Flemish Legend Sir Halewyn by Charles de Coster Chapter 22

How Magtelt wept bitterly, and of the fine dress which she had

And Magtelt had great sorrow in her heart, and wept, and made lament, crying: “Anne-Mie, where art thou? Would I could see thee again!” And falling on her knees before Sir Roel, she said: “My lord father, I pray you to send our men-at-arms in goodly number in search for Anne-Mie.”

“So I will,” said he.

The men-at-arms went out, but dared not pass on to the lands of Halewyn from fear of the spell.

And on their return they said: “We can hear nothing of Anne-Mie.”

And Magtelt went up and stretched herself on her bed, and prayed to the good God to send her back her sweet comrade.

On the second day she went and sat before the glazed window, and without intermission looked out all day at the countryside and the falling snow, and watched to see if Anne-Mie were coming.

But Anne-Mie could not come.

And on the third day the lids of her eyes bled for weeping. And on that day the snow ceased falling, the sky became clear, the sun shone therein, and the earth was hard frozen.

And every day in the same place went and sat the sorrowing Magtelt, watching the countryside, thinking of Anne-Mie and saying nothing.

Sir Roel, seeing her so low-hearted, sent to Bruges for some blue cloth-of-scarlet, for her to make herself a dress, and fine Cyprian gold for the border, and fine gold buttons of rich workmanship.

Magtelt worked away at making this dress, but took no pleasure at all at the thought of all this fine apparel.

And so passed away the week, and each day Magtelt worked at her dress, saying nothing and singing never, but weeping oftentimes.

On the fifth day, when the dress was finished, well trimmed with the Cyprian gold and embellished with the rich buttons, the lady Gonde bade Magtelt don it, and then showed her her magnificence in a great mirror-glass; but Magtelt had no heart to be glad at seeing herself so beautiful, for she was thinking of Anne-Mie.

And the lady Gonde, seeing how sad she was and silent, wept also, saying: “Since our Magtelt stopped singing I have felt more bitterly the chill of winter and old age.”

And Sir Roel made no murmur, but became sullen and pensive, and drank clauwaert all day.

And at times, turning angry, he bade Magtelt sing and be cheerful.

And the maid sang merry lieds to the old man, who then turned joyous again, and Gonde as well.

And they spent all their time before the fire, nodding their heads. And they said: “The nightingale is come back again to the house, and her music makes the fires of spring sunshine stir in our bones.”

And Magtelt, having done singing, would go off to hide herself in a corner and weep for Anne-Mie.