urn the key, Gesta, and let the workshop stay just as my father left it.”

The old woman wiped her eyes on a corner of her apron.

“And so it’s sure, then, Master Fritz, that you’re going to leave here; what 대전오피 will the house seem like when you are gone?”

With this the faithful creature broke into a sob.

“But,” said the boy, soothingly, “I’ll come back every little while and see that you want for nothing. Because I’m going to live in a great91 house and have lots of money given to me doesn’t mean that I am going to forget you. I am my mother’s son, Gesta; you carried my mother in your arms when she was a little baby. She loved you, and so do I.”

“You’ve always been good to me, Master Fritz. Even when you were a very little boy you never gave me any trouble; and that makes it all the harder to see you go. Is it to-morrow, Master Fritz, that Count von Scholtz is going to send for you?”

“No, the count said he knew I would want to see my friends, and make some preparations, so it’s not till Thursday that I leave for Grünwald. But it isn’t so far away, you know, Gesta, that I can’t come92 back from time to time to see you and the dear old home. For even if they do say I’ll walk on velvet carpets, and have beautiful paintings and marble statuary to look at everywhere I turn my eyes, more books than I can read, and music whenever I wish, I’ll never love it as I love this home. They may change my name, too, but I’ll always be the son of Conrad Albrecht, the toymaker. The count may be ever so good to me, but he can never take my father’s place!”

Yet, even as he spoke, Fritz was conscious of a strange sensation. He had felt it only once before, and that was the evening he had remained outside the castle, after Katrina had gone in, and listened to the Ivy.

93 Now there came to him the desire to hear that voice again, and, as twilight was just setting in, he would go alone, and beg the Ivy to tell him other stories of the castle. So after urging the watchful Gesta not to be uneasy if he should return a little late, Fritz started off in the direction of the Wartburg.

It was not very long before he reached the courtyard, where all was still, and, stealing within the shadow of the wall, Fritz seated himself upon the same bench on which he had sat that other evening when the voice had spoken to him of the “greatest treasure.”

One might suppose that the Ivy had been waiting for him, so soon did it begin to speak to Fritz in94 those same rich, majestic tones. And now it told him many things about the men and women who lived in the castle long ago—about the early landgraves; but more particularly did it dwell upon the good Herman and his time. Among other stories it told how Elizabeth had, by accident, found on her husband the crusader’s cross, and at sight of it had fainted, since it meant that he would leave her.

“But,” the Ivy said, “when Ludwig explained to her the purpose of the crusades, Elizabeth not only consented to his going, but went with him a part way on his journey. However, Ludwig never reached the Holy Land, but died of a fever just as he was to set sail from Italy.”

95 This was the only allusion which the Ivy made to Saint Elizabeth; but it told Fritz of much that happened during the times in which she lived. It mentioned, for instance, how a knowledge of the arts and crafts had been brought by the crusaders from the East.

“There were no glass windows in the Wartburg,” the Ivy said, “until the time of the Landgrave Herman. He had glass panes put into the windows of the banquet-hall; but in the other windows the panes were all of mica; for glass, the art of making which was brought by the crusaders from the Orient, was very rare and costly.

“Now, while speaking of the East,” the Ivy went on to say, “I must tell you something about a96 certain great room in the Wartburg called the Armory. There you will find some rare specimens of old plate armour and suits of mail—these latter dating as far back as the crusades. One who gives it any thought can trace from these a gradual unfoldment in the history of armour. For instance, that of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries was crude and very simple. The fifteenth century brought an increase in the use of plates; but it was in the sixteenth century, by a well-devised fitting together, that the highest development in armour was attained.”

Fritz found himself listening with keen interest to all that the Ivy told him; and, after a pause, it went97 on speaking of the armour and its history.

