Well do I, Hugo Gottfried, remember the night of snow and moonlight when first they brought the Little Playmate home. I had been sleeping -- a sturdy, well-grown fellow I, ten years or so as to my age -- in a stomacher of blanket and a bed-gown my mother had made me before she died at the beginning of the cold weather. Suddenly something awoke me out of my sleep. So, all in the sharp chill of the night, I got out of my bed, sitting on the edge with my legs dangling and looked curiously at the bright streams of moonlight which crossed the wooden floor of my garret. I thought if only I could swim straight up one of them, as the motes did in the sunshine, I should be sure to come in time to the place where my mother was -- the place where all the pretty white things came from -- the sunshine, the moonshine, the starshine and the snow.
"Come down and be killed, foul brood of the Red Axe!" the children cried. And with that they ran as near as they dared and spat on the wall of our house, or at least on the little wooden panel which opened inward in the great trebly spiked iron door of the Duke's courtyard.
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