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Full text of "Great_Short_Stories_Of_The_World"

first Published 1926, 



Prfad in total frftii'n by fa WkiUfriars Pttto, Ltd., London Md TonbMe*. 



Preface 



collection marks the first attempt to bring together in a single 
JL volume a characteristic group of the outstanding examples of the 
Short Story as it has been practised by writers of almost every race, from 
the earliest days of civilization down to the present century. Its purpose 
is not to shew, by a series of texts chosen on academic grounds, how 
the fo.im developed, but to bring together the best examples of every 
form by which men have endeavoured to entertain and instruct their 
fellows. 

No art is more spontaneous than that of the short story, and though 
it may be proved that lyric poetry came earlier to the dignity of litera- 
ture, iff is certain that stories of some sort were told as soon as man 
became articulate. The period covered in the present collection embraces 
nearly five thousand years, but there can be no reasonable doubt that 
the Egyptian tales that open the volume, the first of their kind known 
to us, are the finished products of an art that was practised thousands 
of years before these were written. And since the beginning of civi- 
lization as we know it, there has been no break in the tradition of tale- 
telling: the demand for stories is as strong and insatiable in man to-day 
as it was before he discovered how to make stone weapons. 

Of recent years there has been a good deal of theorizing about the 
Short Story as an art form. A whole literature of theory has come into 
being in order to explain the work of Maupassant and Poe and O. 
Henry, as well as to guide the would-be writer. Several theorists have 
maintained that the Short Story (as opposed to the story that is short) is 
an invention of the Nineteenth Century, that it must be unified, that it 
must concern itself with but a single anecdote or episode or situation, 
that it must be of a certain length; in a word, that it must conform to 
certain a priori principles. These theories are often interesting and in- 
genious, but so far as they have influenced the writers of stories, they are 
of little importance. 

The editors of this collection have approached their task of selection 
with open minds: they have not allowed, themselves to be influenced by 



vi PREFACE 

any theory of what a short story should be, except that which requires 
that it be interesting of its kind. While it is quite true that Maupassant 
was a more highly inspired artist than say the Seventeenth Century 
Dutchman Jacob Gate, it does not follow that Cats 1 fable which is 
printed in the pages that follow, is not a story because The Necklace 
is a masterpiece. 

So, without confining themselves to any theory of classification, the 
editors have chosen a wide variety of stories designed to appeal to the 
general reader, and perhaps to the student as well, in the belief that what 
has delighted the Chinese from time immemorial, the ancient Egyptians, 
the Jewish shepherds and warriors of Biblical times, the Greeks of 
Homer's days and the Romans of Caesar's, will appeal with equal force 
to the inhabitants of the civilized world of the Twentieth Century. 

Despite the indefatigable efforts of editors and publishers in unearth- 
ing the little-known or quite forgotten tales of certain countries or peo- 
ples, and despite the bewilderingly numerous collections of stories pub- 
lished in sets of many volumes, it has never before been possible for the 
reader to make the acquaintance of so many stories as are here brought 
together within die covers of a single volume. It has even been neces- 
sary to translate the work of several writers unknown to readers of 
English, and in many cases to make known through translation some 
particular story hitherto not accessible. The volume, therefore, besides 
being the first 'to include examples of stories of practically the*entire 
world, introduces several new writers to English and American readers. 
Among the stories that appear here for the first time in English are those 
by the Hungarians Mikszath and Molnar; the Spanish-Americans Darfo, 
Blanco-Fombona and Garcia-Calderon; the Dutchman Heijermans; the 
Pole Prus; the Bulgarian Elin-Pelin; the Jugoslavs Matos, Lazarevich, 
and Cankar; and the Belgian Lemonnier. 

That Great Short Stories of the World is not as nearly perfect a col- 
lection as the editors and publisher would have liked to make it is a 
foregone conclusion. Has ever any anthology entirely pleased its maker? 
Has it ever pleased every critic and every reader? It is hardly necessary 
to state that the first limitation imposed upon the editors was that of 
space. It was not, of course, possible to include more than a compara- 
tively small number of the great stories available; it was not possible to 
include many stories which, like Vigny's Laurette, were too long; it was 
inadvisable to reprint too many of the stories that were in every other col- 
lection, but on the other hand it would not have done to omit all the rec- 
ognized masterpieces, like Maupassant's Necklace. To include stories even 
from those countries which had made the most important contributions 
to the world's store of tales was in itself a hazardous undertaking, but 
when it came to selecting precisely what stories should be chosen to give 
an adequate notion of the richness and variety of a country like France, 



PREFACE TO 

it seemed at first a rather hopeless task. How, for instance, was it pos- 
sible to give the reader a fair notion of the beautiful stories of the Thir- 
teenth and Fourteenth Centuries? It was imperative that out of a pos- 
sible hundred only two or three should be chosen. 

In the case of modern writers, the difficulties were much greater. 
Every one has his favourite authors and favourite stories. It was not the 
intention of the editors to bring this collection up to the minute: the 
works of our immediate contemporaries are easily accessible. If certain 
contemporaries like Cabell and Anderson, Bojer and Gorky are included, 
it is either because they have their roots in the Nineteenth Century or that 
they represent in a general way some modern trend that seems more or 
less permanent, and because their work is intrinsically worth printing in 
a collection of this sort. 

Finally, came considerations of copyright. In almost every instance 
both publishers anfl writers have been helpful in allowing copyright 
stories to be reprinted, but occasionally it has been necessary to omit the 
work of certain authors because either the publisher or the agent was 
unabletto see his way clear to cooperating with the editors. 

Although the final selection of all stories is a matter for which the 
editors are alone responsible, the lists were submitted to and passed upon 
by a number of specialists, particularly in the case of those sections whose 
literature was little known. These persons have enabled the editors to 
make fheir work more inclusive and more genuinely representative of all 
peoples and nations than would otherwise have been possible. But while 
every effort has been made to show, both by the stories themselves and 
by the brief notes, what each nation and race has contributed to the 
art of the Short Story, the attitude of the editors throughout has been 
that of every true teller of tales: it is their wish that these stories 
shall be read and enjoyed by the general public. They were written not 
for critics and historians, editors of anthologies and specialists, but for 
all mankind. They have tried to bear in mind that the Short Story is 
a "tale which holdeth children from play and old men from the chimney 



corner." 



To many publishers, both English and American, thanks are due for 

their courtesy and assistance in the use of copyright material. Specific 

acknowledgment is made in connection with the separate stories. For 

constant and invaluable assistance of every sort the editors take this occa- 

h to thank Cecile S. Clark, Irma Lieber, and Mr. Guy Holt. A num- 

lof authors have themselves granted permission to reprint and in some 

fences given valuable advice regarding what sto.i/s to uskj. Acknowl- 

Ibent is hereby gratefully made to Maxim Gorky, George Moore, 



viii PREFACE 

James Branch Cabell, Per Hallstrom, Johan Bojer, Arthur Morrison, 
and Abraham Raisin. Among the many advisers and translators who have 
helped in the preparation of one or more sections, the editors are espe- 
cially grateful to Miss Hanna Astrup Larsen, Dr. Isaac Goldberg, Dr. 
A. C. van P. Huizinga, Mrs. Velma S. Howard, Prof. Sarka*B. Hrbkova, 
Mr. Gray Casement, Mr. Rajner Hlacha, Mr. Ivan Mladineo, Mr. 
Adamantios Polisoides, and Mr. George Corn. 

THE EDITORS 
October, 1925. 



PUBLISHER'S NOTE 

Every care has been taken to discover the owners of all copyrighted 
stories, but if any necessary acknowledgments have been omitted, or any 
stories included without due permission, we trust the copyright-holders 
will accept our apologies. 



Contents 



PAGE 

Ancient Egypt 

INTRODUCTION ....... 3 

THE TWO BROTHERS (ANPU AND BATA) Anonymous . 3 

SETNA AND THE MAGIC BOOK Anonymous . . .11 

Ancient Greece 

INTRODUCTION . . . . . . .22 

EUM.EUS' TALE Homer ..... 23 

THE COUNTRY MOUSE AND THE TOWN MOUSE &SOf . 2$ 

KING RHAMPSINITUS AND THE THIEF Herodotus . 26 

PHINEUS AND THE HARPIES Afollonius of Rhodes . . 29 

THE ROBBERS OF EGYPT HeliodoruS . . * 32 

'Ancvent Rome 

INTRODUCTION ....... 37 

HORATIUS AT THE BRIDGE Livy .... 39 

ORPHEUS AND EURYDICE Ovid . . . . 4! 

THE SHIPWRECK OF SIMONIDES Ph&druS ... 43 

THE MATRON OF EPHEsus Petronius .... 44 

THE HAUNTED HOUSE Plifty the Younger . - 46 

THE DREAM Afuleius ...... 48 

Biblical Literature 

INTRODUCTION . . . . . . -53 

THE BOOK OF RUTH-*-Old Testament . . . 54 

THE HISTORY OF SUSANNA The Apocrypha . . 59 

THE PRODIGAL SON New .Testament ... 62 

THE RAISING OF LAZARUS New Testament ... 63 

RABBI AKIVA The Talmud ..... 65 

THE JEWISH MOTHER The Talmud . . . 66 

Ancient India 

INTRODUCTION . . . . . 67 

THE ASS IN THE LION'S SKIN Jataka ... 68 
THE DOVE AND THE CROW Panchatantra . .69 

IX 



x CONTENTS 

PAGE 
THE STORV OF DEVADATTA Somadeva . . . J2 

THE JACKAL Hitopadesa ...... 74 



Persia 

INTRODUCTION . . . . . ? .76 

JAMSHID AND ZUHAK Firdawsi . . . . 76 

THE SAILOR AND THE PEARL MERCHANT Anonymous . 84 

Arabia 

INTRODUCTION . . . . . . 9 1 

KHALED AND DJAIDA Al-Asma'I .... <)2 

ABOU HASSAN THE WAG Thousand and One Nights . 100 

Great Britain 

INTRODUCTION . . . . . . Il6 

GRENDEL'S RAID Beowulf . . . . . 118 

ESYLLT AND SABRINA Geoffrey of Monmouth . .120 

THE HUMBLING OF joviNiAN Gesta Romanorum . t 126 

LLUDD AND LLEVELYS The Mabinogion . . 131 

LAUNCELOT'S TOURNEY Sir Thomas Malory . . 135 

ROBERTO'S TALE Robert Greene . . . .142 

TRUE RELATION OF THE APPARITION OF ONE MRS. VEAL 

Daniel Defoe 145 

THE STORY OF AN HEIR Josefh Addison . . .152 

THE DISABLED SOLDIER Oliver Goldsmith . . 156 

THE BRIDAL OF JANET DALRYMPLE Sir Walter Scott . l6o 

THE WHITE TROUT Samuel Lover . . . . 165 

THE QUEER CLIENT Charles Dickens . . . .168 

A TERRIBLY STRANGE BED Wtlkie Collins . 178 

SQUIRE PETRICK'S LADY Thomas Hardy . . .191 

THRAWN JANET Robert Louis Stevenson . . . 199 

THE SELFISH GIANT Oscar Wilde . . . .207 

JULIA CAHILL'S CURSE George Moore . . . 211 

THAT BRUTE SIMMONS Arthur Morgson . . .215 

Germany 

INTRODUCTION ., . . . . . .222 

THE LAY OF HILDEBRAND Anonymous . . . 223 

SIEGFRIED AND KRIEMHILD The Lay of the Nibelungs . 225 
THE COMING OF GANDIN Gottfried von Strassburg . 237 

BRUIN THE BEAR AND REYNARD THE FOX Reynard the 

Fox 241 

EULENSPIEGEL AND THE MERCHANT Eulenspiegel , 246 

DOCTOR FAUST AND THE USURER The History of Dr. J. 

Faust . . 249 



CONTENTS 

PAGE 

THE SICK WIFE Christian Gellert . . . . 251 
LITTLE BRIAR-ROSE The Brothers Grimm . . .253 

THE STORV OF SERAPION E. T. A. Hoffmann . . 256 

A LEGEND OF THE DANCE Gottfried Keller . . . 265 

THE FURY Paul Heyse ..... 269 
THE TRIPLE WARNING Arthur Schnitzler . . .284 

A NEW-YEAR'S EVE CONFESSION Hermann Sudermann , 288 

France 

INTRODUCTION ...... 294 

THE DIVIDED HORSECLOTH Bemier .... 296 

THE PRIEST AND THE MULBERRIES Anonymous . 30! 

THE LAY OF THE TWO LOVERS Marie de France . 303 
THE Pious LADY AND THE GRAY FRIAR Marguerite de 

Navarre ........ 307 

HE WHO MARRIED A DUMB WIFE Francois Rabelais . 310 
THE ROAST-MEAT SELLER Francois Rabelais . .312 

LITTLE RED RIDING-HOOD Charles Perrault . . 313 

THE FOUR FRIENDS Jean de La Fontaine . . 315 

MEMNON THE PHILOSOPHER Voltaire . . .* 317 

LAUSUS AND LYDIA /. F. Marmontel .... 322 

r AE MYSTERIOUS MANSION Honore de Balzac . . 329 

MATEO FALCONE Prosper Merimee .... 338 

THE MUMMY'S FOOT Theofhile Gautier . . . 348 

THE TORTURE OF HOPE Villicrs de Uhle Adam . . 358 

THE LAST LESSON Al'phonse Daudet . . . 362 

THE FAIRY AMOUREUSE fimilc Zola .... 365 

THE SUBSTITUTE Franco is Coffee . . . , 370 

OUR LADY'S JUGGLER Anatole France . 378 

THE NECKLACE Guy de Maupassant . . , 383 

Italy 

INTRODUCTION ....... 39! 

THE BELL OF ATRi The Hundred Ancient Tales . . 392 

THE FALCON Giovanni Boccaccio .... 393 

GALGANO Ser Giovanni ..... 398 
THE TWO AMBASSADORS Franco Sacchetti . . .401 

THE CAVALIER OF TOLEDO Masuccio (Guardato) . 405 

BELPHAGOR Niccolo Macchiovelli .... 409 

A KING IN DISGUISE Matteo Bandello . . . 417 
THE FRIAR OF NOVARA Agnolo Firenzuola . . .421 

THE GREEK MERCHANT Giovanbattista Giraldi Cinthio . 427 

THE VENETIAN SILK-MERCER Carlo Gozzi . . ' * . 430 



rii CONTENTS 

PAGE 

CAVALLERIA RUSTICANA Giovanni Vcrga . . . 435 

THE PEASANT'S WILL Antonio Fogazzaro . . . 440 

MENDICANT MELODY Edmondo de Amicis . . 445 

LULU'S TRIUMPH Matilde Serao . 449 

THE HERO Gabriele d'Annunzio .... 460 

TWO MIRACLES Grazia Deledda .... 464 

Spain 

INTRODUCTION . . . . . . -471 

THE MIRACLE OF THE JEW Chronicle of the Cid . 472 

THE SON AND HIS FRIENDS Juan Manuel . . .474 

HOW LAZARO SERVED A BULERO Die go Hurtado dc 

Mendoza ....... 478 

GUZMAN AND MY LORD CARDINAL MatCO Alcmdn . .481 

RINCONETE AND CORTADILLO Miguel Cervantes . 485 

THE TALL WOMAN Pedro Antonio de Alar con . . 502 

MAESE PREZ, THE ORGANIST Gustavo Adolfo Becquer .9 513 
ADIOS, CORDERA! Leofoldo Alas . . . .522 

China 

INTRODUCTION . . . . . . .528 

THE STORY OF MING-Y Marvelous Tales . . . ^ 528 
A FICKLE WIDOW Marvelous Tales . . . 538 

THE VIRTUOUS DAUGHTER-IN-LAW P*U Sung-Ling . 545 

Japan 

INTRODUCTION . . . . . . -553 

THE FORTY-SEVEN RONINS Anonymous . . . 554 

THE PIER Mori Ogwai . . . . . 565 

A DOMESTIC ANIMAL Shimazaki Toson . . . 569 

Holland 

INTRODUCTION . . . . . . -574 

THE HIGHER THE FLIGHT THE LOWER THE FALL Jacob 

Cats 574 

THE STORY OF SAID j AH Eduard Douwes Dekker . . 576 

GRANDFATHER'S BIRTHDAY PRESENT Herman Heijer- 

mans ........ 586 

Hungary 

INTRODUCTION . . . . . . -593 

THE INVISIBLE WOUND Karoly Kisfahtdi . . . 593 
A *ALL' Mounts Jokai ...... 600 



CONTENTS u 

PAGE 

THE GREEN FLY Kalman Mikszath . . . . 607 

THE SILVER HILT Ferenc Molnar . , ^ . .613 

o 

Russia 

INTRODUCTION ....... 620 

THE SNOW STORM Alexander Pushkin . . . 621 

ST. JOHN'S EVE Nikolai Gogol . . . . .631 

THE DISTRICT DOCTOR I van Turgcncv . . . 644 

THE CHRISTMAS TREE AND THE WEDDING Feodor Dos- 

toicvsky . . . . . . . -651 

THE LONG EXILE Leo Tolstoy . . . . 658 

THE OLD BELL-RINGER Vladimir Korolenko . . . 664 

THE SIGNAL Vscvolod Garshin .... 668 

THE BET Anton Chekhov . . . . .676 

ONE AUTUMN NIGHT Maxim Gorky . . . 682 

SILENCE Leonid Andreyev ..... 689 

Poland 

INTRODUCTION . . . , . . .70! 

THE LIGHTHOUSE KEEPER OF ASPINWALL Hcnryk Sicn- 

kiewicz ....... 701 

THE HUMAN TELEGRAPH Boleslav Prus . . 7 J 3 

FOREBODINGS Stefan fccromski . . . . 716 

Yiddish 

INTRODUCTION . . . . . . .72! 

A WOMAN'S WRATH Isaac Loeb Peretz . . . 721 

THE PASSOVER GUEST Sholom Aleichem . . 725 

A PICNIC S. Libin . . . . . . 730 

THE KADDISH Abraham Raisin . . . . -736 

ABANDONED Sholom Asck ..... 739 

IN THE STORM David Pinski ..... 743 

The Scandinavian Countries 

INTRODUCTION ....... 748 

Iceland 

BALDR'S BALE Snorri Sturluson . . . . 750 

REGIN'S TALE Volsunga Saga . . . . -753 

Denmark 

THE SHEPHERDESS AND THE SWEEP Hans Christian An- 
dersen ........ 756 



riv CONTENTS 

PAGE 

HENRIK AND ROSALIE Meyer Aron Goldschmidt . 759 

TWO WORLDS Jens Peter Jacobsen . . . . 766 



Norway 

THE SMITH WHO COULD NOT GET INTO HELL Peter Chris- 
ten AsVjornsen and J or gen Moe . . . .770 
THE FATHER Bjornstjerne Bjornson , . . 774 
SKOBELEF Johan Bojer . . . . . -777 

Sweden 

LOVE AND BREAD ^tt^wrf Strindberg . . . -785 

THE ECLIPSE Selma Lagerlof . . . . 791 

THE FALCON Per Hallstrom . . . . - 795 

Belgium 

INTRODUCTION . . . . . . 8oi 

THE MYSTERIOUS PICTURE Charles de Coster . . 802 

THE MASSACRE OF THE INNOCENTS Maurice Maeterlinck . 806 
THE SOUL OF VEERE Camille Lemonnier . . 814 

ONE NIGHT Emile Verhaeren . -. . . .818 

Jugoslavia % 

INTRODUCTION ....... 823 

Croatian 

THE NEIGHBOR Antun Gustav Ma&os . . . 824 

Slovenian 

CHILDREN AND OLD FOLK Ivan Cankar . . .83! 

Serbian 

AT THE WELL Laza K. Lazarevich . . . 833 

Czechoslovakia 

INTRODUCTION ....... 846 

THE VAMPIRE Jan Neruda ..... 846 

FOLTf N'S DRUM Svatofluk Ikech . 849 

Modern Greece 

INTRODUCTION . . . . . . .858 

THE PRIEST'S TALE Demetrios Bikelas . . . 858 

Roumania 

INTRODUCTION . . . . . 866 



CONTENTS XT 

PACK 

THE EASTER TORCH /. L. Caragiale . . . 867 

WHAT VASILE SAW Marie, Queen of Roumania . .878 

Bulgaria 

INTRODUCTION ....... 

THE COMMISSIONER'S CHRISTMAS Diml'r Ivanov*. 
South America 

INTRODUCTION ....... 896 

Costa Rica 

CHIVALRY Ricardo Fernandez-Gar da . . . 897 

Brazil 

THE ATTENDANT'S CONFESSION /. M . Machado de Assis . 903 

Peru 

THE LEGEND OF PYGMALION Ventura Garcia-C alder on 912 

Venezuela 

CREOLE DEMOCRACY Rufino Blanco-Fombona . .918 

Nicaragua 

THE DEAF SATYR Ruben Dario .... 923 

United States 

INTRODUCTION ....... 927 

THE SPECTER BRIDEGROOM Washington Irving . .928 

MRS. BULLFROG Nathaniel Hawthorne . . . 940 

THE TELL-TALE HEART Edgar Allan Poe . . . 946 

JOURNALISM IN TENNESSEE Mark Twain . . 950 

THE MAN AND THE SNAKE Ambrose Bierce . . -955 

- THE OUTCASTS OF POKER FLAT Bret Harte . . 961 

THE STORY IN IT Henry James . . . . 970 

KING SOLOMON OF KENTUCKY James Lane Allen . 984 

Miss TEMPY'S WATCHERS Sarah Orne Jeweit . . 1001 

A LETTER AND A PARAGRAPH Henry Cuyler Eunncr . 1009 

SUPPLY AND DEMAND O. Henry . . . .1017 

A DARK-BROWN DOG Stephen Crane . . . 1025 

THE LOST PHOEBE Theodore Dreiser . . . - - . 1030 

SOPHISTICATION Sherwood Anderson . . . 1043 
A WAGNER MATINEE Witt* Gather .... 1050 

A BROWN WOMAN James Branch Cab ell . . . 1056 



GREAT 

SHORT STORIES 
OF THE WORLD 



Ancient Egypt 



INTRODUCTION 

IN determining the development of the short story in Egypt, it is 
necessary to study the inscriptions on papyri and stone monuments, 
a process which the archaeologists are better fitted to accomplish than the 
literary historians, for there appears to have been little development in 
the form, and the earliest do not differ radically from the later stories, 
such as the two here included. 

The few Egyptian tales that have survived may date back as early 
as the* Thirtieth Century B.C. So far as can be determined, they are in- 
digenously Egyptian, having Egyptian names, backgrounds, and customs. 
They are not only an invaluable commentary on the lives of the men of 
those times, but also genuinely moving and interesting stories. 

Tbe tales from Egypt possess an extraordinary interest in that they 
are the very earliest examples that we possess. That they were the earliest 
in order of composition is naturally an open question: before the year 
3000 B.C. we can only conjecture. How many thousands of years before 
that time the plots were invented we cannot know, but the art with 
which The Two Brothers and Setna and the Magic Book are contrived 
indicates that they are comparatively late products. 

By the time Egypt was conquered by Alexander the Great, the ancient 
literature of the country had been superseded. 



THE TWO BROTHERS 
(ANPU AND BATA) 

(Anonymous: about 1400 B.C.) 

THE manuscript of this story, one of the oldest in the world, came 
from the workshop of the scribe Anena, who flourished in the 
reigns of Rameses II, Menephtah, and Setui II. The work of an 
unknown author, it is one of the finest examples of the short story 
in existence. The theme, which has been used numberless times, is 

3 



GREAT SHORT STORIES OF THE WORLD 

easily recognizable as that of the story of Potiphar's wife. It has 
also been used in The History of Prince Amziad and Prince Aisad 
in The Arabian Nights, and later by Dante in The Divine Comedy. 

