IB AND CHRISTINE 513
silent of late ; indeed, he had become very pensive, and thus the three nuts came into his mind^which the gipsy woman had given him long ago, and of which he had given two to Christine. Yes, it seemed right—in one of hers lay a golden carriage with horses, and in the other very elegant clothes ; all those luxuries would now be Christine's in the capital. Her part had thus come true. And to him, lb, the nut had offered only black earth. The gipsy woman had said this was ' the best of all for him '. Yes, it was right—that also was coming true. The black earth was the best for him. Now he understood clearly what had been the woman's meaning. In the black earth, in the dark grave, would be the best happiness for him.
And once again years passed by, not very many, but they seemed long years to lb. The old innkeeper and his wife died, and the whole of their property, many thousands of dollars, came to the son. Yes, now Christine could have the golden carriage and plenty of fine clothes.
During the two long years that followed, no letter came from Christine ; and when her father at length received one from her, it was not written in prosperity, by any means. Poor Christine ! neither she nor her husband had understood how to keep the money together, and there seemed to be no blessing with it, because they had not sought it.
And again the heather bloomed and faded. The snow had swept for many winters across the heath, and over the ridge beneath which lb dwelt, sheltered from the rough winds. The spring sun shone bright, and lb guided the plough across his field, when one day it glided over what appeared to be a flint stone. Something like a great black shaving came out of the ground, and when lb took it up it proved to be a piece of metal; and where the plough had cut into it, it gleamed brightly. It was a great heavy armlet of gold from heathen times. A grave-mound had been levelled here and its precious treasure found. lb showed what he had found to the clergyman, who explained its value to him, and then he betook himself to the local judge, who reported the discovery to Copenhagen, and recommended lb to deliver up the treasure in person.