Under The Willow Tree
Above him was the blue sky; below him were the city and the wide-spreading green plains of Lombardy, and toward the north the high mountains capped with perpetual snow. Then he thought of the church at Kjöge, with its red ivy-colored walls, but he did not long to go there again. Here, beyond the mountains, he would be buried.
He had lived there a year, and three years had passed since he had left his home, when one day his master took him into the city - not to the circus with its daring riders; no, to the great opera, where was an auditorium well worth seeing. There were seven tiers of boxes, and from each beautiful silken curtains hung, while from the ground to the dizzy heights of the roof there sat the most elegant ladies, with corsages in their hands as if they were at a ball, and gentlemen in full dress, many of them with decorations of gold and silver. It was as bright there as in the noonday sunshine, and the music rolled gloriously and beautifully; everything was much more splendid than in the theater at Copenhagen, but then Johanne had been in Copenhagen, and here - -
Yes! It was like magic - Johanne was here also! The Curtain rose, and she appeared, clad in silk and gold, with a gold crown upon her head. She sang as none but an angel could sing, and came far forward to the front of the stage, and smiled as only Johanne could smile, and looked straight down at Knud! The poor boy seized his master's arm and called out aloud, "Johanne!" The loud music sounded above everything, but no one heard but the master, who nodded his head.
"Yes," he said, "her name is Johanne!" Then he drew forth his program and showed Knud her name - for the full name was printed there.
No, it was not a dream! The great audience applauded and threw wreaths and flowers to Johanne, and every time she went away they called her back on stage, so that she was always going and coming.
In the street outside afterward the people crowded about her carriage and drew it away in triumph. Knud was in the first row and shouted as joyfully as any; and when the carriage halted before her brightly lighted house he was standing close beside the door.