THE VOICE OF DEATH
am merely going to see why I am wanted. I shall come back directly.'
So she fought and struggled to get away from her husband, and to go where the voice summoned. But he would not let her go, and had all the doors of the house shut and bolted. "When she saw that he had done this, she said :
' Very well, dear husband, I shall do what you wish, and remain where I am.'
So her husband believed that it was all right, and that she had thought better of it, and had got over her mad impulse to obey the voice. But a few minutes later she made a sudden dash for one of the doors, opened it and darted out, followed by her husband. He caught her by the fur coat, and begged and implored her not to go, for if she did she would certainly never return. She said nothing, but let her arms fall backwards, and suddenly bending herself forward, she slipped out of the coat, leaving it in her husband's hands. He, poor man, seemed turned to stone as he gazed after her hurrying away from him, and calling at the top of her voice, as she ran:
'1 am coming ! I am coming! '
"When she was quite out of sight her husband recovered his wits and went back into his house, murmuring :
' If she is so foolish as to wish to die, I can't help it. I warned and implored her to pay no heed to that voice, however loudly it might call.'
Well, days and weeks and months and years passed, and nothing happened to disturb the peace of the household. But one day the man was at the barber's as usual, being shaved. The shop was full of people, and his chin had just been covered with a lather of soap, when, suddenly starting up from the chair, he called out in a loud voice :
' I won't come, do you hear ? I won't come ! '
The barber and the other people in the shop listened to him with amazement. But again looking towards the door, he exclaimed :
' I tell you, once and for all, I do not mean to come, so go away.'
And a few minutes later he called out again:
' Go away, I tell you, or it will be the worse for you. You may call as much as you like but you will never get me to come.'
And he got so angry that you might have thought that some