“Persons usually have a wrong conception of the armour worn in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries,” the voice continued. “They picture the knight as going forth in a glittering mail shirt woven out of steel; while in reality his coat and hose, as well as his head-covering, were of leather with iron rings sewn on. Only in the East did they then understand the art of weaving the steel mail shirt out of rings. But as every separate ring had to be made by hand, such equipment was very costly; for wire drawing was not discovered until the fourteenth century.

“I wonder,” said the Ivy, after a moment’s silence, and so suddenly98 that Fritz was startled, “I wonder if you can tell me why the use of armour began to decline in the seventeenth century?”

“I am sorry to say that I haven’t the slightest idea,” was Fritz’s answer.

“It was because in that century firearms came into general use, gunpowder having been invented; so there was no longer any need for armour.”

But, interested as he was in hearing all of this, it was not what Fritz had come to the castle for that evening. He had come to put to the Ivy one single question which for weeks had been revolving in his mind.

“I am going away from here next Thursday,” as he spoke drew nearer to the Ivy, “and I want to ask one question before I go. It is that you will tell me what you meant when you said to me one evening that you possess the greatest of all treasures.”

Several moments passed before the Ivy answered; but at last it said:

“I know your desire is a sincere one, and I intend to grant it. But first promise me that you will search far and wide, until you, too, come into possession of this mighty treasure—the greatest in all the world.”

“I promise you,” said Fritz.

“Well, then,” and the Ivy spoke in tones more melodious than any Fritz had ever heard before, but so low that he alone could hear the name.

100 The boy caught his breath with eagerness, and clenched his hands until the flesh showed the imprint of his nails.

“Yes,” he declared, his face all aglow with determination, “I’ll go to the very ends of the earth to find it!”

Then all at once Fritz seemed to see, as though it were a picture stretching out before him, that new life he was about to enter with its promise of riches, the opportunity to gratify all ambition—while the name of what the Ivy declared to be the greatest treasure kept ringing like music in his ears.

he following morning Fritz went early to the Wartburg. This, his last day, he would spend with his little playmate. Some time before he reached the castle, as he was walking up the hill, he caught sight of Katrina standing in the courtyard.

She made a lovely picture dressed in white, with her pigeons all about her; while in the background was the old, ivy-covered wall. Back and forth her pets were swarming; some ate the grain she102 had just scattered on the ground, while others preened themselves upon the brink of the now dilapidated fountain.

But as Fritz drew near, and his footsteps sounded on the gravel, there was a scurry and a rustle of wings; while very soon the birds were lost to sight in their lofty retreat in the tower. Katrina, however, the moment she spied Fritz coming, gave a little cry of pleasure, and ran to the gates to meet him.

“I was sure that thou wouldst come,” she said, “and dost thou know, Fritz, I could declare I heard thee walking here last evening, I know thy step so well. But,” the little girl added, as she took her playmate by the hand,103 “mütterchen said it was only fancy, that of course you wouldn’t be here at the castle without coming in to see us. I knew that too, Fritz; so though I thought I heard thee passing the window twice, I laughed at the very thought of thy going by just as if thou wert a ghost.”

To this Fritz said not a word. For some reason he felt that he wished to keep as a secret that which the Ivy told him; so, in consequence, would say nothing about his twilight visit to the Wartburg.

“Fritz, Fritz!” Katrina suddenly exclaimed, and it seemed as though a cloud had passed suddenly across the sun, so quick was the change in Katrina’s face. “Is it true that104 thou art really going to leave to-morrow?”

“Yes, Katrina, the count has written that he will send for me Thursday morning. Thou knowest the promise my father made him. But at first the count was too ill to send for me; in fact it was only the other day he was told of my father’s death.”

There were tears in Katrina’s eyes.

“What am I going to do, Fritz? I sha’n’t have any one at all to play with. Dost thou really want to go away and leave me?”

“No, no, little sister; but sometimes it falls to our lot to do things that we don’t quite wish to do. Thou knowest what duty is, Katrina?”

105 “Yes,” replied the little girl, “mütterchen has told me that I must always do my duty, no matter how disagreeable the task may be.”

