THE FOUR GIFTS
' They all died long, long ago,' she answered, ' and the only friends I have are strangers with kind hearts.'
The girl did not speak for a moment, then held out the small loaf and some bacon intended for her dinner.
' Take this,' she said; ' to-day at any rate you shall dine well,' and the old woman took it, gazing at Tephany the while.
' Those who help others deserve to be helped,' she answered ; ' your eyes are still red because that miser Barbaik has forbidden you to speak to the young man from Plover. But cheer up, you are a good girl, and I will give you something that will enable you to see him once every day.
' You ? ' cried Tephany, stupefied at discovering that the beggar knew all about her affairs, but the old woman did not hear her.
' Take this long copper pin,' she went on, ' and every time you stick it in your dress Mother Bourhis will be obliged to leave the house in order to go and count her cabbages. As long as the pin is in your dress you will be free, and your aunt will not come back until you have put it in its case again.' Then, rising, she nodded to Tephany and vanished.
The girl stood where she was, as still as a stone. If it had not been for the pin in her hands she would have thought she was dreaming. But by that token she knew it was no common old woman who had given it to her, but a fairy, wise in telling what would happen in the days to come. Then suddenly Tephany's eyes fell on the clothes, and to make up for lost time she began to wash them with great vigour.
Next evening, at the moment when Denis was accustomed to wait for her in the shadow of the cowhouse, Tephany stuck the pin in her dress, and at the very same instant Barba'ik took up her sabots or wooden shoes and went through the orchard and past to the fields, to the