Von Claus Groth, aus seinem originalen Niederdeutsch.
Geboren 1819 in Heide/Holstein. Lehrer, zuletzt Professor in Kiel, wo er in 1899 starb. Plattdeutscher Dichter Der Quickborn
Auf Hochdeutsch: von E. Buegge-Wood
The Ferry-Boat Inn
From the original low German by:
Claus Groth, born 1819 in Heide/Holstein Germany. He was a teacher, later professor in Kiel, Germany -
where he died in 1899. Low German Poet of (-Der Quickborn-).
English translation by: E. Buegge-Wood
In the ferry-boat Inn on the Staben, it was usually so quiet as in ancient days, like in the house of Captain Poett or Mister Schade, on the island Fehmarn. How could it be any other way on a small island, in a house right by the sea? If you didn-t hear the rushing of the waves, that everybody was used to, - or the wind,- you could hear, so to speak, nothing else otherwise. Unless you paid attention to somebody else breathing besides yourself and if you turned around, you might see the cat who had secured himself a soft spot. In this ferry-boat Inn on the Staben, as I have already mentioned, it was mostly so still, although not entirely empty. If you didn-t count the dog or the cat as second person, lying underneath the ceramic stove with the neck and the head stretched out far enough, so that they could overlook the entire room and notice anybody entering, at the same time catch the fresh air near the door. In reality two men were almost always present in the large waiting-room of the pub, off to one side of the ferry-boat Inn. The one man, who was the innkeeper, his name was -ADAM-, he was a tall, quiet person, who kept his place behind the bar as if he had to hold it down the entire day. The other man, who seldom ever failed to show up and always sat at the table by the window, was the old Captain Poett. Mr. Adam was not a young man, he had gray hair and a beard. He was known on the entire island Fehmarn as -The young Adam-, also the shippers and their helpers called him that. Different from his father, who had been in charge of the Inn before, and used to stand at the bar, as long as both were seen together he was called -the old Adam.-
The young Adam was actually too tall for this business and also too old to be called junior. But that-s the way it goes in the world. Most people take over a business and don-t even fit in, unless he was a shipper, he had to adjust to his work, otherwise he would go down with his business, only he stays on top who can master the trade, like Captain Poett; otherwise, it is as I already mentioned, he would loose the business. If you meet a man who can-t hardly walk, you can be sure he is a mailman, - I have known a man who had two little, black wooden legs, he had fallen on the ice and waited for another human being to rescue him, still with the letter bag over his shoulder. When somebody had lost his voice, he was sure to be made into an announcer, or a night watchman or even a school master. You can figure that out all by yourself. Adam was too tall for his place of business, I mean too tall for his house with such low ceilings. He had to stoop down when he entered into a room. When Captain Poett called for him to look over to the window from the corner cabinet and asked him: -What comes here with full sails ahead toward Staberhuk? Stupid man!- From the ferry-boat Inn one had a very good view over the Baltic Sea, and from the window, where Captain Poett sat, one could see what ships were coming from the eastern side, like from the direction of Luebeck, or from Fehmarnsund, going toward Kiel and Eckernfoerde or passing in the northern direction, around the reef at Puttgarden, toward the Danish islands or sailing all the way into the Kattegat or Skagerack. -What a stupid man! A real Hessian?
Can-t he see what-s ahead? Is he going to stub his nose? - I-ll be surprised if he can get the right turn or is he going to end up among the rocks?-, called the captain in excitement and anger from far off, as he pointed with one hand, which was as large as a steam shovel and almost the size of one of the small windows. Naturally the fellow would be called a -Hessian-, or -land rat-, or any kind of not so honorable title,- as long as the ship was situated in a turn, like a schooner or a brig, at a usual view, a ship with sails that was going it-s quiet way through the Baltic Sea forward into the distance. Well, ADAM came forward, leaving the bar to come toward the window and bent his head and broad shoulders down, where he leaned over to add his cold blooded opinion, often by simply nodding or shaking his head a few times with a yes, yes, mumbling into his beard. Captain Poett laid his large hands back on his knees, after he realized that this fellow saved the nose of his ship and short before the Staberhuk took the correct turn, then he took a small swallow from his glass and said: -Well, he must have been familiar with this area - he has been here before, - he certainly held his place around the reef - maybe he was from Dantzig,- - always with his eyes following the view over the sea und never a pause between it. Then he sat down again, - looking like a portrait on top of our wardrobes or chest of drawers -, and like a carved, sculptured item, young Adam stood at the bar again; dog and cat could only be noticed if you listened to their snoring. Often days and weeks went by, and nothing else happened, only one sailboat after the other passed by, some nearer and others far off in the distance, one hour after the other counted out by the old wall clock. While sitting and listening to the cat-s snoring and the rushing of the waves, - five minutes before noon, when dinner was announced, it was as if all four who were breathing in this ferry-boat Inn, raised up - Captain Poett took the last swallow from his glass, got up and left with his -adieu- and wishing all a -blessed meal-. Soon one could see him wandering up the hill, always with his last look over the Baltic Sea, then slowly he disappeared little by little, until even his head with the sailor-s cap could not be seen anymore. - For us people from the mainland it may seem lonely, yes, even terrible or frightening: for an old mariner it is an entirely different situation. He understands so much more than we do. It isn-t because he loves the sea so much, like some people love the country: whoever likes that and wants to tell or write about it, they don-t know the life of a mariner or sea-farer.
There is nobody who has been at sea for a long time, that isn-t longing to end it all and be back home on solid ground if it were possible. There never was a mention of it from Captain Poett wether he would like to go back on a ship, or that he was sorry sitting here day in and day out in the quiet of the ferry-boat house, spending his time with -young Adam-. Not at all! He was glad when evening came and he could crawl into his warm bed and not having to sleep in the bunk -KOJE-, where the salty brine beats on the ship-s plank two toll high. That is for the people who sit at home and read about it, behind a warm stove. A mariner reads his book about the sea, when he is in retirement. His fate is written down in it and smiles at him when the sun shines over the still waters, it calls him back into his past and reminds him of all the adventures, when the ocean spews it-s angry storms and breezes. It is no wonder then, that he likes to sit in the Ferry-boat Inn, while it seems as if he is sitting in front of an open book: We people in general don-t understand how to read their book. By the way, it wasn-t always as quiet and still on the Staben and in the ferry-boat Inn where young Adam lived. You could see young sailors sitting there, drinking their stiff drink called -Grock- in German, and a shrewd game of cards. People came there from all over the world, who had seen the globe from all angles and knew how to talk about it. There you could meet sea-faring men who had been in China eating rats, or in Australia, - -Old Men-, who had seen the -Rocky Mountains- meeting fur-traders, or who had been in the ocean around Hong Kong and had fist fights with pirates, - some of them had caught the yellow fever in New Orleans or witnessed a ship-wreck near -Spitzbergen- - for wherever there are seafarers, there you could find people from the island Fehmarn. People came there who had been to Cape Horn in [South America] and were able to talk about it, as if they had just sailed around Staberhuk of the island Fehmarn, and about the Mediterranean as if that was just behind Staberdorf on the island. People were inquiring about folks and reporting about friends, who had sailed away from home for thousand of miles and established for themselves a new home, like the farmers in Iowa, USA - or they had become business people in New York, also school teachers in Milwaukee, or established a restaurant in San Francisco, and became waiters in Montevideo, or even became kings on some South Sea island. There you could hear stories of all kinds, if you had time to listen. Life stories that were told as if they were fables or fairy tales and yet these men, who sat quietly before you, as one might see a seafarer sit there relaxed, telling the tales that he had lived and seen with his own eyes during his life at sea. If anybody would write it down, they wouldn-t believe any of it. When the telephone came to the island and the telegraph wiring were running from village to village, you can imagine how often and long people came to visit the Ferry-boat Inn at the Staben. Messages were sent from Fehmarn over the wires to any part of the globe, they reached into any house and many a hearts. You never knew whether by to-morrow for some family the news could be heart breaking and drive people to deep disappointments, - or it could be good news, - calling on some young beautiful, poor girl, -asking her to come to Hamburg, to a certain street address, clothing and money was all furnished, she could come with the next steamboat, first-class ticket was paid for, the captain would come and pick her up and take care of every thing - and after 2 weeks she could be driving with a chauffeur and servant as important lady in Boston, USA-. - That could all happen and certainly did happen, nothing ever was impossible.
