities of preserved cherries
at supper, and the lacqueys had piled up the stones on a dish like
a high mountain. From this mountain Dinnies took handful after
handful, and squeezed them together, so that not a single stone
remained whole in his hand. We shall hear a great deal more of
this Dinnies Kleist, and his strength, as we proceed; therefore
shall let him rest for the present.
_How Sidonia is again discovered with the groom, Johann
It was a good day for Johann Appelmann, when his father went to
the Diet at Wollin. For as the old burgomaster held strictly by
his word, and sent him each day to the writing-office, and locked
him up each night in his little room, the poor young man had found
life growing very dull. Now he was his mother's pet, and all his
sins and wickedness were owing to her as much as Sidonia's to her
father. She had petted and spoiled him from his youth up, and
stiffened his back against his father. For whenever worthy Jacob
laid the stick upon the boy's shoulders, she cried and roared, and
called him nothing but an old tyrant. Then how she was always
stuffing him up with tit-bits and dainties, whenever his father's
back was turned; and if there were a glass of wine left in the
bottle, the boy must have it. Then she let him and his brother
beat and abuse all the street-boys and send them away bleeding
like dogs; and some were afraid to complain of them, as they were
sons of the burgomaster; and if others came to the house to do so,
she took good care to send them away with a stout blow or bloody
And as the lads grew up, how she praised their beauty, and curled
their hair and beards herself, telling them they were not to think
of citizen wives, but to look after the richest and highest, for
the proudest in the land might be glad to get them as husbands. So
she prated away during her husband's absence, for he was in his
office all day and most part of the evening. And God knows, bad
fruit she brought forth with such rearing--not alone in Johann,
but also in his brother Wittich, who, as I afterwards heard, got
on no better in Pudgla, where he held the office of magistrate. So
true it is what the Scripture says, "A wise woman buildeth her
house, but the foolish plucketh it down with her hands" (Prov.
xiv.) Then, another Scripture, "As moths from a garment, so from a
woman wickedness" (Sirach xlii.)
For what did this fool do now? As soon as her upright and worthy
husband had left the house, forgetting and despising all his
admonitions respecting this son Johann, she called together all
her acquaintance, and kept up a gormandising and drinking day
after day, all to comfort her heart's dear pet Johann, who had
been used so harshly by his cross father. Think of her fine,
handsome son being stuck down all day to a clerk's desk. Ah! was
there ever such a tyrant as her husband to any one, but especially
to his own born children?
And so she went on complaining how she had thrown herself away
upon such a hard-hearted monster, and had refused so many fine
young carls, all to wed Satan himself at least. She could not make
out why God had sent such a curse upon her.
When the brave Johann heard all this, he begged money from his
mother, that he might seek another situation. Now that there was a
new duke in Stettin, he would assuredly get employment there, but
then he must treat all the young fellows and pages about the
court, otherwise they would not put in a good word for him.
Therefore he would give them a great carouse at the White Horse in
the Monk's Close, and then assuredly he would be appointed chief
equerry. So she believed every word he uttered; but as old Jacob
had carried away all the money that was in the house with him, she
sold the spices that had just come in, for a miserable sum, also
her own pearl earrings and fur mantle, that her dear heart's son
might have a gay carouse, to console him for all his father's hard
_Summa_.--When the rogue had got all he could from her, he
took his father's best mare from the stable, and rode up to
Stettin, where he put up at the White Horse Inn, and soon scraped
acquaintance with all the idle young fellows about the court. So
they drank and caroused until Johann's last penny was spent, but
he had got no situation except in good promises. Truly the young
pages had mentioned him to the Duke, and asked the place of
equerry for their jovial companion, but his Highness, Duke Johann,
had heard too much of his doings at Wolgast, and would by no means
Then Johann bethought himself of Sidonia, for he had heard from
his boon companions that she was in the Duke's house behind St.
Mary's. And he remembered that purse embroidered with pearls and
diamonds which his father had given her, so he went many days
spying about the house, hoping to get a glimpse of Sidonia; but as
she never appeared, he resolved to gain admission by playing the
tailor. Wherefore, he tied on an apron, took a tailor's measure
and shears, and went straight up to the house, asking boldly, if a
young maiden named Sidonia did not live there? for he had got
orders to make her a garment. Now the baker's daughter, Trim
Wehlers, suspected all was not right, for she had seen my gay
youth spying about the house before, and staring up at all the
windows. However, she showed the tailor Sidonia's room, and then
set herself down to watch. But the wonders of Providence are
great. Although she could not hear a word they said, yet all that
passed in Sidonia's room was made evident--it was in this wise.
Just before the house rose up the church of St. Mary's, with all
its stately pillars, and as if God's house wished in wrath to
expose the wickedness of the pair, everything that passed in the
room was shadowed on these pillars; so when Trina observed this,
she ran for the other girls, crying, "Come here, come here, and
see how the two shadows are kissing each other. They can be no
other than Sidonia and her tailor. This would be fine news for our
gracious lord!" They would tell him the whole story when his
Highness came that evening, and so get rid of this proud, haughty
dragon who played the great lady amongst them, and ruled
everything her own way. Therefore they all set themselves to watch
for the tailor when he left Sidonia's room; but the whole day
passed, and he had not done with his measurement. Whereupon they
concluded she must have secreted him in her chamber.
Now the Duke had a private key of the house, and was in the habit
of walking over from Oderburg after dusk almost every evening; but
as there was no sign of him now, they despatched a messenger,
bidding him come quick to his house, and his Grace would hear and
see marvels. How the young girls gathered round him when he
entered, all telling him together about Sidonia. And when at last
he made out the story, his Grace fell into an unwonted rage (for
he was generally mild and good-tempered) that a poacher should get
into his preserves. So he runs to Sidonia's door and tries to open
it, but the bolts are drawn. Then he threatened to send for Master
Hansen if she did not instantly admit him, at which all the girls
laughed and clapped their hands with joy. Whereupon Sidonia at
last came to the door with looks of great astonishment, and
demanded what his Grace could want. It was bed-time, and so, of
course, she had locked her door to lie down in safety.
_Ille_.-"Where is that tailor churl who had come to her in
_Illa_.-"She knew nothing about him, except that he had gone
away long ago."
So the girls all screamed "No, no, that is not true! She and the
tailor had been kissing each other, as they saw by the shadows on
the wall, and making love."
Here Sidonia appeared truly horrified at such an accusation, for
she was a cunning hypocrite; and taking up the coif-block
[Footnote: A block for head-gears.] with an air of offended
dignity, said, turning to his Grace, "It was this coif-block,
methinks, I had at the window with me, and may those be accursed
who blackened me to your face." So the Duke half believed her, and
stood silent at the window; but Trina Wehlers cried out, "It is
false! it is false! a coif-block could not give kisses!" Whereupon
Sidonia in great wrath snatched up a robe that lay near her on a
couch, to hit the baker's daughter with it across the face. But
woe! woe! under the robe lay the tailor's cap, upon which all the
girls screamed out, "There is the cap! there is the cap! now we'll
soon find the tailor," pushing Sidonia aside, and beginning to
search in every nook and corner of the room. Heyday, what an
uproar there was now, when they caught sight of the tailor himself
in the chimney and dragged him down; but he dashed them aside with
his hands, right and left, so that many got bleeding noses, hit
his Grace, too, a blow as he tried to seize him, and rushed out of
Still the Duke had time to recognise the knave of Wolgast, and was
so angry at his having escaped him, that he almost beat Sidonia.
"She was at her old villainy. No good would ever come of her. He
saw that now with his own eyes. Therefore this very night she and
her baggage should pack off, to the devil if she chose, but he had
done with her for ever."
When Sidonia found that the affair was taking a bad turn, she
tried soft words, but in vain. His Highness ordered up her two
serving wenches to remove her and her luggage. And so, to the
great joy of the other girls, who laughed and screamed, and
clapped their hands, she was turned out, and having nowhere to go
to, put up once more at the White Horse Inn.
