1G8 CATHERINE AND HER DESTINY
Only a few days after this the merchant heard the news that all his finest ships, laden with the richest merchandise, had been sunk in a storm, and he was left a beggar. The shock was too much for him. He took to his bed, and in a short time he was dead of his disappointment.
So poor Catherine was left alone in the world without a penny or a creature to help her. But she was a brave girl and full of spirit, and soon made up her mind that the best thing she could do was to go to the nearest town and become a servant. She lost no time in getting herself ready, and did not take long over her journey; and as she was passing down the chief street of the town a noble lady saw her out of the window, and, struck by her sad face, said to her: 'Where are you going all alone, my pretty girl ?'
'Ah, my lady, I am very poor, and must go to service to earn my bread.'
'I will take you into my service,' said she; and Catherine served her well.
Some time after her mistress said to Catherine, ' I am obliged to go out for a long while, and must lock the house door, so that no thieves shall get in.'
So she went away, and Catherine took her work and sat down at the window. Suddenly the door burst open, and in came her Destiny.
' Oh! so here you are, Catherine! Did you really think I was going to leave you in peace?' And as she spoke she walked to the linen press where Catherine's mistress kept all her finest sheets and underclothes, tore everything in pieces, and flung them on the floor. Poor Catherine wrung her hands and wept, for she thought to herself, ' When my lady comes back and sees all this ruin she will think it is my fault,' and, starting up, she fled through the open door. Then Destiny took all the pieces and made them whole again, and put them back in the press, and when everything was tidy she left the house.