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AND HIS COMPANIONS
A Romance tr-anslatea' fom
,te German of DELAMOTTE
Jllustr a ted ly HEYWOOD SUMNE.R
SEELEY JACKSON 8 HALLIDAY
v\VERE.NA/ ';.h B I O RN/ait S INTRAM /eiuy^ FOLK O/xR- GABRIELLE/-
T HE story of Sintram and his Companions was published in
1814, as the winter number of a periodical conducted by
Fouqu6, and called The Seasons; in the spring number of which
had appeared his famous story of Undine. The first English trans-
lation appeared in 820. It contained a preface of some fourteen
pages by the Translator, whose name was not given. A copy,
however, in the University Library at Cambridge, with the name
of J. Wordsworth written on the fly-leaf, has this note: Translated
by 7. C. Hare, of Trinity College; and in the Catalogue of the British
Museum it is placed among Archdeacon Hare's works. The style
was strongly German, and the translator in his Preface confessed to
the belief that an attempt to assimilate our language, more than it is
usually in the literature of the present day, unto that language, which
preserves the kernel of our own in the greatest purity, would be
rather beneficial than otherwise.' The experiment seems to have been
a failure, and a comparatively colourless version has superseded it.
But with all its strange admixture of German and English idioms it
was strikingly energetic and picturesque; and it has been taken as
the groundwork of the translation here offered.
For the story of Sintram, Hare in his preface expressed an en-
thusiastic admiration. 'When compared with Undine,' he says, 'it
must be allowed to wear a wintry aspect ; but such was its design,
and it is a winter that is worthy to follow after so fresh a spring. It
is much such a difference as exists between Lear or Macbeth, and
Romeo and Juliet or the Midsummer Night's Dream. And as every
season contains within itself seeds and signs of all the others, as there
are days in spring which tell of winter, and days in winter which
forebode spring ; and as every season, moreover, has its own peculiar
beauties, and even winter has the glory of its snow and ice, so has
Sintram also both its messengers from the realms of sunshine and its
own appropriate winter charms. And in one respect, in its con-
clusion, it is still more beautiful and harmonious than Undine, though
that also is beautiful. For one personage remains there, over whom
the author has omitted to cast a single gleam of hope, though with
all her frivolousness she still might lay claim to it, at least from a
spirit so overflowing with charity as that of Fouqu6. But never did
earthly spring arise out of its wintry shell with such heavenly serenity
as glistens over the conclusion of Sintram. Nowhere is everything
more lovelily atoned and reconciled. Nowhere has the author ap-
proved himself more deserving of the high title, which he has received
from one of his worthiest and fondest friends, of the Christian poet.'
Of the vitality that still exists in the story of Sintram, though
nearly seventy years have passed since it was written, remarkable
evidence has recently been given by a clergyman belonging to a very
different school from that of Archdeacon HARE. In the Memoir of
the late Rev. C. F. Lowder, an account is given by his Curate,
Mr. Linklater, of a Bible-class carried on by him among the rough
lads of St. Peter's, London Docks. 'It was my compact with them
that if they were good and attentive at lessons I would afterwards tell
them a story, or show them pictures. But I was most as-
tonished at what I considered a daring experiment, the reading to
them Sintram. It made the most wonderful impression on them.
They wrought it into their own lives. They called the different
localities of the parish by the names in the book. They literally
hungered for the next week's portion. I believe that nothing I have
ever read or said to them has affected them so lastingly as this.'
IA "- '''
.... N Drontheim, within the high castle, were
Many knights of Norway assembled, and
when they had held counsel as to the kingdom's
weal, they sat drinking together deep into the night in the echoing vaulted hall
around the huge round stone table.
Suddenly the -rising storm drove a wild snowdrift against the clattering win-
dows: all the doors trembled in their oaken joints, the iron bolts rattled noisily,
the castle clock, after a long-drawn whirring of its many wheels, struck one.
Then came flying into the hall, with hair standing on end, terrified shriek,
and closed eyes, a boy, pale as death. He placed himself behind the carved
chair of the high and mighty Sir Biorn, clung round the glittering warrior with
both hands, and cried with a piercing voice:-
'Knight and Father Father and Knight Death and the Other are horribly
close behind me again !'
A fearful silence lay like ice over the whole assembly ; only the boy shrieked
again and again the like terrible words.
But an old yeoman from among Sir Biorn's numerous train, known as the
pious Rolf, stepped up to the wailing boy, took him in his arms, and prayed,
half singing:- Help, Father dear,
Thy servant here;
I trust and cannot trust.'
z SINTRAM AND HIS COMPANIONS.
Immediately the boy, as if dreaming, let go his hold of the great knight,
Sir Biorn, and the good Rolf bore him, as light as a feather, though still with
burning tears and continued low meanings, out of the hall.
The lords and knights looked each at other greatly wondering.
Thereupon the mighty Biorn took the word and said, in a somewhat wild
and grimly laughing manner:-
Do not let yourselves be disquieted by this strange thing of a boy. It
is my only son, and he has played these pranks ever since his fifth year; he
is now twelve; therefore I am well accustomed to it, although at first it
troubled me somewhat. Besides, it happens but once a-year, and always at
this season. But bear with me, that I have spent so many words upon my
foolish Sintram, and bring something wiser on to the course.'
Yet for awhile they still kept silence. Then some tried, softly and un-
steadily, to renew the discourse which had been broken off; but without
Two of the youngest and most merry-hearted began to sing a round; but
the storm broke in upon it, and howled, and whistled, and whispered so
strangely, that this also was broken off.
They sat quite silent, and almost motionless, in the lofty hall. The lamp
flickered dimly in the vaulted roof; the whole assembly of heroes seemed
like pale, lifeless statues, clothed in giant armour.
Then rose up the Chaplain of the Castle of Drontheim, the one priest
amid this circle of knights, and said :-
SSir Biorn, it has come to pass in a manner most wonderful, and surely
ordered by God Himself, that the minds of all of us have been turned upon
you and your son. You see that we cannot withdraw them again, and you
would do better right fully to explain to us what you know of the boy's
strange behaviour. Perchance, the grave speech which I forebode may do
us good at this somewhat wild festival.'
Sir Biorn regarded the priest with displeased looks, and answered:-
Sir Chaplain, you have more share in the tale than either you or I might
wish. Spare us, joyous warriors of Norway, the melancholy tale.'
But the Chaplain drew nearer to the Knight, with firm but gentle bearing,
SINTRAM AND HIS COMPANIONS. 3
SSir, before this, the relating or not relating rested solely and alone with
you; but now that you have thus strangely hinted at me, and my part in your
son's misfortune, I must demand from you most urgently that you tell, word for
word, what happened. My honour will have it so, and that you feel no less
clearly than I myself.'
Stern, but yielding, Sir Biorn bowed his proud head, and spoke as follows:-
It is now seven years ago that I was keeping the Christmas breast. There
remain still some venerable old customs which we have inherited from our
forefathers; as, for example, the placing of a fine gold figure ot a boar upon
the table, and the making of divers vows of honour thereupon. Sir Chaplain
here, who then was wont often to visit me, was never a great friend to such
remains of the mighty age of the heroes. Such as he might indeed have been
in but bad repute in those old times.'
The good men who went before me,' interrupted the Chaplain, held by
God far more than by the world, and by God they were held in right good
repute. In this wise it was they converted your ancestors, and if I can be
useful to you in like manner your mockery shall not eat away my will to
With a yet darker look, but with a kind of angry shame, the Knight went
on with his speech:-
'Aye, aye, promises of the invisible, and threats also of the same kind.
Thus is it easier to take from us the good that we have. In those days-ah !
in those days such good was still mine. Strange Sometimes it seems to me
as if that were a couple of centuries ago, and I were an old man who had out-
lived everything, since now it is so fearfully otherwise. But now I bethink
myself, the greater number of this noble round table have visited me in my
happiness, and knew Verena, my heavenly, my beautiful wife -'
He struck his hands over his face, and it almost seemed as though he wept.
The storm had ceased; soft moonbeams came through the window, and fell
caressingly and soothingly around Biorn's haggard form.
But suddenly he started up, so that his armour clashed together with a
fearful sound, and shouted with a voice of thunder:-
'Am I to turn monk as she has turned nun ? No, my wise Sir Chaplain;
for flies of my kind your webs are too thin!'
4 SINTRAM AND HIS COMPANIONS.
'I know nothing of webs,' said the priest. Openly and honourably did
I, six years ago, place before you Heaven and Hell, and you assented to the
step which the good Verena took. But what that has to do with your son's
sufferings I know not, and wait for you to tell.'
'Then you may wait long !' laughed Biorn, fiercely. Sooner shall --
'Curse not !' said the priest, with a voice of command, and eyes that flashed
'Hurrah shrieked Biorn in wild terror. Hurrah Death and his
companion are loose !'
And in raving horror he flew out of the chamber and down the stairs,
and was heard without calling together his followers with a harsh, terrific blast
of his horn; and soon after he rode away over the hard frozen courtyard of
The knights separated silently-almost tremblingly. Alone, and praying
at the great stone table, sat the Chaplain.
A FTER some time the pious Rolf came in, slowly and softly, and stood
still, astonished, in the now empty hall.
In the distant chamber where he had laid the child again to rest he had
heard nothing of the wild departure of his knight. The Chaplain informed
him kindly of what had happened, and then said :
'But, good Rolf, I should like to ask you concerning the strange words
with which you lulled the sick Sintram just now. They sounded holy, and
were so assuredly, and yet I did not understand them,-" I trust and cannot
SReverend Sir,' returned Rolf, from my earliest childhood I remember
that none of the stories in the Gospel took such powerful hold of me as that one
where the Disciples could not heal the boy that was possessed, and the glorified
Redeemer Himself came down from the mountain and rent asunder the bands
wherewith the evil spirit held the tormented child fast bound to himself. I
always felt as if I must have known and cherished the boy, and have been his
playmate in his good hours. And when I grew up, it was the misery of the
father on account of his demoniac son which was heavy on my heart. Surely
all this was a forewarning as to our poor young Master Sintram, whom I love
as my own child; and now at times the words of the weeping father in the
Gospel spring up from the bottom of my heart: Lord, I believe; help Thou
mine unbelief:" and I may well have sung and prayed something like it in my
anguish. Dear, reverend Sir Chaplain, my mind grows right dark at times,
when I think how a fearful word of the father can cleave to the poor child
but, thank God my faith and my hope have the upper hand.'
'Good friend Rolf,' said the priest; what you say of poor Sintram I
6 SINTRAM AND HIS COMPANIONS.
understand but in part, for I am ignorant how and when the evil came upon
him. If, therefore, no oath or solemn word binds your tongue, let me know
how it took place.'
'With all my heart,' replied Rolf. 'I have long yearned to do so; but
you were almost wholly separated from us. Yet now I dare leave my sleeping
young master no longer alone, and to-morrow, at daybreak, I must take him
after my lord. If you would but come with me to the dear Sintram, my good
The Chaplain at once took up the little lamp which Rolf had brought with
him, and they went away through the long vaulted passages.
In the small, far-off chamber, they found the poor boy sleeping soundly.
The moonbeams fell strangely on his face, which was already pale enough.
The Chaplain stood by him long and thoughtfully, and said at last :-
Truly, from his birth he had ever hard and somewhat sharply cut features;
but now he looks almost terrible for a child. And yet one must love him,
whether one will or no.'
Right, reverend Sir,' answered Rolf; and one could see how his whole
soul went out when a word was spoken in favour of his dear young master,
Sintram. Thereupon he placed the light so that it could not dazzle the boy,
led the priest to a comfortable seat, took his place opposite him, and began
after the following manner :-
At that Christmas feast, of which my lord spoke to you, there was much
discourse between him and his men concerning the German merchants, and how
it were possible to quell the pride of the seaport towns, which ever grew
mightier. Then Sir Biorn stretched forth his hand towards that evil golden
image of the boar, and vowed to put to death without mercy all such
German merchants as fate might bring, in any way whatsoever, alive into his
'The gracious Verena turned pale, and tried to interrupt him, but-the
cruel word was spoken.
Instantly, as if the Lord of the Abyss would seize upon his pledged vassal
at once by many bonds, there came a warder into the hall, and announced that
two citizens of a German merchant town had been stranded near the castle,
and were standing without claiming the protection of its lord.
SINTRAM AND HIS COMPANIONS. 7
'The Knight's soul was struck with horror; but he supposed himself to be
bound by his hasty vow to the accursed Golden Boar. We servants received
orders to assemble in the courtyard with sharpened lances, and upon the first
signal to dispatch the poor claimants of our protection.
'For the first, and I hope for the last time in my life, I said No to my
lord's command. And I said it aloud and with cheerful resolution. The good
God, who must surely know best whom He will receive in His heaven and
whom not, armed me with fortitude and strength. And Sir Biorn must have
seen whence his old servant's resistance arose, and that such was to be held
in honour. He spoke half in wrath, half in mockery:-
Go up to the windows of my lady The maids are running hither and
thither in alarm; she may be ill. Go up, Rolf the Pious,-so woman and
women will come together."
'I thought, "Mock on!" and went my way silently, as I was corn
manded. There met me on the stairs two strange and right terrible beings,
whom I had never seen before; I know not how they had come into the
castle. One was great and tall, and looked fearfully pale, and very, very
gaunt. The other was a little man, with altogether frightful features and mien.
Yet, as I collected myself and looked at them closer,-it verily seemed
A low whimpering and shuddering from the. boy interrupted the tale.
Hastening to him, Rolf and the Chaplain saw that a fearful dread lay upon
his countenance, and that his eyes were trying convulsively to open and could
not. The priest made the sign of the cross over him; then by degrees the
strange condition passed away, the child slept peacefully, and the two went
softly back to their seats.
You see, it brings no good to describe the two fearful Ones too closely,'
said Rolf. Enough, they went down into the court, and I up to my mistress's
chamber. The gentle Verena was, indeed, in a half-swoon from terrible
anguish, and I hastened to come to her help with the insight which the good
God has given me into the healing powers of herb and air and stone. But she
was scarce a little recovered when she ordered me, with the quiet, holy power
which you know in her, to lead her down unto the court: she must avert the
horrors of this night, or herself perish in it. We had to pass by the bed of the
8 SINTRAM AND HIS COMPANIONS.
sleeping Sintram. 0 God hot tears fell from my eyes to see how still and
peacefully he breathed and smiled in his kindly slumber.'
The old squire put his hands over his face and wept bitterly. Then, more
collectedly, he went on :-
We were approaching the windows on the lower stairs, when we plainly
heard the voice of the elder of the two merchants, and through the bars his
noble countenance and the blooming head of his son were plainly discernible by
"' I call God the Lord to witness," he cried, that I thought to do no
evil to this house. But I must surely have fallen among heathens, instead of
into the castle of a Christian knight. If, indeed, it is so, then strike home. And
thou, my heart's beloved son, die patiently and steadfastly. In heaven we shall
learn why it must be so, and not otherwise."
'I thought I saw the two fearful Ones among the crowd of armed men.
The pale one bore a great sword like a scythe in his hand, the little one a
strangely notched spear.
SThen Verena flung the window open, and cried, with tones like those of a
flute, through the wild night:-
"Dear lord and husband of my soul, for the sake of your only child,
have pity upon these good men Save them from death, and withstand the
temptations of the Evil One!"
'The knight answered, in his wrath- let me not say what! He set his
child upon the cast; he called upon Death and the Devil if he did not keep his
word. Hush the boy starts again. Let me bring the dark story speedily to a
'Sir Biorn commanded his men to strike, and signed to them with such
flaming glances that ever since he is sometimes called Biorn Flame-eye. At
the same time the two fearful Ones were very busy. Then cried Verena, with
S"Lord, my Redeemer, help !"
'And both the fearful Ones had vanished, and the knight and his men jostled
wildly against one another, as if blinded, yet without harming one another;
neither were they able to strike a blow at the imperilled merchants, who bent
reverently before Verena, and passed, praying softly, out through the gates of
SINTRAM AND HIS COMPANIONS. 9
the castle, which just then, struck by a whirlwind of snow, were driven from
their fastenings, and left the way out into the mountains wide open.
The lady and I stood still doubtfully upon the stairs. Then it seemed to
me as if I saw the two fearful Ones sweep by, soft, and vapour-like, and
Verena cried out:-
'" In God's name, Rolf, didst thou also see the tall pale man, and the little
hideous one, who went by us up the stairs ?"
'I flew after them, and, alas found the poor boy in the self-same state in
which you saw him a few hours ago.
'Since then it always returns about this season, and the young master is
altogether strangely changed. The lady saw the visible punishment and warning
of Heaven in the event, and because Sir Biorn, instead of repenting, became
from day to day ever more Biorn Flame-eye, she thought that only within the
walls of a cloister could she pray for the temporal salvation and eternal bliss of
herself and her child.'
Rolf was silent, and the Chaplain said, after a moment's thought:-
Now I understand why, six years ago, Sir Biorn confessed his sinfulness to
me without further explanation, and consented to my penitent's wish to enter a
convent. A remnant of shame must have been still alive in his heart, and
perchance is even yet alive there. At all events, the tender flower of Heaven,
Verena, could remain no longer so close to this hurricane. But who is there
now to protect and save the poor Sintram ?'
His mother's prayers,' answered Rolf. See, reverend sir, when the early
dawn thus steals over the sky, and the morning breezes whisper through the
glimmering window, it always seems as though I saw the sweet eyes of my
mistress shine, and heard the soft breathing of her voice. The pious Verena,
after God, will help us.'
