The Massacre of the Innocents part 2


After deliberating a long while in the churchyard, they decided to hide in the wood which the Spaniards were to come through, attack them if they were not too numerous, and recover Petrus Krayer`s cattle and any booty they might have taken at the farm.The men armed themselves with forks and spades while the women remained with the cur£ by the church. Looking for a favorable place for an ambuscade, the men reached a hilly spot near a mill at the edge of the wood, where they could see the fire glowing against the stars of night. They took up their position under some enormous oaks by the side of an ice-covered pond.A shepherd, who was called the Red Dwarf, mounted to the top of the hill in order to warn the miller, who had already stopped his mill when he saw flames on the horizon. But he allowed the peasant to enter, and the two went to a window to look out over the countryside.

Dwarf went down

The moon shone down brightly upon the conflagration, and the men could see a long procession of people wending their way across the snow. After they had done watching, the Dwarf went down again to the others waiting in the wood.They could soon distinguish in the distance four riders behind a herd of cattle browsing over the fields. As they stood, clad in their blue breeches and red mantles, looking about by the pond`s edge under trees made luminous by the heavy snowfall, the sacristan showed them a box-hedge, and behind this they crouched.The Spaniards, driving before them flocks and cattle, made their way over the ice, and when the sheep came to the hedge and began nibbling at the greenery, Korneliz broke through, the others following him into the moonlight, armed with their forks. There was then a great massacre in the presence of the huddled sheep and cows, that looked on frightened at the terrible slaughter under the light of the moon.When they had killed the men and their horses, Korneliz went out into the fields toward the blazing farm, while the others stripped the dead. Then they all returned to the village with the flocks and cattle. The women, who were looking out toward the dense wood from behind the churchyard walls, saw them coming out from among the trees and in company with the cur£ ran to meet them. They all returned dancing amid laughing children and barking dogs.As they made merry under the pear-trees, where the Dwarf had hung lanterns as for a kermesse, they asked the cur£ what ought to be done next. They decided to send a cart for the body of the woman who had been hanged and her nine little girls, and bring them all back to the village.

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