The Baldwn Librar)
THE WOODCUTTER OF GUTECH.
W. H. KINGSTON.
THE RELIGIOUS TRACT SOCIETY,
56, PATERNOSTER ROW; 65, ST. PAUL'S CHURCHYARD;
AND 164, PICCADILLY.
MANCHESTER: 100, CORPORATION STREET.
BRIGHTON: 31, WESTERN ROAD.
TRAVELLER was making his way
through the Black Forest in Ger-
many. A pack was on his back,
of a size which required a stout man to
carry it, and a thick staff was in his hand.
He had got out of his path by attempting
to make a short cut, and in so doing had
lost his way, and had been since wander-
ing he knew not where. Yet he was stout
of heart, as of limb, and a night spent in
4 THE WOODCUTTER OF bUTfECt4
the depths of the forest would have con-
cerned him but little had he not set a
value upon time. I have lost so much
in my days of ignorance and folly," he
kept saying, "that I must make up by
vigilance what has been thus misspent.
I wish that I had known better. However,
I am now ready to spend all, and be spent
in the work of the Good Master I serve."
The ground was uneven, his load heavy,
and the weather warm. Still he trudged
bravely on, consoling himself by giving
forth, in rich full tones, a hymn of Hans
Sachs of Nuremburg, the favourite poet of
Protestant Germany in those days.
Thus he went on climbing up the steep
side of the hill, out of which dark rocks
and tall trees protruded in great confusion.
At last he got into what looked like a path.
" All right now," he said to himself; "this
must lead somewhere, and I have still an
THE WOODCUTTER OF GUTECH. 5
hour of daylight to find my way out of the
forest. When I get to the top of this hill
I shall probably be better able to judge
what direction to take." He trudged on
as before, now and then stopping to take
breath, and then once more going on
bravely. At length the sound of a wood-
man's axe caught his ear.
All right," said he. I should not have
allowed my heart to doubt about the mat-
ter. The Good One who has protected me
hitherto will still continue to be my Guide
He stopped to listen from which direc-
tion the sounds came. The loud crash of
a falling tree enabled him better to judge,
and by the light of the sinking sun, which
found its way through the branches of the
tall trees, he made directly towards the
spot. He soon caught sight of an old
man, stripped to his shirt and trousers,
6 THE WOODCUTTER OF GUTECH.
who with his gleaming axe was hewing
the branches of the tree he had just felled.
Not far off stood a young boy with a couple
of donkeys, which he was beginning to
load with fagots, near a pile of which they
Friend woodman," said the traveller,
as he got up to him, and the old man
stood for a moment leaning on his axe,with
an inquiring glance in his eye. "Friend
woodman, I have lost my way; can you
help me to find it ? "
"Not to-night, friend traveller," an-
swered the woodman. "If I was to
attempt to put you on your way, you
would lose it again in five minutes. This.
is no easy country for a man ignorant of
it to pass through without a guide, and
neither I nor little Karl there have time
just now to accompany you. But you
look like an honest man, and if you will
THE WOODCUTTER OF GUTECH. 7
come with me to my cottage, I will help
you as far as I can to-morrow morning."
Thank you," said the traveller. I
accept your offer."
"Well then, I have just made my last
stroke," said the old man, lifting up his
axe. "We will load our asses and be off.
We have some way to go, as I live farther
up the valley of Gutech, and even I prefer
daylight to darkness for travelling these
wild paths. If you had not found me I
cannot say when you would have got out
of the forest."
Without further waste of words, the old
man and young Karl set to work to load
the asses, strapping on the huge fagots
with thongs of leather, while the patient
animals, putting out their fore-legs, quietly
endured all the tugs and pulls to which
they were subjected.
"That pack of yours seems heavy,
8 THE WOODCUTTER OF GUTECH,
friend traveller," said the old man, glanc-
ing at his companion; let me carry it for
"No, no! Thanks to you," answered
the traveller. I am strong and hearty.
I would not put that on your shoulders
which I feel burdensome to my own."
Then let us put it on the back of one
of the asses," said the woodcutter; "it
will make but little difference to our long-
"A merciful man is merciful to his
beast," said the traveller. "The poor
brutes seem already somewhat overloaded,
and I should be unwilling to add to their
pain for the sake of relieving myself."
"Then'let Karl, there, carry it; he is
sturdy, and can bear it some little way, at
all events," said the old man.
I would not place on young shoulders
what I find tire a well-knit pair," said the
THE WOODCUTTER OF GUTECH. 9
traveller, glancing at young Karl. But
perhaps he may like to get some of the
contents of my pack inside his head," he
"Down his mouth, I suppose you mean,"
said the old man, laughing. Is it food
or liquor you carry in your pack ?"
"No, indeed, friend," answered the
traveller. "Yet it is food, of a sort -
food for the mind, and better still, food
for the soul. Is your soul ever hungry,
I know not what you mean," answered
the old man. "I have a soul, I know,
for the priest tells me so; and so have my
relatives who have gone before me, as I
know to my cost; for they make me pay
pretty roundly to get their souls out of
purgatory. I hope Karl there will in his
turn pay for mine when I die."
"Ah, friend, yes, I see how it is," said
IO THE WOODCUTTER OF GUTECH.
the traveller. "Your soul wants a dif-
ferent sort of nourishment from what it
ever has had. I have great hopes that
the contents of my pack will afford it that
The traveller was walking on all this
time with the old man and Karl, behind
the asses. Karl kept looking up in the
former's face with an inquiring glance,
the expression of his countenance varying
as the traveller continued his remarks.
"I will not keep you in suspense any
longer," said the traveller. My pack
contains copies of that most precious book
which has lately been translated into our
mother tongue by Dr. Martin Luther, and
from which alone we have any authority
for the Christian faith we profess. I have
besides several works by the same learned
author, as also works by other writers."
"I wish that I could read them," said
THE WOODCUTTER OF GUTECH. II
the old man, with a sigh; but if I had
the power I have not the time, and my
eyes are somewhat dim by lamplight.
Karl there was taught to read last winter
by a young man who was stopping at
my cottage, and whom I took in, having
found him with a broken leg in the forest."
Oh, grandfather, why he taught you
also to read almost as well as I do "
said Karl. "All you have been wishing
for has been a book in big print, and
perhaps if the merchant has one he will
sell it to you."
We will examine the contents of my
pack when we get to your cottage, my
friend, and I daresay something will be
found to suit you," observed the traveller.
"If you have made a beginning, you will
soon be able to read these books, and I am
sure when once you have begun you will
be eager to go on."
la THE WOODCUTTER OP GUTECH.
HE gloom of evening was settling
down over the wild scene of moun-
tain, forest, rock, and stream, when
the traveller reached the woodman's hut.
" You are welcome, friend, under the roof
of Nicholas Moretz," said the old man, as
he ushered his guest into his cottage.
Karl mean time unloading the asses,
placed the fagots on a pile raised on one
side of the hut.
Here you can rest for the night, and
to-morrow morning, when we proceed into
the town to dispose of our fagots, you can
accompany us without risk of losing your
way," the woodcutter observed, pushing
open the door.
As he did so, a young girl ran out to
meet him, and throwing her arms round
his neck, received a kiss on her fair brow.
THE WOODCUTTER OP GUTECH. 13
She drew back with a bashful look when
she saw the stranger.
Sweet one, you must get another bowl
and platter for our guest," said the old
man. "As he has travelled far with a
heavy load on his back, he will do justice
to your cookery, Mistress Meta. She and
the boy, my grandson," he added, turning
to the traveller, are my joy and comfort
in life, now that my poor daughter has
been taken from me."
The traveller unstrapped his heavy pack
from his shoulders, and placed it on a
bench by the side of the wall; after which
Meta brought him a bowl of fresh water
and a towel, that he might wash his hands
and face, which they not a little required.
While he was performing this operation
she placed the supper which she had pre-
pared upon the table, which, if somewhat
coarse, was abundant.
i4 THE WOODCUTTER OF GUTECtt.
By this time Karl came in, and the
whole party took their seats on stools
round the table. Let us bless God for
the good things He bestows on us, and
above all for the spiritual blessings He
has so mercifully prepared for us," said
"I suppose you are a priest," said
Moretz, when the stranger had concluded.
"I thank you for the prayer you have
offered up for us."
"No, my friend, I am no priest," an-
swered the traveller. My name is
Gottlieb Spena. I am a humble man
with a small amount of learning; but I
am able to read God's blessed word, and
that is my delight every day I live. My
wish is to serve Him, and I feel sure I can
best do so by carrying this pack of books
about the country, and disposing of them
to those who desire to buy."
