The Legend of Ulenspiegel by Charles de Coster Book I Chapter 31

But Ulenspiegel and Nele loved with surpassing love.

It was then in the end of April, with all the trees in flower; all the plants, bursting with sap, were awaiting May, which cometh on the earth with a peacock for companion, blossoming like a nosegay, and maketh the nightingales to sing among the trees.

Often Ulenspiegel and Nele would wander down the roads alone together. Nele hung upon Ulenspiegel’s arm, and held to it with both hands. Ulenspiegel, taking pleasure in this play, often passed his arm about Nele’s waist, to hold her the better, he would tell her. And she was happy, though she did not speak a word.

The wind rolled softly along the roads the perfumed breath of the meadows; far away the sea murmured to the sun, idle and at ease; Ulenspiegel was like a young devil, full of spunk and fire, and Nele like a little saint from Paradise, all shamefast at her delight.

She leaned her head on Ulenspiegel’s shoulder, he took her hands, and as they went, he kissed her forehead, her cheeks, her darling mouth. But she did not speak.

After some hours, they were hot and thirsty, then they drank milk at a peasant’s cottage, but they were not refreshed.

And they sat down on the green turf beside a ditch. Nele was pale and white, and pensive; Ulenspiegel looked at her, alarmed.

“You are sad?” she said.

“Ay,” said he.

“Why?” she asked.

“I know not,” he said, “but these apple trees and cherries all in blossom, this warm soft air, as it were, charged with thunder fire, these daisies opening and blushing upon the fields, the hawthorn there beside us in the hedgerows, all white… Who shall tell me why I feel troubled and always ready to die or to sleep? And my heart beats so hard when I hear the birds awaking in the trees and see the swallows come back, then I long to go beyond the sun and the moon. And now I am cold, and now hot. Ah! Nele! I would fain no more be in this low world, or give a thousand lives to the one who would love me…”

But she did not speak, and smiling happily, looked at Ulenspiegel.