THERE was an old mansion surrounded by a marshy ditch with
a drawbridge which was but seldom let down:- not all guests
are good people. Under the roof were loopholes to shoot
through, and to pour down boiling water or even molten lead on
the enemy, should he approach. Inside the house the rooms were
very high and had ceilings of beams, and that was very useful
considering the great deal of smoke which rose up from the
chimney fire where the large, damp logs of wood smouldered. On
the walls hung pictures of knights in armour and proud ladies
in gorgeous dresses; the most stately of all walked about
alive. She was called Meta Mogen; she was the mistress of the
house, to her belonged the castle.
Towards the evening robbers came; they killed three of her
people and also the yard-dog, and attached Mrs. Meta to the
kennel by the chain, while they themselves made good cheer in
the hall and drank the wine and the good ale out of her
cellar. Mrs. Meta was now on the chain, she could not even
But lo! the servant of one of the robbers secretly
approached her; they must not see it, otherwise they would
have killed him.
'Mrs. Meta Mogen,' said the fellow, 'do you still remember
how my father, when your husband was still alive, had to ride
on the wooden horse? You prayed for him, but it was no good,
he was to ride until his limbs were paralysed; but you stole
down to him, as I steal now to you, you yourself put little
stones under each of his feet that he might have support,
nobody saw it, or they pretended not to see it, for you were
then the young gracious mistress. My father has told me this,
and I have not forgotten it! Now I will free you, Mrs. Meta
Then they pulled the horses out of the stable and rode off
in rain and wind to obtain the assistance of friends.
'Thus the small service done to the old man was richly
rewarded!' said Meta Mogen.
'Delaying is not forgetting,' said the fellow.
The robbers were hanged.
There was an old mansion, it is still there; it did not
belong to Mrs. Meta Mogen, it belonged to another old noble
We are now in the present time. The sun is shining on the
gilt knob of the tower, little wooded islands lie like
bouquets on the water, and wild swans are swimming round them.
In the garden grow roses; the mistress of the house is herself
the finest rose petal, she beams with joy, the joy of good
deeds: however, not done in the wide world, but in her heart,
and what is preserved there is not forgotten. Delaying is not
Now she goes from the mansion to a little peasant hut in
the field. Therein lives a poor paralysed girl; the window of
her little room looks northward, the sun does not enter here.
The girl can only see a small piece of field which is
surrounded by a high fence. But to-day the sun shines here-
the warm, beautiful sun of God is within the little room; it
comes from the south through the new window, where formerly
the wall was.
The paralysed girl sits in the warm sunshine and can see
the wood and the lake; the world had become so large, so
beautiful, and only through a single word from the kind
mistress of the mansion.
'The word was so easy, the deed so small,' she said, 'the
joy it afforded me was infinitely great and sweet!'
And therefore she does many a good deed, thinks of all in
the humble cottages and in the rich mansions, where there are
also afflicted ones. It is concealed and hidden, but God does
not forget it. Delayed is not forgotten!
An old house stood there; it was in the large town with
its busy traffic. There are rooms and halls in it, but we do
not enter them, we remain in the kitchen, where it is warm and
light, clean and tidy; the copper utensils are shining, the
table as if polished with beeswax; the sink looks like a
freshly scoured meatboard. All this a single servant has done,
and yet she has time to spare as if she wished to go to
church; she wears a bow on her cap, a black bow, that
signifies mourning. But she has no one to mourn, neither
father nor mother, neither relations nor sweetheart. She is a
poor girl. One day she was engaged to a poor fellow; they
loved each other dearly.
One day he came to her and said:
'We both have nothing! The rich widow over the way in the
basement has made advances to me; she will make me rich, but
you are in my heart; what do you advise me to do?'
'I advise you to do what you think will turn out to your
happiness,' said the girl. 'Be kind and good to her, but
remember this; from the hour we part we shall never see each
Years passed; then one day she met the old friend and
sweetheart in the street; he looked ill and miserable, and she
could not help asking him, 'How are you?'
'Rich and prospering in every respect,' he said; 'the
woman is brave and good, but you are in my heart. I have
fought the battle, it will soon be ended; we shall not see
each other again now until we meet before God!'
A week has passed; this morning his death was in the
newspaper, that is the reason of the girl's mourning! Her old
sweetheart is dead and has left a wife and three
step-children, as the paper says; it sounds as if there is a
crack, but the metal is pure.
The black bow signifies mourning, the girl's face points
to the same in a still higher degree; it is preserved in the
heart and will never be forgotten. Delaying is not forgetting!
These are three stories you see, three leaves on the same
stalk. Do you wish for some more trefoil leaves? In the little
heartbook are many more of them. Delaying is not forgetting!