THE WOODCUTTER OF GUTECIf. 15
"i This is a new thing, surely," observed
Moretz. "I should like after supper to
see some of these wonderful books you
speak of, and to hear you read from the
one you call 'God's word;' and if I find the
price is not too great, perhaps I may pur-
chase one for Meta and Karl."
The young girl's eyes sparkled as her
grandfather spoke. Oh, I should like
to have that book! she exclaimed. I
have heard of it, though I knew not that
it was to be sold, or that people were
allowed to read it. I thought it was only
for the priests to read."
Blessed be God, for us unlearned ones
who cannot understand the language in
which it is written, it has been translated
into our native tongue; and God has sent
it as His message of love to all human
beings, young and old, rich and poor. It
is so easy, that he who runs may read.
16 i'HE WOODCUTTER 06 dtTECif.
The youngest child may understand the
message it gives, while it is equally suited
to the wisest philosopher, and to the most
powerful king on his throne."
The young people hurried through their
suppers while their guest was speaking, so
eager were they to see the package opened.
In those days thousands and tens of
thousands of people in so-called Christian
lands had never seen a Bible, though the
translation made by Dr. Martin Luther was
being spread in every direction throughout
the length and breadth of Germany by men
like Gottlieb Spena, who carried packs
filled with the sacred volume on their
shoulders. They did the same afterwards
in France, where the name of colporteurs*
was in consequence given to them.
Literally "neck-carriers ; because their packs
were strung round their necks, or, rather, the strap
went round their chests.
THE WOODCUTTER OF GUTECH. 17
Meta waited anxiously till her grand-
father and their guest had finished their
suppers, and then as rapidly as possible
cleared away the bowls and platters which
they had used. The book-hawker with a
smile observed her anxiety, and placing
his pack on the table, opened it, and exhi-
bited to the admiring eyes of the spectators
a number of volumes. "This," he said,
taking out one, is the Old Testament, or
God's first message to man; and this is
the New Testament, His last message, in
which He shows Himself to us as a God of
love, mercy, and pity, though by no means
less a God of justice than He does in the
Old Testament. But here He shows us
clearly how His justice can be amply satis-
fied, without the sinner being punished as
he deserves; how our sins may be blotted
out by the One great Sacrifice offered up.
Do you understand me, my friends? The
18 THE WOODCUTTER OF GUTECH.
sacrifice has been offered up, the debt has
been paid, the obedience has been fulfilled
by Jesus Christ, who came on earth and
took upon Himself the body and nature of
man, sin excepted. He was obedient in
all things-first by God's wish coming on
earth, and then dutiful and loving to His
parents, merciful and forgiving to those
who persecuted Him, ever going about and
healing their infirmities, and teaching them
the way of salvation. The good Saviour
allowed Himself to be hung upon the cross;
His hands and feet and sides were pierced;
His blood was poured out for us,-ay, for
us,-for you and me,-for the vilest of
sinners. All this was done by the Just
One for the unjust. God tells us to be-
lieve in Jesus, and that through believing
we are saved,-in other words, that we
should take hold of it by faith, and thus
accomplish what that loving God, through
THE WOODCUTTER OF GUTECH. 19
the Holy Spirit, said: The just shall live
by faith.' "
The young people drew in their breath,
and gazed steadfastly at the speaker. To
hear of sin and the cross was not new to
them, for they had been at churches some-
times at holidays; but it was all a mum-
mery and spectacle, with which the priests
alone seemed to have to do. The truths
now uttered were assuredly gaining some
entrance into their minds.
I do not understand quite what you
say, friend Spena," said the old man;
"but surely God does not intend to give
us the blessings of heaven without our
doing anything to merit it? He intends
us to labour, and toil, and pay the priests,
and perform penances, and go to mass,
and make confession of our sins to the
priests, before He could think of letting us
into that blessed place."
20 THE WOODCUTTER OF GUTECH.
"I once thought as you do," answered
the book-hawker. "When I read God's
word, I learned to think very differently."
As he spoke he opened the Testament.
" Listen. The Holy Spirit says through
the book, 'God so loved the world, that
He gave His only begotten Son, that who-
soever believeth in Him should not perish,
but have everlasting life.' Here He says
nothing about penances, or doing anything
of that sort.- Listen again: A ruler of the
Jews, a learned man, paid a visit once to
Jesus, to ask Him about the way of salva-
tion, and His answer was, 'Ye must be
born again.' He does not say you must
do anything, or you must try to mend your
ways, or you must alter your mode of
living, you must go to confession, or pay
for masses, or anything of that sort. The
ruler could not at first at all understand
the answer. Our blessed Lord then ex-
THE WOODCUTTER OP GUTECH. 21
plained it in these words: 'As Moses lifted
up the serpent in the wilderness, even so
must the Son of man be lifted up, that
whosoever believeth in Him should not
perish, but have eternal life.' Now in the
Old Testament we read of a circumstance
which happened when the Israelites were
travelling through the desert, on their way
out of the bondage of Egypt to the land
of promise. They were there bitten by
fiery serpents, whose bite caused certain
death. They felt themselves dying, and
cried to be saved. God told Moses to
make a brazen serpent, and to raise it up
in the midst of the camp, and directed
him to inform the people that all those
bitten by the serpent who looked up at
the serpent should be saved. Every one
of them, without exception, who did thus
look, was cured. You see, my friend, by
putting the two accounts together, we see
22 THE WOODCUTTER OF GUTECH.
clearly what our Lord means,-not that
we are to do anything in a way of obtain-
ing merit, but simply look to Him who
hung on the cross, was thus lifted up for
us, and is now seated on the right hand of
God, pleading as the only Mediator all He
did for us. A king, when he bestows gifts,
gives them through his grace. It is an
insult to offer to purchase them. Far
more does God bestow His chief gifts as an
act of grace. I do not say that He does
not expect something in return; but He
gives salvation freely, and will allow of
nothing to be done beforehand, but simply
that the gift should b3 desired, and its
value appreciated, or partly appreciated;
for we never can value it as it deserves."
The woodcutter and his grandchildren
listened earnestly to these and many
other simple truths, as their guest went
on reading and explaining portion after
THE WOODCUTTER OF GUTBCH. 23
portion. Nor did he omit to pray that God,
through the Holy Spirit, would enlighten
the minds of his hearers, and enable them
to comprehend what he was reading and
what he was saying. Hour after hour thus
passed by. Several times did Meta rise
and trim the lamp.
Must you hasten on your journey ? or
can you not rest here another day, and tell
us more of those glorious things ?" said the
old man, placing his hand on Spena's
shoulder, and gazing earnestly into his face.
"Yes, I will stay, friend," answered the
book-hawker, if by so doing I can place
more clearly before you the way of sal-
At length the inmates of the cottage and
their guest lay down to rest on their rough
couches, and angels looked down from
heaven, rejoicing at what they there saw
24 THE WOODCUTTER OF GUTECHI
OTTLIEB SPENA was much the
better for his day's rest, and the
following morning set out with
old Moretz and his grandson on their
weekly journey, when they went into the
neighboring town to dispose of their
"And how came you to undertake this
good work, friend ?" asked the old man,
as they journeyed.
In a few words I can answer you,"
said the book-hawker. I was once a
monk, a lazy drone. Our convent was
rich, and we had nothing to do except to
appear for so many hours every day in
church, and repeat or chant words, of the
sense of which we did not for a moment
trouble ourselves. Copies of the blessed
gospel, however, were brought among us,
THt Woobcutjt E oV tUTECi. 85
and certain works by Dr. Martin Luther,
and friends of his, which stirred us up to
read that gospel, and to see whether we
held the faith it teaches, or were leading
the lives it requires. First one and then
another, and finally almost all of us came
to the conclusion that we were not in any
way living according to God's law, and
that the whole system we supported was
evil and wrong; and we all agreed to go
forth into the world, and to become useful
members of society. Some, who had the
gift of speaking, after a time became
preachers of the gospel. As I had not
that gift, and had but a small amount of
learning, I resolved, by the advice of Dr.
Martin Luther, to put a pack upon my
shoulders, and to go forth and to distribute
the written word through the land, and to
speak a word in season, as God might give
me opportunity. If the Pope or Tetzel
26 THE WOODCUTTER OF GUTECH.
can catch me I have no doubt that they
will burn me as they burned John Huss.
