The Ice Maiden At the miller's house Andersen's fairy tale

"It's lot of nonsense with those people!" said the Parlor Cat to the Kitchen Cat. "It's all off now between Babette and Rudy. She just sits and cries, and he doesn't think about her any more."

"I don't like that," said the Kitchen Cat.

"I don't either," said the Parlor Cat. "But I'm not going to mourn about it. Babette can take golden whiskers for her sweetheart. He hasn't been here since the night he tried to climb onto the roof!"

The powers of evil carry out their purposes around us and within us. Rudy understood this, and thought about it. What was it that had gone on about him and inside him up there on the mountain? Was it sin or just a feverish dream? He had never known illness or fever before. While he blamed Babette, he also searched his own heart. He remembered the wild tornado, the hot whirlwind that had broken loose in there. Could he confess everything to Babette - every thought which in that hour of temptation almost brought about his action? He had lost her ring, and by that very loss she had won him back. Would she be able to confess to him? When his thoughts turned to her, so many memories crowded his mind that he felt that his heart was breaking. He saw her as a laughing, happy child, full of life; the many loving words she had addressed to him from the fullness of her heart gladdened his soul like a ray of light, and soon there was only sunshine there for Babette.

However, she would have to confess to him, and he would see that she did so.

So he went to the mill, and there was a confession; it began with a kiss, and ended with Rudy's being the sinner. His great fault was that he could have doubted for one moment Babette's faithfulness - that was very wicked of him! Such distrust, such violence, might bring misery to both of them. Yes, that was very true! Babette preached him a little sermon, which pleased her greatly and which was very becoming to her. But Rudy was right about one thing - the godmother's nephew was a babbler. She'd burn the book he had given her, and wouldn't keep the slightest thing that would remind her of him.

"Now that's all over with," said the Parlor Cat. "Rudy's back again, and they've made up; and they say that's the greatest of happiness."

"Last night," said the Kitchen Cat, "I heard the rats saying that their greatest happiness was to eat candle grease and have plenty of tainted bacon. Which of them should we believe, the lovers or the rats?"

"Neither of them," said the Parlor Cat. "That's always the safest."

Rudy's and Babette's greatest happiness was drawing near, the most beautiful day, as they call it, was coming - their wedding day!

But the wedding was not to take place in the church at Bex, nor in the miller's house; the godmother had asked that the party be held at her house, and that the ceremony be performed in the pretty little church at Montreux. And the miller was very insistent that they should agree to this arrangement, for he alone knew what the godmother intended giving the young couple - her wedding gift would be well worth such a small concession to her wishes. The day was agreed upon. They would go to Villeneuve the evening before, then proceed to Montreux by boat the next morning, so that the godmother's daughters would have time to dress the bride.

"I suppose there'll be a second ceremony in this house," said the Parlor Cat. "Or else I know I wouldn't give a mew for the whole business."

"There's going to be a feast here, too," said the Kitchen Cat. "The ducks have been killed, the pigeons plucked, and a whole deer is hanging on the wall. My mouth waters when I look at all the food. Tomorrow they start their journey."

Yes, tomorrow! That evening Rudy and Babette sat in the miller's house for the last time as an engaged couple. Outside, the evening glow was on the Alps; the vesper bells were chiming; and the daughters of the sun sang, "That which is best shall come to pass!"

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