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How the shepheards determined to abide in a certaine wood to cure their wounds.

When we had gone a good part of our way, we came to a certaine wood invironed with great trees and compassed about with pleasant meddowes, whereas the Shepheards appointed to continue a certaine space to cure their wounds and sores; then they sate downe on the ground to refresh their wearie minds, and afterwards they sought for medicines, to heale their bodies: some washed away their blood with the water of the running River: some stopped their wounds with Spunges and cloutes, in this manner every one provided for his owne safety. In the meane season wee perceived an old man, who seemed to be a Shepheard, by reason of the Goates and Sheep that fed round about him. Then one of our company demanded whether he had any milke, butter, or cheese to sell. To whom he made answere saying: Doe you looke for any meate or drinke, or any other refection here? Know you not in what place you be?

And therewithall he tooke his sheepe and drave them away as fast as he might possible. This answere made our shepheards greatly to feare, that they thought of nothing else, but to enquire what Country they were in: Howbeit they saw no manner of person of whom they might demand. At length as they were thus in doubt, they perceived another old man with a staffe in his hand very weary with travell, who approaching nigh to our company, began to weepe and complaine saying: Alas masters I pray you succour me miserable caitife, and restore my nephew to me againe, that by following a sparrow that flew before him, is fallen into a ditch hereby, and verily I thinke he is in danger of death. As for me, I am not able to helpe him out by reason of mine old age, but you that are so valiant and lusty may easily helpe me herein, and deliver me my boy, my heire and guide of my life. These words made us all to pity him. And then the youngest and stoutest of our company, who alone escaped best the late skirmish of Dogges and stones, rose up and demanded in what ditch the boy was fallen: Mary (quod he) yonder, and pointed with his finger, and brought him to a great thicket of bushes and thornes where they both entred in. In the meane season, after we cured our wounds, we tooke up our packs, purposing to depart away. And because we would not goe away without the young man our fellow: The shepheards whistled and called for him, but when he gave no answer, they sent one out of their company to seeke him out, who after a while returned againe with a pale face and sorrowfull newes, saying that he saw a terrible Dragon eating and devouring their companion: and as for the old man, hee could see him in no place. When they heard this, (remembring likewise the words of the first old man that shaked his head, and drave away his sheep) they ran away beating us before them, to fly from this desart and pestilent Country.

Next: The Thirty-fifth Chapter