The Legend of Ulenspiegel by Charles de Coster Book I Chapter 30

Philip had married Marie of Portugal, whose possessions he added to the Spanish crown; he had by her a son, Don Carlos, the cruel madman. But he did not love his wife!

The Queen was ill after the birth. She kept her bed and had with her her ladies in waiting, among whom was the Duchess of Alba.

Philip often left her alone to go and see the burning of heretics, and all the lords and ladies of the court the same. Likewise also the Duchess of Alba, the Queen’s noble nurse.

At this time the Official seized a Flemish sculptor, a Roman Catholic, because when a monk had refused to pay the price agreed for a wooden statue of Our Lady, he had struck the face of the statue with his chisel, saying he would rather destroy his work than sell it for a mean price.

He was denounced by the monk as an iconoclast, tortured mercilessly, and condemned to be burned alive.

In the torture they had burned the soles of his feet, and as he walked from prison to the stake, wearing the san-benito, he kept crying out, “Cut off my feet, cut off my feet!”

And Philip heard these cries from afar off, and he was pleased, but he did not laugh.

Queen Marie’s ladies left her to go to the burning, and after them went the Duchess of Alba, who, hearing the Flemish sculptor’s cries, wished to see the spectacle, and left the Queen alone.

Philip, his noble servitors, princes, counts, esquires, and ladies being present, the sculptor was fastened by a long chain to a stake planted in the middle of a burning circle made of trusses of straw and of faggots that would roast him to death slowly, if he wished to avoid the quick fire by hugging the stake.

And all looked curiously on him as he sought, naked or all but naked as he was, to stiffen his will and courage against the heat of the fire.

At the same time Queen Marie was athirst on her bed of childbirth. She saw half a melon on a dish. Dragging herself out of bed, she seized this melon and left nothing of it.

Then by reason of the cold flesh of the melon, she fell into sweating and trembling, lay on the floor, and could not move hand or foot.

“Ah,” she said, “I might grow warm if someone could carry me to my bed.”

She heard then the poor sculptor crying:

“Cut off my feet!”

“Ah!” said Queen Marie, “is that a dog howling for my death?”

At this moment the sculptor, seeing about him none but the faces of enemies and Spaniards, thought upon Flanders, the land of men, folded his arms, and dragging his long chain behind him he went straight to the straw and burning faggots and standing upright upon them with arms still folded:

“Lo,” said he, “how the Flemish can die before Spanish butchers. Cut off their feet, not mine, but theirs, that they may run no more after murder! Long live Flanders! Flanders for ever and evermore!”

And the ladies applauded, crying for mercy as they saw his proud face.

And he died.

Queen Marie shivered from head to foot, she wept, her teeth chattered with the cold of approaching death, and she said, stiffening her arms and legs:

“Put me in my bed, that I may be warmed.”

And she died.

Thus, even according to the prediction of Katheline, the good witch, did Philip everywhere sow death, blood, and tears.