Now Johann knew nothing of this until next morning, when, as he
was toying with one of the maids, he heard a voice from the
window, "Johann! Johann! I will give thee the diamond." And
looking up, there was Sidonia. So the knave ran to her, and swore
he was only jesting with the maid in the court, for that he would
marry no one but her, as he had promised yesterday, only he must
first wait till he was made equerry, then he would obtain letters
of nobility, which could easily be done, as he was the son of a
_patricius_; but gold, gold was wanting for all this, and to
keep up with his friends at the court. Perhaps this very day he
might get the place, if he had only some good claret to entertain
them with; therefore she had better give him a couple of diamonds
from the purse. And so he went on with his lies and humbug, until
at last he got what he wanted.
Sidonia now felt so ashamed of her degradation, that she resolved
to leave the White Horse, and take a little lodging in the Monk's
Close until Johann obtained the post of equerry. But in vain she
hoped and waited. Every day the rogue came, he begged for another
pearl or diamond, and if she hesitated, then he swore it would be
the last, for this very day he was certain of the situation. At
last but two diamonds were left, and beg as he might, these he
should not have. Then he beat her, and ran off to the White Horse,
but came back again in less than an hour. Would she forgive him?
Now they would be happy at last; he had received his appointment
as chief equerry. His friends had behaved nobly and kept their
word, therefore he must give them a right merry carouse out of
gratitude; she might as well hand him those two little diamonds.
Now they would want for nothing at last, but live like princes at
the table of his Highness the Duke. Would she not be ready to
marry him immediately?
Thereupon the unfortunate Sidonia handed over her two last jewels,
but never laid eyes on the knave for two days after, when he came
to tell her it was all up with him now, the traitors had deceived
him, he had got no situation, and unless she gave him more money
or jewels he never could marry her. She had still golden armlets
and a gold chain, let her go for them, he must see them, and try
what he could get for them. But he begged in vain. Then he
stormed, swore, threatened, beat her, and finally rushed out of
the house declaring that she might go to the devil, for as to him
he would never give himself any further trouble about her.
_Of the distress in Pomeranian land--Item, how Sidonia and
Johann Appelmann determine to join the robbers in the vicinity of
When my gracious lord, Duke Johann Frederick, succeeded to the
government, he had no idea of hoarding up his money in old pots,
but lavished it freely upon all kinds of buildings, hounds,
horses--in short, upon everything that could make his court and
castle luxurious and magnificent.
Indeed, he was often as prodigal, just to gratify a whim, as when
he flung the gold coins to Dinnies Kleist, merely to see if he
could break them. For instance, he was not content with the old
ducal residence at Stettin, but must pull it down and build
another in the forest, not far from Stargard, with churches,
towers, stables, and all kinds of buildings; and this new
residence he called after his own name, Friedrichswald.
_Item_, my gracious lord had many princely visitors, who
would come with a train of six hundred horses or more; and his
princely spouse, the Duchess Erdmuth, was a lady of munificent
spirit, and flung away gold by handfuls; so that in a short time
his Highness had run through all his forefathers' savings, and his
incoming revenue was greatly diminished by the large annuity which
he had to pay to old Duke Barnim.
Therefore he summoned the states, and requested them to assist him
with more money; but they gave answer that his Highness wanted
prudence; he ought to tie his purse tighter. Why did he build that
new castle of Friedrichswald? Was it ever heard in Pomerania that
a prince needed two state residences? But his Highness never
entered the treasury to look after the expenditure of the
duchy--he did nothing but banquet, hunt, fish, and build. The
states, therefore, had no gold for such extravagances.
When his Highness had received this same answer two or three times
from the states, he waxed wroth, and threatened to pronounce the
_interdictum seculars_ over his poor land, and finally close
the royal treasury and all the courts of justice, until the states
would give him money.
Now the old treasurer, Jacob Zitsewitz, who had quitted Wolgast to
enter the service of his Grace, was so shocked at these
proceedings, that he killed himself out of pure grief and shame.
He was an upright, excellent man, this old Zitsewitz, though
perchance, like old Duke Barnim, he loved the maidens and a lusty
Pomeranian draught rather too well. And he foretold all the evil
that would result from this same interdict; but his Highness
resisted his entreaties; and when the old man found his warnings
unheeded and despised, he stabbed himself, as I have said, there
in the treasury, before his master's eyes, out of grief and shame.
The misery which he prophesied soon fell upon the land; for it was
just at that time that the great house of Loitz failed in Stettin,
leaving debts to the amount of twenty tons of gold, it was said;
by reason of which many thousand men, widows, and orphans, were
utterly beggared, and great distress brought upon all ranks of the
people. Such universal grief and lamentation never had been known
in all Pomerania, as I have heard my father tell, of blessed
memory; and as the princely treasury was closed, as also all the
courts of justice, and no redress could be obtained, many
misguided and ruined men resolved to revenge themselves; and this
was now a welcome hearing to Johann Appelmann.
For having given up all hope of the post of equerry, he made
acquaintance with these disaffected persons, amongst whom was a
miller, one Philip Konneman by name, a notorious knave. With this
Konneman he sits down one evening in the inn to drink Rostock
beer, begins to curse and abuse the reigning family, who had
ruined and beggared the people even more than Hans Loitz. They
ought to combine together and right themselves. Where was the
crime? Their cause was good; and where there were no judges in the
land, complaints would do little good. He would be their captain.
Let him speak to the others about it, and see would they consent.
He knew of many churches where there were jewels and other
valuables still remaining. Also in Stargard, where his dear father
played the burgomaster, there was much gold.
So they fixed a night when they should all meet at Lastadie,
[Footnote: A suburb of Stettin.] near the ducal fish-house; and
Johann then goes to Sidonia to wheedle her out of the gold chain,
for handsel for the robbers.
"Now," he said, "the good old times were come back in Pomerania,
when every one trusted to his own good sword, and were not led
like sheep at the beck of another; for the treasury and all the
courts of justice were closed. So the glorious times of
knight-errantry must come again, such as their forefathers had
seen." His companions had promised to elect him captain; but then
he must give them handsel for that, and the gold chain would just
sell for the sum he wanted. What use was it to her? If she gave
it, then he would take her with him, and the first rich prize they
got he would marry her certainly, and settle down in Poland
afterwards, or wherever else she wished. That would be a glorious
life, and she would never regret the young Duke. And had not all
the nobles in old time led the same life, and so gained their
castles and lands?
But Sidonia began to weep. "Let him do what he would, she would
never give the chain; and if he beat her, she would scream for
help through the streets, and betray all his plans to the
authorities. Now she saw plainly how she had been deceived. He had
talked her out of all her gold, and now wanted to bring her to the
gallows at last. No, never should he get the chain--it was all she
had left; and she had determined at last to go and live quietly at
her farm in Zachow, as soon as she could obtain a vehicle from
Regenswald to Labes."
When Johann heard this, he was terribly alarmed, and kissed her
little hands, and coaxed and flattered her--"Why did she weep?
There were plenty of herons' feathers now in the garden behind St.
Mary's, for the birds were moulting. She could easily get some of
them, and they were worth three times as much as the gold chain.
Did she think it a crime to take a few feathers from that old
sinner, Duke Barnim, or his girls? And if she really wished to
leave him, she could sell the feathers even better in Dresden than
It was all in vain. Sidonia continued weeping--"Let him talk as he
liked, she would never give the chain. He was a knave through and
through. Woe to her that she had ever listened to him! He was the
cause of all her misery!" and so she went on.
But the cunning fox would not give up his prey so easily. He now
tried the same trick which he had played so successfully at
Wolgast upon old Ulrich, and at Stargard upon his father; in
short, he played the penitent, and began to weep and lament over
his errors, and all the misery he had caused her. "It was, indeed,
true that he was to blame for all; but if she would only forgive
him, and say she pardoned him, he would devote his life to her,
and revenge her upon all her enemies. The moment for doing so was
nigh at hand; for the young lord, Prince Ernest, who had so
shamefully abandoned her, was coming here to Stettin with his
young bride, the Princess Hedwig of Brunswick, to spend the
honeymoon, and would he not take good care to waylay them on their
journey to Wolgast, and give them something to think of for the
rest of their lives?"