As she spoke, there came into the sweet childish face the promise of a nobility that would know so well how to translate duty into happiness; while, as for Fritz, he was one day to learn that ambition sometimes appears at our gates disguised as duty, and in our blindness we bid him enter.

“Is thy father here, Katrina?” Fritz asked a moment later. “Ah, yes,” he added before Katrina had time to answer, “there he is, over near the belfry; he and Hans are talking.”

“So thou hast come, Fritz, to106 claim the promise I made thee yesterday in Eisenach;” and, as he spoke, Rudolf came over to where the children stood. “I told thee, I remember, that as thou art going away so soon, I would give thee and the mädchen here a glimpse into the castle.”

Both Fritz and Katrina were delighted, and the latter, catching one of her father’s hands, kissed it rapturously.

“It will have to be only a little visit, though, as I’ll be very busy later in the morning, so where shall we begin?”

“This is to be your treat, Herr Rudolf,” Fritz replied; “so we’ll leave the choice to you.”

“Well, then, suppose we begin out here with the rooms where107 Martin Luther stayed when he was a prisoner at the Wartburg.”

“Yes, yes, show us Luther’s rooms!” and the two children took Rudolf by either hand.

He led them across the courtyard, past the old stables now converted into a brewery; on beyond the barbican, the south tower, and the belfry, until they reached the Knight’s House, sacred with its memories and traditions of Martin Luther.

Open quote I
t was here,” Rudolf explained, when they had reached the entrance to the Knight’s House, “that the great Reformer was kept in captivity for a year.”

“Yes,” Katrina interposed, “mütterchen told me this, and so did the lady with the silver cross; but they didn’t tell me why he was made a prisoner.”

“That was because he opposed certain teachings of his time, and,” her father added, forcefully, “had the courage to be steadfast to what he believed to be the truth.”

109 “It would be good, Herr Rudolf,” suggested Fritz, “if you would tell Katrina and me the story of Martin Luther before we go inside the castle. Then when we do go in, we’d understand and enjoy it all the more.”

“Yes, Fritz, thou art right; some knowledge of him would make thee have a more intelligent appreciation of what thou art about to see. So, suppose we sit out here while I tell thee both about a few of the incidents in Luther’s life.”

Whereupon, Rudolf and the two children seated themselves on a stone bench close by the door of entrance. Now just above this same door was a device cut in stone, that was not only quaint and110 curious, but was also strangely suggestive of the giant power of the man who had once been a prisoner there. It represented Samson in the act of quelling the lion. And had not he, Martin Luther, slain mankind’s deadly foe,—blind superstition?

“Well, to begin with,” said Rudolf, when the children had settled themselves to listen, and sat watching him with expectant eyes, “Martin Luther’s father, whose name was Hans Luther, was a miner at Möra, a small town which now belongs to the Duchy of Saxe-Meiningen. Not very long after his marriage, however, Hans and his wife, Margaret, went to live at Eisleben, and it was here, on the 10th of November, 1483, that a111 son was born to them. This day being the anniversary of Martin, Bishop of Tours, they gave the name ‘Martin’ to their boy in memory of the saint.

“It was soon after this that Luther’s parents removed to Mansfield, and Hans, the father, became a member of the council. Their great desire was that Martin should follow one of the learned professions, and from the first his education was very strict. He attended the school of the Franciscan monks at Magdeburg; but when about fifteen years old, he came to Eisenach and earned money as a Current-Schuler by singing from door to door.”

“Yes, yes, dear father,” Katrina interrupted, “we know how112 the good Frau Cotta, hearing him sing in the streets, took him in and gave him a home.”

“Did he like being a Current-Schuler?” asked Fritz, to whose spirit of adventure the idea made a strong appeal.

“It is said,” responded Rudolf, “that the practice of singing for charity was at first very distasteful to him, but that in time he came to like it, so great was his love for music. Thou, my little Katrina, art familiar with some of Martin Luther’s hymns. He wrote a number of hymns after he grew to manhood; and thou, Fritz, hast sung with us many an evening that grand old anthem of his, ‘Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott.’”[2]

[2] “A Mighty Stronghold Is Our God.”

