The Massacre of the Innocents part 2


    Afterdeliberating a long while in the churchyard, they decided to hide in the woodwhich the Spaniards were to come through, attack them if they were not toonumerous, and recover Petrus Krayer`s cattle and any booty they might havetaken at the farm.

    Themen armed themselves with forks and spades while the women remained with thecur£ by the church. Looking for a favorable place for an ambuscade, the menreached a hilly spot near a mill at the edge of the wood, where they could seethe fire glowing against the stars of night. They took up their position undersome enormous oaks by the side of an ice-covered pond.

    Ashepherd, who was called the Red Dwarf, mounted to the top of the hill in orderto warn the miller, who had already stopped his mill when he saw flames on thehorizon. But he allowed the peasant to enter, and the two went to a window tolook out over the countryside.

    Dwarf went down

    Themoon shone down brightly upon the conflagration, and the men could see a longprocession of people wending their way across the snow. After they had donewatching, the Dwarf went down again to the others waiting in the wood.

    Theycould soon distinguish in the distance four riders behind a herd of cattlebrowsing over the fields. As they stood, clad in their blue breeches and redmantles, looking about by the pond`s edge under trees made luminous by theheavy snowfall, the sacristan showed them a box-hedge, and behind this theycrouched.

    TheSpaniards, driving before them flocks and cattle, made their way over the ice,and when the sheep came to the hedge and began nibbling at the greenery,Korneliz broke through, the others following him into the moonlight, armed withtheir forks. There was then a great massacre in the presence of the huddledsheep and cows, that looked on frightened at the terrible slaughter under thelight of the moon.

    Whenthey had killed the men and their horses, Korneliz went out into the fieldstoward the blazing farm, while the others stripped the dead. Then they allreturned to the village with the flocks and cattle. The women, who were lookingout toward the dense wood from behind the churchyard walls, saw them coming outfrom among the trees and in company with the cur£ ran to meet them. They allreturned dancing amid laughing children and barking dogs.

    Asthey made merry under the pear-trees, where the Dwarf had hung lanterns as fora kermesse, they asked the cur£ what ought to be done next. They decided tosend a cart for the body of the woman who had been hanged and her nine littlegirls, and bring them all back to the village.

    Read More about War with the Normans part 22