The news didn-t always travel through the Ferry-boat Inn; that might have been important or not, anyhow it wouldn-t take long, through conversation and talk, that everybody knew, - then young Adam and Captain Poett surely were informed about it. At times the two were alone for days, and when there wasn-t too much going on in the Baltic Sea, the captain would commence loudly and Adam would agree by quietly nodding with his head, at times you could have heard an argument, which would last a long time, and almost always started in the same manner and ended the same way, it sounded like a monotonous tune, different from the loud, every-day tune, while Poett was complaining about the -bad guys at sea-, then Adam would just shake his head agreeably. -Have you had any news lately?-, started captain a new conversation. Nothing new, answered Adam, for right after the question came the answer. -Develished boy!-, said Poett, as if it would change anything surprisingly. Wasn-t he with -Bugsted-s- boy last? As you know they went together, answered Adam, -he came with Rahlf-s schooner.- -Damn that boy-, said Poett to himself, -and he didn-t return until he had so much gold that he couldn-t carry it himself, - but wasn-t he happy and cheerful?- he asked further. -Happy and cheerful, just as -Bugsted- had reported, very courageous.- -Courageous,- repeated Captain Poett with assurance, -devil of a boy, he doesn-t let anything discourage him, unless they would get into a storm or heavy sea, and he-ll raise the sails right back up. I always knew it and told you so, nothing could ever get him down, although he got a bit serious at times. I always told him, raise up the sails right away!, - -gradually, uncle Poett!-, that would be his answer. -He is going to make it, you-ll see, he is going to dig a hole through the earth, as soon as he gets the spade in his hands. Four years? How long has it been?- Naturally, he knew that, just as good as Adam did, and started to count on his fingers: Four years! And then he started a new count, this went all the way over to the left hand. -And your Johann?- asked Adam. -Nine-, said Poett still and soft, Micheli is next, nine. Yes, yes! I have again written to Valparaisa, they should at least send the golden chain from his pocket watch, they have buried him on land, and such memories never go away.- A stranger, who didn-t know the tone in his voice, would not have noticed anything; for here they talked about their own children, and to mention the beautiful golden chain, which was a precious piece of a father-s heart, in the German language it is the painful memory of the son. Islanders and people living near the sea, whose love-ones never returned from the sea, never skimp any amount of money to have the memorabilia of their sons returned to their home, if it is nothing else but only the sailor-s suit. -We-ll have to wait and see-, said the old Poett, and drummed with his two large, hard fingers on the table. -we-ll see.- And suddenly, as if the matter had come to a sudden end, he started a new conversation with a different tone: -Marichen looks gut, silly girl, looks just like milk and blood. I have seen her yesterday.- And then it surfaced, the end of that conversation had really been the reason for the beginning of the conversation. -She had asked about William, and was in good spirits, a real sweet child.-
That-s the way the two started the argument, and the conversation ended, unless Poett would ask another totally irrelevant question: Are your long potatoes already blooming?, I wonder how far along mine are by now. He seldom waited for the answer, but he made a gesture as if he had more important things to attend to and turned toward the door, walking out and going toward the dunes. Before he disappeared on the other side, people used to seeing him standing on the hill, as if it was for him a foreign land, where he had to observe so many strange things. A real foreigner to this place would probably be able to see that the land was flat, uniform and fertile, during the summer almost halve of the island was planted in wheat, in the fall the fields were ploughed and re-sown, as far as the eyes could see, during the winter the place was quiet as a tomb. The stranger might have noticed the three church towers that could be seen from far away, one after the other coming in view, and asking, what those dark spots were and what their names might be, that are marked and maybe even appear like a lit up spot, looking like the edge of a plate, and seemed to indicate that it is surrounded by water, with the small spot separated from the mainland, that can-t be recognized without the help of the shipper, sometimes not even for days, when the weather in the Baltic Sea is really wild. Here and there one can spot a village, nice houses with thatch roofs, a few have storks nesting on the roofs, the houses stand not in mixed variations like on the mainland in Holstein, moreover mostly in two rows with a wide space between them: you can-t always define them as streets, in front of each house or each barn you see a enclosure for their manure pile and the trail of wagon wheels leading through the village, which is during the raining period in the fall more like a swamp instead of a road or a path. Often this road goes from east to west, the houses seem to face with their front into the sun, in the one row you see the manure piles and in the other row the gardens, they never fail to have old pear trees and also large beach trees. Staberdorf, was the place where old man Poett so often, when times were right, visited and watched, because and although his thoughts weren-t always there, but his view and his walks steered toward it, he lived nearby where things were not much different than in all the other villages, they had a pond [Sol] on one end, where the horses were driven to and watered in the evenings, the road was fenced in with a stonewall behind the barns, so the manure would not drain off, and they were nearby, directly in view toward the mainland, up to the improved area, where you had a view over the small Fehmarnsund. Further unto the island in the other villages one can still see the old Fehmarn, entirely as it was in ancient days, once in a while in the middle of the village one can still see the great -Stein-Kring-, the thing-place, where long ago the elders gathered to hold their courts in the open air. In every village lived some shippers, even some that we already mentioned here, who had seen parts of the whole world with their own eyes, but there were also people who never had the desire or opportunity to ever travel or drift to the other side of the Fehmarnsund. For girls and women this was mostly the case. Yes, there were some, that were already old and had never gotten any further than seeing the three churches on the island. At the end of the village Staberdorf, not far from the pond was a large, old farm -Bauernhof- situated, very beautifully landscaped, almost separated from the others, on both sides a long barn -Scheune-, a bit off from the main village street, with a stonewall in front, as a property border, and a little flower garden before the windows and the house entrance door. As if it was a monument, at the same time each barn had it-s own stork-s nest and high above it towered the ash-trees and silver-poplars -Eschen und Pappeln-, then your view was led toward the apple orchard, it was almost as large as some of the estates, belonging to nobility on the mainland, -Holsteiner Adelshof-.
