16 THE GOBLIN AND THE GROCER
tears he felt quite happy. How beautiful it must be to sit under that tree with the student, but that he could not do; he had to content himself with the key-hole and be happy there!
There he stood out on the cold landing, the autumn wind blowing through the cracks of the floor. It was cold — very cold, but he first found it out when the light in the attic was put out and the music in the wood died away. Ah! then it froze him, and he crept down again into his warm corner; there it was comfortable and cosy.
When Christmas came, and with it the jam with the large lump of butter, ah! then the grocer was first with him.
But in the middle of the night the Goblin awoke, hearing a great noise and knocking against the shutters — people hammering from outside. The watchman was blowing his horn : a great fire had broken out; the whole town was in flames.
Was it in the house? or was it at a neighbour's? Where was it?
The alarm increased. The grocer's wife was so terrified that she took her gold earrings out of her ears and put them in her pocket in order to save something. The grocer seized his account books, and the maid her black silk dress.
Everyone wanted to save his most valuable possession ; so did the Goblin, and in a few leaps he was up the stairs and in the student's room. He was standing quietly by the open window looking at the fire that was burning in the neighbour's house just opposite. The Goblin seized the book lying on the table, put it in his red cap, and clasped it with both hands. The best treasure in the house was saved, and he climbed out on to the roof with it —on to the chimney. There he sat, lighted up by the flames from the burning house opposite, both hands holding tightly on his red cap, in which lay the treasure ; and now he knew what his heart really valued most — to