Dame Brinker scarcely knew how to reply. Should she tell him all? Tell him that he had been an idiot, almost a lunatic? The doctor had charged her on no account to worry or excite his patient.
Hans and Gretel looked astonished.
"Like enough, Raff," she said, nodding her head and raising her eyebrows. "When a heavy man like thee falls on his head, it's hard to say what will come--but thou'rt well NOW, Raff. Thank the good Lord!"
The newly awakened man bowed his head.
"Aye, well enough, mine vrouw," he said after a moment's silence, "but my brain turns somehow like a spinning wheel. It will not be right till I get on the dikes again. When shall I be at work, think you?"
"Hear the man!" cried Dame Brinker, delighted, yet frightened, too, for that matter. "We must get him on the bed, Hans. Work indeed!"
They tried to raise him from the chair, but he was not ready yet.
"Be off with ye!" he said with something like his old smile (Gretel had never seen it before). "Does a man want to be lifted about like a log? I tell you before three suns I shall be on the dikes again. Ah! There'll be some stout fellows to greet me. Jan Kamphuisen and young Hoogsvliet. They have been good friends to thee, Hans, I'll warrant."