And also our fervent crying to the Lord,' added the Chaplain; and he and
Rolf knelt, praying silently and devoutly in the early red of the morning, by the
bed of the sleeping boy, who began to smile in his dreams.
SHE sun was shining brightly into the
chamber when Sintram started up, as it
pained by its rays. He regarded the Chaplain
"with a glance of displeasure, and said:-
.,S P ^ So there is a priest here in the castle ? And
yet the accursed Dream dares torment me in his
s. neighbourhood He must be a pretty priest,
'My child,' answered the Chaplain, with great gentleness, I have prayed
very earnestly to God for thee, and will continue always to do so; but God
alone is almighty.'
You speak very familiarly to the son or the knight, Sir Biorn,' cried
Sintram. '"My child !" and call me "thou !" If the hideous Dream had not
come back to me last night you would make me laugh heartily.'
Junker Sintram,' said the Chaplain, I am in no wise astonished that you
do not know me again, for truly neither do I know you.'
And with that his eyes grew moist.
But pious Rolf looked sorrowfully into the boy's face, saying:-
Ah, dear young master you are so infinitely better than you would make
yourself appear : why do you so ? And do you not bethink yourself (at other
times you have so good a memory) of the good, kind master Chaplain, who
formerly came so often to our castle, and gave you bright pictures of saints and
beautiful songs ?'
That do I well remember,' replied Sintram, thoughtfully. In those days
my blessed mother was still living.'
SINTRAM AND HIS COMPANIONS. II
'Our gracious mistress is still alive, God be praised for it,' said Rolf, smiling
Not for us not for us sick people !' cried Sintram. And why do you
not call her blessed? She surely knows nothing of my dreams ?'
'Yes; she knows thereof, young master,' said the Chaplain. She knows
thereof, and calls upon God for you. But you, be you ware of your wild,
haughty disposition. It might be-ah yes, it might be-that one time she might
no longer know anything of you and your dreams. And that would be when
soul and body were parted; and then all holy angels would know nothing any
more of you.'
Sintram sank back upon his couch as if struck by a thunderbolt, and Rolf
You should not speak to my sick child with such severity, reverend sir.'
Then the boy raised himself with tearful eyes, pressed close to the Chaplain
fondly, and said :-
Let him alone, thou good, soft-hearted Rolf; he knows right well what he
is doing. Wouldest thou blame him if I were gliding into a crevasse and he
plucked me back quickly by the hair?'
The priest looked at him with emotion, and was just about to give him
some more pious thoughts, when Sintram sprang from his bed in surprise, and
asked after his father. On hearing the tidings of his departure he would not
tarry another hour in the castle, and put aside the anxiety of the Chaplain and
Rolf as to whether a rapid journey might not injure his scarcely restored health
Reverend sir, and dear old Rolf, believe me, it there were no such things
as dreams I should be the hardiest young fellow upon God's earth; and as it is,
I yield but little to the best of them. Besides, till this time next year my
dreams are at an end.'
On his somewhat imperative command Rolf brought out the horses at once.
Boldly the boy swung himself into the saddle and galloped, after a kind farewell
greeting to the Chaplain, swift as an arrow down into the smooth valleys of the
He and his old follower had not ridden far when he heard from a hollow in
the rocks hard by a dull sound, like the clatter of a small mill, and between
12 SINTRAM AND HIS COMPANIONS.
whiles the hollow sound of a human voice in pain. They turned their horses
that way, and a wonderful sight was revealed to them.
A tall man, pale as a corpse, and like a pilgrim to look on, was striving with
great efforts to work himself out of the deep snow and up the mountain, and a
quantity of bones which he bore loosely attached to his wide garment rattled
violently together, and caused that strange clattering.
Rolf, shuddering with terror, crossed himself; and the bold Sintram called to
What art thou doing there ? Give an account of thy lonely doings.'
I live in Death,' returned the other, with a fearful grin.
'Whose are the bones on thy clothes?'
'They are relics, young master.'
'Art a pilgrim, then ?'
'Never ceasing, never resting, hither and thither.'
'I will not suffer thee to perish here in the snow.'
'That will I not.'
'Place thyself with me on my horse.'
'That will I.'
Instantly, with unexpected strength and nimbleness, he was out of the snow
and sitting behind Sintram, embracing him with his long arms; while the horse,
startled by the clatter of the bones, and as if seized with frenzy, rushed away
through the pathless valleys. Soon the boy was alone with his strange com-
panion; in the far distance, the terrified Rolf spurred and panted after the head-
After gliding down a snow-covered slope, yet without falling, the steed
became somewhat exhausted in a narrow ravine, and though he raged and
panted as before, and the boy could not master him, yet his breathless rush was
changed into a wild, irregular trot; and between Sintram and the stranger there
arose the following discourse:-
'Thou pale man, draw thy garment tighter, so that the bones do not clatter,
and I may tame my horse.'
'No use, my boy; no use. The bones have a way of so doing.'
'Press me not so tightly with thy long arms; thy arms are so cold.'
'Cannot help it, my boy; cannot help it. And be content, my long, cold
arms will not yet grip thy heart.'
SINTRAM AND HIS COMPANIONS. 13
'Breathe not upon me with thy frozen breath; threat all my strength goes
'Must breathe, my boy ; must breathe. But bewail not thyself, I shall not
yet blow thee away.'
The strange converse had an end, for against his expectation Sintram came
out upon a bright, sunshiny snow-plain, and saw his father's castle lying before
him, not far off. While thinking whether he might and ought to invite the
mysterious pilgrim to go with him, the latter took away his doubts by springing
quickly from the horse, which stopped surprised in its wild course. Then he
said to the boy, with upraised forefinger,-
I know old Biorn Flame-eye very well; perhaps only too well. Greet him
from me. He need not know my name; he will know me well enough by the
Therewith the pale stranger turned aside into a thick copse of pines and
vanished, clattering between the thick-tangled branches.
Slowly and thoughtfully Sintram rode up to his father's hall on his horse,
now quite quiet and exhausted. He hardly knew what he might tell of his
wonderful ride, and what not; and his heart was oppressed with fear for the
good Rolf who had stayed so far behind.
So he found himself before he knew at the castle gate. The bridge rattled
down, the doors were thrown open, a servant led the young master into the
great hall, where Sir Biorn was sitting alone at a great table, with many flagons
and beakers, and surrounded as with a wall by many suits ot armour placed
erect. For thus it was his custom daily to receive guests; namely, to have suits
of armour belonging to his ancestors, sitting and standing, with closed visors,
round about his table.
Father and son held discourse with one another as follows:-
'Where is Rolf?'
'I know not, Sir. He left me in the mountains.'
'I will have him shot, since he knows no better how to protect my
'Then, father, you may have your only son shot at the same time, for I
know not how to live without Rolf; and wherever arrow or dart shall fly at him,
there will I place myself in the way of the sharp weapon, and guard with my
own foolish breast his faithful, good heart.'
14 SINTRAM AND HIS COMPANIONS.
'So ? Well, then, Rolf shall not be shot; but I will chase him from the
Then, Sir, you will see me flee away with him also; and I will serve him
as his faithful servant in forest, and mountain, and wood.'
'So ? Yes; then will Rolf have to remain here.'
'I think so, too, father.'
'Hast thou travelled here quite alone ?'
'No, father; but with a most strange pilgrim, who said he knew you well-
perhaps all too well.'
And thereupon Sintram began to tell and describe everything he knew con-
cerning the pale man.
I know him right well,' said Sir Biorn. He is, indeed, half mad, halt
wise; as is often the case with us men. But thou, my boy, betake thyself to
rest after thy wild journey. Thou hast my word of honour that Rolf shall be
well and kindly received, and even sought for in the mountains if he should
remain out too long.'
'I depend upon you, Sir,' said Sintram, half humbly, half defiantly; and did
according to the command of the lord of the castle.
T OWARDS evening Sintram awoke. He saw the good Rolf sitting by
his bedside, and smiled with unwontedly childlike cheerfulness up in
the faithful old man's kindly face. But soon he drew his dark eyebrows
together somewhat sullenly, and asked :-
'How did my father receive thee, Rolf? Did he say a harsh word to
Not so, dear young master. Indeed he did not speak to me at all. At
first he looked at me right angrily; then he constrained himself and ordered a
servant to refresh me well with wine and food, and then to bring' me here
'He might have kept his word better. But he is my father, and one must
not be too exacting. I will go to supper.'
Straightway he sprang up and threw his fur cloak round him. But Rolf
stepped pleadingly in his way, and said:-
Dear young master, you would do better to remain and eat to-day here
in your chamber. There is company with your father, with whom I would
not willingly see you. I will sing you beautiful songs, and tell you stories
I would rather have that than anything else in the world, dear Rolf,'
answered Sintram; 'only it is not my way to avoid any creature whatsoever.
But tell me, whom shall I find with my father?'
'Ah, young master,' said the old man, you have already found him in
the mountains. Formerly, when I had to ride out with Sir Biorn, we met him
occasionally; but I never told you of him, and he has reached the castle to-day
for the first time.'
16 SINTRAM AND HIS COMPANIONS.
So, so The mad Pilgrim !' replied Sintram, and remained standing
awhile in deep thought. At last he collected himself rapidly and said :-
Then, good old friend, I had far rather remain here to-night, quite alone
with thee and thy tales and songs, and all the pilgrims in the world should not
tempt me out of this quiet chamber. But there is one thing to be considered.
I feel a kind of fear of this pale man, who is as tall as a tree; and the like fear
ought none of knightly birth to allow to rise within him. Be not angry with
me, my Rolf, for I must meet this pilgrim and look again into his strange face.'
Thereupon he opened the chamber-door and paced towards the hall, with
firm, echoing strides.
The Pilgrim and Sir Biorn sat over against one another at the great table, on
which many tapers were burning, and it was strange to see how the two tall,
pallid figures, moved among the crowd of motionless suits of mail, and ate and
While the Pilgrim looked round at the boy as he entered Sir Biorn said:-
'You know him already; this is my only son, and your companion of the
The Pilgrim fastened a long gaze on Sintram, and shaking his head replied:-
'As to that, I know nothing !'
Here the boy broke in impatiently:-
'Now, I must confess, you favour us very unequally. You believed you
knew my father only too well; and me, it appears, you know not well enough!
Look me in the face. Who was it let you ride with him on his horse; and
whose horse did you in return make mad and raging ? Speak, if you can '
Sir Biorn shook his head, smiling, but well pleased, as he always was at his
son's wildest behaviour. The Pilgrim, however, cowered with painful fear, as
if threatened by a terrible, overmastering power. At last, in almost foolish
terror, he brought out the words :-
'Yes, yes, my young hero; you are quite in the right. You are quite in
the right in whatsoever you may please to say.'
Then the lord of the castle laughed aloud, and cried:-
Well, you Pilgrim, you man of wonders, what has become of thy won-
derful, sublime admonitions and wise sayings ? Is it the boy who has made thee
so dumb and dull on a sudden ? Look to thyself, Prophet Look to thyself!'
SINTRAM AND HIS COMPANIONS. 17
But the Pilgrim cast a terrible look towards the Knight, before which the
Flame-eyes seemed to be quenched, and said, in a deep voice like thunder:-
Between you and me, old man, it is another thing. We can neither of us
reproach the other. And listen awhile, I will sing thee a little song to the lute.'
He stretched his hand to where a lute hung on the wall behind, forgotten,
and half unstrung, which nevertheless, after a few chords struck with won-
drous skill and power, he brought into order, and began the following song to
the deep, melancholy tones of the instrument:-
'The flower was my own, was my own!
But I gambled away my heavenly right.
But I to a servant am changed from a knight,
Through my sin, through my sin alone !
The flower was thy own, was thy own!
Why heldst thou not fast to thy heavenly right,
Thou servant of sin, no longer a knight?
Now art thou thus drearily ]one!'
'Beware he cried, with a wild yell, and struck the strings so violently
that they sprang asunder again, with, as it were, a lamentable cry of woe, and
a cloud of dust rose from the body of the old instrument, veiling the singer as
with a cloud of mist.
Sintram had watched him closely during the song, and it seemed to him at
length incomprehensible that this man could be one and- the same with his
travelling companion. The doubt grew to a certainty when the stranger again
looked at him with painful timidity, excusing himself and bowing low, hung
the lute again in its old place, and then rushed from the hall in abject terror, in
strange contrast with the solemn and haughty demeanour which he had showed
towards Sir Biorn.
On the latter the boy's eyes fell at length, and he saw him swooning in his
chair, as if he had been struck.
Sintram's cry summoned old Rolf and other servants into the hall, and
only after united efforts and strong exertions did their lord come to his senses,
and, still with confused looks, let himself quietly and submissively be carried
to his bed.
U PON the Knight, who had hitherto been strong and healthy, there now
fell, after this strange incident, a sickness in which he raved almost
without ceasing, yet continually declared with perfect certainty that he should
and must recover. He laughed defiantly at his fever-fits, and chided them
that they ventured to attack him so needlessly and vainly. Often would he
mutter to himself:-
That was not the right One that was not the.right One There must be
Another out upon the cold mountains!'
At these words Sintram started each time involuntarily. They seemed to
be a confirmation of his thought that he who had ridden with him on his horse,
and he who had sat at table in the castle, were two wholly different persons;
and he knew not why, but this thought was very terrible to him.
Sir Biorn recovered, and seemed entirely to have forgotten the story of the
Pilgrim. He hunted in the mountains, he fought out many a wild feud, and the
growing lad, Sintram, was his almost daily companion, while a fearful strength,
both of body and mind, developed itself more and more in the youth with every
year. Wherever he appeared with his pale, sharp features, his dark rolling
eyes, and his tall, sinewy, spare form, every one regarded him with awe; yet no
one hated him, not even those whom in his wildest words he had injured or
insulted. This might be because the good Rolf, who always had a softening
influence over him, was ever near him; but most of those who had known the
LadyVerena, when she was still living in the world, maintained that over the
youth Sintram's wholly dissimilar features there hovered a faint reflection of his
mother's sweetness, which won their hearts.
Once-it was just at the beginning of spring-Biorn and his son were
hunting on the sea-shore, and that on lands belonging to another, less for the
SINTRAM AND HIS COMPANIONS. 19
pleasure of the chase than in order to bid defiance to a detested neighbour, and
thus perhaps to kindle a feud. At this season, when he had just recovered from
his terrible yearly dream, Sintram was commonly even wilder and more greedy
for battle than at other times. To-day he was sore vexed that the foe did not
issue from his castle to forbid their chase by force of arms, and he cursed his
tame patience and soft peaceableness with the wildest execrations.
Just then a fiery young squire of his train came galloping and exulting up to
him, and cried :-
'Be content, dear Junker! I wager all will go still as you and we
desire. I was pursuing some game that I had wounded along the shore,
when there came sailing towards me a vessel with men in bright armour.
What can this be, but that your enemy thinks to fall upon you from the
Gladly did Sintram secretly call together all his hunting companions, deter-
mined to take the combat this time on himself alone, and then to march and meet
his father in triumph with his prisoners and booty of weapons. Well acquainted
with all the ravines, copses, and cliff-paths of the strand, the hunters were soon
concealed around the anchorage, and the strange vessel came near, full sail, and
already lay quietly in the bay ; while the seafarers began to step on shore in
Splendid and noble above them all appeared a knight in steel-blue armour,
decked richly with gold. He carried his costly golden helmet hanging on his left
arm, and stood bareheaded, looking around him like a king. Pleasant was his
face to look upon, surrounded with dark-brown curls, and with its carefully
trimmed moustaches,under which the fresh lips smiled out, showing two rows of
It seemed to young Sintram as if he had somewhere seen the hero before,
and he stood awhile motionless. But suddenly he raised his arm to give the
appointed signal of attack.
In vain did Rolf, who had just with difficulty reached the wild youth,
whisper in his ear that these were not the foes whom they awaited, but un-
known, and certainly most noble foreigners.
'Be they who they will,' muttered the wrathful Sintram, they have roused
vain hopes in me, and they shall pay for it.' And instantly he gave the sign,
20 SINTRAM AND HIS COMPANIONS.
and spears flew thick as hail from all sides, while the Norse warriors rushed
forward with flashing swords.
They found as brave opponents as they could wish, and perhaps something
more. Soon more of the assailants than of the assailed lay in their blood, and
the strangers seemed to understand Norse warfare wonderfully well. The
knight in the gold-decked harness had not, in the hurry, had time to cover
himself with his helmet, but it seemed as if he did not find it worth the trouble.
His glittering sword was defence enough; even the flying javelins he knew how
to catch in a sweep like lightning, and to cast away from him, so that they fell
on.the ground broken in two.
Sintram had at first been unable to press up to him, because all, longing for
the capture of such noble prey, crowded round the splendid warrior; but soon,
wherever the stranger turned, a road opened wide enough, and Sintram sprang
towards him, waving his sword and shouting his war-cry.
'Gabrielle shouted the knight; and warding off the great blow with ease,
ran in upon the youth, and with a mighty blow of his sword-hilt on the breast,
stretched him on the ground, and instantly kneeling on him, held a shining
dagger right against the eyes of the astounded youth. His warriors drew
together rapidly and stood around him like a wall.
Sintram seemed lost beyond all hope of rescue. He would die as became a
bold warrior, so he stared at the near weapon of death with wide-open eyes,
unshrinking. As he gazed upward thus, it seemed to him as though a beautiful
woman, in garments blue as the sky and shining with gold, appeared in the
heavens above him.
Our forefathers were right about the Valkyrie,' he murmured. Strike
home, thou victorious stranger !'
But that the knight did not do; neither had any Valkyria shown herself,
only the fair wife of the stranger knight, who had just come forward
to the ship's side, and thus shone down into the eyes of Sintram as he
Folko !' she cried, with a sweet voice, thou great baron and blameless! I
know thou sparest the vanquished.'