When Sidonia heard these tidings, her eyes flashed like a cat's in
the dark. "Who told him that? She would not believe it, unless
some one else confirmed the story."
So he answered--"That any one could confirm it, for the whole
castle was filled with workmen making preparations for their
reception; the bridal chamber had been hung with new tapestry, and
painters and carvers were busy all day long painting and carving
the united arms of Pomerania and Brunswick upon all the furniture
_Illa_.--"Well, she would go into the town to inquire, and if
his tale were true, and that he swore to marry her, he should have
_Ille_.--"There was a carver going by with his basket and
tools--let her call him in, and hear what he said on the matter."
So my cunning fellow called out to the workman, who stepped in
presently with his basket, and assured the lady politely, that in
fourteen days the young Duke of Wolgast and his princely bride
were to arrive at the castle, for the Court Marshal had told him
this himself, and given him orders to have a large number of
glasses cut with their united arms ready with all diligence.
When Sidonia heard this, and saw the glasses in his basket, she
handed the golden chain to Johann, and the carver went his way.
Then the aforesaid rogue fell down on his knees, swearing to marry
her, and never to leave her more, for she had now given him all;
and if this, too, were lost, she must beg her way to Zachow.
So the gallows-bird went off with the chain, turned it into money,
drank and caroused, and with the remainder set off for Lastadie,
to meet the ringleaders, near the ducal fishhouse, as agreed upon.
But Master Konneman had only been able to gather ten fellows
together; the others held back, though they had talked so boldly
at first, thinking, no doubt, that when the courts of justice were
reopened, they would all be brought to the gallows.
So Johann thought the number too small for his purposes, and
agreed with the others to send an envoy to the robber-band of the
Stargard Wood, proposing a league between them, and offering
himself (Johann Appelmann, a knight of excellent family and
endowments) as their captain. Should they consent, the said Johann
would give them right good handsel; and on the appointed day, meet
them in the forest, with his illustrious and noble bride; and as a
sign whereby they should know him, he would whistle three times
loudly when he approached the wood.
Konneman undertook to be the bearer of the message, and returned
in a few days, declaring that the robbers had received the
proposal with joy. He found them encamped under a large nut-tree
in the forest, roasting a sheep upon a spear, at a large fire. So
they made him sit down and eat with them, and told him it was a
right jolly life, with no ruler but the great God above them.
Better to live under the free heaven than die in their squalid
cabins. The band was strong, besides many who had joined lately,
since the bankruptcy of Hans Loitz, and there were some gipsies
too, amongst whom was an old hag who told fortunes, and had lately
prophesied to the band that a great prize was in store for them;
they had just returned with some booty from the little town of
Damm, where they had committed a robbery. One of their party,
however, had been taken there.
When Johann heard the good result of his message, he summoned all
his followers to another meeting at the ducal fish-house, gave
them each money, and swore them to fidelity; then bid them
disperse, and slip singly to the band, to avoid observation, and
he would himself meet them in the forest next day.
_How Johann and Sidonia meet an adventure, at Alten Damm--Item,
of their reception by the robber-band._
Now Johann Appelmann had a grudge against the newly appointed
equerry to his Highness, for the man had swilled his claret, and
been foremost in his promises, and yet now had stepped into the
place himself, and left Johann in the lurch. The knave, therefore,
determined on revenge; so invented a story, how that his father,
old Appelmann, had sent for him to give him half of all he was
worth, and as he must journey to Stargard directly, he prayed his
friend the equerry to lend him a couple of horses and a waggon out
of the ducal stables, with harness and all that would be
necessary, swearing that when he brought them back he would give
him and his other friends such a carouse at the inn, as they had
never yet had in their lives.
And when the other asked, would not one horse be sufficient,
Johann replied no, that he required the waggon for his luggage,
and two horses would be necessary to draw it. _Summa_, the
fool gives him two beautiful Andalusian stallions, with harness
and saddles; _item_, a waggon, whereon my knave mounted next
morning early, with Sidonia and her luggage, and took the miller,
Konneman, with him as driver.
But as they passed through Alten Damm, a strange adventure
happened, whereby the all-merciful God, no doubt, wished to turn
them from their evil way; but they flung His warnings to the wind.
For the carl was going to be executed who belonged to the
robber-band, that had committed a burglary there, in the town,
some days previously. However, the gallows having been blown down
by a storm, the linen-weavers, according to old usage, came to
erect another. This angered the millers, who also began to erect
one of their own, declaring that the weavers had only a right to
supply the ladder, but they were to erect the gallows. A great
fight now arose between weavers and millers, while the poor thief
stood by with his hands tied behind his back, and arrayed in his
winding-sheet. But the sheriffs, and whatever other honourable
citizens were by, having in vain endeavoured to appease the
quarrel, returned to the inn, to take the advice of the honourable
Just at this moment Johann and Sidonia drove into the middle of
the crowd, and the former leaped off and laughed heartily, for a
miller had thrown down a poor lean weaver close behind the
criminal, and was belabouring him stoutly with his floured fists,
whilst the poor wretch screamed loudly for succour or assistance
to the criminal, who answered in his _Platt Deutsch_, "I
cannot help thee, friend, for, see, my hands are bound." Upon
this, Johann draws his knife from his girdle, and slipping behind
the felon, cuts the ropes binding him.
He straightway, finding himself free, jumped upon the miller, and
turned the flour all red upon his face with his heavy blows. Then
he ran towards the waggon, but the guardsman caught hold of him by
the shoulder, so the poor wretch left the winding-sheet in his
hand, and jumping, naked as he was, on the back of one of the
horses, set off, at top speed, to the forest, with Sidonia
screaming and roaring fleeing with him.
Millers and weavers now left off their wrangling, and joined
together in pursuit, but in vain; the fellow soon distanced them
all, and was lost to sight in the wood.
When he had driven the waggon a good space, and still hearing the
roaring of the people in pursuit, he stopped the horses, and
jumped off, to take to his heels amongst the trees. Whereupon
Konneman threw him a horse-cloth from the waggon, bidding him
cover himself with it; so the carl snapped it up, and rolled it
about his body with all alacrity. Now this horse-cloth was
embroidered with the Pomeranian arms, and the poor Adam looked so
absurd running away in such a garment, that Sidonia,
notwithstanding all her fright, could not help bursting into a
loud mocking laughter.
Whereupon the crowd came up, cursing, swearing, and cursing, that
the thief had escaped them; Johann Appelmann, who was amongst
them, and was just in the act of stepping up to the waggon, when
Prince Johann Frederick and a company of carbineers galloped up
along with the chief equerry and a large retinue, all on their way
The Duke stopped to hear the cause of the tumult, and when they
told him, he laughingly said, he would soon return with the
gallows-knaves; then, turning to Appelmann, he asked who he was,
and what brought him there?
When Johann gave his name, and said he was going to Stargard, his
Grace exclaimed, with surprise--
"So thou art the knave of whom I have heard so much; and this woman
here, I suppose, is Sidonia? Pity of her. She is a handsome wench,
Then, as Sidonia blushed and looked down, he continued--
"And where did the fellow get these fine horses? Would he sell
Now Appelmann had a great mind to tell the truth, and say he got
them from the equerry, who was already turning white with pure
fear; but recollecting that he might come in for some of the
punishment himself, besides hoping to play a second trick upon his
Highness, he answered, that his father at Stargard had made them a
present to him.
The Duke, now turning to his equerry, asked him--
"Would not these horses match his Andalusian stallions perfectly?"
And as the other tremblingly answered, "Yes, perfectly," his Grace
demanded if the knave would sell them.
