**** ROTATE **** **** ROTATE **** **** ROTATE **** **** ROTATE ****

Find this Story

Print, a form you can hold

Wireless download to your Amazon Kindle

Look for a summary or analysis of this Story.

Enjoy this? Share it!


The Cold Heart
by [?]

The younger of them looked at him with astonishment, having probably heard before of Michel, but they now begged their grandpapa to tell them some interesting story of him. Peter Munk who had heard but confused stories of Michel the Dutchman on the other side of the forest, joined in this request, asking the old man who and where he was. “He is the lord of the forest,” was the answer, “and from your not having heard this at your age, it follows that you must be a native of those parts just beyond the Tannenbuehl or perhaps still more distant. But I will tell you all I know, and how the story goes about him. A hundred years ago or thereabouts, there were far and wide no people more upright in their dealings than the Schwarzwaelder, at least so my grandfather used to tell me. Now, since there is so much money in the country, the people are dishonest and bad. The young fellows dance and riot on Sundays, and swear to such a degree that it is horrible to hear them; whereas formerly it was quite different, and I have often said and now say, though he should look in through the window, that the Dutchman Michel is the cause of all this depravity. A hundred years ago then there lived a very rich timber merchant who had many servants; he carried his trade far down the Rhine and was very prosperous, being a pious man. One evening a person such as he had never seen came to his door; his dress was like that of the young fellows of the Schwarzwald, but he was full a head taller than any of them, and no one had ever thought there could be such a giant. He asked for work, and the timber-merchant, seeing he was strong, and able to carry great weights, agreed with him about the wages and took him into his service. He found Michel to be a labourer such as he had never yet had; for in felling trees he was equal to three ordinary men, and when six men were pulling at one end of a trunk he would carry the other end alone. After having been employed in felling timber for six months, he came one day before his master, saying, ‘I have now been cutting wood long enough here, and should like to see what becomes of my trunks; what say you to letting me go with the rafts for once?’ To which his master replied, ‘I have no objection, Michel, to your seeing a little of the world; to be sure I want strong men like yourself to fell the timber, and on the river all depends upon skill; but, nevertheless, be it for this time as you wish.’

“Now the float with which Michel was to go, consisted of eight rafts, and in the last there were some of the largest beams. But what then? The evening before starting, the tall Michel brought eight beams to the water, thicker and longer than had ever been seen, and he carried every one of them as easily upon his shoulder as if it had been a rowing pole, so that all were amazed. Where he had felled them, no one knows to this day. The heart of the timber-merchant was leaping with joy when he saw this, calculating what these beams would fetch; but Michel said, ‘Well, these are for my travelling on, with those chips I should not be able to get on at all.’ His master was going to make him a present of a pair of boots, but throwing them aside, Michel brought out a pair the largest that had ever been seen, and my grandfather assured me they weighed a hundred pounds and were five feet long.