Flemish Legend The Brotherhood of the Cheerful Countenance by Charles de Coster Chapter 3

Of the songs, voices, mewlings, and sounds of kisses which Pieter Gans and Blaeskaek heard in the garden, and of the brave mien wherewith Master Merry-face sat on the cask of stone.

At the third hour Blaeskaek came down and asked for news. Pieter Gans told his tale, and as he was about to go away again drew him aside and said: “I have kept this secret from my servants, lest they should go and blab about it to the priests, and so I am as good as alone in the house. Do not therefore leave me, for it may happen that some evil will come of the business, and ’twould be well to have a good stomach in case of such event. Alone I should certainly have none, but together we shall have enough for both. It would be as well, then, to fortify ourselves against this assault on our courage. Instead of sleeping we will eat and drink heartily.”

“For that,” said Blaeskaek, “I am as ready as thou.”
Towards midnight the two comrades, tippling in a low room, fortified with good eating, but not without some apprehension nevertheless, heard the same voice outside, no longer sorrowful, but joyous, singing songs in a strange tongue; and there followed divers sweet chants, such as angels might sing (speaking with proper respect to them all), who in Paradise had drunken too much ambrosia, voices of women celestially soft, mewlings of tigers, sighs, noise of embraces and lovers’ kisses.

“Ho, ho!” cried Pieter Gans, “what is this, dear Jesus? They are devils for a certainty. They will empty my cask altogether. And when they find my ale so good they will want more of it, and come crying every night and shouting louder than ever: ’Drink! Drink!’ And I shall be ruined, alas, alas! Come, friend Blaeskaek”—and so saying he pulled out his kuyf, which is, as you may know, a strong knife well sharpened—“Come, we must drive them off by force! But alone I have not the courage.”

“I will come with you,” said Blaeskaek, “but not until a little later, at cock-crow. They say that after that hour devils cannot bite.”

Before the sun rose the cock crew.

And he had, that morning, so martial a tone that you would have thought it a trumpet sounding.

And hearing this trumpet all the devils suddenly put a stop to their drinking and singing.

Pieter Gans and Blaeskaek were overjoyed at that, and ran out into the garden in haste.

Pieter Gans, hurrying to look for his cask of ale, found it changed into stone, and on top of it, sitting horseback fashion, what seemed to be a young boy, quite naked, a fair, sweet little boy, gaily crowned with vine-leaves, with a bunch of grapes hanging over one ear, and in his right hand a staff with a fir-cone at the tip, and grapes and vine-branches twined round it.

And although this little boy was made of stone, he had all the appearance of being alive, so merry a countenance had he.

Greatly alarmed were Gans and Blaeskaek at the sight of this personage.

And fearing both the wrath of the devil and the punishment of the Church, and swearing together to say no word about it to any one, they put the figure (which was but a few thumbs high) in a dark cellar where there was no drink kept.