Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 26, 1915.djvu/316

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3o6 Collectanea,

At night, when they came in, they found everything nice, and clean and tidy again, and their supper all ready.

But one of the Shepherds complained that his sheep were very languid, and would not eat anything all day long, and he did not know what was the matter with them. It seemed that a sickness had stricken them, or God knows what.

On the Second Day, the next Shepherd complained that Foot- rot had broken out amongst his sheep, and he did not know if he could save any from it.

On the Third Day, the next Shepherd came home with only the shadow of a flock. He explained that in crossing a bridge to which they were well accustomed, one of the sheep had got frightened, and had jumped into the river ; after that one jumped another, after that one jumped another, until nearly all the sheep rushed into the river. The poor Shepherd tried to stop them, but — asch ! — can you stop the Devil ? When Fright enters mto a fiock of sheep, nothing is of any use : with hard work he had succeeded in saving a few sheep, with which he had come home.

They took to thinking, poor Shepherds, for how was it that since this Girl had come into their home, all these misfortunes had fallen upon their heads? They saw that this Sister of theirs must be unlucky, and that she had dropped upon them like a calamity. So they decided to drive her away, and they said to her :

" Sister, as thou cam'st to us, so shalt thou go from us, where- ever God's pity shall guide thee. We can help thee no longer. To our Door cam'st thou and Poverty, hand in hand. The losses we have borne since thou cam'st to us are so great that Ten Big Years will not mend them."

The Girl could say nothing. She saw it was like that. She got up, therefore, and asking forgiveness for all the harm she had done without her will, she went away at a venture, just like that, over field, over fold, wherever her eyes should guide her. And so going on, her heart full of bitterness, and her tears streaming down her cheeks, she saw a glittering castle far away. She quickened her steps lest she should be benighted on her way, and so came, at dusk, to the castle.

In that castle there lived a rich Negress.