_Ille_.--"Oh yes; to gratify his Serene Highness the Duke, he
would sell the horses for 3000 florins."
"Let it be so," said the Duke; "but I must owe thee the money,
_Ille_.--"Then he would not make the bargain, for he wanted
the money directly to take him to Stargard."
So the Duke frowned that he would not trust his own Prince; and as
Appelmann attempted to move off with the waggon, his Highness took
his plumed cap from his head, and cutting off the diamond agrafe
with his dagger, flung it to him, exclaiming--
"Stay! take these jewels, they are worth 1300 florins, but leave
me the horses."
Now the chief equerry nearly fell from his horse with shame as the
knave picked up the agrafe, and shoved it into his pocket, then
humbly addressing his Highness, prayed for permission just to
leave the maiden and her luggage in Stargard, and then he would
return instantly with both horses, and bring them himself to his
gracious Highness at Friedrichswald.
The Duke having consented, the knave sprang up upon the waggon,
and turning off to another road, drove away as hard as he could
from the scene of this perilous adventure. After some time he
whistled, but receiving no response, kept driving through the
forest until evening, when a loud, shrill whistle at last replied
to his, and on reaching a cross-road, he found the whole band
dancing with great merriment round a large sign-board which had
been stuck up there by the authorities, and on which was painted a
gipsy lying under the gallows, while the executioner stood over
him in the act of applying the torture, and beneath ran the
"Gipsy! from Pomerania flee,
Or thus it shall be done to thee."
These words the robber crew had set to some sort of rude melody,
and now sang it and danced to it round the sign, the fellow with
the horse-cloth in the midst of them, the merriest of them all.
The moment they got a glimpse of their captain, men, women, and
children ran off like mad to the waggon, clapping their hands and
shouting, "Huzzah! huzzah! what a noble captain! Had he brought
them anything to drink?" And when he said "Yes," and handed out
three barrels of wine, there was no end to the jubilee of
cheering. Then he must give them handsel, and after that they
would make a large fire and swear fealty to him round it, as was
the manner of the gipsies, for the band was mostly composed of
gipsies, and numbered about fifty men altogether.
_Summa_.--A great fire was kindled, round which they all took
the oath of obedience to their captain, and he swore fidelity to
them in return. Then a couple of deer were roasted; and after they
had eaten and drunk, the singing and dancing round the great
sign-board was resumed, until the broad daylight glanced through
People may see from this to what a pitch of lawlessness and
disorder the land came under the reign of Duke Johann. For,
methinks, these robbers would never have dared to make such a mock
of the authorities, only that my Lord Duke had shut up all the
courts of justice in the kingdom.
During their jollity, our knave Appelmann cast his eyes upon a
gipsy maiden, called the handsome Sioli; a tall, dark-eyed wench,
but with scarcely a rag to cover her. Therefore he bade Sidonia
run to her luggage, and take out one of her own best robes for the
girl; but Sidonia turned away in great wrath, exclaiming--
"This was the way he kept his promise to her. She had given him
all, and followed him even hither, and yet he cared more for a
ragged gipsy girl than for her. But she would go away that very
night, anywhere her steps might lead her, if only away from her
present misery. Let him give her the Duke's diamonds, and she
would leave him all the herons' feathers, and never come near him
But my knave only laughed, and bid her come take the diamonds if
she wanted them, they were in his bosom. Then the gipsy girl and
her mother, old Ussel, began to mock the fine lady. So Sidonia sat
there weeping and wringing her hands, while Johann laughed,
danced, drank, and kissed the gipsy wench, and finally threatened
to go and take a robe himself out of the luggage, if Sidonia did
not run for one instantly.
However, she would not stir; so Konnemann, the miller, took pity
on her, and would have remonstrated, but Johann cut him short,
"What the devil did he mean? Was he not the captain? and why
should Konnemann dare to interfere with him?"
Then he strode over to the waggon to plunder Sidonia's baggage,
which, when she observed, her heart seemed to break, and she
kneeled down, lifted up her hands, and prayed thus:--
"Merciful Creator, I know Thee not, for my hard and unnatural
father never brought me to Thee; therefore on his head be my sins.
But if Thou hast pity on the young ravens, who likewise know Thee
not, have pity upon me, and help me to leave this robber den with
Thy gracious help."
Here such a shout of laughter resounded from all sides, that she
sprang up, and seizing the best bundle in the waggon, plunged into
the wood, with loud cries and lamentation; whilst Appelmann only
"Never heed her, let her do as she pleases; she will be back again
soon enough, I warrant."
Accordingly, scarcely an hour had elapsed, when the unhappy maiden
appeared again, to the great amusement of the whole band, who
mocked her yet more than before. She came back crying and
"She could go no further, for the wolves followed her, and howled
round her on all sides. Ah! that she were a stone, and buried
fathoms deep in the earth! That shameless knave, Appelmann, might
indeed have pitied her, if he hoped for pity from God; but had he
not taken her robe to put it on the gipsy beggar? She nearly died
of shame at the sight. But she would never forgive the beggar's
brat to the day of judgment for it. All she wanted now was some
good Christian to guide her out of the wild forest. Would no one
come with her? that was all she asked."
And so she went on crying, and lamenting in the deepest grief.
_Summa_.--When the knave heard all this, his heart seemed to
relent; perhaps he dreaded the anger of her relations if she were
treated too badly, or, mayhap, it was compassion, I cannot say;
but he sprang up, kissed her, caressed her, and consoled her.
"Why should she leave them? He would remain faithful and constant
to her, as he had sworn. Why should the gown for the beggar-girl
anger her? When they get the herons' feathers on the morrow, he
would buy her ten new gowns for the one he had taken." And so he
continued in his old deceiving way, till she at last believed him,
and was comforted.
Here the roll of a carriage was heard, and as many of the band as
were not quite drunk seized their muskets and pikes, and rushed in
the direction of the sound. But behold, the waggon and horses,
with all Sidonia's luggage, was off! For, in truth, the equerry,
seeing Johann's treachery, had secretly followed him, hiding
himself in the bushes till it grew dark, but near enough to
observe all that was going on; then, watching his opportunity, and
knowing the robbers were all more or less drunk, he sprang upon
the waggon, and galloped away as hard as he could. Johann gave
chase for a little, but the equerry had got too good a start to be
overtaken; and so Johann returned, cursing and raging, to the
band. Then they all gathered round the fire again, and drank and
caroused till morning dawned, when each sought out a good
sleeping-place amongst the bushwood. There they lay till morn,
when Johann summoned them to prepare for their excursion to the
Duke's gardens at Zachan.
_How his Highness, Duke Barnim the elder, went a-hawking at
Marienfliess--Item, of the shameful robbery at Zachan, and how
burgomaster Appelmann remonstrates with his abandoned son._
After Duke Barnim the elder had resigned the government, he betook
himself more than ever to field-sports; and amongst others,
hawking became one of his most favourite pursuits. By this sport,
he stocked his gardens at Zachan with an enormous number of
herons, and made a considerable sum annually by the sale of the
feathers. These gardens at Zachan covered an immense space, and
were walled round. Within were many thousand herons' nests; and
all the birds taken by the falcons were brought here, and their
wings clipped. Then the keepers fed them with fish, frogs, and
lizards, so that they became quite tame, and when their wings grew
again, never attempted to leave the gardens, but diligently built
their nests and reared their young. Now, though it cost a great
sum to keep these gardens in order, and support all the people
necessary to look after the birds, yet the Duke thought little of
the expense, considering the vast sum which the feathers brought
him at the moulting season.
Accordingly, during the moulting time, he generally took up his
abode at a castle adjoining the gardens, called "The Stone
Rampart," to inspect the gathering in of the feathers himself; and
he was just on his journey thither with his falconers, hunters,
and other retainers, when the robber-band caught sight of him from
the wood. His Highness was seated in an open carriage, with Trina
Wehlers, the baker's daughter, by his side; and Sidonia, who
recognised her enemy, instantly entreated Johann to revenge her on
the girl if possible; but, as he hesitated, the old gipsy mother
stepped forward and whispered Sidonia, "that she would help her to
a revenge, if she but gave her that little golden smelling-bottle
which she wore suspended by a gold chain on her neck." Sidonia
agreed, and the revenge soon followed; for the Duke left the
carriage, and mounted a horse to follow the chase, the falconer
having unloosed a couple of hawks and let them fly at a heron.