As in all great art, we are here impressed by the modernity of 
the author's attitude, which is only another way of saying that he 
understood his characters and was an accomplished artist. 

The translation here used is that by William Flinders Petrie in 
Egyptian Tales, Vol. 2, published in 1895 by Methuen & Co., by 
whose permission it is here reprinted. The original manuscript is 
a part of the so-called Madame d'Orbiney Papyrus. There is no 
title in the original story, but the transcriber has named it Anfu 
and Bata. 



o 



THE TWO BROTHERS 
(ANPU AND BATA) 

INCE there were two brethren, of one mother and one father; 
Anpu was the name of the elder, and Bata was the name ^>f the 
younger. Now, as for Anpu he had a house, and he had a wife. But his 
little brother was to him as it were a son; he it was who made for him 
his clothes; he it was who followed behind his oxen to the fields; he it 
was who did the plowing; he it was who harvested the corn; he it was 
who did for him all the matters that were in the field. Behotd, his 
younger brother grew to be an excellent worker, there was not his equal 
in the whole land; behold, the spirit of a god was in him. 

Now after this the younger brother followed his oxen in his daily 
manner; and every evening he turned again to the house, laden with all 
the herbs of the field, with milk and with wood, and with all things of 
the field. And he put them down before his elder brother, who was sit- 
ting with his wife; and he drank and ate, and he lay down in his stable 
with the cattle. And at the dawn of day he took bread which he had 
baked, and laid it before his elder brother; and he took with him his 
bread to the field, and he drave his cattle to pasture in the fields. And 
as he walked behind his cattle, they said to him, "Good is the herbage 
which is in that place"; and he listened to all that they said, and he 
took them to the good place which they desired. And the cattle which 
Were before him became exceeding excellent, and they multiplied greatly. 

Now at the time of plowing his elder brother said unto him: "Let us 
make ready for ourselves a goodly yoke of oxen for plowing, for the 
land has come out from the water: it is fit for plowing. Moreover, do 
thou come to the field with corn, for we will begin the plowing in the 
morrow morning." Thus said he to him; and his younger brother did 
all things as his elder brother had spoken unto him to do them. 

And when the morn was come, they went to the fields with their 



ANCIENT EGYPT ANONYMOUS 5 

things; and their hearts were pleased exceedingly with their task in the 
beginning of their work. And it came to pass after this that as they 
s were in the field they stopped for corn, and he sent his younger brother, 
saying, "Haste thou, bring to us corn from the farm." And the younger 
brother found the wife of his elder brother, as she was sitting tying 
her hair. He said to her: "Get up, and give to me corn, that I may run 
to the field, for my elder brother hastened me; do not delay." She said 
to him: "Go, open the bin, and thou shalt take to thyself according 
to thy will, that I may not drop my locks of hair while 'I dress 
them." : ^ 

The youth went into the stable; he took a large measure, for he de- 
sired to take much corn; he loaded it with wheat and barley; and he 
went out carrying it. She said to him, "How much of the corn that is 
wanted, is that which is on thy shoulder?" He said to her: "Three 
bushels of barley, and two of wheat, in all five; these are what are upon 
my shoulder.'' Thus said he to her. And she conversed with him, saying, 
"There is great strength in thee, for I see thy might every day." And 
her hfeart knew him with the knowledge of youth. And she arose and 
came to him, and conversed with him, saying, "Come, stay with me, 
and it shall be well for thee, and I will make for thee beautiful gar- 
ments." Then the youth became like a panther of the south with fury 
at the evil speech which she had made to him; and she feared greatly. 
And 'he spake unto her, saying: "Behold, thou art to me as a mother, 
thy husband is to me as a father, for he who is elder than I has brought 
me up. What is this wickedness that thou hast said to me? Say it not to 
me again. For I will not tell it to any man, for I will not let it be 
uttered by the mouth of any man." JHe lifted up his burden, and he 
went to the field and came to his elder brother; and they took up their 
work, to labor at their task. .* 

Now afterward, at eventime, his elder brother was returning to his 
house; and the younger brother was following after his oxen, and he 
loaded himself with all the things of the field; and he brought his oxen 
before him, to make them lie down in their stable which was in the 
farm. And behold the wife of the elder brother was afraid for the 
words which she had said. She took a parcel of fat, she became like one 
who is evilly beaten, desiring to say to her husband, "It is thy younger 
brother who has done this wrong." Her husband returned in the even, 
as was his wont of every day; he came unto his house; he found his 
wife ill of violence; she did not give him water upon his hands as he 
used to have, she did not make a light before him, his house was in 
darkness, and she was lying very sick. Her husband said to her, "Who 
has spoken with thee?" Behold she said: "No one has spoken with me 
except thy younger brother. When he came to take for thee corn he 
found me sitting alone; he said to me, 'Come, let us stay together, 



6 GREAT SHORT STORIES OF THE WORLD 

tie up thy hair. 9 Thus spake he to me. I did not listen to him, but thus 
spake I to him: Behold, am I not thy mother, is not thy elder brother 
to thee as a father?' And he feared, and he beat me to stop me from 
making report to thee, and if thou lettest him live I shall die. Now 
behold he is coming in the evening; and I complain of these wicked 
words, for he would have done this even in daylight." 

And the elder brother became as a panther of the south; he sharpened 
his knife; he took it in his hand; he stood behind the door of his stable 
to slay his younger brother as he came in the evening to bring his cattle 
into die stable. 

Now the sun went down, and he loaded himself with herbs in his 
daily manner. He came, and his foremost cow entered the stable, and 
she said to her keeper, "Behold thou thy elder brother standing before 
thee with his knife to slay thee; flee from before him." He heard what 
his first cow had said; and the next entering, she also said likewise. He 
looked beneath the door of the stable; he saw the feet of his elder 
brother; he was standing behind the door, and his knife was in his hand. 
He cast down his load to the ground, and betook himself to flee sw'-ftly; 
and his elder brother pursued after him with his knife. Then the younger 
brother cried out unto Ra Harakhti, saying, "My good Lord! Thou art 
he who divides the evil from the good." And Ra stood and heard all 
his cry; and Ra made a wide water between him and his elder brother, 
and it was full of crocodiles; and the one brother was on one bank? and 
the other on the other bank; and the elder brother smote twice on his 
hands at not slaying him. Thus did he. And the younger brother called 
to the elder on the bank, saying; "Stand still until the dawn of day; 
and when Ra ariseth, I shall judge with thee before him, and he dis- 
cerneth between the good and the evil. For I shall not be with thee any 
more forever; I shall not be in the place in which thou art; I shall go 
to the valley of the acacia." ; 

Now when the land was lightened, and the next day appeared, Ra- 
Harakhti arose, and one looked unto the other. And the youth spake 
with his elder brother, saying: "Wherefore earnest thou after me to 
slay me in craftiness, when thou didst not hear the words of my mouth?, 
For I am thy brother in truth, and thou art to me as a father, and thy 
wife even as a mother: is it not so? Verily, when I was sent to bring 
for us corn, thy wife said to me, 'Come, stay with me'; for behold this 
has been turned over unto thee into another wise." And he caused him 
to understand of all that happened with him and his wife. And he 
swore an oath by Ra Harakhti, saying, "Thy coming to slay me by 
deceit with thy knife was an abomination." Then the youth took a 
knife, and cut off of his flesh, and cast it into the water, and the fish 
Swallowed it. He failed; he became faint; and his elder brother cursed 
his own heart greatly; he stood weeping for him afar off; he knew not 



ANCIENT EGYPT ANONYMOUS 7 

how to pass over to where his younger brother was, because of the croco- 
diles. And the younger brother called unto him, saying: "Whereas thou 
Jiast devised an evil thing, wilt thou not also devise a good thing, even 
like that which I would do unto thee? When thou goest to thy house 
thou must look to thy cattle, for I shall not stay in the place where 
thou art; I am going to the valley of the acacia. And now as to what 
thou shalt do for me; it is even that thou shalt come to seek after me, 
if thou perceivest a matter, namely, that there are things happening 
unto me. And this is what shall come to pass, that I shall draw out my 
soul, and I shall put it upon the top of the flowers of the acacia, and 
when the acacia is cut down, and it falls to the ground, and thou comest 
to seek for it, if thou searchest for it seven years do not let thy heart 
be wearied. For thou wilt find it, and thou must put it in a cup of cold 
water, and expect that I shall live again, that I may make answer to 
what has been done wrong. And thou shalt know of this, that is to 
say, that things are happening to me, when one shall give to thee a cup 
of beer in thy hand, and it shall be troubled; stay not then, for verily 
it shall come to pass with thee." 

And the youth went to the valley of the acacia; and his elder brother 
went unto his house; his hand was laid on his head, and he cast dust 
on his head; he came to his house, and he slew his wife, he cast her 
to thf dogs, and he sat in mourning for his younger brother. 

Now many days after these things, the younger brother was in the 
valley of the acacia; there was none with him; he spent his time in 
hunting the beasts of the desert, and he came back in the even to lie 
down under the acacia, which bore his soul upon the topmost flower. 
And after this he built himself a tower with his own hands, 'in the 
valley of the acacia; it was full of all good things, that he might pro- 
vide for himself a home. 

And he went out from his tower, and he met the Nine Gods, who 
were walking forth to look upon the whole land. The Nine Gods talked 
one with another, and they said unto him: "Ho! Bata, bull of the Nine 
Gods, art thou remaining alone? Thou hast left thy village for the 
wife of Anpu, thy elder brother. Behold his wife is slain. Thou hast 
given him an answer to all that was transgressed against thee." And 
their hearts were vexed for him exceedingly. And Ra Harakhti said to 
Khnumu, "Behold, frame thou a woman for Bata, that he may not 
remain alive alone." And Khnumu made for him a mate to dwell with 
him. She was more beautiful in her limbs than any woman who is in 
the whole land. The essence of every god was in her. The seven 
Hathors came to see her: they said with one mouth, "She will die a 
sharp death." 

And Bata loved her very exceedingly, and she dwelt in his house; he 
passed his time in hunting the beasts of the desert, and brought and laid 



8 GREAT SHORT STORIES OF. THE WORLD 

them before her. He said: "Go not outside, lest the sea seize thee; for 
I cannot rescue thee from it, for I am a woman like thee; my soul is 
placed on the head of the flower of the acacia; and if another find it^ 
I must fight with him." And he opened unto her his heart in all its 
nature. * * 

Now after these things Bata went to hunt in his daily manner. And 
the young girl went to walk under the acacia which was by the side of 
her house. Then the sea saw her, and cast its waves up after her. She 
betook herself to flee from before it. She entered her house. And the 
sea called unto the acacia, saying, "Oh, would that I could seize her!" 
And the acacia brought a lock from her hair, and the sea carried it to 
Egypt, and dropped it in the place of the fullers of Pharaoh's linen. 
The smell of the lock of hair entered into the clothes of Pharaoh; and 
they were wroth with the fullers of Pharaoh, saying, "The smell of 
ointment is in the clothes of Pharaoh." And the people were rebuked 
every day, they knew not what they should do. And the chief fuller of 
Pharaoh walked by the bank, and his heart was very evil within him 
after the daily quarrel with him. He stood still, he stood upon tlft sand 
opposite to the lock of hair, which .was in the water, and he made one 
enter into the water and bring it to him; and there was found in it a 
smell, exceeding sweet. He took it to Pharaoh; and they brought the 
scribes and the wise men, and they said unto Pharaoh: "This lofk of 
hair belongs to a daughter of Ra Harakhti: the essence of every god is 
in her, and it is a tribute to thee from another land. Let messengers 
go to every strange land to seek her: and as for the messenger who shall 
go to the valley of the acacia, let many men go with him to bring her." 
,Then said his Majesty, "Excellent exceedingly is what has been said to 
us"; and they sent them. And many days after these things the people 
who were sent to strange lands came to give report unto the King: but 
there came not those who went to the valley of the acacia, for Bata had 
slain them, but let one of them return to give a report to the King. 
His Majesty sent many men and soldiers, as well as horsemen, to bring 
her back. And there was a woman among them, and to her had been 
given in her hand beautiful ornaments of a woman. And the girl came 
back with her, and they rejoiced over her in the whole land. 

And his Majesty loved her exceedingly, and raised her to high estate; 
and he spake unto her that she should tell him concerning her husband. 
And she said, "Let the acacia be cut down, and let one chop it up." And 
they sent men and soldiers with their weapons to cut down the acacia; 
and they came to the acacia, and they cut the flower upon which was 
the soul of Bata, and he fell dead suddenly. 

And when the next day came, and the earth was lightened, the acacia 
was cut down. And Anpu, the elder brother of Bata, entered his house, 
and washed his hands; and one gave him a cup of beer, and it became 



ANCIENT EGYPTANONYMOUS 9 

troubled; and one gave him another of wine, and the smell of it was 
evil. Then he took his staff, and his sandals, and likewise his clothes, 
^ith his weapons of war; and he betook himself forth to the valley of 
the acacia. He entered the tower of his younger brother, and he found 
him lying upon his mat; he was dead. And he wept when he saw his 
younger brother verily lying dead. And he went out to seek the soul of 
his younger brother under the acacia tree, under which his younger 
brother lay in the evening. He spent three years in seeking for it, but 
found it not. And when he began the fourth year, he desired in his 
heart to return into Egypt; he said, "I will go to-morrow morn." Thus 
spake he in his heart. 

Now when the land lightened, and the next day appeared, he was 
walking under the acacia; he was spending his time in seeking it. And 
he returned in the evening, and labored at seeking it again. He found 
a seed. He returned with it. Behold this was the soul of his younger 
brother. He brought a cup of cold water, and he cast the seed into it: 
and he sat down, as he was wont. Now when the night came his soul 
sucked?up the water; Bata shuddered in all his limbs, and he looked on 
his elder brother; his soul was in the cup. Then Anpu took the cup of 
cold water, in which the soul of his younger brother was; Bata drank 
it, his soul stood again in its place, and he became as he had been. They 
embraced each other, and they conversed together. 

And Bata said to his elder brother: "Behold I am to become as a 
great bull, which bears every good mark; no one knoweth its history, 
and thou must sit upon my back. When the sun arises I shall be in the 
place where my wife is, that I may return answer to her 5 and thou 
must take me to the place where the King is. For all good things shall 
be done for thee; for one shall lade thee with silver and gold, be- 
cause thou bringest me to Pharaoh, for I become a great marvel, and 
they shall rejoice for me in all the land. And thou shalt go to thy 
village." 

And when the land was lightened, and the next day appeared, Bata 
became in the form which he had told to his elder brother. And Anpu 
sat upon his back until the dawn. He came to the place where the King 
was, and they made his Majesty to know of him; he saw him, and he 
was exceeding joyful with him. He made for him great offerings, 
saying, "This is a great wonder which has come to pass.* 1 There were 
rejoicings over him in the whole land. They presented unto him silver 
and gold for his elder brother, who went and stayed in his village. They 
gave to the bull many men and many things, and Pharaoh loved him 
exceedingly above all that is in this land. 

And many days after these things, the bull entered the purified place; 
he stood in the place where the princess was; he began to speak with 
her, saying, "Behold, I am alive indeed." And she said to him, "And, 



XO GREAT SHORT STORIES OP THE WORLD 

pray, who art thou?" He said to her, "I am Bata. I perceived when 
thou causedst that they should destroy the acacia of Pharaoh, which was 
my abode, that I might not be suffered to live. Behold, I am alive 
indeed, I am as an ox." Then the princess feared exceedingly for the* 
words that her husband had spoken to her. And he went out from the 
purified place. 

And his Majesty was sitting, making a good day with her: she was 
at the table of his Majesty, and the King was exceeding pleased with 
her. And she said to his Majesty, "Swear to me by God, saying, 'What 
thou shalt say, I will obey it for thy sake.' " He hearkened unto all that 
she said, even this. *Let me eat of the liver of the -ox, because he is fit 
for naught." Thus spake she to him. And the King was exceeding sad 
at her words, the heart of Pharaoh grieved him greatly. And after the 
land was lightened, and the next day appeared, they proclaimed a great 
feast with offerings to the ox. And the King sent one of the chief 
butchers of his Majesty, to cause the ox to be sacrificed. And when he 
was sacrificed, as he was upon the shoulders of the people, he shook his 
neck, and he threw two drops of blood over against the two doars of 
his Majesty. The one fell upon the one side, on the great door of 
Pharaoh, and the other upon the other door. They grew as two great 
Persea trees, and each of them was excellent. 

And one went to tell unto his Majesty, "Two great Persea trees have 
grown, as a great marvel of his Majesty, in the night by the side 8f the 
great gate of his Majesty." And there was rejoicing for them in all the 
land, and there were offerings made to them. 

And when the days were multiplied after these things, his Majesty 
Was adorned with the blue crown, with garlands of flowers on his neck, 
and he was upon the chariot of pale gold, and he went out from the 
palace to behold the Persea trees: the princess also was going out with 
horses behind his Majesty. And his Majesty sat beneath one of the Persea 
trees, and it spake thus with his wife: "Oh, thou deceitful one, I am 
Bata, I am alive, though I have been evilly entreated. I knew who caused 
the acacia to be cut down by Pharaoh at my dwelling. I then became an 
ox, and thou causedst that I should be killed." 

And mai^y days after these things the princess stood at the table of 
Pharaoh, and the King was pleased with hen And she said to his Maj- 
esty, "Swear to me by God, saying, 'That which the princess shall say 
to me I will obey it for her.' " And he hearkened unto all she said. 
And he commanded, "Let these two Persea trees be cut down, and let 
them be made into goodly planks." And he hearkened unto all she said. 
And after this his Majesty sent skilful craftsmen, and they cut down 
the 'Persea trees of Pharaoh; and the princess, the royal wife, was stand- 
ing looking on, and they did all that was in her heart unto the trees. 
But a chip flew up, and it entered into the mouth of the princess; she 



ANCIENT EGYPT ANONYMOUS 11 

swallowed it, and after many days she bore a son. And one went to tell 
his Majesty, "There is born to thee a son." And they brought him, and 
gave to him a nurse and servants; and there were rejoicings in the whole 
land. And the King sat making a merry day, as they were about the 
naming of him, and his Majesty loved him exceedingly at that moment, 
and the King raised him to be the royal son of Kush. 

Now after the days had multiplied after these things, his Majesty 
made him heir of all the land. And many days after that, when he had 
fulfilled many years as heir, his Majesty flew up to heaven. And the 
heir said, "Let my great nobles of his Majesty be brought before me, 
that I may make them to know all that has happened to me." And they 
brought also before him his wife, and he judged with her before him, 
and they agreed with him. They brought to him his elder brother; he 
made him hereditary prince in all his land. He was thirty years King of 
Egypt, and he died, and his elder brother stood in his place on the day 
of burial. 

Excellently finished In feace, for the ka of the scribe of the treasury 
Kagabuy of the treasury of Pharaoh, and for the scribe Hora, and the 
scribe Meremapt. Written by the scribe Anena> the owner of this roll. 
Re who speaks against this roll, may Tahuti smite him. 



SETNA AND THE MAGIC BOOK 

( (Anonymous: about 1400 B.C.) 

\ 

THE manuscript of this story was found during the Nineteenth 
Century in the tomb of a Coptic monk. Nothing is known of the 
author, but it is assumed that he lived not long after the time 
of the probable origin of the Egyptian short story. Setna and the 
Magic Book is one of those wonder tales that have from time 
immemorial evoked the admiration of the world, and particularly 
of the Orientals. Whether or not the Egyptians actually believed 
all they were told in a fairy tale is an idle conjecture: but it seems 
probable that the strange happenings described in this story were 
accepted by many. Even the present age of science has not entirely 
banished a belief in magic: some of the finest of modern tales are 
based upon an ineradicable belief in the supernatural. 

The translation here used is that by William Flinders Petrie in 
Egyptian TV*;, Vol. 2, published in 1895 by Methuen and Co., 
by whose permission it is here reprinted. The original manuscript 
is a part of the so-called Doulaq Papyrus. There is no title to the 
original story, the title here used being that given it by the 
transcriber* 



GREAT SHORT STORIES OF THE WORLD 



SETNA AND THE MAGIC BOOK 

HE mighty King User.maat.ra (Rameses the Great) had a son named 
JL Setna Kha.em.uast who was a great scribe, and very learned in all 
the ancient writings. And he heard that the magic book of Thoth, by 
which a man may enchant heaven and earth, and know the language of 
all birds and beasts, was buried in the cemetery of Memphis. And he 
went to search for it with his brother An.he.hor.eru; and when they 
found the tomb of the King's son, Na.nefer.ka.ptah, son of the King of 
Upper and Lower Egypt, Mer.neb.ptah, Setna opened it and went in. 

Now in the tomb was Na.nefer.ka.ptah, and with him was the ka of 
his wife Ahura; for though she was buried at Koptos, her ka dwelt at 
Memphis with her husband, whom she loved. And Setna saw them seated 
before their offerings, and the book lay between them. And Na.nefer.- 
ka.ptah said to Setna, "Who are you that break into my tomb in this 
way?" He said, "I am Setna, son of the great King User.maat.ra, living 
forever, and I come for that book which I see between you." Ani Na.- 
nefer.ka.ptah said, "It cannot be given to you." Then said Setna, "But 
I will carry it away by force." 

Then Ahura said to Setna, "Do not take this book; for it will bring 
trouble on you, as it has upon us. Listen to what we have suffered for it." 



AHURA'S TALE 



"We were the two children of the King Mer.neb.ptah, and he loved 
us very much, for he had no others; and Na.nefer.ka.ptah was in his 
palace as heir over all the land. And when we were grown, the King 
said to the Queen, 'I will marry Na.nefer.ka.ptah to the daughter of a 
general, and Ahura to the son of another general.' And the Queen said, 
'No; he is the heir, let him marry his sister, like the heir of a king; 
none other is fit for him.' And the King said, 'That is not fair; they 
had better be married to the children of the general/ 

"And the Queen said, 'It is you who are not dealing rightly with 
me.' And the King answered, 'If I have no more than these two chil- 
dren, is it right that they should marry one another? I will marry 
Na.nefer.ka.ptah to the daughter of an officer, and Ahura to the son of 
another officer. It has often been done so in our family.' C 

"And at a time when there was a great feast before the King, they 
came to fetch me to the feast. And I was very troubled, and did not 
behave as I used to do. And the King said to me, 'Ahura, have you sent 
someone to me about this sorry matter, saying, "Let me be married to 
my elder brother"?' I said to him, 'Well, let me marry the son of an 
officer, and he marry the daughter of another officer, as it often hap* 



ANCIENT EGYPT ANONYMOUS 13 

pens so in our family. 9 I laughed, and the King laughed. And the King 
told the steward of the palace, 'Let them take Ahura to the house of 
^Ia.nefer.ka.ptah to-night, and all kinds of good things witH her.' So 
they brought me as a wife to the house of Na.nef er.ka.ptah ; and the 
King ordered them to give me presents of silver and gold, and things 
from the palace. ' 

"And Na.nef er.ka.ptah passed a happy time with me, and received all 
the presents from the palace; and we loved one another. And when I 
expected a child, they told the King, and he was most heartily glad; and 
he sent me many things, and a present of the best silver and gold and 
linen. And when the time came, I bore this little child that is before 
you. And they gave him the name of Mer-ab, and registered him in the 
book of the 'House of life.' 

