A STORY FROM THE SAND-DUNES 711
by the wind, grows thickly over the. whole churchyard. Here and there a grave had a monument to show, in the shape of a half-decayed block of wood rudely shaped into the form of a coffin, the said block having been brought from the forest of West Jutland ; but the forest of West Jutland is the wild sea itself, where the inhabitants find the hewn beams and planks and fragments which the breakers cast ashore. The wind and the sea fog soon destroy the wood. One of these blocks had been placed on a child's grave, and one of the women, who had come out of the church, stepped towards it. She stood still, and let her glance rest on the discoloured memorial. A few moments afterwards her husband stepped up to her. Neither of them spoke a word, but he took her hand, and they wandered across the brown heath, over moor and meadow, towards the sand-hills ; for a long time they thus walked silently.
' That was a good sermon to-day,' the man said at length. ' If we had not God to look to, we should have nothing ! '
; Yes,' observed the woman, ' He sends joy and sorrow, and He has a right to send them. To-morrow our little boy would have been five years old, if we had been allowed to keep him.'
; You will gain nothing by fretting, wife,' said the man. ' The boy is well provided for. He is there whither we pray to go.'
And they said nothing more, but went forward to their house among the sand-hills. Suddenly, in front of one of the houses, where the sea grass did not keep the sand down, there arose what appeared to be a column of smoke ; it was a gust of wind which swept in among the hills, whirling the particles of sand high in the air. Another, and the strings of fish hung up to dry flapped and beat violently against the wall of the hut ; and then all was still again, and the sun shone down hotly.
Man and wife stepped into the house. They had soon taken off their Sunday clothes, and then hurried away over the dunes, which stood there like huge waves of sand suddenly arrested in their course, while the sand-weeds and the dune grass with its bluish stalks spread a changing colour over them. A few neighbours came up and helped one another to draw the boats higher up on the sand. The