How much land belonging to this estate was rather obvious when you figured out how many horses were led to the watering pond at night by the hired men called -Knechte- one team after the other were led by the men in charge. Besides, you could judge what type of a gentleman -Herr- lived there, when on Sundays, if the roads were passable,- the coachman -Kutscher- with two shining, brown horses riding into town, going to church in Burg. He, the gentleman himself sitting inside the coach behind the windows.
The outside of the house and barns, the gardens were landscaped by a Mackeprang, naturally. The Mackeprangs and the Wittes were the ruling class on the entire island in olden days and owned most of the properties. There are still some papers in the name of the Mackeprang- und Witte- Clans -Vetternschaft-, where it states that they had to furnish their cousins with shirts, clothing and, money for food, in case they were in trouble and were involved in a killing of a person from another clan, then they had to help him escape and get off the island. Not long ago there was a Mackeprang or a Witte in each village, who were owners of a main farm -Haupt-Hof- and they were mentioned by simply calling them the -Mummendorfer- or -Staberdorfer- etc, without mention of the family name. Everybody knew who they meant, it was either a Witte or a Mackeprang. They were impressive people, with brown eyes, it could be assumed that they were descendants of the heroic old tribe called the -Wenden-, as the name Witte suggests -from the Germans-, when they conquered their land during a battle, then they adopted them into their tribe or clan. Chamberlains and judges evolved from their descendants, nobody became shipper. But there also was a time when a few shippers bowed down for the respected chamberlain -Herrn Kaemmerer-, as the people from Fehmarn called them, taking off their hat in respect when they left, and when they returned with so much gold that they couldn-t carry it in their hands. Such a man would sit down in Burg or Landkirchen, waiting in the restaurants where the judges would come to play cards, when they came out of the court chambers from one side of the building and crossing over to the other side into the Inn. They sat there long enough until they met with a Witt or a Mackeprang, to buy a farm from them and establishing themselves, maybe even sit down with the judges on the other side of the inn.
Now there are less of the -Witten-, also less of the -Wilders-, and also the -Unbehauen-, also other names have disappeared. On the Staberdorf estate lives the old Hansen. - The previous family had died out. -Who could have guessed what he planted, and who knew where he came from, it didn-t really matter to anybody. Nobody asked about what he was, or how he came to his money, they could just guess, - he was from the island Fehmarn, he also came from a poor family, he had been a shipper, now he is rich landowner: -Herr Hansen-. - He came with wife and child unexpected, they found out who purchased the farm, after he was already living there. The wife was not from the island, the child was a small, blue-eyed, beautiful girl. - His health was poorly, the wife was timid and quiet, the house was lonesome.
Only the little Marichen flew about like a butterfly in the summer, and like a bird in the winter, in and out, and she showed everybody how nice life could be in the well decorated living room, with the cheerful girl and the white curtains. - Smart was the old Herr Hansen, he had his nose in many things. Who could object to any of it? It could happen that he rode in a coach at times, or in winter crawled out of his fur cover and sat down in the corner of the couch; - he did more questioning than answering, at times he would show up where one least expected him to be, and he went to places where he was not even noticed, he came over to Adams into the ferry-boat Inn. Then you could see three unusually different characters. Adam had also gone to sea, but he didn-t have a real interest in it. He also had learned something, more than what would show up on him by observing his head and the clothing he wore. When some -better class people- came over, like sea-officers, or traveling people, then they were surprised when Adam contributed to the conversation. He had been in New York, New Orleans, Rio and who knows where else. It happened that his speech loosened up, and the joints in his body moved freely, yes, it could happen that he felt a bit nostalgia, showing a stern expression on his face. - Such people also belong to the island- and shipper- folks. - You could notice this expression only on Mr. Hansen-s eyes, when they followed the many ships passing by, or when Captain Poett, with his genuine seafarer manners, calling some one a -land rat-, or a -blind Hessian-, - pouring out his true opinion from his heart, as if he knew all situations as well as the other two. -
Here he drank his glass of -Madeira-, and listened to all the news, he also asked about Adam-s son -William-, and then he went home. - Because William and Marichen soon became play mates, after Mr. Hansen had moved in and that was alright with Mr. Hansen. For without socializing with other human beings the soul cannot flourish, especially a child-s soul. So was also the opinion of Mr. Hansen. Children wander into all kinds of crevices, holes and nests and they like to linger where they feel comfortable, if they are not thrown out, they overcome fear and respect, no kitchen nor church is secure where there are children. No hiding place is too secret, where they can-t enter in. Fear of faces only lasts as long as they have time to observe them enough. Since there were no people coming to visit Mr. Hansen-s place, it was certain, that -William Adam- showed up all the time, even when in the beginning he was being watched in those celebrated chambers, among the furniture and the pictures: Marichen took him every where, holding him by his hand, and that was enough, for she had so many nice toys that one should receive a spanking for not observing them. During the summer Marichen was given a little goat for her wagon, this was noticed by all the people on the island, when her and William drove around in it as if it was a coach. The next summer she got a little donkey, an animal without horns, but was still not as tame that Marichen didn-t need William to come along for safety, in case she needed some help. The next summer they drove around with a pony, it was yellow with long hair, Mr. Hansen had purchased him from a shipper from Norway. A real wild-like beast, but it was willing to go, Marichen could hold the line and the whip and lead him around, almost as a surprise to all who were watching them, for the small animal ran by good weather, until his and her blond hair flew around their neck. Marichen was also in need of a learning buddy. Children don-t learn very good when they live in isolation, they have to learn while they are playing.
Those thoughts were Mr. Hansen-s also. He had hired a little Lady, a -Mamsell- for tutoring his daughter - in school he had not done very well in art. -Mamsell- was from a rather poor family, and she looked a bit starved coming from the Hannover area. She had been sent to the country because of her health. A tiny little person, almost still a child herself; but she had learned something and in a short time with the good food and the fresh air on the farm, red cheeks returned to her face and a new vigor came into her life. Now they started to learn, almost with force. Maybe out of sheer appreciation for the poor girl-s help, lonely hours were also partially reason enough in the still and quiet Hansen house, then there was singing, learning by heart and how to use declination of the language from morning until night and at the beginning William was only the shy listener, here and there and at other times he would soon be the great helper as well as a downright companion player, he had no idea what would consequently become of this, soon he would be spending over a few hours with the old -preceptor- teacher, almost the entire day was spent with Marichen and madam -Mamsell- in song, grammar and reading. Certainly did Mr. Hansen take all this into consideration and had surely negotiated with the ferry-boat man -Adam- about this, he seemed to be more or less agreeable, otherwise he would have arranged some other educational program for the boy by himself. - Even if the three sat around like little children - while William was the tallest, he stretched with his curly head way above the little aunt - they were often rather loud in the house as children often are, and yet did the procedure go on in a rather serious manner, without the lady being in need of any extra teacher-s aid.