"And when my brother Na.nefer.ka.ptah went to the cemetery of 
Memphis, he did nothing on earth but read the writings that are in the 
catacombs of the kings, and the tablets of the 'House of life,' and the 
inscriptions that are seen on the monuments, and he worked hard on the 
writes. And there was a priest there called Nesi-ptah; and as Na.nefer.- 
ka.ptah went into a temple to pray, it happened that he went behind this 
priest, and was reading the inscriptions that were on the chapels of the 
gods. And the priest mocked him and laughed. So Na.nefer.ka.ptah said 
to him, 'Why are you laughing at me?* And he replied, *I was not 
laughing at you, or if I happened to do so, it was at your reading writ- 
ings that are worthless. If you wish so much to read writings, come to 
me, and I will bring you to the place where the book is which Thoth 
himself wrote with his own hand, and which will bring you to the gods. 
When you read but two pages in this you will enchant the heaven, the 
earth, the abyss, the mountains, and the sea; you shall know what the 
birds of the sky and the crawling things are saying; you shall see the 
fishes of the deep, for a divine power is there to bring them up but of 
the depth. And when you read the second page, if you are in the world 
of ghosts, you will become again in the shape you were in on earth. 
You will see the sun shining in the sky, with all the gods, and the full 
moon.' * 

"And Na.nefer.ka.ptah said: c By the life of the King! Tell me of 
anything you want done, and I'll do it for you, if you will only send 
me where this book is.' And the priest answered Na.nefer.ka.ptah, 'If 
you want to go to the place where the book is, you must give me 100 
pieces of silver for my funeral, and provide that they shall bury me as 
a rich priest.' So Na,neferkaptah called his lad and told him to give 
the priest 1 00 pieces of silver; and he made them do as he wished, even 
eveiything that he asked for* Then the priest .said to Na.nefer.ka.ptah: 
'This book is in the middle of the river at Koptos, in an iron box; in 
the iron box is a bronze box; in the bronze box .is a sycamore box; in 



I 4 GREAT SHORT STORIES OF THE WORLD 

the sycamore box is an ivory and ebony box; in the ivory and ebony box 
is a silver box; in the silver box is a golden box, and in that is the book. 
It is twisted all round with snakes and scorpions and all the other, 
crawling things around the box in which the book is; and there is a 
deathless snake by the box.' And when the priest told Na.nefer.ka.ptah, 
he did not know where on earth he was, he was so much delighted. 

"And when he came from the temple he told me all that had hap- 
pened to him. And he said: 'I shall go to Koptos, for I must fetch this 
book; I will not stay any longer in the north.' And I said, 'Let me dis- 
suade you, for you prepare sorrow and you will bring me into trouble 
in the Thebaid.' And I laid my hand on Na.nefer.ka.ptah, to keep him 
from going to Koptos, but he would not listen to me; and he went to 
the King, and told the King all that the priest had said. The King asked 
him, c What is it that you want?' and he replied, 'Let them give me 
the royal boat with its belongings, for I will go to the south with Ahura 
and her little boy Mer-ab, and fetch this book without delay.' So they 
gave him the royal boat with its belongings, and we went with him to 
the haven, and sailed from there up to Koptos. * 

"Then the priests of Isis of Koptos, and the high-priest of Isis, came 
down to us without waiting, to meet Na.nefer.ka.ptah, and their wives 
also came to me. We went into the temple of Isis and Harpokrates; and 
Na.nefer.ka.ptah brought an ox, a goose, and some wine, and made a 
burnt-offering and a drink-offering before Isis of Koptos and Harpo- 
krates. They brought us to a very fine house, with all good things; and 
Na.nefer.ka.ptah spent four days there and feasted with the priests of 
Isis of Koptos, and the wives of the priests of Isis also made holiday 
with me. ' '" 

"And the morning of the fifth day came; and Na.nefer.ka.ptah called 
a priest to him, and made a magic cabin that was full of men and tackle. 
He put the spell upon it, and put life in it, and gave them breath, and 
sank it in the water. He filled the royal boat with sand, and took leave 
of me, and sailed from the haven: and I sat by the river at Koptos that 

I might see what would become of him. And he said, 'Workmen, work 
for me, even at the place where the book is.* And they toiled by night 
and by day; and when they had reached it in three days, he threw the 
sand out, and made a shoal in the river. And then he found on it 
entwined serpents and scorpions and all kinds of crawling things around 
the box in which the book was; and by it he found a deathless snake 
around the box. And he laid the spell upon the entwined serpents and 
scorpions and all kinds of crawling things which were around the box, 
that they should not come out. And he went to the deathless snake, and 
fought with him, and killed him; but he came to life again, and took 

II new; form. He then fought again with him a second time; but he came 



ANCIENT EGYPT ANONYMOUS *S 

to life again, and took a third form. He then cut him in two parts, and/ 
put sand between the parts, that he should not appear again. ' 

"Na.nefer.ka.ptah then went to the place where he found the box. 
He uncovered a box of iron, and opened it; he found then a box of 
bronze, and opened that; then he found a box of sycamore wood, and 
opened that; again, he found a box of ivory and ebony, and opened 
that; yet, he found a box of silver, and opened that; and then he found 
a box of gold; he opened that, and found the book in it. He took the 
book from the golden box, and read a page of spells from it. He en- 
chanted the heaven and the earth, the abyss, the mountains, and the sea; 
he knew what the birds of the sky, the fish of the deep, and the beasts 
of the hills all said. He read another page of the spells, and saw the 
sun shining in the sky, with all the gods, the full moon, and the stars 
in their shapes; he saw the fishes of the deep, for a divine power was 
present that brought them up from the .water. He then read the spell 
upon the workmen that he had made, and taken from the haven, and 
said to them, Work for me, back to the place from which I came. 1 
And tlyy toiled night and day, and so he came back to the place where 
I sat by the river of Koptos; I had not drunk nor eaten anything, and 
had done nothing on earth, but sat like one who is gone to the grave. 

"I then told Na.nef er.ka.ptah that I wished to see this book, for which 
we had taken so much trouble. He gave the book into my hands; and 
when I read a page of the spells in it I also enchanted heaven and earth, 
the abyss, the mountains, and the sea. I also knew what the birds of the 
sky, the fishes of the deep, and the beasts of the hills all said. I read 
another page of the spells, and I saw the sun shining in the sky with 
all the gods, the full moon, and the stars in their shapes; I saw the 
fishes of the deep, for a divine power .was present that brought them 
up from the water. As I could not write, I asked Na.nefer.ka.ptah, 
who was a good writer, and a very learned one; he called for a new 
piece of papyrus, and wrote on it all that was in the book before him. 
He dipped it in beer, and washed it off in the liquid; for he knew that 
if it were washed off, and he drank it, he would know all that there 
Was in the writing. ( t 

"We returned back to Koptos the same clay, and made a feast before 
Isis of Koptos and Harpokrates. We then went to the haven and sailed, 
and went northward of Koptos. And as we went on Thoth discovered 
all that Na.nefer.ka.ptah had done with the book; and Thoth hastened 
to tell Ra, and said, 'Now know that my book and my revelation are 
with Na.nefer.ka.ptah, son of the King Mer.neb.ptah. He has forced 
himself into my place, and robbed it, and seized my box with the writ- 
ings, and killed my guards who protected it.* And Ra replied to him, 
'He is before you, take him and all his kin.' He sent a power from 



16 GREAT SHORT STORIES OF THE WORLD 

heaven with the command, 'Do not let Na.nefer.ka.ptah return safe 
to Memphis with all his kin. 9 And after this hour, the little boy Mer-ab, 
going out from the awning of the royal boat, fell into the river: he 
called on Ra, and everybody who was on the bank raised a cry. Na.- 
nefer.ka.ptah went out of the cabin, and read the spell over him; he 
brought his body up because a divine power brought him to the sur* 
face. He read another spell over him, and made him tell of all that 
happened to him, and of what Thoth had said before Ra. 

"We turned back with him to Koptos. We brought him to the Good 
House, we fetched the people to him, and made one embalm him; and 
we buried him in his coffin in the cemetery of Koptos like a great and 
noble person. 

"And Na.nefer.ka.ptah, my brother, said: 'Let us go down, let us 
not delay, for the King has not yet heard of what has happened to him, 
and his heart will be sad about it.' So we went to the haven, we sailed, 
and did not stay to the north of Koptos. When we were come to the 
place where the little boy Mer-ab had fallen into the water, I went out 
from the awning of the royal boat, and I fell into the river. Theji called 
Na.nefer.ka.ptah, and he came out from the cabin of the royal boat; he 
read a spell over me, and brought my body up, because a divine power 
brought me to the surface. He drew me out, and read the spell over 
me, and made me tell him of all that had happened to me, and of what 
Thoth had said before Ra. Then he turned back with me to Koptos, he 
brought me to the Good House, he fetched the people to me, and madq 
one embalm me, as great and noble people are buried, and laid me in 
the tomb where Mer-ab my young child was. 

"He turned to the haven, and sailed down, and delayed not in the 
north of Koptos. When he was come to the place where we fell into 
the river, he said to his heart: 'Shall I not better turn back again to 
Koptos, that I may lie by them? For, if not, when I go down to, 
Memphis, and the King asks after his children, what shall I say to him?' 
Can I tell him, "I have taken your children to the Thebaid, and killed', 
them, while I remained alive, and I have come to Memphis still alive"? 9 ' 
Then he made them bring him a linen cloth of striped byssus; he made* 
a band, and bound the book firmly, and tied it upon him. Na.nefer.ka.- 
ptah then went out of the awning of the royal boat and fell into the 
river. He cried on Ra; and all those who were on^the bank made an 
outcry, saying: 'Great woe! Sad .woe! Is he lost, that good scribe and: 
able man that has no equal?' 

"The royal boat went on, without anyone on earth knowing where 
Na.nefenka.ptah was. It went on to Memphis, and they told all this to 
the King. Then the King went dbwn to the royal boat in mourning, and 
all the soldiers and high-priests erf Ptah were in mourning, and all the 
officials and courtiers. And when fee .saw. Na.nefer.ka.ptah, who was in- 



ANCIENT EGYPTANONYMOUS 17 

the inner cabin of the royal boat from his rank of high scribe he 
lifted him up. And they saw the book by him; and the King said, 'Let 
one hide this book that is with him.' And the officers of the King, the 
priests of Ptah, and the high-priest of Ptah, said to the King, 'Our 
Lord, may the King live as long as the sun! Na.nefer.ka.ptah was a 
good scribe, and a very skilful man/ And the King had him laid in his 
Good House to the sixteenth day, and then had him wrapped to the 
thirty-fifth day, and laid him out to the seventieth day, and then had 
him put in his grave in his resting-place. 

"I have noWvtold you the sorrow which has come upon us because 
of this book for which you ask, saying, 'Let it be given to me/ You 
have no claim to it; and, indeed, for the sake of it, we have given up 
our life on earth." 

And Setna said to Ahura, "Give me the book which I see between 
you and Na.nefer.ka.ptah; for if you do not I will take it by force." 
Then Na,nefer 4 ka.ptah rose from his seat and said: "Are you Setna, to 
whom my wife has told of all these blows of fate, which you have not 
suffered? Can you take this book by your skill as a good scribe? If, 
indeed, you can play games with me, let us play a game, then, of 52 
points." And Setna said, "I am ready," and the board and its pieces were 
put before him. And Na.nefer.ka.ptnh won a game from Setna; and he 
put the sjJell upon him, and defended himself with the game board that 
was before him, and sunk him into the ground above his feet. He did the 
same at the second game, and won it from Setna, and sunk him into the 
ground to his waist. He did the same at the third game, and made him 
sink into the ground up to his ears. Then Setna struck Na.nefer.ka.ptah 
a great blow with his hand. And Setna called his brother An.he.hor.eru 
and said to him, "Make haste and go up upon earth, and tell the King 
all that has happened to me, and bring me the talisman of my father 
Ptah, and my magic books." 

And he hurried up upon earth, and told the King all that had hap- 
pened to Setna. The King said, "Bring him the talisman of his father 
Ptah, and his magic book." And An.he.hor.eru hurried down into the 
'tomb; he laid the talisman on Setna, and he sprang up again immedi- 
ately. And then Setna reached out his hand for the book, and took it. 
Then as Setna went^out from the tomb there went a Light before 
him, and Darkness behind him. And Ahura wept at him, and she said: 
"Glory to the King of Darkness! Hail to the King of Light! all power 
is gone from the tomb.' 9 feut Na.nefer.ka.ptah said to Ahura: "Do not 
let your heart be sad; I will make hyn bring back this book, with a 
forked stick in his hand, and a fire-pan on his head." And Setna went 
out from the tomb, and it closed behind him as it was before. 

Then Setna went to the King, and told him everything that had hap- 



i8 GREAT SHORT STORIES OF THE WORLD 

pened to him with the book. And the King said to Setna, "Take back 
the book to the grave of Na.nefer.ka.ptah, like a prudent man, or else 
he will make you bring it with a forked stick in your hand, and a fire- 
pan on your head.'' But Setna would not listen to him; and when Setna 
had unrolled the book he did nothing on earth but read it to everybody. 

After that it happened one day, when Setna was walking near the 
temple of Ptah, he saw a woman of such beauty that another could not 
be found to equal her. On her there was much gold, and with her were 
fifty-two servants. From the time that Setna beheld her, he no longer 
knew the part of the world he lived in. He called his page, saying, "Do 
not delay going to the place where that woman is and finding out who 
she is." The young page made no delay. He addressed the maidservant 
who walked behind her, and questioned her, "What person is that?" 
She said to him, "She is Tbubui, daughter of the prophet of Bastit, who 
now goes to make her prayer before Ptah." When the young man had 
returned to Setna, he recounted all the words she had said to him with- 
out exception. Setna said to the young man, "Go and,say thus to the 
maidservant, 'Setna-Khamois, son of the Pharaoh Usimares it is who 
sends me, saying, "I will give thee ten pieces of gold that thou mayest 
pass an hour with me. If there is necessity to have recourse to violence 
he will do it, and he will take thee to a hidden place, where no one in 
the world will find thee." * When the young man had returned to the 
place, where Tbubui was, he addressed the maidservant, and Spake with 
her, but she exclaimed against his words, as though it were an insult to 
speak them. Tbubui said to the young man, "Cease to speak to that 
wretched girl; come and speak to pie." The young man approached the 
place where Tbubui was; he said to her, "I will give thee ten pieces of 
gold if thou wilt pass an hour with Setna-Khamois, the son of Pharaoh 
Usimares. If there is necessity to have recourse to violence, he will do 
so, and will take thee to a hidden place where no one in the world will 
find thee." Tbubui said, "Go, say to Setna, 'I am a hierodule, I am no 
mean person; if thou dost desire to have thy pleasure of me, thou shalt 
come to Bubastis into my house. All will be ready there, and thou shalt 
have thy pleasure of me, and no one in the world shall know it, and 
I shall not have acted like a woman of the streets." When the page had* 
returned to Setna, he repeated to him all the words that she had said 
without exception, and he said, " T >o, I am satisfied." But all who were 
with Setna began to curse. ^ 

Setna caused a boat to be fetched, he embarked, and delayed not to 
arrive at Bubastis. He went to the west of the town, until he came to a 
house .that was very high; it had^a wall all round it, it had a garden on 
the north side, there was a flight of steps in front of it Setna inquired 
saying, "Whose is this house?" They said to him, "It is the house of 
Tbubui," Setna entered the grounds, and he marveled at the paviibn 



ANCIENT EGYPT ANONYMOUS 19 

situated in the garden while they told Tbubui; she came down, she took 
the hand of Setna, and she said to him, "By my life! the journey to 
the house of the priest of Bastit, lady of Ankhutaui, at which thou art 
arrived, is very pleasant to me. Come up with me." Setna went tip by 
the stairway of the house with Tbubui. He found the upper story of the 
house sanded and powdered with sand and powder of real lapis lazuli 
and real turquoise. There were several beds there, spread with stuffs of 
royal linen, and also many cups of gold on a stand. They filled a golden 
cup with wine and placed it in the hand of Setna and Tbubui said to 
him, "Will it please thee to rest thyself?" He said to her, "That is not 
what I wish to do." They put scented wood on the fire, they brought 
perfumes of the kind that are supplied to Pharaoh, and Setna made a 
happy day with Tbubui. "Let us accomplish that for which we have 
come here." She said to him, "Thou shalt arrive at thy house, that where 
thou art. But for me, I am a hierodule, I am no mean person. If thou 
desirest to have thy pleasure of me, thou shalt make me a contract of 
sustenance, and a contract of money on all the things and all the goods 
that are^thine." He said to her, "Let the scribe of the school be brought." 
He was brought immediately, and Setna caused to be made in favor of 
Tbubui a contract for maintenance, and he made her in writing a dowry 
of all the things, all the goods that were his. An hour passed, one came 
to say this to Setna, "Thy children are below." He said, "Let them 
be brought up." Tbubui arose; she put on a robe of fine linen and Setna 
beheld all her limbs through it, and his desire increased yet more than 
before. Setna said to Tbubui, "Let us accomplish now that for which I 
came." She said to him, "Thou shalt arrive at thy house, that where 
thou art. But for me, I am a hierodule; I am no mean person. If thou 
desirest to have thy pleasure of me, thou wilt cause thy children to sub- 
scribe to my writing that they may not seek a quarrel with my children 
on the subject of thy possessions." Setna had his children fetched and 
made them subscribe to the writing. Setna said to Tbubui, "Let me now 
accomplish that for which I came." She said to him, "Thou shalt arrive 
at thy house, that where thou art. But for me, I am a hierodule; I am 
no mean person. If thou dost desire to have thy pleasure of me, thou 
shalt cause thy children to be slain, so that they may not seek a quarrel 
with my children, on account of thy possessions." Setna said, "Let the 
crime be committed on them of which the desire has entered thy heart." 
She caused the children of Setna to be slain before him, she had them 
thrown out below the, window, to the dogs and cats, and they ate their 
flesh, and he heard them while he was drinking with Tbubui. Setna said 
to Tbubui, "Let us accomplish that for which we have come here, for 
all that thou hast said before me has been done for thee." She said to 
him, "Come into this chamber." Setna entered the chamber; he lay down 
on a .bed of ivory and ebony, in order that his love might be rewarded, 



20 GREAT SHORT STORIES OP THE WORLD 

and Tbubui lay down by the side of Setna. He stretched out his hand to 
touch her; she opened her mouth widely and uttered a loud cry. 

When Setna came to himself he was in a place of a furnace without 
any clothing on his back. After an hour Setna perceived a very big ftian 
standing on a platform, with quite a number of attendants beneath his 
feet, for he had the semblance of a Pharaoh. Setna was about to raise 
himself but he could not arise for shame, for he had no clothing on his 
back. This Pharaoh said, "Setna, what is the state in which you are?" 
He said, "It is Na.nefer.ka.ptah who has had all this done to me." 
This Pharaoh said, "Go to Memphis; thy children, lo! they wish for 
thee. Lo! they are standing before Pharaoh." Setna spake before this 
Pharaoh, "My great lord the king mayest thou have the duration of 
Ra - how can I arrive at Memphis, for I have no raiment in the world 
on my back?" This Pharaoh called a page who was standing near him 
and commanded him to give a garment to Setna. This Pharaoh said, 
"Setna, go to Memphis. Thy children, behold they live, behold they are 
Standing before the king." 

So Setna went to Memphis, and embraced his children for tfeat they 
were alive. And the King said to him, "Were you not drunk to do 
so?" Then Setna told all things that had happened with Tbubui and 
Na.nefer.ka.ptah. And the King said, "Setna, I have already lifted up 
my hand against you before, and said, c He will kill you if you do not 
take back the book to the place you took it from.' But you Have never 
listened to me till this hour. Now, then, take the book to Na.nefer.ka.- 
ptah, with a forked stick in your hand, and a fire-pan on your head." 

So Setna went out from before the King, with a forked stick in his 
hand, and a fire-pan on his head. He went down to the tomb in which 
was Na.nefer.ka.ptah. And Ahura said to him, "It is Ptah, the great 
god, that has brought you back safe." Na.nefer.ka.ptah laughed, and he 
said, "This is the business that I told you before." And when Setna 
had praised Na.nefer.ka.ptah, he found it as the proverb says, "The sun 
was in the whole tomb." And Ahura and Na.nefer.ka.ptah besought 
Setna greatly. And Setna said, "Na.nef er.ka.ptah, is it aught disgraceful 
(that you lay on me to do)?" And Na.nefer.ka.ptah said, "Setna, you 
know this, that Ahura and Mer-ab, her child, behold! they are in Koptosj 
bring them here into this tomb, by the skill of a good scribe. Let it be 
impressed upon you to take pains, and to go to Koptos to bring them 
here." Setna then went out from the tomb to the King, and told the 
King all that Na.nefer.ka.ptah had told him. 

The King said, "Setna, go to Koptos and bring back Ahura and 
Mer-atb." He answered the King, "Let one give me the royal boat and 
its belongings." And they gave him the royal boat and its belongings, 
and he left the haven, and sailed without stopping till he came to Koptos. 

And they made this known to the priests of Isis at Koptos and to the 



ANCIENT EGYPT ANONYMOUS 21 

high-priest of Isis; and behold they came down to him, and gave him 
their hand to the shore. He went up with them and entered into the 
temple of Isis of Koptos and of Harpokrates. He ordered one to offer 
foY him an ox, a goose, and some wine, and he made a burnt-offering 
and a drink-offering before Isis of Koptos and Harpokrates. He went 
to the cemetery of Koptos with the priests of Isis and the high-priest 
of Isis. They dug about for three days and three nights, for they searched 
even in all the catacombs which were in the cemetery of Koptos; they 
turned over the steles of the scribes of the "double house of life," and 
read the inscriptions that they found on them. But they could not find 
the resting-place of Ahura and Mer-ab. 

Now Na.nefer.ka.ptah perceived that they could not 'find the resting- 
place of Ahura and her child Mer-ab. So he raised himself up as a 
venerable, very old ancient, and came before Setna. And Setna saw him, 
and Setna said to the ancient: "You look like a very old man; do you 
know where is the resting-place of Ahura and her child Mer-ab ?" The 
ancient said to Setna: "It was told by the father of the father of my 
f ather^to the father of my father, and the father of my father has told 
it to my father; the resting-place of Ahura and of her child Mer-ab 
is in a mound south of the town of Pehemato." And Setna said to 
the ancient, "Perhaps we may do damage to Pehemato, and you are 
ready to lead one to the town for the sake of that." The ancient replied 
to Setnaf "If one listens to me, shall he therefore destroy the town of 
Pehemato! If they do not find Ahura and her child Mer-ab under the 
south corner of their town may I be disgraced." They attended to the 
ancient, and found the resting-place of Ahura and her child Mer-ab 
under the south corner of the town of Pehemato. Setna laid them in the 
royal boat to bring them as honored persons, and restored the town of 
Pehemato as it originally was. And Na.nefer.ka.ptah made Setna to 
know that it was he who had come to Koptos, to enable them to find out 
where the resting-place was of Ahura and her child Mer-ab. 

So Setna left the haven in the royal boat, and sailed without stopping, 
and reached Memphis with all the soldiers who were with him. And 
when they told the King he came down to the royal boat. He took them 
as honored persons escorted to the catacombs, in which Na.nefer.ka.ptah 
.was, and smoothed down the ground over them. 

This is the completed writing of the tale of Setna Kha.em.uast, and 
tfa.nefer.ka.^tah, and his wife Ahura, and their child Mer-ab. It was 
written in the thirty-fifth year, the month Tybi. 



Ancient Greece 



INTRODUCTION 

^ II ^ HERE is no land without its story-tellers, and in the dawn of 
JL Hellenic civilization we find the half-legendary author of the Iliad 
and the Odyssey telling tales some of them so long and elaborate as 
to be called epics, and some of them brief enough to be classed as short 
stories. Though the actual composition of the earliest Greek stories dates 
from a thousand or fifteen hundred years after the Egyptian tales, there 
is no doubt that they were sung or recited centuries before the great epics 
assumed the form in which they are now known. 

