Page:Stories by Foreign Authors (German II).djvu/34

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32
CHRISTIAN GELLERT'S LAST CHRISTMAS.

have seven times your means, and not one of them, I'm sure, would think of doing anything of this kind; why will you be the kind-hearted fool? Stay! what matters it what others do or leave undone? Every man shall answer for himself. Yes, but go to market—it is better it should be so; yes, certainly, much better: sell your wood—who knows? perhaps he does n't want it—and take him the proceeds, or at least the greater portion. But is the wood still yours? You have, properly speaking, already given it away; it has only not been taken from your keeping. . . ."

There are people who cannot give; they can only let a thing be taken either by the hand of chance, or by urgency and entreaty. Christopher had such fast hold of possession, that it was only after sore wrestling that he let go; and yet his heart was kind, at least to-day it was so disposed, but the tempter whispered: "It is not easy to find so good-natured a fellow as you. How readily would you have given, had the man been in want, and your good intention must go for the deed." Still, on the other hand, there was something in him which made opposition,—an echo from those hours, when, in the still night, he was driving hither,—and it burned in him like sacred fire, and it said, "You must now accomplish what you intended. Certainly no one knows of it, and you are responsible to