The Legend of Ulenspiegel by Charles de Coster Book I Chapter 77

The fishmonger need pay only one half of the price of his purchase, the other half serving to pay him the reward of his informing, until they should have recovered the seven hundred carolus that had impelled him to his villainy.

Soetkin spent the nights in weeping and the day in the tasks of housekeeping. Often Ulenspiegel heard her talking all alone and saying:

“If he inherits, I shall kill myself.”

Knowing that she would indeed do as she said, Nele and he did all they could to get Soetkin to retire to Walcheren, where she had kinsfolk. Soetkin would by no means do this, saying she had no need to run away from the worms that would soon eat her widowed bones.

In the meanwhile, the fishmonger had gone afresh to the bailiff and had told him that the defunct had inherited seven hundred carolus but a few months before, that he was a niggardly man and living on little, and therefore had not spent all that large amount, which was doubtless hidden away in some corner.

The bailiff asked him what harm had Ulenspiegel and Soetkin done him that having robbed one of a father and the other of her husband, he still racked his wits to harass them cruelly.

The fishmonger replied that being a leading burgess of Damme, he desired to have the laws of the empire respected and thus to deserve His Majesty’s clemency.

Having said so much, he deposited in the bailiff’s hands a written charge, and brought forward witnesses who, speaking in all truth and sincerity, must certify reluctantly that the fishmonger was no liar.

The members of the Chamber of Aldermen, having heard the testimony of the witnesses, declared the indications of guilt sufficient to warrant the application of torture. They sent, therefore, to have the house thoroughly searched once again by sergeants who had full powers to fetch the mother and the son to the town gaol, where they were detained until the executioner should come from Bruges, whither they sent to summon him immediately.

When Ulenspiegel and Soetkin passed along the street, their hands tied behind them, the fishmonger was posted on the threshold of his house, to look at them.

And the citizens of Damme, men and women, were on the thresholds of their houses also. Mathyssen, a near neighbour of the fishmonger, heard Ulenspiegel say to the informer:

“God will curse thee, tormentor of widows!”

And Soetkin saying to him:

“Thou wilt come to an ill end, persecutor of orphans!”

The folk of Damme having thus learned that it was upon a second denunciation by Grypstuiver that the widow and the orphan were thus being haled off to prison, hooted the fishmonger, and that night flung stones through his windows. And his door was covered with filth.

And he no longer dared to leave his own house.