It was a pretty old man. His face was already wrinkled and his hair had turned gray. With the faint light of the smoldering oil lamp, Nanning could still notice that he must have been poor, because his long body skirt, which must once have been a precious garment, as was evident from the adornments that had been put on it, now had all assumed colors of the rainbow, and was amazed at various places with uncontrolled hand. And as this had not been done with good of the same material, but with patches of all kinds of color, the whole body skirt had something like a patchwork and  looked pretty ridiculous. The actual color could no longer be distinguished, but the different shades of the stuffed pieces still came out clearly, and sometimes the owner showed the greens, sometimes the blue or gray side, as he turned. Add to that the fact that he wore scarlet reds, even though he was wearing different colors, that he wore torn, but very pointy shoes, and wore a hat, half the rim of which had disappeared, but which, on the other hand, had a bunch of large cocktails. jewelery, it is no wonder that Nanning took him with surprise from head to foot and could hardly control a ridiculous smile. That this man had something bad to do with him, he did not need to fear, because he looked kind and friendly.
The old man held the light at Nannings face and looked at him.
“Ha,” he exclaimed in a happy tone, “have you finally awakened? That pleases me, good friend. You slept so long that I began to fear whether you would ever wake up well again! And how are you doing now? ”
“That could be better, old!” Nanning replied, who, although not yet recovered from his astonishment at the man’s strange appearance, was struck by his kindness. “My head and limbs still hurt me a lot and I can barely move. But tell me, who is you and how do I get here? ”
With those last words, Nanning looked around him involuntarily, and his face certainly showed little interest in his stay, for the old man replied:
“You were used to that better, were not you? Yes, yes, you do not need to tell me, because I understand that. My mind is better than my clothes, you know. And how you got here, well, that’s soon enough said; I have carried you here, and I assure you that I had a nice load on you. But that does not matter; I rejoice that you have finally awakened, for you have been here for three days now, and I began to feel really worried. ”
“If only I would never wake up again,” Nanning murmured somberly.
“Well, why not?” Cried the old man in a gay tone. “It would have been a pity of such a little boy! Come, come, put all worries aside and kept courage! The world is big and there is room for everyone. But now tell me, who are you? And where can I find your family, to give her knowledge of your stay nowadays? I think your blood relatives will be worried about you. ”
“I do not have family,” Nanning answered gloomily, “and my name is indifferent to you. Call me, as you wish, and – ”
The old man interrupted him laughingly.
“Well, that’s easy! Then I will call you Lieven, because I think that name is beautiful, and since I am born from Keynoot, you will be called Lieven van Keynoot. You can call me Hans, because my name is Hans Jelissen, and I am known far and wide under that name, even though I am called Hans de Vedelaar, because I earn my living with fiddling and singing. But first I have to eat something, because I have more appetite than you. ”
At these words he pointed to the bread that was still untouched at Nanning on the table.
“How is it, Lieven, are you not hungry, or does it not taste good? Is your tongue perhaps just like fine pastries? ”
“I do not like anything yet,” Nanning replied. “Only I have an unthinkable thirst.”
“That comes from the fever, and drinking is good for it,” the old singer replied. “Drink as much as you like; it is the only thing that does not cost money. Do I want to tell you the jar? ”
Nanning drank with great devotion. Then he, tired of speaking, fell back into his pillow and closed his eyes. Full of pity, the old man stared at him for a few moments, and they could be seen as though he were thinking more than he was speaking.
