The Witch. 300 " ' I say, Peter, why don't you come ? ' asked a voice outside, " ' Hold your tongue-, woman ! ' said the old man, who was sitting by the fire, ' they have been crossing and fiddling over this youngster, so I ean't get it.' " ' Well, you might come back, so wc can be off,' said the voice again. It was the old man's wife, who was waiting outside to receive the youngster. " But just look at this fine little boy ! " said the sorceress with affected kindness, as she took the child, who had just woke up, and vigorously resisted the strange woman's caresses and began crying at the apparently coaxing, but really repulsive, expression of the woman ; "he is as white as snow and pure as an angel ; he is rather weak about the joints, that he is, — but to say he is a changeling, that's a mistake, I say. — No, it's wasting sickness," she added, as she turned round to the mother with a lofty air of conviction ; " it's wasting sickness ! " " Hush, I fancy I heard some one knocking outside. Mercy on me» if it's my husband who has come back ! " said Marit, terrin" ed at being surprised by her husband in company with the sorceress over a cup of coffee. She ran to the door and looked out, but there was nobody there but a brindled eat, which sat on the steps licking her paws after a hunt in the neighbouring bush, and a woodpecker, which was pecking away at the sunburnt logs of the cottage wall, trying to wake up the drowsy insects from their winter sleep in the hoies and crevices in the timber, and turning his head every moment, as if he was looking for some one, but it was only an April shower he was expecting. "Is there anybody there ? " asked Gubjor. On receiving an answer in the negative, she continued : " Well, wc had better leave the door open, so wc can have the benefit of the sun and see when your husband comes home, — for I suppose hes coming that way.' ' " He went with his sledge to get a load of leaves for the goats," answered Marit ; " but I'm so afraid hell be finding us out Last time when he heard that you had been here, he was that wild that I didn't know what to say. He said he would give me money to
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