1014 POULTRY MEG'S FAMILY
perhaps the crc ws and the rooks to peck at me, he carried me in his arms and got hard words for the catch he brought on board. I am not used to be ill, and so I recovered. Every one has his own way, Soren has his, and one should not judge a horse by the halter ! With him I have lived more comfortably than with the one they called the most gallant and noble of all the king's subjects. I have been married to the Stadtholder Gyldenlowe, the half-brother of the king ; later on I took Palle Dyre ! Right or wrong, each has his own way, and I have mine. That was a long story, but now you know it!' And she went out of the room.
It was Marie Grubbe ! so strange had been the rolling ball of her fortune. She did not live to see many more anniversaries of the festival of the Three Kings ; Holberg has recorded that she died in 1716, but he has not recorded, for he did not know it, that when Mother Soren, as she was called, lay a corpse in the ferry-house, a number of big blackbirds flew over the place. They did not scream, as if they knew that silence belonged to a burial. As soon as she was laid in the earth the birds disappeared, but the same evening over at the old manor in Jutland an enormous number of crows and rooks were seen; they all screamed as loud as they could, as if they had something to announce, perhaps about him who as a little boy took their eggs and young ones, the farmer's son who had to wear a garter of iron, and the noble lady who ended her life as a ferry-woman at Gronsund.
' Brave ! brave ! ' they screamed.
And the whole family screamed ' Brave ! brave !' when the old manor-house was pulled down. ' They stfll cry, and there is no more to cry about!' said the clerk, when he told the story. ' The family is extinct, the house pulled down, and where it stood, now stands the grand hen-house with the gilded weathercock and with old Poultry Meg. She is so delighted with her charming dwelling ; if she had not come here, she would have been in the workhouse.'
The pigeons cooed over her, the turkeys gobbled round about her, and the ducks quacked.
' No one knew her ! ' they said. ' She has no relations. It is an act of grace that she is here. She has neither & drake father nor a hen mother, and no descendants ! '