Then Churi softly turned round and ran away as quickly as he could, without looking round, for his conscience bit him and drove him along, and he dared not look anyone in the face for fear that someone could read there what he had done. The other Middle Lotters had not paid attention to what was going on.

In the middle, between the two villages lay a hamlet consisting of a few farms and some small houses of little pretense. It was called the Middle Lot, and its people the Middle Lotters.

When it became known that the strange woman had died, there was a great deal of talk, especially among the Middle Lotters, in whose midst the woman had lived, but had never been seen a fact which had always caused suspicion. Since no one knew anything about her past life, then everyone had the more to say about who she might have been.

Sally shouted after him: "Call us if you find something, but be careful, it is steep there." Erick answered with a yodel and disappeared. Having arrived below, he met the Middle Lotters, who were bending in groups here and there, or lying on the ground, eating the berries which they picked.

But big Churi, the leader of the Middle Lotters, our enemies, is Hannibal. But you see, I just remember something: Churi is not a real Hannibal, for he was a great and noble general, and Churi cannot represent him; but do you know what, we can take the strange boy Erick, for Hannibal! he looks quite different from Churi, shall we?"

But on Organ-Sunday no one would be outside of that Churi was convinced; therefore he had arranged everything in view of that, for although there would be an investigation, all the many Lower Wooders and Middle Lotters would be in that region, and the culprits would never be found out from among such a large crowd.

But Churi grew quite wild if anyone said a word against his plan, and they did not care to make him angry now, for no one could manage so many soldiers as he had to look after, and only thus could the victory be won. The Middle Lotters had naturally joined the Lower Wooders against the Upper Wooders and so they were now a large army.

The main thing was that women would be sitting about everywhere with large baskets full of cake and unusually good cookies; these must be secured. The Middle Lotters especially were against the morning church service. To the surprise of all, big Churi voted for the church-going.

And so it came about that on the same Sunday afternoon, all Upper and Lower Wooders, as well as the Middle Lotters, knew Erick's family and fate, and they had to talk loud and zealously before every door, over this change of luck that had come to Erick. In the parsonage, too, the evening was spent with unusually animated conversation.

The father was just leaving his study when both rushed toward him and now it began: "We have the Middle Lotters with the Lower Wooders " "Hush, hush," said the father. "First get your breath, then relate, one after the other; but before anything, first the soup." With these words the father took Ritz's hand, and Sally and Edi followed them into the dining-room.