As she had the wonderful, educational books, which they didn-t always read together, the aunt did enjoy these herself as well as the children! One must consider what was available for reading in the country,- When people develop a good taste for reading, and why shouldn-t they. Old and young, poor or rich - we don-t want to suggest, that there is a difference; there is no soul that doesn-t crave knowledge, the majority of human beings don-t receive good material for learning, or even books filled with good writing in a good taste. - One must realize how little opportunity there is in the country to read about travel, history and poetry, to how much satisfaction can come from it. Another demand was made by the aunt that brought her greater respect, she asked that a -high German- was spoken instead of only -low German-. That didn-t go over very well in the beginning.
First it was very slow and almost turned into a stuttering, many things had to be improved for the little aunt, for she spoke a very refined -German-, as most of the people did that came from Hannover. This new mannerism helped not only the ill behaved children but everybody in general; what could a pastor do when the children spoke another language than he did, when he had to speak a language that nobody in the community understood, as well as he did? With Mamsell it couldn-t do much harm and William sat himself right next to her, out of sheer respect with his good knowledge in math, of which she didn-t understand as much, almost as little as -low German- -plattdeutsch-. He showed his slate with great pride, when he had filled it full with large numbers in the teacher-s class, -Percepter- [Lehrerin], - when he became the master teacher in this field for the two of them. At the same time he showed great respect for both of them. That was Mamsell-s excellence, as one may say, she learned it from at home, it was easy to learn as a student, when she started on the drawing board, he could see her hand move, as she drew one line after the other and her eyes, that moved like a ticker in a clock, and would copy the numbers on the paper.
Her eyes were blue like the sky, when they were beaming up, and when her cheeks would glow in a blushing red color with enthusiasm. - For him, drawing was quite a hardship. But when it came to singing and voice study, the aunt didn-t have to teach him about that, he could determine notes and sounds all by himself, what was a good sound, and what was bad when someone sang off key. She had a rough voice, like the shippers voices, he himself preferred when he heard Marichen-s voice instead of hers. He was glad for his little play-mate to sing well, out of love and devotion to her, he thought she deserved being better at this. Maybe, if she would have been a boy, he would have challenged her, to see who was the stronger. But their life would just pass mostly in friendship and peace. Anger and forgiving comes into every life. At the same time, he wasn-t blind to the fact that: she was Mr. Hansen-s daughter. Oh, things like that are easily noticed by children, more so than -grown ups- ever realize! In the house, pictures were hanging on the wall, and among the portraits were kings and queens from Denmark, just as if they were one of the family; so did Marichen also act as if it was all in her head like imagination. He knew this well and thought his part about it, in solemn moments at times, all to himself. And he didn-t let her forget it: she was too proud, he told her so when he wanted to go out in his father-s sailboat and she refused to go. Behind his father-s gate they went down to the beach to gather up shells. Why didn-t she want to go? She was too proud, because it wasn-t her father-s ship, it belonged to Willem-s father. She can do that if she wants to, he thought to himself; but then he turned her down the next time, when he wouldn-t go for a ride with her in her father-s pony cart. Finally she gave in and went with him, then they would both be rather calm during the ride, and when she ran away from him, he would in turn search til late in the evening for pretty and unusual shells, just for her. That-s how they would make up, on and off, and he had to get used to it, for she carried her head up high, and she would say: just as her head was telling her to be. Well, he also had his own ideas.
During fall and winter the roads on the island Fehmarn are very much like muddy pools, and without any firm ground. Then you can-t go anywhere with a horse and buggy, or wagon. If someone wanted to go anywhere, or even travel somewhere, they had to ride on a horse, women and ladies had to ride on the back of the horse. On the wrong side of the horse one could climb up to the back on a ladder, the assistant -Knecht- fetched her and helped her up and let her down easy, so that they could sit right behind the male rider on the horse, in the right position. Father or brother, mister or young servant-man sat in the front, the ladies would hold on to them, with their right arm, and with the weight of two persons or one and a halve, the trustworthy animal would know and didn-t mind, until they would arrive at their destiny and the females were lowered down gently with the aid of a ladder and of course somebody-s strong arms. Marichen, when she grew a bit older, had to make many trips into town, maybe to the tailor, or to the general store, sometimes to the drugstore. Her mother was weakly and didn-t always feel good, she had a notion to buy all sorts of items and if they were only -Hoffmann-s drops-, this was a home remedy which you could smell in every home where there was some sort of the slightest illness in a weak person. Nobody noticed that William sat on the large brown horse and Marichen behind him. That was the way they were often riding, and why shouldn-t they, just like all the other people did it on the island Fehmarn. Often the lady of the house sat behind the plough boy, the daughter of the house called -Jungfer-, sat behind her father, the Farmer. This was not always a pleasure ride on very muddy roads, the rider who was leading the horse, had to have a good eyesight, that would steer forward and not backward and he also had to have strong arms for to guide the horse and to control rein as well as keep the bridle in check, while the mud was flying high over their head. It could be, that an extra hired help was missing, then it was up to William, like a duty, to take Marichen into town. He felt happy to be needed, that was also a change in the every day life. The old feeding servant, [Futterknecht] -Mr. Nissen- always helped them unto the horse, and made the same speech; when Marichen put the ladder down behind William, to be situated correctly on the horse -Brown-, Nissen gave the horse a rap on the fat belly and said: -Hi ho, Brown, getty up now!, you are carrying Adam and Eve on your back, don-t run out of paradise with them.- That would cause the two young people to laugh! For he never missed the opportunity to say those words. And it was often true - that they would talk in sincerity of the real Adam and Eve in their conversation, about paradise and the garden of Eden, or about the first human beings on earth and all the other things they were learning, and how they had taken it to heart in truth and good faith from the -Bible- and what had gotten stuck in their own memory about the teaching. These things were known in Fehmarn, or maybe still taught in the country where people were lonely. Well, it was no wonder, that William had a desire to look over that garden of Eden, just in case that garden was still somewhere to be seen, and Marichen wouldn-t get homesick for Fehmarn or Staberdorf.