Up sprang the hero with noble grace, gave the conquered youth his hand,
and said :-
SINTRAM AND HIS COMPANIONS. 21
'Render thanks to the noble Lady of Montfaucon for thy life and thy
freedom. If thou art so wholly empty of all good that thou wilt begin the fight
again, see, here stand I; fall thou upon me.'
But Sintram fell upon his knees in deep shame and wept, for he had long
ago heard great things of his kinsman, the Norman knight Folko of Mont-
faucon, and of the loveliness of his gentle lady, Gabrielle
HE Baron gazed wonderingly upon his strange foe; but as he looked at
him recollection rose within him, reminding him of the Norse stem from
which his ancestors had sprung, and with which he had always held kindly
intercourse. A golden bear's claw which fastened Sintram's upper garment
made everything certain to him at last.
'Hast thou not,' he asked, a mighty cousin, called the Sea-king Arinbiorn,
who bears vultures' wings of beaten gold upon his helmet ? And is not thy
father the knight Sir Biorn ? For I think the bear's claw upon thy breast is a
token of thy race and family.'
Sintram assented to all with profound shame and humility.
The Knight of Montfaucon then raised him up gravely, saying softly :-
'Then are we kinsmen; but never should I have thought that one of our
honourable house could have fallen upon a peaceful man, without any cause
whatsoever; and, moreover, without warning.'
SSlay me,' answered Sintram, if I am yet worthy to die by hands so noble
I can no longer look upon the light of the sun.'
'Because thou hast been conquered ?' asked Montfaucon.
Sintram shook his head.
'Or because thou hast committed an unknightly deed?'
The youth's burning blush of shame answered Yes.'
'Then must thou not wish to die,' replied Montfaucon, but rather to make
good thy transgression, and glorify thyself by many noble deeds. See! thou art
blessed with courage and bodily strength, and also with the eagle glance of the
leader. I would dub thee a knight without more ado, if thou hadst fought as
well in a good cause as thou hast in an evil one. Act so that I may do so
speedily. Thou mayest yet become a vessel of high honour.'
SINTRAM AND HIS COMPANIONS. 23
A merry sound of hautboys and silver cymbals interrupted their speech.
Gabrielle, beautiful as morning, came on shore, attended by her women, and
being informed by Folko in few words who had been his opponent, she took
the whole combat as a mere trial of strength, saying:-
You must not be downcast, noble sir, that my lord has won the prize; for
know, unto this hour there lives upon the earth but one knight alone from
whom the Baron of Mountfaucon has not borne away the victory. And who
knows,' she continued, half playfully, 'what might have come of that too, but
that then he was purposed to win from me my magic ring-from me, who was
set apart as his lady, both by God and by my own heart ?'
Folko bowed, smiling, over his lady's snow-white hand, and bade the youth
lead him to the castle of his father.
Rolf, with great joy, undertook the care of the landing of the horses and
treasure, for it seemed to him that an angel had come down to render his
young master gentle, and to heal him of his old curse.
Sintram had despatched messengers all around to seek his father and
announce his noble guests. Therefore they found Sir Biorn already at the
castle, and everything prepared for a joyful reception. Gabrielle entered the
gloomy, towering pile with a shudder, and looked yet more anxiously into its
lord's flaming eyes: the pale, dark-haired Sintram, seemed terrible to her, and
she sighed to herself:-
Oh, to what a gloomy place hast thou led me, my knight! Oh, that we
were at home in my flowery Gascony, or in thy knightly Normandy !'
But the noble and ceremonious reception, the deep and truly respectful
homage to her beauty, and to Sir Folko's fame, raised her spirits again, and her
bird-like delight in all things new was soon pleasantly awakened by the un-
accustomed sights of this strange world. Besides, every womanly fear could but
pass quickly over her in her husband's neighbourhood. She knew well in what
powerful keeping the great Baron held everything secure that was dear and
precious to him.
Through the great hall, in which they had sat down, Rolf now passed with
the stranger's servants, bearing their baggage to their apartments. Gabrielle
caught sight of her pretty lute, and ordered a page to bring it to her, that she
might see that the beloved instrument had not suffered too much from the
24 SINTRAM AND HIS COMPANIONS.
voyage. As she tuned it, and, bending over it with tender attention, let her
fair fingers wander up and down the bright strings, a smile like spring
sunshine stole over the dark faces of Biorn and Sintram, and they sighed
Ah if she would but play and sing a little song to it! It would be all too
The lady, flattered, looked up at them with a smile, bowed her head in
assent, and sang to the chords of her lute :-
'When the flowers are appearing,
In the blithe month of May,
Returns the gay strain.
Each thing returns again,-
But one thing, ah! one thing has passed away.
That one thing, too well I know its name,
Yet can I not, will I not speak it;
For once 'twas so sweet to me above all,
And now, in vain, in vain I seek it.
Thou nightingale, quaver not so,
To thy mate amid blossoms calling;
There's pain and woe
To my heart in thy voice's gay swelling and falling.
Ah, quaver not so!
For the flowers are appearing,
And on clouds careering
The blossoming May.
And the one thing, the one thing,
Oh, woe! which once was mine,
Is past away.'
The two warriors of Norway sat, in strange wise, sunk in tender musings.
Sintram's eyes, in particular, shone mildly, his cheeks were tinged with
a soft red, and all his features were softened, so that he looked like one
At this the pious Rolf, who had stood by while the song went on, rejoiced
from the bottom of his heart, and raised his faithful old hands to Heaven,
thanking the good God right fervently.
SINTRAM AND HIS COMPANIONS. 25
But Gabrielle, in her surprise, could not take her eyes from Sintram. At
length she said:-
'My young lord, now tell me what has moved you so in this little song? It
-->'r-.- ,- l -\ 1(.
the self-same images.'
k.j,- .. ,.
Have you a home, then, so wonderful, so infinitely rich in songs ? cried
Sintram, with enthusiasm. Oh, then I am no longer astounded at your more
Have you a home, then, so wonderful, so infinitely rich in songs ?' cried
26 SINTRAM AND HIS COMPANIONS.
than earthly beauty, nor at the power you have over my obstinate, mad heart:
for it is clear, that a Paradise of song must send forth angel messengers
over the rest of the yet unformed world!'
And he fell upon his knees before the beautiful dame, with courtesy and
Folko smiled, well pleased ; but Gabrielle, in painful confusion, scarce knew
how to treat the young, half-wild, half-tamed Norwegian.
After a moment's thought, however, she gave him her fair hand, and said,
gently raising him:-
'One who takes such pleasure in song must surely know how to awaken
it right pleasantly. There, take my lute, and let us hear some beautiful
But Sintram gently refused the frail instrument, saying:-
SGod preserve these soft chords, these slender strings, from my violent
hands. Even should I caress them tenderly at first, in the beat of the rhythm
the wild spirit that dwells within me would awake, and it would be all over
with the voice and the shape of the pretty lute. No, let me fetch my mighty
harp with the strings of bears' sinews and the frame of brass. For, in truth,
I feel myself inspired to sing and to play.'
Gabrielle, half terrified, half smiling, whispered her assent, and, swift as an
arrow, Sintram brought in his strange instrument, and to its deep resounding
notes sang, with as powerful a voice, the song which follows :
'"Whither, O Knight, o'er the stormy sea ?"
My sails are spread for the South countree."
O thou land with the beautiful blossoms !
I have waded about long enough through the snow,
And now will I dance where the fields are aglow."
O thou land with the beautiful blossoms !
By sunlight and starlight he steers away fast,
And in Naples' Bay his anchor is cast.
O thou land with the beautiful blossoms!
There a lovely maiden walks on the strand,
Her hair it is bound with a golden band.
O thou land with the beautiful blossoms!
SINTRAM AND HIS COMPANIONS. 27
"God greet thee, God greet thee, thou maiden so fine,
This very day must thou be mine."
O thou land with the beautiful blossoms!
"My lord, I am a Margrave's bride;
This very morning the knot will be tied."
O thou land with the beautiful blossoms!
Let him come and make proof of his sword on the Knight,
And he shall keep thee who best can fight."
O thou land with the beautiful blossoms !
"My lord, seek out another fere,
A garland of fair ones blossoms here!"
O thou land with the beautiful blossoms !
"On thee my mind has once been set,
And nought in the world that mind shall let !"
O thou land with the beautiful blossoms!
Then the Margrave came down and with wrath did rave,
And the Norman laid him in his grave.
O thou land with the beautiful blossoms!
And thus said he merrily, waving his shield,
Now will I keep bride, castle, and field !"
O thou land with the beautiful blossoms !'
Sintram ceased, but his eyes sparkled wildly, and the harp-strings rang again
still in a bold measure. Biorn sat proudly erect in his seat, and stroked his
long beard and fingered his sword joyously. Gabrielle trembled, indeed, at the
fierce song, and at these strange figures; but only till she cast a glance at Sir
Folko, who sat smiling in his heroic might, and let the mad noise rush by him
like the raving of an autumnal tempest.
S OME weeks after this Sintram came, sore disturbed, one evening at
twilight into the castle-garden. The more Gabrielle's presence lulled
him with good thoughts, the more terribly savage did his disposition become as
soon as she left the company for a moment.
Thus was it now, when, after reading long and kindly to his father from an
old book of romances, she had again retired to her apartments.
The sound of her lute, indeed, floated down thence into the garden, but it
seemed only to drive the maddened youth more violently along through the
shade of the hundred-year-old elms. Coming rapidly round a corner, he ran
quite unexpectedly against something which seemed to him, at first sight, like a
little bear standing erect, with a long and strangely twisted horn upon its head.
He started back in dismay, but it addressed him in a hoarse human voice:-
SYoung knight! brave young knight! whence art thou? Whither goest
thou ? Why so terrified ?'
Then first he saw that he had before him a little-old man, wrapped in rough
fur, so that not much of his features could be seen, and with a curious tall
feather in his cap.
'Whence art thou, and whither goest thou?' returned Sintram, angrily.
'For that is the right question. What hast thou to do in our garden, thou
hideous little man ?'
'Now, now!' laughed he. 'I think I am tall enough as I am. One
cannot always be a giant. And as to the rest, what harm is there in my going
snail-hunting ? Snails, at least, do not belong to the great game which your
experienced chivalry has reserved solely for your own hunting. But I know
how to prepare fine spicy drinks from them, and have already caught enough
SINTRAM AND HIS COMPANIONS. 29
for to-day-wonderful, fat creatures, with cunning men's faces, and queer long
horns on their heads. Would you like to see them, young master ? See here !'
And he fumbled and pulled at his fur garments ; but Sintram, seized with
disgust, said :-
'Fie I detest such creatures Have done, and tell me who and what
thou art ?'
Do you set such store, then, by names ?' answered the little man. Let it
suffice you that I am a learned master in secret arts, and in the oldest and most
intricate histories. Ah, young knight if you were to hear But you are afraid
'Afraid of thee !' laughed Sintram, wildly.
'That have better than you been,' muttered the little master; 'but they were
just as unwilling to give their fear words.'
'To show thee the contrary,' said Sintram, I will stay with thee till the
moon rides high in heaven. But you must tell me your story.'
The dwarf nodded with delight, and while the two paced up and down an
avenue of elms at some distance from the castle, he began his story as
'Many hundred years ago there was a handsome young knight, who was
called Sir Paris of Troy, and dwelt in the radiant South country, where are the
sweetest songs, the most fragrant flowers, and the most beautiful women. You
can sing a little song about that also, young lord ? Oh, thou land with the
beautiful blossoms !" Is it not so?'
Sintram bowed his head in assent, and a warm sigh escaped him.
Now,' continued the little master, this Paris lived in a way such as is
common there, and about which they know how to sing very pretty rhymes.
He lived for whole months as a shepherd, and wandered about in the fields and
woods, piping and feeding his tlmbs. Then, once upon a time, there appeared
to him three fair enchantresses, who were disputing about a golden apple, and
would know from him who was the fairest, for she it was who should keep the
golden fruit. And one of them understood how to procure high thrones, and
sceptres, and crowns; the second could make people wise; the-third could brew
love-philtres, and speak love-spells which would make the most glorious women
gracious. Then each laid before the shepherd-knight her best gifts, so that he
30 SINTRAM AND HIS COMPANIONS.
should adjudge the apple unto her. Now lovely women pleased him above all
other things in the world, and so he said that the third was the fairest, and she
called herself Venus. The other two departed in wrath, but Venus bade him
don his knightly harness and his hat with the floating plume, and so led him to a
splendid castle, called Sparta, which was ruled by the rich Duke Menelaus and
his young Duchess, Helen. She was the fairest lady in all the earth, and the
enchantress would bestow her upon Paris in return for the jewel of gold. Paris
wished for nothing better, but asked only how should it come to pass.'
This Paris must have been a pretty knight,' interrupted Sintram. Such
things are easily done. The husband is defied to battle, and whoever wins keeps
'But the Duke Menelaus was the knight's host,' said the master.
SHark, little master,' said Sintram, he should then have begged the
enchantress for another fair woman, and immediately saddled his horse or
weighed anchor, and departed.'
'Aye, aye, that is easily said,' returned the old man. But if you had seen
how ravishing the Duchess Helen was! There no exchange was to be made.'
And he began to paint the beauty of the wonderful woman in glowing
words. Yes, feature for feature did the picture resemble Gabrielle, till Sintram
tottered so that he had to lean against a tree. Then the little master stood
over against him, laughing, and said :-
How now? Would you still have advised poor Sir Paris to fly ?'
Only tell me quickly what came of it,' stammered Sintram.
The enchantress behaved honourably towards the knight,' continued the old
man. She told him at once, that if he carried away the beautiful Duchess to
his castle of Troy it would be his own, and his castle, and his race's ruin ; but
that for the space of ten years he might defend himself in Troy, and enjoy
Helen's sweet love.'
'And he accepted it, or he was a fool,' cried the youth.
Truly,' whispered the little master, 'truly he accepted it; and should I not
have done so myself? See now, my young hero, it happened then almost as it
happens this very day. Through the high tangled branches of the trees of the
garden the rising moon looked dimly and secretly. Leaning on an ancient
trunk, just as you are now, stood the slender, glowing Sir Paris, and beside him.
SINTRAM AND HIS COMPANIONS. 31
the enchantress Venus, but disguised and bewitched, so that she may not have
seemed much more beautiful than I. And in the silver light of the moon through
the whispering branches came all alone, wandering, the form of the wondrous,
beautiful, desired mistress.'
He was silent; and as if in the mirror of his intoxicating words, Gabrielle in
truth came gliding down the elm-walk in lonely musing.
'Man Fearful master! what shall I call thee? What wilt thou do with
me?' whispered the trembling Sintram.
32 SINTRAM AND HIS COMPANIONS.
'Thou knowest thy father's strong castle on the Moon Rock?' replied the
old man. The warder and servants there are faithful and devoted to thee. It
will stand a ten-years' siege; and the little door here towards the mountains
stands open, as did the castle postern at Sparta to Paris.'
And truly the youth saw, through a door in the wall, unaccountably left
open, the distant, mazy mountains shining in the moonlight.
'And' (the little master repeated Sintram's words, laughing) if he did not
accept it he was a fool.'
At this moment Gabrielle stood close beside him. With a slight motion of
his arm he might have clasped her, and a ray of moonlight, bursting suddenly
forth, illumined her glorified, heavenly beauty.
The youth was just stooping forwards, when,-
'My God and Lord,
Far from him ward
Of worldly sin the furrows;
Grant him a place
Before Thy face,
Though after countless sorrows.'
These words were sung by old Rolf at that very moment from the castle
pond, on whose still brink he was praying alone, full of foreboding cares;
Sintram stood as if spell-bound, and crossed himself; while the little master
hopped on one leg with unwonted speed, but against his will, through the door,
and slammed it, jarring, behind him.
Gabrielle started back, terrified by the noise. Sintram approached her
softly, and said, offering his arm :-
'Let me lead you back to the hall. The nights are sometimes wild and
terrible in these northern mountains.'
W ITHIN they found the two knights over their wine. Folko was
telling tales in his wonted lively, kindly manner, and Biorn was
listening somewhat gloomily, but in such a manner that it seemed as if the
clouds were, against his will, clearing away gradually before a feeling of
Gabrielle greeted the Baron with a smile, signed to him to continue, and
took her place, full of bright attention, close to Sir Biorn. Sintram stood sad
and dreamy by the fire and stirred the logs, which cast a strange glow over his
'And above all the German trading-ports,' continued Montfaucon, the
city of Hamburg is great and splendid. We of Normandy are always glad to
see her merchants land upon our coasts, and are ever ready to help the good,
prudent people with word and deed. Therefore was I once, on arriving at
Hamburg, received with great honour. Besides, I had just found them engaged
in a feud with a neighboring Count, and had used my sword in their behalf
with vigour and success.'
'Your sword your knightly sword!' interrupted Biorn, and the old flame
mounted into his eyes. Against a knight For hawkers and pedlars !'
'Sir,' answered Folko, calmly, 'how the Barons of Montfaucon use their
swords has always rested with them, without the interference of any third
person, and I think to hand on this good custom as I have received it. If
this displease you, say so freely ; yet I forbid you to use any unbeseeming
words against the men of Hamburg, who, as I have just informed you, are
34 SINTRAM AND HIS COMPANIONS.
Biorn cast down his proud eyes, and the flame in them went out. He said,
in a low voice :-
'Say on, great Baron; you are right and I am wrong.
