Lord of Ringstetten's death, and he appeared there just after the
monk, who had married the hapless pair, had fled full of alarm and
horror. "It is well," answered Heilmann, when told this: "now is the
time for my office; I want no assistant." He addressed spiritual
exhortations to the widowed bride, but little impression could be made
on so worldly and thoughtless a mind. The old Fisherman, although
grieved to the heart, resigned himself more readily to the awful
dispensation; and when Bertalda kept calling Undine a witch and a
murderer, the old man calmly answered: "The stroke could not be turned
away. For my part, I see only the hand of God therein; and none
grieved more deeply over Huldbrand's sentence, than she who was doomed
to inflict it, the poor forsaken Undine!" And he helped to arrange the
funeral ceremonies in a manner suitable to the high rank of the dead.
He was to be buried in a neighbouring hamlet, whose churchyard
contained the graves of all his ancestors, and which he had himself
enriched with many noble gifts. His helmet and coat of arms lay upon
the coffin, about to be lowered into earth with his mortal remains;
for Lord Huldbrand of Ringstetten was the last of his race.
The mourners began their dismal procession, and the sound of their
solemn dirge rose into the calm blue depths of heaven. Heilmann walked
first, bearing on high a crucifix, and the bereaved Bertalda followed
leaning on her aged father. Suddenly, amid the crowd of mourners who
composed the widow's train, appeared a snow-white figure, deeply
veiled, with hands uplifted in an attitude of intense grief. Those
that stood near her felt a shudder creep over them; they shrank back,
and thus increased the alarm of those whom the stranger next
approached, so that confusion gradually spread itself through the
whole train. Here and there was to be found a soldier bold enough to
address the figure, and attempt to drive her away; but she always
eluded their grasp, and the next moment reappeared among the rest,
moving along with slow and solemn step. At length, when the attendants
had all fallen back, she found herself close behind Bertalda, and now
slackened her pace to the very slowest measure, so that the widow was
not aware of her presence. No one disturbed her again, while she
meekly and reverently glided on behind her.
So they advanced till they reached the churchyard, when the whole
procession formed a circle round the open grave. Bertalda then
discovered the unbidden guest, and half-angry, half-frightened, she
forbade her to come near the Knight's resting-place. But the veiled
form gently shook her head, and extended her hands in humble entreaty;
this gesture reminded Bertalda of poor Undine, when she gave her the
coral necklace on the Danube, and she could not but weep. Father
Heilmann enjoined silence; for they had begun to heap earth over the
grave, and were about to offer up solemn prayers around it. Bertalda
knelt down in silence, and all her followers did the same. When they
rose, lo, the white form had vanished! and on the spot where she had
knelt, a bright silvery brook now gushed out of the turf, and flowed
round the Knight's tomb, till it had almost wholly encircled it; then
it ran further on, and emptied itself into a shady pool which bounded
one side of the churchyard. From that time forth, the villagers are
said to have shown travellers this clear spring, and they still
believe it to be the poor forsaken Undine, who continues thus to twine
her arms round her beloved lord.
THE STORY OF RUTH
It came to pass, in the days when the judges ruled, that there was a
famine in the land. And a certain man of Bethlehem-judah went to
sojourn in the country of Moab - he and his wife and his two sons. And
the name of the man was Elimelech, and the name of his wife Naomi, and
the names of his two sons Mahlon and Chilion, Ephrathites of
Bethlehem-judah. And they came into the country of Moab, and continued
And Elimelech, Naomi's husband, died; and she was left and her two
sons. And they took them wives of the women of Moab: the name of the
one was Orpah, and the name of the other was Ruth. And they dwelled
there about ten years.
And Mahlon and Chilion died also, both of them; and the woman was left
of her two sons and her husband. Then she arose with her
daughters-in-law, that she might return from the country of Moab; for
she had heard in the country of Moab how that the Lord had visited his
people in giving them bread. Wherefore she went forth out of the place
where she was, and her two daughters-in-law with her; and they went on
the way to return unto the land of Judah.
And Naomi said unto her two daughters-in-law, "Go, return each to her
mother's house. The Lord deal kindly with you, as ye have dealt with
the dead and with me. The Lord grant you that ye may find rest, each
of you in this house of her husband." Then she kissed them.
