Monday, April 21, 2008

1.4.02


"I wonder," said Mrs. Ofka, a widow, "how Walgierz Wdaly, about whom the monk was talking, can appear in Tyniec, where they ring the bells seven times a day."

This remark embarrassed Mikolaj for a moment, who after thinking, quietly said:

"In the first place, God's decrees are not well known, then you must remember that every time he appears he has had special permission."

"At any rate, I am glad that we shall not pass the night in the monastery. I would die from fear if I saw such an infernal giant."

"I doubt it, because they say, he is very handsome."

"If he were very beautiful, I would not want a kiss from such a man, from whose mouth one could smell sulphur."

"I see that when the conversation is even about devils, you are still thinking about kisses."

At these words the duchess, Mikolaj and both nobles from Bogdaniec began to laugh. Danusia laughed too, following the example of the others. But Mrs. Ofka turned her angry face toward Mikolaj of Dlugolas, and said:

"I should prefer him to you."

"Don't call the wolf out of the forest" answered the Mazur; "the ghost often wanders on the high road, between Krakow and Tyniec, especially toward night; suppose he should hear you and appear to you in the form of a giant!"

"Bad luck!" answered Ofka.

But at that moment Macko of Bogdaniec, who being seated on a big stallion, could see further than those who were in the carriage, reined in his horse, and said:

"O, as God is dear to me, what is it?"

"What?"

"Some kind of giant is coming our way!"

"And the word became flesh!" exclaimed the duchess. "Don't say that!"

But Zbyszko arose in his stirrups and said:

"It is true; the giant Walgierz; nobody else!"

At this the coachman reined in the horses, without dropping the reins, he began to make the sign of the cross, because on an opposite hill he also saw the gigantic figure of a horsemen.

The duchess had risen; but now she sat down, her face changed with fear. Danusia hid her face in the folds of the duchess' dress. The courtiers, ladies and musicians, who were on horseback behind the carriage, having heard the doomed name, began to surround the carriage. The men tried to laugh, but there was uncertainty in their eyes; the young girls were pale; only Mikolaj of Dlugolas maintained his composure and wishing to calm the duchess, said:

"Don't be frightened, gracious lady. The sun has not yet set; and even if it were night, Saint Ptolemy will manage Walgierz."

In the meanwhile, the unknown horseman, having mounted the top of the hill, stopped his horse and stood motionless. In the rays of the setting sun, one could see him very distinctly; his stature seemed greater than ordinary human dimensions. The space separating him from the duchess' companions was not more than three hundred steps.

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