113 “I wonder, Herr Rudolf,” Fritz exclaimed, as the light of the sudden thought flashed into his face, “I wonder if Luther wrote that hymn here at the Wartburg! Don’t you think he must have done so?”

For a moment Rudolf was silent. This was a question which had not presented itself to his mind before.

“I really do not know it to be a certainty,” he answered after thinking deeply; “but it does seem to me, Fritz, that he must have had his inspiration here within these walls which sheltered him in a time when his life was being threatened. But now,” Rudolf continued, “let us turn back to the youthful Luther and follow114 him as he progresses in his school life. In the year 1501 he entered the University of Erfurt, where he studied Logic, Physics, and Ethics; but it was in Philosophy and the ancient classics that he afterward found his greatest satisfaction. In the year 1503 Luther received his degree of B. A., and it was then that he complied with his father’s wish and began to study the law. This, however, as he soon found, was not to his taste, and in time it became a burden to him. In these days of doubt he felt strongly drawn toward a monastic life, and finally, in spite of the opposition of his family and friends, he determined to take the vows and become a monk.

“But even after this step had115 been taken, he found that his conscience was not wholly at ease. His zealous mind seemed to be ever searching for the truth. And, my children,” Rudolf continued, “it was in the year 1517 that Martin Luther first wrote his name indelibly on the pages of history.”

Open quote Y
es,” Rudolf repeated, “it was in the year 1517 that Luther cut his way through the darkness of superstition, and let in a light which has illumined the world. For by showing how false were the teachings that forgiveness of sin could be bought with a bit of money, instead of through repentance and reform, he set, not only a responsibility, but a noble value upon each individual life. It was his mighty voice, ringing through all the land, and whose echo can be heard down the ages, which urged117 man to realize that he was a child of God, and through that sonship alone an inheritor of the kingdom.

“These teachings of Martin Luther met with harsh opposition; but he was firm in his belief. So firm was he that he nailed to the door of the church in Wittenberg his ninety-five theses, or articles of faith. These were read by people of every rank in life, and the fame of them spread far and wide. While his friends flocked to him, those who opposed Luther became more and more bitter, until finally they even sought his life.”

“It was then, wasn’t it,” cried Fritz, with eager interest, “that the Elector showed that he was his friend?”

“Yes,” said Rudolf in reply, “it118 was when his life became endangered that the Elector Frederick, under pretext of taking him a prisoner, had him brought here to the Wartburg, where he could give him his protection. And now since we have reached the experience in Luther’s life which is so closely associated with this place, suppose we make our visit to the rooms he occupied.”

Rudolf, as he spoke, rose from the bench, and, bidding the children to follow, opened the door into a little hall, and from this they ascended a narrow staircase.

“Here, my children,” said Rudolf, as he now led the way into a small room at the head of the stairway, “this was Luther’s sanctuary.”

A sort of awe fell upon and Katrina at the thought of being in the same apartment where that great, good man had spent the months of his captivity.

“This,” Rudolf explained, as he pointed toward a table, “is not the one at which Luther sat when he made his translation of the Bible; that was carried away years ago by relic hunters, who gradually cut it into chips. The one here now was once in his father’s house at Möra, and Luther sat at it when a little boy.”

Fritz and Katrina, full of interest, gazed up at the portraits of Luther and his parents hanging on the wall above the table, while Rudolf explained that they were the work of Cranach, one of the greatest painters of his time. also called their attention to one of Luther’s letters which had been framed, and was hanging near the Cranach portraits. Then the children were told to look at a curious mining-lamp once used by Luther’s father. But it was when Rudolf showed them the money box carried about by the little Current-Schuler down in Eisenach that their enthusiasm seemed to have no bounds.

“Just let us touch it, father, dear!” Katrina cried.

And they both laid their hands lovingly on the treasured relic.