Trina remained in the coach; but the coachman, wishing to see the
sport, tied his horses to a tree, and ran off, too, after the
others into the wood. The hawk soared high above the heron,
watching its opportunity to pounce upon the quarry; but the heron,
just as it swooped down upon it, drove its sharp bill through the
body of the hawk, and down they both came together covered with
blood, right between the two carriage horses.
No doubt this was all done through the magic of the gipsy mother;
for the horses took fright instantly, plunged and reared, and
dashed off with the carriage, which was over-turned some yards
from the spot, and the baker's daughter had her leg broken.
Hearing her screams, the Duke and the whole party ran to the spot;
and his Highness first scolded the coachman for leaving his
horses, then the falconer for having let fly his best falcon,
which now lay there quite dead. The heron, however, was alive, and
his Grace ordered it to be bound and carried off to Zachan. The
baker's daughter prayed, but in vain, that the coachman might be
hung upon the next tree. Then they all set off homeward, but Trina
screamed so loudly, that his Grace stopped, and ordered a couple
of stout huntsmen to carry her to the neighbouring convent of
Marienfliess, where, as I am credibly informed, in a short time
she gave up the ghost.
Now, the robber-band were watching all these proceedings from the
wood, but kept as still as mice. Not until his Grace had driven
off a good space, and the baker's daughter had been carried away,
did they venture to speak or move; then Sidonia jumped up,
clapping her hands in ecstasy, and mimicking the groans and
contortions of the poor girl, to the great amusement of the band,
who laughed loudly; but Johann recalled them to business, and
proposed that they should secretly follow his Highness, and hide
themselves at Elsbruck, near the water-mill of Zachan, until the
evening closed in. In order also to be quite certain of the place
where his Grace had laid up all the herons' feathers of that
season, Johann proposed that the miller, Konnemann, should visit
his Grace at Zachan, giving out that he was a feather merchant
from Berlin. Accordingly, when they reached Elsbruck, the miller
put on my knave's best doublet (for he was almost naked before),
and proceeded to the Stone Rampart, Sidonia bidding him, over and
over again, to inquire at the castle when the young Lord of
Wolgast and his bride were expected at Stettin. The Duke received
Konnemann very graciously, when he found that he was a wealthy
feather merchant from Berlin, who, having heard of the number and
extent of his Grace's gardens at Zachan, had come to purchase all
the last year's gathering of feathers. Would his Highness allow
him to see the feathers?
_Summa_.--He had his wish; for his Grace brought him into a
little room on the ground-floor, where lay two sacks full of the
most perfect and beautiful feathers; and when the Duke demanded a
thousand florins for them, the knave replied, "That he would
willingly have the feathers, but must take the night to think over
the price." Then he took good note of the room, and the garden,
and all the passages of the castle, and so came back in the
twilight to the band with great joy, assuring them that nothing
would be easier than to rob the old turner's apprentice of his
Such, indeed, was the truth; for at midnight my knave Johann, with
Konnemann and a few chosen accomplices, carried away those two
sacks of feathers; and no one knew a word about the robbery until
the next morning, when the band were far off in the forest, no one
knew where. But a quarrel had arisen between my knave and Sidonia
over the feathers: she wanted them for herself, that she might
turn them into money, and so be enabled to get back to her own
people; but Johann had no idea of employing his booty in this way.
"What was she thinking of? If those fine stallions, indeed, had
not been stolen from him, he might have given her the feathers;
but now there was nothing else left wherewith to pay the band--she
must wait for another good prize. Meantime they must settle
accounts with the young Lord of Wolgast, who, as Konnemann had
found out, was expected at Stettin in seven days."
Now, the daring robbery at Zachan was the talk of the whole
country, and as the old burgomaster, Appelmann, had heard at
Friedrichswald about the horses and waggon, and his son's shameful
knavery, he could think of nothing else but that the same rascal
had stolen the Duke's feathers at So he took some faithful
burghers with him, and set off for the forest, to try and find his
lost son. At last, after many wanderings, a peasant, who was
cutting wood, told them that he had seen the robber-band encamped
in a thick wood near Rehewinkel; [Footnote: Two miles and a half
from Stargard, and the present dwelling-place of the editor.] and
when the miserable father and his burghers arrived at the place,
there indeed was the robber-band stretched upon the long grass,
and Sidonia seated upon the stump of a tree--for she must play the
lute, while Johann, his godless son, was plaiting the long black
hair of the handsome Sioli.
Methinks the knave must have felt somewhat startled when his
father sprang from behind an oak, a dagger in his hand, exclaiming
loudly, "Johann, Johann, thou lost, abandoned son! is it thus I
The knave turned as white as a corpse upon the gallows, and his
hands seemed to freeze upon the fair Sioli's hair; but the band
jumped up and seized their arms, shouting, "Seize him! seize him!"
The old man, however, cared little for their shouts; and still
gazing on his son, cried out, "Dost thou not answer me, thou
God-forgetting knave? Thou hast deceived and robbed thy own
Prince. Answer me--who amongst all these is fitter for the gallows
than thou art?"
So my knave at last came to his senses, and answered sullenly,
"What did he want here? He had done nothing for him. He must earn
his own bread."
_Ille_.--"God forgive thee thy sins; did I not take thee back
as my son, and strive to correct thee as a true and loving father?
Why didst thou run away from my house and the writing-office?"
_Hic._--"He was born for something else than to lead the life
of a dog."
_Ille_.--"He had never made him live any such life; and even
if he had, better live like a dog than as a robber wolf."
_Hic_.--"He was no robber. Who had belied him so? He and his
friends were on their way to Poland to join the army."
_Ille_.--"Wherefore, then, had he tricked his Highness of
Stettin out of the horses?"
_Hic_.--"That was only a revenge upon the equerry, to pay him
back in his own coin, for he was his enemy, and had broken faith
_Ille_.--"But he had robbed his Grace Duke Barnim, likewise,
of the herons' feathers. No one else had done it."
_Hic_.--"Who dared to say so? He was insulted and belied by
every one." Then he cursed and swore that he knew nothing whatever
of these herons' feathers which he was making such a fuss about.
Meanwhile the band stood round with cocked muskets, and as the
burghers now pressed forward, to save their leader, if any
violence were offered, Konnemann called out, "Give the word,
master--shall I shoot down the churl?"
Here Johann's conscience was moved a little, and he shouted,
"Back! back!--he is my father!"
But the old gipsy mother sprang forward with a knife, crying, "Thy
father, fool?--what care we for thy father? Let me at him, and
I'll soon settle thy father with my knife."
When the unfortunate son heard and saw this, he seized a heavy
stick that lay near him, and gave the gipsy such a blow on the
crown, that she rolled, screaming, on the ground. Whereupon the
whole band raised a wild yell, and rushed upon the burgomaster.
Then Johann cried, almost with anguish, "Back! back! he is my
father! Do ye not remember your oaths to me? Spare my father!
Wait, at least; he has something of importance to tell me."
And at last, though with difficulty, he succeeded in calming these
children of Belial. Then drawing his father aside, under the shade
of a great oak, he began--"Dearest father mine, it was fear of
you, and despair of the future, that drove me to this work; but if
you will now give me three hundred florins, I will go forth into
the wide world, and take honourable service, wherever it is to be
had, during the wars."
_Ille_.--"Had he yet married that unfortunate Sidonia, who he
observed, to his surprise, was still with him?"
