Flemish Legend Sir Halewyn by Charles de Coster Chapter 30

How Magtelt came to the Gallows-field

There Magtelt saw the sixteen virgins hanging, and amongst them Anne-Mie, and all were covered over with snow.

Halewyn’s horse began again to rear, plunge, and lay back his ears as a sign of fear; but Schimmel neighed, and pawed the ground proudly with his hoof.

And Halewyn said to Magtelt: “Thou hast there an unfaithful friend, who can neigh happily at the hour of thy death.”

But Magtelt answered nothing, and looking steadfastly at those poor virgins prayed to the very strong God to help her in their revenge.

Meanwhile the Miserable alighted from his horse, and taking the golden sickle in his hand came towards Magtelt.

“It is,” he said, “the hour of thy death. Get down, therefore, as I have done.”

And in his impatience he would have lifted her from Schimmel’s back.

But Magtelt:

“Leave me,” she said, “to get down by myself; if I must die ’twill be without weeping.”

“Thou art a fine girl,” said he.

And she, having dismounted from her horse, said: “My lord, before thou strikest, doff thine opperst-kleed of the colour of corn, for the blood of virgins gushes fiercely, and if mine should stain thee I should be grieved.”

But before the opperst-kleed was off his shoulders, his head fell to the ground at his feet.

And Magtelt, looking at the body, said: “He strode confidently, thinking himself invincible; but when the beast goes with assurance the hunter follows more easily.”

And she crossed herself.