Such a village is Elhalten; it lies in a green valley, rich with many flowers; a lovely little brook runs through it, disappearing suddenly under houses to reappear again triumphant farther down the road. This brook is called the Silber Bach or Silver Brook, on account of the clearness of its water. On either side of the valley rise up steep mountain-slopes with wild woods and rough pathways.
Hugo had seen much for a five year's old boy; but he longed to see more. He had heard stories of wood-goblins, of fairies and nixies, and of the busy dwarfs who live underground. He thirsted for adventure. Now I must tell you that just about this time the news had come from Elhalten that a child had been lost from the village, a dear little girl of four years.
A blue silk frock, and shoes with shining buckles; never had such a finely dressed child been seen in Elhalten before. The simple folk never dreamt that the buckles were real diamonds and worth a large sum of money. When Hugo and Elsa met again on the following Sunday, you may be sure that they had much to talk about, at least when they were left alone undisturbed by grown-ups!
Presently they heard the noise of a little brook that was hidden in the dark trees, and shortly afterwards they turned a corner and saw the little village of Elhalten before them, peaceful and still in the early morning light. Elsa recognised her home after all, and called to the stags to stop.
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