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Long ago there lived a most beautiful girl named Kriselda. She was not proud or haughty, but none of her suitors were quite as she expected. Therefore, with gentle, polite words she dismissed them all.

One evening she went out to walk among the forest pines, she met a poor wayworn beggar woman laying beside a tree trunk and fainting with hunger and fatigue.

Kriselda sent her maids to get something to help the woman, and gave her food and drink with her own hands.

But the beggar woman reproached her bitterly.

"You who live daintily and have your will every day, may now and then show a little charity, but what is it to suffer every day and never get things to be as you want?"

Kriselda spoke compassionately: "That is not your case, I hope?"

"How can you hope anything about it?" retorted the beggar woman. "You do not know what it is to suffer. It is not fine clothes and a grand palace, a beautiful face, or deeds of fame that make one great. To do well is so easy for such ones, so what great merit do they have to boast of?"

Kriselda listened: "What is that travail and grief you speak about?" she asked.

"If you really want to know travail and grief," answered the beggar woman, "take this end of a ball of yarn and follow it to its spool - if you go there alone."

Kriselda sent her maids back to the castle, took up the yarn and followed a steep path. At last she fell asleep, completely exhausted.

When she opened her eyes again it was morning, and a hermit and an armoured knight were fighting each other close by.

"Why do you fight so furiously?" said Kriselda. "Put up your arms and be at peace."

"We fight for you, girl!" both said.

"Oh well," said Kriselda.

"The knight said: "I fell in love with you the moment I saw you lying there, and would carry you my castle when this hermit said I had to wait for you to wake up and decide for yourself."

"I guess it is not deadly to go with a hermit," she said.

The hermit beckoned her to follow, and the knight in love put his sword in its sheath and left them. Kriselda followed the hermit to where a crystal brook flowed. He had other girls there too. She lived there for many years, built a good house for themselves, and there was nothing else to do.

When she died and was to be buried, they found there was someone in the grave already. It was the knight. He had missed her so terribly that he died from his love for a woman who had not loved him back. There he lay in in the place where Kriselda was to be laid.

⚶ ⚶ ⚶

The doctor orders the rich the diet, the poor to eat. (Proverb from Trentino)

When the house is built, death is ready and prepared. (Proverb from Trentino)



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