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well, that the cobbler was enabled to buy That if it rains, or hails, or snows,
No difference 'tis to you. as much leather as would serve to make
Your children's birth-days come no throng two pairs. Having shaped them at night,
Of friends approach your door; he again rose early on the following morn- 'Tis a long suffering, sad as long: ing to begin his work with fresh spirit; No fire to warm-to cheer, no songbut he did not need to do this, for the No presents for the poor. shoes were already made. And this went And should not we far better be, on day after day, until he was no longer Our winter hearth is bright and gay,
We far more bless'd than they! poor, but made a capital thing of it. One evening, not long before Christ- And we were wrought in finer mould,
Our wine-cups full and free; mas, the cobbler said to his wife, 'What And made of purer clay: think you of waiting up to-night, to see God's holy eyes, that all behold, who it is that lends us this helping hand ?'
Chose for our garments gems and gold So they hid themselves in a corner of the
And made them rags display.
I? better I? Oh, would 'twere so! room, behind some clothes, and kept a
I am perplex'd in sooth; sharp look-out. At midnight, two peat I wish, I wish you'd speak the truth; naked little fellows sat down at the table, You do not speak it-no! and began to sew and to hammer with Who knows-I know not-but that vest such speed, that the cobbler, in his admi- That's pieced and patch'd all through, ration, could not keep his eyes off them. May wrap a very honest breast,
Of evil purged, by good possess'd, When all was finished, they ran away. Generous, and just, and true? Next morning, the goodwife said, "The
And can it be? Indeed it can, little men have made us rich; let us show
That I so favour'd stand; ourselves thankful for this. They run And he, the offspring of God's hand, about naked, and must be very cold; I A poor, deserted man.
And then I sit to muse; I sit will make shirts, coats, and breeches for them. At night, instead of the regular I strain my thoughts, I tax my wit;
The riddle to unravel; working materials, they laid the clothes The less my thoughts can compass it, on the table. The little men came as
The more they toil and travel. usual, were greatly surprised that there And thus, and thus alone, I see, was no leather for them, and looked at When poring o'er and o'er, the clothes with delight. They put them
That I can give unto the poor, on with the greatest liveliness, singing That, having more than I require,
But not the poor to me: 'Are we not dandies spruce and fine?
That more I'm bound to spread, Why should we remain in the cobbler line?'
Give from my hearth a spark of fire, They danced and hopped about, almost out Drops from my cup, and feed desire of their little senses with joy. At last they
With morsels of my bread. danced themselves out of the house; but
And thus I found, that, scattering round they never came back again. All things,
Blessings in mortal track,
The riddle ceased my brains to rack, however, went well with the cobbler dur
my torn heart grew sound. ing the rest of his life.
The storm-winds blow both sharp and sere;
The cold is bitter rude ;
Come, beggar, come, our garments bear,
A morsel of our food. Thank Heaven, with blazing coals and wood,
List, boys and girls! the hour is late, We sit in comfort here !
There's some one at the door; The trees as whitest down are white,
Run, little ones! the man is poor; The river hard as lead.
Who first unlocks the gate ? Sweet mistress! why this blank to-night?
What do I hear? Run fast, run fast! There's punch so warm, and wine so bright,
What do I hear so sad? And sheltering roof and bread.
'Tis a poor mother in the blast, And if a friend should pass this way,
Trembling—I heard her as she pass'd We give him flesh and fish;
And weeping o'er her lad. And sometimes game adorns the dish :
I thank thee, Source of every bliss, It chances as it may.
For every bliss I know; And every birth-day festival,
I thank thee, thou didst train me so Some extra tarts appear,
To learn thy way in this: An extra glass of wine for all
That vishing good, and doing good, While to the child, or great or small,
Is labouring, Lord, with thee; We drink the happy year.
That charity is gratitude ; Poor beggars, all the city through
And piety, best understood, That wanderl-pity knows
A sweet humanity.
THE BREAKING OF THE DYKES. stature, and slender. He wore high boots
on his short legs, close fitting, striped Some years ago, a short time before summer pantaloons, a shabby bat, rather the Danes possessed themselves of the the worse for wear, with peaked crown, German duchy of Schleswig-Holstein, and and a blue frock-coat, with long, narrow the war broke out there, I was wandering flaps. When he had passed about three along the west coast of Schleswig, through paces, he turned round again, and stopped. the marshes which run northwardly from He was too curious to proceed further. the town of Husum to Tondern.