But I have counted the cost, and I am
prepared for that or anything else that can
befall me. I have placed myself in God's
hands, and fear not what man-can do to
"You are a brave man," said old
Moretz, grasping the book-hawker's hand;
" and whatever you may say of yourself,
I should say that you are a true preacher
of God's word, and I pray that there
may be many others like you going forth
throughout our country."
Amen," said Spena, as the old man
and he, warmly shaking each other's hand,
I hope there may be very many better
men than I am;" and he went on his way,
selling his books and speaking a word in
season; and thus a humble instrument,
THE WOODCUTTER OP GUTECH. 27
as he thought himself, bringing many
souls to the knowledge of the truth, and
to accept the free offers of eternal life
through a simple, loving faith in Christ
We must here observe that before leaving
the woodcutter's hospitable hut, Gottlieb
Spena delivered the precious book into the
custody of Meta, bidding her an affec-
tionate farewell, with the prayer that it
might prove a blessing to her soul and to
those dear to her. Meta never failed to
pass every moment she could steal from
her daily avocations in perusing the New
Testament. When her grandfather and
brother returned home from their work,
she had always some fresh account to give
them of which she had read; and from
henceforth the old man and Karl passed a
part of every evening in reading it, while
the great part of that day which God has
S8 'E WOObCUTTER OP GUTECH.
given to toiling man as a day of rest was
passed in gaining knowledge from its pre-
Old Moretz had now got what he never
before possessed. He understood the way
of salvation through Jesus Christ, whom
he loved and desired to serve. The more
he saw of the love of God the more he
felt his own sinfulness and unworthiness,
and felt the need of a better righteousness
than. any good works of his own. The
Holy Spirit was teaching him this and
other truths from the Scriptures. Meta
and Karl also were daily growing in know-
ledge and grace. They had before been
contented and cheerful, but it was the
mere happiness of health and freedom
from sorrow. Now they possessed a joy
which nothing could take away from them.
They relied with simplicity and confidence
on Qod's word. They knew that which
THE WOODCUTTER OF GUTECH. 29
He said He would do. If grandfather
is taken from us, or you are taken, Karl,
I know we shall be parted but for a short
time. We shall meet again and be happy,
oh, so happy!" exclaimed Meta, as Karl
came in one day when his work was over,
and found her ever and anon glancing at
her Bible, which lay open on the table,
while she was engaged in some business
about the cottage.
Moretz soon found that those who hold
to the truth are often called upon to suffer
for the truth. So it has been from the
beginning. God requires faith, but He
desires us to prove our faith. Other men,
like Spena, were traversing the country,
not only like him distributing books, but
openly preaching the principles of the
Reformation. They did so in many places,
at great hazard to themselves. The pa-
pists, where they could, opposed and per-
30 THE WOODCUTTER OF GUTECH.
secuted them, as the Apostle Paul before
his conversion did the Christians he could
get hold of, haling them to prison, to
torture, and to death.
Moretz often went into the town of
Hornberg to sell his fagots. Even he
was not without his enemies. As he and
Karl were one day driving their asses
laden with wood into the town, they en-
countered a long string of pack-horses
which had brought in their cargoes and
were now returning. Behind them rode
"a big, burly man, dressed as a farmer, on
"a stout, strong horse. He scowled on
Moretz, who was about to pass him, and
roughly told him to move his asses and
himself out of the way. He had an old
grudge against Moretz, who had resisted
an unjust attempt to seize some land to
which the rich man had no right.
"'With pleasure, Master Johann Herder.
THE WOODCUTTER OF GUTECH. 31
I would not wish to occupy your place, as
I doubt not you would not wish to fill
"What does he mean?" exclaimed
Herder; but Moretz had already done
as he was bid, and got quickly out of the
way. Herder went on some little distance,
muttering to himself, and then stopped
and looked in the direction Moretz had
taken. Ordering his servants to proceed
with the animals, he wheeled round his
horse and slowly followed the woodcutter.
Moretz quickly disposed of his fagots
among his usual customers, and was about
to return home when he saw a large crowd
in the square assembled round a man who
was addressing them from a roughly-raised
platform. Moretz could not resist the
temptation of joining the crowd, for a few
words which reached his ears interested
him greatly. He got as close up to the
32 THE WOODCUTTER OP GUTECH.
speaker as he could with his asses, on the
backs of which he and Karl were mounted.
The preacher wore a monk's dress, but
instead of a crucifix he held a book in his
iand, which Moretz and Karl guessed
rightly was the Bible. He argued that
it being God's revelation to man, it was
sufficient for all that man requires to show
him the way by which he might get out
of his fallen state and obtain eternal hap-
piness. "Are we then," he asked, "to be
guided by this book, or to be directed by
men who say things directly opposed to
this book ? The priests have taught you
that there is a purgatory. It was a notion
held by the heathen nations, but God's
ancient people, the Jews, knew nothing of
it, and this book says not a word about it.
A man has been going about the country,
sent by the Pope, selling bits of paper,
which he tells the people will get the souls
1tiE WOODCUTTER 6F GUTECti. 33
of their friends and their own souls out
of this purgatory. He makes them pay a
somewhat high price for these pieces of
paper, and if we look at them at their reai
value, a prodigiously high price. Now the
Bible says, 'The soul that sinneth it shall
surely die.' Believe on the Lord Jesus
Christ, and thou shalt be saved.' It no-
where says if we are ever so great sinners,
and die in our sins, our friends may buy
the means by which we can escape the
consequence of sin. It does, however, say
that however great a sinner you are, if you
turn to Jesus Christ, and trust to Him,
you will be saved; and it gives us the
account of the thief on the cross, who,
even at the last moment, trusting to Jesus,
Thus the preacher continued arguing
from the Bible, showing from it number-
less falsehoods put forth by the Church of
34 THE WOODCUTTER OF GUTECIL
Rome. Then he put very clearly and
forcibly the simple gospel before the
people,- man's fallen state; the love of
Christ which induced Him to come on
earth to draw man out of that fallen state,
if he would accept the means freely offered
to him. Still, unhappily, man continued
to "love darkness rather than light, be-
cause his deeds are evil;" and thus do the
cardinals and bishops and priests, who are
the ruling powers of the Church of Rome,
endeavour to keep the minds of people in
ignorance, that they may draw money
from the pockets of their dupes, and con-
tinue to live on in indolence and vice.
THE WOODCUTTER OtP GUTECH. 35
HILE he was speaking a large body
of people, led on by a man on
horseback, and accompanied by
several priests, were seen advancing at
the farther end of the square. Many of
the people fled, but the preacher boldly
kept his ground, as did Moretz and Karl,
who, indeed, scarcely heeded the move-
ment of the people surrounding him. In
another minute Moretz found himself
dragged from his pack-saddle by a couple
of men, and looking up, he saw Johann
Herder frowning down upon him. He
struggled to free himself, for his muscles
were well knit, and he had lost but little
of his vigour. He succeeded in getting
near enough to Karl to whisper, Fly
away home and look after Meta. God
will take care of me. Do not be afraid.
36 THE WOODCUTTER OF GUTECiq
Keep up your spirits, Karl. Off !-off!-
He had scarcely uttered these words
before he was again seized by two addi-
tional men, who set on him, and he saw
that to-struggle further was useless.
Bring him along," said Herder, "with
the other prisoners. The magistrates will
quickly adjudge the case. I knew that
I should some day have my revenge," he
whispered into the old man's ear, "and
I intend to make you feel it bitterly."
Moretz was thankful to see that Karl
had made his escape, and without opposi-
tion followed his captors to the hall where
the magistrates were sitting. They had
resolved to prevent any public preaching
in their town.
While the magistrates' officers were
making prisoners, several men rallied
round the preacher, and before he could
THE WOODCUTTER OF GUTECH. 37
be seized, got him down from the platform
in their midst, and then retired down the
street, no one venturing to attack them.
Moretz, with six or seven more prisoners,
was placed before the magistrates, several
priests being present, eager to obtain their
condemnation. Moretz was asked how
he dared stop and listen to an heretical
preacher, and whether he thought the
preacher was speaking the truth, or false-
Had I thought he had been speaking
falsehood, I would not have stopped to
listen to him," answered the old man,
boldly. He spoke things, too, which I
know are to be found in the word of God,
and I am sure that all in that book is
"Evidently a fearful heretic !" exclaimed
the magistrates. "We must make an
example of him, and put a stop to this
38 THE WOODCUTTER OF GUTECH.
sort of thing. In the meantime, to prison
with him !"
