"Good night, mortals!" she called out at last as she sprang over a frozen ditch and ran quickly homeward.
"Oh, isn't she just like flowers--so sweet and lovely!" cried Gretel, looking after her in great admiration. "And to think how many days she stays in that dark room with her grandmother. Why, brother Hans! What is the matter? What are you going to do?"
"Wait and see!" answered Hans as he plunged into the cottage and came out again, all in an instant, bearing the spade and ysbreeker in his hands. "I'm going to bury my magic bead!"
Raff Brinker still slept soundly. His wife took a small block of peat from her nearly exhausted store and put it upon the embers. Then opening the door, she called gently, "Come in, children."
"Mother! Mother! See here!" shouted Hans.
"Holy Saint Bavon!" exclaimed the dame, springing over the doorstep. "What ails the boy!"
"Come quick, Mother," he cried in great excitement, working with all his might and driving in the ysbreeker at each word. "Don't you see? THIS is the spot--right here on the south side of the stump. Why didn't we think of it last night? THE STUMP is the old willow tree--the one you cut down last spring because it shaded the potatoes. That little tree wasn't here when Father. . .Huzza!"
Dame Brinker could not speak. She dropped on her knees beside Hans just in time to see him drag forth THE OLD STONE POT!