The Massacre of the Innocents part 7


    Onefamily, who had concealed themselves in the cellar of a large house, stood atthe gratings and wildly lamented, while the father desperately brandished hispitchfork through the grating. Outside, an old bald-headed fellow sat on amanure-heap, sobbing to himself. In the square a woman dressed in yellow hadfainted away, her weeping husband holding her up by the arms against apear-tree.

    Anotherwoman, in red, clutched her little girl, whose hands had been cut off, andlifted the child`s arms to see whether she could move. Still another woman wasescaping toward the open country, the soldiers running after her among thehaystacks, which stood out in sharp relief against the snow-covered fields.

    Beforethe Four Sons of Aymon confusion reigned. The peasants had made a barricadewhile the soldiers encircled the inn, unable to effect an entrance. They weretrying to climb up to the sign-board by means of the vines, when they caughtsight of a ladder behind the garden gate. Setting this against the wall, theyscaled it, one after another. But the landlord and his family threw down atthem tables and chairs, crockery and cradles from the window, upsetting ladderand soldiers together.

    Two soldiers carried off

    Ina wooden cottage at the outskirts of the village another group of soldiers cameupon an old woman washing her children in a tub before the open fire. She wasold and deaf, and did not hear them when they entered. Two soldiers carried offthe tub with the children in it, while the bewildered old woman set off inpursuit, carrying the clothes which she had been about to put on the infants.

    Outin the village she saw traces of blood, swords in the orchard, smashed cradlesin the open streets, women praying and wringing their hands over their deadchildren, and began to scream and strike the soldiers who had to set down thetub in order to defend themselves. The curd hurried over to her, his handsstill folded over his chasuble, and entreated the Spaniards for mercy, in thepresence of the naked children screaming in the tub. Other soldiers came up,bound the distracted mother to a tree, and went off with the children.

    Thebutcher, having hidden his baby girl, leaned against the front of his shop withapparent unconcern. A foot-soldier and one of the armed horsemen entered hishome and found the child in a copper pot. The butcher desperately seized aknife and rushed off in pursuit, but the soldiers disarmed him and suspendedhim by the hands from some hooks in the wall, where he kicked and wriggledamong his dead animals until evening.

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