And they lifted up their voice and wept; and they said unto her,
"Surely, we will return with thee unto thy people."
And Naomi said, "Turn again, my daughters; why will ye go with me?
Turn again, my daughters, go your way."
And they lifted up their voice and wept again. And Orpah kissed her
mother-in-law; but Ruth clave unto her.
And she said, "Behold, thy sister-in-law is gone back unto her people
and unto her gods! Return thou after thy sister-in-law."
And Ruth said, "Intreat me not to leave thee, or to return from
following after thee. For whither thou goest I will go, and where thou
lodgest I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my
God: where thou diest will I die, and there will I be buried. The Lord
do so to me, and more also, if aught but death part thee and me."
When Naomi saw that Ruth was steadfastly minded to go with her, then
she left speaking unto her. So they two went until they came to
And it came to pass, when they were come to Bethlehem, that all the
city was moved about them, and they said, "Is this Naomi?"
And she said unto them, "Call me not Naomi [pleasant], call me Mara
[bitter]; for the Almighty hath dealt very bitterly with me. I went
out full, and the Lord hath brought me home again empty. Why then call
ye me Naomi, seeing that the Lord hath testified against me, and the
Almighty hath afflicted me?"
So Naomi returned, and Ruth the Moabitess, her daughter-in-law, with
her, which returned out of the country of Moab; and they came to
Bethlehem in the beginning of barley-harvest.
And Naomi had a kinsman of her husband's, a mighty man of wealth, of
the family of Elimelech, and his name was Boaz.
And Ruth said unto Naomi: "Let me now go to the field and glean ears
of corn after him in whose sight I shall find grace."
And Naomi said unto her, "Go, my daughter."
And she went, and came, and gleaned in the field after the reapers;
and her hap was to light on a part of the field belonging unto Boaz,
who was of the kindred of Elimelech.
And, behold, Boaz came from Bethlehem and said unto the reapers, "The
Lord be with you!"
And they answered him, "The Lord bless thee!"
Then said Boaz unto his servant that was set over the reapers, "Whose
damsel is this?"
And the servant that was set over the reapers answered and said, "It
is the Moabitish damsel that came back with Naomi out of the country
of Moab. And she said, 'I pray you, let me glean and gather after the
reapers among the sheaves.' So she came, and hath continued even from
the morning until now, that she tarried a little in the house."
Then said Boaz unto Ruth, "Hearest thou not, my daughter? Go not to
glean in another field, neither go from hence, but abide here fast by
my maidens; let thine eyes be on the field that they do reap, and go
thou after them. Have I not charged the young men that they shall not
touch thee? And when thou art a thirst, go unto the vessels, and drink
of that which the young men have drawn."
Then she fell on her face, and bowed herself to the ground, and said
unto him, "Why have I found grace in thine eyes, that thou shouldest
take knowledge of me, seeing I am a stranger?"
And Boaz answered and said unto her, "It hath fully been showed me,
all that thou hast done unto thy mother-in-law, since the death of
thine husband; and how thou hast left thy father and thy mother and
the land of thy nativity, and art come unto a people which thou
knewest not heretofore. The Lord recompense thy work, and a full
reward be given thee of the Lord God of Israel, under whose wings thou
art come to trust."
Then she said, "Let me find favour in thy sight, my lord; for that
thou hast comforted me, and for that thou hast spoken friendly unto
thine handmaid, though I be not like unto one of thine handmaidens."
And Boaz said unto her at meal-time, "Come thou hither, and eat of the
bread and dip thy morsel in the vinegar."
And she sat beside the reapers, and he reached her parched corn; and
she did eat, and was sufficed, and left.
And when she was risen up to glean, Boaz commanded his young men,
saying, "Let her glean even among the sheaves, and reproach her not;
and let fall also some of the handfuls of purpose for her, and leave
them that she may glean them, and rebuke her not."
So she gleaned in the field until even, and beat out that she had
gleaned, and it was about an ephah of barley. And she took it up and
went into the city; and her mother-in-law saw what she had gleaned,
and she brought forth and gave to her that she had reserved after she
And her mother-in-law said unto her, "Where hast thou gleaned to-day,
and where wroughtest thou? Blessed be he that did take knowledge of
And she showed her mother-in-law with whom she had wrought, and said,
"The man's name with whom I wrought to-day is Boaz."
