WALDEMAR DAA AND HIS DAUGHTERS 651
window-panes and the yawning clefts in the walls. I blew into the chests of drawers belonging to the daughters, wherein lay the clothes that had become1 faded and threadbare from being worn over and over again. That was not the song that had been sung at the children's cradle. The lordly life had changed to a life of penury. I was the only one who sang aloud in that castle,' said the Wind. ' I snowed them up, and they say snow keeps people warm. They had no wood, and the forest from which they might have brought it was cut down. It was a biting frost. I rushed in through loopholes and passages, over gables and roofs, that I might be brisk. They were lying in bed because of the cold, the three high-born daughters, and their father was crouching under his leathern coverlet. Nothing to bite, nothing to burn—there was a life for highborn people ! Huh-sh ! let it go ! But that is what my Lord Daa could not do—he could not let it go.
' " After winter comes spring," he said. " After want, good times will come, but they must be waited for ! Now my house and lands are mortgaged, it is indeed high time ; and the gold will soon come. At Easter ! "
' I heard how he spoke thus, looking at a spider's web. ' Thou diligent little weaver, thou dost teach me perseverance. Let them tear thy web, and thou wilt begin it again and complete it. Let them destroy it again, and thou wilt resolutely begin to work again—again! That is what we must do, and that will repay itself at last."
' It was the morning of Easter-day. The bells and the sun seemed to rejoice in the sky. The master had watched through the night in feverish excitement, and had been melting and cooling, distilling and mixing. I heard him sighing like a soul in despair ; I heard him praying, and I noticed how he held his breath. The lamp was burned out, but he did not notice it. I blew at the fire of coals, and it threw its red glow upon his ghastly white face, lighting it up with a glare, and his sunken eyes looked forth wildly out of their deep sockets—but they became larger and larger, as though they would burst.
' Look at the alchemic glass ! It glows in the crucible, red-hot, and pure and heavy ! He lifted it with a trembling hand, and cried with a trembling voice, " Gold ! gold ! "