The poet Hesiod, somewhat later than Homer, but before the opening 
of the Golden Age of Greek literature (Fifth Century, B.C.), inserted 
into his longer mythical and didactic works episodes which are, as a 
matter of fact, short stories, though they are inferior in woi&manship 
to the ingenious tales with which Herodotus enlivens the pages of his 
fascinating History. Herodotus was much more of an artist than a mere 
recorder of facts. He was determined at all costs to make his work 
readable. Other and later historians strove to imitate him, and their 
books are full of anecdotes and episodes many of which might be ex- 
tracted to demonstrate the gradual development of the form. Plutarch, 
in particular, was fond of relating incidents to illustrate the Lives of 
his heroes. 

Though the fable probably originated in India, it was given a par- 
ticular form in the so-called Beast Fable of the Greeks. This is a short 
story* told in order to point a moral, in which respect it is not essentially 
different from most other stories, ancient and modern. It was in Greece 
that a collection of beast fables accumulated, and was attributed to a 
certain &sap, of whom we have no authentic knowledge. That they 
are ibort and deal ostensibly with animals instead of human beings in 
no way prevents their inclusion in a collection of this sort. The best of 
them are masterpieces in the art of condensed narrative. Though the 
works attributed to JEsop are now lost, they have been preserved in 
translated or adapted form by the Latin fabulist, Phsedrus. 

It was after the close of the great epoch of Greek literature that the 
art of prose fiction arose in Greece. Antonius Diogenes, Xenophon of 

22 



ANCIENT GREECE INTRODUCTION 33 

Ephesus, Achilles Tatius, Lucian, Parthenius, Longus, and Heliodorus 
belong more especially among the writers of pure fiction. There were 
occasional exceptions, like Apolloniut of Rhodes, who sought inspiration 
in the myths of the past, and developed the more or less crude incidents 
of the ancients into comely, if occasionally affected, stories. But the 
romance itself was originated by Xenophon of Ephesus, Longus, and 
Heliodorus, and later developed by Achilles Tatius and Chariton. Still, 
the short story as an independent form was apparently not recognized. 
In The Robbers of Egypt, which is the first chapter of Heliodorus* 
^Ethiopian Romance, we find a complete and unified short story. The 
Daphnis and Chloe of Longus is an early example of the "long-short" 
story. 

Long before the final extinction of Greek romance the Greek forms 
had been carried over into the Roman world, where they were to flourish 
for a time, disappear, and then a thousand years later bloom again under 
the touch of the Italians. 



HOMER 

(About 1000 B.C.) 

THE first mention of Homer dates from the Seventh Century B.C., 
but when he lived, or indeed whether he ever lived at all, are ques- 
tions that have never been solved. The Iliad and The Odyssey 
were probably composed about a thousand years before 'the Chris- 
tian era. The short story, as we know it, was not of course a recog- 
nized literary form, but Eumtcus* Tale> in The Odyssey, happens to 
be an excellent example. It is told to Odysseus by the old swine- 
herd. 

The present version, purposely reduced by the editors to more 
or less colloquial prose, is based upon three translations* There 
is no title in the original. 



EU1VLEUS' TALE 
(From The Odyssey, Book XV) 

"nPlHERE is an island over beyond Ortygia perchance thou hast 
JL heard tell of it where the sun turns. It is a goodly island, though 
not very vast, with rich herds and flocks, and much' grain and Wine. 
There is no dearth, and no illness visits ppor mortals. When men grow 
old there, Apollo of the Silver Bow, in company with Artemis, comes 



*4. GREAT SHORT STORIES OF THE WORLD 

to them and kills them gently with his shafts. On the island are two 
cities, which divide all the land between them. My father was king 
over all, Ctesius son of Ormenus, * godlike man. 

"To this land came the Phoenicians, famous sailors greedy for mer- 
chandise, bringing many things in their dark ship. There was in my 
father's palace a Phoenician woman, tall and lovely, and skilful in mak- 
ing beautiful things with her hands; her the Phoenicians deceived by 
their guile. As she was washing clothes near the hollow ship, one of 
them conquered her; love beguiles many women, even the noblest. The 
Phoenician asked her who she was and from what land, and she straight- 
way showed him the high palace of my father, and said, 'I come from 
Sidon, rich in bronze, and am the daughter of the wealthy Arybas. 
The Taphians, who are pirates, seized me as I was coming from the 
fields, brought me to this land, and sold me for a great price to my 
present master.* Then he who had conquered her said in answer, 
Wouldst thou return once more to thy home with us, to sec again 
the high palace of thy father, and see thy mother? They are yet alive, 
and are reputed to be wealthy.' 

"Then the woman made answer to him and said, 'This may be, if 
you sailors will swear to bring me home safely.' Thus she answered, 
and the sailors swore as she bade them, and after they had sworn, the 
woman spake to them: 'Say naught now; let none of you speak to me 
when you see me in the street, or even by the well, lest it be known 
and told to the old man here, and he suspect me and tie me fast and 
bring death to you all. But keep in mind the plan, and hasten to bring 
your freight for the homeward voyage. When your ship is full laden, 
send a messenger quickly to the palace for me, and I will bring gold, 
all I can lay hand upon. And there is more, besides, that I would bring 
with me: I am nursing a child for my master, a darling boy who runs 
about with me; I would bring him with me on the ship. He should 
bring a high price, if you sell him among men of other lands and 
other speech.' 

"Then she departed to the fair halls. But the sailors remained among 
us a whole year, and gathered great wealth for their hollow ship, and 
when it was laden and ready to sail, a messenger was sent to tell the 
woman. A crafty man with a golden and amber chain came to the halls 
of my father. My mother and the maidens in the palace were looking 
upon the chain and holding it, offering the man a price for it, while he 
made signs in silence to the woman. Then he betook himself to the 
hollow ship. The woman then took me by the hand and led me out of 
the house. At the doorway she found the cups and tables of the guests 
who had feasted and waited upon my father: they had gone out to the 
meeting-place where councils were held. And the woman concealed three 
cups in her bosom, and carried them away, while I followed her inno- 



ANCIENT GREECE HOMER 2$ 

cently. The sun sank and darkness came. Going quickly, we reached the 
harbor and the swift ship of the Phoenicians; the sailors went aboard, 
taking us with them, and sailed ove# the ocean, Zeus giving us favoring 
winds. We sailed continuously day and night for six days, but whep 
Zeus, son of Cronos, brought the seventh, Artemis the huntress struck 
down the woman and she fell like a swallow to the bottom of the ship. 
The sailors threw her overboard, to the seals and the fishes, and I sor- 
rowed. With the help of wind and wave they came to Ithaca, where 
Laertes bought me. It was thus that I first beheld this place." 



(6th Century, B.C.?) 

was "not a poet," says Gilbert Murray, "but the legendary 
r of a particular type of story." This type is known as the 
Beast Fable, a brief incident related in order to point a simple 
moral. According to tradition ^Esop was a foreign slave of the 
Sixth Century B.C. Whether the fables of ancient India, such as 
those in the Hitofadesa, influenced the ancient Greeks and Ro- 
mar^ is a question still debated by scholars. At any rate there is 
a striking similarity, both in treatment and subject-matter, between 
the Fables of &sop, Phaedrus and Avianus, and those which de- 
lighted the Indians. 

The present translation was made by James and published first 
in 1848. 



THE COUNTRY MOUSE AND THE TOWN MOUSE 

}NCE upon a time a Country Mouse who had a friend in town 
invited him, for old acquaintance' sake, to pay him a visit in 
the country. The invitation being accepted in due form, the Country 
Mouse, though plain and rough and somewhat frugal in his nature, 
opened his heart and store, in honor of hospitality and an old friend. 
There was not a carefully stored-up morsel that he did not bring forth 
out of his larder, peas and barley, cheese-parings and nuts, hoping by 
quantity to make up what he feared was wanting in quality, to suit the 
palate of his dainty guest. The Town Mouse, condescending to pick a 
bit here and a bit there, while the host sat nibbling a blade of barley- 
straw, at length exclaimed, "How is it, my good friend, that you can 
endure the dullness of this unpolished life? You are living like a toad 
in a hole* You can't really prefer these solitary rocks and woods to 



26 GREAT SHORT STORIES OP THE WORLD 

streets teeming with carriages and men. On my honor, you are wasting 
your time miserably here. We must make the most of life while it lasts. 
A mouse, you know, does not live* forever. So come with me and I'll 
show you life and the town." Overpowered with such fine words and so 
polished a manner, the Country Mouse assented; and they set out together 
on their journey to town. It was late in the evening when they crept 
stealthily into the city, and midnight ere they reached the great house, 
where the Town Mouse took up his quarters. Here were couches of 
crimson velvet, carvings in ivory, everything in short that denoted wealth 
and luxury. On the table were the remains of a splendid banquet, to 
procure which all the choicest shops in the town had been ransacked the 
day before. It was now the turn of the courtier to play the host; he 
places his country friend on purple, runs to and fro to supply all his 
wants, presses dish upon dish and dainty upon dainty, and as though he 
were waiting on a king, tastes every course ere he ventures to place it 
before his rustic cousin. The Country Mouse, for his part, affects to 
make himself quite at home, and blesses the good fortune that had 
wrought such a change in his way of life; when, in the midsffof his 
enjoyment, as he is thinking with contempt of the poor fare he has 
forsaken, on a sudden the door flies open, and a party of revellers return- 
ing from a late entertainment, bursts into the room. The affrighted 
friends jump from the table in the greatest consternation and tyde them- 
selves in the first corner they can reach. No sooner do they venture to 
creep out again than the barking of dogs drives them back in still greater 
terror than before. At length, when things seemed quiet, the Country 
Mouse stole out from his hiding place, and bidding his friend good-bye, 
whispered in his ear, "Oh, my good sir, this fine mode of living may do 
for those who like it; but give me my barley-bread in peace and security 
before the daintiest feast where Fear and Care are in waiting." 



HERODOTUS 

(484-424 B.C.) 

HERODOTUS, the Father of History, is celebrated as a teller of 
tales. These he introduced into his History partly for purposes of 
elucidation and example, but partly also because he enjoyed writing 
them. The story that follows is, according to Professor Murray 
"all but pure fairy" tale, and is probably based on an Indian origi- 
nal. For the first time in Greek literature we have a short story as 
unified and free from unessential details as the most rigid modern 
critic could desire. 

The present version, which comprises Chapter CXXI of the 



ANCIENT GREECE HERODOTUS 27 

Second Book of the History y is from the standard translation by 
George Rawlinson, first published in 1858. There is no title in 
the original* 4 



KING RHAMPSINITUS AND THE THIEF 
(From the History, Book II) 

"ING RHAMPSINITUS was possessed, they said, of great riches 
in silver indeed to such an amount, that none of the princes, his 
successors, surpassed or even equaled his wealth. For the better custody 
of this money, he proposed to build a vast chamber of hewn stone, one 
side of which was to form a part of the outer wall of his palace. The 
builder, therefore, having designs upon the treasures, contrived, as he 
was making the building, to insert in this wall a stone which could easily 
be removed from its place by two men, or even one. So the chamber was 
finished, and the king's money stored away in it. 

Time passed, and the builder fell sick; when finding his end approach- 
ing, he called for his two sons, and related to them the contrivance he 
had made in the king's treasure-chamber, telling them it was for their 
sakes he had done it, so that they might always live in affluence. Then 
he gave* them clear directions concerning the mode of removing the 
stone, and communicated the measurements, bidding them carefully keep 
the secret, whereby they would be Comptrollers of the Royal Exchequer 
so long as they lived. Then the father died, and the sons^were, not slow 
in setting to work; they went by night to the palace, found the stone 
in the wall of the building, and haying removed it with ease, plundered 
the treasury of a round sum. 

When the king next paid a visit to the apartment he was astonished 
to see that the money was sunk in some of the vessels wherein it was 
stored away. Whom to accuse, however, he knew not, as the seals were 
all perfect, and the fastenings of the room secure. Still each time that 
he repeated his visits, he found that more money was gone. The thieves 
in truth never stopped, but plundered the treasury ever more and more. 
^ At last the king determined to have some traps made, and set near the 
vessels which contained his wealth. This was done, and when the thieves 
came, as usual, to the treasure chamber, and one of them entering 
through the aperture, made straight for the jars, suddenly he found him- 
self caught in one of the traps. Perceiving that he was lost, he instantly 
called his brother, and telling him what had happened, entreated him to 
enter as quickly as possible and cut off his head, that when his body 
should be discovered it might not be recognized, which would have the 
effect of bringing ruin upon both. The other thief thought the advice 



38 GREAT SHORT STORIES OF THE WORLD 

good, and was persuaded to follow it; then, fitting the stone into its 
place, he went home, taking with him his brother's head. 

When day dawned, the king came into the room, and marveled greatjy 
to see the body of the thief in the trap without a head, while the build- 
ing was still whole, and neither entrance nor exit was to be seen any- 
where. In this perplexity he commanded the body of the dead man to 
be hung up outside the palace wall, and set a guard to watch it, with 
orders that if any persons were seen weeping or lamenting near the 
place, they should be seized and brought before him. When the mother 
heard of this exposure of the corpse of her son, she took it sorely to 
heart, and spoke to her surviving child, bidding him devise some plan or 
other to get back the body, and threatening that if he did not exert 
himself she would go herself to the king and denounce him as the robber. 

The son said all he could to persuade her to let the matter rest, but 
in vain: she still continued to trouble him, until at last he yielded to her 
importunity, and contrived as follows: Filling some skins with wine, he 
loaded them on donkeys, which he drove before him till he came to the 
place where the guards were watching the dead body, when, pulliifg two 
or three of the skins towards him, he untied some of the necks which 
dangled by the asses' sides. The wine poured freely out, whereupon he 
began to beat his head and shout with all his might, seeming not to know 
which of the donkeys he should turn to first. % 

When the guards saw the wine running, delighted to profit by the 
occasion, they rushed one and all into the road, each with some vessel 
or other, and caught the liquor as it was spilling. The driver pretended 
anger, and loaded them with abuse; whereon they did their best to pacify 
him, until at last he appeared to soften, and recover his good humor, 
drove his asses aside out of the road, and set to work to rearrange their 
burdens; meanwhile, as he talked and chatted with the guards, one of 
them began to rally him, and make him laugh, whereupon he gave them 
one of the skins as a gift. They now made up their minds to sit down 
and have a drinking-bout where they were, so they begged him to remain 
and drink with them. Then the man let himself be persuaded, and 
stayed. 

As the drinking went on, they grew very friendly together, so pres- 
ently he gave them another skin, upon which they drank so copiously 
that they were all overcome with liquor, and growing drowsy, lay down, 
and fell asleep on the spot. The thief waited till it was the dead of the 
night, and then took down the body of his brother; after which, in 
mockery, he shaved off the right side of all the soldiers' beards, and so 
left diem. Laying his brother's body upon the asses, he carried it home 
to his mother, having thus accomplished the thing that she had required 
of him. 

When it came to the king's eaa {that the thief's body was stolen away, 



ANCIENT GREECE HERODOTUS 19 

he was sorely vexed. Wishing, therefore, whatever it might cost, to 
catch the man who had contrived the trick, he had recourse (the priest 
said) to an expedient which I can scarcely credit. He announced that he 
would bestow his own daughter upon the man who would narrate to her 
the best story of the cleverest and wickedest thing done by himself. If 
any one in reply told her the story of the thief, she was to lay hold of 
him, and not allow him to get away. 

The daughter did as her father willed, whereon the thief, who was 
well aware of the king's motive, felt a desire to outdo him in craft 
and cunning. Accordingly he contrived the following plan: He procured 
the corpse of a man lately dead, and cutting off one of the arms at the 
shoulder, put it under his dress, and so went to the king.'s daughter. 
When she put the question to him as she had done to all the rest, he 
replied that the wickedest thing he had ever done was cutting off the 
head of his brother when he was caught in a trap in the king's treasury, 
and the cleverest was making the guards drunk and carrying off the 
body. As he spoke, the princess caught at him, but the thief took ad van* 
tage o the darkness to hold out to her the hand of the corpse. Imagining 
it to be his own hand, she seized and held it fast; while the thief, leav- 
ing it in her grasp, made his escape by the door. 

The king, when word was brought him of this fresh success, amazed 
at the sagacity and boldness of the man, sent messengers to all the towns 
in his dominions to proclaim a free pardon for the thief, and to promise 
him a rich reward, if he came and made himself known. The thief took 
the king at his word, and came boldly into his presence; whereupon 
Rhampsinitus, greatly admiring him, and looking on him as the most 
knowing of men, gave Ijjm his daughter in marriage. "The Egyptians," 
he said, "excelled all the rest of the world in wisdom, and this man 
excelled all other Egyptians." 



APOLLONIUS OF RHODES 

(3d Century, "B.C.) 

ALTHOUGH he was a late writer in the epic form, Apollonian 
treated ancient mythical material, but from the standpoint of a 
scholar and a literary stylistT He left his native land, Rhodes, and 
settled in Alexandria, then the centre of the cultured world. The 
tale of Phineus is not new, but the details which embellish it, and 
the verbal pyrotechnics which he lavished upon il are highly char- 
acteristic of the decadent period in which it was written. 

The present translation is that of R. C. Seaton, in the Loeb 
edition, William Heinemann, London, 1912. There is no title to 
the story in the original. 



30 GREAT SHORT STORIES OF THE WORLD 

PHINEUS AND THE HARPIES 



(From The Argonautica, Book HI) 

npHERE Phineus, son of Agenor, had his home by the sea, Phineus, 
JL who above all men endured most bitter woes because of the gift 
of prophecy which Leto's son had granted him aforetime. And he rev- 
erenced not a whit even Zeus himself, for he foretold unerringly to men 
his sacred will. Wherefore Zeus sent upon him a lingering old age, 
and took from his eyes the pleasant light, and suffered him not to have 
joy of the dainties untold that the dwellers-around ever brought to his 
house when they came to inquire the will of heaven. But on a sudden, 
swooping through the clouds, the Harpies, with their crooked beaks, in- 
cessantly snatched the food away from his mouth and hands, and at 
times not a morsel. of food was left, at others but a little, in order that 
he might live and be tormented. And they poured forth over all a loath- 
some stench; and no one dared not merely to carry food to his fnouth, 
but even to stand at a distance, so foully reeked the remnants of the 
meal. But straightway when he heard the voice and the tramp of the 
band he knew that they were the men passing by, at whose coming Zeus's 
oracle had declared to him that he should have joy of his food^And he 
rose from his couch, like a lifeless dream, bowed over his staff, and 
crept to the door on his withered feet, feeling the walls; and as he 
moved, his limbs trembled for weakness and age; and his parched skin 
was caked with dirt, and naught but the skin held his bones together. 
And he came forth from the hall and sat on tl\p threshold of the court- 
yard; and a dark stupor covered him, and it seemed that the earth reeled 
round beneath his feet, and he lay in a strengthless trance, speechless. 
But when they saw him they gathered round and marveled, and he at 
last drew labored breath from the depths of his chest and spoke among 
them with prophetic utterance: 

"Listen, bravest of all the Hellenes, if it be truly ye, wHom by a 
king's ruthless command Jason is leading on the ship Argo in quest of 
the fleece. It is ye truly. Even yet my soul by its divinations knows 
everything. Thanks I render to thee, O King, son of Leto, plunged in 
bitter affliction though I be. I beseech you^by Zeus, the god of suppliants, 
the sternest foe to sinful men, and for the sake of Phoebus and Hera 
herself under whose especial care ye have come hither, help me, save an 
ill-fated man from misery, and depart not uncaring, and leaving me 
thus as ye see. For not only has the Fury set her foot on my eyes and 
I drag on to the end a weary old age, but besides my other woes a woe 
hangs over me, the bitterest of all. The Harpies, swooping down from 
some unseen den of destruction, ever snatch the food fropi my mouth, 



ANCIENT GREECE APOLLONIUS 31 

and I have no device to aid me. But it were easier, when I long for a 
meal y to escape my own thoughts than them, so swiftly do they fly 
through the air. But if haply they do leave me a morsel of food, it reeks 
of decay and the stench is unendurable, nor could any mortal bear to 
draw near, even for a moment, no, not if his heart were wrought of 
adamant. But necessity, bitter and insatiate, compels me to abide, and 
abiding to put food into my accursed belly. These pests, the oracle de- 
clares, the sons of Boreas shall restrain, and no strangers are they that 
shall ward them off if indeed I am Phineus who was once renowned 
among men for wealth and the gift of prophecy, and if I am the son 
of my father Agenor; and when I ruled among the Thracians, by my 
bridal gifts I brought home their sister Cleopatra to be my wife." 

So spake Agenor's son, and deep sorrow seized each of the heroes, 
and especially the two sons of Boreas. And brushing away a tear, they 
drew nigh, and Zetes spake as follows, taking in his own the hand of 
the grief -worn sire: 

"Unhappy one, none other of men is more wretched than thou, me- 
thinks. Why upon thee is laid the burden of so many sorrows? Hast 
thou &ith baneful folly sinned against the gods through thy skill in 
prophecy? For this are they greatly wroth with thee? Yet our spirit is 
dismayed within us for all our desire to aid thee, if indeed the god has 
granted this privilege to us two. For plain to discern to men of earth 
are the reproofs of the immortals. And we will never check the Harpies 
when they come, for all our desire, until thou hast sworn that for this 
we shall not lose the favor of heaven." 

Thus he spake; and towards him the aged sire opened his sightless 
eyes and lifted them up and replied with these words: 

"Be silent, store not up such thoughts in thy heart, my child. Let the 
son of Leto be my witness, he who of his gracious will taught me the 
lore of prophecy, and be witness the ill-starred doom which possesses me, 
and this dark cloud upon my eyes, and the gods of the underworld and 
may their curse be upon me if I die perjured thus no wrath of heaven 
will fall upon you two for your help to me." 

Then were those two eager to help him because of the oath. And 
quickly the younger heroes prepared a feast for the aged man, a last 
prey for the Harpies; and both stood near him, to smite with the sword 
those pests when they swooped down. Scarcely had the aged man touched 
the food when they forthwith, like bitter blasts or flashes of lightning, 
suddenly darted from the clouds, and swooped down with a yell> fiercely 
craving for food; and the heroes beheld them and shouted in the midst 
of their onrush. But they, at the cry, devoured everything and sped away 
over the sea afar, and an intolerable stench remained. And behind them 
the two sons of Boreas, raising their swords, rushed in pursuit. F^r Zeus 
imparted to them tireless strength; but without Zeus they could riot likve 



3* GREAT SHORT STORIES OF THE WORLD 

followed, for the Harpies used ever to outstrip the blasts of the west 
Wind when they came to Phineus, and when they left him. And, as 
when, upon the mountain-side, hounds, cunning in the chase, run in the 
track of horned goats or deer, and as they strain a little behind, gnftsh 
their teeth upon the edge of their teeth in vain; so Zetes and Calias 
rushing very near, just grazed the Harpies in vain with their fingertips. 
And assuredly they would have torn them to piects despite heaven's will 
when they had overtaken them far off at the Floating Islands, had not 
swift Iris seen them and leaped down from the sky from heaven above 
and checked them with these words: 

"It is not lawful, O sons of Boreas, to strike with your swords the 
Harpies, the hounds of mighty Zeus; but I myself will give you a 
pledge, that hereafter they shall not draw near to Phineus/' 

With these words she took an oath by the water of Styx, which to all 
the gods is most dread and most awful, that the Harpies would never 
thereafter again approach the home of Phineus, son of Agenor, for so it 
Was fated. And the heroes, yielding to the oath, turned back their flight 
to the ship. And, on account of this, men called them the Islyjds of 
Turning, though aforetime they had called them the Floating Islands. 
And the Harpies and Iris parted. They entered their den in Minoan 
Crete; but she sped up to Olympus, soaring aloft on her swift 
Wings. 

Meantime the chiefs carefully cleansed the old man's squaiid skin, 
ant!, with due selection, sacrificed sheep which they had borne away from 
the spoil of Amycus. And when they had laid a huge supper in the hall, 
they sat down and feasted, and with them feasted Phineus ravenously, 
delighting his soul as in a dream. And there, when they had taken their 
fill of food and drink, they kept awake all night, waiting for the sons 
of Boreas. And the aged sire himself sat in the midst, near the hearth, 
Celling of the end of their voyage and the completion of their journey. 