And Naomi said unto her daughter-in-law, "Blessed be he of the Lord,
who hath not left off his kindness to the living and to the dead. The
man is near of kin unto us; one of our next kinsmen."
And Ruth the Moabitess said, "He said unto me also, 'Thou shalt keep
fast by my young men until they have ended all my harvest.'"
And Naomi said unto Ruth her daughter-in-law, "It is good, my
daughter, that thou go out with his maidens, that they meet thee not
in any other field."
So she kept fast by the maidens of Boaz to glean unto the end of
barley-harvest and of wheat-harvest, and dwelt with her mother-in-law.
Then Naomi her mother-in-law said unto her, "My daughter, shall I not
seek rest for thee, that it may be well with thee? And now is not Boaz
of our kindred, with whose maidens thou wast? Behold, he winnoweth
barley to-night in the threshing-floor. Wash thyself, therefore, and
anoint thee, and put thy raiment upon thee, and get thee down to the
floor; but make not thyself known unto the man, until he shall have
done eating and drinking. And it shall be, when he lieth down, that
thou shalt mark the place where he shall lie; and thou shalt go in and
uncover his feet and lay thee down; and he will tell thee what thou
And Ruth said unto her, "All that thou sayest unto me I will do." And
she went down unto the floor, and did according to all that her
mother-in-law bade her.
And when Boaz had eaten and drunk, and his heart was merry, he went to
lie down at the end of the heap of corn. And she came softly and
uncovered his feet, and laid her down.
And it came to pass at midnight, that the man was afraid, and turned
himself; and behold! a woman lay at his feet. And he said, "Who art
And she answered, "I am Ruth, thine handmaid. Spread therefore thy
skirt over thine handmaid; for thou art a near kinsman."
And he said, "Blessed be thou of the Lord, my daughter; for thou hast
showed more kindness in the latter end than in the beginning; inasmuch
as thou followedst not young men, whether poor or rich. And now, my
daughter, fear not; I will do to thee all that thou requirest; for all
the city of my people doth know that thou art a virtuous woman. And
now it is true that I am thy near kinsman; howbeit, there is a kinsman
nearer than I. Tarry this night, and it shall be, in the morning, that
if he will perform unto thee the part of a kinsman, well; let him do
the kinsman's part; but if he will not do the part of a kinsman to
thee, then will I do the part of a kinsman to thee, as the Lord
liveth. Lie down until the morning."
And she lay at his feet until the morning. And she rose up before one
could know another.
And he said, "Let it not be known that a woman came into the floor."
Also he said, "Bring the veil that thou hast upon thee and hold it."
And when she held it he measured six measures of barley and laid it on
And she went into the city, and when she came to her mother-in-law she
said, "Who art thou, my daughter?"
And she told her all that the man had done to her; and she said,
"These six measures of barley gave he me; for he said to me, 'Go not
empty unto thy mother-in-law.'"
Then Naomi said, "Sit still, my daughter, until thou know how the
matter will fall; for the man will not be in rest until he have
finished the thing this day."
Then went Boaz up to the gate, and sat him down there. And, behold,
the kinsman of whom Boaz spake came by, unto whom he said, "Ho, such a
one! turn aside, sit down here."
And he turned aside, and sat down.
And Boaz took ten men of the elders of the city, and said, "Sit ye
And they sat down.
And he said unto the kinsman, "Naomi, that is come again out of the
country of Moab, selleth a parcel of land which was our brother
Elimelech's; and I thought to advertise thee, saying, 'Buy it before
the inhabitants, and before the elders of my people. If thou wilt
redeem it, redeem it; but if thou wilt not redeem it, then tell me,
that I may know; for there is none to redeem it beside thee, and I am
And he said, "I will redeem it."
Then said Boaz, "What day thou buyest the field of the hand of Naomi,
thou must buy it also of Ruth the Moabitess, the wife of the dead, to
raise up the name of the dead upon his inheritance."
And the kinsman said, "I cannot redeem it for myself, lest I mar mine
own inheritance. Redeem thou my right to thyself; for I cannot redeem
Now this was the manner in former time in Israel, concerning redeeming
and concerning changing, for to confirm all things: a man plucked off
his shoe, and gave it to his neighbour; and this was a testimony in
Israel. Therefore the kinsman said unto Boaz:
"Buy it for thee." So he drew off his shoe.
