When, now, on the night which followed the fatal day, seeing his funds almost exhausted by his generosity, Muck crept forth, with his spade, into the castle-garden, to bring new supplies from his secret treasury, the watch followed him in the distance, led by Ahuli and Archaz; and, at the moment when he was removing the gold from the pot to his cloak, they fell upon him, bound him, and immediately led him before the king. The latter, whom, independently of any thing else, this interruption of his sleep would have enraged, received his poor dwarf very ungraciously, and ordered an immediate trial. Meanwhile they had dug the full pot out of the ground, and with the spade and cloak full of gold had placed it before the king. The treasurer said that he had surprised Muck with his guard, just as he had buried this vessel of gold in the earth.
The king thereupon inquired of the accused, whether it was true, and whence the gold had come.
Little Muck, conscious of innocence, answered that he had discovered this pot in the garden; that he had not buried it, but had brought it to light.
All present laughed aloud at this defence; the king, however, provoked in the highest degree by the supposed impudence of the dwarf, exclaimed, “How, wretch! wilt thou so stupidly and shamelessly lie to thy king, after having stolen from him? Treasurer Archaz, I command thee to say whether thou knowest this sum of gold to be the same that is missing from my treasury.”
The treasurer thereupon answered that he was sure of the thing; that so much and even more had been missing from the royal treasures; and he could take his oath that this was the stolen money. Then the king commanded them to place Little Muck in galling chains, and convey him to prison: to Archaz, however, he gave the gold, that he might restore it to the treasury. Delighted at the fortunate issue of the matter, the officer took it, and counted out, at home, the glittering gold pieces; but the bad man never disclosed that down in the pot lay a letter, to the following purport:—
“The enemy has overrun my land; therefore I here conceal a portion of my treasure.