HELIODORUS 

(jd Century, A.D.) 

HELIODORUS was one of the earliest writers of the novel, or ro- 
mance. Though he lived long after the close of the Golden Age 
of Greek literature, he is (together with Longus) the initiator of 
the novel form. But like many novelists (even modern novelists, 
who are supposed to know better), he interspersed his romance 
with episodes which are in themselves short stories. The very 
first chapter of the &Mo$ian Romance, which is here reprinted, 
is such a story. 



ANCIENT GREECE HELIODORUS 33 

The present version is slightly modified and modernized from 
the early English translation by Thomas Underdowne. There is 
no title to the story in the original. 



THE ROBBERS OF EGYPT 
(Prom The JEtkiofica, or JEthtofian Romance^ Book I) 

AT the first smile of day, when the sun was just beginning to shine 
JLJL on the summits of the hills, men whose custom was to live by 
rapine and violence ran to the top of a cliff and stretched toward that 
mouth of the Nile which is called Heracleot. Standing awhile, they 
viewed the sea underneath them, and when they had looked a good season 
afar off into the same and could see nothing which could put them in 
the hope of prey, they cast their eyes toward the neighboring shore, where 
a ship lay moored, without sailors but full-freighted; which thing they 
who-iwere afar off might easily conjecture, for the cargo brought the 
water up to the ship's third loading-line. But on the shore every place 
was full of men newly slain, some quite dead, some half dead, some 
whose bodies yet panted and plainly declared that there had been a battle 
fought of late. There could be seen no signs or tokens of any just 
quarrel* but only some poor confused remnants of an unlucky banquet 
which had ended so. For the tables were furnished with delicate dishes, 
some whereof lay in the hands of those that were slain, having served 
as weapons in the battle so suddenly begun. Other tables covered such 
as had crept under them to hide themselves, as they thought. Besides, the 
cups were overthrown and fallen from the hands, either of them that 
drank or those who had, instead of stones, used them. For that sudden 
mischief wrought new devices, and taught them instead of weapons to 
use their pots. Of those who lay there, one was wounded with an ax, 
another was hurt with the shells of fishes, whereof on the shore there 
was great plenty; another was battered with a club, many burnt by 
fire, and the rest by divers other means, but most of all were slain with 
arrows. To be brief, God showed a wonderful sight in so small a space, 
imbruing wine with blood, joining battle with banqueting, mingling 
7'ndifferently slaughter with drinking, and killing with quaffings, pro- 
viding such a sight for the thieves of Egypt to gaze at. For they, when 
they had looked upon these things a good while from the hill, could not 
understand what that sight meant, forasmuch as they saw some slain 
there, but the conquerors could they see nowhere, A manifest victory, 
but no spoils taken away, a ship without mariners, but, as concerning 
other things, untouched, as if she had been kept with a guard of many 
men, and lay at road in a peaceful harbor. 



34 GREAT SHORT STORIES OP THE WORLD 

But though they knew not what the thing meant, they still had regard 
for gain, and deeming themselves to be victors, hurried with all speed 
to seize their booty* They were but a little way from the ship when they 
saw a sight more perplexing than the rest a great deal. A maid endowed 
with excellent beauty, who almost might be supposed a goddess, sat upon 
a rock seeming not a little to be grieved with that present mischance, but 
for all that of excellent courage. She had a garland of laurel on her 
head, a quiver on her back; to her left shoulder a bow was fastened, and 
her left arm hung carelessly down. Her right elbow she rested upon her 
thigh, holding her cheek in her hand, looking downward without moving 
her head, beholding a certain young man who lay before her, the which 
was sore wounded and seemed to lift up himself as if he had been 
awakened out of a dead sleep, almost of death itself. Yet was he in this 
case of singular beauty, and although his cheeks were besprinkled with 
blood, his whiteness did appear so much the more. He was constrained 
for grief to close his eyes, but the sight of the maiden drew them towards 
her, and they must needs see, because they saw her. As soon as he came 
to himself he heaved a deep sigh and uttered these words very fs^ntly, 
"And art thou safe indeed, my sweetheart?" quoth he. "Or hast thou 
by thy death augmented the slaughter? Canst thou not endure, even 
after death, to be separated from me, that now a vision of thy spirit 
haunts this place of trouble ?" "Nay," answered the maid, "on you doth 
all my estate depend, for good or ill, for this cause, you see" Showing 
a knife in her hand "this has hitherto been waiting, and only by the 
chance of your recovery was restrained." 

As soon as she had said thus, she leaped from the stone, and they who 
were on the hill, as well for wonder as also for the fear they had, as if 
they had been stricken with lightning, ran every man to hide them in 
the bushes there beside. For she seemed to them a thing of greater price, 
and more heavenly when she stood upright, and her arrows with the 
sudden moving of her body gave a clash on her shoulders, her apparel 
wrought with gold glistened against the sun, and her hair under the 
garland, blown about with the wind, covered a great part of her back. 
The thieves were greatly afraid; and even more than what they saw 
did their ignorance of what had happened before terrify them. Some of 
them said indeed it was a goddess Artemis, or Isis, the lady of the land 
others declared it was a priestess of the gods who, replenished with 
divine fury, had made the great slaughter which there appeared. And 
they every man gave his verdict, because they knew not yet the truth. 
But she, hastily running to the young man, embraced him, wept for 
sorrow, kissed him, wiped away his blood and made pitiful moan, scarcely 
believing that she held him in her arms. Which things when the Egyp- 
tians had seen, they turned their opinions: "And are these," said they, 
works of a goddess? Would a goddess kiss a dead man with such 



ANCIENT GREECE HELIODORUS 35 

compassion?" They determined therefore with themselves that it was 
best to take heart of grace, and draw near to find out the truth. When 
they had therefore encouraged each other a little, they ran down and 
tound the maid busy in dressing the young man's wounds, and coming 
behind her, suddenly stood still, and durst neither speak nor do anything 
more for their lives. 

When she heard the noise around her, and saw their shadows before 
her eyes, she lifted herself up a little and looked back, but then at once 
stooped down again, no whit dismayed by the strange color of their skin, 
nor yet abashed to see the thieves in harness, but applying herself only 
to bind up his wounds that lay before her. Such is the force of earnest 
desire and true love: it despiseth all outward chances, be they pleasant 
or otherwise, only beholding that which it loveth, and thereabout be- 
stoweth all diligence and travail. But when the thieves passed by and 
stood before her, and seemed as though they would enterprise somewhat, 
she lifted herself up again and beholding them black and ill-favored, 
said: "If you be the spirits of those who are slain here, you trouble us 
wrongfully, for most of you were slain by your own hands. As for us, 
if we slew any, we did it but in our <Jwn defense to repel the violence 
which was proffered to my virginity. But if you be men alive, it seemeth 
you are thieves, and you have come here in good season. Rid us, I pray, 
from these present miseries, and by death finish this our unhappy tragedy." 
Thus did she sorrowfully lament. But they, not understanding what she 
said, left them there, accounting their weakness a sufficient guard, and 
hastened to the ship, and brought out that which was in the same, paying 
no regard to other things whereof therein was great store, but every man 
bearing out as much as he could, of gold, silver, precious stones and silk. 
And when they thought they had enough, and there was such plenty as 
might satisfy even a thief's greed, laying their booty on the shore, they 
fell to dividing it into portions such as they could carry, not according 
to the worth and value of what they had, but contenting themselves 
with equality of weight. As for the young man and the maid, they would 
take order for them afterwards. 

In the meantime, another company of thieves, whereof two horsemen 
were captains, came toward them: which thing as soon as those saw that 
had been there before, having no courage to oppose them, they ran away 
as fast as they could, without taking with them any part of the prey, 
that they might give their enemy no occasion to pursue them. For they 
were in number but ten, and those who came upon them were three times 
as many. And so the maid and her companion, though not yet prisoners, 
were again in durance. But the robbers, although they were eager for 
the spoil, yet, partly because they knew not what those things signified 
which they saw, and partly also for fear, stayed themselves a while, 
thinking that the former slaughter had been made by the thieves that 



36 GREAT SHORT STORIES OF THE WORLD 

had been there before. But when they beheld the maid in her fine for- 
eign dress, who despised the dangers that hung over her head as if they 
had been none, and altogether employed her care to ease the young 
man's wounds, taking his grief as heavily as her own sorrow, they not 
only marveled at her beauty and high spirit but were wonderfully moved 
by the comeliness of the wounded man's person. Such was the seemliness 
of his countenance, and tallness of his stature, as he lay before them. 
For by this time he was a little mended, and his person had recovered 
its old handsomeness again. At length, after they had beheld them a 
good while, he drew near who was their master, and laid hand on the 
maid, and bade her arise and follow him. She, although she understood 
not what he said, conjecturing what he wished her to do, drew the young 
man with her, himself holding her fast, and pointing with a knife to 
her breast, threatened that she would kill herself if they carried them 
not away both together. Which thing when the master, partly by her 
talk but more plainly by her gesture, understood, hoping also to use the 
young man's help in great affairs when he recovered, he alighted him- 
self from his horse and commanded his harness-bearer likewise %o to 
do, and set his prisoners upon them. Then, ordering the rest when they 
had gathered up the prey to follow them, he himself like a lackey ran 
by their side and stayed them upright, if by reason of their infirmity they 
were likely to fall. Surely this deed was not without glory; forjie who 
was their master now waited upon them, and he who took them prisoners 
was content to serve them. Such is the impression that nobility makes, and 
such the force of comeliness, which can subdue the disposition of thieves 
and bring under the wild and savage. 



Ancient Rome 



INTRODUCTION 

IT is a commonplace of literary history that Roman art was largely 
imitated or derived from the Greek, and in particular that Roman 
literature contributed little to the world's store of masterpieces. Yet 
among the Romans the short story was esteemed more highly and was 
often more skilfully developed than it was among the Greeks. 

The first of the stories chosen is from the historian Livy. Before his 
day Acre is very little material from which to select, although if the 
earlier writers of epic and history were better known to us, we might 
have found stories in the works of Livius Andronicus, Ennius, and the 
historians, most of whose writings have been lost. In the Letters of 
Cicero are numerous incidents falling within our category, but none of 
them of sufficient intrinsic interest to warrant their inclusion in this 
volume. Livy's History abounds in episodes, many of them related with 
a certain matt er-of-factn ess that characterizes a great deal of Latin 
prose writing. Still, Horatius at the Bridge is a stirring tale rendered 
doubly effective by its simplicity. 

Ovid was a born teller of stories, and though he borrowed largely 
from the Greeks and was a fastidious poet intent upon achieving a 
refined and elegant style, the numerous myths which he treats at length 
in his Metamorphoses include half a dozen of the loveliest stories ever 
written. 

Other poets and historians and miscellaneous writers Valerius Maxi- 
mus, Varro, Statius, Tacitus and Suetoniustried their hand at story- 
telling, and even Vergil in his JEneid, recounted episodes that are genuine 
stories, but none of them could rival the technical skill with which the 
minor poet Phaedrus turned the ^sopian fables and everyday incidents 
of life and history into graceful and appealing tales. Like the earlier 
fabulists, Phsedrus preached little sermons. The most interesting parts of 
his work are the little anecdotes, like the one included in this Volume; 
these are miniature stories. The other famous Roman fabulist was Avianus 
who, rediscovered in the Middle Ages, exerted a profound and lasting 
influence in France and Germany. But his work is neither so finished 
nor so attractive as that of Phsedrus. 

37 



38 GREAT SHORT STORIES OF THE WORLD 

Many genuine stories are found in the personal correspondence of the 
time, chiefly among the published collections of Cicero and Pliny the 
Younger. Pliny wrote several short stories which he elaborated with con- 
scious skill, for he wrote with a view to publication. Throughout a*ll 
modern literature we find stories, indeed lengthy stories (see Richard- 
son), related through the medium of letters. This is a deliberate device 
employed to lend to the narrative an air of actuality. It would be en- 
lightening to know whether Pliny wrote his Haunted House as a lit- 
erary experiment, or whether he really believed the story. But supposing 
he related it as a fact supposing even that all the facts were to be 
proved scientifically correct, would it be any the less a good story? 

Petronius belonged to a different world in which Latin prose had lost 
a good deal of its rigid dignity, and like the literature of the late Hel- 
lenistic period in Greece, was characterized by a facile cynicism on the 
part of the writers, and an over-luxuriance of style. The writers were very 
numerous, poets, historians, satirists, and even scientists interspersing their 
writings with tales of haunted houses, ghosts, and all the supernatural 
apparitions that are the stock-in-trade of the story-writer. Petronivs and 
Apuleius, however, stood head and shoulders above the rest of their con- 
temporaries and followers. The Matron of Efhesus, hackneyed though its 
theme may be, is a masterpiece of satirical fiction, while The Dream is 
one of a dozen tales of mystery and imagination which constitute the 
chief glory of The Golden Ass. That rambling romance, it*will be 
remembered, also contains the enchanting Cupid and Psyche^ which is 
far too long for inclusion in a collection of this sort. 
, Just at what point Roman literature ended is a matter to be deter- 
mined by the historians, but after the Fifth Century A.D. it becomes 
increasingly difficult to designate any tale as unmistakably Roman. 

Then foreigners began to change the face of the Empire, Christianity 
damped the ardour of the artist and stifled the imagination of the story- 
teller. It is not until the dawn of modern times, some six or seven 
centuries afterward, when the fragments of Roman stories were again 
taken up and imbedded in the curious mediaeval mosaics of the Gesta 
Romanorum and the Hundred Ancient Tales, that we realize how the 
art of tale-telling had never been forgotten. 

Throughout the break-up of Rome and the barbarian invasions, through 
the darkest years of the Tenth Century, the Latin traditions were pre- 
served in the manuscripts of the monasteries, and on the lips of singers, 
minstrels, acrobats, and actors. 

With Apuleius and Petronius the short story, as an art-form, may be 
said to have achieved a decided technical advance over the efforts of the 
Greeks. With these later writers the story was told largely for its own 
sake, and not to illustrate a moral truth or glorify the deeds of the 
people. 



ANCIENT ROME LIVY , 39 

LIVY 

(59 B.C.-I7 A.D.) 

TITUS Livxus, known to as under the English title of Livy, 
though born in the provinces at Padua, spent most of his life at the 
capital, where he was a teacher and writer of history. His History 
of Rome was a monumental work, of which only a part has come 
down to us. Like practically all the historians of antiquity (and 
most of the moderns, for that matter) he introduces stories and 
anecdotes on hearsay evidence, using them in order to glorify his 
country or to drive home a lesson. Horatius at the Bridge is a case 
in question, and though it may be founded on fact, it is probably 
apocryphal in detail. 

The present translation (including Chapters IX and X of Book 
II) is a revision of that made by D. Spillan, published in the Bohn 
edition in 1872. There is no title in the original. 



HORATIUS AT THE BRIDGE 

o 

(From the History ', Book II ) 

BY this time the Tarquins had fled to Lars Porsena, king of Clusium. 
There, with advice and entreaties, they besought, him <not to suffer 
them, who were descended from the Etrurians and of the same blood and 
name, to live in exile and poverty; and advised him not to let this practice 
of expelling kings to pass unpunished. Liberty, they declared, had 
charms enough in itself; and unless kings defended their crowns with 
as much vigor as the people pursued their liberty, the highest must be 
reduced to a level with the lowest; there would be nothing exalted, 
nothing distinguished above the rest; hence there must be an end of 
regal government, the most beautiful institution both among gods and 
men. Porsena, thinking it would be an honor to the Tuscans that there 
should be a king at Rome, especially one of the Etrurian nation, marched 
towards Rome with an army. Never before had such terror seized the 
Senate, so powerful was the state of Clusium rt the time, and so great 
the renown of Porsena. Nor did they only dread their enemies, but even 
their own citizens, lest the common people, through excess of fear should, 
by receiving the Tarquins into the city, accept peace even though pur- 
chased with slavery. Many concessions were therefore granted to the 
people by the Senate during that period. Their attention, in the first 
place, was directed to the markets, and persons were sent, some to the 



40 GREAT SHORT STORIES OF THE WORLD 

Volscians, others to Cumae, to buy up corn. The privilege of selling salt, 
because it was farmed at a high rate, was also taken into the hands of 
the government, and withdrawn from private individuals; and the peo- 
ple were freed from port-duties and taxes, in order that the rich, who 
could bear the burden, should contribute; the poor paid tax enough if 
they educated their children. This indulgent care of the fathers accord- 
ingly kept the whole state in such concord amid the subsequent severities 
of the siege and famine, that the highest as well as the lowest abhorred 
the name of king; nor was any individual afterwards so popular by 
intriguing practices as the whole Senate was by their excellent govern- 
ment. 

Some parts of the city seemed secured by the walls, others by the 
River Tiber. The Sublician Bridge well-nigh afforded a passage to the 
enemy, had there not been one man, Horatius Codes (fortunately Rome 
had on that day such a defender) who, happening to be posted on guard 
at the bridge, when he saw the Janiculum taken by a sudden assault and 
the enemy pouring down thence at full speed, and that his own party, 
in terror and confusion, were abandoning their arms and ranks, hying 
hold of them one by one, standing in their way and appealing to the 
faith of gods and men, he declared that their flight would avail them 
nothing if they deserted their post; if they passed the bridge, there would 
soon be more of the enemy in the Palatium and Capitol than in the 
Janiculum. For that reason he charged them to demolish the bridge, by 
sword, by fire, or by any means whatever; declaring that he would stand 
the shock of the enemy as far as could be done by one man. He then 
advanced to the first entrance of the bridge, and being easily distinguished 
among those who showed their backs in retreating, faced about to engage 
the foe hand to hand, and by his surprising bravery he terrified the enemy. 
Two indeed remained with him from a sense of shame: Sp. Lartius and 
T. Herminius, men eminent for their birth, and renowned for their gal- 
lant exploits. With them he for a short time stood the first storm of the 
danger, and the severest brunt of the battle. But as they who demolished 
the bridge called upon them to retire, he obliged them also to withdraw 
to a place of safety on a small portion of the bridge that was still left. 
Then casting his stern eyes toward the officers of the Etrurians in a 
threatening manner, he now challenged them singly, and then reproached 
them, slaves of haughty tyrants who, regardless of their own freedom, 
came to oppress the liberty of others. They hesitated for a time, looking 
round one at the other, to begin the fight; shame then put the army in 
motion, and a shout being raised, they hurled weapons from all sides at 
their single adversary; and when they all stuck in his upraised shield, 
and he with no less obstinacy kept possession of the bridge, they endeavored 
to thrust him down from it by one push, when the crash of the falling 
bridge was heard, and at the same time a shout of the Romans raised for 



ANCIENT ROME LIVY 41 

joy at having completed their purpose, checked their ardor with sudden 
panic. Then said Codes: "Holy Father Tiber, I pray thee, receive these 
arms, and this thy soldier, in thy propitious stream." Armed as he was, he 
leaped into the Tiber, and amid showers of darts, swam across safe to 
his party, having dared an act which is likely to obtain with posterity 
more fame than credit. The state was grateful for such valor; a statue 
was erected to him in the comitium, and as much land given to him as 
he could plow in one day. The zeal of private individuals was also con- 
spicuous among his public honors. For amid the great scarcity, each con- 
tributed something, according to his supply, depriving himself of his 
own support. 



OVID 

(43 B.C.-I8 A.D.?) 

PUBLIUS OVIDIUS NASO, better known to readers of English as 
Ovid, was born not far from Rome, and spent the latter part of 
his life in exile. The Metamorphoses, his most ambitious work, is 
an attempt to reshape in metrical form the chief stories of Greek 
mythology, and several from Roman mythology. Orpheus and 
Eurydice, one of the most human of the legends of antiquity, is 
a graceful piece of writing. Its "point" is as clear and as cleverly 
turned as you will find in any ancient tale. 

The present translation is based by the editors upon two early 
versions, the one very literal, the other a paraphrase. The story, 
which has no title in the original, appears in the Tenth Book of 
the Metamorphoses. 



ORPHEUS AND EURYDICE 
(From The Metamorf hoses, Book X) 

Hymenaeus, clad in a saffron-colored robe, passed through 
JL the unmeasured spaces of the air and directed his course to the 
region of the Ciconians, and in vain was invoked by the voice of 
Orpheus. He presented himself, but brought with him neither auspicious 
words, nor a joyful appearance, nor happy omen. The torch he held 
hissed with a smoke that brought tears to the eyes, though it was without 
a flame. The issue was more disastrous than the omen; for the new 
bride, while strolling over the grass attended by a train of Naiads, was 
killed by the sting of a serpent on her ankle. 



4* GREAT SHORT STORIES OF THE WORLD 



the Rhodopcian bard had bewailed her in the upper realms, he 
4ared, that he might try the shades below as well, to descend to the Styx 
by the Txnarian Gate, and amid the phantom inhabitants, he went to 
Penephone* and him who held sway over the dark world. Touching th*e 
strings of his harp and speaking, he thus addressed them: "Oh, ye deities 
of the* world that lies beneath the earth, to which we all come at last, 
if I be permitted to speak, laying aside the artful expressions of a deceit- 
ful tongue, I have not descended hither from curiosity to see dark 
Tartarus nor to bind the threefold throat of the Medusaean monster 
bristling with serpents. My wife is the cause of my coming, into whom 
a serpent which she trod on suffused its poison, and cut short the thread 
of her years. I wished to be able to endure this, and I will not deny 
that I have striven to do so. But love has proved stronger. That god 
is well-known in the regions above; whether he be so here as well, I 
am uncertain. Yet I think that even here he is, and if the story of the 
rape of former days is true, 'twas love that brought you two together. 
By these places filled with terrors, by this vast chaos and by the silence 
of these boundless realms, I entreat you, weave over again the guick- 
spun thread of the life of Eurydice. 

"To you we all belong, and having stayed but a little while above, 
sooner or later we all hasten to your abode. Hither are we all hastening. 
This is our last home, and you possess indisputable dominion over the 
human race. She, too, when in due time she shall have completed her 
allotted number of years, will be under your sway. The enjoyment of 
her I entreat as a favor, but if the fates deny me this privilege on 
behalf of my wife, I have determined that I will never return to earth. 
Triumph, then, in the death of us both!" 

As he spoke and touched the strings of his lyre, the bloodless spirits 
wept. Tantalus no longer caught at the retreating water; the wheel of 
Ixion stood still in amazement; the birds ceased to tear at the liver of 
Tityus, and the granddaughters of Belus paused at their urns. Thou, 
too, Sisyphus, didst seat thyself on the stone. The story is that then for 
the first time the cheeks of the Eumenides, overcome by the music of 
Orpheus, were wet with tears; nor could the royal consort, nor he who 
ruled the infernal regions endure to deny his request. And they called 
for Eurydice. She advanced at a slow pace from among the shades newly 
arrived, for she was lame from her wound. 

The Rhodopeian hero received her and at the same time was told the 
condition that he turn not back his eyes until he had passed the Avernian 
V^lley,lest the grant be revoked. They ascended the path in silence, steep, 
dark, and enveloped in deepening gloom. Now they were arrived at last 
at a point not Jfar below the verge of the upper earth. Orpheus, fearing 
lest Eurydice should fall, and impatient to behold her once again, turned 
his eyes, and at once she sank back again. Hapless woman, stretching out 



ANCIENT ROME OVID 43 

her hands and struggling for the arms of her lover, she caught nothing 
but empty air. Dying a second time, she complained not of her husband, 
for why should she complain of being beloved? Then she pronounced 
the last farewell, which he scarcely heard, and again was she hurried 
back whence she had come. 

And Orpheus was astounded and perplexed by this two-fold death of 
his wife. 



PPLEDRUS 

(15 B.C.?-55 A.D.?) 

