The engineer and the dwarfs
"I will play waiter on Sunday and help you," said Karl one Saturday evening when he had returned from his work.
"Indeed and you'll not need to," said Norah with a pretty Irish lilt in her voice, "it's not many people that will be coming! It will be different of course when the new station is built; then we shall be flourishing," she continued.
It was a fine Sunday afternoon. Karl and Norah sat in the garden under the plane-trees which made a chequered pattern in shadow on the ground, and sipped glasses of Apfelwein or cider in German fashion.
"It was a queer thing that we two should meet in the little people's land. It seems as if we were meant to pull together, doesn't it?" said Karl with an effort.
Norah jumped up immediately, saying that she must see if the water was boiling for coffee.
"No, no," said Karl catching her by the hand; "you are not going to run away like that; you've just got to listen to me, Norah; for I can't keep it in any longer. You are my fairy princess—I love you with all my heart, and I want you to promise me to be my little wife—will you?"
"You don't know me yet," said Norah blushing like a rose. "I've got a most awful temper!"
"I'll risk it," said Karl laughing, and they plighted their troth under the trees in the garden with no one but the empty chairs and tables looking on, that were spread in anticipation of the guests who had not arrived.
So Karl and Norah were engaged to be married and were as happy as ever it is possible to be in this world! They did not celebrate the event in the usual ceremonious German fashion; for Norah's friends and relations were in Ireland and she had only a few acquaintances in Germany as yet. Karl's mother was a widow, and lived with her married daughter in Pomerania; so she could not come so far south for anything less than a wedding or a funeral.
Now Karl began to consider the material side of the question. "Will the love that we are rich in, light the fire in the kitchen, and the little god of love turn the spit O!