One afternoon, when they were going into the town of Burg, it was after the harvest, when the days were already starting to get shorter, - a thunderstorm came up, just when they were leaving Burg, it was beginning to get dark when they started to ride home. With thundering and lightning, in wind and rain, it got so severe that it was impossible for them to leave. That-s when they stopped at the first place familiar to them. William stooped and jumped off the horse and helped Marichen off, pulled the horse off into the stable near the school into the turf-shed, while they ran into the house. This was the home of a well-known sheet metal worker where they took refuge and entered into his shop, just when the storm was in it-s worse stage. The old, bent over little man sat in front of a block that he had just started to hammer on, as if he was pounding against the thunder and lightning. They could always hear his hammering when they came to Burg as well as when they were on their way back home. He did that to the city of Burg, like threshing machine would tear up the land, after they were done with the harvest. The tin smith sat like a small heap in the middle of the large work place to do his metal work. On the opposite of the wall stood a driving wheel like a wheel from a giant-s wagon dug up out of a dolen [giants] grave, on a shelve you could find old fashioned things like giant kettles, pans, platters and dishes, tools like -Kroeseleisen- and beakers, roughly cut out from stone and almost too heavy for one person to carry, very crude, as if they were made thousand years ago, green and black from old age. Those were forms for the tin-founder, and making pewter ware. The shiny dishes, that are not in use anymore, but you can still see them on display on shelves as decoration in the kitchen or dining areas. Such dishes were made in those forms. When you would lift one of those heavy lids, you could see the shiny figure of a dish or a can or even a barrel. The old sheet metal worker used to be a well trained tin-founder -Kannen-Giesser-, when those things were still in use, in the old days he had plenty of work and was never poor,- now it is different he is driven to learn a lesser trade, with lesser artwork and of course, lesser income and much more noise. He had become some type of philosopher. On the shelves of the other wall stood several rows of old books, from the looks of them, they fitted more into the age of the old pewter forms. They were bound in pig leather or even in an old casing made of oak wood, dusty, covered with smoke residue. Out of those old books he gets all his weird ideas, mostly about chemistry. That-s how he started his new shop with melting and soldering, - so he kept active, and once in a while somebody had use of an old job like that, when it still brought some income. oesterling had come to this area almost like the wheel and the old forms, when he came out of another district, got lost on the island Fehmarn and got stuck here. He was a Prussian from Pomerania, and besides the chemistry that he admired, he actually had another idol: That was -Frederick the Great-, as they called him in German -der alte Fritz-. We were not use to these artisans, or skilled laborers, no artists were here among our people on the island. The same happened when a barber landed here in Burg. He was, as we islanders understand, from Saxony, and had naturally as another idol the other great one -Napoleon-. The tin-smith, -Kannen-Giesser- oesterling didn-t go outside to mingle with the people and the barbers, the barbers were called -die Putzleute- in those days, they were running the whole morning from house to house to serve their clients. After midday their business was over, - who would have thought of having themselves all spruced up in the afternoon? Nobody in Burg - that way he had nothing else to do, as just to sharpen his knives, getting prepared for the next morning, and while he did so, he would look out the window to keep an eye on the community pump. He did not own the pump, but it was located right in front of his window on the stone bridge -Steinbruecke-, and belonged to the community, but he watched over it in the afternoon, just as if he was hired by the authorities to keep a watch, - so that nobody would take water from it unjustly. There was plenty of water in the pump for the whole town of Burg, but it was designated for the eastern side -Osterende-, we have to have justice, he said; when a poor shoemaker son from the western side -Westerende-, came with his bucket, because this pump was closer for him, then the barber would storm outside, with anything in his hand, even if it was a sharp razor knife,- and chased him away, back into his own corner of the town, without any grace. He was, what he didn-t deny himself, of a disagreeable disposition. To his costumers he would not be that rude, and when he didn-t find anything to fight about in the afternoon, then he would go over to oesterling in the evenings, the tinsmith, the pothouse, -Klempner and Kannen-Giesser-, to fight with him until his soul couldn-t rest, because of the many night mares. Naturally, it was either about -Napoleon- or -Frederick the great-, -Friedrich der Grosse- and argue about -who was the best hero at war-.
That is how the two little old men constantly compared the battles and discussing the battle at Katzbach or Austerlitz, just as if they were solely responsible for the outcome of their battles. But oesterling-s main interest seemed to be chemistry, for that subject he would drop his enthusiasm for Frederick the great. -Chemistry is going to bring many changes in the whole world, whoever becomes master in that field will be more important than Frederick the Great or even Napoleon-, so he said. When he added: -Even greater than Napoleon- the arguments sprang up again, and when he spoke in his native Saxon dialect, that really didn-t go over well in this area: -He better drop that accent, here on the island Fehmarn!- When the old Pomeranian didn-t agree with his talk, he totally ignored the other, of course he didn-t know any more chemistry than the other. Greater than all the greatest, he exclaimed. If he hadn-t been such a worn out heap, and if he was still young or if he had learned anything, which he didn-t, then it could have been reason to talk, and could have blossomed. Then he would have had an insight. But he would find a few pages in a book, that he understood and tried to build his opinion on it. He could work with the soldering iron, this he had learned in his previous profession. But he couldn-t prove any great talent to any one and nobody paid any attention to his claim about chemistry; the barber just looked down on him with disdain. The other day he brought out a little bottle and drew fire from it, it made a light. He displayed it ceremoniously, held it in his own hand and let people feel to see if it got hot and burned. This he thought was a miracle! A cold glass and fire was in it! Fire is one of the elements, he proclaimed, with fire began the creation, and with fire the world will come to an end, so they say! Every time a new invention came into being it was called progress. The new way to make fire, he said is part of the new times, and he wanted to show it. Now they could do away with the powder horn, it was now part of the old iron, just like the time when they did away with the stone axe, because they had found iron ore and they could hammer tools out of iron in the iron age. At the same time he would get a wooden match, stick it into the bottle and showed them when it started to glow. Phosphor was the name of it that he had in the glass, you could purchase it in the drugstore. Stupid stuff said the fellow from Saxony, it-s just phosphor. The barber, also the professor in the drugstore had told him this. That was just as a natural fact to him as that the bear was a cold-blooded animal - and that is the reason why you have to use bear fat as to not get frost bites, he also used that for himself when it got real cold in the winter, to protect his hands in his business; and of course the fox was the hot-blooded animal, this the animal had proven with his cunning and slyness; that-s why they used his lung and cooked it in a special way - this of course was a secret, and from it you got fire!
