THE MASTER THIEF
Later in the afternoon the Master Thief came and wanted to have the Governor's daughter as he had promised.
' You must first give some more samples of your skill,' said the Governor, trying to speak him fair,' for what you did to-day was no such very great thing after all. Couldn't you play off a really good trick on the Priest ? for he is sitting inside there and calling me a fool for having let myself be taken in by such a fellow as you.'
' Well, it wouldn't be very hard to do that,' said the Master Thief. So he dressed himself up like a bird, and threw a great white sheet over himself; broke off a goose's wings, and set them on his back ; and in this attire climbed into a great maple tree which stood in the Priest's garden. So when the Priest returned home in the evening the youth began to cry, ' Father Lawrence! Father Lawrence ! ' for the Priest was called Father Lawrence.
' "Who is calling me ? ' said the Priest.
' I am an angel sent to announce to thee that because of thy piety thou shalt be taken away alive into heaven,' said the Master Thief. ' Wilt thou hold thyself in readiness to travel away next Monday night ? for then will I come and fetch thee, and bear thee away with me in a sack, and thou must lay all thy gold and silver, and whatsoever thou may 'st possess of this world's wealth, in a heap in thy best parlour.'
So Father Lawrence fell down on his knees before the angel and thanked him, and the following Sunday he preached a farewell sermon, and gave out that an angel had come down into the large maple tree in his garden, and had announced to him that, because of his righteousness, he should be taken up alive into heaven, and as he thus preached and told them this everyone in the church, old or young, wept.
On Monday night the Master Thief once more came as an angel, and before the Priest was put into the sack he fell on his knees and thanked him; but no sooner was the Priest safely inside it than the Master Thief began to drag him away over stocks and stones.
' Oh ! oh !' cried the Priest in the sack. ' Where are you taking me?'
' This is the way to heaven. The way to heaven is not an easy one,' said the Master Thief, and dragged him along till he all but killed him.
At last he flung him into the Governor's goose-house, and the geese, began to hiss and peck at him, till he felt more dead than alive.