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Kept Secret but not Forgotten

There was once an old mansion with a moat and drawbridge. The drawbridge was more often up than down; not all visitors are good or welcome. Under the eaves were loopholes to shoot out through, and for throwing boiling water, yes, even molten lead, down on the enemy if he approached too closely. Indoors were high rafted ceilings, and this was good because of the space it provided for the large amount of smoke that rolled up from the hearth fires, where huge, damp logs burned. On the walls hung pictures of men in armor and proud ladies in heavy robes; the grandest of all the ladies was living here. She was named Mette Mogens, and she was the lady of the manor.

One evening robbers came; they killed three of her guards; along with the watchdog, and they bound Lady Mette with the dog chain in the kennel and then seated themselves in the great hall and drank the wine and all the good beer from her cellar.

Lady Mette stood chained like a dog and yet could not even bark at them.

Then the robbers' servant boy came to her; he had very quietly stolen away from them, knowing this must not be noticed, for if it were they would put him to death.

"Lady Mette Mogens," said the boy, "can you remember when my father rode the wooden horse in your husband's time? You prayed for him then, but it wasn't possible for you to help further toward freeing him; he was made to sit astride the block until he became a cripple. But you sneaked down to him, as I have done now, and you laid a little stone under each of his feet, to give him some relief. No one saw it, or perhaps they pretended not to see it, for you were the gracious young mistress of the manor. This my father has told me, and this I have kept secret but not forgotten. Now I will free you, Lady Mette Mogens!"

And then the two of them took horses from the stable and rode, through rain and wind, to get the help of friends.

"This was being well repaid for that small service to the old man," said Mette Mogens.

"Kept secret but not forgotten," said the boy.

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