When William and Marichen stopped at Mr. Oesterling-s workshop during the thunderstorm - and came into the large, dark shop, with a driving-wheel and stone forms, here everything was covered with black smoke and scorched, like a room from underneath the earth, - then came the little man, he sat in the middle of the shop on a three-footed stool, near a whale-oil lamp - he was wearing glasses, bent over in front of an old anvil hammering on some piece of metal, as if he was fighting against the thunder and lightning. Forward came the old blacksmith - the children had been reading lots of fairy tales - this place reminded them of some magician living deep in a cave. For him it also may have seemed like a moment from a fairy tale, when he looked up from his work bench, for in the door he spotted two people, looking strangely like people from a portrait: tall and beautiful, and both looked like carved out of the youthful beauty of childhood. - There came a lightning into the window and the thunder, which followed immediately after the lightning,- though his voice may have sounded wonderful, when he said: -Come in!, the weather is dreadful! Our dear lord is using more phosphor today than what I use in an entire year, maybe he does this to impress the young couple! - In his own way he tried to make it sound as cheerful, instead it sounded more mysterious and odd at the same time. He pulled up a seat for each of them, to be seated on both sides of his anvil, and seated himself between the two, grabbed the shiny hammer and positioned himself as if to say: what type of magic should I create for you? But instead he brought the new matches, this had come to mind with the lightning and showed them, - first he introduced himself, then he let Marichen hold the glass, to proof to her that is was not burning hot and started his conversation. - He wanted to possibly show, out of the goodness of his heart, that he could help the poor girl overcome her fear of thunder and lightning - of the phosphor - he said, it was really the fifth element, that is absorbed by everything on earth, and when death comes to us it-s not present anymore. It is probably present right now in the sky, it is also over the sea, when that happens there is some danger. - As well as for us people, when we get old we have less phosphor in us, but when we-re young we have to be careful that we aren-t overloaded with it, then lightning can easily strike and interrupt life. That-s the way he talked until the storm let up a bit,- then he led his young visitors outside and helped them unto their horse. Once more he warned them, to follow the road along the beach toward their house to avoid getting lost, evening approached, that road was much cleaner and not so muddy. - There is no real danger on the island Fehmarn along the Baltic Sea -Ostsee Strand-: Ebb and tide is not present there, and when the storm doesn-t drive the water upward from east and north, then one can find the beach as if it were an installed sandy road and along the fields. When they came down, at dawn, while over the water it still lightened up in the distance, and the lightning could still be seen, the water was still and almost motionless, as if it also wanted to rest like the day. Through the calm of the evening you could hear the horse -Brown- in his gallop, throwing the sand and crashing the shells under his hoof. Mysterious cries from the water birds clinging through the air, when they fly high above you, further over the ocean in their battle for food. When you listen you can hear in this quiet air, a tone which the ears don-t seem to catch during the day, at least not a sound for the heart. Why are the clouds drifting, almost like a group of people above us, asked Marichen, and they are still lighting up, with a whistling sound that gets loud as if they-re calling to one another, so none of them get lost on their dangerous way. Isn-t it awesome if you imagine, that a human being may be way out at sea all alone. William comforted her by saying: -the birds all know their position. But they also hear the people. The voices are echoing for an unending distance over the waters and ring almost with a shivering sound, when they reach us from far off, we wonder where it came from-. Hear it now, what is that, called Marichen and held fast onto her rider for support, it sounds as if people are calling from underneath the sea. William kindly told her: -Those are the fisher from the Staben, who have been out at sea and are calling to one another from boat to boat. But if one is ever exited in such a situation, common sense doesn-t help much. Marichen heard and saw things that were possibly things she imagined, some horrible things, this got worse the darker it got.
Especially when Brown, the old horse, who definitely didn-t suffer from superstition or imagination, suddenly stopped and refused to go any further, that-s when the poor little girl really panicked, things like giants and dwarfs came into her mind, and all the things she had read about in the fairy tales, she also remembered all the tall tales that the tin smith had told them about the phosphor, in her anxiety she saw him sitting there in the dark, in front of his anvil. The reason why the horse wouldn-t go on, was because he was with his feet in the sparks that was like molten metal from the lightning in the distance, what flew like sparks through the air, just like the sparks that were flying in the tin-smith shop, spurting high, then they fell into the water and sank there, as if stars were falling from the sky. The foam that the small waves formed after the weather had calmed down was rushing to the shore, one after the other like foam of gold, and one could see in the ripples of the water, when they lit up, like during the sheet-lightning; all the fire that had played in the sky was now reflecting from the depth of the sea. The horse Brown had no comprehension about phosphorescence of the sea -Meerleuchten-, but all the islanders knew what it was. He didn-t want to jump into the sparkling fire in spite of all the coaxing. There was nothing they could do, William had to jump off the horse and grabbed his rain, leading him; - where the master leads the horse will follow, slowly with much snorting and sniffing. In order to pass by the -Huuk- you had to go along the steep coast, like a bluff -Steilkueste-, where one surely gets wet feet during bad weather; during high water the schooners would pass there. William held brown fast by his rain and led him with a strong hand. Marichen sat alone on the horse. She was certainly not of a frightful nature, although it seemed to her, as if she was in another world. The young man was wading through water ahead of them, and the golden sparks spat over his feet, night was lying over the banks, in the midst of all this, the sea was glowing and murmuring. She thought of her father, her home, and many other things appeared to her as in a different light, but she also thought of the old man with his riddling stories, a bit of fright came over her, she didn-t know what to do in this situation. She was wondering if William felt the same way and even carried the same thoughts like she did? When they turned around the corner they reached the dry, sandy beach, he paid some attention to the horse, praised him and padded his fur to comfort the animal. He didn-t have any words for Marichen, only that he often called her by name to be nice and comforting and said: -Now we-ll soon be home!- -
He walked faster, carrying the line over his arm and following the old road. In Mr. Hansen-s home they were restless and worried about the children. The old Hansen came to the door in person, helped Marichen off the horse, but didn-t say one word to the lady nor to the rider, just as if it was all understood in a way. Nobody even spoke of danger, this Marichen would have welcomed, only, that it was already dark and that they all had waited for her. Soberly he led his daughter into the house, left William by himself to go home, there wasn-t a minute time to wish each other a -good night-. - Next morning, when William tried to find out how Marichen was doing, they told him that she was too tired and that she wanted to stay in bed. After a few days, when he again tried to ask about Marichen, she was not home. He waited another week to visit her, but they told him that she had gone on a trip with her father. Mister Hansen came back after a few days, but by himself. He didn-t seem to show any expression in his dry face, when he passed his daughter-s greetings on to William. He had taken her for a short spell with the tutoring lady -Mamsell- to Hannover. There she was supposed to learn some more things. William couldn-t even express how he felt when he got the news. Once the old Mr. Hansen ran into him in his garden, just at a time when William was trying to climb into the one and only special pear tree, - something very terrible happened. He wanted to disappear into the earth out of shame. It felt to him as if he had committed a terrible crime, it was eating away on his mind, yet he had never felt like that and certainly never had such thoughts before. The old Mr. Hansen had done something to him, with a cold look in his eyes, with no color and no glow, it went deep in and out of his soul. There was something in Mister Hansen-s facial expression, as if he wanted to tell William: I have to let you know, boy, you were trying to take from me, my very best belongings, but this time it is too high for you to reach, but I know you now. He felt bad, and could feel how the blood was rushing into his face, all the way up into his hairline, then he turned pale again, just as if his entire sense for joy of living had left him. When Mr. Hansen was gone, he ran off, he couldn-t get his breath. He then turned around, - just like the man -Robinson- who had landed alone on an island, his ship sailing away with all the things he needed to survive, and he was stranded. He wanted to throw himself unto the ground and rolling in his misery. He wanted to cry, if he hadn-t been so worn out and broken hearted, his eyes were too tired to move. So it is with young lovers! He laid around for days like halve asleep and partly dreaming. If he only had one person that he could talk with. But he was all alone, he had no comrades, the parents kept quiet, and left him to himself. When he walked around the beach and the dunes, - or saw Mr. Hansen-s house and garden, the mighty silent trees behind the iron gate came into view, then he thought about the paradise and the garden of Eden, that they so often used to talk about. Yes, he was also an Adam who had been thrown out of paradise, where the gates were closed tightly, just like angels holding guard there, with glowing swords. Once he met the servant Mr. Nissen, the old feed-servant -Futterknecht-, sitting on old Brown. -He didn-t go the right way, this old beast-, he said to William, just in passing. Little Adam and Nissen padded the horse -Brown- with their hand on the shiny back, -I have told him, but what can you expect from an old nag, that is too dense,- said Mr. Nissen. The only words that cheered William, came from the old Captain Poett when he once saw him, he said to William: -Never let your sails down, William, always raise them high, your travels are still long and you are only a young guest. Don-t give up!- So, the old Mr. Hansen had insulted William! - Could that be possible? How unkind, is there hope for such injustice? When the lessons had stopped at Mr. Hansen-s house, Adam sent his son to Burg, so he could take some private lessons with the pastor, who had other students, that also were tutored there, privately.