"Stay," said one. "Though guilty of
listening, perchance he will recant, and
acknowledge himself in error."
Indeed I will not," answered the old
man. I believe God rather than man,
and will not deny the truths He has taught
Off with him off with him You
see there is no use discussing matters with
a heretic," exclaimed some of the other
The other prisoners were now tried.
Two or three only of them, were, however,
committed to prison, the others acknow-
ledging themselves in error. Of these,
however, several as they went away
muttered words complimentary neither to
their judges nor to the Pope and his car-
THE WOODCUTTER OF GUTECH. 39
Moretz, with several other prisoners,
was marched off under a 'strong guard to
the prison. It was a dark, old, gloomy
building, which had been a castle, but
having been partly dismantled, had been
fitted up again for its present purpose.
It contained several long passages, both
above ground and under ground, leading
to arched cells with strong oak doors
plated with iron.
Into one of these dungeons Moretz was
now thrust. There he was left in solitude.
There was but little light, but he dis-
covered a heap of straw in one corner,
on which he sat himself down. Well,"
he thought, other people have been shut
up in prison cells worse than this, and
Christians too." And then he thought of
Paul and Silas in the prison at Philippi,
and how they had spent their time in
praying and singing praises to God.
"That is just what I ought to do," he
40 THE WOODCUTTER OF GUTECH.
said to himself; but he did not pray so
much for himself as for his dear little
Meta and Karl, that God would take care
of them, and deliver him in His own good
time, if it was His will to do so. Then
he began to sing, for Spena had left a book
of hymns, the words of several of which
he had already learned by heart. "The
feet of Paul and Silas were in the stocks,"
he said to himself, "then surely I am
better off than they were; I ought to
praise God for that;" and so he sang on
right cheerfully. However, not being ac-
customed to sit long, he soon got up and
walked about his cell. He could make
but few paces without turning. A gleam
of light came through an aperture in the
upper part of the wall. I am not much
below ground, at all events," he observed;
and it set him thinking, always lifting
up his heart in prayer to God,
THE WOODCUTTER OF GUTECH. 41
EANWHILE Karl had returned home
with the donkeys. Poor Meta was
greatly grieved and alarmed when
she heard the sad news. "Those cruel
men will be killing dear grandfather, as
they killed John Huss," she said, looking
with tearful eyes at Karl. We can pray
for him, however, that is one comfort."
They did not fail to do as Meta said;
not only night and morning, but several
times during the day; before Karl set off
on his expedition into the forest to cut
wood, and when he returned, or when he
went into the town to sell his fagots.
" When grandfather told me to run away,
he intended that I should work hard to
support you, Meta, and so I will."
Meta was accustomed to be alone. She
was a happy-hearted girl, and used to sing
42 THE WOODCUTTER OF GUTECH,
and amuse herself very well, when she
knew that her grandfather and brother
would soon return to her. The case was
very different now. Her great comfort
was reading the Bible. She had more
time to do that than formerly. Without
it she felt sure she would have broken
down altogether. Still, occasionally, she
felt her spirits sink so low that she could
not help wishing to accompany Karl into
the forest. I can take the book and read
to him when he stops to rest or to eat his
dinner; and I can talk to him and cheer
him up, for he must feel quite as sad as
I do, I know."
Karl gladly agreed to her proposal, so
the next day, shutting up the cottage, they
set out together. The way was rough,
but Meta was well accustomed to tread it,
and without encountering any danger they
reached the part of the forest in which
THE WOODCUTTER OF GUTECH. 43
Karl usually laboured. Meta carried out
her plan just as she had proposed, and
Karl, though he rested longer than had
been his wont, got through more work
than usual. For several days she did the
same, very much to her own and Karl's
satisfaction. On one occasion she was
seated on a piece of timber, with her book
on her knees, reading, while Karl sat on
the ground at her feet, eating his frugal
meal, but slowly though, for every now
and then he looked up to ask her the
meaning of certain passages, or to make
They were thus employed, entirely ab-
sorbed in the subject. Some slight noises
reached their ears, but if their attention
was drawn to them they thought they
were caused by the asses which were
browsing near brushing among the bushes.
Meta read on. At length she stopped,
44 THE WOODCUTTER OF GUTECH.
when, looking up, she saw standing near
her, and gazing with a look of astonishment,
a gentleman in a rich hunting suit, a short
sword by his side, a horn hung round his
neck, and a jewelled dagger in his belt.
His white beard and moustache, and his
furrowed cheeks, showed that he was al-
ready advanced in life, though he looked
active and strong. A pleasant smile
passed over his countenance, as Meta,
uttering an exclamation of astonishment,
gazed up at him. Karl started to his feet,
and instinctively put himself in an attitude
Do not be alarmed, my young friends,"
said the gentleman. I wish to serve you
rather than to do you any harm. What
is that book you are reading from, little
"The Bible, sir, God's word," answered
Meta, without hesitation.
HHE WOODCtTTER OP GUTECH. 45
A very blessed book, and a very blessed
message it contains," observed the gen-
tleman. "But how came you young
foresters to possess it, and to learn to
I learned at Herr Gellet's school," an-
swered Meta, "and a good man who came
by this way, sold us the book at a small
price. It is worth ten times the sum we
gave, I am sure of that."
"And where do you live?" asked the
Meta told him.
"And is your grandfather sick, that he
is not with you ?" he inquired.
"Alas he has been cast into prison for
listening to a preacher of God's word,"
said Meta, and we know not what they are
going to do with him, whether they will
burn him, as they have done others, or
keep him shut up."
46 TIE WOObCUTTER OP GTEjT dH
The nobleman,for such by his appearance
they supposed him to be, continued look-
ing with great interest at Meta, while she
was speaking. Having made further in-
quiries about the old woodcutter, he joined
several of his companions who had been
standing all the time at a little distance,
scarcely perceived till now by Meta and
Karl. One of them had been holding his
horse, which he mounted, and rode away,
conversing with him through the forest.
Karl having made up his fagots, pro-
ceeded homewards, talking with Meta as
they went, about the interview with the
nobleman, and wondering who he could
be. I wonder whether he is the Count
Furstenburg, whose castle is, I know, some
short distance off, though I have never
been up to it. I have several times seen
the tops of the towers over the trees. Yet
whenever I have heard his name mentioned
TH WOODCUTTEk OP LGTECHi. 47
he has been spoken of as a fierce, cruel
lord, tyrannical both to his dependants
and even to those of his own family. I
know I have heard of all sorts of bad
things about him, but grandfather never
likes to speak of him."
Then I am sure that noble cannot be
the Count Furstenburg," said Meta: he
spoke so gently and looked so kindly at
Scarcely had they entered their cottage
than they heard horses' hoofs approaching
it. Karl ran out to see who it was, while
M'eta was preparing the supper.
"Oh, Meta !" exclaimed Karl, running
back, "it is that dreadful man, Johann
Herder, our grandfather's great enemy!
His coming bodes us no good."
They consulted whether they should
bolt the door, but Meta advised that they
should show no alarm; and as Herder
48 THE WOODCUTTER OF GUTECHs
could easily break open the door, it would
be useless to try and keep him out.
In another minute Herder entered the
cottage. He cast a frowning glance around
him. "Where is your grandfather?" he
"I am afraid, sir, he is in prison," an-
Why is he there ?" he asked again.
Karl says, because he was listening
to a preacher of the gospel," answered
He was assisting in creating a dis-
turbance rather," observed Herder.
I am sure grandfather is not the man
to do that," exclaimed Karl. "I was with
him, and he was as quiet as any man could
"Then you ought to have been taken
prisoner too," exclaimed the farmer. I
must see to that. And what book is that
THE WOODCUTTER OP GUTECH. 49
you have by your side, maiden ? he asked,
glancing at Meta's Bible, which she was
prepared to read.
"God's word, sir," said Meta, firmly.
"We always read it before sitting down
to meals. It is by reading it that we learn
of salvation. This book says, 'Faith
cometh by hearing,' or reading God's
word, and by faith we are saved."
"Those are strange doctrines you are
speaking," said the rough man, yet feel-
ing, perhaps, more than he was willing
to acknowledge, the force of her words,
and greatly struck by her calmness and
"They cannot be new, sir," answered
Meta, "for they were written by the
apostles themselves, nor are they strange,
for the same reason."