Folko stretched his hand to him across the table, kindly, and thus went on
with his story :-
'The dearest to me of all my dear Hamburgers are two, of wonderful
experience, a father and his son. What have they not seen and done in the
most distant ends of the earth, and what have they not done in their mother-
city! My life, thank God, is not to be called altogether poor; but, beside
the wise Gotthard Lenz, and his brave son, Rudlieb, I seem to myself as a
squire who has twice in his life been present at a tournament, and has at furthest
reached the limits of his own forests in his hunting. They have converted,
subdued, and rejoiced the black people in countries which I cannot name, and
the riches they have brought thence they dedicate to the public use, as if one
could do nothing else with it. When they return from the boldest voyages
they hasten to the hospital they have established, and there act both as overseers
and as careful, humble attendants. And thence they go to the places where
they have caused to be erected fair towers and bulwarks for the defence of their
city; and thence, again, to the house where they entertain with cheerfulness and
hospitality pilgrims from foreign lands; and when all is done they banquet in their
own house with their guests, richly and nobly like kings, and merrily and freely
as shepherds, and many tales of their adventures season the choice meats and
the costly wine. Amongst others, they related to me one at which my hair
stood on end, and perhaps here from you I may obtain more exact knowledge
of how it really came to pass. Several years ago, just at the holy Christmas-
tide, Gotthard and Rudlieb were driven on the coast of Norway by a raging
winter storm, and shipwrecked. The situation of the rock on which their
vessel struck they could not describe with exactness; but this much is certain;
at no great distance rose a strong castle, to which father and son betook them-
selves to ask help and refreshment, as is customary and proper among Christian
people, while they left their followers with the shattered vessel. The castle
gate was opened to them, and they thought all was well. Then, suddenly,
the court was filled with armed men, who turned their sharp steel lances
against the helpless strangers, answering their seemly representations, and
SINTRAM AND HIS COMPANIONS. 35
friendly entreaties with gloomy silence or hoarse and scornful laughter. At
last comes down the steps a knight with eyes of flame-they knew not whether
it was a spectre or a mad heathen-who gave a signal, and the lances drew
closer and closer their circle rounded them. Then sounded the flute-tones of a
woman's gentle voice, calling on the Saviour, and the spectres jostled one against
another in mad rage, and the gates flew open, and Gotthard and Rudlieb took
to flight, perceiving as they escaped a woman, beautiful as an angel, standing at
a lighted window.
'Thereupon they set their leaky vessel again afloat with anxious haste,
trusting themselves rather to the sea than to this terrible shore, and landed at
last, after manifold adventures, in Denmark. They supposed that the wicked
castle was a heathen fortress. I, however, hold it to have been a ruined
fastness deserted by men, where spectres of hell perchance carry on their nightly
revel: for tell me, what heathen could be so devilish as to offer death to ship-
wrecked claimants of his help, instead of succour and assistance ?'
Biorn stared straight before him, as if turned into stone ; but Sintram
stepped from the fire to the table, and said :-
Father, let us seek out this godless nest and raze it to the ground. I know
not why, but it comes into my mind as an absolute certainty that this hellish
event alone bears the guilt of my frightful dreams.'
In great anger against his son Biorn started up, and had perhaps spoken a
terrible word; but God would not have it so, for through this confused discourse
pealed the blast of a trumpet, the doors were thrown open with ceremony, and
a herald entered the hall. He bowed gravely, and said :--
I am sent from Earl Eirik the Old. Two nights since he returned home
from his voyage in the Grecian seas. He thought to have taken vengeance
on the island which is called Chios, because there, fifty years ago, was his
father slain by the mercenaries of the Emperor; but your cousin, the Sea-king
Arinbiorn, lay at anchor in the bay, and spoke of reconciliation. But Earl Eirik
would not hear of it, and the Sea-king Arinbiorn at last said that he would never
consent that the Island of Chios should be laid waste; because there they sang
the songs of an ancient scald, named Homer, right well, and besides that, they
drank very choice wine there. From words they came to blows, and so
mightily did Sea-king Arinbiorn fight that Eirik the Earl lost two ships, and
36 SINTRAM AND HIS COMPANIONS.
escaped with difficulty in a third, which was sore injured. For this deed Eirik
the Old hopes one day to make the race of the Sea-king atone, since Arinbiorn
.himself is not yet at hand to do so. Wilt thou, Biorn Flame-eye, now give
compensation, in cattle and money and other goods, to the Earl, as he desires ?
Or wilt thou stand before him in battle one seven-night hence on Niflung's
Biorn bowed his head unconcernedly, and answered courteously:-
A seven-night hence, then, on Niflung's Heath.' Then he reached the
herald a gold cup full of noble wine, saying, Drink it up, and then wrap what
thou hast drunk from in thy cloak, and carry it away with thee.'
'Carry to thy Earl also the greeting of the Baron of Montfaucon,' added
Folko. I will be with them on Niflung's Heath also, as the friend of the
race of the Sea-king, and as Biorn Flame-eye's cousin and guest.'
The herald started visibly at the name of Montfaucon, bowed very low,
looked with respectful attention at the Baron, and went out.
Gabrielle smiled tenderly and quite free from care upon her knight, being
well aware of his victorious might, and only asked :-
'Where, then, shall I remain while thou goest forth, Folko ?'
'I thought,' answered Biorn, you would be content to remain here in my
castle, fair lady. As warder and servant I leave you my son.'
Gabrielle mused for a moment, and Sintram, who had turned back to the
fire, said softly to the flames, which just then sprang up wildly :-
'Yes, yes, thus will it probably come to pass. It seems to me as if Duke
Menelaus were also away from the castle of Sparta on a foray when the
glowing Sir Paris found the ravishing lady at evening in the garden.'
But Gabrielle, shuddering, though knowing not wherefore, said suddenly:-
Without thee, Folko ? And must I then renounce the joy of seeing thee
fight? and the honour of tending thee, if thou shouldst meet with a wound ?'
Folko bowed in courteous thanks to the lady and answered :-
Go forth with thy knight, since thou desirest it-thou, his beautiful in-
spiring star. It is a good old Norse custom for ladies to be present at the
battles of heroes, and no true Norseman will approach to disturb the spot
whence the light of their eyes descends. Or,' he asked, looking over at Biorn,
'is, perchance, Earl Eirik not worthy of his ancestors ?'
SINTRAM AND HIS COMPANIONS. 37
'A man of honour,' Biorn avouched.
'Then deck thyself, then deck thyself, my beauteous love !' said Folko,
half speaking, half singing, and go forth with us as the lovely arbitress of
Forth! forth with us unto the battle !' sang the joyfully inspired Sintram.
And all separated in good cheer and full of hope, the others to rest and Sintram
to the forest.
T was a desolate, mournful spot in Norway that was called Niflung's
Heath. They said that there the young Niflung, Hogne's son, the last
of his race, had ended a melancholy, dreary life. Many ancient monuments
stood round about, and on the scattered oaks, which waved here and there over
the plain, lodged mighty eagles, and now and again fought fiercely with one
another; and the heavy beat of their wings and their angry screams could be
heard, far away, in more inhabited regions, so that the children in the cradle
quaked threat, and the old people dozing by the hearth woke up terrified.
The seventh night, the night before the battle, was just falling, as two
warlike processions came in stately array down the hills from opposite sides,
Eirik the Old from the west, and Biorn Flame-eye from the east; for it was
the custom to appear earlier than the appointed time on the battle-field, to show
that the combat was not dreaded, but sought.
Folko had the tent of sky-blue velvet decked with golden fringes,
which he had brought for the comfort of his tender lady, pitched in the most
convenient spot on the heath, while Sintram, in herald's garb, rode over to Earl
Eirik the Old, to announce to him that the beautiful Gabrielle of Montfaucon
was also with Sir Biorn's array, and would look on at the morrow's battle as
Queen of the Fight. Earl Eirik bowed low at these pleasant tidings, and called
to his skalds to begin a song, which ran thus:-
Freeborn warriors of Eirik,
Fetch forth your brightest ornaments,
Gird on your gayest arms for to-morrow's game.
So the fairest of ladies
Fairest of judgment will exercise;
Gazing upon your feats in the roar of the battle.
SINTRAM AND HIS COMPANIONS. 39
Over the waves of the ocean,
Over meadow and forest,
Fame brought tidings to us of the baron bold.
He hies armed to attack us,
High mid the ranks of our foemen.
Folko comes! Fight fiercely, ye Eirik's men!'
The strange sounds came floating over the heath to Gabrielle's tent. She
was used to hear the fame of her knight repeated on all sides, but as his praise
swelled up thus gloriously to the starry heaven out of the mouths of his enemies,
she had almost fallen on her knees before the great Baron. But the graceful
Folko prevented her with a courteous gesture, and pressed a burning kiss upon
her swan-soft hand, saying:-
Unto thee, fairest of ladies, belong my deeds, and not to me!'
When now the night was over and the East began to flame, what flame and
movement and noise was there on Niflung's Heath Heroes donned their
clashing harness, noble steeds were neighing, and the morning draught went
round in beakers of gold and silver, amid the sound of harp and war-song. On
Biorn's side a cheerful march was sounded on horns and bugles. Montfaucon,
with his squires and pages in bright steel armour round him, led his dame to the
top of a hill, where she was safe from the flying spears, and could freely over-
look the field of battle. The morning light played round her as in honour of
her beauty, and as she passed close before Eirik's camp his men lowered their
weapons, and the leaders bowed low their giant crests. Two of Montfaucon's
pages remained in attendance on Gabrielle, not unwilling in such a fair service
to bridle their desire of fighting. Both hosts marched before her singing and
greeting her, and then arrayed themselves for battle in their places, and the fight
Merrily flew the Norwegian spears from the powerful hands, sprang ringing
back from the shields flung up to oppose them, and often clashed together in their
flight : now and again a warrior of Biorn or Eirik's troop fell silent in his blood.
Then Sir Folko of Montfaucon broke forth with his squadron of Norman
horsemen. As he flew past he saluted Gabrielle with his flashing sword, and
rushed with a joyous war-cry on the left wing of the foe.
Eirik's foot-soldiers on their knees, firm as iron, received them upon their
40 SINTRAM AND HIS COMPANIONS.
tough halberds; many a noble horse reared, deadly wounded, and falling back-
wards, threw his rider with him to the ground ; many another drew his foe with
him in his death-fall. Folko flew on unwounded, he and his battle-steed, with a
body of picked men after him. Confusion already reigned in the enemy's array.
Already Biorn Flame-eye's men were pressing forward, shouting, To victory !'
when a troop of horsemen under Earl Eirik threw themselves across the path of
the great Baron; and while his Normans, collecting themselves quickly together,
drove after him into the new line of foes, the enemy's foot closed denser and
denser together into a compact mass. One could hear that this was done at a
SINTRAM AND HIS COMPANIONS. 41
command given in a strange, shrill voice, by a warrior in their midst. And
scarcely was this strange order of battle formed, when it started asunder on all
sides with loud shouts, and with a bursting force, as when Hecla casts his flames
out of his bottomless abysses. Biorn's warriors, who thought to surround the
enemy, wavered, and fell, and gave way before the inconceivable fury. In vain
did Sir Biorn place himself in the way of the torrent; he himself was almost
carried away in the general flight.
Mute and motionless Sintram gazed upon the tumult. Friend and foe
passed by him, and each alike avoided him, and none would have anything to do
with him, so fearful, nay, spectre-like, was he in his silent rage : neither did he
strike to right or left-the battle-axe remained idle in his hand. But his eyes
flamed fiercely and seemed to pierce through the enemy's ranks, as if to seek
him who had kindled this warlike frenzy. Herein he succeeded. A little man,
clad in a foreign-looking harness, with large horns. of gold upon his helmet,
which had a vizor stretching far forward, was leaning upon a two-edged
halberd, shaped like a sickle, and watching as in scorn the victorious chase
of Eirik's warriors and the flight of their foes.
That is he! shouted Sintram; that is he who would make us fly before
the eyes of Gabrielle!' And swift as an arrow he rushed with a wild shout
The fight began fiercely, but lasted but a short time. In spite of his
enemy's skill and boldness, Sintram, making use of his far superior height,
struck him a crushing blow over the horned helmet, which was followed by a
gushing stream of blood, while the wounded man fell groaning, and after some
frightful convulsions stretched his limbs, stiffening in death.
His fall seemed the signal for the defeat of Eirik's host. Even those who
had not seen his fall suddenly lost their courage and their joy in the fight,
wavered with uncertain step, or filled with mad despair ran on the halberds of
their foes. At the same moment Montfaucon, after a furious resistance, had
scattered Eirik's horse, and had cast the Earl himself out of the saddle and taken
him with his own hand. Biorn stood victorious in the midst of the field. The
day was decided.
SED by the great Baron, in the
sight of both armies, Sintram
came with glowing cheeks up the hill
where Gabrielle, in all her radiant
-- beauty, stood. Both warriors fell on
their knees before her, and Folko
'Dame, this young warrior of noble blood has earned the prize of
this day's victory. I pray you to bestow it upon him with your own fair
Gabrielle bowed, and loosened her scarf of blue and gold, and fastened to it
a shining sword, which a page bore on a cushion of silver tissue. Then she
held out the splendid gift with a smile to Sintram, who bent to receive it, but
suddenly Gabrielle stopped, turned to Folko, and said:-
Noble Baron, should not he whom I adorn with sword and scarf be made
Light as a feather, Folko sprang up, bowed low before the lady, and with
grave dignity gave the youth the stroke of knighthood. Then Gabrielle hung
the sword around him, saying :-
For God and the honour of pure women, my young hero. I saw you
fight, I saw you conquer, and my fervent prayers went up for you. Fight and
conquer again and again, so that the rays of your glory may shine even upon my
distant land !'
grav dinitygav th youh te srokeof nigthoo. Ten abrillehu/
SINTRAM AND HIS COMPANIONS. 43
And on Folko's entreating sign, she offered her soft lips for the young knight
Glowing through and through, but as it were sanctified, Sintram rose
silently, and hot tears streamed over his softened countenance, while the shouts
and the trumpet-blasts of all the bands greeted the glory of the youth with
Old Rolf stood quietly by, looking into his foster-child's sparkling eyes, and
prayed softly and joyfully:--
'All feuds henceforward cease
Before this blessed peace.
The evil One is slain.'
Biorn and Earl Eirik had in the meanwhile been conversing together in a
lively but not unfriendly manner.
The conqueror now led the conquered up the hill, and presented him to the
Baron and Gabrielle, saying:--
We who have been hitherto enemies have now become allies, and I pray
you, my dear guests and kinsfolk, to receive him with friendly graciousness, as
one who henceforth belongs to us.'
'Do so,' added Eirik, smiling. I have, indeed, sought vengeance; but
beaten by land and sea, one must be content at last. And, thank God I have
not been vanquished ingloriously, either by the Sea-king on the Grecian sea,
or here by you on Niflung's Heath.'
To this Folko assented with a friendly grasp of the hand, and the recon-
ciliation was confirmed in the most hearty and solemn manner. Earl Eirik
spoke to Gabrielle with such a noble courtesy that she looked at the gigantic,
hoary hero with a kindly smile of surprise, and gave him her fair hand to
Meantime Sintram was earnestly conversing with his good Rolf, and he was
heard at last to say :-
Before all the rest, however, bring me that marvellous brave foe slain by
my battle-axe. Seek out the fairest hill for his resting-place, and the noblest
oak for his roof. But first loosen his vizor, and look carefully in his face, lest
one mortally wounded should be cast into his grave alive, and, moreover, that
44 SINTRAM AND HIS COMPANIONS.
thou mayest report to me what aspect he bore to whom I owe this most
glorious of all prizes of victory.'
Rolf bowed and departed.
Our young hero there,' said Folko, turning to Earl Eirik, 'is asking after
a slain warrior, of whom I also should gladly know more. Who, Sir, was that
captain who led your infantry in such a masterly manner, and scarce fell even
before Sintram's mighty battle-axe?'
You ask me more than I know myself,' answered Earl Eirik. It is only
three nights ago that the stranger arrived at my castle. I was sitting with my
brothers-in-arms and my followers by the hearth in the evening; we were
forging weapons and singing at our work. Suddenly there crashed through the
noise of hammer and song so mighty a sound that we all became silent, and sat
as if turned to stone. It was not long before the sound came again, and we
perceived that it must be the sound of a monstrous horn which some one,
desiring entrance, must be blowing before the castle. Then I went myself to
the gate, and as I crossed the court all my dogs were so terrified by the strange
sound that, instead of baying, they whimpered and crouched in their kennels.
I rated them and called them out, but not even the boldest would go with me.
"Then will I show you what is to be done," I thought; gripped my sword
fast, stuck the torch into the ground beside me, and straightway threw open the
gate, for I knew well that no one could easily enter against my will.
'A loud laugh rang from outside, and the words, Hey-dey what mighty
preparations are here to show to one solitary little man the hospitality he
requires !" And truly something like a blush passed over me when I saw the
little stranger standing opposite me, quite alone. I straightway called to him to
come in, and offered him my hand; but he seemed still much out of humour,
and would in no wise give me his. As we were going up, however, he became
more friendly, and showed me the golden horn whereon he had blown. He
had a second of the same kind, and wore them both screwed on to his helmet.
