Night slowly fell in the narrow valley. Twenty mules were followed each other, slowly trudging up the winding path cut in the side of the hill. They bent under their heavy load, but the muleteers, tired, hurried them forward, abusing them with coarse voices.
Three of the mules had comfortable seats, large pack-saddles, upon which were perched three men - the masters of the caravan. Their thick clothes, fur boots, and red woollen hoods protected them from the cold wind of the mountain.
The lights of a village were spotted through the darkness, and soon the mules, hurrying all together, jostling their loads, were crowded before the only inn of the place.
The three travellers got down from their saddles, eager to find rest. But much to their surprise, the innkeeper came out on the step of his door and apologised furiously, saying that all of his rooms were taken.
"I have, however, a large hall on the other side of the street - but it is only a barn, and badly shut. I will show it to you."