Then he put the lamp on the table and pulled some bread and cheese from the cupboard with which he began to do his evening meal. From time to time he glanced at the young youth who remained motionless with his eyelids closed. He slept, which was evident from his deep breathing. As soon as the old fiddler had eaten his supper, he took a small pot out of the cupboard and left the house. Soon  he returned; now the jug was filled with fresh milk, and under his arm he had a bag of rice. He turned on the fire and put the milk there. When she cooked, he threw in the rice, and gradually saw a delicious porridge of growing. He seemed to be proud of the favorable result of his cooking, for a pleasant smile played him around his mouth. But suddenly he frowned. He hurriedly glanced at the sick man, and when he saw that he was still sleeping on, he ran out of money the money he had earned that day. He let it lie on the flat hand, and whispered with a sigh:
“That is the wages of a whole, long day. Yes, yes, the good days are over and Hans is getting old. They prefer to listen to the young minstrels and singers with their beautiful talks, and leave me alone with my simple songs. Soon the time will come that no one will listen to me anymore, and then-then I can beg for my old age. But it is not so far! “He continued somewhat cheerfully,” and tomorrow they must  give, because – I now have to take care of two! And he-no, he must have no want, the poor one. Oh well, my Lieven could be about the same age now, had he not died. But all left me alone, all that I loved. First she, my Geerte, and then Lieven, my strong, cheerful boy. Now I am old and no longer have anyone in the world. No, he will have no want, though I would beg for him. ”
The old one sank in the deep froze at the flaming fire. He went into it, who could be the youth, and what had happened, that could have driven him away from his relatives, perhaps from his parents.
“But he is not bad; he can not be that! “muttered Hans in front of him. “In those eyes, I can not cheat myself in that face! He is not bad! ”
Nanning awoke again at this moment. The old man put the rice porridge, which was now cooked, into a wooden cup and brought her to him.
“Here, eat something,” he said kindly. “It will truly do you good and give you some strength. Does not she look lovely? ”
And the old man looked at him with so much childish joy that Nanning was struck by it. He addressed himself and answered:
“You are kind, good Hans! Alas, how can I ever repay you, for I know that I am poor, very poor, that I do not even have a single penny that I can call my property. Everything has been stolen from me! Without money, without family, even without a homeland, I am here, leaving everyone, and without your humanity I would certainly have died. ”
“That is indeed the best proof that you have not left everyone, although I have to admit that it is not much that you surpassed. But now eat something first; that will refresh you. ”
Nanning had no appetite at all, but he did not dare to refuse the good old man any longer. And it tasted better, in spite of the wooden nap and the spoon with a broken stem, than he had imagined. He really felt refreshed and lusted to provoke the singer  to speak. When he was satisfied, he kindly asked:
“Hans, come sit here by my bed for a while and tell me how you found me.”
“I would like to do that,” was the answer. And taking his place, he said:
“As I said, I am a singer and a vedler, and I have to earn my living in the annual fairs by playing and singing at the houses. Now three days ago I had been to a village where the parrot was shot, about three o’clock away, and it was evening, almost night, before I accepted the return journey. So it came about that it was almost midnight when I entered the gate. I was quite tired, as you can understand, and I hastened to come home, it was quiet on the streets and very dark. At once it seemed to me that I heard a cry, a cry of fear or a cry for help. I listened if I would hear again, but it remained silent, and I thought no more than that I had imagined it. I continued my way, but of course  continued to pay close attention, as if I were also detecting something. Suddenly I heard someone on the other side of the street rushing from the feet. It was too dark to distinguish anything, at least at some distance, but I could clearly hear that it was only one person who fled there. I now went to the other side of the street, for I was curious to know what was going on, and then I found a human figure lying on the floor. At first I thought you were dead, and I was already planning to move on. But then I noticed that the murderer had not achieved his horrible goal, and that you were still alive. Certainly he had been disturbed by his approach and had taken flight for fear of discovery. In the meantime I did not really know what to start with. At first I wanted to warn the guard, but then I thought that those gentlemen might see me before the perpetrator and close under the tower. Moreover, I felt sorry for you, and so I decided to take you up and carry it to my house. Fortunately that was not far from the fateful place, and although it cost me a lot of effort, I succeeded, as you see. More I can not tell you, because I do not know more myself. Whoever was the perpetrator and for what purpose the crime happened, you may know the best yourself. ”
“That’s right, Hans,” said Nanning, putting his hand to the old man. “So I owe it to you that I am still alive. I will never forget it and I hope that you will be able to prove that gratitude once again. Yes, I know the laught killer, and I know the motive of his sinful act. But I do not let that speak. I myself am the cause of the fate that has befallen me, and I have received no more than my just punishment, for I confess with shame that I have done wrong. ”
The old man looked at him seriously. Then he said:
“Let us rest the past, Lieven, because that is how I shall keep calling you. We now have to do with the present, and until you have recovered, I take care of myself. But I am poor and it is not easy for me to earn enough for both of us, but as long as I receive a single penny, we will share it fairly. And we do not have to worry about the future. Comes time, advice comes, says the proverb. But it is already late now, and tomorrow is the day early for me again. So now let us go to sleep, Well to rest! ”
“Sleep well, Hans, and know that you have a grateful guest under your roof. But tell me, where is your bed? ”
“Let me take care of that,” said the reply, and now he saw how the good old man put a piece of sailcloth on the ground and stretched out the tired, stiff members.
