UNDER THE WILLOW TREE 479
and the church stood there as it had always stood, with its red walls, on which the green ivy grew^ and the great door of the church flew open, and the organ sounded, and they walked up the long aisle of the churcn.
1 Our master first,' said the cake couple, and made room for Joanna and Knud, who knelt by the altar, and she bent her head over him, and tears fell from her eyes, but they were icy cold, for it was the ice around her heart that was melting—melting by his strong love ; and the tears fell upon his burning cheeks, and he awoke, and was sitting under the old willow tree in the strange land, in the cold wintry evening : an icy hail was falling from the clouds and beating on his face.
1 That was the most delicious hour of my life ! ' he said, ' and it was but a dream. Oh, let me dream it over again ! '
And he closed his eyes once more, and slept and dreamed.
Towards morning there was a great fall of snow. The wind drifted the snow over his feet, but he slept on. The villagers came forth to go to church, and by the roadside sat a journeyman. He was dead—frozen to death under the willow tree !
FIVE OUT OF ONE POD
There were five peas in one pod : they were green, and the pod was green, and so they thought all the world was green ; and that was just as it should be ! The pod grew, and the peas grew ; they accommodated themselves to circumstances, sitting all in a row. The sun shone without, and warmed the husk, and the rain made it clear and transparent ; it was mild and agreeable during the clear day and dark during the night, just as it should be, and the peas as they sat there became bigger and bigger, and more and more thoughtful, for something they must do.
' Are we to sit here everlastingly ? ' asked one. ' I'm afraid we shall become hard by long sitting. It seems to me there must be something outside—I have a kind of inkling of it.'