1004 POULTRY MEG'S FAMILY
a chest of drawers, and on it was a brightly polished brass plate on which was engraved the word > Grubbe ', which was the name of the old, noble family who had lived here in the mansion. The brass plate was found when they were digging here, and the parish clerk had said that it had no other value except as an old relic. The clerk knew all about the place and the old time, for he had knowledge from books ; there were so many manuscripts in his table-drawer. He had great knowledge of the old times ; but the oldest of the crows knew more perhaps, and screamed about it in his own language, but it was crow-language, which the clerk did not understand, clever as he might be. The bog could steam after a warm summer day so that it seemed as if a lake lay behind the old trees, where the crows, rooks, and jackdaws flew ; so it had appeared when the Knight Grubbe had lived here, and the old manor-house stood with its thick, red walls. The dog's chain used to reach quite past the gateway in those days ; through the tower, one went into a stone-paved passage which led to the rooms ; the windows were narrow and the panes small, even in the great hall, where the dancing took place, but in the time of the last Grubbe there was no dancing as far back as one could remember, and yet there lay there an old kettledrum which had served as part of the music. Here stood a curious carved cupboard, in which rare flower bulbs were kept, for Lady Grubbe was fond of gardening, and cultivated trees and plants ; her husband preferred riding out to shoot wolves and wild boars, and his little daughter Marie always went with him. When she was only five years old, she sat proudly on her horse, and looked round bravely with her big black eyes. It was her delight to hit out with her whip amongst the hounds ; her father would have preferred to see her hit out amongst the peasant boys who came to look at the company.
The peasant in the clay house close to the manor had a son called Soren, the same age as the little noble lady. He knew how to climb, and had always to go up and get the bird's nests for her. The birds screamed as loud as they could scream, and one of the biggest of them cut him over the eye, so that the blood poured out. It was thought at first that the eye had been destroyed ; but it was very