In the hall above he bore himself in a strange manner: one moment he was
merry, the next sullen; now courteous, now scoffing, without any one's being
able to perceive why he changed thus every instant. I would gladly have
known whence he was, but how could I question my guest about it? Only
thus much did he give us to understand-that he found it mighty cold in our
SINTRAM AND HIS COMPANIONS. 45
country, and that at home it was far warmer. He was well acquainted also
with the imperial city, Constantinople; and he related fearful stories con-
cerning that city, of how the brother would drive the brother from the throne,
the uncle the nephew, yes, even the father the son, and blind, maim, and
murder one another. At length, also, he told us his name, and it sounded like
that of a Greek and a noble, but none of us could remember it. He also soon
showed himself to be one of the best of armourers. He knew how to seize and
shape the red-hot iron with boldness and ease, and to form the most murderous
weapons of which I have ever heard. But I forbade him to do it, for I was
purposed to march to battle against you only with equal weapons, and such as
of yore have been seen in our North country. Then he laughed, and said one
might conquer without them by means of skilful manceuvres and the like; that
I should only give him the command of my foot, and the victory would be
secure. Then, indeed, I thought, A good weapor-forger is a good weapon-
wielder!" Yet I wished for some proof from him. Well, sirs, then did he
engage in trials of skill, the like of which are scarce to be conceived ; and
though young Sintram is renowned far and wide as a strong and accomplished
warrior, yet I cannot well understand how he was able to slay such a man as
my Greek ally.'
He would have continued, had not the good Rolf come hastily back with
some of the retainers, looking, as well as his followers, so deadly pale that the
eyes of all were involuntarily turned towards him, and to the message which
he brought. He stood silent and trembling.
'Courage, old friend!' said Sintram. 'Whatever thou mayest tell us, it
must be truth and light out of thy true lips.'
'Sir Knight,' began the old man, pardon me, but the strange warrior whom
you have slain could we in no wise bury. If we had only not opened his vizor,
his ugly, far-projecting vizor! For such a hideous countenance grinned forth
from beneath it, distorted in such a diabolical manner by death, that we could
hardly keep our senses. God forbid that we should ever lay hand upon him !
Rather send me to dead bears and wolves in the wilderness, and let me look on
while the eagles, vultures, and falcons banquet upon them !'
All shuddered and remained silent for an instant. At last Sintram took
courage and said:-
46 SINTRAM AND HIS COMPANIONS.
'Dear old man! whence come these wild words, the like of which have till
to-day been always strange and abhorrent to you ? And you, Sir Eirik, did
your Greek ally appear so very horrible to you also when he was alive?'
'That know I not,' replied Earl Eirik, and looked inquiringly round the
circle of his vassals and brothers-in-arms. These confirmed his words ; and at
last it was manifest that neither lord nor knight nor squire could say with
exactness how, in truth, the stranger had looked.
'Then will we now discover, and afterwards bury the body at once,' said
Sintram, and invited the whole assembly kindly to follow him. All did so,
except the Baron, whom a timid whisper from Gabrielle kept beside his lovely
He lost nothing by this; for though they traversed the heath on all sides ten
or twenty times in their search, the body of the mysterious warrior was nowhere
to be found.
T HE joyous peace which came over Sintram from this day seemed to be
more than a passing gleam of sunshine. If sometimes a remembrance
of the knight Paris and Helen would make the desires of his heart flame up
bolder and madder than ever, there needed only a glance at scarf and sword,
and the stream of his life glided on again clear and bright as a mirror. What
can a man desire more than has been given me already?' he often said to
himself in silent transport. It remained thus for a long time. The beautiful
northern autumn was already beginning to redden the leaves of the elms and
oaks around the castle, when one day he was sitting with Folko and Gabrielle in
the castle garden, almost in the same spot where the strange creature, whom he
called, without himself knowing why, the Little Master, had met him. But
to-day everything was different far from what it had been then. The sun
was sinking still and radiant towards the sea, evening breezes blew softly,
bringing some slight autumnal mists towards the castle from the pastures and
meadows. Then Gabrielle, placing her lute in Sintram's hands, said:--
Dear friend, mild and gentle as you are always now, I may safely trust you
with my tender favourite. Let me hear your song of the beautiful blossoms.
Methinks it must sound much lovelier thus than when you sing it to the
clamour of your terrible harp.'
The young knight bowed a kindly assent, and did as the lady commanded.
Softly, and with a gentleness at other times quite unwonted, sounded the
notes from his lips, and the wild song seemed itself to change and to blossom
into a paradise. Gabrielle's eyes became moist, and singing ever more sweetly
in his happy longing, Sintram, inspired, gazed into the pearly sky. As the last
notes died away, Gabrielle's voice prolonged them like an angel-echo:-
thou land with the beautiful blossoms!'
48 SINTRAM AND HIS COMPANIONS.
Sintram let the lute drop, and looked up with a grateful sigh to the rising stars.
Then Gabrielle leant towards the great Baron, whispering:-
'Long, ah! how long have we been absent from our bright castles, from
our flowery fields 0 the land with the beautiful blossoms!"'
Sintram scarce knew whether he heard aright, so suddenly and entirely did
he feel himself banished from Paradise.
His last hope also vanished before Folko's courteous assurance that he would
hasten to fulfil his lady's wish, and that in the very next week : the ship lay on
the shore ready to sail. She thanked him with a kiss lightly breathed upon his
forehead, and then moved away, singing and smiling, on her hero's arm towards
the castle. The despairing Sintram remained behind, forgotten, feeling as if
turned into stone.
Furiously, at last, he forced himself to rise, when night was already fallen,
and full of his old madness, ran up and down among the trees of the garden, and
finally rushed out into the wild mountains, lighted by the moon.
There he let his sword ring in bush and tree till everything around him
began to crack and fall, and the night-birds flew round him, screaming and
whistling in wild alarm, and stag and doe rushed with flying leaps down into the
quieter depths of the wilderness.
Suddenly old Rolf stood before him, returning from a journey to visit the
Chaplain at Drontheim, to whom he had told, with tears of joy, how, through
Gabrielle's angel-presence, Sintram had been soothed, yea, almost healed,
and how they might hope that the evil dream had passed away. Now the
whirling sword of the raving youth had almost wounded the good old man
unawares. He stood still, with folded hands, and sighed from the bottom of
Ah, Sintram, my foster-child! what has come over thee, that thou ravest
thus frightfully ?'
The youth stood a moment as if spell-bound, looking gloomily and thought-
fully at his old friend, and his eyes were like dying watchfires gleaming through
clouds of mist. At length, softly and scarce audibly, he sighed :-
'Oh, good Rolf, good Rolf, leave me alone I am not at home in thy
heavenly gardens; and if the golden gates are sometimes blown open by a kindly
wind, that I may look in at the flowery meadows, where the good angels dwell,
SINTRAM AND HIS COMPANIONS. 49
a cold north wind rushes between, and the clashing doors fly to, and alone I
stand outside in the endless winter.'
Knight, dear young Knight ah, listen to me ah, listen to the good angel
within yourself! Do you not bear the very sword in your hand with which the
pure lady girded you ? Does not her scarf heave upon your throbbing breast ?
Do you not know? You were wont to say, no man could desire more than
had fallen to your lot.'
'Yes, Rolf, that I have said,' answered Sintram, and sank down upon the
autumn moss, weeping bitterly.
The old man's tears ran down into his white beard also.
After awhile the youth rose up again; his tears ceased, he looked terrible,
cold and wrathful, and he said :-
'See here, Rolf. I have passed quiet, blessed days, and I thought all
dreadful things were dead and gone from me. It might have remained so, as
it would still be day for ever if the sun were to stand still in heaven. But ask
this poor darkened earth why she looks so gloomy! Bid her smile as she did
aforetime. Old man, she can smile no more! And now the silent, pitiful
moon, with her pious, shroud-like veil, has gone behind the clouds; she also can
weep no more And now in the dark hour all horrors and madness awake, and
you ... Disturb me not, I tell you! disturb me not! Hurrah! Away
after the pale moon !'
His voice in these last words rose almost to a roar. Violently he tore
himself free from the trembling old man and fled away through the forest.
Rolf knelt down and wept and prayed silently.
Siitene b y te oon, CHAPTER XII.
v HERE the coast rises highest and
Steepest beneath three half-withered
oaks-human sacrifices are said to have been
offered there in heathen days-stood Sintram,
The thst leaning upon his drawn sword, alone and ex-
hausted in the night, which was now again
Brightened by the moon, and looking out
over the distant heavingwaves, and evermore
growing stiff and stony, like an awful enchanted figure changefully lighted up by
the pale moonbeams, which quivered through the branches.
Then, on his left hand, something raised the upper half of its body out ot
the tall, yellow grass, and howled and whined softly, and laid itself down again.
Then the following strange discourse arose between the two companions
of night :-
Thou, there, who moves so fearfully in the grass, art thou of the living or
of the dead ?'
As one may choose to take it. To heaven and joy I am dead; to hell
and sorrow I live.'
'Methinks 1 have heard thee somewhere before ?'
'Art thou, perchance, a restless spirit ? And was thy blood shed here of
yore in the idol sacrifices ?'
'A restless spirit I am. My blood has no man, and can no man, shed
But here have they cast me down,-ah, down a fathomless abyss!'
SINTRAM AND HIS COMPANIONS. 51
'And there thou brakest thy neck ?'
'I am alive, and shall live longer than thou.'
'Thou seemest unto me almost like the mad Pilgrim with the dead men's
am not he, though we are often companions, and hold right friendly
intercourse. But, I tell you, I also look upon him as mad. When I would
urge him on at times, and say to him Take," then he bethinks himself and
points up towards the stars. And again, when I say to him Take not," then
he often does so, and is able to spoil my chief pleasure and delight. But we
are, all the same, brethren-in-arms and kinsmen to one another.'
'Give me thy hand, that I may help thee up.'
'Oho, my obliging youth that might prove but of ill service to thee. But,
in truth, you do indeed help me to rise. Take heed a moment.'
Wilder and still wilder were the motions on the ground. Thick clouds, in
a long mysterious procession, hurried over moon and stars, and Sintram's
thoughts danced a no less strange round, while grass and tree far and near
rustled wildly. At last the dreadful being had raised himself upright. As if
curious, yet fearful, the moon cast a beam through a cleft in the clouds upon
Sintram's companion, and revealed to the shuddering youth that the Little
Master stood by him.
'Away with thee !' he cried. I will hear no more of thy evil stories of
Paris, else should I become wholly mad.'
There needs not the stories of Paris for that,' laughed the Little Master.
'It is enough that the Helen of thy heart journeys towards Montfaucon.
Believe me, then, Madness has thee already by the hair. Or wouldst thou
rather that she should remain ? Then thou must be more courteous to me
than thou wert just now.'
At this the Little Master's voice resounded so angrily over the sea that
Sintram trembled before the dwarf.
'Thou and Gabrielle What dost thou know, then, of Gabrielle ?'
'Not much,' came the answer back; and the Little Master visibly tottered
in angry alarm, and said at length : I cannot endure the name of thy Helen,
and name it not to me ten times in a breath. But if the storms were now to
rise ? If the waves were to swell and roll, a roaring, foaming ring, round the
52 SINTRAM AND HIS COMPANIONS.
shores of Norway ? Then there would be no more thought of the journey to
Montfaucon, and thy Helen would remain here through the whole long, long,
dark winter !'
'If! if!' answered Sintram, disdainfully. Is the sea, then, thy slave ?
Are the storms thy fellows?'
Rebels are they to me Accursed rebels !' muttered the Little Master,
in his red beard. Thou must help me thereto, Sir Sintram, if I am to com-
mand them: but for that again thou hast not the heart!'
'Braggart! Miserable braggart!' exclaimed Sintram. 'What dost thou
require of me ?'
'Not much, Sir Knight. For one who has power and fire in his soul, by
no means much. Thou must only look me thus fixedly and sharply out over
the sea, for the space of half an hour, and cease not to will with all thy might
that it should toss, that it should rage, and never be at rest till the stark
winter rests upon your mountains. That will of itself stop the voyage of Duke
Menelaus to Montfaucon. And give me also a lock of thy black hair. It
flies as madly around thee as the wings of ravens and vultures.'
The young man drew his sharp dagger, and in utter madness cut a lock
from his head, threw it to the stranger, and, according to the latter's desire,
stared, mightily willing, out over the sea-waves.
And gently, quite gently, the waters began to heave, as one who mutters
in a troubled dream, and would rest and yet cannot. Sintram was on the point
of desisting, when a ship passed, going full sail towards the south, through the
moonlight. The anguish of seeing Gabrielle sail away in like manner came
over him. Willing even more strongly, he pierced the water's depths with his
fixed gaze. Sintram,' one might have cried to him, ah, Sintram art thou
really the same who, but a while ago, wert looking into the liquid heaven of
thy mistress's eyes ?'
And the waves swelled more mightily, and the storm came whistling and
sobbing over them; the foaming wave-crests were already visible in the
moonlight. Then the Little Master threw the lock of hair up towards the
clouds, and as it fluttered, and quivered, and hovered, the storm-wind rose so
wrathfully that sea and sky were joined in one cloud, and the yell of anguish
from many thousand sinking seafarers was heard from afar.
SINTRAM AND HIS COMPANIONS. 53
Then came the mad Pilgrim with the dead men's bones past the shore, tall
as a giant, reeling horribly. The vessel on which he stood could not be seen,
so roughly roared the billows all around him.
Him must thou save, Little Master Him must thou save at any rate !'
Thus sounded Sintram's voice, angry, yet beseeching, through the noise of the
winds and waves; but the Little Master answered, laughing:-
'Be easy as to him, he can save himself. The waves do nothing to him.
Seest thou ? They are begging of him, therefore they leap thus high around
him. And he gives them rich alms, very rich alms: of that be sure.'
And in truth it seemed as if the Pilgrim strewed some dead men's bones
upon the waves, and then passed unassailed upon his way.
Then Sintram felt a horrible dread creep through his veins, and rushed
away with wild speed towards the castle.
His companion vanished, as if blown away and scattered.
N the fortress, Biorn and Folko and Gabrielle were sitting round the stone
table, from which, since the arrival of the noble guests, they had removed
the harnesses, heretofore the master's silent companions, and laid them together
in a heap in the neighboring chamber.
This day, while the storm was rattling so violently at the windows and
doors, it seemed as if the old armour were also moving, and Gabrielle started up
several times in terror, and fixed her fair eyes upon the little iron door, dreading
lest some steel-clad spectre should the next moment step out, bowing its mighty
helmet under the low arch.
Sir Biorn smiled wildly at this, and said, as if he had guessed her thoughts :-
'Oh, he comes out no longer; I have driven him away at last.'
His guests gazed at hini, doubtfully, and he began with fearful indifference
-it was as if the storm had aroused all the violence of his nature-the
following narrative :-
I was once a happy man like you, and once could quietly rejoice in the
morrow like you: that was in those days when the hypocritical Chaplain had
not yet confused the clear mind of my beautiful wife with his superstitions, on
account of which she went at last into a convent, and left me alone with our
wild boy. That was not quite fair of the fair Verena! Now, look you,-in
her blooming merry youth, before I knew her, many knights were her suitors,
among them Sir Weigand the Tall, and he it was that the lovely maiden
seemed to incline to with the most satisfaction. Her parents knew well that
Weigand was almost their equal in power and rank ; his fame in arms was
rising, too, splendid and blameless, so that Verena and he were already almost
regarded as bride and bridegroom.
SINTRAM AND HIS COMPANIONS. 55
'Now it happened one day that the pair were walking together under the
trees in the garden, and a shepherd was driving his sheep up the mountain path
outside the fence. The damsel sees amongst them a lamb, snow-white and
skipping about so merrily and charmingly, that she conceives a wish to have it.
'', 'r -.'I
,' __ ,___ .' ...,. -7-' j_ _
and the shepherd rou and roud like all his kind in our country, threatens in
I4 I I .
Weigand, immediately springing over the fence, hastens after the shepherd,
and offers him two golden clasps for the little animal. But the shepherd will
not part with it, and, plods along quietly on his way up the hill, Weigand
walking close beside him. At last the latter's patience givesway. He threatens,
and the shepherd, rough and proud like all his kind in our country, threatens in
56 SINTRAM AND HIS COMPANIONS.
return. Suddenly, Weigand's sword crashes down upon his head. It should,
indeed, have fallen flat; but who can guide an angry steed or a drawn sword ?
With a cloven head the shepherd falls bleeding down the precipice, his flock in
terror run bleating over the hill. But the lamb runs in its flight towards the
garden, squeezes itself through the palings, and lays its head, sprinkled red with
the blood of its master, at Verena's feet. She took it in her arms, and from
that hour never more admitted Weigand to her presence. Then she evermore
nursed the little lamb, and had no joy in anything else in the world, and became
pale, and ever looking heavenward like a lily. She would even then have
entered a convent, but I came to the help of her father in a bloody fray and
brought him safely out of the midst of his enemies. The old man represented
this to her, and, softly smiling, she gave me her fair hand.
'Then the feeling of his sorrow no longer would suffer the poor Weigand to
remain in the country. It drove him out as a pilgrim into Asia, whence our
forefathers came, and he is said to have achieved wonderful things there in
bravery and in humility. In truth, my heart softened strangely when I heard
him spoken of in those days. After many years he returned, and wished to
build a church and a convent on the western hills, from whence the walls of my
castle can be seen to gleam. They say he would willingly have been made a
priest therein himself, but it fell out otherwise. For some pirate ships had come
sailing up out of the Southern Seas, and hearing of the building of the cloister,
their captain thought to find much gold with the lord of the castle and the
masters of the work, or else he would fall upon and carry them off to obtain a
mighty ransom from them. He could certainly have known little of the arms
or the courage of the North, but he soon obtained that knowledge. Landing in
yonder bay on the black rock, he crept through by-ways to the building place,
surrounded it, and thought the chief of the business was finished. Hey, but
how Weigand and his fellow-builders fell upon them with swords, and hammers,
and axes! The heathen ran in haste to their ships, with Weigand, vengeful,
at their heels.