And Boaz said unto the elders and unto all the people, "Ye are
witnesses this day, that I have bought all that was Elimelech's, and
all that was Chilion's and Mahlon's at the hand of Naomi. Moreover,
Ruth the Moabitess, the wife of Mahlon, have I purchased to be my
wife, to raise up the name of the dead upon his inheritance, that the
name of the dead be not cut off from among his brethren, and from the
gate of his place: ye are witnesses this day."
And all the people that were in the gate, and the elders, said: "We
are witnesses. The Lord make the woman that is come into thine house
like Rachel and like Leah, which two did build the house of Israel;
and do thou worthily in Ephratah, and be famous in Bethlehem; and let
thy house be like the house of Pharez, whom Tamar bare unto Judah, of
the seed which the Lord shall give thee of this young woman."
So Boaz took Ruth, and she was his wife.
And Ruth bare a son. And the women said unto Naomi, "Blessed be the
Lord, which hath not left thee this day without a kinsman, that his
name may be famous in Israel. And he shall be unto thee a restorer of
thy life, and a nourisher of thine old age; for thy daughter-in-law,
which loveth thee, which is better to thee than seven sons, hath borne
And Naomi took the child, and laid it in her bosom, and became nurse
unto it. And the women, her neighbours, gave it a name, saying, "There
is a son born to Naomi"! and they called his name Obed.
THE GREAT STONE FACE
One afternoon, when the sun was going down, a mother and her little
boy sat at the door of their cottage, talking about the Great Stone
Face. They had but to lift their eyes, and there it was plainly to be
seen, though miles away, with the sunshine brightening all its
And what was the Great Stone Face?
Embosomed amongst a family of lofty mountains, there was a valley so
spacious that It contained many thousand inhabitants. Some of these
good people dwelt in log-huts, with the black forest all around them,
on the steep and difficult hillsides. Others had their homes in
comfortable farmhouses, and cultivated the rich soil on the gentle
slopes or level surfaces of the valley. Others, again, were
congregated into populous villages, where some wild, highland rivulet,
tumbling down from its birthplace in the upper mountain region, had
been caught and tamed by human cunning, and compelled to turn the
machinery of cotton-factories. The inhabitants of this valley, in
short, were numerous, and of many modes of life. But all of them,
grown people and children, had a kind of familiarity with the Great
Stone Face, although some possessed the gift of distinguishing this
grand natural phenomenon more perfectly than many of their neighbours.
The Great Stone Face, then, was a work of Nature in her mood of
majestic playfulness, formed on the perpendicular side of a mountain
by some immense rocks, which had been thrown together in such a
position as, when viewed at a proper distance, precisely to resemble
the features of the human countenance. It seemed as if an enormous
giant, or a Titan, had sculptured his own likeness on the precipice.
There was the broad arch of the forehead, a hundred feet in height;
the nose, with its long bridge; and the vast lips, which, if they
could have spoken, would have rolled their thunder accents from one
end of the valley to the other. True it is, that if the spectator
approached too near, he lost the outline of the gigantic visage, and
could discern only a heap of ponderous and gigantic rocks, piled in
chaotic ruin one upon another. Retracing his steps, however, the
wondrous features would again be seen; and the farther he withdrew
from them, the more like a human face, with all its original divinity
intact did they appear; until, as it grew dim in the distance, with
the clouds and glorified vapour of the mountains clustering about it,
the Great Stone Face seemed positively to be alive.
It was a happy lot for children to grow up to manhood or womanhood
with the Great Stone Face before their eyes, for all the features were
noble, and the expression was at once grand and sweet, as if it were
the glow of a vast, warm heart, that embraced all mankind in its
affections, and had room for more. It was an education only to look at
it. According to the belief of many people, the valley owed much of
its fertility to this benign aspect that was continually beaming over
it, illuminating the clouds, and infusing its tenderness into the
As we began with saying, a mother and her little boy sat at their
cottage-door, gazing at the Great Stone Face, and talking about it.
The child's name was Ernest.
"Mother," said he, while the Titanic visage smiled on him, "I wish
that it could speak, for it looks so very kindly that its voice must
needs be pleasant. If I were to see a man with such a face, I should
love him dearly."
