The Legend of Ulenspiegel by Charles de Coster Book II Chapter 4

Thus re-united, they went on their way together. The donkey, laying back his ears, pulled the cart along.

“Lamme,” said Ulenspiegel, “here be we four food comrades: the ass, the beast of the good God, feeding on chance-found thistles along the meadows; thou, good belly, seeking her that fled from thee; she, sweet girl beloved, tender hearted, finding one that is not worthy of her, I mean myself the fourth.

“Now, then, my children, courage! the leaves are yellowing and the skies will be more gorgeous, for soon will Master Sun go to rest amid the autumnal mists, winter will come, the image and likeness of death, covering with snowy shrouds those that sleep beneath our feet, and I shall be trudging it for the happiness of the land of our fathers. Poor dead ones; Soetkin who didst die of grief; Claes that diedst in the fire; oak of goodness and ivy of love, I, your seedling, I suffer greatly and I shall avenge you, beloved ashes that beat upon my breast.”

Lamme said:

“We must not weep those that die for justice’s sake.”

But Ulenspiegel remained rapt in thought; all at once he said:

“This, Nele, is the hour of farewell, for a long long time, and never again, it may be, shall I look on thy sweet face.”

Nele, looking at him with her eyes gleaming like stars:

“Why,” said she, “why do you not leave this cart to come with me into the forest where you would find good and dainty things to eat; for I know the plants and how to call the birds to me?”

“Damsel,” said Lamme, “’tis ill done of thee to seek to stop Ulenspiegel in the way, for he must look for the Seven and help me to find my wife again.”

“Not yet,” said Nele; and she wept, laughing tenderly through her tears upon her friend Ulenspiegel.

He, seeing this, answered him:

“Your wife, you will always find her soon enough, when you want to seek a new sorrow.”

“Thyl,” said Lamme, “wilt thou leave me thus alone in my cart for this damsel? Thou dost not answer and art thinking of the forest, where the Seven are not, nor my wife, either. Let us rather seek her along this stone paven road on which carts go so well and handily.”

“Lamme,” said Ulenspiegel, “you have a full satchel in the cart, you will not therefore die of hunger if you go without me from here to Koolkerke, where I shall join you again. You must be alone there, for there you will know towards which point of the compass you must direct yourself in order to find your wife again. Listen and hearken. You will go at once with your cart to Koolkerke, three leagues away, the cool church, so named because like many others it is beaten upon by the four winds all at once. Upon the spire there is a vane shapen like a cock and swinging to all the winds on its rusty hinges. It is the screeching of these hinges that indicates to poor men that have lost their lovers the way they must follow to find them again. But first they must strike each wall seven times with a hazel wand. If the hinges cry out when the wind blows from the north, that is the direction in which you must go, but prudently, for the northern wind is a wind of war; if from the south, go lightly thither, it is a love wind; if from the east, run along full speed, it is gaiety and light; if from the west, go softly, it is the wind of rain and tears. Go, Lamme, go to Koolkerke, and wait for me there.”
“I go thither,” said Lamme.

And he set off in his cart.

While Lamme was trundling towards Koolkerke, the wind, which was both high and warm, drove like a flock of sheep in the sky the gray clouds drifting in bands; the trees complained like the waves of a swelling sea. Ulenspiegel and Nele were now a long while in the forest alone together. Ulenspiegel was hungry, and Nele looked for roots that were good to eat, and found nothing but the kisses her friend gave her, and acorns.

Ulenspiegel, having laid down snares, whistled to call the birds down, in order to catch and cook any that might come. A nightingale settled on a leafy branch close to Nele; she did not catch it, for she wished to leave it to sing; a warbler came, and she had pity on it, because it was so pretty and proud in its air; then came a lark, but Nele told it it would do better to fly away into the heights of the sky and sing a hymn to Nature, than to come stupidly to struggle on the murderous point of a spit.

And she said the truth, for in the meantime Ulenspiegel had lighted a clear fire and cut a wooden spit that only awaited its victims.

But no more birds came now, except a few evil ravens that croaked a long way up over their heads.

And so Ulenspiegel did not eat at all.

Now the time had come when Nele must go away and return to Katheline. And she went weeping, and Ulenspiegel from afar off watched her go.

But she came back, and flinging herself on his neck:

“I am going,” she said.

Then she went a few steps, came back again, saying once more:

“I am going.”

And thus twenty times and more over and over.

Then she went indeed, and Ulenspiegel remained alone. He set off then to go and find Lamme.

When he came up with him, he found him sitting at the foot of the tower, with a great pot of bruinbier between his legs and nibbling most melancholy-wise at a hazel wand.

“Ulenspiegel,” said he, “I think you but sent me here that you might be alone with the damsel; I smote as you bade me, seven times with the hazel wand on each wall of the tower, and though the wind is blowing like the devil, the hinges have not made a sound.”

“Without doubt, then, they must have been oiled,” replied Ulenspiegel.

Then they went away in the direction of the Duchy of Brabant.