Chapter IV. Moni Can no Longer Sing
 

On the following morning Moni came up the path to the Bath House, just as silent and cast down as the evening before. He brought out the landlord's goats quietly and went on upwards, but he sang not a note, nor did he give a yodel up into the air; he let his head hang and looked as if he were afraid of something; now and then he looked around timidly, as if some one were coming after him to question him.

Moni could no longer be merry; he didn't know himself exactly why. He wanted to be glad that he had saved Maggerli, and sing, but he couldn't express it. To-day the sky was covered with clouds, and Moni thought when the sun came out it would be different and he could be happy again.

When he reached the top, it began to rain quite hard. He took refuge under the Rain-rock, for it soon poured in streams from the sky.

The goats came, too, and placed themselves here and there under the rock. The aristocratic Blackie immediately wanted to protect her beautiful shiny coat and crept in under the rock before Moni did. She was now standing behind Moni and looking out from her comfortable corner into the pouring rain. Maggerli was standing in front of its protector under the projecting rock and gently rubbed its little head against his knee; then it looked up at him in surprise, because Moni did not say a word, and it was not accustomed to that. Moni sat thoughtfully, leaning on his staff, for in such weather he always kept it in his hand, to keep himself from slipping on the steep places, for on such days he wore shoes. Now, as he sat for hours under the Rain-rock, he had plenty of time for reflection.

Moni thought over what he had promised Jorgli, and it seemed to him that if Jorgli had taken something, he was practically doing the same thing himself, because Jorgli had promised to give him something or do something for him. He had surely done what was wrong, and the dear Lord was now against him. This he felt in his heart, and it was right that it was dark and rainy and that he was hidden under the rock, for he would not even have dared look up into the blue sky, as usual.

But there were still other things that Moni had to think about. If Maggerli should fall down over a steep precipice again, and he wanted to get it, the dear Lord would no longer protect him, and he no longer dared to pray to Him about it and call upon Him, and so had no more safety; and if then he should slip and fall down with Maggerli deep over the jagged, rocks, and both of them should lie all torn and maimed! Oh, no, he said with anguish in his heart, that must not happen anyway; he must manage to be able to pray again and come to the dear Lord with everything that weighed on his heart; then he could be happy again, that he felt sure of. Moni would throw off the weight that oppressed him, he would go and tell the landlord everything--But then? Then Jorgli would not persuade his father, and the landlord would slaughter Maggerli. Oh, no! Oh, no! he couldn't bear that, and he said: "No, I will not do it! I will say nothing!" But he did not feel satisfied, and the weight on his heart grew heavier and heavier. Thus Moni's whole day passed.

He started home at evening as silent as he had come in the morning. When he found Paula standing near the Bath House, and she sprang quickly across to the goat-shed and asked sympathetically: "Moni, what is the matter? Why don't you sing any more?" he turned shyly away and said:

"I can't," and as quickly as possible made off with his goats.

Paula said to her aunt above: "If I only knew what was the matter with the goat-boy! He is quite changed. You wouldn't know him. If he would only sing again!"

"It must be the frightful rain which has silenced the boy so!" remarked the aunt.

"Everything all comes together; let us go home, Aunt," begged Paula, "there is no more pleasure here. First I lost my beautiful cross, and it can't be found; then comes this endless rain, and now we can't ever hear the merry goat-boy any more. Let us go away!"

"The cure must be finished, or it will do no good," explained the aunt.

It was also dark and gray on the following day, and the rain poured down without ceasing. Moni spent the day exactly like the one before. He sat under the rock and his thoughts went restlessly round in a circle, for when he decided: "Now, I will go and confess the wrong, so that I shall dare to look up to the dear Lord again," then he saw the little kid under the knife before him and it all began over again in his mind from the beginning; so that with thinking and brooding, and the weight he carried, he was very tired by night, and crept home in the streaming rain as if he didn't notice it at all.

By the Bath House below the landlord was standing in the back doorway and called to Moni: "Come in with them. They are wet enough! Why, you are crawling down the mountain like a snail! I wonder what is the matter with you!"

The landlord had never been so unfriendly before. On the contrary he had always made the most friendly remarks to the merry goat-boy. But Moni's changed appearance did not please him, and besides he was in a worse humor than usual because Fraulein Paula had just complained to him about her loss and assured him that the valuable cross could only have been lost in the house or directly in front of the house-door. She had only stepped out on that day towards evening, to hear the goat-boy sing on his way home. To have it said that it was possible for such a costly thing to be lost in his house, beyond recovery, made him very cross. The day before he had called together the whole staff of servants, examined and threatened them, and finally offered a reward to the finder. The whole house was in an uproar over the lost ornament.

