The Massacre of the Innocents part 3

The
sisters of the dead woman and various other relatives got into the cart, and
the curt: as well, for he was old and very fat and could walk only with the
greatest difficulty. They drove off into the wood, and in silence reached the
wide open fields, where they saw the dead soldiers, stripped naked, and the
horses lying on their backs on the shining ice among the trees.

They
went on toward the farm, which was still burning in the midst of the open
fields.

When
they reached the orchard of the burning house, they stopped short before the
garden gate and looked upon the terrible tragedy. Korneliz’ wife hung, naked,
from the branches of a huge chestnut. He himself climbed up a ladder into the
branches of the tree, below which his nine little girls awaited their mother on
the lawn. Korneliz made his way through the arching boughs overhead when all at
once, outlined against the bright snow, he caught sight of the crowd beneath,
looking up at him.

Golden Sun

Weeping,
he signed to them to come to his help, and they came into the garden, and the
sacristan, the Red Dwarf, the innkeepers of the Blue Lion and the Golden Sun,
the curd carrying a lantern, and several other peasants, climbed into the
snow-covered chestnut to cut down the body of the hanged woman. The women took
the body into their arms at the foot of the tree, as those other women once
received Our Lord Jesus Christ.

She
was buried on the following day, and for the next week nothing unusual occurred
in Nazareth, but the next Sunday famished wolves ran through the village after
High Mass, and the snow fell until noon. Then the sun came out and shone bright
in the sky, and the peasants went home to dinner as usual, and dressed for
Benediction.

At
this time there was no one out on the square, for it was bitter cold. Only dogs
and chickens wandered here and there among the trees, and sheep nibbled at the
triangular spot of grass, and the curd’s maid swept the snow in the garden.

Then
a troop of armed men crossed the stone bridge at the far end of the village,
and pulled up at the orchard. A few peasants came out of their houses, but
hurried back terror-stricken when they saw that the horsemen were Spaniards,
and went to their windows to watch what was going to happen.

There
were thirty horsemen, in armor. They gathered round an old man with a white
beard. Each horseman carried with him a foot-soldier dressed in yellow or red.
These dismounted and ran about over the snow to warm themselves, while a number
of armored soldiers also dismounted.

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