there was snoring, only there was no watchman. Rats and mice were the only inhabitants. Poverty laid the table; poverty lurked in ward- robe and larder. The doors fell off their hinges, cracks and crannies appeared everywhere; I went in and out,' said the wind, 'so I know all about it.
'The hair and the beard of Waldemar Daa grew grey, in the sorrow of his sleepless nights, amid smoke and ashes. His skin grew grimy and yellow, and his eyes greedy for gold, the long expected gold.
'I whistled through the broken panes and fissures; I blew into the daughters' chests where their clothes lay faded and threadbare; they had to last for ever. A song like this had never been sung over the cradles of these children. A lordly life became a woeful life! I was the only one to sing in the castle now,' said the wind. 'I snowed them up, for they said it gave warmth. They had no firewood, for the forest was cut down where they should have got it. There was a biting frost. Even I had to keep rushing through the crannies and passages to keep myself lively. They stayed in bed to keep them- selves warm, those noble ladies. Their father crept about under a fur rug. Nothing to bite, and nothing to burn! a lordly life indeed! Whew! whew! let it go! But this was what Waldemar Daa could not do.
'"After winter comes the spring," said he; "a good time will come after a time of need; but they make us wait their pleasure, wait! The castle is mortgaged, we are in extremities—and yet the gold will come—at Easter!"
'I heard him murmur to the spider's web.—"You clever little weaver! You teach me to persevere! If your web is broken, you begin at the beginning again and complete it! Broken again—and cheer- fully you begin it over again. That is what one must do, and one will be rewarded!"
'It was Easter morning, the bells were ringing, and the sun was at play in the heavens. Waldemar Daa had watched through the night with his blood at fever pitch; boiling and cooling, mixing and distill- ing. I heard him sigh like a despairing soul; I heard him pray, and I felt that he held his breath. The lamp had gone out, but he never noticed it; I blew up the embers and they shone upon his ashen face, which took a tinge of colour from their light; his eyes started in their sockets, they grew larger and larger, as if they would leap out.