IT was the chief distinction of this writer to have collected the 
Fables of ^Ssop (or whoever it was who wrote ^Esop's works) and 
rewritten them for the Romans. His collection is the earliest of 
"*its kind which has survived. Not all his Fables, however, are based 
upon &sop. The ^ hi f wreck of Simonides is either an original 
composition or was taken from another source. Phaedrus was a 
Thracian slave, and later a freedman, in the service of the Em- 
peror Augustus. He once declared that the fable was invented as 
a ^device whereby slavery could find a voice," a definition which 
throws considerable light on Phaedrus' life, even if it fails to ex- 
plain the. origin of the Fable form. 

The present text was first published in the Bohn edition of 
Phaedrus in 1848. 



THE SHIPWRECK OF SIMONIDES 

A LEARNED man has always a fund of riches in himself. 
jLJCL Simonides, who wrote such excellent lyric poems, the more 
easily to support his poverty, Segan to make a tour of the celebrated 
cities of Asia, singing the praises of victors for such reward as he might 
receive. After he had become enriched by this kind of gain, he resolved 
to return to his native land by sea (for he was born, it is said, in the 
island of Ceos). Accordingly he embarked in a ship, which a dreadful 
tempest, together with its own rottenness, caused to founder at sea. 
Some gathered together their girdles, others their precious effects, which 
formed the support of their existence. One who was over inquisitive, 
remarked: "Are you going to save none of your property, Simonides?" 
He made reply: "All my possessions are about me." A few only made 
their escape by swimming, for the majority, being weighed down by their 



44 GREAT SHORT STORIES OF THE WORLD 

burdens, perished. Some thieves too made their appearance, and seized 
what each person had saved, leaving him naked. Clazomenae, an ancient 
citjr, chanced to be near; to which the shipwrecked persons repaired. 
Here a person devoted to the pursuits of literature, who had often read 
the lines of Simonides, and was a very great admirer of him though he 
had never seen him, knowing from his very language who he was, 
received him with the greatest pleasure into his house, and furnished 
him with clothes, money, and attendants. The others meanwhile were 
carrying about their pictures, begging for victuals. Simonides chanced 
to meet them; and, as soon as he saw them, remarked: "I told you 
that all my property was about me; what you have endeavored to save 
is lost." 



PETRONIUS 

(Died 66 A.D.) * 

GAIUS PETRONIUS ARBITER was born some time early during the 
First Century of the Christian era, and committed suicide in the 
year 66. Writer, government official, dilettante and friend of Nero, 
he "had idled into fame," as Tacitus tells us. His best-known wok, 
The Satyricon, is a strange straggling sort of satirical novel, into 
which he introduced this short masterpiece, The Matron of 
Efhesus. The tale is supposed to be in the manner of one of the 
so-called lost Milesian Tales, a collection renowned for its cynical 
outlook on humanity in general and woman in particular. This 
brief story (in one form or another) is to be found running through 
all literature, especially the literature written by men. 

The present version is a revision (by the editors) of two older 
versions. 



THE MATRON OF EPHESUS 
(From The Satyricon) 

A CERTAIN matron of Ephesus was so notably pure that women 
JL\. came from afar to look upon her. When her husband was buried, 
she was not satisfied with the usual custom of following the body with 
loosened hair and beating her breast in the presence of the people: she 
accompanied her dead spouse right into the sepulcher which was in the 
Greek style, underground and there remained to watch and weep by 
day and by night. Her parents and relations were unable t6 prevent her 



ANCIENT ROME PETRONIUS 45 

rom thus torturing herself, and remaining in the sepulcher to die of 
hunger. The civil officials at last left in despair. 

The matron lived through the fifth day without caring, and was 
grieved for by all as a shining example to all womenkind. A faithful 
maidservant sat by the wretched woman, shed the appropriate number 
of tears, and kept the lamp burning. 

Word spread through the city, and every one agreed that it was a 
unique example of conjugal love and fidelity. 

Meantime, the provincial governor crucified certain thieves near the 
sepulcher where the matron was weeping over the body of her late hus- 
band, and a soldier was commanded to keep guard over the crosses, to 
prevent the bodies from being taken down and buried. The following 
night he perceived a light shining brightly among the trees and heard the 
moans of the woman. Like all human beings, he was curious, and desired 
to know who was groaning, and what was the cause of it. He therefore 
entered the sepulcher, and on seeing a beautiful woman, stopped short 
and was as deeply moved as though he had seen an omen or a ghost from 
the ijpther world. The moment he set eyes on the body and remarked 
the matron's tears, and her face scarred by the marks of fingernails, he 
understood: she was desperate in her love for the man who was dead. 
He then brought his frugal supper into the sepulcher, and begged the 
matron not to give way so to a grief that was useless, nor break her heart 
in weepfng. All men, he said, had the same fate and the same last 
resting-place. But she was ill-pleased by such commonplace consolation, 
and smote her breast more violently than ever, tearing out her hair and 
throwing it upon the body before her. Still, the young soldier did not 
leave. He tried to give the woman food. Though she resisted, her maid- 
servant was won over by the smell of the wine, and stretched out her 
hand for the supper that was offered her. After she was fortified by food 
and drink, she strove to win over her mistress. "How," she asked, "will 
you be benefited, if you starve to death and bury yourself alive, dying 
before Destiny has demanded your soul? Do you imagine that your 
mourning can be acceptable to the body or the soul of a man who is 
dead and buried? Why not rather begin your life anew? Why not 
forget this misguided fidelity adhered to only by women and enjoy 
the daylight as long as the gods allow? This cold body ought to be a 
warning to you to enjoy life to the utmost." 

Now, generally, one gives heed when one is asked to eat food or to 
live, and the matron was both hungry and thirsty after five days* fasting; 
she allowed her resolution to be broken. She ate as greedily as the maid- 
servant had eaten. Those who are well-fed are easily tempted, and the 
soldier set about to conquer the matron's virtue, by the same pleasant and 
persuasive means he had used before. The chaste matron perceived that 
he was an attractive young man, and by no means a fooL The maid- 

* %t A nl i 



46 GREAT SHORT STORIES OP THE WORLD 

servant was sympathetic, and quoted the words, "Do you seek to struggle 
against a passion that is pleasing to you? Do you not remember in whose 
country you are?" 

To make a long story short, having overcome certain of the matron*s 
scruples, the soldier succeeded in overcoming her remaining scruples. 

They were together not only on that first night, but on the second and 
the third. The gates of the sepulcher were closed, so that if any friend 
or stranger had come, he would have imagined that the very virtuous 
woman had died in the presence of her husband's body. The soldier was 
greatly pleased by the matron's charms, and with their uninterrupted 
love; he bought such delicate viands as his pay would permit, and brought 
them to the sepulcher when darkness came. 

The parents of one of the thieves who had been crucified, perceiving 
that the soldier was not strictly guarding the crosses, took down the body 
of their son and buried it. Next morning, seeing the body gone, the 
soldier knew what his punishment would be, and went and told the 
woman. He would, he declared, kill himself with his sword rather than 
be sentenced by a military court, and told her to make room for her 
lover to lie beside her late husband. But the lady was as compassionate 
as she was pure. "May the gods forbid," said she, "that I should lay eyes 
at one time on the corpses of the two men who are dearest to me! It 
were better to hang up a dead body than to kill a breathing man." And 
therewith she told the soldier to take the husband's body from *ts place 
and put it upon the cross that was vacant. The soldier at once acted 
upon the matron's clever suggestion, and the next day people wondered 
how the dead man had been able to crucify himself. 



PLINY THE YOUNGER 

(62-113 A.D.) 

THE Letters of Pliny the Younger (known in Latin as C. Flinius 
Cxcilius Secundus) give a pleasant and varied picture of Roman 
life at a time when the satirists were depicting it in lurid hues. 
Pliny was a gentleman of refinement who found time, in spite 
of his career as a lawyer and a high government official, to write 
many letters to his friends, with a view, as we happen to know, 
to publication. Several of these letters are neither more nor less than 
abort stories. The Haunted House is simply the recital of an inci- 
dent in a letter to his friend Sura, and is one of the best of the 
ancient ghost stories. Needless to say, it is a type that has been used 
time and again. 

The text is from an early English translation, and comprises 
Lttter *y of the Seventh Book* There is no title in the original. 



ANCIENT ROMEPLINY THE YOUNGER 47 

THE HAUNTED HOUSE 
(Letter to Sura, Book VII) 

THERE was at Athens a mansion, spacious and commodious, but of 
evil repute and dangerous to health. In the dead of night there was 
a noise as of iron, and, if you listened more closely, a clanking of chains 
was heard, first of all from a distance, and afterwards hard by. Pres- 
ently a specter used to appear, an ancient man sinking with emaciation 
and squalor, with a long beard and bristly hair, wearing shackles. on his 
legs and fetters on his hands, and shaking them. Hence the inmates, by 
reason of their fears, passed miserable and horrible nights in sleepless- 
ness. This want of sleep was followed by disease, and, their terrors in- 
creasing, by death. For in the daytime as well, though the apparition had 
departed, yet a reminiscence of it flitted before their eyes, and their dread 
outlived its cause. The mansion was accordingly deserted and, con- 
demited to solitude, was entirely abandoned to the dreadful ghost. How- 
ever, it was advertised, on the chance of some one, ignorant of the fear- 
ful curse attached to it, being willing to buy or to rent it. Athenodorus 
the philosopher came to Athens and read the advertisement. When he 
had beep informed of the terms, which were so low as to appear sus- 
picious, he made inquiries, and learned the whole of the particulars. Yet 
none the less on that account, nay, all the more readily, did he rent the 
house. As evening began to draw on, he ordered a sofa to be set for 
himself in the front part of the house, and called for his notebooks, 
writing implements, and a light. All his servants he dismissed to the 
interior apartments, and for himself applied his soul, eyes, and hand 
to composition, that his mind might not, from want of occupation, 
picture to itself the phantoms of which he had heard, or any empty 
terrors. At the commencement there was the universal silence of night. 
Soon the shaking of irons and the clanking of chains was heard, yet he 
never raised his eyes nor slackened his pen, but hardened his soul and 
deadened his ears by its help. The noise grew and approached: now it 
seemed to be heard at the door, and next inside the door. He looked 
round, beheld and recognized the figure he had been told of. It was 
standing and signaling to him with its finger, as though inviting him. 
He, in reply, made a sign with his hand that it should wait a moment, 
and applied himself afresh to his tablets and pen. Upon this the figure 
kept rattling its chains over his head as he wrote. On looking round 
again, he saw it making the same signal as before, and without delay 
took up a light and followed it. It moved with a slow step, as though 
oppressed by its chains, and, after turning into the courtyard of the 
house, vanished suddenly and left his company. On being thus left to 



48 GREAT SHORT STORIES OF THE WORLD 

himself, he marked the spot with some grass and leaves which he plucked. 
Next day he applied to the magistrates, and urged them to have the spot 
in question dug up. There were found there some bones attached to and 
intermingled with fetters; the body to which they had belonged, rottecl 
away by time and the soil, had abandoned them thus naked and corroded 
to die chains. They were collected and interred at the public expense, 
and the house was ever afterwards free from the spirit, which had ob- 
tained due sepulture. 

The above story I believe on the strength of those who affirm it. 
What follows I am myself in a position to affirm to others. I have a 
freedman, who is not without some knowledge of letters. A younger 
brother of his was sleeping with him in the same bed. The latter dreamed 
he saw some one sitting on the couch, who approached a pair of scissors 
to his head, and even cut the hair from the crown of it. When day 
dawned he was found to be cropped round the crown, and his locks were 
discovered lying about. A very short time afterwards a fresh occurrence 
of the same kind confirmed the truth of the former one. A lad of mine 
was sleeping, in company with several others, in the pages' apartment. 
There came through the windows (so he tells the story) two figures in 
white tunics, who cut his hair as he lay, and departed the way they came. 
In his case, too, daylight exhibited him shorn, and his locks scattered 
around. Nothing remarkable followed, except, perhaps, this, that I was 
not brought under accusation, as I should have been, if DomiTian (in 
whose reign these events happened) had lived longer. For in his desk 
was found an information against me which had been presented by 
Carus; from which circumstance it may be conjectured inasmuch as it 
is the custom of accused persons to let their hair grow that the cutting 
off of my slaves' hair was a sign of the danger which threatened me 
being averted. 

I beg, then, that you will apply your great learning to this subject. 
The matter is one which deserves long and deep consideration on your 
part; nor am I, for my part, undeserving of having the fruits of your 
wisdom imparted to me. You may even argue on both sides (as your 
way is), provided you argue more forcibly on one side than the other, 
so as not to dismiss me in suspense and anxiety, when the very cause of 
my consulting you has been to have my doubts ended. 



APULEIUS 

(Born ca. 125 A.D.) 

Lucius APULEIUS, author of The Golden Ass, was born and edu- 
cated in northern Africa. He practised law, WM an indefatigable 



ANCIENT ROME APULEIUS 49 

traveller, a ceaseless investigator into religious ceremonies and 0171* 
tcrics, and a writer of considerable skill and imagination. Many 
stories, including Cufid and Psyche and The Dream, are intro- 
duced into the rambling narrative of his 'celebrated romance. Like 
many other literary men, he was publicly accused of writing inde- 
cent literature. Like Pliny's Haunted House, The Dream is one 
of those lurid ghost-stories which apparently pleased the readers of 
the early Christian era. They continue to do so. 

The present text is a modernized version of the classic transla- 
tion by Adi ing ton, which first appeared in 1566. There is no tide 
in the original. 



THE DREAM 
(From The Golden Ass) 

9 

BUT I could in no wise sleep for the great fear which was in my 
heart, until it was about midnight, and then I began to slumber. 
But, alas! behold suddenly the chamber doors broke open, and locks, 
bolts, and.posts fell down, that you would verily have thought that some 
thieves had presently come to have spoiled and robbed us. And my bed 
whereon I lay, being a truckle-bed, fashioned in the form of a cradle, 
and one of the feet broken and rotten, by violence was turned upside 
down, and I likewise was overwhelmed and covered lying in the same. 
And while I lay on the ground covered in this sort, I peeped under the 
bed to see what would happen. And behold there entered in two old 
women, the one bearing a burning torch, and the other a sponge and a 
naked sword; and so in this habit they stood about, Socrates being fast 
asleep. Then she which bare the sword said unto the other, "Behold, 
sister Panthia, this is my dear and sweet heart, this is he who little 
regarding my love, doth not only defame me with reproachful words, 
but also intendeth to run away." Which said, she pointed toward me that 
lay under the bed, and showed me to Panthia. "This is he," quoth she, 
"which is his counselor, and persuadeth him to forsake me, and now 
being at the point of death, he lieth prostrate on the ground covered with 
his bed, and hath seen all our doings, and hopeth to escape scot-free from 
my hands; but I will cause that he shall repent himself too late, nay 
rather forthwith, of his former intemperate language, and his present 
curiosity." Which words when I heard, I fell into a cold sweat, and my 
heart trembled with fear, insomuch that the bed over me did likewise 
ratde and shake. Then spake Panthia unto Mcroe and said, "Sister, let 
us by and by tear him in pieces." Then Meroe answered, "Nay, rather 



SO GREAT SHORT STORIES OF THE WORLD 

let him live, and bury the corpse of this poor wretch in some hole of 
the earth" 5 and therewithal she turned up the head of Socrates on the 
other side, and thrust her sword up to the hilt into the left part of his 
neck, and received the blood that gushed out, into a pot, that no cfrop 
thereof fell beside: which things I saw with mine own eyes; and as I 
think to the intent that she might alter nothing that pertained to sacri- 
fice, which she accustomed to make, she thrust her hand down into the 
internals of his body, and searching about at length brought forth the 
heart of my miserable companion, Socrates, who having his throat cut 
in such sort, yielded out a dreadful cry and gave up the ghost. Then 
Panthia stopped the wide wound of his throat with the sponge, and said, 
"O sponge, sprung and made of the sea, beware that thou pass not by 
running river." When this was ended, they went their ways, and the 
doors closed fast, the posts stood in their old places, and the locks and 
bolts were shut again. But I that lay upon the ground like one without 
soul, naked and cold, like to one that were more than half dead, yet 
reviving myself, and appointed as I thought for the gallows, began to 
say, "Alas! what shall become of me to-morrow, when my companion 
shall be found murdered here in the chamber? To whom shall I seem 
to tell any similitude of truth, whenas I shall tell the truth indeed? 
They will say, 'If thou wert unable to resist the violence of the women, 
yet shouldst thou have cried for help: wouldst thou suffer the man to 
be slain before thy face and say nothing? Or why did they nA slay thee 
likewise? why did they spare thee that stood by, and saw them commit 
that horrible fact? Wherefore although thou hast escaped their hands, 
yet thou shalt not escape ours.' " While I pondered these things with 
myself the night passed on, and so I resolved to take my horse before 
day, and go forward on my journey. 

Howbeit the ways were unknown to me : and thereupon I took up my 
packet, unlocked and unbarred the doors, but those good and faithful 
doors, which in the night did open of their own accord, could then 
scantly be opened with their keys. And when I was out I cried, "O sirrah 
hostler, where art thou? Open the stable-door, for I will ride away by 
and by." The hostler lying behind the stable-door upon a pallet and half 
asleep, "What (quoth he), do you not know that the ways be very dan- 
gerous? what mean you to rise at this time of night? If you, perhaps 
guilty of some heinous crime, be weary of your life, yet think you not 
that we are such sots that we will die for you." Then said I, "It is well- 
nigh day, and moreover, what can thieves take from him that hath 
nothing? Dost thou not know, fool as thou art, if thou be naked, if ten 
giants should assail thee, they could not spoil or rob thee?" Whereunto 
the drowsy hostler, half asleep and turning on the other side, answered, 
"What know I whether you have murdered your companion whom you 
brought in yesternight or no, and now seek the means to escape away?" 



ANCIENT ROME APULEIUS 51 

Lord, at that time, I remember, the earth seemed to open, and me- 
thought I saw at hellgate the dog Cerberus ready to devour me; and 
then I verily believed that Meroe did not spare my throat moved with 
pity, but rather cruelly pardoned me to bring me to the gallows. Where- 
fore I returned to my chamber, and there devised with myself in what 
sort I should finish my life. And therewithal I pulled out a piece of 
rope wherewith the bed was corded, and tied one end thereof about a 
rafter by the window, and with the other end I made a sliding knot, 
and stood upon my bed, and so put my neck into it, and when I leaped 
from the bed thinking verily to strangle myself and so die, behold the 
rope, being old and rotten, burst in the middle, and I fell down tumbling 
upon Socrates that lay under: and even at that same very time the hostler 
came in crying with a loud voice and said, "Where are you that made 
such haste at midnight, and now lies wallowing abed?' 9 Whereupon (I 
know not whether it was by my fall, or by the great cry of the hostler) 
Socrates as waking out of a sleep, did rise up first and said, "It is not 
without cause that strangers do speak evil of all. such hostlers, for this 
caitiff in his coming in, and with his crying out, I think under a color 
to steaf away something, has waked me out of a sound sleep." Then I 
rose up, joyful with a merry countenance, saying, "Behold, good hostler, 
my friend, my companion and my brother whom thou didst falsely 
affirm to be slain by me this night. And therewithal I embraced my 
friend Socrates and kissed him, and took him by the hand and said, "Why 
tarry we? Why lose we the pleasure of this fair morning? let us go": 
and so I took up my packet, and paid the charges of the house and 
departed. 

And we had not gone a mile out of the town but it was broad day, 
and then I diligently looked upon Socrates' throat to see if I could espy 
the place where Meroe thrust in her sword; but when I could not per- 
ceive any such thing, I thought with myself, What a madman am I, 
that being overcome with wine yesternight have dreamed such terrible 
things! behold, I see Socrates is sound, safe and in health. Where is his 
wound? where is the sponge? where is his great and new cut? And then 

1 spake to him and said, "Verily it is not without occasion that physicians 
of experience do affirm, that such as fill their gorges abundantly with 
meat and drink shall dream of dire and horrible sights: for I myself, 
not tempering my appetite yesternight from* pots of wine, did seem to 
see this night strange and cruel visions, that even yet I think myself 
sprinkled and wet with human blood." Whereunto Socrates laughing 
made answer, "Nay verily, I myself dreamed this night that my throat 
was cut, and that I felt the pain of the wound, and that my heart was 
pulled out of my belly, and the remembrance thereof makes me now to 
fear, for my knees do so tremble that I can scarce go any further; and 
therefore I would fain eat somewhat to strengthen and revive my spirits." 



5* GREAT SHORT STORIES OP THE WORLD 

Then said I, "Behold here thy breakfast"; and therewithal I opened 
my scrip that hanged upon my shoulder, and gave him bread and cheese, 
and we sat down under a great plane tree, and I ate part with him. And 
while I beheld him eating greedily, I perceived that he waxed meager 
and pale, and that his lively color faded away, insomuch that being in 
great fear, and remembering those terrible furies of whom I lately 
dreamed, die first morsel of bread that I put in my mouth (which was 
but very small) did so stick in my jaws, that I could neither swallow it 
down, nor yet yield it up, and fiioreover the small time of our being 
together increased my fear: and what is he that seeing his companion 
die in the highway before his face, would not greatly lament and be 
sorry? But when that Socrates had eaten sufficiently, he waxed very 
thirsty, for indeed he had well-nigh devoured all a whole cheese: and 
behold evil fortune! there was behind the plane tree a pleasant running 
water as clear as crystal, and I said unto him, "Come hither, Socrates, 
to this water and drink thy fill." And then he rose and came to the river, 
and kneeled down upon the side of the bank to drink; but he had scarce 
touched the water with his lips, whenas behold the wound of his throat 
opened wide, and the sponge suddenly fell into the water, and after 
issued out a little remnant of blood, and his body being then without 
life, had fallen into the river, had I not caught him by the leg and so 
pulled him up. And after that I had lamented a good space the death of 
my wretched companion, I buried him in the sands there by die riven 



i 



Biblical Literature 



INTRODUCTION 

>T is not surprising that the stories scattered so profusely through the 
Bible, the Apocrypha, and the Talmud, should be mostly moral tales. 
They were told in order to illustrate a theological or ethical contention 
or law, to glorify the race or nation to which the teller belonged, to 
attract and hold the interest of the listener. All of them were related by 
Jews, yid all, even the parables of Jesus, bear the imprint of the Oriental 
imagination. The stories of Ruth and Susanna, from the Old Testament 
and the Apocrypha, are the earliest examples in this little group of Biblical 
tales. Ruth is the type of story that could easily be expanded into a novel, 
while Susanna conforms more exactly to the modern conception of what 
a short si'3ry ought to be. These two have been chosen from a great 
storehouse of prose narrative, which was designed in the first place to 
appeal to simple-minded shepherds and tradespeople. 

In the New Testament we find among many other beautiful stories 
the parables. These are in reality fables, told by Jesus for exactly the 
same reason that the fables of ^Esop or of Phsedrus were told, to drive 
home a moral lesson. If Jesus spoke his parables exactly as they are writ- 
ten, he must be accounted one of the world's greatest artists. The Prod" 
I gal Son is a perfect model of the short story. The other tale included 
here, The Raising of Lazarus, though somewhat longer and more diffuse, 
is no less perfect. 

The Talmud, which is the orthodox Jewish commentary on the Old 
Testament, bristles with short moral tales. To develop the art of the 
Jewish short story would necessitate tracing it from the earliest chapters 
of the Old Testament, through The Talmud, with all its accumulation 
of commentary upon commentary, through a long period of oral tradi- 
tion, up to modern times. There are still sporadic writers in the Hebrew 
language, though for the most part the modern Jewish writers (when 
they have not, like Israel Zangwill, written in the language of the coun- 
try of their adoption) have employed the modern Yiddish dialect. 

