Under The Willow Tree
Those were glorious days; but glorious days do not last forever, and finally the neighbors separated. Johanne's mother died, and her father planned to marry again in Copenhagen, where he had been promised a position as messenger, a job supposed to be very profitable. While the neighbors parted with regrets, the children wept bitterly, but the parents promised to write to each other at least once a year.
And Knud was made apprentice to a shoemaker, for such a big boy was too old to run around wild any longer; and, furthermore, he was confirmed.
Oh, how he would have liked to see little Johanne in Copenhagen on that day of celebration! But he didn't go; and he had never been there, although Kjöge is only five Danish miles away. On a clear day Knud could see the distant towers of the city across the bay, and on the day of his confirmation he could even see the golden cross on the tower of the Church of Our Lady glitter in the sun.
Ah, how often his thoughts turned toward Johanne! And did she remember him? Yes! At Christmastime a letter came from her father to Knud's parents, saying that they were doing very well in Copenhagen, and Johanne could look forward to a brilliant career on the strength of her lovely voice. She already had a position in the opera house and was already earning a little money, out of which she sent her dear neighbors of Kjöge a dollar for a merry Christmas Eve. Johanne herself added a postscript, asking them to drink to her health, and in the same postscript was also written, "Friendly greetings to Knud!"
They all wept; but this was all very pleasant, for they were tears of joy that they shed. Knud's thoughts had been with Johanne every day, and now he knew that she also thought of him. The nearer came the end of his apprenticeship, the more clearly did he realize that he was in love with Johanne and that she must be his little wife.
When he thought of this a smile brightened his face, and he drew the thread faster than before and pressed his foot against the knee strap.