"Yes, my boy; but you're young and light. I'm very heavy."
"Yes," cried one of the others, in high delight; "there's an arrow depth of water where you are, and quite a bow length of thick mud under that."
"Oh, dear!" groaned the monk; "don't laugh at me, my boys. Can't you help me out?"
"Yes, I'll get you out," cried Alfred, and he waded towards his unfortunate tutor, trampling the reeds down with his bare feet, but sinking in up to his knees at every step.
"Mind you don't get into a hole, Fred!" cried Bald.
"Mind the big luces!" shouted Bert. "There's a monster lives among those reeds."
"Oh, they all swam away when Father Swythe fell in," cried Red. "You have got to mind your toes. The big eels are down amongst the mud."
The monk groaned at this, and raised his dripping hands above the water, to grasp with each a handful of reeds.
"The eels will go deeper into the mud," said Alfred sturdily. "Now then, catch hold of my hands, and I'll pull you out."