Finish the Sleepy Goatherd.
Poor Peter Klaus looked around him, more dazed than ever. His lips quivered pitifully as he asked, “Then where is Valentine Meyer, the shoemaker?”
“Ah, me!” answered another old woman. “Valentine has been lying for nearly twenty years in a house that he will never leave.”
Peter thought that he had seen both of the old women before—but as he remembered them they were young and handsome and of about his own age. He was about to ask another question when he saw a sprightly young mother, who looked very much like his wife, coming down the street. She was leading a little girl about four years of age, and on her arm was a year-old baby. He staggered and rubbed his eyes, and leaned against the wall for support.
“Does anybody know Peter Klaus, the goat-herd?” he stammered.
“Peter Klaus!” cried the young mother. “Why, that was my father’s name. It is now twenty years since he was lost. His flock came home without him one evening, and all the village searched night and day among the hills and on the mountain, but could not find him. I was then only four years old.”
“And are you little Maria?” asked Peter, trembling harder than ever.
“My name is Maria,” was the answer, “but I am no longer little Maria.”
“And I am your father!” cried Peter. “I am Peter Klaus who was lost. Don’t any of you know Peter Klaus?”
All who heard him were filled with astonishment; and Maria, with her two children, rushed into his arms crying, “Welcome, father! Welcome home again! I felt sure it was you as soon as I saw you.”
And soon all the old people in the village came to greet him. “Peter Klaus? Yes, yes, it seems only yesterday that you drove our goats to the pasture. How time does fly! Welcome, old neighbor! Welcome home after being away twenty years.”