890 THE GOLDEN TREASURE
but he had sound limbs, a thing the mother had not dreamt. And what a rejoicing was there ! They laughed and they wept; and Peter embraced the old Fire-drum.
t There stands the old skeleton still!' he said.
And the father beat a roll upon it.
' One would think that a great fire had broken out here,' said the Fire-drum. ' Bright day! fire in the heart! golden treasure ! skrat! skr-r-at! skr-r-r-r-at!'
And what then ? What then ?—Ask the town musician.
' Peter's far outgrowing the drum,' he said. ' Peter will be greater than I.'
And yet he was the son of a royal plate-washer ; but all that he had learned in half a lifetime, Peter learned in half a year.
There was something so merry about him, something so truly kind-hearted. His eyes gleamed, and his hair gleamed too—there was no denying that!
' He ought to have his hair dyed,' said the neighbour's wife. ' That answered capitally with the policeman's daughter, and she got a husband.'
* But her hair turned as green as duckweed, and was always having to be coloured up.'
' She can afford that,' said the neighbours, ' and so can Peter. He goes to the most genteel houses, even to the burgomaster's, where he gives Miss Charlotte pianoforte lessons.'
He could play ! He could play, fresh out of his heart, the most charming pieces, that had never been put upon music-paper. He played in the bright nights, and in the dark nights too. The neighbours declared it was unbearable, and the Fire-drum was of the same opinion.
He played until his thoughts scared up, and burst forth in great plans for the future :
' To be famous !'
And Burgomaster's Charlotte sat at the piano. Her delicate fingers danced over the keys, and made them ring into Peter's heart. It seemed too much for him to bear; and this happened not once, but many times ; and at last one day he seized the delicate fingers and the white hand, and kissed it, and looked into her great brown eyes. Heaven