They had been sitting at the side of the road for almost an hour wondering what to do, when their thoughts were interrupted by a small voice speaking to them in German.
“Excuse me, but my papa says will you come with me to our house please?”
Gottfried looked up and smiled wearily at the small boy standing in front of them. “And who might your Papa be?”
“He owns the big farm over there. He wishes to talk with you.”
Gottfried looked at Jack, who thought for a moment, then spoke to his friend in English so the youngster could not follow what they said. “He’s only a lad, I suppose it couldn’t hurt to at least go and see what he wants.”
Gottfried nodded, “That is very true. Also, we are not in Austria any longer, I do not think there is any danger here.” He turned back to the boy and spoke in his own tongue, “Alright, we will come with you,” and the two men got to their feet and followed the small boy in the direction he had pointed, towards a large farmhouse set in fields on the edge of the village.
They were met at the door by a big, fair man who greeted them with a jovial smile and invited them into the front room. He pointed them towards the table and his wife offered them steaming bowls of goat’s milk which they drank down gratefully, having had no food since Frühstück.
Once the milk was finished, Gottfried turned to the farmer. “Sir, your son informed us that you wished to speak with us?”
The farmer nodded and looked from one the other. “Yes, there is a rumour in the village that you wish to borrow some transport to travel towwards Zurich?”
“That is true, but people have not been willing to help.”
“Please forgive the inhospitable nature of many people but as I am sure you can appreciate, we are wary of strangers in these difficult times. However, I believe I may be of assistance to you in this matter. But first, please tell me, if you will, how you come to be in these parts.”
Suddenly able to see a possible end to their interminable adventure, the two men willingly expounded their story of the past days, leaving nothing out, and by the time they finished the farmer and his wife were listening awestruck, unable to believe what they had heard. As Jack finished speaking, their host sat up and faced them across the table.
“I am so sorry to hear of your terrible ordeal. Perhaps I can bring you some hope that your journey may now be at an end. May I ask how many there are in your party?”
“Ten, including ourselves.”
“Then I believe your troubles are finally over. I am afraid we do not have a motor that we can lend to you, but perhaps you can be persuaded to let me take you there myself in my old charabanc? It will be slow, but it will do the job I think. Will you accept?”
Gottfried looked at Jack with wide eyes, relief flooding through his body, and the nod and smile he received in return confirmed that his friend was feeling the same. “We will accept with pleasure, Sir. Thank you so much for your kindness,” and with things finally going their way, the two men relaxed for the first time since leaving the Sonnalpe.