Flemish Legend Sir Halewyn by Charles de Coster Chapter 16

How the burgesses of the good town of Ghent gave protection to the virgins of the domain of Halewyn

Meanwhile in the cottages of the peasant folk were tears, hunger, and great misery.

And when the fifteenth maid had been taken in the domain of Halewyn,

The mothers prayed to God that he would make them barren, or else that they might bear men-children only.

And the fathers complained and said to one another sadly: “Is it not a pitiful thing to see these sweet and gentle flowers of youth so brought to death and dishonour!”

And some among them said: “Let us go by night to the good town of Ghent, taking with us all our virgin daughters, and tell the whole tale to the burgesses, begging their blessed protection for them, and leaving them there in the town if we are so permitted. So they will escape death at the hands of our master.”

Every one who heard this plan thought it a good one; and all the peasants with daughters who were virgins took them off to Ghent, and there told the story to the commune, and the good men gave them protection.

Then with lighter hearts the peasants returned to the domain of Halewyn.