Rescue from death in flames

On the last night of the year, a howling storm rages around the old mill in the town of Gossenzugen. In the town, which lies off the main road from Saulgau to Reutlingen (Germany), the residents have long since gone to bed as New Year's Eve is approaching in just under 24 hours. The 66-year-old mother-in-law, Mrs. Voitzig, is alone in the Hummel family mill. Your children went out of town. The little German Spitz, who has his place on the first floor of the lonely house, will ensure that no foreign intruders visit the mill. How can the resident of the house know that in just a few hours she will have the most exciting experience of her life!


The tower clock of the nearby Zwiefalten Minster has just announced half past one in the morning when Ms. Voitzig thinks she hears a strange crackling noise outside. But she blames the unusual noise on the wind that roars through the forests of the Obermarschtal.

About ten minutes may have passed. Mother Voitzig has fallen into a light sleep when she suddenly wakes up again. Something scratches outside the door of her room. She hears it clearly. Are they rats causing mischief in the ancient mill? But now you can clearly hear a beeping noise. There's no doubt about it: the Spitz feels lonely downstairs and wants a warm place on the blanket. He scratches at the door several times. "Are you quiet, Spitz!" she calls energetically. But all she achieves is that the scratching at the door becomes more and more persistent, the whining becomes louder and more plaintive. Ms. Voitzig finally gets up to let the little troublemaker in. However, she has barely opened the door when she recoils in shock. A pungent smoke billows towards her. She sees the flames already licking up the stairs. 


Without looking around again, the woman, almost surrounded by the flames, hurries down the steep stairs; luckily she knows every door. She barely reaches the front door. In her nightgown, she rushes outside, calling loudly for help. Only now does she notice her Spitz dog, which has attached itself to her heels. 


When the neighbors take the helpless woman in, part of the burning mill is already collapsing. The Spitz, who in his utmost distress rushed through the smoke and flames to the attic chamber to wake the mistress, saved her life from a terrible death in flames. "Without the dog," everyone from Sigmaringen to Blaubeuren agrees, "the fire in the old mill would have become a tragedy!"

From: Neue Welt no. 5, 1966

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