214 THE ROSE-ELF
loved from her heart, and of whom she now believed that he was going across the mountains and through the forests. And the wicked brother bent over her, and laughed hideously, as only a fiend can laugh. Then the dry leaf fell out of his hair upon the coverlet; but he did not notice it, and he went out to sleep a little himself in the morning hour. But the elf slipped forth from the withered leaf, placed himself in the ear of the sleeping girl, and told her, as in a dream, the dreadful history of the murder ; described to her the place where her brother had slain her lover and buried his body ; told her of the blooming linden tree close by it, and said,
' That you may not think it is only a dream that I have told you, you will find on your bed a withered leaf.'
And she found it when she awoke. Oh, what bitter tears she wept, and to no one could she confide her sorrow. The window stood open the whole day : the little elf could easily get out to the roses and all the other flowers, but he could not find it in his heart to quit the afflicted maiden. In the window stood a plant, a monthly rose bush : he seated himself in one of the flowers, and looked at the poor girl. Her brother often came into the room, and, in spite of his wicked deed, he always seemed cheerful, but she dared not say a word of the grief that was in her heart.
As soon as the night came, she crept out of the house, went to the wood, to the place where the linden tree grew, removed the leaves from the ground, turned up the earth, and immediately found him who had been slain. Oh, how she wept, and prayed that she might die also !
Gladly would she have taken the body home with her, but that she could not do. Then she took the pale head with the closed eyes, kissed the cold mouth, and shook the earth out of the beautiful hair. * That I will keep/ she said. And when she had laid earth upon the dead body, she took the head, and a little sprig of the jasmine that bloomed in the wood where he was buried, home with her.
As soon as she came into her room, she brought the greatest flower-pot she could find : in this she laid the dead man's head, strewed earth upon it and then planted the jasmine twig in the pot.
* Farewell! farewell!' whispered the little elf : he