720 A STORY FROM THE SAND-DUNES
rest until it had got him back. So the grave was opened, and he really was found with his thumb in his mouth. So they laid him upon a cart and harnessed two oxen before it; and as if stung by a gad-fly, the oxen ran away with the man of the sea over heath and moorland to the ocean ; and then the sand ceased flying inland, but the hills that had been heaped up still remained there. All this Jurgen heard and treasured in his memory from the happiest days of his childhood, the days of the burial feast. How glorious it was to get out into strange regions and to see strange people ! And he was to go farther still. He was not yet fourteen years old when he went out in a ship to see what the world could show him : bad weather, heavy seas, malice, and hard men—these were his experiences, for he became a ship boy. There were cold nights, and bad living, and blows to be endured; then it was as if his noble Spanish blood boiled within him, and bitter wicked words seethed up to his lips ; but it was better to gulp them down, though he felt as the eel must feel when it is flayed and cut up and put into the frying-pan.
11 shall come again !' said a voice within him. He saw the Spanish coast, the native land of his parents. He even saw the town where they had lived in happiness and prosperity ; but he knew nothing of his home or race, and his race knew just as little about him.
The poor ship boy was not allowed to land ; but on the last day of their stay he managed to get ashore. There were several purchases to be made, and he was to carry them on board.
There stood Jurgen in his shabby clothes, which looked as if they had been washed in the ditch and dried in the chimney : for the first time he, the inhabitant of the dunes, saw a great city. How lofty the houses seemed, and how full of people were the streets ! some pushing this way, some that—a perfect maelstrom of citizens and peasants, monks and soldiers—a calling and shouting, and jingling of bell-harnessed asses and mules, and the church bells chiming between song and sound, hammering and knocking, all going on at once. Every handicraft had its workshop in the doorway or on the pavement; and the sun shone so hotly, and the air was so close, that one seemed to be in