"I came not to discuss such matters,"
said Herder, turning away. "My reason
50 THE WOODCUTTER OF GUTECH.
for coming here was to tell your grand-
father that he must move out of this
cottage, as I have bought it. As he is not
here, I give you the notice, and let me tell
you that the opinions you utter are very
dangerous. They are not such as to please
the priests or bishop; take care, there-
fore, what you are about." Without
further words, Herder turned round, un-
willing it seemed to look any longer on
the young girl and her brother who had
so boldly confronted him. Leaving the
cottage, he mounted his horse and rode
The young people could not help being
alarmed. It would be a sad thing to have
to leave their old home, and for their
grandfather, when he got out of prison, to
be obliged to seek for a new one. His
other threats also boded them no good.
They had, however, strength the rough
THE WOODCUTTER OF GUTECH. 51
man knew nothing of. As soon as they
were again alone, they knelt down and
prayed for protection, nor failed to obtain
the comfort prayer will always bring.
They then returned to the table and par-
took of their yet untasted supper. Before
it was finished, a knock was heard at the
Shall I open it?" asked Karl.
"Perhaps it is Herr Herder come back
Oh, no !" said Meta, "he would not
knock. We should not be afraid to open
Karl withdrew the bolt, and who should
he see but the book-hawker, Gottlieb
Spena! They recognized him at once.
He entered, and saluting them, kindly in-
quired for their grandfather. I trust he
has not been taken from you," he said,
with an expression of anxiety.
52 THE WOODCUTTER OF GUTECH.
Indeed he has, sir," said Meta, "but
not by death;" and in a few words she
explained what had happened.
"That is very sad, but God will protect
you, my children," he observed, placing
his pack, as he had before done, in a
corner of the room. We must try and
obtain his liberation. The people of
Germany will no longer submit to perse-
cution. However, I trust that, by some
means, your grandfather's liberation may
Meta and Karl warmly thanked their
friend, and begged him to partake of their
humble fare. This he did, seeing that
there was abundance. Suddenly he ex-
claimed, I have thought of a plan. I
will endeavour to gain admittance to your
grandfather, and if so, I trust the means
may be given him to escape from the
prison." As it was somewhat late, the
THE WOODCUTTER OF GUTECH. 53
book-hawker gladly availed himself of the
shelter of the hut for the night, while he
amply repaid his young hosts by reading
and expounding the Scriptures to them,
greatly to their satisfaction.
HE old woodcutter sat in his cell,
his spirits yet unbroken, and re-
solved, as at first, to adhere to
the faith. Still, accustomed as he had
been to a life in the open air, his spirits
occasionally flagged and his health some-
what suffered. Often and often he thought
to himself, as he examined the walls of his
prison, If I had an iron tool of some
sort, I doubt if these walls would long con-
tain me." But everything he had pos-
sessed had been taken from him when he
was first brought to prison, and not even
54 THE WOODCUTTER OF GUTECH.
a nail could he find with which to work as
he proposed. He was seated on his heap
of straw, and the gaoler entered with his
usual fare of brown bread and water.
I have a message for you, old man,"
said the gaoler, who, though rough in
appearance, spoke sometimes in a kind
tone. "A holy monk wishes to see you,
and bade me tell you so."
I have no desire to see a monk," an-
swered Moretz. He cannot make me
change my faith, and it would be time
lost were he to come to me."
"But he brings you a message from
your grandchildren," said the gaoler. "He
"bade me say that if you refused to see
him Moretz thought an instant.
"Let him come then," he answered.
The gaoler nodded and took his depar-
ture. In a short time he returned, usher-
ing in a sturdy, strong-looking man in a
THE WOODCUTTER OP GUTECH. 55
monk's dress. The gaoler retired, closing
"You do not know me, friend Moretz,"
said his visitor, in a low voice. I have
been admitted, that I might give you
spiritual comfort and advice," he said, in
a louder tone, "and I gladly accepted, the
office." His visitor talked for some time
with Moretz, producing from under his
dress a book from which he read, though
not without difficulty, by the gleam of
light which came in through the small
opening which has been spoken of. From
another pocket he produced two iron in-
struments carefully wrapped up, so as not
to strike against each other. Here is a
strong chisel," he said, "and here is a
stout file. I have heard of people work-
ing their way through prison walls with
worse instruments than these. Now fare-
well, friend Moretz. The time I am
56 THE WOODCUTTER OP GUTECH.
allowed to remain with you is ended, and
the gaoler will be here anon to let me out
of the prison."
"I fear you run a great risk," said
Moretz, warmly thanking his visitor.
For the Lord's people I am ready to
run any risk," was the answer, and just
then the gaoler was heard drawing back
the bolts. The friar took his departure.
The old woodcutter was once more left
alone. He had piled up his straw on the
side of the wall on which the opening was
placed. He now carefully drew it back,
and began working away at a stone which
had before been hidden by it. His success
surpassed his expectations. There had
been a drain or a hole left for some pur-
pose, carelessly filled up. Thus hour
after hour he scraped away, carefully re-
placing the straw directly he heard the
gaoler's step near his door. What a sweet
THE WOODCUTTER OF GUTECH. 57
thing is liberty! The woodcutter's chief
difficulty was to hide the rubbish he dug
out, the straw being scarcely sufficient for
that purpose. As he was working, how-
ever, he let his chisel drop. He thought
the stone on which it dropped emitted a
hollow sound. He worked away in conse-
quence, to remove it, and great was his
satisfaction to find beneath a hole of some
size. He was now able to labour with
more confidence. In a short time he had
removed the stone from the wall, giving
him an aperture of sufficient size to pass
through. The earth beyond was soft.
And now he dug and dug away, following
up the hole in the pavement. He was
afraid sometimes that his hands covered
with earth might betray him, but the
gaoler's lantern was dim, and he managed
always to conceal them as much as pos-
sible when the man entered.
58 THE WOODCUTTER OF GUTECH.
At length he felt sure from the height
he had worked that he was near the
surface of the earth on the outside. He
now feared lest it might fall in during the
daytime, and this made him hesitate about
working except during the hours of the
night. He had saved up as many crusts
of bread as his pockets would hold, in
order, should it become necessary for him
to lie concealed for any length of time, that
he might have wherewith to support life.
And now the time arrived when he believed
that he should be able to extricate himself
altogether. He waited till the gaoler had
paid his last visit, and then watched
anxiously till the thickening gloom in his
cell showed him that night was approach-
ing. He had all along of course worked
in darkness, so that it being night made
no difference to him. He now dug away
bravely, and as he had not to carry the
THE WOODCUTTER OP GUTECH. 59
earth into the hole, he made great pro-
gress. At length, working with his chisel
above his head, he felt it pierce through
the ground. Greater caution was there-
fore necessary, lest the falling earth should
make a noise.
The fresh air which came down restored
his strength, and in a few minutes he was
able to lift himself out of the hole. He
did not, however, venture to stand up, but
lying his length on the ground, gazed
around him. The dark walls of the old
castle rose upon one side. On the other,
at the bottom of a steep bank, was the
moat, partly filled up, however, with rub-
bish. Beyond, another bank had to be
climbed, and beyond that again was the
wild open country, the castle being just
outside the walls of the town. He quickly
formed his plan.
Slowly crawling on, he slid down the
60 THE WOODCUTTER OF GUTECH.
bank, and then stopped to see what course
he should take. There appeared to be no
sentries on the watch on that side of the
castle, it being supposed probably that
escape of any prisoners was impossible.
He was thus able more boldly to search
for a passage across the moat. The night
was cloudy and the wind blew strong,
which, though he was in consequence not
so well able to find his way, prevented
him being seen or heard. At length,
partly wading and partly scrambling over
the rubbish, he reached the opposite bank.
He waited to rest, that he might the more
rapidly spring up the bank. He gained
the top, when looking back and seeing no
one, he hurried along the open ground.
He stopped not till he had obtained the
shelter of some brushwood, which formed,
as it were, the outskirts of the forest.
He was well aware that, as at daylight
THE WOODCUTTER OF GUTECH. 61
his escape would be discovered, and that
he could easily be tracked, he must make
the best speed his strength would allow.
He knew the country so well that he had
no difficulty in finding his way even in the
dark. He could not, however, venture to
return to his own cottage. There was no
lack of hiding-places where he might re-
main till the search after him had some-
At length, weary from his exertion, and
having overrated his strength, he sat
himself down to rest, as he thought in
safety, for a few minutes. His eyelids
closed in slumber, and, unconsciously to
him, hour after hour had passed away.
