Monday, September 22, 2008


Having said that, he grabbed the bag and threw it on the floor so hard that it burst and the money was scattered on the floor.

"God bless you! May God bless you, father and benefactor!" exclaimed Macko, who had been waiting for this; "I would not accept it from anyone else, but from a relative and a spiritual father, I will accept it."

The abbot looked threateningly at both of them, and finally he said:

"Although I am angry, I know what I am doing; therefore hold what you have, because I assure you that you shall not have one coin more."

"We did not expect even this."

"You know that Jagienka will inherit everything I have."

"The land too?" asked Macko, simply.

"The land too!" shouted the abbot.

At this Macko's face grew long, but he recovered himself and said:

"Why should you think about death? May the Lord Jesus grant you a hundred years or more of life, and an important bishopric soon."

"Certainly! Am I worse than others?" said the abbot.

"Not worse, but better!"

These words appeased the abbot, for his anger never lasted long.

"Well," he said, "you are my relatives, and she is only my goddaughter; but I love her, and Zych too. There is no better man in the world than Zych and no better girl than Jagienka! Who can say anything against them?"

He began to look angry, but Macko did not contradict; he quickly affirmed that there was no worthier neighbor in the whole kingdom.

"And as for the girl," he said, "I could not love my own daughter any more than I love her. With her help, I recovered my health and I shall never forget it until my death."

"You will both be punished if you forget it," said the abbot, "and I will curse you. But I do not wish to wrong you, therefore I have found a way by which, what I will leave after my death, can belong to you and to Jagienka; do you understand?"

"May God help us to realize that!" answered Macko. "Sweet Jesus! I would go on foot to the grave of the queen in Krakow or to Bald Mountain to bow to the Holy Cross."

The abbot was very pleased with such sincerity; he smiled and said:

"The girl is perfectly right to be particular in her choice, because she is pretty, rich and of good family! Of what account are Cztan or Wolf, when the son of a governor would not be too good for her! But if somebody, as myself for instance, spoke in favor of any particular one, then she would marry him, because she loves me and knows that I will advise her well."

"The one whom you advise her to marry, will be very lucky," said Macko.

But the abbot turned to Zbyszko:

"What do you say to this?"

"Well, I think the same as my uncle does."

The face of the abbot became still more serene; he struck Zbyszko's shoulder with his hand so hard that the blow resounded in the chamber, and asked:

"Why did you not let Cztan or Wolf approach Jagienka at church?"

"Because I did not want them to think that I was afraid of them, and I did not want you to think so either."

"But you gave the holy water to her."

"Yes, I did."

The abbot gave him another blow.

"Then, take her!"

"Take her!" exclaimed Macko, like an echo.

At this Zbyszko gathered up his hair in the net and answered quietly:

"How can I take her, when before the altar in Tyniec, I made a vow to Danusia, Jurand's daughter?"

"You made a vow about the peacock's tufts, and you must get them, but take Jagienka immediately."

"No," answered Zbyszko; "afterward when Danusia covered me with her veil, I promised that I would marry her."

The blood began to rush to the abbot's face; his ears turned blue, and his eyes bulged; he approached Zbyszko and said, in a voice muffled with anger:

"Your vows are the chaff and I am the wind; understand?"

And he blew on Zbyszko's head so powerfully, that the net fell off and the hair was scattered on his shoulders. Then Zbyszko frowned, and looking into the abbot's eyes, said:
"In my vows is my honor, and over my honor, I alone am the guardian!"

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