The literature of the New Testament (which was written in late\ 
Greek) is difficult to classify. It is Jewish, of course, but permeated i ty 

S3 



54 GREAT SHORT STORIES OF THE WORLD 

a distinctly non-Hebraic spirit. The influence exerted by the narratives 
of the New Testament has been enormous, but it is rather religious and 
theological than artistic. The spirit of this literature has penetrated the 
thought, life, habits, and art of the entire Occidental world. 



THE BOOK OF RUTH 

(From the Old Testament) 

INTO the extremely complicated questions of authorship, origin, 
and development of the Old Testament it is not necessary to enter* 
Ruth is one of the most beautifully conceived and finely written 
narratives of all Biblical literature. Although it has its place in 
the ethical scheme of the Old Testament, it seems to have been 
written with an artistic zest and freedom from constraint that are 
rare in the religious literature of any race. 

The text used here is that printed in Volume IV of Ancient 
Hebrew Literature, in Everyman's Library, published in 1907 by 
J. M. Dent and Sons, by whose permission it is here included. (The 
last sentence has been omitted, as it has nothing to do with the 
story.) 



THE BOOK OF RUTH 

rOW if came to pass in the days when the judges ruled, that there 
was a famine in the land. And a certain man of Beth-lehem- 
judah went to sojourn in the country of Moab, he, and his wife, and his 
two sons. And the name of the man was Elimelech, and the name of his 
5vife Naomi, and the name of his two sons Mahlon and Chilion, Ephra- 
thites of Beth-lehem-judah. And they came into the country of Moab, 
and continued there. 

And Elimelech Naomi's husband died; and she was left, and her two 
sons. And they took them wives of the women of Moab; the name of the 
one was Orpah, and the name of the other Ruth: and they dwelled there 
about ten years. And Mahlon and Chilion died also both of them; and 
the woman was left of her two sons and her husband. 

Then she arose with her daughters-in-law, that she might return from 
the country of Moab: for she had heard in the country of Moab how that 
the Lord had visited His people in giving them bread. Wherefore she 
went forth out of the place where she was, and her two daughters-in-law 
with her; and they went on the way to return unto the land of Judah. 
'And Naomi aaid unto her two daughters-in-law: "Go, return each to 



BIBLICAL LITERATURE 5$ 

her mother's house: the Lord deal kindly with you, as ye have dealt with 
the dead, and with me. The Lord grant you that ye may find rest, each 
of you in the house of her husband." Then she kissed them; and they 
lifted up their voice, and wept. And they said unto her: "Surely we 
will return with thee unto thy people." 

And Naomi said: "Turn again, my daughters: why will ye go with 
me? are there yet any more sons in my womb, that they may be your 
husbands? Turn again, my daughters, go your way; for I am too old to 
have an husband. If I should say, I have hope, if I should have an hus- 
band also to-night, and should also bear sons; would ye tarry for them 
till they were grown? would ye stay for them from having husbands? 
nay, my daughters; for it grieveth me much for your sakes that the hand 
of the Lord is gone out against me." 

And they lifted up their voice, and wept again: and Orpah kissed her 
mother-in-law; but Ruth clave unto her. And she said : "Behold, thy 
sister-in-law is gone back unto her people, and unto her gods: return them 
after thy sister-in-law." And Ruth said: "Intreat me not to leave thee, 
or to jeturn from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will 
go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, 
and thy God my God: where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be 
buried: the Lord do so to me, and more also, if ought but death part thee 
and me." 

When Ac saw that she was steadfastly minded to go with her, then she 
left speaking unto her. So they two went until they came to Beth-lehem. 
And it came to pass, when they were come to Beth-lehem, that all the 
city was moved about them, and they said: "Is this Naomi?" And she 
said unto them: "Call me not Naomi, call me Mara: for the Almighty 
hath dealt very bitterly with me. I went out full, and the Lord hath 
brought me home again empty: why then call ye me Nacmi, seeing the 
Lord hath testified against me, and the Almighty hath afflicted me?" 

So Naomi returned, and Ruth the Moabitess, her daughter-in-law, 
with her, which returned out of the country of Moab: and they came to 
Beth-lehem in the beginning of barley harvest. And Naomi had a kins- 
man of her husband's, a mighty man of wealth, of the family of 
Elimelech; and his name was Boaz. And Ruth the Moabitess said unto 
Naomi : "Let me now go to the field, and glean ears of corn after him 
in whose sight I shall find grace." And she said unto her: "Go, my 
daughter." And she went, and came, and gleaned in the field after the 
reapers: and her hap was to light on a part of the field belonging unto 
Boaz, who was of the kindred of Elimelech. 

And, behold, Boaz came from Beth-lehem, and said unto the reapei$: 
"The Lord be with you." And they answered him: "The Lord bless 
thee." Then said Boaz unto his servant that was set over the reapers: 
"Whose damsel is this?" And the servant that was set over the reapers 



56 GREAT SHORT STORIES OF THE WORLD 

answered and said: "It is the Moabitish damsel that came back with 
Naomi out of the country of Moab: and she said, I pray you, let me 
glean and gather after the reapers among the sheaves: So she came, and 
hath continued even from the morning until now, that she tarried a little 
in the house." Then said Boaz unto Ruth: "Hearest thou not, my 
daughter? Go not to glean in another field, neither go from hence, but 
abide here fast by my maidens: let thine eyes be on the field that they 
do reap, and go thou after them: have I not charged the young men 
that they shall not touch thee? and when thou art athirst, go unto the 
vessels, and drink of that which the young men have drawn." Then she 
fell on her face, and bowed herself to the ground, and said unto him: 
"Why have I found grace in thine eyes, that thou shouldest take 
knowledge of me, seeing I am a stranger?" And Boaz answered and 
said unto her: "It hath fully been shewed me, all that thou hast done 
unto thy mother-in-law since the death of thine husband: and how thou 
hast left thy father and thy mother, and the land of thy nativity, and 
art come unto a people which thou knewcst not heretofore. The Lord 
recompense thy work, and a full reward be given thee of the Lcf d God 
of Israel, under whose wings thou art come to trust." 

Then she said: "Let me find favor in thy sight, my lordj for that 
thou hast comforted me, and for that thou hast spoken friendly unto thine 
handmaid, though I be not like unto one of thine handmaidens." And 
Boaz said unto her: "At mealtime come thou hither, and ?at of the 
bread, and dip thy morsel in the vinegar." And she sat beside the reapers: 
and he reached her parched corn, and she did eat, and was sufficed, and 
left. And when she was risen up to glean, Boaz commanded his young 
men, saying 5 - "Let her glean even among the sheaves, and reproach her 
not: and let fall also some of the handfuls of purpose for her, and 
leave them, that she may glean them, and rebuke her not." 

So she gleaned in the field until even, and beat out that she had gleaned: 

rit was about an ephah of barley. And she took it up, and went into 
city: and her mother-in-law saw what she had gleaned: and she 
brought forth, and gave to her that she had reserved after she was suf- 
ficed. And her mother-in-law said unto her > "Where hast thou gleaned 
to-day? and where wroughtest thou? blessed be he that did take knowl- 
edge of thee." And she shewed her mother-in-law with whom she had 
Iwrought, and said > "The man's name with whom I wrought to-day is 
Boaz." And Naomi said unto her daughter-in-law: "Blessed be he of 
the Lord, who hath not left off His kindness to the living and to the 
dead." And Naomi said unto her: "The man is near of kin unto, us, 
one of our next kinsmen." And Ruth the Moabitess said: "He said unto 
tne also, dThou shalt keep fast by my young men, until they have ended 
fclt mf harvest." And Naomi said unto Ruth her daughter-in-law s "It 
is good, my daughter, that thou go out with his maidens, that they meet 



BIBLICAL LITERATURE 57 

thee not in any other field." So she kept fast by the maidens of Boaz to 
glean unto the end of barley harvest and of wheat harvest; and dwelt 
with her mother-in-law. 

Then Naomi her mother-in-law said unto her: ''My daughter, shall 
I not seek rest for thee, that it may be well with thee? And now is not 
Boaz of our kindred, with whose maidens thou wast? Behold, he win- 
noweth barley to-night in the threshing-floor. Wash thyself therefore, 
and anoint thee, and put thy raiment upon thee, and get thee down to 
the floor: but make not thyself known unto the man, until he shall have 
done eating and drinking. And it shall be, when he lieth down, that 
thou shalt mark the place where he shall lie, and thou shalt go in,* and 
uncover his feet, and lay thee down; and he will tell thee what thou 
shalt do." And she said unto her: "All that thou sayest unto me I 
will do." 

And she went down unto the floor, and did according to all that her 
mother-in-law bade her. And when Boaz had eaten and drunk, and his 
heart was merry, he went to lie down at the end of the heap of corn: 
and she? came softly, and uncovered his feet, and laid her down. And it 
came to pass at midnight, that the man was afraid, and turned himself: 
and, behold, a woman lay at his feet. And he said: "Who art thou?" 
And she answered: "I am Ruth thine handmaid: spread therefore thy 
skirt over jhine handmaid; for thou art a near kinsman." And he said: 
"Blessed be thou of the Lord, my daughter: for thou hast shewed more 
kindness in the latter end than at the beginning, inasmuch as thou fol- 
lowedst not young men, whether poor or rich. And now, my daughter, 
fear not; I will do to thee all that thou requirest: forfeU the city of my 
people doth know that thou art a virtuous woman. And now it is true 
that I am thy near kinsman: howbeit there is a kinsman nearer than I. 
Tarry this night, and it shall be in the morning, that if he will perform 
unto thee the part of a kinsman, well; let him do the kinsman's part: bu& 
if he will not do the part of a kinsman to thee, then will I do the parr 
of a kinsman to thee, as the Lord liveth: lie down until the morning." 

And she lay at his feet until the morning: and she rose up before one 
could know another. And he said: "Let it not be known that a woman 
came into the floor." Also he said: "Bring the vail that thou hast upon 
thee, and hold it." And when she held it, he measured six measures of 
barley, and laid it on her: and she went into the city. And when she came 
to her mother-in-law, she said: "Who art thou, my daughter?" And 
she told her all that the man had done to her. And she said: "These 
six measures of barley gave he me; for he said to me, Go not empty unto 
thy mother-in-law." Then said she: "Sit still, my daughter, until thou 
know how the matter will fall: for the man will not be in rest, until he 
have finished the thing this day." ."'.-> 

Then went Boaz up to the gate, and sat him down there: and, behold, 



S8 GREAT SHORT STORIES OF THE WORLD 

the kinsman of whom Boaz spake came by; unto whom he said: "Ho, 
such a one! turn aside, sit down here." And he turned aside, and sat 
down. And he took ten men of the elders of the city, and said: "Sit 
ye down here." And they sat down. And he said unto the kinsman: 
"Naomi, that is come again out of the country of Moab, selleth a parcel 
of land, which was our brother Elimelech's: and I thought to advertise 
thee, saying, Buy it before the inhabitants, and before the elders of my 
people. If thou wilt redeem it, redeem it: but if thou wilt not redeem it, 
then tell me, that I may know: for there is none to redeem it beside 
thee; and I am after thee." And he said: "I will redeem it." Then 
said Boaz: "What day thou buyest the field of the hand of Naomi, thou 
must buy it also of Ruth the Moabitess, the wife of the dead, to raise 
up the name of the dead upon his inheritance." And the kinsman said: 
"I cannot redeem it for myself, lest I mar mine own inheritance: redeem 
thou my right to thyself; for I cannot redeem it." Now this was the 
manner in former time in Israel concerning redeeming and concerning 
changing, for to confirm all things; a man plucked off his shoe, and 
gave it to his neighbor: and this was a testimony in Israel. Therefore 
the kinsman said unto Boaz 2 "Buy it for thee." So he drew off his 
shoe. 

And Boaz said unto the elders, and unto all the people: -"Ye are 
witnesses this day, that I have bought all that was Elimelech's, and all 
that was Chilion's and Mahlon's, of the hand of Naomi. Moreover, 
Ruth the Moabitess, the wife of Mahlon, have I purchased to be my 
wife, to raise up the name of the dead upon his inheritance, that the 
name of the deacfc be not cut off from among his brethren, and from 
the gate of his place: ye are witnesses this day." And all the people that 
were in the gate, and the elders, said: "We are witnesses. The Lord 
make the woman that is come into thine house like Rachel and like 
., which two did build the house of Israel: and do thou worthily in 
Iphratah, and be famous in Beth-lehem: and let thy house be like the 
house of Pharez, whom Tamar bare Unto Judah, of the seed which the 
Lord shall give thee of this young woman." 

So Boaz took Ruth, and she was his wife: and when he went in unto 
her, the Lord gave her conception, and she bare a son. And the women 
said, unto Naomi: "Blessed be the Lord, which hath not left thee this 
day without a kinsman, that his name may be famous in Israel. And he 
$hall be unto thee a restorer of thy life, and a nourisher of thine old 
age: for thy daughter-in-law, which loveth thee, which is better to thee 
than seven sons, hath born him." And Naomi took the child, and laid 
it in her bosom, and became nurse unto it. And the women her neigh- 
bor) gave it a name, saying: "There is a son born to Naomi"; and they 
called his name Obed: he is the father of Jesse, the father of David* 



BIBLICAL LITERATURE 59 

THE HISTORY OF SUSANNA 

(From The Afocryfha) 

SUSANNA was originally a part of the Book of Daniel, but was set 
apart as apocryphal, because it "was not in Hebrew." It is none the 
less a story of remarkable vividness, told with skill and dramatic 
power. 

The text used here is that printed in Volume IV of Ancient 
Hebrew Literature^ in Everyman's Library, published in 1907 by 
J. M. Dent and Sons, by whose permission it is here included. 

. THE HISTORY OF SUSANNA 

ERE dwelt a man in Babylon, called Joakim: and he took a wife, 
JL Avhose name was Susanna, the daughter of Chelcias, a very fair 
woman, and one that feared the Lord. Her parents* also were righteous, 
and taught their daughter according to the law of Moses. Now Joakim 
was a great rich man, and had a fair garden joining unto his house: and 
to him reported the Jews; because he was more honorable than all others. 
The same year were appointed two of the ancients of the people to be 
judges, such as the Lord spake of, that wickedness came from Babylon 
from ancient judges, who seemed to govern the people. These kept much 
at Joakim's house: and all that had any suits in law cahie unto them. 

Now when the people departed away at noon, Susanna went into her 
husband's garden to walk. And the two elders saw her going in every 
day, and walking; so that their lust was inflamed toward her. And they 
perverted their own mind, and turned away their eyes, that they mi{dj| 
not look unto heaven, nor remember just judgments. And albeit tn^ 
both were wounded with her love, yet durst not one shew another his 
grief. For they were ashamed to declare their lust, that they desired to 
have to do with her. Yet they watched diligently from day to day to see 
her. And the one said to the other: "Let us now go home: for it is 
dinner time." So when they were gone out, they parted the one from the 
other, and turning back again they came to the same place; and after 
that they had asked one another the cause, they acknowledged their lust: 
then appointed they a time both together, when they might find her alone. 
And it fell out, as they watched a fit time, she went in as before with 
two maids only, and she was desirous to wash herself in the garden: 
for it was hot. And there was nobody there save the two elders, that had 
hid themselves, and watched her. Then she said to her maids: "Bring 
me oil and washing balls, and shut the garden doors, that I may wash 



6o GREAT SHORt $FQMES OF THE WORLD 

me." And they did as she bade them, and shut the garden doors, and went 
out themselves at privy doors to fetch the things that she had commanded 
them: but they saw not the elders, because they were hid. 9 

Now when the maids were gone forth, the two elders rose up, and 
ran unto her, saying: "Behold, the garden doors are shut, that no man 
can see us, and we are in love with thee 5 therefore consent unto us, and 
lie with us. If thou wilt not, we will bear witness against thee, that a 
young man was with thee: and therefore thou didst send away thy maids 
from thee. 59 Then Susanna sighed, and said: "I am straitened on 
every side: for if I do this thing, it is death unto me: and if I do it not, 
I cannot escape your hands. It is better for me to fall into your hands, 
and not do it, than -to sin in the sight of the Lord." With that Susanna 
cried with a loud voice: and the two elders cried out against her. Then 
ran the one, and opened the garden door. So when the servants of the 
house heard the cry in the garden, they rushed in at a privy door, to see 
.what was done unto her. But when the elders had declared their matter, 
the servants were greatly ashamed: for there was never such a report 
made of Susanna. * 

And it came to pass the next day, when the people were assembled to 
her husband Joakim, the two elders came also full of mischievous imagi- 
nation against Susanna to put her to death: and said before the people, 
"Send for Susanna, the daughter of Chelcias, Joakim's wife^* And so 
they sent. So she came with her father and mother, her children, and all 
her kindred. Now Susanna was a very delicate woman, and beauteous to 
behold. And these wicked men commanded to uncover her face (for she 
was covered) that they might be filled with her beauty. Therefore her 
friends and all that saw her wept. Then the two elders stood up in the 
midst of the people, and laid their hands upon her head. And she weeping 
looked up toward heaven: for her heart trusted in the Lord. And the 
elders said: "As we walked in the garden alone, this woman came in 
Pith two maids, and shut the garden doors, and sent the maids away. 
Then a young man, who there was hid, came unto her, and lay with her. 
Then we that stood in a corner of the garden, seeing this wickedness, ran 
unto them. And when we saw them together, the man we could not hold; 
for he was stronger than we, and opened the door, and leaped out. But 
having taken this woman, we asked who the young man was, but she 
would not tell us: these things do we testify." 

Then the assembly believed them, as those that were the elders, and 
judges of the people: so they condemned her to death. Then Susanna 
cried out with a loud voice, and said: "O everlasting God, that knowest 
die secrets, and knowest all things before they be: Thou knowest that 
they have borne false witness against me, and, behold, I must die; 
;whereas I never did such things as these men have maliciously invented 
against me." And the Lord heard her voice. Therefore when she was 



BIBLICAL LITERATURE 6l 

led to be put to death, the Lord raised up the holy spirit of a youth, whose 
name was Daniel: who cried with a loud voice: "I am clear from the 
blood of this woman." Then all the people turned them toward 'him, 
and said: "What mean these words that thou hast spoken?" 

So he standing in the midst of them said: "Are ye such fools, ye sons 
of Israel, that without examination or knowledge of the truth ye have 
condemned a daughter of Israel? Return again to the place of judgment: 
for they have borne false witness against her. 1 ' Wherefore all the people 
turned again in haste, and the elders said unto him: "Come, sit down 
among us, and shew it us, seeing God hath given thee the honor of an 
elder." Then said Daniel unto them: "Put these two aside one far from 
another, and I will examine them." So when they were put asunder one 
from another, he called one of them, and said unto him: "O thou that 
art waxen old in wickedness, now thy sins which thou hast committed 
aforetime are come to light: for thou hast pronounced false judgment, 
and hast condemned the innocent, and hast let the guilty go free; albeit 
the Lord saith, The innocent and righteous shalt thou not slay. Now then, 
if then hast seen her, tell me, Under what tree sawest thou them com- 
panying together?" Who answered: "Under a mastic tree." And Daniel 
said: "Very well; thou hast lied against thine own head; for even now 
the angel of God hath received the sentence of God to cut thee in two." 

So he nut him aside, and commanded to bring the other, and said unto 
him. "O thou seed of Canaan, and not of Juda, beauty hath deceived 
thee, and lust hath perverted thine heart. Thus have ye dealt with the 
daughters of Israel, and they for fear companied with you: but the 
daughter of Juda would not abide your wickedness. Npw therefore tell 
me, Under what tree didst thou take them companying together?" Who 
answered? "Under an holm tree." Then said Daniel unto him: "Well; 
thou .hast also lied against thine own head: for the angel of God waiteth 
with the sword to cut thee in two, that He may destroy you.'* With that 
all the assembly cried out with a loud voice, and praised God, who savt$| 
them that trust in Him. 

And they arose against the two elders, for Daniel had convicted them 
.of false witness by their own mouth: and according to the law of Moses 
they did unto them in such sort as they maliciously intended to do to their 
neighbor: and they put them to death. Thus the innocent blood was saved 
the same day. Therefore Chelcias and his wife praised God for their 
daughter Susanna, with Joakim her husband, and all the kindred, because 
there was no dishonesty found in her. 

From that day forth was Daniel had in great reputation in the sight 
of the people. 



GREAT SHORT STORIES OF THE WORLD 

THE PRODIGAL SON 

(From the New Testament^ Luke XV) 

THE PRODIGAL SON is a parable, spoken by Jesus in praise of for- 
giveness. It is one of the great stories of the world, and is justly 
regarded as a perfect model of the art of story-telling. 

The present text is taken from the King James version. There 
is no title to the story in the original. 



THE PRODIGAL SON 

AO he said, A certain man had two sons: and the younger of them 
said to his father, Father, give me the portion of goods that falleth 
to me. And he divided unto them his living. And not many day* alter 
the younger son gathered all together, and took his journey into a far 
country, and there wasted his substance with riotous living. And when 
he had spent all, there arose a mighty famine in that land; and he began 
to be in want. And he went and joined himself to a citizen of that 
country; and he sent him into his fields to feed swine. And ne would 
fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no 
man gave unto him. And when he came to himself, he said, How many 
hired servants of my father's have bread enough and to spare, and I 
perish with hunger! I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto 
him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, and am no 
more worthy to be called thy son: make* me as one of thy hired servants. 
And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way 
off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his 
neck, and kissed him. And the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned 
against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called 
thy son. But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe,, 
and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet: 
dtnd bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be 
merry: For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and 
is found. And they began to be merry. 

, Now his elder son was in the field: and as he came and drew nigh to 
the house, be heard music and dancing. And he called one of the servants, 
and asked what these things meant. And he said unto him, Thy brother 
is come; and thy father hath killed the fatted calf, because he hath 
received him safe and sound. And he was angry, and would not go in: 
therefore came his father out, and entreated him. And he answering said 



BIBLICAL LITERATURE 63 

to his father, Lo these many years do I serve thee, neither transgressed 
I at any time thy commandment: and yet thou never gavest me a kid, 
that I might make merry with my friends: but as soon as this thy son 
was come, which hath devoured thy living with harlots, thou hast killed 
for him the fatted calf. And he said unto him, Son, thou art ever with 
me, and all that I have is thine. It was meet that we should make merry, 
and be glad: for this thy brother was dead, and is alive again j and was 
lost, and is found. 



THE RAISING OF LAZARUS 

(From the New Testament, John XI) 

THOUGH this story is part of the larger narrative of the Gospel 
of St. John, it is a perfect example of the short story. The details 
that lead up to the dramatic climax are at first sight not entirely 
^relevant. It is only after the story has been read in its entirety 
that we perceive the consummate art of the preparatory sentences. 
Balzac was, many centuries later, to apply this method to the 
writing of his novels. 

The text is taken from the King James version. There is no 
titJ> to the story in the original. 



THE RAISING OF LAZARUS 

r OW a certain man was sick, named Lazarus, of Bethany, the town 
of Mary and her sister Martha. (It was that Mary which anointed 
the Lord with ointment, and wiped his feet with her hair, whose brother 
Lazarus was sick.) Therefore, his sister sent unto him saying, Lord, 
behold, he whom thou lovest is sick. When Jesus heard that, he said, 
This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son 
of God might be glorified thereby. 

Now Jesus loved Martha, and her sister, and Lazarus. When he had 
heard therefore that he was sick, he abode two days still in the same place 
where he was. Then after that saith he to his disciples, Let us go into 
Judaea again. His disciples say unto him, Master, the Jews of late sought 
to stone thee; and goest thou thither again? Jesus answered, Are there 
not twelve hours in the day? If any man walk in the day, he stumbleth 
not, because he seeth the light of this world. But if a man walk in the 
night, he stumbleth, because there is no light in him. These things said 
he: .and after that he saith unto them, Our friend Lazarus sleepeth; 
but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep. Then said hid disdples, 



64 GREAT SHORT STORIES OF THE WORLD 

Lord, if he sleep, he shall do well. Howbeit Jesus spake of his death: 
but they thought that he had spoken of taking of rest in sleep. Then 
Jesus said unto them plainly, Lazarus is dead. And I am glad for your 
sakes that I was not there, to the intent ye may believe; nevertheless let 
us go unto him. Then said Thomas, which is called Didymus, unto his 
fellow disciples, Let us also go, that we may die with him. 