'Yes,' said he, 'it is a fine day for traBy marshes are meant the fat, fertile velling in the country.' lowlands, which are protected on all sides A very fine day,' I replied. against the surges of the ocean by high 'You are perhaps a stranger who has dykes, between which they repose, with come from Husum, asked the old man. their rich fields covered with wheat, rape- 'I am a German, and wish to see the seed, and beans, as behind the massive marshes,' I responded. walls of a fortress. It was a beautiful A German, indeed!' exclaimed the sunny day, and a Sunday, moreover, and inquirer, as he opened wide his blue eyes. I joyfully walked along upon the high Germany is a great and beautiful counsurface of the dykes. To the left, I try; it is also our native land; we are all looked upon the foaming sea, which Germans, we do not wish to be Danes.' sprinkled me with the spray of its tumul- lle extended his meagre hand, and shook tuous breakers: to the right lay the mine cordially. smooth green plain, upon which herds of Do you live here in the marsh ?' I oxen and cows were at pasture; around, asked. the hills, upon which men in comfort and 'I reside nowhere,' replied the old man, happiness bad built their cheerful houses, laughing. among the flowers and bushes.
Nowhere?' rejoined I, incredulously. It was indeed a curious sight. On one 'I am a schoolmaster,' he resumed, side, vessels in full sail; in the briny with a friendly nod. You will thus undepths, fish, sharks, porpoises, and ugly derstand what I mean; yet no,' he contirochen, and crabs; above the waves, nued, you will not comprehend, because swarms of gulls, sea-swallows, and cor- you do not yet know the land. Look morants; upon the other side, the sunny over the marshes, and you will not see a land with its human life; and between village upon them. People everywhere the two, only an carthen wall, twenty to live upon isolated hills, and around thirty feet high, and sixty to eighty them lie their fields. It is so in Schlesthick. When one of these dykes is wig, as well as in Holstein, for miles broken, or a storm succeeds in penetrating along the whole coast. There is no place through it, the marsh in a few minutes there for a village, for nowhere is to be becomes a wild sea, upon which the found any high firm land, and since the corpses of the inhabitants, and the dis- earliest times, every family lives here membered fragments of their houses, are alone upon an artificial hill of clay, which driven about.
is called a warft. In ancient times, when While Ithus pondered, and with fear cast there were no dykes, the warft was the a look out upon the boundless sea, which, only protection against the raging sea, impelled by the wind and flood tide, con- and more than once every year the stormy tinually swelled its waters, so that they billows would dash against the hill, the rose twenty feet higher than the blooming, inhabitants of which stood in anxious exrich land on the other side, I saw an old pectation of being swallowed up at any man approaching, who gave me a friendly moment. In the course of centuries, greeting, as we drew near to each other. dykes have been built at great expense He was a curious, weather-beaten figure. and labour, but they must be continually Thin white bair covered his head. His strengthened, to save our lives, and yet good-humoured face was half veiled by a who can tell what may happen to-day or handkerchief, which he had bound round to-morrow? Now, thanks to God!' he his neck and chin, on account of the wind, exclaimed, 'these misfortunes cannot ocbut his clear eyes merrily beamed upon cur as easily as formerly; but when you me, as if to say, 'What are you doing observe the marshes, with their thousands here? whence came you? I never saw of little canals, in which the waters are you before.' The old man was short of gathered, each warft surrounded by deep
ditches, and the earth everywhere a fat He shook his head, and laughed curiousblack nud, you can form some idea of the ly to himself. 'Scenes of terror are often difficulties of travelling over these tracts to be witnessed here,' said he, of which in rainy weather, or in winter. The people, who live in the secure interior, marshes are dry only in the continuous can form no idea.' heat of midsummer, when the earth 'I can readily believe it,' answered I. cracks in fissures. The marsh roads are 'It must be awful above here, in tempesthen passable; no inhabitants of these tuous weather, when the wind and sea regions, nevertheless, would travel with- are raging in their utmost fury, and all out his jumping-pole, for how could he around is enveloped in darkness and get over the many ditches, if he wished fog.' to pursue his own way across the fields ? You know,' said he, 'that we call the But when the autumn and winter come, small islets in front of our coast Hallithe whole marsh is converted into mud. gen. They are remains of larger pieces There is then no moving about, but on of land, which the sea, at various times, the top of the dykes, and people sit has swept away and swallowed up; it quietly in their houses, live upon their will also absorb these fragments, portions hoarded provisions, and wait until God of which it yearly carries off. Only sixsends them better days.'
