Whether it is based mostly on fact or on fancy we will leave to the German philosophers to decide, but I have heard that they are doubtful on this point, with regard to the world, I mean.
It was a magical evening. Trudel was so engrossed in a game of cards with the boys that she could not be induced to come out; moreover she had a slight cold and the evenings were chilly. A glorious sunset glow illumined the sky as mother and Lottchen set out for their never-to-be-forgotten walk.
"We will go up and see the fire on the heath; I love the smell of dry pine wood burning," said mother.
"I love to see the fire dancing and crackling," said Lottchen. "How still everything is."
"It is the calm of twilight. The wind usually drops in the evening," said mother.
"Look, look, over there by those dark woods there is something moving," said Lotty. "I think it is a white cat."
"A white cat! How queer that she should have strayed so far; she does not belong to the farm, I know."
"Hush! perhaps she is not a cat at all—then she will vanish." And lo and behold when they looked again, there was no cat there, though they had distinctly seen it a minute before on the field at the wood's edge.
"She is really a witch, I believe," said mother, with the curious expression on her face that Lotty knew so well.
Going further up the hill, they saw a wonderful sight. Twenty or more peasant girls were busy working, hacking the ground, their faces illuminated by the wonderful sunset glow. They wore short full peasant skirts edged with bright-coloured ribbons, and each had a gaily coloured scarf pinned round the neck and bodice.
We learned afterwards that they were preparing the ground to plant young fir-trees on a clearing. Germans are so careful of their woods, they replant what has been cut down, so that they have a great wealth in wood that we cannot boast of in England. I believe that they would like to cut off all the dead branches in order to make the woods quite tidy! But this would be rather too big a job even for the German nation to accomplish!