One boy was the son of a doctor, another boy was the son of the clerk to the petty sessions -Landschreiber-, and some apprentices -Gesellen-, who wanted to go to Kiel, to attend the high school in preparation for higher learning, one young boy, the son of a rich land-owner from Markelsdorf was also in the group. - There was a decisive attitude of extreme class differences -Klassenunterschied- among this group, where William entered in. It didn-t take very long, when he was ridiculed and made fun of. To give up among those kind of people was impossible. Did they know anything? Or was it because of his name, that they asked about Eve, about paradise and also the angles holding watch at the gates? It didn-t really matter to him anymore until one day, while wrestling the biggest fellow til he had him under his feet, then he asked the others, who else would like to lay there with him? He finally had his piece, but not any friendship. He didn-t really long for that. He had to manage his own feelings and decide that he was a man among the boys. He had a load to carry, only this way did he learn that he could stand up for himself. -Sails rigged high again-, he remembered those words from old Captain Poett, sails always had to be in good shape. Nothing is lost as of yet, and when an image of Marichen Hansen came into his mind, those words were to be understood. He wondered how he could win her. Why shouldn-t he be lucky? But he didn-t really know how to begin and what he should study? It wasn-t so hard to learn anything, but to be successful in life and make something out of yourself, that was the trick. If one only knew! His fellow students all went their own certain way. After their education, the one went straight to his father-s farm as landowner -Bauer- in Markelsdorf, the others entered a happy life and got an official position, they didn-t have to worry about anything. Although he learned English, French, geography and history; what could he do with it? He didn-t learn that from the pastor, but not even the -Herr Pastor- was able to teach him about that, how could he know that? Of course he could tell them when they had failed and came into a troubled situation. But how to prepare yourself for a successful life, that was not the pastor-s job to teach. Besides, most people ended up on the wrong side of the road. The old philosopher, the metallurgist didn-t know much about that either, in the end,- to each his own! But one thing a person could learn from him, - when he spoke of a long labor-filled life and much experience, - -where there is a will there is a way-, and when it seems that one door closes, one must find the other door that will open for a new opportunity, even if it seemed as if they were all closing for him. Maybe he was drawn to the names of Mr. Hansen and his daughter, because he could hear about them when he was with the tinsmith. When the barber remembered, he would aim the conversation toward William and say: -If I would still have a son, I wouldn-t want him to become a shoemaker, no, no, not a shoemaker!- -So, why did you let your son become a tailor,- asked the tin smith. -Because of circumstances,- said the barber. -But why not a shoemaker-, asked oesterling, the tinsmith. No, they are an awful bunch, those shoemaker boys! He had just caught the shoemaker -Danker-s- son taking water from the pump, they are a stealing bunch. -Isn-t there enough water in the pump for all people-, asked the tin-smith. Yes, water is there enough, but we have to have justice, the law says that water is for the people from the east end and they should remember that. The old tin-smith laughed and asked about the second son, what trade he would follow, if he should have had another son. -Painter-, said the barber, and added with expression, -a great painter!- -Maybe with a paintbrush,- said the tin-smith. -What, me,- asked the barber, as if he was insulted. The tin-smith added: -are you talking about someone who paints houses?- -I wouldn-t mind, - any profession has a golden future-, he answered. An artist maybe, added the Saxon, and acted undisturbed, we need some of those here in Fehmarn and all of Holstein. You should come to Dresden and see the great art gallery. So, said the Pomeranian, and turned him down sharply, maybe we could see Napoleon there, the great -no-good- -Schuft-, with his little hat. Not really so, he turned the world around. Yes, answered the Pomeranian angrily, he made the German Reich poor. And then began another, usually new argument, the same noise could be heard all over again, wether Napoleon was the most heroic warrior or was it -Frederic the Great-? Until they came to a point where they couldn-t continue, only screaming at each other, then a calm followed and they became reasonable. - It was as if a thunderstorm came to an end, one could only hear the mumbling in the distance. -No, I just meant if I had a son-, meant oesterling, - -when I was young, things were different and when the damn -French- came, they ruined everything in our country, they intimidated us to such an extant, that we didn-t dare do anything. But if I had a son I would see to it that he wouldn-t get stuck,- - and he raddled on as if he should have had a son, an example like William - to bring something into the Staber -Ferry-Boat Inn- with a father, a mother, two horses, two cows, even if it would take long enough, until Mr. Hansen-s estate was free and available. But the boy must get out into the world and make something of himself! The new fuselage in the gun that Napoleon used, -Schwefelhoelzer mit Kuppelung-, said the barber jokingly. Maybe not so bad said the tin-smith, it depends on how things are changing. Let-s not forget the song that we sing in our land: Bonaparte is not so proud heidi,heidi, trading with matches. Heidi dum. Shortly after that, another battle started out. -Chemistry they should have taught me,- said oesterling, -or even machinist , or just get to be somebody, where a person had a future.- -Making gold would probably be best,- said the barber. -You need not be so proud,- said the tinsmith. Who knows it may be possible we have not learned it. -But you have not cooked up any of it?- Surely not, otherwise I wouldn-t be sitting here hammering on the tin. But just to learn about things would be great. William opened his eyes and ears wide. As I have already mentioned, everywhere on God-s earth you find people from Fehmarn, once in a while they let us know, even return to us for a visit to their homeland. Then William had a light come on in his mind, and this was not just because he was curious, when he asked what might be fitting for him and what he might dare get into, and he listened up real good. Surely, the men that he listened to did survive, and those who didn-t had no way of adding to the conversation. Bad luck is silent; - when it wasn-t anything special, nobody would speak of it. We know for a fact that many people drowned and died a terrible death, and they couldn-t speak anymore. - But, one fellow from Fehmarn, who had been the cook-s helper on a little brig, ended up in Rio as an important hotel owner, another became a rich baker in New York, on Broadway, one blacksmith-s son became a factory owner in Cleveland, Ohio, another one had his own brewery in Davenport, Iowa. There was one fellow from Fehmarn, he had been a goose shepherd for the farmer Wilhelmsen in Sartjendorf and is now a senator, riding in a coach drawn by white horses. William was slowly feeling as if he was a young bird who felt his wings growing strong for the long trip ahead. At the same time he thought much more of turning back, and what was to come next, yes and there were thoughts that a person himself never takes time to give enough consideration to. Then the time came when a fellow from Fehmarn returned home from his long journey. They were all talking about him.
