**** 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 Inn In The Spessart
by [?]

Many years ago, while yet the roads in the Spessart were in poor condition and but little traveled, two young journeymen were making their way through this wooded region. The one might have been about eighteen years old, and was by trade a compass-maker; the other was a goldsmith, and, judging from his appearance, could not have been more than sixteen, and was most likely making his first journey out into the world.

Evening was coming on, and the shadows of the giant pines and beeches darkened the narrow road on which the two were walking. The compass-maker stepped bravely forward, whistling a tune, playing occasionally with Munter, his dog, and not seeming to feel much concern that the night was near, while the next inn for journeymen was still far ahead of them. But Felix, the goldsmith, began to look about him anxiously. When the wind rustled through the trees, it sounded to him as if there were steps behind him; when the bushes on either side of the road were stirred, he was sure he caught glimpses of lurking faces.

The young goldsmith was, moreover, neither superstitious nor lacking in courage. In Wuerzburg, where he had learned his trade, he passed among his fellows for a fearless youth, whose heart was in the right spot; but on this day his courage was at a singularly low ebb. He had been told so many things about the Spessart. A large band of robbers were reported as committing depredations there; many travellers had been robbed within a few weeks, and a horrible murder was spoken of as having occurred here not long before. Therefore he felt no little alarm, as they were but two in number and could not successfully resist armed robbers. How often he regretted that he had not stopped over-night at the edge of the forest, instead of agreeing to accompany the compass-maker to the next station!

“And if I am killed to-night, and lose all I have with me, you will be to blame, compass-maker, for you persuaded me to come into this terrible forest,” said he.

“Don’t be a coward,” retorted the other. “A real journeyman should never be afraid. And what is it you are afraid of? Do you think that the lordly robbers of the Spessart would do us the honor to attack and kill us? Why should they give themselves that trouble? To gain possession of the Sunday-coat in my knapsack, or the spare pennies given us by the people on our route? One would have to travel in a coach-and-four, dressed in gold and silks, before the robbers would think it worth their while to kill one.”

“Stop! Didn’t you hear somebody whistle in the woods?” exclaimed Felix, nervously.

“That was the wind whistling through the trees. Walk faster, and we shall soon be out of the wood.”

“Yes, it’s all well enough for you to talk that way about not being killed,” continued the goldsmith; “they would simply ask you what you had, search you, and take away your Sunday-coat and your change. But they would kill me because I carry gold and jewelry with me.”

“Why should they kill you on that account? If four or five were to spring out of the bush there now with loaded rifles pointed at us, and politely inquire, ‘Gentlemen, what have you with you?’ or ‘If agreeable, we will help you carry it,’ or some such elegant mode of address, then you wouldn’t make a fool of yourself, but would open your knapsack and lay the yellow waist-coat, the blue coat, two shirts, and all your necklaces, bracelets, combs, and whatever you had besides, politely on the ground, and be thankful for the life they spared you.”

“You think so, do you?” responded Felix warmly. “You think I would give up the ornament I have here for my godmother, the dear lady countess? Sooner would I part with my life! Sooner would I be hacked into small pieces. Did she not take a mother’s interest in me, and since my tenth year bind me out as apprentice? Has she not paid for my clothes and every thing? And now, when I am about to go to her, to carry her something of my own handiwork that she had ordered of the master; now, that I am able to give her this ornament as a sample of what I have learned; now you think I would give that up, and my yellow waistcoat as well, that she gave me? No, better death than to give to these base men the ornament intended for my godmother!”