teen of these little patches of earth re"This is a curious life!' I exclaimed. main, and are inhabited; but most of 'It is a good life,' rejoined the old man. them contain only two or three families, 'No one born here would change it. You who have built their dwellings upon see, however, my young sir, that in this warfts, and whose whole property, geneland, where there are no villages, there rally, consists of but little else than a can also be no schools. The children number of sheep, that pasture on the could not go out, even if school-houses hard sea-grass which covers these islets. were built; the schoolmasters, therefore, A Hallig is, in truth, nothing but a grass wander froin warft to warft. The chil field, which lies a few feet above the ordren of neighbouring warfts, indeed, as- dinary level of the sea, and has no prosemble together upon one, and the mas- tecting dykes, for how could the cost of ter teaches them commonly for four or the same be defrayed? Most of the six weeks, when he strolls away to Halligen are only about two hundred another, where he does the same. He paces in breadth and length, and some goes his rounds in the course of six of them are entirely uninhabited, and months or a year, and then he returns to some only for the growth of hay, which resume his lessons again. And thus I is often washed off by the flood, before have grown old as a schoolmaster,' he the poor people can gather it. The house continued, with a hearty laugh. For on the warft stands in the middle of the forty years I have wandered to and fro, Hallig, but the warfts are so small that through the Hattstedter Marsh, and have but little vacant space is left on them. reared up and educated troops of children; There is no court with stable and other they love me, and call the old Sam Wiebe buildings, as here upon the great warfts again to their hearths, for their children in the marsh, and there is no garden, and grandchildren, and there sit I by the flowers, bush, or tree with its friendly turf-fire in winter, and under the linden- shade. Even were there space enough, trees or the bean arbour in summer, the strong sea blasts would sweep them teaching and playing with the little off, and the inundations, which at every ones.'
high flood overspread the Hallig, prevent 'He who has so many houses,' said I, the growth of any plants or trees. The ‘from which loving hands are extended long, yellow grass alone flourishes, interto him, has no need of one of his own.' mingled with beds of mud and ponds of
'Do you think so ? rejoined the school- water. No cow, horse, or any other animaster, with a half-melancholy smile. mal than the abstemious thick-wooled 'What you say is true; I have neither sheep, can be maintained there. wife nor child, and if I had, I would not No spring or deposit of drinking water know how to support them. God knows exists there; nothing but muddy, dark best, however, he continued, in a cheerful salt water around, and a ditch on the tone, 'what ought to be, but when I am warft, covered with sods, where the rain called away, eyes will not be wanting to is gathered, when God grants that blessweep for old Sam.'
ing. The sheep drink out of this ditch, into which the water also filtrates from as if it were greedy for his life. His the earth, and the people use it for boil- cries and prayers resound upon the desert ing their tea—their only beverage, al- of waters, but no one sees or hears him. though it has a brackish taste, the dis- Frantic with terror, he rushes forward, agreeableness of which can only be over- and at last he loses his footing. He come by long custom. In their voyages struggles, falls, rises again, and half stranto the mainland, they always return with gled, makes another effort to save hima small barrel of sweet water, and in the self, and then disappears. The waves summer droughts, they are obliged to re- rush over his corpse, for the sea is soon pair frequently to the coast in quest of twenty feet deep on the spot where the fresh water, for fear of perishing from footsteps of the unfortunate man were thirst.
visible a little before.' 'The Halligers have thus but little Sam here drew a breath, and said, in joy, and much trouble. They have not melancholy tune, Many, many human even a rich fishery, for the sea being dis- beings have been lost in this manner. coloured by the agitated mud, the fish It is a sad and miserable life upon these avoid it, and leave it to the exclusive en- islets. Death stan is always at the door, joyment of the rochen and the seals. and yet they fear it not. There is also
But custom does everything on this many a little, neat house on the warfts earth, and so it is with these solitary there, as fresh and bright as are anymen, who would not leave their islet if where to be found among the Frieslanders. an easier mode of life were offered to The walls are white, and the floors laid them. At ebb tide the sea retires for with painted bricks, the ceiling coloured miles, leaving a naked bottom of mud, blue, and the chairs and tables so perwhich in its undulating, jagged surface fectly stainless and pure as to excite the represents the form of the waves that surprise of the stranger. It is warm and covered it a few hours before, and which comfortable there by the fireside. When will soon again overwhelm it. Innume- the storm howls without, and the billows rable small and large bollows furrow this roar, no one regards it much; there the bed of slime. The water remains in these boldest seamen in the world are born, channels and holes, in the larger of which and the best captains and pilots come vessels can float at ebb tide. The smaller from the islands and the Halligen. The wind round the islands and Halligen, Hollanders formerly took no others for in which the inhabitants seek crabs and their great India merchantmen, and many rochen at ebb tide, and where they may of them, at the present day, navigate the also occasionally take a seal, that has finest vessels on the ocean; many of them been left high and dry by the rapid efflux are rich, but there is rarely any one who of the waters. These channels and sheets in his old age does not wish to return to of water, however, prevent the union of his home, to pass the remainder of his the islands even at the lowest ebb, with days. the firm land. Wo to him who, trust- People thus sometimes perish before ing too much to the shallowness of the they think of it, for a single false step water, attempts to gain the coast. The is sufficient to lose life. The sea occatide often returns before the time, bring- sionally forces its way up to the houses, ing with it its constant companion, the and vessels have frequently sailed over a fog, which as by magic, in a few moments, Hallig in the darkness, and the crew sudchanges day into night, confuses the denly gazing into a bright-lit room, have senses, and delivers its victim to certain believed themselves entranced in the death. The wader sees the shore of his midst of the wild waters. But, when the Hallig disappear before his eyes. He waves break through the walls, when they soon feels the tide playing around his mount to the roof, and the piles totter to feet. He is seized with terror, and tears and fro, and nothing can be heard or seen his hair by the roots; in fear of death, he but the roar of the sea, and thick darkhurries forward, but the channels are ness, then sinks the courage of the stoutfilled with water, and close the way est heart.' against him.
