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Chicken Grethe's Family

And now that she was gone no one looked after her plants, so the garden went to rack and ruin.

"Sir Grubbe is a hard man," people would say, "but young as she is his daughter can handle him." He would laugh and let her have her will. She was twelve years old now, tall and well built. She looked right through people with her great dark eyes, rode her horse like a man, and shot her gun like an experienced hunter.

It came to pass that great men visited that district. They were as great as great can be - the young King with his half-brother and crony, Lord Ulrick Frederick Gyldenlove. They came to hunt wild boar, and they planned to stay overnight at Sir Grubbe's castle.

At the table, when Gyldenlove sat beside Marie, he took her about the neck and gave her a kiss, just as if they had been related. But she gave him a slap in the face, and told him she could not stand him. This caused great laughter, as if it were a most pleasing sight.

And maybe it was, because five years later, when Marie was seventeen, Gyldenlove sent a messenger with a letter asking for her hand in marriage. That was something!

"He is the highest and most gallant lord in the land," said Sir Grubbe. "You cannot refuse him."

"I don't like him much," Marie Grubbe said, but she did not turn down the highest lord in the land, who sat next to the King.

Her silver, woolens, and linens were sent by ship to Copenhagen. Marie made the trip overland in ten days, but the ship with the dowry met with contrary winds, or no wind at all. It took four months to reach Copenhagen, and when it did get there Lady Gyldenlove had gone.

"I'd sooner lie on sacks than in his silken bed," she said. "I'd sooner walk barefoot than ride in a carriage with him."

Late on an evening in November, two women came riding into the town of Aarhus. They were Lady Gyldenlove and her maid. They came from Veile, where they had arrived by ship from Copenhagen. They rode up to Sir Grubbe's town house. He was not at all pleased to see Marie.

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