Theparishioners inquired of him in undertones, “What does he say? What is he goingto do?” Others, seeing the curt: in the orchard, emerged cautiously from theirhuts, and women hastily came near and whispered in small groups amongthemselves, while the soldiers who had been besieging the inn, came out againwhen they saw the crowd assembling in the square.
Thenhe who held the innkeeper`s child by one leg, cut off its head with a stroke ofthe sword. The peasants saw the head fall, and the body bleeding on the ground.The mother gathered it to her arms, forgetting the head, and ran toward herhouse. On the way she stumbled against a tree, fell flat on the snow and lay ina faint, while the father struggled with two soldiers.
Horror to the accompaniment
Someof the younger peasants threw stones and wood at the Spaniards, but the horsemenrallied and lowered their lances, the women scattered in all directions, whilethe curd with his other parishioners, shrieked with horror to the accompanimentof the noises made by the sheep, geese, and dogs.
Asthe soldiers went off once more down the street, they were quiet again, waitingto see what would happen. A group went into the shop of the sacristan`ssisters, but came out again without touching the seven women, who were on theirknees praying within.
Thenthey entered the inn of the Hunchback of St. Nicholas. There too the door wasinstantly opened in the hope of placating them, but when they appeared again inthe midst of a great tumult, they carried three children in their arms, andwere surrounded by the Hunchback, his wife and daughters, who were begging formercy with clasped hands.
Whenthe soldiers came to their leader they laid the children down at the foot of anelm, all dressed in their Sunday clothes. One of them, who wore a yellow dress,got up and ran with unsteady feet toward the sheep. A soldier ran after it withhis naked sword. The child died with its face on the earth.
Theothers were killed near the tree. The peasants and the innkeeper`s daughterstook flight, screaming, and went back to their houses. Alone in the orchard,the curd fell to his knees and begged the Spaniards, in a piteous voice, witharms crossed over his breast, going from one to the other on his knees, whilethe father and mother of the murdered children, seated on the snow, weptbitterly as they bent over the lacerated bodies.
Asthe foot-soldiers went along the street they noticed a large blue farmhouse.They tried to break in the door, but this was of oak and studded with hugenails. They therefore took tubs which were frozen in a pond near the entrance,and used them to enter the house from the second story windows.
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