When Moni with his goats passed by the front of the house, Paula was standing there. She had been waiting for him, for she wondered very much whether he would ever sing any more or be merry. As he now crept by, she called:

"Moni! Moni! Are you really the same goat-boy who used to sing from morning till night:

  "'And so blue is the sky there
  My joy can't be told'?"

Moni heard the words very well; he gave no answer, but they made a great impression on him. Oh, how different it really was from the time when he could sing all day long and he felt exactly as he sang. Oh, if it could only be like that again!

Again Moni climbed up the mountain, silent and sad and without singing. The rain had now ceased, but thick fog hung around on the mountains, and the sky was still full of dark clouds. Moni again sat under the rock and battled with his thoughts. About noon the sky began to clear; it grew brighter and brighter. Moni came out of his cave and looked around. The goats once more sprang gayly here and there, and the little kid was quite frolicsome from delight at the returning sun and made the merriest leaps.

Moni stood on the Pulpit-rock and saw how it was growing brighter and more beautiful below in the valley and above over the mountains beyond. Now the clouds scattered and the lovely light blue sky looked down so cheerfully that it seemed to Moni as if the dear Lord were looking out of the bright blue at him, and suddenly it became quite clear in his heart what he ought to do. He could not carry the wrong around with him any more; he must throw it off. Then Moni seized the little kid, that was jumping about him, took it in his arms and said tenderly: "Oh, Maggerli, you poor Maggerli! I have certainly done what I could, but it is wrong, and that must not be done. Oh, if only you didn't have to die! I can't bear it!"

And Moni began to cry so hard, that he could no longer speak, and the kid bleated pitifully and crept far under his arm, as if it wanted to cling to him and be protected. Then Moni lifted the little goat on his shoulders, saying:

"Come, Maggerli, I will carry you home once more to-day. Perhaps I can't carry you much longer."

When the flock came down to the Bath House, Paula was again standing on the watch. Moni put the young goat with the black one in the shed, and instead of going on farther, he came toward the young lady and was going past her into the house. She stopped him.

"Still no singing, Moni? Where are you going with such a troubled face?"

"I have to tell about something," replied Moni, without lifting his eyes.

"Tell about something? What is it? Can't I know?"

"I must tell the landlord. Something has been found."

"Found? What is it? I have lost something, a beautiful cross."

"Yes, that is just what it is."

"What do you say?" exclaimed Paula, in the greatest surprise. "Is it a cross with sparkling stones?"

"Yes, exactly that."

"What have you done with it, Moni? Give it to me. Did you find it?"

"No, Jorgli from Kublis found it."

Then Paula wanted to know who he was and where he lived, and to send some one to Kublis at once to get the cross.

"I will go as fast as I can, and if he still has it I will bring it to you," said Moni.

"If he still has it?" said Paula. "Why shouldn't he still have it? And how do you know all about it, Moni? When did he find it, and how did you hear about it?"

Moni looked on the ground. He didn't dare say how it had all come about, and how he had helped to conceal the discovery until he could no longer bear it.

But Paula was very kind to Moni. She took him aside, sat down on the trunk of a tree, beside him, and said with the greatest friendliness:

"Come, tell me all about how it happened, Moni, for I want so much to know everything from you."

Then Moni gained confidence and began to relate the whole story, and told her every word of his struggle about Maggerli and how he had lost all happiness and dared no longer look up to the dear Lord, and how to-day he couldn't bear it any longer.

Then Paula talked with him very kindly and said he should have come immediately and told everything, and it was right that he had told her all now so frankly, and that he would not regret it. Then she said he could promise Jorgli ten francs, as soon as she had the cross in her hands again.

"Ten francs!" repeated Moni, full of astonishment, for he knew how Jorgli would have sold it for much less. Then Moni rose and said he would go right away that very day to Kublis, and if he got the cross he would bring it with him early the next morning. He ran along and was once more able to leap and jump, for he had a much lighter heart and the heavy burden no longer weighed him down to the ground.

When he reached home, he only put his goats in, told his grandmother he had an errand to do, and ran at once down to Kublis. He found Jorgli at home and told him without delay what he had done. At first the boy was very angry, but when he considered that all was known, he took out the cross and asked:

"Will she give me anything for it?"

"Yes, and now you can see, Jorgli," said Moni, indignantly, "how by being honorable you will receive ten francs, and by being deceitful only four: the ten francs you are going to have now."

Jorgli was very much amazed. He regretted that he had not gone immediately with the cross to the Bath House, after he had picked it up in front of the door, for now he had not a clear conscience and it might have been so different! But now it was too late. He gave the cross to Moni, who hastened home with it, for it had already grown quite dark.