650 WALDEMAR DAA AND HIS DAUGHTERS
proud, but he was also a learned man, and knew a great deal. That was no secret, and many opinions were expressed concerning it. In his chimney there was fire even in summertime. He would lock the door of his room, and for days the fire would be poked and raked ; but of this he did not talk much—the forces of nature must be conquered in silence ; and soon he would discover the art of making the best thing of all—the red gold.
' That is why the chimney was always smoking, therefore the flames crackled so frequently. Yes, I was there too,' said the Wind. ' " Let it go," I sang down through the chimney : "it will end in smoke, air, coals and ashes ! You will burn yourself ! Hu-uh-ush ! drive away ! drive away ! " But Waldemar Daa did not drive it away.
1 The splendid black horses in the stable—what became of them ? what became of the old gold and silver vessels in cupboards and chests, the cows in the fields, and the houses and home itself ? Yes, they may melt, may melt in the golden crucible, and yet yield no gold.
I Empty grew the barns and store-rooms, the cellars and magazines. The servants decreased, and the mice multiplied. Then a window broke, and then another, and I could get in elsewhere besides at the door,' said the Wind. * " Where the chimney smokes the meal is being cooked," the proverb says. But here the chimney smoked that devoured all the meals, for the sake of the red gold.
* I blew through the courtyard gate like a watchman blowing his horn,' the Wind went on, ' but no watchman was there. I twirled the weathercock round on the summit of the tower, and it creaked like the snoring of the warder, but no warder was there ; only mice and rats were there. Poverty laid the table-cloth ; poverty sat in the wardrobe and in the larder ; the door fell off its hinges, cracks and fissures made their appearance, and I went in and out at pleasure ; and that is how I know all about it.
' Amid smoke and ashes, amid sorrow and sleepless nights, the hair became grey, in his beard and around his temples ; his skin turned pale and yellow, as his eyes looked greedily for the gold, the desired gold.
II blew the smoke and ashes into his face and beard : debt came instead of gold. I sang through the broken