So he passed before our castle, and just as he beheld Verena upon the
balcony, and for the first time for many years she greeted the ardent victor with
kindness, a heathen dagger, in despair thrown backward, pierced his unhelmed
head, and, bleeding and senseless, he sank upon the ground. We drove away
SINTRAM AND HIS COMPANIONS. 57
the heathen utterly. Then I caused the wounded knight to be borne into the
castle, and my pale Verena glowed like a lily in the morning light; and Weigand
opened his eyes at her presence with a smile. He would have no other chamber
than that little one close by, where the armour lies. That seemed to him,"
he said, "like the little cell which he soon hoped to inhabit in penitence in his
Everything was done according to his wish. My beautiful Verena nursed
him, and he seemed at first in the straight path to recovery : but his head
remained weak and confused at the slightest cause; his gait was a stagger rather
than a walk, and his hue as pale as death. We could not let him go. So, when
we sat together, in the evening he would come tottering into the hall, through
the little door there; and I was often sore and angry at heart when Verena's
lovely eyes beamed so mildly and sweetly upon him, and a blush like sunset
flitted over her lily cheek. But I bore it; I should have borne it to the end of
us all. Woe is me Then Verena went into the convent.'
He fell forward upon his folded hands, so that the table groaned, and he
remained motionless awhile like one dead. When he raised himself up again at
length, he flashed angry glances through the hall, and said to Folko:-
'Thy beloved Hamburgers-Master Gotthard Lenz and Master Rudlieb
his son-theirs is the guilt of this also. Ha who told them to be stranded
here, so near my castle ? '
Folko darted a piercing look at him, and was on the point of uttering a
terrible question, but another look at the trembling Gabrielle made him hold his
peace, at least for the present; and Sir Biorn went on with his story, in this
'Verena was with her nuns; I, alone; and my grief had driven me wildly the
live-long day through forest and woodland, stream and mountain. Then in the
dusk I come back to my desolate castle, and hardly do I set foot within the hall
here when the little door creaks, and Weigand creeps to meet me (he had
slept through everything), and asks, "Where tarries Verena ?" Thereat I
became as if mad, and ground my teeth and howled at him, "She is gone
mad! and I too! and thou! We are all mad now !" Then the wound
in his head burst open, and dark streams rushed over his face. Ah! what a
different red from that when Verena came to meet him in the doorway and
58 SINTRAM AND HIS COMPANIONS.
he raved and ran out into the wilderness, and roams about there ever since-
a lunatic pilgrim.'
He was silent, and Gabrielle was silent, and Folko; all three cold and
pale as images of the dead. At last the terrible speaker added softly, and quite
'Since that time he has visited me once again ; but through the little door
he comes no longer. Have not I truly procured myself quiet and order within
S INTRAM was not yet re-
turned home, when, in chill
horror, they betook themselves to
rest. No one thought of him, each
heart was so oppressed with strange forebodings and vague disquietude. Even
the heart of the hero of Montfaucon throbbed in inward conflict.
Without in the forest sat old Rolf, still weeping, his white head exposed
unheeding to the storm, and waited for his young master. But he was
travelling other paths. Not till broad day did he enter the castle, and then
from the opposite side.
Gabrielle had slept sweetly through the night. It was as if golden-winged
angels had wafted away the wild stories of the night, and brought her the bright
flowers and mirror-like lakes and green hills of her home. She smiled sweetly
and breathed calmly, while the magic storm howled over the forests and waged
war with the tormented sea.
But, indeed, when she awoke the next morning, and the windows were still
rattling, and the clouds, as if dissolved in mist and vapour, still hid the heavens,
she could have wept with anxiety and heaviness; all the more as Folko had
already gone forth from her apartments, and, as her ladies told her while she
dressed, armed for battle.
At the same time she heard from the echoing halls without the tread of
heavy-armed men, and learned that Montfaucon had summoned his whole armed
60 SINTRAM AND HIS COMPANIONS.
retinue to be ready for the protection of their lady. Wrapped in her swelling
ermine furs, she looked in her terror like a delicate flower blossoming through
the snow, and bending before the winter storm. Then Sir Folko came into the
chamber in his splendid glittering armour, with the golden helmet with its high-
waving plume under his arm, and greeted her cheerfully but gravely. His sign
dismissed Gabrielle's women; they heard the armed men outside separate quietly.
SDame,' he said, and led her, who was already comforted by his presence,
to a couch, sitting down beside her. Dame, will you forgive your knight,
if he left you for a moment in anxiety, for honour summoned him, and stern
justice ? Now all is settled, and that quietly and peaceably, forget every alarm;
and whatever may have disturbed you place among the things which are no
'But you and Biorn ?' asked Gabrielle.
'On my knightly word of honour,' said Folko, all is right there !'
And thereupon he began to chat about cheerful and indifferent things with
his wonted grace and courtesy, but Gabrielle, deeply moved, leaned upon him,
Folko O my hero the bloom of my life, my protector, and my dearest
weal upon earth, let me know everything, if thou mayest. But if a promise
given binds thee, that is another thing. Thou knowest that I come of the race
of Portamour, and will never desire of my knight aught that could cast the sus-
picion of a breath on his spotless shield.'
Folko looked straight before him for a moment, gravely, and then smiled
kindly in his lady's face, saying :-
It is not that, Gabrielle; but wilt thou be able to bear it, if I tell it thee?
Wilt thou not sink down like a slender pine under a weight of snow ? '
She drew herself up proudly, and said :-
I reminded thee of the name of my fathers even now. Let me now add
thereto, that I am the wedded wife of the Baron of Montfaucon.'
'So be it, then !' answered Folko, bending gravely. And what must
some time or other come into the light of the sun, to which its dark nature
does not belong, does so least fearfully in a sudden flash. Know, then,
Gabrielle, the wicked knight who would have slain my friends, Gotthard and
Rudlieb, is no other than our host and cousin, Biorn Flame-eye!'
SINTRAM AND HIS COMPANIONS. 61
Gabrielle shuddered a moment, and then covered her face with her fair
hands. Then she looked wonderingly round, and said:-
'I have not heard aright, although yesterday a foreboding of such a thing
struck me. But did you not say that all was arranged between you and Biorn,
and that in a peaceful and friendly manner ? Between the brave Baron and
such a man after such a crime ?'
'You heard aright,' said Folko, and gazed with heartfelt pleasure on his
gentle lady, who yet was as proud as a knight. To-day, with the earliest
dawn, I went down to him, and called him out to battle for life and death in the
woody valley near at hand, if he were the man whose castle should have been
the place of sacrifice for Gotthard and Rudlieb. He stood there already fully
armed, and merely saying, I am he," strode after me to the forest. But
when we were alone together upon the place of combat he cast his shield
away from him down a giddy precipice, and his sword after it, and then tore
open his shirt of mail with two gigantic clutches, and said :-
*" Now strike, Sir Judge for I am a great sinner, and I dare not fight
'How could I strike him ? So we made a strange kind of reconciliation.
He is, as it were, half my vassal, and on my part I absolved him from all guilt
solemnly, in my own name and that of my friends. He was crushed, yet no
tear came to his-eye, and no friendly word .to his lips. That which oppresses
him is the stern justice which has invested me with this power. And so Biorn
has become my vassal upon his own fief. I know not, lady, if you are willing
to see us together on these terms; if not, I will seek out an abode in another
castle. There is not one in Norway which will not receive us with joy and
honour; and this wild autumn storm may postpone our voyage yet for a long
time. Yet, I think, were we to part now, and in such a manner, it would
break the wild man's heart.'
Wherever my great lord abides, there will I also abide, joyful in his
protection,' returned Gabrielle, and felt the greatness of her hero shine into her
heart once more with great delight.
T HE noble lady had just disarmed her knight with her own soft hands, for,
according to her order, it was only in the field that page or squire might
have aught to do with Montfaucon's armour; and she was hanging round him
his mantle of sky-blue velvet bordered with gold when the door opened softly,
and Sintram, with a humble salutation, entered the room.
Gabrielle at first, as she was wont, gave him a friendly welcome; but
suddenly turning pale, she turned from him and said :-
SIn God's name, Sintram, why do you look thus ? And how has a single
night been able to change you so terribly ?'
Sintram stood still as if thunderstruck, and himself knew not well what had
Then Folko took him by the hand and led him towards a shield, bright as a
mirror, and said, very gravely :
Look here a moment, my young knight.'
Sintram started back in horror at the first glance. It seemed to him as it
the Little Master, with the single upright feather of his strange head-gear, were
reflected there ; but at length he saw clearly that the figure in the mirror was
himself alone, and no one else, and that it was the mad dagger-cut in his locks
which had given him so altered and, as he could not deny, so spectral an
Who has done this to you?' asked Folko, still grave and severe; 'and
what terror has made your dishevelled and torn hair start up in this manner?'
Sintram could not answer. He felt as if he were standing before the
judgment-seat, and his knighthood were about to be stripped from him with
SINTRAM AND HIS COMPANIONS. 63
Suddenly Folko drew him away from the shield and towards the rattling
windows, and asked:-
Whence comes this tempest?'
Again Sintram was silent. His limbs began to shake, and Gabrielle
whispered, pale and trembling:-
O Folko, my hero, what has happened ? O tell me, have we entered an
enchanted castle ?'
Our northern home,' answered Folko, solemnly, is rich in many a secret
art. One may not on that account call the people wizards, but the young man
there has cause to beware; whom the Evil One has once seized by the hair of
Sintram heard no more. He reeled, groaning, out of the chamber. Outside
he met old Rolf, still stiff and numb with the hailstones and howling storms of
the night. He, only glad to have his young master back again, did not
perceive the latter's disturbed appearance, but while he attended him to his
bed-chamber he said :-
'Witches and weather-makers must have been playing their pranks on the
sea-shore. I know such violent changes in the air do not come to pass without
Sintram swooned away, and only with difficulty did Rolf restore him so far
that he was able to appear in the hall at dinner. But before he went down he
had a bright shield brought, looked again at himself in it, and cut off, with a
shudder, the rest of his long black hair with his dagger, so that he looked like a
monk; and thus he went in to the others, who were already at table.
They all gazed at him in wonder, but old Biorn said in anger, starting
Wilt thou also enter a cloister, like thy fair lady-mother ?'
A commanding gesture from the Baron reined in the rest of this outburst,
and, as if to make amends, Biorn added, with a forced smile:-
I wonder only, whether anything has happened to him such as happened to
Absalom, and he must be freed from the snare with the loss of his locks ?'
You should not jest with holy things,' said the Baron, now become severe.
And all were silent; and as soon as the table was removed, Folko and
Gabrielle, after a grave and courteous greeting, returned to their apartments.
/ f- IFE in the castle took from that day an entirely
Gabrielle gracious but lofty, remained for the
Stumble in their presence. Yet the lord of the
IFcastle could not endure the thought that his guests should leave him for the
hearth of any other knight. When Foko spoke once thereof, something like a
Gabrielle --gracious but lofty, remained for the
tear came into the wild man's eye. His head drooped, and he said in a low
'As you will; but I think next day I shall dash myself down the rocks.'
appSo they remained together, for the storm and sea raged ever more violent
so that no voyage was to be thought of, and the oldestrn and Sintram stood timidlysuch
autumn in Norway. The priests searched their books in Runic character,d of the
scalds looked to their sagas and songs, and found nothing like it.
castleBiorn and Sintram defied the bad weat his guests should few him fours whe
kohearth and Gabriee appeared, father andFolko spoke on were in the castle as theirke a
respectful attendants; the rest of the day, and often throughout the night, theyin a low
'As you will ; but I think next day I shall dash myself down the rocks.'
So they remained together, for the storm and sea raged ever more violently,
so that no voyage was to be thought of, and the oldest could remember no such
autumn in Norway. The priests searched their books in Runic character, the
scalds looked to their sagas and songs, and found nothing like it.
Biorn and Sintram defied the bad weather. During the few hours when
Folko and Gabrielle appeared, father and son were in the castle as their
respectful attendants ; the rest of the day, and often throughout the night, they
rushed through the woods and mountain valleys chasing bears.
Meanwhile Folko exerted every charm of his mind, every grace of his noble
manners, to make Gabrielle forget that she was dwelling in this wild castle, and
that the stark Norwegian winter was already coming up to freeze her in for
SINTRAM AND HIS COMPANIONS. 65
months together. Now he would tell merry tales, now he would play joyous
tunes, and bid Gabrielle lead off the dance with her women; now, resigning his
lute to one of the damsels, he would himself mingle in the dance, and knew how
to show his devotion to his lady in some ever new manner. Again he would
arrange martial exercises and contests between his armed men, and Gabrielle
always had a pretty jewel to bestow upon the winners. Often he would himself
join the combatants, but only to defend himself against their attacks and deprive
no one of the prize. The Norwegians, who stood round as spectators, would
compare him to the demi-god Baldur of their sagas, when he let the weapons of
the other Ase be aimed at him-in sport, conscious of his majesty and invul-
After such a contest old Rolf stepped up to him one day, beckoned him
aside with kindly respect, and said softly :-
'They call you the beautiful and mighty Baldur, and they are right; but
even the beautiful and mighty Baldur perished. Be on your guard !'
Folko looked at him wonderingly.
'Not,' continued the old man, that I know of any plot against you, or can
even distantly suspect such a thing. God keep a Norseman from such a fear !
But as you stand before me so glittering and glorious, the transitoriness of all
things earthly comes with power into my mind, and I can do no other than speak
to you. Beware ah, beware, noble Baron even the fairest glory passes away.'
'These are good and pious thoughts,' replied Folko, kindly, 'and I will
preserve them in a heedful heart, my faithful old father.'
The pious Rolf was, indeed, much with Folko and Gabrielle, and formed a
kind of bond between the two so different households. For how could he ever
leave his Sintram ? Only he was no longer able to follow him in his wild
chases through the fierce storm and rain.
At last the bright winter in his full majesty was there. The homeward
voyage to Normandy was now otherwise prevented, and the magic storms were
silent. Brightly shone the white plains and mountains in their holiday attire of
hoar-frost, and sometimes Folko, with skates on his feet, would wing his lady
swift as the wind on a light sledge over the crystal-shining, hard-frozen lakes and
rivers. On the other hand, the bear-hunts of the lord of the castle and his son
went on even more boldly, aye, almost joyously.
66 SINTRAM AND HIS COMPANIONS.
About this time-Christmas was already at hand, and Sintram was seeking to
stifle the dread of his approaching dreams in the wildest pursuits of the chase-
about this time, Folko and Gabrielle were standing one day together upon one
of the balconies of the castle. It was just then a mild evening, the snow-
covered country shone pleasantly in the glowing red gleams of the sinking sun;
in the smithy below men were singing at their noble work songs from the old
heroic age. At length, however, the song ceased, the hammer-stroke rested,
and while the speakers remained invisible and their voices were not to be recog-
nised, the following discourse began:-
'Who is the boldest warrior among all those who have sprung from our
SHe is Folko of Montfaucon.'
'Well answered. But tell me, is there nothing, then, from the achievement
of which the great Baron turns away? '
'Aye, surely, there is such a thing; and we who have remained at home
here in Norway, we do it quite merrily and with ease.'
'And that is- ?'
'The bear-hunt in winter, down precipices hard frozen, and away over
Truly thou sayest right, comrade. He who knows not how to fasten our
show-shoes on his feet, and knows not how to turn himself upon them right and
left, in the twinkling of an eye, may be a mighty knight elsewhere; but here in
our mountains, and on our hunts, he had better keep away, and stay with his
pretty wife in her chamber.'
They heard the speakers laughing together, well pleased; and then setting
to work again at their mighty forge. Folko stood still a long time in thought.
Something besides the evening red glowed in his cheeks. Gabrielle, too, was
musing in deep silence. At last she took courage, wound her arms round her
love, and said :-
Is it not so ? Thou wilt go bear-hunting to-morrow, and bring thy dame
home the spoils of the chase ?'
The Knight bowed his joyful assent, and the rest of the evening passed away
in the dance and the music of the lute.
EE, noble lord,' said Sintram, next morning, on learning Folko's desire to
go out with him, 'our snow-shoes, which we call Skier," wing our course
indeed so that we go downhill fleet as the wind, and uphill faster than any one
can follow, and on the plain no horse can overtake us; but it is only the
experienced master whom they serve for good. It is as if the spirit of a goblin
were confined in them, fearfully destructive to the stranger who has not learned
to use them from his childhood.'
Somewhat proudly, Folko replied:-
Is this, then, the first time that I have been among your mountains ? I
have followed this sport years ago, and, thank God every knightly exercise
comes easy to me.'
Sintram dared object no further, still less old Biorn. They both felt more
at ease when they saw with what skill and confidence Folko buckled the skier'
to his feet, not allowing any one to help him. The train set forth up the
mountain in pursuit of a long-threatened and bloodthirsty bear. They were
soon compelled to separate, and Sintram offered himself as the Baron's com-
panion. The latter, touched by the deep humility and submission of the youth,
forgot all that had of late appeared suspicious about his pale, changed form, and
spoke a very kindly Yes.'
Now as they climbed higher and higher on the white mountains, and from
many a giddy height looked over the lesser peaks and crags, as over an ocean
suddenly turned to stone, or rather to ice, in the midst of some raging storm,
Montfaucon's strong breast heaved ever freer and more glad. He chanted war-
songs and love-songs out into the sharp blue air-lays from his distant Frankish
home-the echo of which resounded as if in wonder from the chaos of rocks.
