Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

off the hob, as if it had suddenly become "Have the goodness to walk out again, inconveniently warm. Gluck fitted the then,” said Schwartz. “We've quite slice into the mutton again, with desper- enough water in our kitchen, without ate efforts at exactitude, and ran to open making it a drying house." the door.

“It is a cold day to turn an old man “What did you keep us waiting in out in, sir; look at my gray hairs.” the rain for?" said Schwartz, as he | They hung down to his shoulders, as I walked in, throwing his umbrella in told you before. Gluck's face. “Ay! what for, indeed, "Ay!" said Hans, "there are enough you little vagabond?" said Hans, admin- of them to keep you warm.

Walk!” istering an educational box on the ear, "I'm very, very hungry, sir; could n't as he followed his brother into the you spare me a bit of bread before I go?" kitchen.

"Bread, indeed!” said Schwartz; "do “Bless my soul!” said Schwartz when you suppose we've nothing to do with he opened the door.

our bread but to give it to such red"Amen," said the little gentleman, nosed fellows as you?” who had taken his cap off and was “Why don't you sell your feather?" standing in the middle of the kitchen, said Hans, sneeringly. “Out with you!" bowing with the utmost possible velocity. "A little bit," said the old gentleman.

“Who's that?" said Schwartz, catch- Be off!” said Schwartz. ing up a rolling-pin, and turning to "Pray, gentlemen --" Gluck with a fierce frown.

"Off, and be hanged!” cried Hans, "I don't know, indeed, brother," said seizing him by the collar. But he had Gluck in great terror.

no sooner touched the old gentleman's “How did he get in?” roared Schwartz. collar, than away he went after the

“My dear brother," said Gluck, depre- rolling-pin, spinning round and round, catingly, "he was so very wet!"

till he fell into the corner on the top of The rolling-pin was descending on it. Then Schwartz was very angry, and Gluck's head; but, at the instant, the ran at the old gentleman to turn him old gentleman interposed his conical out; but he also had hardly touched cap, on which it crashed with a shock him, when away he went after Hans that shook the water out of it all over the and the rolling-pin, and hit his head

What was very odd, the rolling against the wall as he tumbled into the pin no sooner touched the cap, than it corner. And so there they lay, all three. flew out of Schwartz's hand, spinning Then the old gentleman spun himself like a straw in a high wind, and fell into round with velocity in the opposite the corner at the farther end of the room. direction; continued to spin until his “Who you,

sir?" demanded long cloak was all wound neatly about Schwartz, turning upon him.

him, clapped his cap on his head, very “What's your business?" snarled Hans. much on one side (for it could not stand

"I'm a poor old man, sir," the little upright without going through the ceilgentleman began very modestly, “and ing), gave an additional twist to his I saw your fire through the window, and corkscrew mustaches, and replied with begged shelter for a quarter of an hour.” perfect coolness: "Gentlemen, I wish you

are

a very good morning. At twelve o'clock a violence that shook the house from to-night I'll call again; after such a top to bottom. refusal of hospitality as I have just expe

“What's that?" cried Schwartz, startrienced, you will not be surprised if ing up in his bed. that visit is the last I ever pay you." "Only I," said the little gentleman.

"If ever I catch you here again," The two brothers sat up on their muttered Schwartz, coming, half fright- | bolster and stared into the darkness. ened, out of the corner — but, before he The room was full of water, and by a could finish his sentence, the old gentle- misty moonbeam, which found its way man had shut the house door behind through a hole in the shutter, they could him with a great bang: and there drove see in the midst of it an enormous foam past the window, at the same instant, a globe, spinning round, and bobbing up and wreath of ragged cloud that whirled down like a cork, on which, as on a most and rolled away down the valley in all luxurious cushion, reclined the little old manner of shapes; turning over and gentleman, cap and all. There was pler over in the air, and melting away at of room for it now, for the roof was off. last in a gush of rain.

“Sorry to incommode you,” said their A very pretty business, indeed, Mr. visitor, ironically. "I'm afraid your Gluck!” said Schwartz. “Dish the mut beds are dampish; perhaps you had better ton, sir. If ever I catch you at such a go to your brother's room; I've left the trick again-bless me, why the mutton's ceiling on, there." been cut!"

