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Under The Willow Tree

When he had left, Johanne's father had said, "Now, don't forget us altogether. Don't let the whole winter go by before you come to us again!" Knud felt that gave him permission to repeat the call the following Sunday, and determined to do so.

But every evening after work - and the working hours lasted until candlelight there - Knud went out into the town. He returned to the street in which Johanne lived, and looked up at her window. It was almost always lighted, and one evening he could even see the shadow of her face quite plainly on the curtain. That was an evening he would never forget. His master's wife did not like his "gallivanting abroad every evening," as she put it, and shook her head ruefully over him; but the master only smiled.

"He's just a young fellow," he said.

"On Sunday we shall see each other," Knud thought, "and I shall tell her how she is always in my thoughts and that she must be my little wife. I know I'm only a poor journeyman shoemaker, but I can become a master, and I'll work and save - yes, I'll tell her that! No good comes from a silent love; I've learned that much from the gingerbread!"

Sunday came at last, and Knud set out, but to his great disappointment they had to tell him they were all invited out that evening. But as he left Johanne pressed his hand and said, "Have you ever been to the theater? You must go there sometime. I shall be singing on Wednesday, and if you have time that evening I'll send you a ticket. My father knows where you are living."

How kind it was of her! And at noon on Wednesday he received a sealed envelope. There were no words inside, but the ticket was there, and that evening Knud went to the theater for the first time in his life. And what did he see? He saw Johanne, looking more charming and beautiful than he ever could have believed possible! To be sure, she was married to a stranger, but that was just in the play; it was only make-believe, as Knud understood very well. If it had been true, he thought, she would never have had the heart to send him a ticket so that he could go and see it.

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