68 SINTRAM AND HIS COMPANIONS.
Meanwhile he climbed uphill and shot downhill in merry sport, used his sup-
porting staff surely and strongly, and swerved right and left according to his
pleasure, so that Sintram's first anxiety was changed into admiring wonder; and
the hunters, who had still kept the Baron in sight, broke out into loud shouts
of praise, the whole band proclaiming again and again this new triumph of
The fortune which almost always attended the noble Folko in his feats of
arms seemed resolved not to desert him in this also. He and Sintram, after a
short search, found the sure trace of the beast of prey, and followed it with
joyfully beating hearts and such tempestuous haste that even a winged foe would
not have been able to escape from their pursuit. But he whom they sought
thought not of flight. Sullenly he lay in the caves of an almost sheer precipice
near the summit, angry at the tumult of the chase, and waiting only in his lazy
wrath till one of his enemies should venture up, and he might seize him bloodily.
Folko and Sintram were now close upon the rock, the rest scattered wide over
the intricate windings of the waste.
The track led upwards, and the two hunters climbed after it from different
sides, that their prey might the less easily escape them. Folko stood first upon
the summit, and gazed around. A wide expanse of snow stretched away before
him further than the eye could reach, lost, in the far distance, in the clouds,
which were already darkening towards evening. He began to think he had left
the track of his terrible game, but a roar sounded from the rocky hollow close
by, and, black and ungainly, the bear raised himself from the snow and stood
erect, moving with sparkling eyes towards the Baron. Sintram meanwhile
was striving in vain to climb the height, contending with masses of snow, which
were continually gliding down.
Rejoicing in a conflict long unattempted, and which had become almost new
again to him, Sir Folko of Montfaucon poised his hunting-spear, and awaited the
monster's attack. He allowed it to come quite close to him, so that it was
already stretching out its fierce paws towards him, and then launched his thrust,
and the head of the spear went deep into the bear's breast. But the hideous foe
still pressed forward, howling and roaring; the cross-bar of the spear alone held
him off, and the Knight was forced to plant himself firmly in the snow to resist
the fierce onset, with the horrible, bloodthirsty beast's face close before his eyes,
SINTRAM AND HIS COMPANIONS. 69
and the hoarse roar, uttered half in the agony of death, half in lust of blood, in
his ears. At last the raging strength of the bear grew weaker, and the dark
blood streamed rapidly over the snow. He tottered ; a powerful thrust threw
him backward, and he fell silently down the steep precipice. Just at the same
moment Sintram stood beside the Baron.
Panting, Folko said :-
After all I have not yet the spoils of the chase in my hands. And have
them I must, as sure as I have succeeded in winning them! Only the snow-
shoe on my right foot seems to be damaged. Thinkest thou, Sintram, that it
will serve me to glide down over the descent?'
Let me rather go down,' answered Sintram; I will bring you the bear's
head and claws.'
'A true knight,' answered Folko, somewhat vexed, 'does no knightly deeds
by halves. I ask you, whether or not my snow-shoe will hold firm ?'
While Sintram bent down, and was on the point of saying 'No,' when
some one quite close to him said, suddenly:-
Yes, indeed ; of course!'
Folko thought Sintram had spoken, and darted away like an arrow, while
the latter looked round in astonishment. The Little Master's hated form
met his eye.
He was just about to address him in anger, when he heard the fearful fall of
the Baron, and was silent with horror. Below in the abyss all remained still,
and without a sound.
Now wherefore tarriest thou ?' said the Little Master. He has broken
his neck! Go home to the castle and take the fair Helen to thyself.'
Sintram shuddered. Then began his hideous companion to extol the charms
of Gabrielle in such glowing, enchanting words, that the youth's heart swelled
with a hitherto unknown longing. He thought of him who had fallen only as a
wall of division between himself and heaven now torn down, and turned towards
Then a cry sounded from the chasm:-
'My comrade help Comrade I yet live, but I am sore hurt !'
Sintram would go down, and was already calling to the Baron, 'I come;'
but the Little Master said,-
70 SINTRAM AND HIS COMPANIONS.
There is no help for the shattered Duke Menelaus, and the fair Helen
knows it already, and is waiting for Sir Paris to come and console her.'
And with horrible cunning he twined the old tale into his life, and mingled
with it his flame-breathing praises of the fair woman ; and, alas the dazzled
youth yielded to him, and fled!
He still heard, indeed, from afar, the call of the Baron :-
'Sir Sintram! Sir Sintram thou to whom I gave the holy order, haste
thee now and help! The she-bear comes with her young, and my arm is
disabled. Sir Sintram! Sir Sintram Haste thee and help!'
The cry died away in the stormy speed with which the pair rushed thence
on their snowshoes, and in the wicked words of the Little Master, who scoffed
at the pride with which the Duke Menelaus had met the poor Sintram so
lately. At length he cried :-
'Good luck to thee, my lady-bearess! Good luck to you, my young bear-
boys Now ye hold a rare feast! Now ye feed upon the terror of heathen-
dom, him who made the Moorish brides weep, the great Baron of Montfaucon !
Now no more, O my delicate Sir Knight now no more wilt thou shout before
the hosts, "Montjoy Saint Denis!"'
But hardly had this holy name left the Little Master's lips when he raised
a dismal howl, writhed convulsively to and fro, and finally fled away, whining
and ringing his hands, into the snow-storm which was now beginning.
Sintram thrust his staff against the earth and stopped himself. How strange
did the wide snowfield and the far-reaching mountains and black forests look to
him in the frozen, threatening silence He thought he must sink under the
weight of his misery and his guilt. The sound of a bell from a distant
hermitage struck mournfully on his ear.
He wept aloud in the fast-falling night. 'My mother! My mother! I
once had a loving mother, and she said I was a pious child.'
Then came to him, as it were, comfort from the angels. Montfaucon
might not even yet be dead, and quick as lightning he flew back on the
way to the precipice. Arrived at the dreadful spot he stooped, looking
anxiously over the edge; the moon just rising in full splendour came to
Sir Folko leaned, bleeding and pale, half kneeling, against the rock, his
SINTRAM AND HIS COMPANIONS. 71
right arm hung down shattered and powerless : it was easy to see that he could
not have drawn his good sword from its sheath. Yet with his heroic look
and defiant, threatening bearing, he kept the bear and her young at a distance,
so that they crept round him growling angrily, ready each moment for a furious
attack, and yet again shrinking each moment from the warrior, dauntless, though
'0 what a hero might have perished here !' sighed Sintram; 'and, alas !
through whose guilt?'
72 SINTRAM AND HIS COMPANIONS.
In a moment his javelin flew in well-aimed flight, and the bear gasped in
her blood, and the young ones fled away howling.
The Baron looked up in wonder. His countenance shone transfigured in
the moonlight, grave, severe, and kindly, like a vision of an angel. Come
down,' he beckoned, and Sintram slid down with hasty caution. He was about
to busy himself with the wounded man, but Folko said, 'First take the head
and claws of the bear which I slew. I have promised the prize of the chase to
my fair Gabrielle. Then come to me and bind my wounds. My right arm is
Sintram did according to the Baron's command. When the pledges of
victory were taken, the shattered arm set, Folko bade the youth lead him to
O God if I durst only look you in the face !' said Sintram, softly; 'or if
I knew at all how I dare approach you !'
Thou wert indeed on an evil path,' returned Montfaucon, gravely; 'but
what are we men in the sight of God, even the best of us, were it not for
repentance ? After all, thou art he who has saved my life, and so be of good
The youth grasped the Baron gently and firmly under the left arm, and the
two went their way silently in the moonlight.
SOUNDS of lamentation met them from the castle; the chapel was
solemnly lighted up; Gabrielle knelt there in prayer, bewailing- the
death of the Knight of Montfaucon.
But how quickly was everything changed, when the noble Baron, pale
indeed and bloody, but escaped from all danger to his life, stood at the entrance
to the sacred building, and said, softly and cheerfully :-
Calm thyself, Gabrielle, and shrink not from me, for by the honour of my
race thy knight lives.'
O how full of soul did Gabrielle's heavenly eyes beam towards her hero,
and then turn again to heaven, still streaming, but with the blessed tears of
thankful joy! With the help of two of his pages, Folko knelt beside her,
and they hallowed their happiness with silent prayer.
As the wounded Knight, carefully led by his fair lady, left the chapel,
Sintram stood outside, gloomy as night, and shy as its birds. Yet he
stepped forward hesitatingly into the glare of the torches, laid the bear's head
and claws at Gabrielle's feet, and said:-
These has the great Baron of Montfaucon won for his lady, as the prize
of to-day's chase.'
The Norsemen broke out into a shout of triumph, wondering at the foreign
knight who on his first expedition had slain the noblest and most redoubtable
of all the beasts of prey on their mountains. At this Folko looked round the
circle smiling, and said:-
You must none of you laugh at me after this, if I remain for the present
in my chamber with my pretty wife.'
Then those who the evening before had been the speakers at the smith's
forge stepped forward, bowing low, and replied:-
74 SINTRAM AND HIS COMPANIONS.
'Sir, who could know that there is no knightly exercise in the world in
which thou hast not the mastery over all other men?'
Something might, however, have been trusted to the pupil of the old Sir
Hugh,' returned Folko, kindly. But now, ye brave Norsemen, praise me
my deliverer also, who saved me from the paws of the she-bear when I was
leaning against the rock wounded by my fall.'
He pointed to Sintram, and the universal shout of triumph was renewed,
and old Rolf bowed his head, with tears of joy, over his foster-son's hand.
But Sintram drew back with a shudder.
If you knew,' said he, 'whom ye have before you, your lances would fly
against my breast; and perhaps that would be the best thing for me. Yet I will
spare the honour of my father and of my race, and make no confession at this
time. Only thus much, noble Norse warriors, must ye know--
'Young man,' said Folko, interrupting him with a reproving look, again
thus wild and confused I desire that you keep silence about your vain
At first Sintram obeyed the Baron's command, but hardly had he, with a
smile, turned to ascend the steps into the castle, when he cried:-
Oh, no, thou noble, wounded hero, hold yet a moment I will serve thee
in all else thy heart desires; herein I cannot obey thee. Ye noble Norse
warriors, thus much ye must and shall know. I am no longer worthy to dwell
under the same roof with the great Baron of Montfaucon and with his angel-
pure spouse Gabrielle. And, my father, who art growing old, good night, and
long no more for me. In the Steinburg, on the Moon Rock, am I purposed to
dwell till things shall be otherwise in some way or other.'
There was something in his speech which no one could oppose, not even
Folko himself. The wild Biorn bowed his head submissively and said:-
Do your pleasure henceforth, my poor son, for I fear thou art wholly in
Then Sintram passed, solemn and silent, through the gate of the castle,
and went away, with good Rolf after him. Gabrielle led the exhausted Baron
to his chamber.
T was a gloomy journey which the youth and his old foster-father made
towards the Moon Rock, through the desolate winding valley covered with
ice and snow. By times Rolf sang verses of spiritual songs, wherein comfort
and peace are promised to the repentant sinner; and Sintram looked at him in
return with grateful sadness. Otherwise neither of them spoke a word.
At length-it was already verging towards the dawn-Sintram broke the
silence by saying :-
'Who are the pair there, sitting by the frozen woodland stream-a tall and
a little man ? Their own wild hearts doubtless have driven them also out into
the wilderness. Rolf, knowest thou them ?'
Sir,' answered the old man, your confused senses lead you astray. There
yonder stands a tall fir-sapling, and beside it a little weather-beaten oak-bush,
half covered with snow, so that it looks strangely. No men are sitting there.'
'Rolf, look yonder Look again, right keenly They are moving they
whisper together !'
'Sir, the morning breeze moves the branches, and rustles in the pine-
needles and the yellow dead leaves, and ruffles up the snow.
'Rolf, now they are both coming towards us! now they stand close
Sir, it is we who, as we move, draw nearer to them, and the setting moon
casts the shadows so great and broad across the valley.'
76 SINTRAM AND HIS COMPANIONS.
Good evening !' said a hollow voice; and Sintram recognized the mad
Pilgrim, beside whom the ugly Little Master stood, looking more hideous than
You were right, Sir Knight,' said Rolf in a whisper, and drew back behind
Sintram, crossing himself on forehead and breast.
But the bewildered youth stepped to meet the two figures, saying:-
You have always shown a wonderful pleasure in being my companions.
What mean you thereby? And will ye go with me now to the Steinburg ?
There will I tend thee, poor pale pilgrim And as for you, horrible Master,
wickedest of dwarfs, you will I make shorter by a head as payment for
That might be,' laughed the Little Master. And thou wouldst think,
forsooth, thou hadst so done the whole world a great service. And, truly, who
knows? Something, after all, might be gained thereby. Only, poor fellow!
thou canst not do it.'
But the Pilgrim meanwhile nodded his head to and fro, saying:-
I verily believe thou wouldst gladly have me, and I would gladly come;
but I may not yet. Have patience awhile. Thou wilt surely see me come,
but later; and we must first together visit thy father, and then thou wilt learn
to know me by my name, my poor friend.'
'If thou cross me yet again!' threatened the Little Master, looking up at
the Pilgrim; but the latter pointed with his long lean hand towards the rising
sun, and said :-
Hinder that and hinder me, if thou canst.'
Then the first beams fell upon the snow, and the Little Master ran
grumbling down a ravine; but the Pilgrim strode away in the transfiguring
rays, with great tranquillity and solemnity, towards a neighboring mountain
castle. Not long after the death-bell sounded from its chapel.
'In God's name,' whispered the pious Rolf to his knight,' in God's name,
Sir Sintram, what kind of companions are these of yours ? The one cannot
bear the light of the good God's fair sun, the other hardly enters a dwelling
ere the tidings of death wail after his footsteps. Can he perchance be a
Not that, I believe,' said Sintram. He seems to me to be the better of
SINTRAM AND HIS COMPANIONS. 77
the two. Only it is a strange obstinacy that he will not come to me. I
invited him kindly, did I not ? I think he sings well, and he should have sung
me a lullaby. Since my mother has lived in the cloister no one sings me
lullabies any more.'
At this gentle recollection his eyes began to be moist. He himself knew
not what he had been saying, for he was quite wild and confused in mind.
They arrived at the Moon Rock. They climbed up the Steinburg. The
Castellan, a grim old man, particularly devoted to the young Knight on account
of his melancholy and gloomy, wild behaviour, hastened to let fall the draw-
bridge. Silently did they greet one another, silently did Sintram enter, and the
joyless gates clashed to behind the would-be hermit.
_A HERMIT in truth, or something but
little more social, had poor Sintram
__ ~ now become For, towards the approaching
_"_ holy Christmas-tide, his fearful dreams came
upon him, and seized him this time with such
horrors that servants and followers ran screaming out of the castle, and would
not venture back again. No one remained with him but old Rolf and the
Sintram, indeed, became tranquil again, but he went about so still and pale
that he might have been taken for a walking corpse. None of the good Rolf's
consolations, no happy, godly songs, could any longer avail; and the Castellan,
with his wild, scarred face, his head rendered almost bald by a huge sword-cut,
and his sullen silence, was almost to look upon like the yet darker shadow of
the unhappy Knight. Rolf thought of summoning the God-gifted Chaplain from
Drontheim; but how could he leave his master alone with the gloomy Castellan,
a man who always caused him secret fear ? Biorn had long kept this wild,
strange warrior in his service, and honoured him for his rock-like fidelity and his
impetuous courage, without himself or any one else at all knowing whence the
man came or who in truth he was. Very few indeed knew even his name,
which, besides, was the less needful, as he never entered into discourse with
any one. He was just the Warden of the Steinburg on the Moon Rock, and
SINTRAM AND HIS COMPANIONS. 79
Rolf therefore committed the deep troubles of his heart to the good God,
trusting that in due time He would help. And the good God did help; for just
on the holy Christmas Eve the bell of the drawbridge sounded, and when Rolf
looked over the battlements the Chaplain of Drontheim stood there, in strange
company indeed, for beside him was the mad Pilgrim, and the dead men's bones
on his mantle glimmered ghastly in the starlight. But the presence of the
Chaplain filled the good Rolf with too much joy to allow room for any
doubt at all; for,' he thought, whoever comes with him, comes rightly.'
Therefore he admitted them both with respectful haste, and led them up
into the hall, where Sintram sat, pale and motionless, beneath the light of a
single flickering lamp. Rolf was forced to lead and support the Pilgrim up the
steps, for he was quite numb and stiff with frost.
SI bring you a greeting from your mother,' said the Chaplain as he entered,
and a sweet smile stole over the young Knight's countenance, and his deathly
pallor yielded to a soft red.
S0 God !' he whispered, lives my mother still ? And does she yet wish
to know anything of me ?'
'She is gifted with a high and mighty power of secret knowledge,' answered
the Chaplain; 'and what you do, and what you leave undone, all is imaged to
her, sometimes waking, sometimes in dreams, faithfully in many wonderful
forms. Now she knows of your deep suffering, and she sends me, who am the
Confessor of her convent, to comfort you, but at the same time to warn you;
for, as she asserts, and as I also am disposed to believe, many and singularly
heavy trials lie before you.
Sintram bent forward, with his hands crossed upon his breast, and said,
Much has been vouchsafed to me, more than in my boldest moments I
could have ventured to hope, ten thousand times more in my mother's greeting
and your address, reverend sir, and all this after falling so terribly low as I have
but just done. The Lord's mercy is great, and let Him send ever so heavy a
burthen of penance and trial, I hope with His help to be able to bear it.'
