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The Cold Heart
by [?]

Peter Munk had now reached the highest point of the Tannenbuehl, and stood before a pine of enormous girth, for which a Dutch ship-builder would have given many hundred florins on the spot. “Here,” said he, “the treasure-keeper (Schatzhauser) no doubt lives,” and pulling off his large hat, he made a low bow before the tree, cleared his throat, and said, with a trembling voice, “I wish you a good evening, Mr. Glass-mannikin.” But receiving no answer, and all around remaining silent as before, he thought it would probably be better to say the verse, and therefore murmured it forth. On repeating the words, he saw, to his great astonishment, a singular and very small figure peep forth from behind the tree. It seemed to him as if he had beheld the glass-mannikin, just as he was described, the little black jacket, red stockings, hat, all even to the pale, but fine shrewd countenance of which the people so much talked, he thought he had seen. But alas, as quickly as it had peeped forth, as quickly it had disappeared again. “Mr. Glass-mannikin,” cried Peter Munk, after a short hesitation, “pray don’t make a fool of me; if you fancy that I have not seen you, you are vastly mistaken, I saw you very well peeping forth from behind the tree.” Still no answer, only at times he fancied he heard a low, hoarse tittering behind the tree. At length his impatience conquered this fear, which had still restrained him, and he cried, “Wait, you little rascal, I will have you yet.” At the same time he jumped behind the tree, but there was no Schatzhauser, and only a pretty little squirrel was running up the tree.

Peter Munk shook his head; he saw he had succeeded to a certain degree in the incantation, and that he perhaps only wanted one more rhyme to the verse to evoke the glass-mannikin; he tried over and over again, but could not think of any thing. The squirrel showed itself on the lowest branches of the tree, and seemed to encourage or perhaps to mock him. It trimmed itself, it rolled its pretty tail, and looked at him with its cunning eyes. At length he was almost afraid of being alone with this animal; for sometimes it seemed to have a man’s head, and to wear a three cornered hat, sometimes to be quite like another squirrel, with the exception only of having red stockings and black shoes on its hind feet. In short it was a merry little creature, but still Peter felt an awe, fancying that all was not right.

Peter now went away with more rapid strides than he had come. The darkness of the forest seemed to become blacker and blacker; the trees stood closer to each other, and he began to be so terrified that he ran off in a trot, and only became more tranquil when he heard dogs bark at a distance, and soon after descried the smoke of a hut through the trees. But on coming nearer and seeing the dress of the people, he found that having taken the contrary direction he had got to the raftsmen instead of the glass-makers. The people living in the hut were wood-cutters, consisting of an aged man with his son who was the owner, and some grown up grand-children. They received Peter Munk, who begged a night’s quarter, hospitably enough without asking his name or residence, they gave him cider to drink, and in the evening a large black cock, the best meal in the Schwarzwald, was served up for supper.

After this meal the housewife and her daughters took their distaffs and sat round a large pine torch, which the boys fed with the finest rosin; the host with his guest sat smoking and looking at the women; while the boys were busy carving wooden spoons and forks. The storm was howling and raging through the pines in the forest without, and now and then very heavy blasts were heard, and it was as if whole trees were breaking off and crashing down. The fearless youths were about to run out to witness this terrific and beautiful spectacle, but their grandfather kept them back with a stern look and these words: “I would not advise any of you,” cried he, “to go now outside the door; by heavens he never would return, for Michel the Dutchman is building this night a new raft in the forest.”