CATHERINE AND HER DESTINY1
Long ago there lived a rich merchant who, besides possessing more treasures than any king in the world, had in his great hall three chairs, one of silver, one of gold, and one of diamonds. But his great treasure of all was his only daughter, who was called Catherine.
One day Catherine was sitting in her own room when suddenly the door flew open, and in came a tall and beautiful woman holding in her hands a little wheel.
' Catherine,' she said, going up to the girl, ; which would you rather have — a happy youth or a happy old age?'
Catherine was so taken by surprise that she did not know what to answer, and the lady repeated again, ' Which would you rather have — a happy youth or a happy old age ? '
Then Catherine thought to herself, ' If I say a happy youth, then I shall have to suffer all the rest of my life. No, I would bear trouble now, and have something better to look forward to.' So she looked up and replied, ' Give me a happy old age.'
' So be it,' said the lady, and turned her wheel as she spoke, vanishing the next moment as suddenly as she had come.
Now this beautiful lady was the Destiny of poor Catherine.
1 Sicilianische Muhrchen, von Laura Gonzenbach. Leipzig, Engelmaun, 1870.