"If an old prophecy should come to pass," answered his mother, "we may
see a man, some time or other, with exactly such a face as that."
"What prophecy do you mean, dear mother?" eagerly inquired Ernest.
"Pray tell me all about it!"
So his mother told him a story that her own mother had told to her,
when she herself was younger than little Ernest; a story, not of
things that were past, but of what was yet to come; a story,
nevertheless, so very old, that even the Indians, who formerly
inhabited this valley, had heard it from their forefathers, to whom,
as they affirmed, it had been murmured by the mountain streams, and
whispered by the wind among the tree-tops. The purport was, that, at
some future day, a child should be born hereabouts, who was destined
to become the greatest and noblest personage of his time, and whose
countenance, in manhood, should bear an exact resemblance to the Great
Stone Face. Not a few old-fashioned people, and young ones likewise,
in the ardour of their hopes, still cherished an enduring faith in
this old prophecy. But others who had seen more of the world had
watched and waited till they were weary, and had beheld no man with
such a face, nor any man that proved to be much greater or nobler than
his neighbours, concluded it to be nothing but an idle tale. At all
events, the great man of the prophecy had not yet appeared.
"O mother, dear mother!" cried Ernest, clapping his hands above his
head, "I do hope that I shall live to see him!"
His mother was an affectionate and thoughtful woman, and felt that it
was wisest not to discourage the generous hopes of her little boy. So
she only said to him, "Perhaps you may."
And Ernest never forgot the story that his mother told him. It was
always in his mind, whenever he looked upon the Great Stone Face. He
spent his childhood in the log-cottage where he was born, and was
dutiful to his mother, and helpful to her in many things, assisting
her much with his little hands, and more with his loving heart. In
this manner, from a happy yet often pensive child, he grew up to be a
mild, quiet, unobtrusive boy, and sun-browned with labour in the
fields, but with more intelligence brightening his aspect than is seen
in many lads who have been taught at famous schools. Yet Ernest had
had no teacher, save only that the Great Stone Face became one to him.
When the toil of the day was over, he would gaze at it for hours,
until he began to imagine that those vast features recognised him, and
gave him a smile of kindness and encouragement, responsive to his own
look of veneration. We must not take upon us to affirm that this was a
mistake, although the Face may have looked no more kindly at Ernest
than at all the world beside. But the secret was, that the boy's
tender and confiding simplicity discerned what other people could not
see; and thus the love, which was meant for all, became his peculiar
About this time, there went a rumour throughout the valley, that the
great man, foretold from ages long ago, who was to bear a resemblance
to the Great Stone Face, had appeared at last. It seems that, many
years before, a young man had migrated from the valley and settled at
a distant seaport, where, after getting together a little money, he
had set up as a shopkeeper. His name - but I could never learn whether
it was his real one, or a nickname that had grown out of his habits
and success in life - was Gathergold. Being shrewd and active, and
endowed by Providence with that inscrutable faculty which develops
itself in what the world calls luck, he became an exceedingly rich
merchant, and owner of a whole fleet of bulky-bottomed ships. All the
countries of the globe appeared to join hands for the mere purpose of
adding heap after heap to the mountainous accumulation of this one
man's wealth. The cold regions of the north, almost within the gloom
and shadow of the Arctic Circle, sent him their tribute in the shape
of furs; hot Africa sifted for him the golden sands of her rivers, and
gathered up the ivory tusks of her great elephants out of the forests;
the East came bringing him the rich shawls, and spices, and teas, and
the effulgence of diamonds, and the gleaming purity of large pearls.
The ocean, not to be behindhand with the earth, yielded up her mighty
whales, that Mr. Gathergold might sell their oil, and make a profit on
it. Be the original commodity what it might, it was gold within his
grasp. It might be said of him, as of Midas in the fable, that
whatever he touched with his finger immediately glistened, and grew
yellow, and was changed at once into sterling metal, or, which suited
him still better, into piles of coin. And, when Mr. Gathergold had
become so very rich that it would have taken him a hundred years only
to count his wealth, he bethought himself of his native valley, and
resolved to go back thither, and end his days where he was born. With
this purpose in view, he sent a skilful architect to build him such a
palace as should be fit for a man of his vast wealth to live in.
As I have said above, it had already been rumoured in the valley that
Mr. Gathergold had turned out to be the prophetic personage so long