Page:Stories by Foreign Authors (German II).djvu/29

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27
CHRISTIAN GELLERT'S LAST CHRISTMAS.

stopped, and looked away yonder where his brother was still sleeping; he thought he would wake him and tell him his intention: but suddenly he whipped up his horses, and continued his route. He wouldn't yet bind himself to his intention—perchance it was but a passing thought; he does n't own that to himself, but he says to himself that he will surprise his brother with the news of what he has done; and then his thoughts wandered away to the good man still sleeping yonder in the city; and he hummed the verse to himself in an old familiar tune.

Wonderfully in life do effects manifest themselves, of which we have no trace. Gellert, too, heard in his dreams a singing; he knew not what it was, but it rang so consolingly, so joyously! . . . Christopher drove on, and he felt as though a bandage had been taken from his eyes; he reflected what a nice house, what a bonny wife and rosy children he had, and how warm the cloak which he had thrown over him was, and how well off were both man and beast; and through the still night he drove along, and beside him sat a spirit; but not an illusion of the brain, such as in olden time men conjured up to their terror, a good spirit sat beside him—beside the woodman who his whole life long had never believed that anything could have power over him but what had hands and feet.

It is said that, on troublous nights, evil spirits