The sound of horns and the cries of
huntsmen were heard in the forest. They
awoke old Moretz from his sleep. He
started up, but it was too late to conceal
himself. A horseman in a rich costume,
62 THE WOODCUTTER OF GUTECH.
which showed his rank, was close to him.
"Whither away, old friend ?" he exclaimed,
as Moretz instinctively endeavoured to
conceal himself in some brushwood near
at hand. He stopped on hearing the voice
of the huntsman.
"My lord," he answered, "I throw
myself upon your mercy. I am guiltless
of any crime, and was cast unjustly into
prison, from which I have made my es-
cape. If I am retaken, my life will be for-
That is strange," exclaimed the noble-
man. I will do my best to protect you,
but I cannot venture to dispute with the
law, as I might have done once on a
time. As we came along we met a gang
of persons, hunting, they told us, for an
escaped prisoner. There is no time to be
lost. Here!" and the nobleman called
to one of his attendants, a tall man, very
THE WOODCUTTER OF GUTECH. 63
similar in figure to the woodcutter.
"Here; change dresses with my old
friend, and do you, as you are a bold
forester and a strong, active young man,
climb up into the thickest tree, and hide
yourself as best you can till these hunters
of their fellow-men have passed by."
The nobleman's orders were speedily
obeyed, and Moretz, dressed in his livery,
mounted the groom's horse and rode on
with the party. The groom, meantime,
who had put on the old man's clothes,
affording no small amusement to his com-
panions, climbed up into a thick tree, as
he had been directed to do by his master.
We will send thee a livery, my man,
in which thou may'st return home soon,
and satisfy thy hunger, which may be
somewhat sharpened by longer abstinence
than usual," said the count, as he rode
64 THE WOODCUTTER OF GUTECH.
Scarcely had these arrangements been
made, when the party from the gaol in
search of the fugitive came up. "Has
the Count Furstenburg seen an old man
in a woodcutter's dress wandering through
the forest?" inquired their leader, in a
tone which sounded somewhat insolent.
"The Count Furstenburg is not accus-
tomed to answer questions unless respect-
fully asked," replied the noble; "and so,
master gaoler, you must follow your own
devices, and search for your prisoner where
you may best hope to find him." Then
sounding his horn, he and his whole party
rode on together through the forest, taking
care to keep old Moretz well in their
midst. Making a wide circuit, the count
led them back to the castle.
"THE WOODCUTTER OF GUTECH. 65
HE woodcutter's astonishment at
hearing who had rescued him, and
where he was to find shelter, was
very great. He had always entertained a
great dread of the count, who, from com-
mon report, was looked upon as a cruel
tyrant. The count's first care on reaching
the castle was to send a servant with a
livery in which the groom might return
home, directing him in the same package
to bring back the old woodcutter's clothes.
He gave him also another message: it was
to visit the cottage on his return, and to
give little Meta and Karl the joyous infor-
mation that their grandfather was out of
prison and in safe keeping.
"And now, my friend, I will have a few
words with you in my private room," said
the count, as the old man stood, cap in
66 iTH. WOODCUITER OF GUTECcl.
hand, gazing at him with astonishment.
"I know you better than you suppose,"
he said, as Moretz entered the room; and
he told him of the interview he had had
with his grandchildren. I rejoice to see
the way in which you are bringing them up.
How is it you have taught them so to love
the Bible ? Do you know about it yourself?"
Moretz seeing no cause for concealment,
told the count of the visit of Gottlieb
Spena, the book-hawker.
"That is strange indeed," said the
count. "From the same Gottlieb Spena
I also, my friend, have learned the same
glorious truths. You have, I doubt not,
always heard me spoken of as a bad, cruel
man. So I was, but I have been changed.
God has found me out, and in His love and
mercy has showed me the way by which
I may escape the punishment most justly
due to my misdeeds; and not only that,
THE WOODCUTTER OF GUTECH. 67
but due also to me had I never committed
one-tenth part of the crimes of which I
have been guilty."
It was strange to hear the once proud
count thus speaking to the humble wood-
cutter, as to a brother or a friend.
For many weeks the old man was shel-
tered safely within the walls of the castle.
Not only had the count, but all his house,
abandoned the faith of Rome, many of
them having truly accepted the offers of
salvation. At length, so widely had spread
the doctrines of the Reformation, that the
authorities at Hornberg no longer ventured
to persecute those who professed it, and
Moretz did not, therefore, require the
count's protection. Meta and Karl had
remained at the cottage, notwithstanding
the threats of Herr Herder. Every day,
however, they had been expecting to re-
ceive another order to quit their home.
68 THE WOODCUTTER OF GUTECIi.
One morning, as they were seated at
breakfast, before Karl went out to his work,
a knock was heard at the door. Karl ran
to it, wondering who it could be at that
early hour. A shriek of joy escaped Meta's
lips as, the door opening, she saw her
grandfather, and the next instant she and
Karl were pressed in his arms.
Great changes had of late taken place
in Germany, and the authorities who had
imprisoned Moretz no longer ventured to
proceed as they had before done. The
peasants, oppressed for centuries by the
owners of the soil, and treated like slaves,
had long been groaning for the blessings
of civil liberty. On several occasions they
had revolted against their lords, but their
rebellions had always been put down with
bloodshed and fearful cruelties. Once more
the same desire to emancipate themselves
had sprung up in all parts of the country.
THE WOODCUTTER OF GUTECH. 69
This desire did not arise in consequence
of the progress of the Reformation. It
had existed before, and Luther and the
other reformers who had been aware of it
had used every means to induce the people
to bear their burdens, and to wait till, in
God's good time, a better heart should be
put into their rulers, and they should be in-
duced to grant them that liberty which was
theirs by right. Unhappily, however, men
are too fond of attempting to right them-
selves rather than trust to God. While,
as has been said, this desire for civil liberty
was extending, so also was the Refor-
mation making great progress. Many
abandoned popery without embracing the
gospel, and these were the people espe-
cially who desired to right themselves by
the sword. Scarcely had old Moretz re-
turned to his hut, than he was visited by
several of the peasants, small farmers and
70 THE WOODCUTTER OF GUTECH.
others, who came to urge him to join the
band they were forming in the neighbour-
hood. His imprisonment and its cause
had become known, as had also the way
he had escaped. Among others, greatly
to his surprise, his old enemy, Johann
Herder, rode up to his door.
"We were foes once, but I wish to be
your foe no longer, and I have come to
invite you to join our noble cause."
"I am thankful to see you, Master
Herder," said Moretz, but I cannot pro-
mise to join any cause without knowing
They are very simple," answered
his guest. We consider that all men
are equal. We wish to right ourselves,
and to deprive our tyrants of their power."
"But if they refuse to agree to your
demands, how then will you proceed?"
THE WOODCUTTER OF GUTECH. 71
We will burn their castles and their
towns, and put them to death," was the
That surely is not the way to induce
people to act rightly," answered Moretz.
" The Bible nowhere says that we should
not be soldiers, but the gospel does say
very clearly that we should do violence to
no man-that we should love our enemies
and do good to them that persecute us.
Burning houses and putting people to
death is not in accordance with the will of
God: of that I am sure."
But the gospel gives us freedom, and
we have accepted the gospel, and therefore
have a right to liberty," answered Herder.
"The liberty of which the gospel speaks
is very different from that which you desire,
my friend," said Moretz. The freedom
which that gives us is freedom from super-
stition, from the tyranny of Satan, from
72 THE WOODCUTTER OF GUTECH.
the fear of man, from the dread of the
misfortunes and sufferings to which people
are liable. No, friend Herder, I cannot
Much more was said on both sides.
Moretz remained firm; and Herder went
away, indignant that one to whom he had
offered to be reconciled-very much against
his own feelings-should have refused to
join what, in his smaller knowledge of
the gospel plan, he considered right and
justifiable. Herder had become a Protes-
tant, and knew enough about the truth to
be aware that Christians are bound to for-
give their enemies. He also was convinced
that the saints cannot hear prayer, that
purgatory is a fiction, and that confession
should be made to God and not to man.
But he had no grace in his heart. He
prided himself greatly on having visited
old Moretz and expressed himself ready to
THE WOODCUTTER OF GUTECH. 73
become his friend. Moretz, on the other
hand, had accepted not only the letter but
the spirit of the gospel. He knew himself
by nature to be a sinner. He had given his
heart to God. He desired to please Him
by imitating the example of His blessed
Son, and he trusted for salvation alone to
the complete and perfect sacrifice made on
Moretz soon found that the proposed
rebellion had commenced in various dis,
tricts, and that already several peasant
bands had proceeded to acts of violence.