He turns aside to go And have you witnessed such a scene?' around them, and thus loses his course. asked I. He knows not whither to direct his steps The old man nodded affirmatively. and the tide continually rises higher and 'No human tongue,' he murmured, in higher; it silently increases inch by inch, I a pensive mood, 'can describe the misery
of such a night. Whither could any one the hum of spinning-wheels we related flee? Around is the foaming and raging stories of severe storms and great dangers.
It is necessary to remain within, Jens had been far away, to Italy and for without you would be swept away. America, so we laughed, and feared not. Nothing is to be heard but the howl of Our conversation was only now and then the wind, the creaking of the house, and interrupted by the increasing roar of the the thunder of the sea, which beats storm without, or when a tremendous against the threshold. You must pa- surge broke with such force on the warft, tiently wait in the midst of the wild up- that the earth seemed to groan beneath roar of the elements, until the walls give us. Then one looked at the other, and way, and the piles that support the roof the threads fell from the hands of the are thrown down, and an end is put to women; but the alarm passed away, in a a troubled life. When the north-west moment more. The house was new and storms drive the spring tides into the tight, its posts deep sunken, and the bays of the Friesland Islands, the sea warft broad and strong. sometimes swells forty feet above its Thus sat we together on the 3d of usual level; all the Halligen, and all the February, in a more joyous mood than open plains of the Frieslanders, are then ever. On the next morning, Jens wished covered with water. The birds fly far at every hazard to carry me to the maininto the interior for safety; the most land, and if any one would do it it was timid creatures are then seen to seek he, for there was no braver fellow or betshelter among men, and wild, screaming ter sailor than him. He had brewed a swarms of gulls cling to the edges of the bowl of punch for the parting: the rum naked downs, in apprehension for their and lemons he had received from an nests. The house on the warft trembles, English brig, which he had some time the beds move, the ground gives forth a before piloted through the Lyster Chanhollow sound at the beating of the surges, nel; the captains make such extra gifts and seems to shake, and the poor Halliger when all has gone well. We drank to looks out, with an anxious eye, upon the good weather, and enjoyed ourselves to tumultuous scene without. He falls upon the top of our bent. There was yet ochis knees, with his wife and children, and casionally some fearful gusts of wind, but prays to God, who alone can save them, the sky had become clear, the stars shone to have mercy on them; he carefully se- with silvery lustre, and when I last went cures his sheep and most precious pro- to the door, the moon poured its full light perty, when the water penetrates the over the vast sea. chinks and crevices of the walls. He 'Jens barred up the door, closed the who has never before prayed will, on shutters, and said, "To-morrow we shall such a night, humble himself before God. have better weather, for there is now a proA king would then give his crown, and spect of a change. Drink a bumper, old the wealthiest his riches, and the proudest Sam, and let us be merry; no one can his titles and decorations, to be saved tell how long he has yet to live.” God from such fearful perik.
knows how that expression came into The night of the 3d and 4th of Fe- his mouth! We had mutton and good bruary, 1825, was just such a night,' re- bread, ate heartily, and we might have sumed Sam, after a pause. 'I had, at been full two hours at table, when all of that time, been for some weeks on the a sudden we were startled by a cry from Sudo Hallig, at the house of a friend, the children's room. A little girl of seven Jens Detlew, as brave a fellow as ever years came running to us in her shirt, as lived. I wished to leave every day, but the poor thing had awoke from her sleep, no one could reach the mainland, for the embraced her mother with both arms north storm did not cease, and no boat around the knee, and could not be quieted. could live on the sea. Ebb and flood ""Oh, mother, dearest mother," she tide came and went, out of all order and cried, weeping, we shall all · die torule, and every flood ran higher on the night. It is all over with us we are Hallig. Yet what caused the most ap- all lost!” prehension to the stranger was a source "The mother looked half-frightened of the least anxiety to the Halligers. At and half-angry; then said, with a smile, evening, we sat down in good spirits “Go to sleep, and do not dream, you around the table by the hearth, on which chatterbox; there is no cause for fear. the tea-kettle was smoking, and amid Without, the moon shines brightly, and