_Hic_.--"No; he could never marry the harlot now, for she had
run away from old Duke Barnim, and followed him here to the
_Ille_.--"What would become of her, then, when he joined the
_Hic_.--"That was her look-out. Let her go to her farm at
Hereupon the old man held his peace, and rested his arm against
the oak, and his grey head upon his arm, and looked down long upon
the grass without uttering a word; then he sighed deeply, and
looking up, thus addressed Johann:--
"My son, I will trust thee yet again; but it shall be the last
time; therefore take heed to what I say. Between Stargard and
Pegelow there stands an old thorn upon the highway; there,
to-morrow evening, by seven of the clock, my servant Caspar, whom
thou knowest, shall bring thee three hundred florins; but on this
one condition, that thou dost now swear solemnly to abandon this
villainous robber-band, and seek an honourable living far away, in
some other country, where thou must pray daily to God the Lord, to
turn thee from thy evil ways, and help thee by His grace."
So the knave knelt down before his father, wept, and prayed for
his father's forgiveness; then swore solemnly to abandon his
sinful life, and with God's help to perform all that his father
had enjoined. "And would he not give his last farewell to his
dear, darling mother?" "Thy mother!--ah, thy mother!" sighed the
old man; "but rise, now, and let me and mine homewards. God grant
that my eyes have beheld thee for the last time. Come, I will take
this Sidonia back with me."
So they forthwith joined the robber crew again, who were still
making a great uproar, which, however, Johann appeased, and after
some time obtained a free passage for his father and the burghers;
but Sidonia would not accompany them. The upright old burgomaster
admonished first, then he promised to drive her with his own
horses to her farm at Zachow; but his words were all in vain, for
the knave privately gave her a look, and whispered something in
her ear, but no one knew what it was.
Nor did the old man omit to admonish the whole band likewise,
telling them that if they did not now look up to the high God,
they would one day look down from the high gallows, for all
thieves and robbers came to dance in the wind at last: ten hung in
Stargard, and he had seen twenty at Stettin, and not even the
smallest town had its gallows empty. Hereat Konnemann cried out,
"Ho! ho! who will hang us now? We know well the courts of justice
are closed in all places." And as the old man sighed, and prepared
to answer him, the whole band set up such a shout of laughter that
he stood silent a space; then turning round, trod slowly out of
the thick wood with all his burghers, and was soon lost to view.
The next evening Johann received the three hundred florins at the
thorn-bush, along with a letter from his father, admonishing him
yet again, and conjuring him to fulfil his promise speedily of
abandoning his wicked life. Upon which, my knave gave some of the
money to a peasant that he met on the highway, and bid him go into
the town, purchase some wine and all sorts of eatables, and fetch
them to the band in the wood, that they might have a merry carouse
that same night. This very peasant had been one of their
accomplices, and great was his joy when he beheld them all again,
and, in particular, the gipsy mother. He told her that all her
prophecy had come out true, for his daughter had been deserted,
and her lover had taken Stina Krugers to wife; could she not,
therefore, give him something that would make Stina childless, and
cause her husband to hate her?
"Ay, if he crossed her hand with silver."
This the peasant did. Whereupon she gave him a padlock, and
whispered some words in his ear.
When Sidonia heard that the man could be brought to hate his wife
by some means, her eyes flashed wildly, and she called the
horrible old gipsy mother aside, and asked her to tell her the
_Illa_.--"Yes; but what would she give her? She had two
pretty golden rings on her finger; let her give them, and she
should have the secret."
_Hæc_.--"She would give one ring now, and the other if the
charm succeeded. The peasant had only given her a few groschen."
_Illa_.--"Yes; but she had only given him half the charm."
_Hæc_.--"Was it anything to eat or drink?"
_Illa_.--"No; there was no eating or drinking: the charm did
_Hæc_.--"Then let her teach it to her, and if it succeeded by
the young Lord of Wolgast, she would have both rings; if not, but
_Illa_.--"It would succeed without doubt; if his young wife
had no promise of offspring as yet, she would remain childless for
_Summa_.--The old gipsy taught her the charm, the same with
which she afterward bewitched the whole princely Pomeranian race,
so that they perished childless from off the face of the earth;
[Footnote: Marginal note of Duke Bogislaff XIV.--"O ter quaterque
detestabilem! Et ego testis adfui tametsi in actis de industria
hand notatis. (Oh, thrice accursed! And I, too, was present at
this confession, although I am not mentioned in the protocol.)"]
and this charm Sidonia confessed upon the rack afterwards, in the
Great Hall of Oderburg, July 28, A.D. 1620.
_How the robbers attack Prince Ernest and his bride in the
Uckermann forest, and Marcus Bork and Dinnies Kleist come to their
The young Lord of Wolgast and his young bride, the Princess Sophia
Hedwig, arrived in due time at the court of Stettin, on a visit to
their illustrious brother, Duke Johann Frederick. During the ten
days of their stay, there was no end to the banquetings, huntings,
fishings, and revellings of all kinds, to do honour to their
The young lord has quite recovered from his long and strange
illness. But the young bride complains a little. Whereupon my Lord
of Stettin jests with her, and the courtiers make merry, so that
the young bride blushes and entreats her husband to take her away
from this impudent court of Stettin, and take her home to his
illustrious mother at Wolgast.
Prince Ernest consents, but as the wind is contrary, he arranges
to make the journey with a couple of carriages through the
Uckermann forest, not waiting for the grand escort of cavaliers
and citizens which his lady mother had promised to send to
Stettin, to convey the bride with all becoming honour to her own
future residence at Wolgast.
His brother reminded him of the great danger from the robber-band
in the wood, now that the courts of justice were closed, and that
Sidonia and Johann were hovering in the vicinity, ready for any
iniquity. Indeed, he trusted the states would soon be brought to
reason by the dreadful condition of the country, and give him the
gold he wanted. These robbers would do more for him than he could
do for himself. And this was not the only band that was to be
feared; for, since the fatal bankruptcy of the Loitz family,
robbers, and partisans, and freebooters had sprung up in every
corner of the land. Then he related the trick concerning his two
Andalusian stallions. And Duke Barnim the elder told him of his
loss at Zachan, and that no one else but the knave Appelmann had
been at the bottom of it. So, at last, Prince Ernest half resolved
to await the escort from Wolgast. However, the old Duke continued
jesting with the bride, after his manner, so that the young
Princess was blushing with shame every moment, and finally
entreated her husband to set off at once.
When his Grace of Stettin found he could prevail nothing, he bade
them a kind farewell, promising in eight days to visit them at
Wolgast, for the wedding festivities; and he sent stout Dinnies
Kleist, with six companions, to escort them through the most
dangerous part of the forest, which was a tract extending for
about seven miles.
Now, when they were half-way through the forest, a terrible storm
came on of hail, rain, thunder, and lightning; and though the
Prince and his bride were safe enough in the carriage, yet their
escort were drenched to the skin, and dripped like rivulets. The
princely pair therefore entreated them to return to Falkenwald,
and dry their clothes, for there was no danger to be apprehended
now, since they were more than half through the wood, and close to
the village of Mutzelburg.
So Dinnies and his companions took their leave, and rode off.
Shortly after the galloping of a horse was heard, and this was
Marcus Bork; for he was on his way to purchase the lands of
Crienke, previous to his marriage with Clara von Dewitz, and had a
heavy sack of gold upon his shoulder, and a servant along with
him. Having heard at Stettin that the Prince and his young bride
were on the road, he had followed them, as fast as he could, to
keep them company.
By this time they had reached Barnim's Cross, and the Prince
halted to point it out to his bride, and tell her the legend
concerning it; for the sun now shone forth from the clouds, and
the storm was over. But he first addressed his faithful Marcus,
and asked, had he heard tidings lately of his cousin Sidonia? But
he had heard nothing. He would hear soon enough, I'm thinking.
Then seeing that his good vassal Marcus was thoroughly wet, his
Grace advised him to put on dry clothes; but he had none with him.
Whereupon his Grace handed him his own portmanteau out of the
coach window, and bid him take what he wanted.