Immediately he thought that the castle of
the Count of Furstenburg might be at-
tacked, and he accordingly set out to warn
him of the danger. Had he been able to
write he would have sent Karl, but he was
sure that his warning would more likely
be attended to if he went himself. He was
aware that he ran a great danger if he
74 THE WOODCUTTER OF GUTECH.
were to encounter any of the peasants,
who would look upon him, should they
discover his object, as a traitor to their
cause. He therefore made his way across
the country, avoiding all public paths, and
keeping as much as possible out of sight
of anybody he met. He at length reached
the castle in safety. The count could
at first scarcely believe the information he
gave him. It was impossible that the
peasants should dare attack the castles of
the nobles. Moretz convinced him, how-
ever, at last. He sat for some time without
speaking, while he rested his head on his
hands, bending over the table. His lips
were moving in prayer.
"I will not oppose these poor people,"
he said, at length. I will rather reason
with them, and bring them to a knowledge
of their error. If I were to defend the
castle I might kill a good many, and
THE WOODCUTTER OF GUTECH. 75
perhaps succeed in driving them away.
If I cannot persuade them to give up their
enterprise, I may perhaps come and pay
you a visit. I would rather abandon my
castle than slay my fellow-creatures. I
am grateful to you, my friend, for bringing
me the warning, as it will give me time
for consideration how to act."
ORETZ returned, as he had come, to
his cottage. Karl soon after ar-
rived, having gone out into the
forest for wood. He reported having seen
large bodies of men armed in every pos-
sible way collecting at a distance, but he
kept himself out of sight, for fear they
might compel him to accompany them.
In the meantime the count remained, as
he had determined, at his post. The day
76 THE WOODCUTTER OF GUTECH.
after Moretz had visited him, the report
mas brought that a large body of men
were approaching the castle. Acting ac-
cording to his resolution, in the plainest
dress he ever wore he mounted his charger
and rode forward to meet them. As he
appeared he was welcomed with a loud
shout, and several persons, detaching them-
selves from the crowd, approached-him.
"We have come, friend Furstenburg,"
they said, to invite you to join our noble
cause. We will give you military rank,
and make you one of our leaders; but we
can allow no nobles among us, and there-
fore it must be understood that you will
sink your title."
"This is a strange proposal to make to
me, my friends," answered the count, after
the insurgents had explained their objects
and plans. You profess to be guided by
God's word, and yet you undertake to act
THE WOODCUTTER OF GUTECH. 77
in direct opposition to it. When the
Israelites were led forth to attack their
enemies they were under the guidance of
God, and made especial instruments for
the punishment of evil-doers, who had
long obstinately refused to acknowledge
Him. You, who have no right to claim
being led by God, take upon yourselves to
punish those whom you choose to consider
your enemies. When Christ came a better
law was established, and by that law we
are taught to forgive our enemies, and
leave their punishment to God, and not to
attempt to take it into our own hands."
Again and again the insurgent leaders
urged the count to accept their offers, re-
fusing to listen to his arguments. He saw,
by the gestures and the expressions they
used, that they would probably take him
by force. To avoid this was very import-
ant, and -he therefore requested further
78 THE WOODCUTTER OF GUTECH.
time to consider the matter. Some of
them evidently desired to enter the castle
with him, but this he declined; observing
that if he was to act freely, he must be
left at liberty. Fortunately they were
persuaded to allow him to depart, and he
safely reached the gates of his castle.
The insurgents on this marched off in
the direction of other castles, whose owners
they hoped to enlist in their cause. The
count, on entering, ordered the gates to
be closed, and then summoning his re-
tainers, told them that he had resolved to
abandon the castle, rather than kill any of
the misguided people who might come to
attack it. He gave them their choice of
remaining within the open gates, or ob-
taining safety by concealing themselves in
the neighbourhood. "I have no children,
and my distant heir has no right to
blame me for my conduct," he said,
"THE WOODCUTTER OP GUTECI. 79
when remonstrated with for this proceed-
ing. "I have, besides, One to whom I
am first answerable, and He I am sure
approves of it." There was, however, a
large amount of plate and valuables of
various sorts in the castle: these he had
carried to a plate of concealment, such as
most buildings of the sort in those days
were provided with. These arrangements
were not concluded till nearly midnight.
He then set out unaccompanied, and took
his way to the hut of old Moretz.
The next day, when the insurgents re-
turned, they found the castle of Fursten-
burg deserted. Some of their leaders
urged them to burn it to the ground, in
consequence of having been tricked by its
owner. They were about to rush in, when
an old man, who had remained concealed
close to the gates, presented himself before
80 THE WOODCUTTER OF GUTECHi
"What are you about to do, my
friends ?" he exclaimed.- Is this the
way you show your love of liberty? Be-
cause a man does not approve of your
mode of proceeding, are you right in de-
stroying his property, and injuring him in
every way you can? You speak of the
tyranny of your rulers -is not this greater
tyranny? I am one of yourselves, and
know what you all feel. I feel the same.
I desire that our people should have their
rights; but I am very sure that by the way
you are proceeding you will not obtain
them. A just cause cannot be supported
by unjust means."
Moretz, for it was he, spoke more to the
same effect. Happily, Herder was not
with the party, or his success might have
been different. At length they were con-
vinced by his arguments, and consented to
depart without destroying the castle. After
THE WOODCUTTER OP GUTECH. i8
they had gone to a considerable distance,
Moretz hurried back to the count with the
"Alas!" said the old noble, "it matters,
in truth, but little to me. I am childless,
and almost friendless; for with those I
once associated I have no longer a de-
sire to mix; and, except that I may live
a few years longer, and forward the noble
cause of the Reformation, I should be
ready even now to lay down life."
Count," said the old man, rising and
standing before him, you say that you
are childless-but are you really so ? You
once had a daughter ? "
"I had, but I cruelly drove her from
my door; but I know that she is dead;
for, having taken every possible means for
her discovery, I could gain no tidings;
and I am very sure, knowing her disposi-
tion, that ere this, had she been alive, she
82 THE WOODCUTTER OF GUTECH.
would have sought a reconciliation. Of
the death of her husband I received tidings.
He died fighting in the Spanish army
against Barbarossa, and on hearing that
my child was left a widow, my heart re-
lented towards her. But tell me, friend,
have you any tidings of my daughter ? "
"You surmise too rightly, count, that
your daughter is dead," answered the
woodcutter. She died in this humble
cottage, and in these arms; but before she
died she had given birth to a child,-a
girl,-who was brought up by my poor
daughter, till she herself was also carried
to the grave, leaving behind her a son,-
young Karl yonder."
"And my grandchild? 'Where is she?"
exclaimed the count, casting a glance at
You see her there, count," answered
the woodcutter. They were seated in the
THE WOODCUTTER OF GUTECH. 83
porch of the cottage. Below it ran a
stream, where Meta, aided by Karl, was
busily washing. The first thing, perhaps,
in the once proud noble's mind was:-
And can a descendant of mine be thus
employed ?" The next instant, however,
rising from his seat, he hurried down the
bank, calling Meta to him. She was
quickly by his side. "Child," he said,
which of us is your grandfather, think
you ?" As he spoke he drew her towards
him, and gazed in her face. "Yes, yes, I
recognize the features of my own lost
daughter! he exclaimed. "We will ever
love old Moretz, and be grateful to him,"
he said, pressing a kiss on Meta's brow.
"But I am your grandfather, and you
must try and give me some of the love you
Again and again the count expressed his
gratitude to old Moretz. "And above all
84 THE WOODCUTTER OF GUTECH.
things," he added, that you have brought
her up as a true Christian Protestant.
Had you returned her to me as an igno-
rant Papist, as I was long ago, my happi-
ness would have been far less complete."
It was some time before Meta could un-
derstand the change in her circumstances,
never having indeed been told who was
her mother, and believing always that she
was Karl's sister. The poor lad was the
only one whose spirits sunk at what he
heard, when he was told that he should
lose his companion. A right feeling, how-
ever, soon rose in his bosom, and he
rejoiced at Meta's change of fortune.
