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A Bouquet of Czech Folktales

Karel Jaromir Erben
Twisted Spoon Press

The woman stands at the threshold;
she stands blinded by the gleam,
not lifting her eyes; she's not bold
enough to look at the flame.
Holding the child in her left hand,
with her right she rubs her eyes,
then she musters self-command,
recovers herself on the whole;
she ponders her life with great sighs
and begins to speak with her soul:
"Dear God, what a time I've had! My share
of hunger and poverty!
This place is filled with such treasure,
but I've always lived wretchedly!
Silver and gold, and so much,
quite a stash here underground;
just a fistful from that pile
would make me very rich.
We'd be happy from now on,
me and my little child!"
And as she stands and thinks,
she's more tempted by desire;
arming herself with a crucifix,
she approaches the pale fire.
She takes a piece of silver,
lifts it, and puts it back again;