The Old Student

  • The Old Student

Many years ago, at Honterus School there was an erudite and devote student, who was also able to preach good. If he had to learn a prayer, he was trying to find a isolated spot. The place where he loved most to learn was on Tampa Mountain, for there was nobody to disturb him. Once, as he was about to preach on the evangelic church on St. John Street and had just finished to learn, ho noticed a wonderful little bird briskly bouncing hither and thither and confidently looking at him. He slowly approached but when he was just about to grabbed it, the bird flew towards the next bush, luring him further. He continued to follow the little creature until he gradually arrived to the Nuns’ Cave. Here the bird vanished into a cranny on the rock. He entered the cave, made a few steps further and saw a dwarf, who asked him low-voiced who he was. When the dwarf knew he has the student who used to exercise his sermons in the citadel, he became friendly and invited him deeper into the mountain. He showed him there a dome much larger and higher than the Black Church and wonderful precious stones, which brightness was illuminating the cave. It was a splendor. On the floor of the cave there were small amounts of precious metals, gold, silver and precious stones of all the forms and colors.

Seeing this magnificence, all kind of ideas crossed our student’s mind. How hard he wished to have his pockets full of jewels! it would have been enough to pay for his further studies in Germany. He vainly hopped that the old dwarf would made him a present.

It must have been stayed about an hour in the cave, when he begged the spirit of the mountain to let him go. The dwarf said: “The same bird will show your way out”. When they approached the exit, the student feigned to stumble. While he was bending, he took a handful of precious stones and quickly put them in his pocket. The dwarf maid a grimace, smiling disdainfully, but didn’t say a word and vanished. The little bird accompanied the student towards the exit and vanished as well.

How frolic was our student when he came back in God’s wonderful world! But as he crossed in hurry the little bridge over the creek flowing near the citadel, he saw that in the spot where the pupils from Honterus had planted the passed spring a young and thin lime tree, there was now an old and vigorous tree, which branches were spreading till far. While entering the city through Ecaterina’s Gate, he noticed astonished that the people were not dressed according the custom and nobody seemed the know him. Many houses had other features to.

While wondering, he remembered the treasure and his consciousness woke op. He realized that, although he always kept himself from breaching the Ten Commandments and had often exhorted to virtue, he had just broke the Seventh Commandment. He ran at Valea Larga, troubled by the desire to relieve his soul and to throw into the water the stolen treasure. But, miracle! All that his hand found was sand. A fright shiver travelled across his spine. He ran frightened in the school courtyard. He saw but unknown faces. Entering his room, he found everything changed. There were no table, no chair and no chest, as he left them in the morning.

As nobody seemed to recognize him, he run, with fear in his heart, to the rector for whom he had to preach that day. But even here he found a completely unknown man. He nevertheless told him all the strange thinks that happened that day, but concealed the theft. When the student revealed his name, the rector became more and more agitated and tensed. He grabbed a pig leather-binding book and read the consternated student that 100 years ago a student who was about to preach in St. John Church had vanished without a trace.

The time he had passed into the mountain spirit’s cave seemed an hour to the student but actually 100 years had passed ever since. But he remained unchanged, just as young as he left.

We can easily imagine the stir the strange happening engendered. As it was lunchtime and he had to quiet his hunger, they invited the student to the table. But miracle! He just took the first gulp when his appearance suddenly changed. His black hair turned white, his juvenile features corrugated at once and he felt dead on the floor.