170 CATHERINE AND HER DESTINY
When the mistress reached home she called Catherine, but no Catherine was there. ' Can she have robbed me? ' thought the old lady, and looked hastily round the house; but nothing was missing. She wondered why Catherine should have disappeared like this, but she heard no more of her, and in a few days she filled her place.
Meanwhile Catherine wandered on and on, without knowing very well where she was going, till at last she came to another town. Just as before, a noble lady happened to see her passing her window, and called out to her, ' Where are you going all alone, my pretty girl?'
And Catherine answered, ; Ah, my lady, I am very poor, and must go to service to earn my bread.'
'I will take you into my service,'said the lady; and Catherine served her well, and hoped she might now be left in peace. But, exactly as before, one day that Catherine was left in the house alone her Destiny came again and spoke to her with hard words: 'What! are you here now?' And in a passion she tore up everything she saw. till in sheer misery poor Catherine rushed out of the house. And so it befell for seven years, and directly Catherine found a fresh place her Destiny came and forced her to leave it.
After seven years, however, Destiny seemed to get tired of persecuting her, and a time of peace set in for Catherine. When she had been chased away from her last house by Destiny's wicked pranks she had taken service with another lady, who told her that it would be part of her daily work to walk to a mountain that overshadowed the town, and, climbing up to the top. she was to lay on the ground some loaves of freshly baked bread, and cry with aloud voice, ' O Destiny, my mistress,' three times. Then her lady's Destiny would come and take away the offering. ' That will I gladly do,' said Catherine.
So the years went by, and Catherine was still there, and every day she climbed the mountain with her basket