The Legend of Ulenspiegel by Charles de Coster Book I Chapter 27

When Ulenspiegel came back from Dudzeele, he saw Nele at the entrance to the town, leaning up against a barrier. She was eating a bunch of grapes, crunching them one by one, and was doubtless refreshed and rejoiced by the fruit, but allowed none of her pleasure to be seen. She appeared, on the contrary, to be angry, and plucked the grapes from off the bunch with a choleric air. She was so dolorous and showed a face so marred, so sad and so sweet, that Ulenspiegel was overcome with loving pity, and going up behind her, gave her a kiss on the nape of her neck.

But she returned it with a great box on the ear.

“I can’t fathom that!” exclaimed Ulenspiegel.

She wept with heavy sobs.

“Nele,” said he, “are you going to set up fountains at the entrance to the villages?”

“Begone!” she said.

“But I cannot be gone, if you weep like this, my dear.”

“I am not your dear,” said Nele, “and I do not weep!”

“No, you do not weep, but none the less water comes from your eyes.”

“Will you go away?” said she.

“No,” said he.

She was holding her apron the while with her little trembling hands, and she was pulling the stuff jerkily and tears fell on it, wetting it.

“Nele,” asked Ulenspiegel, “will it be fine presently?” And he looked on her, smiling lovingly.

“Why do you ask me that?” said she.

“Because, when it is fine, it does not weep,” replied Ulenspiegel.

“Go,” said she, “go to your beautiful lady in the brocade dress; you made her laugh well enough,” said she.

Then sang Ulenspiegel:

“When my darling’s tears I see
My heart is torn atwain,
’Tis honey when she laughs for me,
When she weeps, a pearl.
Always I love my dearest girl,
And I’ll buy good wine for us,
Good wine of Louvain,
I’ll buy good wine for us to drink,
When Nele smiles again.”

“Low man!” said she, “you are still flouting me.”

“Nele,” said Ulenspiegel, “a man I am, but not low, for our noble family, an aldermanish family, bears three silver quarts on a ground of bruinbier. Nele, is it so that in Flanders when a man sows kisses he reaps boxes on the ear?”

“I do not wish to speak to you,” said she.

“Then why do you open your mouth to tell me so?”

“I am angry,” said she.

Ulenspiegel very lightly gave her a blow with his fist in the back, and said:

“Kiss a mean thing, she’ll punch you; punch a mean thing and she’ll anoint you. Anoint me then, darling, since I have punched you.”

Nele turned about. He opened his arms, she cast herself in them still weeping, and said:

“You won’t go there again, Thyl, will you?”

But he made her no answer, for he was too busy clasping her poor trembling fingers and wiping away with his lips the hot tears falling from Nele’s eyes like the big drops of a thunder shower.