Just then the door opened and the Castellan entered, carrying a torch, in
the glowing light of which he himself looked the colour of blood. He gazed
with dismay on the mad Pilgrim, who had just sunk swooning on a seat sup-
80 SINTRAM AND HIS COMPANIONS.
ported and tended by Rolf; then he stared with astonishment in the Chaplain's
face, and murmured:-
A strange meeting! I believe the hour for confession and reconciliation
'I believe so, too,' replied the Priest, who had caught the low whisper.
'This seems to be in truth a blessed day, rich in grace. The poor man there,
whom I found half frozen upon the way here, would not follow me to a warm
fireside till he had first confessed to me. Do as he did, my dark, fire-lightened
warrior, and do not put off your good purpose for a second.'
Thereupon he went out of the room with the Castellan, who beckoned to
him, and turned back to say :-
'Knight and Squire, take good care of my sick charge meanwhile.'
Sintram and Rolf obeyed the Chaplain's behest, and as under their
cordials the Pilgrim opened his eyes, the young Knight said with a kindly
So now thou visitest me after all! Why didst thou refuse me, then,
when I entreated thee so earnestly a few nights since ? I may indeed
have spoken somewhat strangely and violently. Wert thou terrified threat,
A sudden terror quivered over the Pilgrim's face, but he looked up directly,
gently and kindly, at Sintram, saying:-
'Good sir, I am wholly devoted to you. But speak not of the things which
have occurred between you and me. It is always so terrible to me For, Sir,
either I am mad, and have forgotten it all, or he who appears to me like my
mighty twin-brother must have met you in the wood.'
Sintram laid his hand upon his mouth as he answered:-
Speak no more of it. I will gladly be silent.'
Neither he nor Rolf knew precisely what was so terrible to them in the
matter, but both trembled.
After a silence the Pilgrim said:-
Rather will I sing you a song-a sweet, comfortable song. Have you not
a lute at hand ?'
Rolf brought one forth, and the Pilgrim, sitting half upright in the arm-chair,
sang the following words:-
SINTRAM AND HIS COMPANIONS. 81
SWhoso nigh unto his bourn,
Feels thrilling through his limbs a warning breeze,
Let him turn;
Turn with hands, with spirit yearn,
Upward to the door of grace,
His hope there place,
And God will grant him ease.
'See you the East all sparkling ?
Hear you the Angel singing,
Through the young morning's breath?
Thus have you long strayed, darkling;
And now, assistance bringing,
Comes mild and gracious Death.
Greet him with friendly measures,
And he grows friendly too,
And turns your pains to pleasures:
So is he wont to do.
'Whoso nigh unto his bourn,
Feels thrilling through his limbs a warning breeze,
Let him turn;
Turn with hands, with spirit yearn,
Upwards to the door of grace,
His hope there place,
And God will grant him ease.'
SAmen,' said Sintram and Rolf, clasping their hands; and as the last solemn
notes of the lute died away the Chaplain and the Castellan came softly and
slowly into the hall.
I bring a fair Christmas gift,' said the Priest. After a long, sad time,
peace of conscience and reconciliation are returning to a noble, erring spirit. It
concerns thee, good Pilgrim; and thou, my Sintram, take thou hence, in joyful
reliance upon God, a refreshing example.'
'More than twenty years ago,'-thus, on a sign from the Chaplain, the
Castellan began to tell his story-' more than twenty years ago, I, a bold
shepherd, was driving my sheep up the mountains. Then came a young
Knight after me; they called him Weigand the Tall; he wanted to buy my
82 SINTRAM AND HIS COMPANIONS.
favourite lambkin for his fair bride, and civilly offered me much red gold for it.
I refused him with insolence. The over-bold youth boiled up within us both.
A sword-cut from him hurled me senseless down the precipice.'
Not dead ?' asked the Pilgrim, scarce audibly.
'I am no ghost,' answered the Castellan, sullenly; and then, on a grave
motion from the Priest, continued more meekly, thus :-
'Slowly, and in loneliness, by the use of the healing medicines, which I, a
shepherd, could easily find in our valley so rich in herbs, I recovered.
'When I came forth again, with my scarred face and bald skull, no one
knew me. Indeed I heard the news fly through the country of how, because of
that deed, Sir Weigand had been cast off by his fair bride Verena, and how he
pined away, and how she wished to take the veil, but her father would persuade
her to marry with the great knight Biorn. Then came there a horrible thirst
for revenge into my heart, and I denied my name and kindred and home, and
entered the service of the mighty Biorn as a stranger, so that Weigand the
"Tall might always remain a murderer, and 1 might feed upon his misery.
And I have fed upon it all through these long years, fearfully fed upon his
self-banishment, his comfortless return, his madness. But to-day--' and a
stream of hot tears broke from his eyes,-' but to-day, God has broken the
hardness of my heart, and, dear Sir Weigand, hold yourself no longer to be
a murderer, and say that you will forgive me, and pray for him who has
brought upon you such terrible woe and- '
His words were stopped by sobs. He sank down at the Pilgrim's feet, who
folded him in his arms, pardoning him and weeping for joy.
THE heavenly, rapturous exaltation of this hour, blossomed up again at
length into a quiet and thoughtful contemplation of real life, and the
recovered Weigand laid aside the mantle with the dead men's bones, saying:-
I have made it my penance to bear about these fearful remains, thinking
that some of them might belong to the man whom I had murdered. Therefore
I sought about for them deep down in the beds of dried-up forest torrents, high
up in the nests of eagles and vultures.
'And during my search, it seemed to me sometimes-can it have been,
perchance, a mere delusion ?-as if I met with some One, looking almost like
myself, but far, far mightier, and yet more pale and wasted- '
A beseeching look from Sintram stopped these words. Smiling softly,
Weigand bent towards him, and said:-
You now know fully the deep, infinitely deep sorrow which gnawed at my
heart. Hence my shyness and my fervent love for you will now no longer be a
riddle to your heart and your goodness. For, youth, however much you may
resemble your terrible father, you have also your mother's gentle heart, and a
reflection of her brightens in your pale, stern features, like the light of dawn
which quivers over the icy mountains and snow-covered valleys with light gleams
of joy. And, alas how long have you lived lonely in yourself amidst the
turmoil of men And how long it is since you have seen your mother, my
poor, beloved Sintram !'
'It is as if a fountain rose in a dry place,' said the youth; 'and I should
perhaps be helped once and for all if I could keep you and weep with you a
long time, good Sir. But I already forebode you will very, very shortly now
be taken from me.
'Truly, I believe,' replied the Pilgrim, that my song just now was almost
84 SINTRAM AND HIS COMPANIONS.
my last, and contains a prophecy concerning myself very, very near to be
accomplished. But, ah what an ever-thirsty soil is man's heart! The more
blessings God apportions to us, the more cravingly do we look for new ones.
I would entreat for yet one more before the blessed end which I hope is near.
It will not be my share, indeed,' he added, in a failing voice, for of such a high
gift I feel myself all too unworthy.'
It will be your share,' said the Chaplain, joyfully and aloud. He shall be
exalted who hath abased himself. And I may well lead into the holy and
forgiving presence of Verena one purified from murder.'
The Pilgrim stretched both hands on high towards heaven, and an
unspoken prayer beamed from his eyes and blissfully smiling lips. But Sintram
looked on the ground sadly, and sighed softly to himself:-
'Ah who may go with him?'
'Thou poor, good Sintram,' said the Chaplain, with gentle kindness, I
have heard thee indeed; but the time is not yet. The evil powers within thee
may still raise their angry heads, and Verena must bridle her own longing and
thine till all is as pure in thy soul as in hers. Comfort thyself with this, that
God inclines toward thee, and that the longed-for joy will come, if not here,
But the Pilgrim, as if awakening from a trance, stood up in full strength
and said :-
Does it please you to go forth with me, Sir Chaplain ? By the time the
sun is in the heavens we may be at the convent gates, and I close, close to
In vain did the Chaplain and Rolf represent to him his feebleness. He said
with a smile that that was not to be spoken of here, girded himself, and tuned
the lute, which he begged for as a companion by the way. His resolute bearing
overcame each objection almost without words, and the Chaplain had already
prepared for the journey, when the Pilgrim looked with emotion towards
Sintram, who had sunk down upon a couch, half asleep in strange weariness,
'Wait awhile. I know he wishes for a lullaby from me first.'
The youth's friendly smile replied 'Yes,' and the Pilgrim touched the
strings with a gentle hand and sang:-
SINTRAM AND HIS COMPANIONS. 85
'Sleep quietly, sweet boy!
Thy mother dear has sped
This soothing lay's mild joy
To play around thy bed.
She prays far hence away
For her dear Sintram's bliss,
And hither would she stray,
But has no time for this.
( And when thou dost awaken,
In every after deed,
Ere thou thy part hast taken,
This lay's good counsel heed:
List to thy mother's voice,
If aye it saith, if no ;
Whate'er may tempt thy choice
Astray thou'lt never go.
'If thou wilt rightly listen,
And noble courses seek,
Oft gleams will round thee glisten,
Oft breezes fan thy cheek.
Then calm thine inward war,
For she approves thy part,
Who, though from thee afar,
Yet loves thee heart to heart.
O blessed light of life,
Whose heavenly healing power
Allays hell's furious strife!
Sleep quietly, sweet boy !
Thy mother dear has sped
This soothing lay's mild joy
To play around thy bed.'
Sintram slept a deep sleep, smiling and breathing softly. Rolf and the
Castellan remained sitting by his bed, while the two travellers went forth into
the mild starry night.
T was already well on towards morning when Rolf, who had dozed a little,
awoke, roused by a soft sound of singing; and as he looked round him he
saw with astonishment that it came from the lips of the Castellan. The latter
said, as if in explanation :-
Thus sings Sir Weigand at this moment by the convent gate, and they
open to him kindly.'
And old Rolf fell asleep again, not knowing whether he had heard it sleeping
After awhile, however, he was again aroused by the bright sunlight, and as
he started up he saw the face of the Castellan, all wondrously glorified by ruddy
morning rays, and his formerly stern features beaming with a pleasant, child-like
gentleness. At the same time he was listening, as if in the still air he heard a
most delightful discourse or glorious music ; and when Rolf was about to speak,
he signed to him beseechingly to remain silent, and kept his attitude of earnest
At last he sank slowly and comfortably back upon his seat, whispering:-
Thank God she has granted him his last request; he will be buried in
the graveyard of the convent. And now also he has forgiven me from the
bottom of his heart; I can tell you he makes a right gentle end.'
Rolf did not dare to question or to awaken his master; it seemed as though
one already dead were speaking to him.
The Castellan kept silence for awhile, ever smiling cheerfully. At length
he raised himself up a little, listened again, and said :-
It is over. The bells ring sweetly. We have conquered. Ah! how
easy and gentle does the good God make it!'
SINTRAM AND HIS COMPANIONS. 87
And so indeed it was. He lay back and stretched himself out wearily, and
his soul was set free from the sorrowful body. Gently Rolf now awakened his
young master, and pointed to the smiling dead. Then did Sintram also smile,
and he and his pious squire fell upon their knees and prayed God for the
departed soul. Then they arose and bore the cold corpse into the vault, and
waited beside it with holy tapers for the return of the Chaplain. They knew
well that the Pilgrim would return no more.
Towards the hour of noon the Chaplain did return alone. He could only
confirm what they already knew. Only he added thereto a quickening message
of hope from Sintram's mother to her son, and told them that Weigand had
fallen asleep like a tired child, while Verena, with still affection, was holding the
crucifix before his eyes.
'Thus the Lord grants us ease,' sang the youth softly to himself.
And they prepared the last resting-place of the now quiet Castellan, and
laid him in it with all customary solemn rites. The Chaplain was forced to
depart again immediately after, but he could say, before taking his farewell, to
'Thy mother knows how pious and gentle and good thou now art.'
N the castle of Biorn Flame-eye the holy eve was not kept with such
sweet sacredness, but the will of God was, nevertheless, right visibly
brought to pass.
Folko had allowed himself, at the request of the lord of the castle, to be led
by Gabrielle into the hall, and the three were now sitting at the round table over
a magnificent banquet, while the vassals of both knights, in the full splendour
of their armour, sat on each side at two long tables, according to Norse usages.
The lofty chamber was dazzlingly lighted with tapers and lamps. The solemn
reign of midnight was already beginning, when Gabrielle softly warned the
wounded Knight that it was time to withdraw; Biorn heard it, and said:-
You are in the right, fair dame; our hero must have rest. But first let us
do honour to an old and venerable custom.'
Upon his signal, four men-at-arms brought in with solemnity a great boar,
seemingly of pure gold, and set it down in the midst of the round stone table.
Biorn's men rose reverently and took their helmets under their arms, as did the
lord of the castle himself.
'What is to come of this?' asked Folko, very gravely.
'What your fathers and mine have done at every Yule feast,' answered
Biorn. 'We will take vows upon the Boar of Freya, and thereto let a solemn
cup go round.'
'What our fathers called the Yule feast,' said Folko, 'we keep not. We
are good Christians, and keep the holy festival of Christmas.'
Let the one be done, and the other not left undone !' said Biorn. 'My
ancestors are too dear to me for me to forget their heroic customs. Whoever
will think otherwise may do according to his wisdom, but that does not hinder
SINTRAM AND HIS COMPANIONS. 89
me. I vow by this boar.' And he stretched out his hand to lay it solemnly
upon it. But Folko cried:-
'In the Name of our Holy Redeemer, hold! Where I am, yet able to
breathe and to will, shall no man do unhindered, according to the customs
of the wild heathen times.'
Biorn Flame-eye looked at him wrathfully. The vassals of the two lords
drew apart from one another amid the dull clash of arms, and arranged them-
selves in two bands, each behind its leader, on either side of the hall. Here and
there helmet and head-piece were buckled on.
90 SINTRAM AND HIS COMPANIONS.
'Bethink thyself of what thou art about to do,' said Biorn. 'I was about to
vow eternal league-yes, even grateful vassalage-to the house of Montfaucon;
but if thou disturb me in the rites which I have inherited from my forefathers,
then look to thy own head, and to all which is dear to thee. My wrath no
longer knows any bounds.'
Folko signed to the pale Gabrielle to retire behind his men, and said to
'Courage, and be of cheer, noble lady! Many weaker Christians have ere
now ventured more for the honour of God and Holy Church than we do.
Believe me, the Baron of Montfaucon is not to be so easily crushed by
any one! '
Gabrielle drew back according to Folko's order, somewhat reassured by his
bold smile; but this very smile made the wrath of Biorn flame up so much the
more. Again he stretched his hand towards the boar, and was on the point
of uttering a terrible vow, when the Baron snatched an iron glove of Biorn's
from the table, and with his sound left arm struck such a mighty blow upon
the golden image that it fell, split in two halves, crashing upon the pavement.
The lord of the castle and his men stood as if turned to stone.
But soon the gauntleted hands rattled against the sword-hilts, and shields
were snatched from the wall, and an angry death-boding murmur ran through
the hall. At a sign from Folko one of his followers had reached him a battle-
axe; he swung it strong and high with his left hand, and stood like an avenging
angel in the middle of the hall, and spoke these words above the murmur,
calmly, like a judge :-
'What will ye do, foolish Norsemen? What wilt thou do, O sinful
Knight? Ye are become heathens, surely! and if it be so, then I hope to
show you by force of arms that my God has not placed the power of victory
in my right arm alone. But if ye can still hear, then hear me. Upon this
same accursed image-now, by God's help, dashed to pieces-didst thou,
Biorn, lay thy hand when thou swarest to destroy the men of the sea-ports
when and wherever they might fall into thy power ? And Gotthard Lenz
came, and Rudlieb, driven by tempests upon your shores. What didst thou
then, thou fierce Biorn ? How did ye obey him, ye who were with him at the
Yule-feast ? Try your strength upon me The Lord will be with me, as
SINTRAM AND HIS COMPANIONS. 91
He was with those good men. Cheerly to arms, then! And' (he turned
towards his own warriors) '" Gotthard and Rudlieb !" is our war-cry !'
Then dropped Biorn his drawn sword; then did his followers suddenly
become still, and in the whole Norse band not an eye was raised from the
ground. At length, one after the other began to steal quietly away. "At last
Biorn stood alone, facing the Baron and his followers. He hardly seemed to
notice that he was forsaken; but he fell upon his knees, laid his bright sword
down beside him, pointed to the broken image, and said :-
Do to me as you have done to that. I have deserved nothing better. Yet
I entreat one thing more; dishonour me not, great Baron, by withdrawing to
I fear you not,' answered Folko, after a moment's thought, 'and, so far as
may be, I gladly forgive you.
He signed the cross over Biorn's wild form, and then let Gabrielle lead him
to his chamber. The vassals of the house of Montfaucon strode after them,
proud and silent.
From that time the hard heart of the fierce lord of the castle was entirely
broken, and with increased humility he awaited each sign from Folko or
Gabrielle. But these withdrew more and more into the cheerful circle of their
apartments, where, in the midst of the hardest northern winter, there bloomed
continually the merry month of May. The Baron's wounded condition did not
hinder the evening delights of tale and music and song, but rather afforded a
new and pleasant picture, when the Knight, stately and tall, leant on the arm of
his gentle dame, and thus, almost exchanging forms and services, moved through
the lighted halls and scattered graceful greetings to their assembled damsels and
The talk was, meanwhile, seldom, or never, of the poor Sintram. The last
wild action of his father had increased the horror wherewith Gabrielle remem-
bered the youth's self-accusation, and she imagined mysteries all the more
frightful since Folko was immovably silent concerning it. A secret shudder
thrilled even through the Baron when he thought of the pale, dark-haired
youth. Had not his repentance bordered almost on utter despair, and was
not every one ignorant of his manner of life now on the Moon Rock in
the ill-famed Steinburg?