They required no second admonition, “You promised me one slice, brother,

but rushed into Gluck's room, wet you know," said Gluck.

through, and in an agony of terror. “Oh! and you were cutting it hot, I “You'll find my card on the kitchen suppose, and going to catch all the gravy. table," the old gentleman called after It'll be long before I promise you such them. “Remember, the last visit." a thing again. Leave the room, sir; "Pray Heaven it may!” said Schwartz, and have the kindness to wait in the shuddering. And the foam globe discoal-cellar till I call you.”

appeared. Gluck left the room melancholy enough. Dawn came at last, and the two The brothers ate as much mutton as brothers looked out of Gluck's little they could, locked the rest in the cup window in the morning. The Treasure board, and proceeded to get very drunk Valley was one mass of ruin and desolaafter dinner.

tion. The inundation had swept away Such a night as it was! Howling wind trees, crops, and cattle, and left in their and rushing rain, without intermis stead a waste of red sand and gray mud. sion! The brothers had just sense enough The two brothers crept shivering and left to put up all the shutters, and horror-struck into the kitchen. The double bar the door, before they went water had gutted the whole first floor; to bed. They usually slept in the same corn, money, almost every movable room. As the clock struck twelve, thing had been swept away, and there they were both awakened by a tremen was left only a small white card on the dous crash. Their door burst open with kitchen table. On it, in large, breezy,

OF THE PROCEEDINGS OF THE THREE BROTHERS

AN INTERVIEW

WITH THE

KING

OF

THE

GOLDEN

RIVER

long-legged letters, were engraved the circumstances affected their trade; the words:

first, that people did not approve of the South-West WIND, ESQUIRE.

coppered gold; the second, that the two

elder brothers, whenever they had sold CHAPTER II

anything, used to leave little Gluck to mind the furnace, and go and drink out

the money in the ale-house next door. AFTER THE VISIT OF SOUTH-WEST WIND,

So they melted all their gold, without ESQUIRE; AND HOW LITTLE GLUCK HAD

making money enough to buy more, and were at last reduced to one large drink

ing mug, which an uncle of his had given South-West Wind, Esquire, was as to little Gluck, and which he was very good as his word. After the momentous fond of, and would not have parted with visit above related, he entered the for the world; though he never drank Treasure Valley no more; and, what was anything out of it but milk and water. worse, he had so much influence with his The mug was a very odd mug to look at. relations, the West Winds in general, and The handle was formed of two wreaths used it so effectually, that they all of flowing golden hair, so finely spun that adopted a similar line of conduct. So it looked more like silk than metal, and no rain fell in the valley from one year's these wreaths descended into, and mixed end to another. Though everything with, a beard and whiskers of the same remained green and flourishing in the exquisite workmanship, which surrounded plains below, the inheritance of the Three and decorated a very fierce little face, of Brothers was a desert. What had once the reddest gold imaginable, right in the been the richest soil in the kingdom, be- front of the mug, with a pair of eyes in came a shifting heap of red sand; and the it which seemed to command its whole brothers, unable longer to contend with circumference. It was impossible to the adverse skies, abandoned their value- drink out of the mug without being subless patrimony in despair, to seek some jected to an intense gaze out of the side means of gaining a livelihood among the of these eyes; and Schwartz positively cities and people of the plains. All their averred that once, after emptying it, money was gone, and they had nothing full of Rhenish, seventeen times, he had left but some curious, old-fashioned seen them wink! When it came to the pieces of gold plates, the last remnants mug's turn to be made into spoons, it of their ill-gotten wealth.

half broke poor little Gluck's heart; but “Suppose we turn goldsmiths?” said the brothers only laughed at him, tossed Schwartz to Hans, as they entered the the mug into the melting-pot, and staglarge city. “It is a good knave's trade; gered out to the ale-house; leaving him, we can put a great deal of copper into as usual, to pour the gold into bars, the gold, without any one's finding it when it was all ready. out.”

When they were gone, Gluck took a The thought was agreed to be a farewell look at his old friend in the very good one; they hired a furnace, melting-pot. The flowing hair was all and turned goldsmiths. But two slight | gone; nothing remained but the red nose, and the sparkling eyes, which looked corners, and cupboards, and then began more malicious than ever. “And no turning round, and round, as fast as he wonder," thought Gluck, “after being could in the middle of the room, thinking treated in that way.” He sauntered there was somebody behind him, when disconsolately to the window, and sat the same voice struck again on his ear. himself down to catch the fresh evening It was singing now very merrily, “Lalaair, and escape the hot breath of the lira-la”; no words, only a soft running furnace. Now this window commanded effervescent melody, something like that a direct view of the range of mountains, of a kettle on the boil. Gluck looked which, as I told you before, overhung the out of the window. No, it was certainly Treasure Valley, and more especially of in the house. Upstairs, and downthe peak from which fell the Golden stairs. No, it was certainly in that very River. It was just at the close of the room, coming in quicker time, and clearer day, and when Gluck sat down at the notes, every moment. “Lala-lira-la.” window, he saw the rocks of the moun- All at once it struck Gluck that it sounded tain tops, all crimson and purple with the louder near the furnace. He ran to the sunset; and there were bright tongues of opening, and looked in; yes, he saw right, fiery cloud burning and quivering about it seemed to be coming, not only out of them; and the river, brighter than all, the furnace, but out of the pot. He fell, in a waving column of pure gold, uncovered it, and ran back in a great from precipice to precipice, with the fright, for the pot was certainly singing! double arch of a broad purple rainbow He stood in the farthest corner of the stretched across it, Aushing and fading room, with his hands up, and his mouth alternately in the wreaths of spray. open, for a minute or two, when the sing