He was one of the first gold diggers that had returned to Fehmarn. He had been in California digging gold with his own hands! What agonizing thoughts a mother must have gone through, who had never seen anything but only digging the loam and the sand on the island Femarn. - He had pieces of the gold in his pockets as the talk was going on, this was very easy to understand, and of course exaggerated. He had gathered up so much gold, they said, that he could purchase for himself one of the rich landowner-s estates in Gammendorf or Staberdorf, Fehmarn, if it came up for sale. All the people of the island learned to know him by seeing him. He was a joyful person, young, good looking, as we usually say, a great guy. He had an overflowing good health, he laughed about anything, had no great respect for what was known on the island as revered for anything. It didn-t really matter to him wether anyone interpreted his talk as kidding or being dead sober, he just made sure to laugh it off when possible. He also came to the shop of the tinsmith, whom he knew from years ago, and he made friends with him right away, also with the barber, whom he only called the doctor, Sir -Herr Doktor-. They had a great time. -The whole barber business is going down the drain,- he said, -he should change his trade to -water doctor-,- he suggested, -to lock the pump up in front of his home, and he should put a big sign on it, saying that the water was a -cure-all-. He could make money doing that.- The barber spat fire and flame, when he heard that. But the gold digger didn-t mind. -All right,- said he, -Doctor, how are the Saxons doing? Haven-t you forgotten Napoleon yet? If the old fellow is still living they should allow him to be a night watchman in Burg-. What a nonsense, such a night watchman who only blows his horn, so the deaf can know what time it is, that way a poor fellow who can-t sleep good, can get more lonely. Such talk is unbearable to listen to by an old citizen in Burg. It sounds like a rebellion, now he might even start to growl about the judges and the court system. Of course, he also knew William-s father. - Who didn-t know the Ferry-boat Inn on the Staben and young Adam? He also laughed about him. -Some day he will dry up on the bar. Somebody will find him and Captain Poett petrified-. William should be careful, and get a better knowledge about taking over the job as caretaker or bartender in the Inn, he will have to stand bent over, like a loaded bow and arrow, as long as he lives.
He also met with Mr. Hanson. He made a beautiful farm out of the Mackeprang-s estate. That-s to be admired! Such a farm he should buy for himself said the tinsmith. But for that he didn-t have enough money, was the answer, when he looked a bit more serious. But he soon smiled again and said: He liked to dry out the devil on this dreary place, - here you are like a flag planted in a sand pile. He wanted to take off again, this time a bit to the other side of the earth. -You are to come along!-, he called over to William. He didn-t realize that these words were as a match falling into a keg of gun powder, because he continued his jolly conversation and said: -And what a devilish cute girl, his daughter! I myself wouldn-t mind having her as my EVE, if she would wait long enough for me, and until my savings account is secure enough. For the old smart man, the slave trader, Mr. Hansen would not hand her over to nobody without that. I still have to learn something about sitting still. And by then it will be much too late! Because the good looking, long legged fellow, with his smooth skin, -Selk, Christian- and the cigar in his mouth, is not hanging around for nothing. Seems like I know how it-s done. Well I don-t really care! And so he carried on his cigar smoking and blowing the smoke around, and started conversing with the Doctor again, without paying attention to William or anybody else. William quickly ran off. He felt as if a strong wave had raised him way up, that he could see a piece of land, -The Land of Promise-, and he could figure out, that in a few years, with a little bit of luck and endurance, his wishes could come true, but yet, Marichen could disappoint him again, and he could sink and even drown in -total darkness-. He didn-t even know that Marichen had returned to Fehmarn. Mr. Hansen had permitted her to return home, because her mother had such a longing to see the child, she really had learned enough. William had to see her or talk with her, even if it was only once more. He walked during the night down to Staberdorf.
There was Mr. Hansen-s estate, in deepest silence, not a dog was barking when he walked around the house and the barn. Not even the windows were visible. From an elevated spot he saw the reflection of the sea, he could see a big hump of land, it was the ferry-boat Inn, his home. The place looked even darker yet. Disappointed and worn out he returned home in the morning. He had to excuse himself with a big lie to his pastor, as to where he had been. What is he to do? His thoughts were tormenting. He felt as if he was totally confused, and had no idea what he was getting into. On his way home he found himself aiming more for Staberdorf, instead of going home. There he thought he would have to meet her. Why shouldn-t he? It seemed as if she was appearing in front of his eyes as a ghost. In such a sort of loneliness a young man is vulnerable and terribly disappointed in his own thoughts, might it be hate or love? In this case one could believe it was a bit of both. The long-legged Selk, with his good looking face and silky skin had already robbed him previously of his courage. Now William wondered if he had already tried to approach Marichen? He couldn-t bear thinking about it, - in his imagination he would see the two together on a wagon and both sitting on a horse, even sitting on one chair, and these feelings wouldn-t go away, til he had to grit his teeth and regain his thoughts. He decided to look him up and meet him some where for certain. There are people that everybody cares about, already from childhood on, we pay attention to them. When they grow up all, people want to know: -what became of them-. William Adam belonged to those kind of folks. An old woman told him once his fortune, he had to open his mouth wide so she could look into it, he didn-t know why, then she told him: -He would travel far to seek his fortune in foreign lands-, for his front teeth were far apart. He was often preferred by Captain Poett, he thought William could do no wrong, even when he did some stupid tricks once in a while.
Also Mr. Hansen had a sharp eye on him. On a lonely island this is rather natural. Because, they all know each other, in the city people never pay attention to anything like that. Such a boy like William Adam is being noticed favorably, instead of a person that everybody talks bad about. Here and there somebody may want to use him to his own advantage. For a store keeper he would be a great helper, for a farmer he would make a good plough man, and in the end, with some time he could become a good businessman, who would be treated by his master like one of his own kind, and another fellow just like William may become a good farm servant, who would know more about the estate or the business than the farmer himself. That was the only way, long ago, to find an ambitious person that people could depend on, once you found someone, they were treated right and kept well. It also happened when some one visited Fehmarn during a major hunt, or just came for pleasure, or a business tour, a leaseholder of a large commodity from the mainland of Oldenburg. If there was a person that had gained a good reputation, people picked that person and searched for such a young man of good character, he might become later in life a self made man,- somebody had an eye on little Adam when he was still playing with the whip and with bow and arrow, chasing after dragons, in a make-believe game. That somebody would go to Burg and search for him, he would soon find out, how it was standing with him and ask him to come to the Witte estate with him to become a land manager -Landmann-. The leaseholder Luermann had a way to easily persuade a fellow. He would just tell about his own way of working himself up to a position, it would soon be clear that he had started out as a book keeper -Landschreiber- on the large Witte estate, and later became the inspector. And when the rich proprietor of the estate, a wealthy aristocrat of lower nobility, got old and feeble, and moved to the South, he took over the entire estate as a lease. Who knew how he would in time become the owner? How many years were gone by before he became the inspector?, maybe enough years that his hair in the meantime turned white, and if he would in his old age become master of a Witte estate, he could be old and crippled: William didn-t say it, but he thought about it, and William didn-t ask any questions. But he did understand and saw the one way, that could eventually open the door to lead to such success.
- End of manuscript -
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