The Legend of Ulenspiegel by Charles de Coster Book I Chapter 71

In Katheline’s cottage Soetkin wept distraught with anguish. And she said over and over again:

“My husband! my poor husband!”

Ulenspiegel and Nele embraced her with utmost tenderness. Then taking them into her arms she wept in silence. And then she signed to them to leave her alone. Nele said to Ulenspiegel:

“Let us leave her there, it is her own wish: let us save the carolus.”

They went away together; Katheline kept moving round Soetkin, saying:

“Make a hole: the soul would fain escape!”

And Soetkin, with fixed eyes, looked at her without seeing her.

The cottages of Claes and Katheline touched, that of Claes set back with a little garden in front, Katheline’s had a patch of ground planted with beans giving upon the street. This patch was surrounded with a green hedge in which Ulenspiegel to get to Nele’s and Nele to get to Ulenspiegel’s, had made a big hole in their childish days.

Ulenspiegel and Nele came into this garden patch, and from there saw the trooper who with head wagging spat into the air, but the spittle fell back on his doublet. A wicker flask lay by his side:

“Nele,” said Ulenspiegel, in a whisper, “this drunken trooper has not drunk out his thirst; he must drink more still. We shall then be his master. Let us take his flask.”

At the sound of their voices, the lansquenet turned his heavy head in their direction, hunted for his flask, and not finding it, he went on spitting into the air and tried to see his spittle falling back in the moonlight.

“He is full of brandy to the teeth,” said Ulenspiegel; “do you hear how he can hardly spit?”

However, the trooper, having spit and stared in the air a long while, put out his arm again to get his hand on the flask. He found it, put his mouth to its neck, threw his head back, turned the flagon upside down, tapped on it to make it give up all its juice and sucked at it like a babe at its mother’s breast.

Finding nothing in it, he resigned himself, put the flask down beside him, swore a little in high German, spat again, waggled his head to right and left, and went to sleep muttering inarticulate and unintelligible paternosters.
Ulenspiegel, knowing that this sleep would not last, and that it must be thickened further, slipped through the hole in the hedge, took the trooper’s flask, and gave it to Nele, who filled it with brandy.

The trooper did not cease to snore; Ulenspiegel passed again through the hole in the hedge and put the full flask between his legs, came back into Katheline’s bean patch and waited behind the hedge with Nele.

Because of the chill of the newly drawn liquor the trooper awoke a little, and with his first movement sought what was making him cold under the doublet.

Judging with drunken intuition that this might well be a full flask, he put his hand to it. Ulenspiegel and Nele saw him, in the light of the moon, shake the flask to hear the lap of the liquor, taste it, laugh, marvel that it should be so full, drink a mouthful, then a good gulp, put it down on the ground, take it up again and drink once more.

Then he sang:

When Seigneur Maan comes up the way
To bid good e’en to lady Zee,

To high Germans, dame Zee, which is the sea, is the wife of Seigneur Maan, which is the moon and the master of women. And so he sang:

When Seigneur Maan comes up the way
To bid good e’en to lady Zee,
The lady Zee will straight purvey
A cup of wine spiced daintily,
When Seigneur Maan comes up the way.

With him she then will sup that day
And give of kisses a relay:
And when he’s cleared the supper tray
Within her bed to slumber lay
When Seigneur Maan comes up the way.

Just so, my dear, provide for me,
Good food and wine spiced daintily
Just so, my dear, provide for me
When Seigneur Maan comes up the way.

Then drinking and singing a quatrain turn and turn about, he went to sleep. And he could not hear Nele saying: “They are in a pot behind the chimney-back”; nor see Ulenspiegel go through the stable into Claes’s kitchen, lift the slab of the chimney-back, find the pot and the carolus, come back into Katheline’s garden, hide the carolus there beside the well wall, knowing full well that if they were searched for it would be inside and not outside.

Then they returned to Soetkin and found the sad wife weeping and saying:

“My husband! My poor husband!”

Nele and Ulenspiegel watched by her until morning.