The peasant-army meantime increased
in numbers, and a vast concourse, under a
fanatical leader, Thomas Munser, marched
through the land, burning castles and
towns which refused to admit them, and
committing all sorts of atrocities. There
THE WOODCUTTER OF GUTECH. 85
were several similar bands. The people in
the Black Forest rallied round John Miller
of Builgenbach. Wearing a red cap and a
red cloak, he rode from village to village,
ordering the church bells to summon the
people to his standard. Several noblemen
were compelled to join them. Among
others, the famous Geotz von Ber Lichen-
gen was forced to put himself at the head
of the rebel army. Many towns, unable
to withstand them, opened their gates,
and the citizens received them with ac-
clamations. Dr. Martin Luther and many
other leaders of the Reformation exerted
all their influence to induce the peasants
to return to their homes. They wrote,
they preached, and showed how such pro-
ceedings were opposed to the principles
of the gospel. At length a large army,
raised by the Ex-Emperor of Germany,
was sent against the insurgents, while the
86 THE WOODCUTTER OP GUTECH.
nobles, in every direction taking courage,
banded together to put down the insurrec-
tion. Fearfully did they retaliate on the
unhappy people for the insults they had
received. Seldom could the insurgent
bands withstand the well-trained forces
sent against them, and a large part of the
country was deluged in blood, the fugitives
in most instances being slaughtered with-
l HE band which set forth from the
neighbourhood of Gutech was not
more successful than others. Al-
though at first they captured and burned
a number of castles and entered several
towns, in which they levied contributions
from the inhabitants, they at length en-
countered the imperial forces. Not an
THE WOODCUTTER OF GUTECH. 87
instant could they withstand the well-
trained troops of Germany, but fled before
them like chaff before the wind. On reach-
ing the neighbourhood of their own homes
they, gathering courage, showed a bolder
front than before. It would have been
happier for the misguided men had they
continued their flight. Old Moretz would
not consent to eat the bread of idleness,
and had declined the bounty freely offered
him by the count. He and Karl had gone
farther from home than usual on their
daily avocation, when their ears were at-
tracted by what appeared to be the din of
battle in the distance. They climbed a
height in the neighbourhood, whence, from
between the trees, they could look down
on an open space in the distance, with a
rapid stream on one side. Here a large
body of peasants were collected, while
another body in front were desperately
88 THE WOODCUTTER OP GUTECH.
engaged with some imperial troops, as
they appeared to be by their glittering
arms and closely serried ranks.
May God have mercy on them !-for
they will have no mercy on each other,"
exclaimed Moretz, as, leaning his hand on
Karl's shoulder, he stood gazing eagerly
down on the raging fight, and scarcely
able to retain the young lad, who, had he
been alone, would probably have rushed
down and joined it. The peasants who
had hitherto borne the brunt of the battle
- being evidently the best armed and
bravest -were now driven back on the
main body. The latter, seized with a
panic, gave way, the imperialists pursuing
them, cutting to pieces with their sharp
swords, or running through with their
pikes, all they overtook. Moretz and his
grandson watched the fugitives and their
pursuers. The latter, like a devastating
THE WOODCUTTER OF GUTECH. 89
conflagration or a fierce torrent, swept all
before them, till they disappeared in the
We may be able to help some of the
unfortunate people who may yet survive,"
observed the old man.
Oh, yes-yes. Let us hurry on, grand-
father," exclaimed Karl. I fancy that
even at this distance I have seen more
than one attempt to rise, and then fall
back again to the ground."
Moretz and Karl soon reached the spot
where the conflict began. From thence,
far, far away, was one long broad road
covered thickly with the dead and dying
and badly wounded. The old man and
boy moved among the ghastly heaps,
giving such assistance as they were able
to those who most needed it. Karl ran to
the stream to bring water, for which many
were crying out, while Moretz, kneeling
90 THE WOODCUTTER OF GUTECH.
down, bound up the poor fellows' wounds.
He had thus tended several of the unfor-
tunate men, when he saw a person at a
little distance trying to lift himself up on
his arm. He had several times made the
attempt, when he once more fell back with
a groan. Moretz hurried towards him.
In the features, pallid from loss of blood
and racked with pain, he recognized those
of Herr Herder.
"Ah, old man have you come to mock
at me ?" exclaimed the latter, as he saw
Moretz made no answer, but kneeling
down, lifted up the farmer's head, and put
the bowl of water he carried to his lips.
Herder eagerly took a draught of the re-
"Where are you hurt ?" asked Moretz,
"that I may wash and bind up your
THE WOODCUTTER OF GUTECH. 91
Herder pointed to his side and then to
one of his legs.
Aided by Karl, who now came up,
Moretz took off Herder's clothes, and
with the linen which he had collected
from the slain, having first washed his
wounds, he bound them carefully up.
"We must carry you out of this, for
the imperialists returning, will too likely
kill all they find alive," said Moretz.
You cannot carry me," said Herder,
faintly: "you would sink under my
"I will try," answered Moretz. Karl
will help me."
With a strength of which the old man
seemed incapable, he lifted the bulky form
of the farmer on his shoulders, and telling
Karl to support his wounded leg, he hur-
ried towards the hill from which he had
92 THE WOODCUTTER OF GUTECH.
But you can never carry me up that
hill," said Herder, as he gazed at the
height above their heads.
No," answered Moretz; but there is
a cave near its foot. I can there conceal
you till your- enemies have gone away;
and I will then get some friend to assist
me in carrying you to my hut. You will
be safe in the cave, at all events, for few
know of it; and as soon as the soldiers
have disappeared I will get the assistance
of a friend to carry you on."
Old Moretz, as he staggered on, had
several times to stop and recover strength,
for the farmer's body was very heavy. At
length, however, he reached the cavern
he spoke of. Having deposited his burden,
and left Karl to watch him, he climbed the
height, whence he could observe the pro-
ceedings of the imperialists. He had not
long to wait. As he had seen them ad-
THE WOODCUTTER OF GUTECH. 93
vancing like a rushing torrent, now they
returned like the ebb of the ocean. As he
had feared, they appeared to be slaughter-
ing those they found still stretched alive
on the ground. On they went, till there
were none to kill, and then, the trumpet
collecting them in more compact order,
they marched onwards in the direction
whence they had come. Moretz, having
found a neighbour in whom he had con-
fidence, he returned to the cavern, and
together they carried Herder up to his
I have but poor fare to offer you, Herr
Herder," he said, "but such as it is I
freely present it to you."
"What makes you thus take care of
me ?" said Herder, scarcely noticing the
remark. I never did you any good. I
have been your enemy for many years."
God's blessed word says-' Love your
94 THE WOODCUTTER OF GUTECH.
enemies, do good to them who hate and
ill-use you.' If you had treated me far
worse than you have done, still I should
desire to help you."
"Ah! you conquer me, Moretz," said
Herder, after a long silence. I have no
doubt that the Bible says as you tell me;
but I did not think that any one would
thus act according to its commands."
"Nor would they," answered Moretz,
" unless the Holy Spirit had changed their
hearts. The natural man may read the
commands over and over again, but he
takes no heed of them."
Thus Moretz frequently spoke to his
guest. Karl also often read the Bible to
him. One day they received a visit from
Gottlieb Spena. He was on his way to
the castle of Furstenburg. Before he left
the woodcutter's hut Herder declared that
he now understood how Christ had died
THE WOODCUTTER OF GUTECH. 95
to save him from the just consequences of
Meta grew into a noble-looking young
lady, and married a Protestant baron, who
ever stood up boldly for the faith. She
never forgot her kind guardian nor her
foster-brother Karl. She provided a
comfortable house for old Moretz, and
watched over him affectionately till, in
extreme old age, he quitted this world for
one far better.
Karl became the head steward of her
estates, and ever proved himself a true
and faithful man, as he had been an
honest and good boy. Spena was greatly
instrumental in spreading the glorious
truths of the gospel throughout the coun-
try, but at length, venturing into a part
of Europe where the papists were supreme,
he was seized and accused of being a
recreant monk. Refusing to abjure the
96 THE WOODCUTTER OF GUTECH.
faith, he as were many others at that
time-was condemned to the flames, and
became one of the noble army of martyrs
who will one day rise up in judgment
against that fearful system of imposture
and tyranny which condemned them to
suffering and death.
There was one district where the insur-
rection was put down without bloodshed.
It was that of the truly pious and Protes-
tant prince, the Elector of Saxony. The
power of the word there produced its
effect. Luther, Friedrich Myconius, and
others went boldly among them, and, by
their eloquent arguments, induced them
to abandon their designs. Thus, at length,
peace was restored to the land of Luther,
although these proceedings of the mis-
guided peasants for a time greatly impeded
the progress of the Reformation,