A feeling of deep gratitude tantalized the youth, and although it was also under the roof of an old poor singer of songs, he felt that he had not yet left everyone. Soon he fell into an invigorating sleep, which added new strength to his weakened body.
He felt much more bright and clearer the next morning, but he could not get up anyway. There would have been quite a few days before he could leave the bed, and before he could leave, even weeks would pass.
Hans went out every morning to earn the necessary for their maintenance, and then Nanning was alone all day long. Thousands of thoughts traversed his brain in those days of utter loneliness, and those thoughts were not of an exciting nature. But the decision to improve his life took hold of him more and more confidently. He would never play again, -Never!
And what did those days last him? He often longed for the moment when the door opened and the ever-cheerful face of old Hans would become visible. He always had a small snack for the sick person with him, always getting a good soul here and there, as he said. But if Nanning had known that the old man ate a slice of bread less to give him that little refreshment, Nanning would not have been so appetizing.
Yet he often felt shy about the good singer, who, no matter how long his illness lasted, did not cease to take care of him faithfully. Nor could it remain hidden in the long run, in what narrow circumstances his protector and savior were, and how he himself was almost hungry to give his sick guest what he needed. At last Nanning was able to leave the bed again, and then his strength increased with the day. Soon he hoped to be strong enough to show Hans his gratitude. Yes, it was his determination to look for work and to earn bread for both of them. But the accident persecuted him, because even before he was completely recovered, Hans became ill, so that he had to stay in bed for days. All merit, of course, also occurred, and Nanning had to see to his dismay that there was no medal in the house. What did he have to start now?
He went out into the street trying to find work, but he did not succeed, no matter how much effort he did. Desperately, he returned to the poor house, where soon, he could not flee, the greatest misery would prevail.
“What are we supposed to start, not to die of hunger, Hans?” He asked desperately.
“I know only one means, Lieven,” was the answer, “but I fear you will not want to.”
“Speak up, Hans, help learn prayer, says the proverb. I want everything, because I have no choice. ”
“Well then, go out the gate and sing the songs at the houses, which you have often heard from me, to know them. Otherwise I do not know anything about it. ”
Nanning did not reply, but a blush of shame covered his cheeks, and he lowered the eyelids.
“Do you see that I have guessed right?” Said Hans. “I knew you would not want to. But-I can understand, though. I would not have said it if you had not asked my advice-and if I knew something better. ”
There was silence for a moment in the small room. Then Nanning stood up and said in a dull voice:
“I will go, Hans.”
And after having prepared everything for the sick old man, he left the house.
It was late in the evening when he returned. Hans did not ask him anything, but Nanning came straight to the table and made some money.
“We are out of necessity, good friend,” he said. “There, I have received more than I expected, and we have enough for a few days, I think.”
Hans looked at him questioningly.
