The Legend of Ulenspiegel by Charles de Coster Book I Chapter 81

On the morrow, while they were drinking hot milk, Soetkin said to Katheline:

“Thou seest that sorrow is driving me already out of this world, wouldst thou drive me to flee from it through thy damned witchcrafts?”

But Katheline kept saying:

“Nele is bad. Come back, Hanske, my darling.”

On the next Wednesday the devils came back together. Since the Saturday Nele slept at the house of the widow Van den Houte, saying that she could not stay at Katheline’s by reason of the presence of Ulenspiegel, a young bachelor.

Katheline received her black lord and his friend in the keet, which is the wash house and the bakery appurtenant to the main dwelling. And then they held feast and revel with old wines and smoked ox tongues, that were always there awaiting them. The black devil said to Katheline:

“We have need,” said he, “for an important task that is to be done, of a heavy sum of money; give us what thou canst.”

Katheline, being unwilling to give more than a florin, they threatened to kill her. But they let her off with two gold carolus and seven deniers.

“Come no more on the Saturday,” she told them. “Ulenspiegel knows that day and will await you with weapons to kill you, and I should die after you.”

“We shall come next Tuesday,” said they.

On that day Ulenspiegel and Nele slept without fear of the devils, for they believed that they came only on Saturday.

Katheline rose and went into the keet, to see if her friends had come.

She was sorely impatient, because since she had seen Hanske again, her madness had greatly lessened, for folk said it was love-madness.

Not seeing them, she was brokenhearted; when she heard the sea eagle cry from the direction of Sluys, in the country, she went towards the cry. Going in the meadow at the foot of a dyke of faggots and green sod, she heard from the other side of the dyke the two devils talking together. One said:

“I shall have the half of it.”

The other replied:

“Thou shalt have none of it; what is Katheline’s is mine.”

Then they cursed and blasphemed like madmen, disputing between them who should have to himself alone the money and the loves of Katheline and Nele together. Transfixed with fear, daring neither to speak nor budge, Katheline presently heard them fighting, then one of them saying:

“This steel is cold.” Then a rattling breath and the fall of a heavy body.

Affrighted, she walked back to her cottage. At two o’clock in the night she heard again, but now in her garden, the cry of the sea eagle. She went to open and saw before the door her lover devil alone. She asked him:

“What hast thou done with the other?”

“He will not come again,” he answered.

Then embracing her he caressed her. And he seemed to her colder than usual. And Katheline’s spirit was well awaked. When he went away, he asked her for twenty florins, all she had: she gave him seventeen.

On the morrow, being curious, she went along by the dyke; but she saw nothing, save at a spot as big as a man’s coffin blood upon the turf that was less solid under foot. But that night rain washed away the blood.

The next Wednesday she heard the cry of the sea eagle once more in her garden.