In his little hut by the great river, which a heavy rain had swollen to overflowing, lay the ancient Ferryman, asleep, wearied by the toil of the day. In the middle of the night, loud voices awoke him; he heard that it was travellers wishing to be carried over.Stepping out, he saw two large Will-o'-wisps, hovering to and fro on his boat, which lay moored: they said, they were in violent haste, and should have been already on the other side. The old Ferryman made no loitering; pushed off, and steered with his usual skill obliquely through the stream; while the two strangers whiffled and hissed together, in an unknown very rapid tongue, and every now and then broke out in loud laughter, hopping about, at one time on the gunwale and the seats, at another on the bottom of the boat."The boat is keeling!" cried the old man; "if you don't be quiet, it'll overset; be seated, gentlemen of the wisp!"At this advice they burst into a fit of laughter, mocked the old man, and were more unquiet than ever. He bore their mischief with silence, and soon reached the farther shore.