“Ah!” said Gluck aloud, after he had ing stopped, and the voice became clear, looked at it for a while, "if that river and pronunciative. were really all gold, what a nice thing it "Hollo!” said the voice. would be."

Gluck made no answer. "No, it would n't, Gluck," said a “Hollo! Gluck, my boy,” said the pot clear metallic voice, close at his ear. again.

“Bless me! what's that?” exclaimed Gluck summoned all his energies, Gluck, jumping up. There was nobody walked straight up to the crucible, drew there. He looked round the room, and it out of the furnace, and looked in. The under the table, and a great many times gold was all melted, and its surface as behind him, but there was certainly no- smooth and polished as a river; but inbody there, and he sat down again at stead of reflecting little Gluck's head, as the window. This time he did n't speak, he looked in, he saw, meeting his glance but he could n't help thinking again that from beneath the gold, the red nose and it would be very convenient if the river sharp eyes of his old friend of the mug, were really all gold.

a thousand times redder and sharper than “Not at all, my boy,” said the same ever he had seen them in his life. voice, louder than before.

“Come, Gluck, my boy,” said the “Bless me!” said Gluck again; “what voice out of the pot again, “I'm all right; is that?" He looked again into all the

pour me out."

But Gluck was too much astonished to turned his small sharp eyes full on Gluck do anything of the kind.

and stared at him deliberately for a "Pour me out, I say," said the voice minute or two. "No, it wouldn't, Gluck, rather gruffly.

my boy,” said the little man. Still Gluck couldn't move.

This was certainly rather an abrupt “Will you pour me out?" said the and unconnected mode of commencing voice passionately. “I'm too hot." conversation. It might indeed be sup

By a violent effort, Gluck recovered posed to refer to the course of Gluck's the use of his limbs, took hold of the thoughts, which had first produced the crucible, and sloped it so as to pour out dwarf's observations out of the pot; but the gold. But instead of a liquid stream, whatever it referred to, Gluck had no there came out, first, a pair of pretty little inclination to dispute the dictum. yellow legs, then some coat tails, then a “Would n't it, sir?" said Gluck, very pair of arms stuck a-kimbo, and, finally, mildly and submissively indeed. the well-known head of his friend the "No," said the dwarf, conclusively. mug; all which articles, uniting as they “No, it wouldn't.” And with that, the rolled out, stood up energetically on the dwarf pulled his cap hard over his brows, floor, in the shape of a little golden and took two turns, of three feet long, dwarf, about a foot and a half high. up and down the room, lifting his legs

“That's right!” said the dwarf, stretch up very high, and setting them down very ing out first his legs and then his arms, hard. This pause gave time for Gluck and then shaking his head up and down, to collect his thoughts a little, and, seeing and as far round as it would go, for five no great reason to view his diminutive minutes, without stopping; apparently visitor with dread, and feeling his curiwith the view of ascertaining if he were osity overcome his amazement, he venquite correctly put together, while Gluck tured on a question of peculiar delicacy. stood contemplating him in speechless “Pray, sir," said Gluck rather hesiamazement. He was dressed in a slashed tatingly, “were you my mug?" doublet of spun gold, so fine in its texture On which the little man turned sharp that the prismatic colors gleamed over round, walked straight up to Gluck, and it, as if on a surface of mother of pearl; drew himself up to his full height. “I," and, over this brilliant doublet, his hair said the little man, “am the King of the and beard fell full halfway to the ground Golden River.” Whereupon he turned in waving curls so exquisitely delicate about again, and took two more turns, that Gluck could hardly tell where they some six feet long, in order to allow time ended; they seemed to melt into air. for the consternation which this anThe features of the face, however, were nouncement produced in his auditor to by no means finished with the same evaporate. After which, he again walked delicacy; they were rather coarse, slightly up to Gluck and stood still, as if exinclining to coppery in complexion, and pecting some comment on his comindicative, in expression, of a very per munication. tinacious and intractable disposition in Gluck determined to say something their small proprietor. When the dwarf at all events. “I hope your Majesty is had finished his self-examination, he very well,” said Gluck.

« AnteriorContinuar »