The pitch-burner accepted the offer willingly, but begged for half a loaf of bread, which he said is very scarce in the woods and he had seen none for some time past. It was arranged that they should start very early the next morning, because it was "not good to travel in the evening," he said. "There at Boruca ghosts storm terribly, but they do no harm.
The pitch-burner, who was hired as guide to Buda, affirmed that the horses could pass everywhere, but as to the wagons, provisions and baggage, it would be necessary in some places to take them apart and carry them piecemeal, and that could not be done without tedious work. But people accustomed to hard labor preferred hardship to lounging in the deserted inn. Therefore they moved on willingly.
What are you then?" "I am a pitch-burner, sir, dwelling in a tent. There are seven of us who dwell in tents with our families." "How far are you from here?" "Not quite ten furlongs." "How do you get to town?" "We have our private road along the 'Devil's Hollow." "Along what? The Devil's?... then cross yourself again." "In the name of the Father, Son, and the Holy Ghost. Amen." "Very well.
Even the timid Wit was not scared by the words and presence of the pitch-burner. They left the inn and entered at once between high-trunked forest trees, free from undergrowth. They led their horses, and could pass along without taking the wagons to pieces.
Then Jagienka smiled that all of them took the pitch-burner to be the devil, and he thought them to be the same. Anulka and Sieciechowa laughed at Macko's words, when he said: "Your eyes are not yet dry from weeping for Hlawa; now you are laughing?" The Bohemian looked at the girl, he observed her eyelids which were still moist, then he asked: "Did you cry for me?"
The four musicians liked their new home so well that they thought no more of going on to the city. The last we heard of them, they were still there and having happy times together. The Straw Ox There was once upon a time an old man and an old woman. The old man worked in the fields as a pitch-burner, while the old woman sat at home and spun flax.
However they arrived at Buda about nightfall; there the pitch-burner received them as his guests, and they were assured by him that along the Devil's Hollow, correctly speaking, they could reach the town. These people, inhabitants of the pathless forest seldom saw bread or flour, yet they were not starving.
"In the name of the Father and Son tell me; what is this figure you have brought," shouted Macko. "How do I know?" replied the Bohemian. "He said that he was a man and a pitch-burner, but I don't know whether he told me the truth." "Oh, he is not a man, no," said Wit. But Macko ordered him to be quiet; then he looked carefully around him and suddenly said: "Cross yourself.