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9. How The Knight Took His Young Wife With Him
When Huldbrand awoke from his sleep on the following morning, and missed his
beautiful wife from his side, he began to indulge again in the strange thoughts, that his
marriage and the charming Undine herself were but fleeting and deceptive illusions. But
at the same moment she entered the room, sat down beside him, and said: "I have been
out rather early to see if my uncle keeps his word. He has already led all the waters back
again into his own calm channel, and he now flows through the forest, solitarily and
dreamily as before. His friends in the water and the air have also returned to repose: all
will again go on quietly and regularly, and you can travel homeward when you will, dry-
shod." It seemed to Huldbrand as though he were in a waking dream, so little
could he reconcile himself to the strange relationship of his wife. Nevertheless he made
no remark on the matter, and the exquisite grace of his bride soon lulled to rest every
uneasy misgiving. When he was afterward standing before the door with her, and looking
over the green peninsula with its boundary of clear waters, he felt so happy in this cradle
of his love, that he exclaimed: "Why shall we travel so soon as to-day? We shall scarcely
find more pleasant days in the world yonder than those we have spent in this quiet little
shelter. Let us yet see the sun go down here twice or thrice more."
"As my lord wills," replied Undine, humbly. "It is only that the old people will, at all
events, part from me with pain, and when they now for the first time perceive the true
soul within me, and how I can now heartily love and honor, their feeble eyes will be
dimmed with plentiful tears. At present they consider my quietness and gentleness of no
better promise than before, like the calmness of the lake when the air is still; and, as
matters now are, they will soon learn to cherish a flower or a tree as they have cherished
me. Do not, therefore, let me reveal to them this newly-bestowed and loving heart, just at
the moment when they must lose it for this world; and how could I conceal it, if we
remain longer together?"
Huldbrand conceded the point; he went to the aged people and talked with them over the
journey, which he proposed to undertake immediately. The holy father offered to
accompany the young married pair, and, after a hasty farewell, he and the knight assisted
the beautiful bride to mount her horse, and walked with rapid step by her side over the
dry channel of the forest-stream into the wood beyond. Undine wept silently but bitterly,
and the old people gave loud expression to their grief. It seemed as if they had a
presentiment of all they were now losing in their foster-child.
The three travellers had reached in silence the densest shades of the forest. It must have
been a fair sight, under that green canopy of leaves, to see Undine's lovely form, as she
sat on her noble and richly ornamented steed, with the venerable priest in the white garb
of his order on one side of her, and on the other the blooming young knight in his gay and
splendid attire, with his sword at his girdle. Huldbrand had no eyes but for his beautiful