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The Guest in the Mill on the Rhine
In Mannheim there was once a miller who was a terrible miser. When the poor came to his house, he chased them away with bitter unkind words. His servant who had worked for him faithfully for many a long year could hardly sleep, because his master, suspecting thieves, would Often creep into the mill at night, spying carefully into every corner to see what he could find. The faithful fellow, wakened up from sleep, would shake his head sadly when he heard the old man rummaging about in the mill.
One night he heard the footsteps of the miller, who came creeping along looking for thieves. On reaching the granary, he uttered a curse. There lay an old man with white hair fast asleep. The miller turned on his servant, accusing him of harbouring disgraceful tramps about the place.
"Master, do not grudge the tired old man a little rest," begged the kind lad, "he wont do any harm to the corn." But the angry man interrupted him with a cry of wrath.
"Not even if it were the Lord himself! I wont put up with any lazy, good-for-nothing vagabonds. Get up, you idle fellow!"
The water began to roar and the wind to blow round the mill, as the old man raised himself up.
"I have faithfully ground your corn from year to year, and now you grudge me a little rest in your store-house. Your thankless heart is harder than the mill-stone, but a punishment will humble you. The old man from the Rhine whom you despise, announces it to you now!"
The white-haired man seemed to become a giant, and hardly had he. ended these words, than he dashed into the foaming waters, and the mill fell with a great crash to the ground. Fortunately a wave threw the miller and his servant on the bank of the river, but the next morning nothing more was to be seen of the mill on the Rhine.