Marcus then lifted the money-bag from his shoulder, which his
Grace drew into the coach through the window--and sprang into the
wood with the portmanteau, to change his clothes. While the Prince
tarried for him, he related the story of Barnim's Cross to his
young wife, thus:--
"You must know, dearest, that my ancestor, Barnim, the second of
the name, was murdered, out of revenge, in this very spot by one
of his vassals, named Vidante von Muckerwitze. For this aforesaid
ancestor had sent him into Poland under some pretence, in order
the better to accomplish his designs upon the beautiful Mirostava
of Warborg, Vidante's young wife. But the warder of Vogelsang, a
village about two miles from here, pleasantly situated on the
river Haff, and close to which lay the said Vidante's castle,
discovered the amour, and informed the knight how he was
dishonoured. His wrath was terrible when the news was brought to
him, but he spoke no word of the matter until St. John's day in
But here his Grace paused in his story, for he had forgotten the
year; so he drove on the carriage close up to the cross, where he
could read the date--"St John's day, A.D. MCCXCII."--and there
stopped, with the blessed cross of our Lord covering and filling
up the whole of the coach window.
Ah, well it is said--Prov. xx. 24--"Each man's going is of the
Lord, what man is there who understandeth his way?"
Now when the Princess had read the date for herself, she asked,
what had happened to the Duke, his ancestor? To which the Prince
"Here, in these very bushes, the jealous knight lay concealed,
while the Duke was hunting. And here, in this spot, the Duke threw
himself down upon the grass to rest, for he was weary. And he
whistled for his retinue, who had been separated from him, when
the knight sprang from his hiding-place and murdered him where he
lay. His false wife he reserved for a still more cruel death.
"For he brought a coppersmith from Stettin, and had him make a
copper coffin for the wretched woman, who was obliged to help him
in the work. Then he bade her put on her bridal dress, and forced
her to enter the coffin, where he had her soldered up alive, and
buried. And the story goes, that when any one walks over the spot,
the coffin clangs in the earth like a mass-bell, to this very
day." Meanwhile Marcus had retreated behind a large oak, to dress
himself in the young Duke's clothes; but the wicked robber crew
were watching him all the time from the wood, and just as he drew
the dry shirt over his head, before he had time to put on a single
other garment, they sprang upon him with loud shouts, Sidonia the
foremost of all, screaming, "Seize the knave! seize the base spy!
he is my greatest enemy!" So Marcus rushed back to the coach, just
as he was, and placing the cross as a shield between him and the
robbers, cried out loudly to his Highness for a sword.
The Prince would have alighted to assist him, but his young bride
wound her arms so fast around him, shrieking till the whole wood
re-echoed, that he was forced to remain inside. Up came the
robber-band now, and attacked the coach furiously; musket after
musket was fired at it and the horses, but luckily the rain had
spoiled the powder, so they threw away their muskets, while
Sidonia screamed, "Seize the false-hearted liar, who broke his
marriage promise to me! seize his screaming harlot! drag her from
the coach! Where is she?--let me see her!--we will cram her into
the old oak-tree; there she can hold her marriage festival with
the wild-cats. Give her to me!--give her to me! I will teach her
what marriage is!" And she sprang wildly forward, while the others
flung their spears at Marcus. But the blessed cross protected him,
and the spears stuck in the wood or in the body of the carriage,
while he hewed away right and left, striking down all that
approached him, till he stood in a pool of blood, and the white
shirt on him was turned to red.
As Sidonia rushed to the coach, he wounded her in the hand, upon
which, with loud curses and imprecations, she ran round to the
other coach window, calling out, "Come hither, come hither,
Johann! here is booty, here is the false cat! Come hither, and
drag her out of the coach window for me!" And now Marcus Bork was
in despair, for the coachman had run away from fear, and though
his sword did good service, yet their enemies were gathering thick
round them. So he bade the Princess, in a low voice, to tear open
his bag of money, for the love of heaven, with all speed, and
scatter the gold out of the windows with both hands; for help was
near, he heard the galloping of a horse; could they gain but a few
moments, they were saved. Thereupon the Princess rained the gold
pieces from the window, and the stupid mob instantly left all else
to fling themselves on the ground for the bright coins, fighting
with each other as to who should have them. In vain Johann roared,
"Leave the gold, fools, and seize the birds here in this cage; ye
can have the gold after." But they never heeded him, though he
cursed and swore, and struck them right and left with his sword.
But Marcus, meanwhile, had nearly come to a sad end; for the old
gipsy hag swore she would stab him with her knife, and while the
poor Marcus was defending himself from a robber who had rushed at
him with a dagger, she crept along upon the ground, and lifted her
great knife to plunge into his side.
Just then, like a messenger from God, comes the stout Dinnies
Kleist, galloping up to the rescue; for after he had ridden a good
piece upon the homeward road, he stopped his horse to empty the
water out of his large jack-boots, for there it was plumping up
and down, and he was still far from Falkenwald. While one of his
men emptied the boots, another wandered through the wood picking
the wild strawberries, that blushed there as red as scarlet along
While he was so bent down close to the earth, the shrieks of my
gracious lady reached his ear, upon which he ran to tell his
master, who listened likewise; and finding they proceeded from the
very direction where he had left the bridal pair, he suspected
that some evil had befallen them. So springing into his saddle, he
bade his fellows mount with ail speed, and dashed back to the spot
where they had left the carriage.
Marcus was just now fainting from loss of blood, and his weary
hand could scarcely hold the sword, while his frame swayed back
and forward, as if he were near falling to the ground. The gipsy
hag was close beside him, with her arm extended, ready to plunge
the knife into his side, when the heavy stroke of a sword came
down on it, and arm and knife fell together to the ground, and
Dinnies shouting, "Jodute! Jodute!" swung round his sword a second
time, and the head of the robber carl fell upon the arm of the
hag. Then he dashed round on his good horse to the other side of
the carriage, hewed right and left among the stupid fools who were
scraping up the gold, while his fellows chased them into the wood,
so that the alarmed band left all this booty, and ran in every
direction to hide themselves in the forest. In vain Johann roared,
and shouted, and swore, and opposed himself single-handed to the
knight's followers. He received a blow that sent him flying, too,
after his band, and Sidonia along with him, so that none but the
dead remained around the carriage.
Thus did the brave Dinnies Kleist and Marcus Bork save the Prince
and his bride, like true knights as they were; but Marcus is
faint, and leans for support against the carriage, while before
him lie three robber carls whom he had slain with his own hand,
although he fought there only in his shirt; but the blessed cross
had been his shield. And there, too, lay the gipsy's arm with the
knife still clutched in the hand, but the hag herself had fled
away; and round the brave Dinnies was a circle of dead men, seven
in number, whom he and his followers had killed; and the earth all
round looked like a ripe strawberry field, it was so red with
One can imagine what joy filled the hearts of the princely pair,
when they found that all their peril was past. They alighted from
the coach, and when the Princess saw Marcus lying there in a dead
faint, with his garment all covered with blood, she lamented
loudly, and tore off her own veil to bind up his wounds, and
brought wine from the carriage, which she poured herself through
his lips, like a merciful Samaritan; and when he at last opened
his eyes, and kissed the little hands of the Princess out of
gratitude, she rejoiced greatly. And the Prince himself ran to the
wood for the portmanteau, which they found behind the oak, and
helped to dress the poor knight, who was so weak that he could not
raise a finger.
Then they lifted him into the coach, while the Prince comforted
him, saying, he trusted that he would soon be well again, for he
would pray daily to the Lord Jesus for him, whose blessed cross
had been their protection, and that he should have all his gold
again, and the lands of Crienke in addition. So faithful a vassal
must never be parted from his Prince, for inasmuch as he hated
Sidonia, so he loved and praised him. They were like the two
Judases in Scripture, of whom some one had said, "What one gave to
the devil, the other brought back to God."