“Yes, Hans, I have sung, and your advice was good, as you see. The people said that I sang well and were mild. Are you satisfied with me? ”
“More than that, Lieven, because I know you did it for me. You would not do it for your selves. ”
“That is true,” said Nanning. And while he shook hands with the singer, he let it follow: “Did you think that I would leave you, now that you are sick and have no one to take care of you? No, Hans, I am grateful to you for my entire life, and will also show you that. You know what? Get better soon, then we will travel together in the world and will earn a living with singing and fairy tale speech. You sing and play and I know a few more talks, which I learned in my youth. So we will earn enough to stay in life, and I do not want more. ”
Hans did not answer. He paused for a long time. Finally, when Nanning had eaten and placed himself at the bed of the old man, he said:
“Listen, Lieven. I have thought about your plan again, and I must be grateful for your proposal. But I can not accept it without first giving you a good advice. Never have I asked you where you come from and who you are. Because I know that you would rather not talk about it. I also do not know why you have gone from those who love you and what you have moved to that act. Tell me, Lieven, that you have not done any crime, because that can not be. ”
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“It is true, Hans, I did not commit a crime and I never hope to commit it. The saints may preserve me for it. But  I did not live well, Hans, because I spent half nights at the traffic sign and the wine. And out of revulsion against my brother, who loved me and warned me of the way that I had taken, I fled him and my father’s city, wandered here and there, and finally continued my poor life in this city. On the night, when you found me more dead than alive, I had won a lot of money, and one of my fellow players robbed me of it and tried to take my life. Look, Hans, now you know everything, and now you know how I have to blame myself for my fate and that I have received nothing, than my earned wages. I have been bad, and have been blinded, when I ignored the warnings of my brother, and caused him the most grievous distress by fleeing away, which was possible. ”
“Now listen to the advice of an old man, Lieven; return to your brother, who undoubtedly longs for you with sorrow. Put your false shame on your side and rush back to the house, which you have left in an instant  moment. For if you stay with me, poverty will be your part, lifelong and you will have a consoling gray-headedness. Do you mirror my fate, Lieven, or do you laugh at that? ”
“It is not enviable, I must say that, but no, Hans, -no, I can not return. I do not want my brother to do that shame. My decision is certain: I will stay with you and together we will go into the world. You saved my life, I will never forget that. ”
“It is foolish of you, Lieven,” said the old man, “and my advice is good. Return.”
“Do not speak of it anymore,” Nanning called out in a decided tone. “Or would you like to be fired from me? Then say that, and I will go away. ”
“To return to your brother?”
“No, by no means.”
“I would like to separate you for that, but for that as well. Because I love you, Lieven, so much, if you were my son. If you do not want to return to the house, that you have fled in the last hour, I prefer to keep you with me. So I accept your proposal and we will continue to live together. ”
But the old man remained sick for a long time, and Nanning had to leave the city many times, to earn some money from the farmers. He seemed to be a welcome guest, because he always came home with so much money that they would have had enough for three or four days.
At last Hans was strong enough to leave his home. They now took leave of the city of Ghent and went into the world. Hans played and sang past the houses or the annual fairs, and Lieven sang or told talks; especially the latter he liked and he earned a lot of money, which he saved carefully. When he had enough, he bought a new suit of clothes for his brave travel maker, making the old man almost unknowable, so much worthy he got through it. They now looked like very decent people, as many in those days traversed the world, and enjoyed, especially among the lower classes, a certain respect. Nanning in particular, because of his civilized appearance  and his good presentation, drew the attention of the public and he received much praise.
He persisted in his decision. No drop of wine came more over his lips and no more dice he took. Nevertheless, he was often tempted to do so, for the nights were spent regularly in the taverns, where they were always in company with merry men, who let the wine flow and the stones rattled. After all, they traveled from one annual fair to another, and always found the same stallers, merchants and singers whom they had met elsewhere. And these did not plague Lieven much with his childishness, but it did not benefit them. Nanning stayed with his decision.
So ten years passed.