THE PRINCESS IN THE CHEST 63
had heard about this post; that no one had ever escaped alive from it, so far as was known. But neither did anyone know what had become of all the sentinels. The thought of this ran in his head so much, after the wine was out of it, that he searched about everywhere for a way of escape, and finally, at eleven o'clock, he found a little postern in the steeple, which was not locked, and out at this he crept intending to run away.
At the same moment as he put his foot outside the church door, he saw standing before him a little man, who said, ' Good evening, Christian, where are you going?'
With that he felt as if he were rooted to the spot and could not move.
' Nowhere,' said he.
' Oh, yes,' said the little man, ' you were just about to run away, but you have taken upon you to stand sentine1 in the church to-night, and there you must stay.'
Christian said, very humbly, that he dared not, and therefore wanted to get away, and begged to be let go.
' No,' said the little one, ' you must remain at your post, but I shall give you a piece of good advice; you shall go up into the pulpit, and remain standing there. You need never mind what you see or hear, it will not be able to do you any harm, if you remain in your place until you hear the lid of the chest slam down again behind the dead : then all danger is past, and you can go about the church, wherever you please.'
The little man then pushed him in at the door again, and locked it after him. Christian made haste to get up into the pulpit, and stood there, without noticing anything, until the clock struck twelve. Then the lid of the princess's chest sprang up, and out of it there came something like the Princess, dressed as you see in the picture. It shrieked and howled, ' Sentry, where are you? Sentry, where are you? If you don't come, you shall get the most cruel death anyone has ever got.'