Flemish Legend Sir Halewyn by Charles de Coster Chapter 10

How the Miserable robbed a Lombard goldsmith, and of the pleasant speech of the ladies and gentlewomen

On the morrow, armed only with the sickle, for he despised other arms on account of the strength which the spell gave him, Halewyn took the body of the maid to the Gallows-field and there hanged it on the tree.

Then he rode off to the city of Ghent.

And the ladies, gentlewomen and maidens of the town, seeing him pass by on his black horse, said among themselves: “Who is this fair horseman?”

“’Tis,” he cried right proudly, “Siewert Halewyn, who was called the Ill-favoured one.”

“Nay, nay,” said the bolder among them, “you are making fun of us, My Lord, or else you have been changed by a fairy.”

“Yes,” said he, “and, moreover, I had fleshly knowledge of her; and so shall have of you, if I please.”

At these words the ladies and gentlewomen were not at all put out.

And he went to the shop of a Lombard goldsmith in that town, who had at one time and another lent him six-and-twenty florins. But the goldsmith did not know him for himself.

He told him that he was Sir Halewyn.

“Ah,” said the goldsmith, “then I pray, My Lord, that you will repay me my six-and-twenty florins.”

But Halewyn, laughing: “Take me,” he said, “to the room where thou keepest thy gold.”

“My Lord,” said the goldsmith, “that I will not, for all that I hold you in high esteem.”

“Dog,” said he, “if thou dost not obey me I will strike thee dead instantly.”

“Ha!” said the goldsmith, “do not come blustering here, My Lord, for I am neither serf nor peasant, but a free burgess of this town. And if you are so minded as to lay your hands on me, I shall know how to get redress, I promise you.”

Then Halewyn struck him, and the burgess called for help.

Hearing this cry, apprentices to the number of six came down into the shop, and, seeing Halewyn, ran to seize him.

But he beat them off likewise and bade them show him where the gold was kept.

Which they did, saying one to another: “This is the Devil.”

And the goldsmith, weeping: “My Lord,” said he, “do not take it all.”

“I shall take what I will,” said Halewyn; and he filled his money-bag.

And in this way he took from the goldsmith more than seven hundred golden bezants.

Then, seeing the poor man lamenting his lot, he struck him two or three hard blows, telling him not to whine so loud, and that before the month was out he would take from him double the amount.