"Come, my child!" said Hester, looking about her from the spot
where Pearl had stood still in the sunshine--"we will sit down a
little way within the wood, and rest ourselves."
"I am not aweary, mother," replied the little girl. "But you
may sit down, if you will tell me a story meanwhile."
"A story, child!" said Hester. "And about what?"
"Oh, a story about the Black Man," answered Pearl, taking hold
of her mother's gown, and looking up, half earnestly, half
mischievously, into her face.
"How he haunts this forest, and carries a book with him a big,
heavy book, with iron clasps; and how this ugly Black Man offers
his book and an iron pen to everybody that meets him here among
the trees; and they are to write their names with their own
blood; and then he sets his mark on their bosoms. Didst thou
ever meet the Black Man, mother?"
"And who told you this story, Pearl," asked her mother,
recognising a common superstition of the period.