And now he saw the wonderful hand of God in all; for if it had not
rained, the powder of the robber-band would have been dry, and
then they were all lost. _Item_, the knight would not have
stopped to empty his boots, and they never would have heard the
screams of his dear wife. _Item_, if he had himself not
forgotten the date, he would never have driven up close to the
cross, which cross had saved them all, but, in particular, saved
their dear Marcus, after a miraculous manner. "Look how the
blessed wood is everywhere pierced with spears, and yet we are all
living! Therefore let us hope in the Lord, for He is our helper
Then the Duke turned to the stout Dinnies, and prayed him to enter
his service, but in vain, for he was sworn vassal to his Highness
of Stettin. So his Grace took off his golden collar, and put it on
his neck, and the Princess drew off her diamond ring to give him,
whereupon her spouse laughed heartily, and asked, Did she think
the good knight had a finger for her little ring? To which she
replied, But the brave knight may have a dear wife who could wear
it for her sake, for he must not go without some token of her
However, the knight put back the ring himself, saying that he had
no spouse, and would never have one; therefore the ring was
useless. So the Princess wonders, and asks why he will have no
spouse; to which he replied, that he feared the fate of Samson,
for had not love robbed him of his strength? He, too, might meet a
Delilah, who would cut off his long hair. Then riding up close to
the carriage, he removed his plumed hat from his head, and down
fell his long black hair, that was gathered up under it, over his
shoulders like a veil, even till it swept the flanks of his horse.
Would not her Grace think it a grief and sorrow if a woman sheared
those locks? In such pleasant discourse they reached Mutzelburg,
where, as the good Marcus was so weak, they resolved to put up for
the night, and send for a chirurgeon instantly to Uckermund. And
so it was done.
_Of the ambassadors in the tavern of Mutzelburg--Item, how the
miller, Konnemann, is discovered, and made by Dinnies Kleist to
act as guide to the robber cave, where they find all the
women-folk lying apparently dead, through some devil's magic of
the gipsy mother._
When their Highnesses entered the inn at Mutzelburg, they found it
filled with burghers and peasants out of Uckermund, Pasewalk, and
other adjacent places, on their way to Stettin, to petition his
Grace the Duke to open the courts of justice, for thieves and
robbers had so multiplied throughout the land, that no road was
safe; and all kinds of witchcraft, and imposture, and devil's work
were so rife, that the poor people were plagued out of their
lives, and no redress was to be had, seeing his Grace had closed
all the courts of justice. Forty burghers had been selected to
present the petition, and great was the joy to meet now with his
Grace Prince Ernest, for assuredly he would give them a letter to
his illustrious brother, and strengthen the prayer of their
petition. The Prince readily promised to do this, particularly as
his own life and that of his bride had just been in such sore
peril, all owing to the obstinacy of his Grace of Stettin in not
opening the courts.
Meanwhile the leech had visited good Marcus Bork, who was much
easier after his wounds were dressed, and promised to do well, to
the great joy of their Graces; and Dinnies Kleist went to the
stable to see after his horse, there being so many there, in
consequence of this gathering of envoys, that he feared they might
fight. Now, as he passed through the kitchen, the knight observed
a man bargaining with the innkeeper; and he had a kettle before
him, into which he was cramming sausages, bread, ham, and all
sorts of eatables. But he would have taken no further heed, only
that the carl had but one tail to his coat, which made the knight
at once recognise him as the very fellow whose coat-tail he had
hewed off in the forest. He sprang on him, therefore; and as the
man drew his knife, Dinnies seized hold of him and plumped him
down, head foremost, into a hogshead of water, holding him
straight up by the feet till he had drunk his fill. So the poor
wretch began to quiver at last in his death agonies; whereupon the
knight called out, "Wilt thou confess? or hast thou not drunk
"He would confess, if the knight promised him life. His name was
Konnemann; he had lost his mill and all he was worth, by the Loitz
bankruptcy, therefore had joined the robber-band, who held their
meeting in an old cave in the forest, where also they kept their
booty." On further question, he said it was an old, ruined place,
with the walls all tumbling down. A man named Muckerwitze had
lived there once, who buried his wife alive in this cave,
therefore it had been deserted ever since.
Then the knight asked the innkeeper if he knew of such a place in
the forest; who said, "Yes." Then he asked if he knew this fellow,
Konnemann; but the host denied all knowledge of him (though he
knew him well enough, I think). Upon which Konnemann said, "That
he merely came to buy provisions for the band, who were hungry,
and had despatched him to see what he could get, while they
remained hiding in the cave." The knight having laid these facts
before their Graces and the envoys, it was agreed that they should
steal a march upon the robbers next morning, and meanwhile keep
Konnemann safe under lock and key.
Next morning they set off by break of day, taking Konnemann as
guide, and surrounded the old ruin, which lay upon a hill buried
in oak-trees; but not a sound was heard inside. They approached
nearer--listened at the cave--nothing was to be heard. This
angered Dinnies Kleist, for he thought the miller had played a
trick on them, who, however, swore he was innocent; and as the
knight threatened to give him something fresh to drink in the
castle well, he offered to light a pine torch and descend into the
cave. Hardly was he down, however, when they heard him
screaming--"The robbers have murdered the women--they are all
lying here stone dead, but not a man is to be seen."
The knight then went down with his good sword drawn. True enough,
there lay the old hag, her daughter, and Sidonia, all stained with
blood, and stiff and cold, upon the damp ground. And when the
knight asked, "Which is Sidonia?" the fellow put the pine torch
close to her face, which was blue and cold. Then the knight took
up her little hand, and dropped it again, and shook his head, for
the said little hand was stiff and cold as that of a corpse.
_Summa_.--As there was nothing further to be done here, the
knight left the corpses to moulder away in the old cellar, and
returned with the burghers to Mutzelburg, when his Highness
wondered much over the strange event; but Marcus rejoiced that his
wicked cousin was now dead, and could bring no further disgrace
upon his ancient name.
But was the wicked cousin dead? She had heard every word that had
been said in the cave; for they had all drunk some broth made by
the gipsy mother, which can make men seem dead, though they hear
and see everything around them. Such devil's work is used by
robbers sometimes in extremity, as some toads have the power of
seeming dead when people attempt to seize them. It will soon be
seen what a horrible use Sidonia made of this devil's potion.
Wherefore she tried its effect upon herself now, I know not--I
have my own thoughts upon the subject--but it is certain that the
innkeeper, who was a secret friend of the robbers (as most
innkeepers were in those evil times), had sent a messenger by
night to warn them of their danger. So, while the band saved
themselves by hiding in the forest, perhaps the old hag
recommended this plan for the women, as they had got enough of
cold steel the day before; or perhaps the robbers wished to have a
proof of the power of this draught, in case they might want to
save themselves, some time or other, by appearing dead. Still I
cannot, with any certainty, assert why they should all three
choose to simulate death.
Further, just to show the daring of these robber-bands, now that
his Highness had closed the courts, I shall end this chapter by
relating what happened at Monkbude, a town through which their
Highnesses passed that same day, and which, although close to the
Stettin border, belongs to Wolgast.
It was Sunday, and after the priest had said Amen from the pulpit,
the sexton rung the kale-bell. This bell was a sign throughout all
Pomerania land, to the women-folk who were left at home in the
houses, to prepare dinner; for then, in all the churches, the
closing hymn began--"Give us, Lord, our daily bread." So the maid,
at the first stroke of the bell, lifted off the kale-pot from the
fire, and had the kale dished, with the sausages, and whatever
else was wanting, by the time that the hymn was over, and father
and mother had come out of church. Then, whatever poor wretch had
fasted all the week, and never tasted a morsel of blessed bread,
if he passed on a Sunday through the town, might get his fill; for
when the hymn is sung, "Give us, Lord, our daily bread," the doors
lie open, and no stranger or wayfarer is turned away empty.
Just before their Highnesses had entered the town, this kale-bell
had been rung, and each maid in the houses had laid the kale and
meat upon the table, ready for the family, when, behold! in rush a
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