EVERYTHING IN ITS RIGHT PLACE 451
And the little maiden who sat keeping the geese nodded at him from the gate of the field. •*
And days and weeks went by ; and it became manifest that the willow branch which the pedlar had stuck into the ground by the castle moat remained fresh and green, and even brought forth new twigs. The little goose-girl saw that the branch must have taken root, and rejoiced greatly at the circumstance ; for this tree, she thought, was now her tree.
The tree certainly came forward well ; but everything else belonging to the castle went very rapidly back, what with feasting and gambling—for these two are like wheels, upon which no man can stand securely.
Six years had not passed away before the noble lord passed out of the castle gate, a beggared man, and the mansion was bought by a rich dealer ; and this purchaser was the very man who had once been made a jest of there, for whom ale had been poured into a stocking ; but honesty and industry are good winds to speed a vessel; and now the dealer was possessor of the baronial estate. But from that hour no more card-playing was permitted there.
' That is bad reading,' said he : ' when the Evil One saw a Bible for the first time, he wanted to put a bad book against it, and invented card-playing.'
The new proprietor took a wife, and who might that be but the goose-girl, who had always been faithful and good, and looked as beautiful and fine in her new clothes as if she had been born a great lady. And how did all this come about ? That is too long a story for our busy time, but it really happened, and the most important part is to come.
It was a good thing now to be in the old mansion. The mother managed the domestic affairs, and the father superintended the estate, and it seemed as if blessings were streaming down. Where prosperity is, prosperity is sure to follow. The old house was cleaned and painted, the ditches were cleared and fruit trees planted. Everything wore a bright cheerful look, and the floors were as polished as a draught-board. In the long winter evenings the lady sat at the spinning-wheel with her maids, and every Sunday evening there was a reading from the Bible by the Councillor of Justice himself—this title the dealer had gained, though