Page:Mistral - Mirèio. A Provençal poem.djvu/84

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[Canto III.

"'Is this a simple soul,' the hermit thought,
'Or is it an impostor?' And he sought
Curiously to read the old man's face
Until, to solve the riddle, 'Go,' he says,
'And hang thy shepherd's cloak you beam upon,
And afterward I will absolve my son.'

"A single sunbeam through the chapel strayed;
And there it was the priest the suppliant bade
To hang his cloak! But the good soul arose,
And drew it off with mien of all repose,
And threw it upward. And it hung in sight
Suspended on the slender shaft of light!

"Then fell the hermit prostrate on the floor,
'Oh, man of God!' he cried, and he wept sore,
'Let but the blessed hand these tears bedew,
Fulfil the sacred office for us two!
No sins of thine can I absolve, 'tis clear:
Thou art the saint, and I the sinner here!'"

Her story ended, the crone said no more;
But all the laughter of the maids was o'er.
Only Laureto dared one little joke:
"This tells us ne'er to laugh at any cloak!
Good may the beast be, although rough the hide;
But, girls, methought young mistress I espied