Then when Jesus came, he found that he had lain in the grave four 
days already. Now Bethany was nigh unto Jerusalem about fifteen fur- 
longs off: and many of the Jews came unto Martha and Mary, to com- 
fort them concerning their brother. Then Martha, as soon as she heard 
that Jesus was coming, went and met him, but Mary sat still in the 
house. Then said Martha unto Jesus, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my 
brother had not died. But I know, that even now, whatsoever thou wilt 
ask of God, God will give it thee. Jesus saith unto her, Thy brother shall 
rise again. Martha saith unto him, I know that he shall rise again in 
the resurrection at the last day. Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection 
and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he 
live: and whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest 
thou this? She saith unto him, Yea, Lord; I believe that thou art the 
Christ, the son of God, which should come into the world. And when 
she had so said, she went her way, and called Mary her sister secretly, 
saying, The Master is come, and calleth for thee. As soon as she heard 
that, she arose quickly and came unto him. % 

Now Jesus was not yet come into the town, but was in that place 
where Martha met him. The Jews then which were with her in the 
house, and comforted her, when they saw Mary, that she rose up hastily 
and went out, followed her saying, She goeth unto the grave to weep 
there. Then when Mary was come where Jesus was, and saw him, she 
fell down at his feet, saying unto him, Lord, if thou hadst been here, 
my brother had not died. When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and 
tfc? Jews also weeping which came with her, he groaned in the spirit, 
and was troubled, and said, Where have ye laid him? They said unto 
him, Lord, come and see. Jesus wept. Then said the Jews, Behold how 
he loved him! And some of them said, Could not this man, which opened 
the eyes of the blind, have caused that even this man should not have 
died? Jesus therefore again groaning in himself cometh to the grave. 
It was a cave, and a stone lay upon it. Jesus said, Take ye away the 
Stone. Martha, the sister of him' that was dead, saith unto him, Lord, 
by this time he stinketh: for he hath been dead four days. Jesus saith 
unto her* Said I 'not unto thee, that, if thou wouldest believe, thou 
shoialdest see the glory of God? Then they took away the stone from the 
place where the dead was laid. And Jesus lifted up his eyes, and said, 
Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me. And I knew that thou 
hearest me always: but because of the people which stand by I said it, 



BIBLICAL LITERATURE 65 

that they may believe that thou hast sent me. And when he thus had 
spoken, he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth* 

And he that was dead, came forth, bound hand and foot with grave- 
clathes. And his face was bound about with a napkin. Jesus saith unto 
them, Loose him, and let him go. Then many of the Jews which came 
to Mary, and had seen the things which Jesus did, believed on him. 



RABBI AKIVA 

(From The Talmud) 

THE TALMUD is a great collection of law, ritual, precept, and 
example, which was composed during the period extending from 
the First Century B.C. to the Fourth Century A.D. The work was 
the result of a vast amount of compilation begun, so far as the 
actual writing is concerned, in the year 219 A.D. by Rabbi 
Jehudah Hanassi. About the year 500 A.D. it was complete, hav- 
i8g been combined with a good deal of material brought together 
since the first parts were written down. The colossal work is inter- 
spersed throughout with parables, like Rabbi Akiva and The 
Jewish Mother^ all of which were used for purposes of illustra- 
tion. 

The texts of these stories are based, by the editors, upon two 
early translations.. There are no titles to the stories in the original. 



RABBI AKIVA 

Rabbis tell us that once the Roman Government made a decree 
JL forbidding Israel to study the law. Thereupon Pappus, son of 
Yehudah, one day found Rabbi Akiva teaching it openly to many whom 
he had gathered round him to hear it. "Akiva," he said, "dost not thou 
fear the Government ?" "Listen," was the reply, "and I will tell thee 
how it is through a parable. It is the same with me as with the fishes 
which a fox, walking by a river's bank, saw darting distractedly to and 
fro in the stream; and, speaking to them, inquired, Trom what, pray, 
are ye fleeing?' Trom the nets,' they answered, 'which the sons of men 
have set to snare us. 9 'Why, then,' rejoined the fox, c not try the dry 
land with me, where we can live together, as our fathers managed to 
live before us?' 'Surely,' they exclaimed, 'thou art not he of whom we 
have heard as the most cunning of animals; for in this thing thou art 
not wise, but foolish. For if we have cause to fear where it is natural 
for us to live, how much more reason have we to do so where we must 



66 GREAT SHORT STORIES OF THE WORLD 

die!' Exactly so," continued Akiva, "is it with us who study the law, 
in which jttf written^ 'He is thy life and the length of thy days'; for if 
w$^$fer WjRile%udjftng the law, how much more shall we suffer if we 
neglect it?" Not many days afterward it is related that Rabbi Akiva was 
arrested and thrown into prison. It so happened that they led him out for 
execution just at the time when "Hear, O Israel !" was being repeated, 
and as they gashed his flesh with currycombs, and as he was with long- 
drawn breath uttering the word One, his soul departed from him. Then 
there came forth a voice from heaven saying, "Blessed art thou, Rabbi 
Akiva, for thy soul and the word One left thy body together." 



THE JEWISH MOTHER 
(From The Talmud) 

ONCE upon a t:me a Jewish mother together with her seven sons suf- 
fered martyrdom at the hands of the Emperor. The sons, ordered 
by the latter to do homage to the Imperial idols, declined, and 
justified their disobedience by each quoting a simple text from the Scrip- 
tures. When the seventh was brought forth, it is said that Caesar, for 
appearance* sake, offered to spare him if he would only stooo and pick 
up a ring from the ground which had been dropped on purpose. "Alas 
for thee, oh, Caesar!" replied the boy; "if thou art so zealous for thine 
honor, how much more so ought we to be for that of the Holy One 
blessed be He!" When he was led away to the place of execution, his 
mother begged and obtained leave to give him a last kiss. "Go, my child," 
she said, "and say to Abraham, Thou didst build an altar for the sacrifice 
of one son, but I have raised altars for seven sons." Then she turned 
away and threw herself headlong from the roof and died. The echo 
of a voice was heard exclaiming, "The joyful mother of children." 



V- R. NARLA 

Ancient India 



INTRODUCTION 

SANSKRIT is the classical language of the Hindus of ancient India. 
Practically the whole of that extraordinary literature which began 
with the Vedas and culminated some time before the close of the Middle 
Ages, was written in Sanskrit. 

Our knowledge of the earliest period is vague. The Vedas were com- 
posed perhaps before the days of Homer. Beginning perhaps about 500 
B.C. $nd extending to about the time of Christ, is the period of the epics, 
during which the Mahabharata and Ramayana were probably written. 
Both these monumental poems are full of episodes containing at least the 
material for short stories. 

But for the purpose of this volume, the outstanding contribution of 
the ancient Hindus were the fables and tales, most of which are found 
in large collections. The earliest of these is doubtless the Jataka, or Bud- 
dhist "birth-stories," which were in existence at least as early as the Fourth 
Century B.C. The Panchatantra may be as old as the Jataka stories; both 
are rooted in a common source. Many centuries later an unknown author 
revised certain parts of the Panchatantra and produced the book known 
as the Hitofadesa, which may be as recent as the Fourteenth Century 
A.D. 

Most of these stories are directly didactic, but for the historian in 
search of the origin of certain types, the question of the fable and its 
Indian or Greek origin, is one of the most fascinating in all literature. 
There are those who claim that the tales in the Panchatantra and the 
Jataka stories are the source of all the fables in the Occident, and others 
who believe that it was the Hindus who took the fable form from the 
Ancient Greeks. 

Of the other collections of stories the most varied is the famous 
Katha-sarlt-Sagara, or Ocean of Streams of Stones ^ written about 1070 
A.D. by Somadeva. This was based upon a much earlier collection, 
which is now lost* 

The influence of the Sanskrit tales on the art of the story is almost 
impossible to estimate: translations and revisions of Sanskrit tales and 
fables were made as early as the Sixth Century B.C., and modern re- 
fer 



68 GREAT SHORT STORIES OF THE WORLD 

* 

search is demonstrating beyond any .doubt the fact that the Ancient 
Hindus have furnished ideas and literary forms to other nations ever 
since the dawn of history. 



THE ASS IN THE LION'S SKIN 

(Anonymous: 500 B.C.? -3 80 B.C.?) 

THE Jataka or "Birth-story" is found in one form or another in 
several collections, one of which was well known as early as the 
Fourth Century B.C. It is a brief incident, usually in fable form, 
showing one incarnation of the Buddha, and drawing from the 
fable a little moral. The Jataka may actually have influenced the 
ancient Greeks and given rise to the /Esop legends, but whether or 
not that is true, they constitute the "oldest, most complete, and 
most important collection of folk-lore extant." 

Nothing whatsoever is known of the author or authors of the 
particular collection from which this story is taken. It is reprinteft 
from Buddhist Birth Stories [Nidana-Katha], by T. W. Rhys 
Davids, London, 1880, by permission of the publishers, Kegan 
Paul, Trench, Trttbner and Co. 



THE ASS IN THE LION'S SKIN 
(From the Jataka Collections) 

ONCE upon a time, while Brahma-datta was reigning in Benares, 
the future Buddha was born one of a peasant family; and when 
he grew up, he gained his living by tilling the ground. 

At that time a hawker used to go from place to place, trafficking in 
goods carried by an ass. Now at each place he came to, when he took the 
pack down from the ass's back he used to clothe him in a lion's skin, and 
turn him loose in the rice and barley-fields, and when the watchmen 
in the fields saw the ass, they dared not go near him, taking him for a 
lion. So one day the hawker stopped in a village; and while he was getting 
his own breakfast cooked, he dressed the ass in a lion's skin and turned 
him loose in a barley-field. The watchmen in the field dared not go up 
to him; but going home, they published the news. Then all the villagers 
came out with weapons in their hands; and blowing chanks, and beating 
drums, they went near the field and shouted. Terrified with die feat of 
death* the ass tittered a cry the cry of an ass! 

And when he knew him then to be an ass, the future Buddha pro- 
nounced the first stanza: 



ANCIENT INDIA ANONYMOUS 69 

"This is not a lion's roaring. 
Nor a tiger's, nor a panther's; 
Dressed in a lion's skin, 
* 'Tis a wretched ass that roars!" 

But when the villagers knew the creature to be an ass, they beat him 
till his bones broke; and, carrying off the lion's skin, went away. Then 
the hawker came, and seeing the ass fallen into so bad a plight, pro- 
nounced the second stanza: 

"Long might the ass, 
Clad in a lion's skin, 
Have fed on barley green, 

But he brayed, 
And that moment he came to ruin." 

And even while he was yet speaking the ass died on the spot! 



THE DOVE AND THE CROW 

(Anonymous: 2nd Century B.C. or later) 

IT is thought that the collection of fables now known as the Pan- 
chatgntra had assumed definite shape at least as early as the Sixth 
Century A.D., and it is possible that it dates back to the Second 
Century B.C. Nothing is known of the author. The little stories 
that make up the collection are mostly Beast Fables, which were 
originally designed to 'instruct young princes. "Panchatantra" means 
"five books." 

The present story, from the second book or Tantra> is reprinted 
from Ancient Indian Tables and Stories, by permission of the pub- 
lisher, John Murray. It has no title in the original. 



THE DOVE AND THE CROW 
(From the Panchatantra) 

IEN Vishnu Sarma had finished telling and expounding these 
fables, his pupils were lost in admiration of their teacher, whose 
wisdom had been so clearly marked by his dexterous mingling of amuse- 
ment with instruction. They rose and all three fell at his feet, thank- 
ing him for the wise lessons he had given them; they assured him that 
henceforth they would regard him as their guru and that they hoped 
with his help and advice to rise from the state of ignorance in which 
they had hitherto been. They prayed him to continue the work so happify 
begun and to give them more of his interesting lessons* 



yo GREAT SHORT STORIES OF THE WORLD 

Vishnu Sarma was charmed to see that his pupils were well disposed 
and noticed with satisfaction that his plan had so far succeeded. He con- 
tinued his task with enthusiasm and proceeded to tell them fresh fables. 

"Now," said Vishnu Sarma, "listen, my young princes, to the fable 
I am going to tell you. In the complex nature of this life we must 
all help one another. It is by this mutual help that the weak escape the 
dangers to which they are exposed from the strong, as you shall now 
hear." 

A certain dove, by name Chitrani, had built her nest on the top of the 
mountain Kanakachala and was living there comfortably with her family. 
At the foot of the mountain dwelt a crow. One day Vega-Varma (such 
was the crow's name) was flying round in search of food when he no- 
ticed a fowler spreading his nets in the way. He was frightened at sight 
of the danger and at once returned home. 

The dove Chitrani passed by the same place with her family, but 
being off their guard, they all flew into the net and were captured. 
What was to be done? How could they escape from certain rfeath? 
There was in fact no escape, no hope of obtaining their liberty. Already 
the fowler was running up to seize his prey, when all at once under 
the impulse of danger they took to flight together, carrying with them 
the net that enclosed them. So they succeeded in escaping, and the fowler, 
who had reckoned upon his capture, was not a little surprised when he 
saw them fly away with his nets. But they reached their home in safety 
still entangled in the nets into which they had flown. 

When the crow saw them coming in this strange chariot, he hastened 
to meet them; and as soon as Chitrani saw him, she told him of their 
adventures and asked him to help them by disentangling the nets. The 
crow replied that he could not free them, but suggested a rat of the 
name of Hiranya Varma who lived close by and who could help them. 
Accordingly Chitrani called the rat, who came up at once, and when he 
saw the captives he began to scold Chitrani for her imprudence and 
folly which had brought them to this pass. Chitrani defended herself 
and quoted the maxim: "No one, be he never so wise or prudent, can 
escape his destiny." Then the rat, pitying the poor doves, called his fel- 
lows, and they all set to work to gnaw the knots of the nets, so that 
very soon they had freed Chitrani and her family. 

The crow, who had seen the signal service performed by the rat for 
the doves, was anxious to make friends with him; he hoped also to obtain 
a useful ally should occasion arise. He accordingly made overtures to 
him; but the rat replied that they were of totally different species, the 
pne living in the air and the other in the earth; he did not see the use 
of the close friendship of two creatures between yvhom Nature had 
fixed such a wide gulf. 



ANCIENT INDIA ANONYMOUS 71 

But the crow insisted. Matters of personal interest and friendship, he 
said, are decided by our inclination. We do not consider distance or the 
difference of condition. So the rat yielded and they swore a close friend- 
ship. One day when they were out together they happened to meet a deer; 
they stopped him and asked his name and where he was going. The deer 
said he was called Chitranga, told them his story, and asked if he might 
join them. They readily consented, and so the three struck up a lasting 
friendship. 

One day while they were out together and were very thirsty, in their 
search for water they found a well into which a tortoise had fallen. As 
soon as she saw the three friends she begged them to take her out of 
her prison and to put her somewhere where she could live in comfort. 
Pitying her plight, they rescued her and took her to a spring of clear 
water; and she, mindful of this service, also became their friend. 

For a long time the four lived happily together, but one day when 
the deer had gone away to graze he fell into the snare of a hunter. 
But when the rat saw that his friend the deer was so long in returning, 
he g'lessed that he had met with an accident. So he called the crow 'and 
told him what he feared and advised him to fly up and try to discover 
their friend. This the crow did, and after looking about for some time, 
at last saw poor Chitranga in the snare struggling hard to get out, but 
in vain. t| 

The crow at once told Hiranya Varma what had happened to their 
friend, and he, calling his fellow-rats, sallied out to help him. They 
soon set him free. Chitranga went home with his friends and the acci- 
dent was soon forgotten. But later on, when the four friends were rest- 
ing quietly in the shade of a tree, they were suddenly disturbed by the 
unexpected sight of a crowd of hunters. This alarmed them. The crow 
and the deer could easily avoid pursuit, but not so the rat, and least 
of all the tortoise. The other two would not leave them to the mercy 
of the hunters, who were coming on quickly, and so the deer undertook 
to attract attention to himself in order to save the life of his friends. 
He pretended to be lame. The hunters, seeing him limp and apparently 
hardly able to hold himself up, all ran to capture the easy prey. But the 
deer led them a long dance, sometimes quickening his pace, sometimes 
slowing down, until at last, having made them follow for a long time, 
he fairly used his four legs and was soon out of sight. Meanwhile the 
tortoise and the rat had found a place of safety out of reach of the 
hunters. 

Once -more the four friends were united and lived quietly together; 
these dangers had taught them the value of true unity and of sincere 
friendship, and by experience they learned how the weak need to sup* 
port one another. 



ft GREAT SHORT STORIES OF THE WORLD 

SOMADEVA 

(Flourished about 1070 A.D.) 

SOMADEVA (Soma with the Brahmin ical suffix leva) was a poet 
of Kashmir. His celebrated collection, the Ocean of Streams of 
Stories, based upon Buddhist stories, traditions, and an earlier col- 
lection of tales, is one of the most voluminous and interesting of 
its kind in Sanskrit literature. 

The present story, translated by C. H. Tawney, appeared in The 
Ocean of Story > Vol. I, Book IV, Chap. 21, of the complete edition 
in ten volumes edited by M. M. Penzer, and published in 1924-25 
by Chas. J. Sawyer, Ltd., by whose permission it is here included. 

THE STORY OF DEVADATTA 

(From the Katha-Sarit-Sagara) 

IN old time there was a certain petty monarch of the name of Jaya- 
datta, and there was born to him a son, named Devadatta. And that 
wise king, wishing to marry his son, who was grown up, thus Deflected: 
"The prosperity of kings is very unstable, being like a courtesan to be 
enjoyed by force; but the prosperity of merchants is like a woman of 
good family; it is steady and does not fly to another man. Therefore 
I will take a wife to my son from a merchant's family, in order that 
misfortune may not overtake his throne, though it is surrounded with 
many relations." Having formed this resolve, that king sought for his 
son the daughter of a merchant in Pataliputra named Vasudatta. Vasu- 
datta for his part, eager for such a distinguished alliance, gave that 
daughter of his to the prince, though he dwelt in a remote foreign land. 

And he loaded his son-in-law with wealth to such an extent that he 
no longer felt much respect for his father's magnificence. Then King 
Jayadatta dwelt happily with that son of. his who had obtained the daugh- 
ter of that rich merchant. Now one day the merchant Vasudatta came, 
full of desire to see his daughter, to the palace of his connection by 
marriage, and took away his daughter to his own home. Shortly after 
the King Jayadatta suddenly went to heaven, and that kingdom was 
seized by his relations, who rose in rebellion; through fear of them his 
son Devadatta was secretly taken away by his mother during the night 
to another country. 

Then that Mother, distressed in soul, said to the prince: "Our feudal 
Jbrd is the emperor who rules the eastern region; repair to him, my son; 
he will procure you the kingdom.* 9 



ANCIENT INDIA SOMADEVA 73 

When his mother said this to him, the prince answered her: <( Who will 
respect me if I go there without attendants?" When she heard that, 
his mother went on to say: "Go to the house of your father-in-law, and 
get money there, and so procure followers; and then repair to the em- 
peror." Being urged in these words by his mother, the prince, though 
full of shame, slowly plodded on and reached his father-in-law's house 
in the evening. But he could not bear to enter at such an unseasonable 
hour, for he was afraid of shedding tears, being bereaved of his father 
and having lost his worldly splendor; besides, shame withheld him. 

So he remained in the veranda of an almshouse near, and at night he 
suddenly beheld a woman descending with a rope from his father-in-law's 
house, and immediately he recognized her as his wife, for she was so 
resplendent with jewels that she looked like a meteor fallen from the 
clouds; and he was much grieved thereat. But she, though she^pw him, 
did not recognize him, as he was emaciated and begrimed, and asked him 
who he was. When he heard that, he answered: "I am a traveler." Then 
the merchant's daughter entered the almshouse, and the prince followed 
her Sfcretly to watch her. There she advanced towards a certain man, 
and he towards her, and asking why she had come so late, he bestowed 
several kicks on her. Then the passion of the wicked woman was doubled, 
and she appeased him, and remained with him on the most affectionate 
terms. 

Whenhe saw that, the discreet prince reflected: "This is not the time 
for me to show anger, for I have other affairs in hand; and how could 
I employ against these two contemptible creatures, this wife of mine 
and the man who has done me this wrong, this sword which is to be 
used against my foes? Or what quarrel have I with this adulteress, for 
this is the work of malignant desire that showers calamities upon me, 
showing skill in the game of testing my firmness? It is my marriage 
with a woman below me in rank that is in fault, not the woman her- 
self; how can a female crow leave the male crow to take pleasure in a 
cuckoo?" 

Thus reflecting, he allowed that wife of his to remain in the society 
of her paramour; for in the minds of heroes possessed with an ardent 
desire of victory, of what importance is woman, valueless as a straw? 
But at the moment when his wife ardently embraced her paramour there 
fell from her ear an ornament thickly studded with valuable jewels. 
And she did not observe this, but at the end of her interview, taking leave 
of her paramour, returned hurriedly to her house as she came. And that 
unlawful lover also departed somewhere or other. 

Then the prince saw that jeweled ornament, and took it up; it flashed 
with many jewel-gleams, dispelling the gathering darkness of despond- 
ency, and seemed like a hand-lamp obtained by him to assist him in 
searching for his lost prosperity. The prince immediately perceived that 



74 GREAT SHORT STORIES OF THE WORLD 

it was very valuable, and went off, having obtained all he required, to 
Kanyakubjaj there he pledged that ornament for a hundred thousand 
gold pieces, and after buying horses and elephants went into the presence 
of the emperor. And with the troops which he gave him he marched, 
and slew his enemies in fight, and recovered his father's kingdom; and 
his mother applauded his success. 

Then he redeemed from pawn that ornament, and sent it to his father- 
in-law to reveal that unsuspected secret; his father-in-law, when he saw 
that earring of his daughter's, which had come to him in such a way, 
was confounded, and showed it to hen She looked upon it, lost long 
ago like her own virtue; and when she heard that it had been sent by 
her husband she was distracted, and called to mind the whole circum- 
stance: "This is the very ornament which I let fall in the almshouse 
the night I saw that unknown traveler standing there; so that must un- 
doubtedlf have been my husband come to test my virtue, but I did not 
recognize him, and he picked up this ornament." 

While the merchant's daughter was going through this train of re- 
flection, her heart, afflicted by the misfortune of her unchastity Jjaving 
been discovered, in its agony, broke. Then her father artfully questioned 
a maid of hers who knew all her secrets, and found out the truth, and 
so ceased to mourn for his daughter; as for the prince, after he recovered 
the kingdom, he obtained as wife the daughter of the emperor, won by 
his virtues, and enjoyed the highest prosperity. % 



THE JACKAL 

(Anonymous: I4th Century, A.D., or earlier) 

NOTHING is known of the author of the Hitofadcsa, a manual of 
didactic fables composed on the basis of the Panchatantra be- 
fore the year 1373 A.D. 

The present story- which has no title in the original is re- 
printed from Charles Wilkins' translation, London, 1787* 



THE JACKAL 1 
(From the Hitofadcsa) 

A CERTAIN jackal, as he was roaming about the borders of a town, 
just as his inclinations led him, fell into a dyer's vat; but being 
unable to get out, in the morning he feigned himself dead. At length, 
the master of the vat, which was filled with indigo, came, and seeing 



ANCIENT INDIA ANONYMOUS 75 

a jackal lying with his legs uppermost, his eyes closed, and his teeth bare, 
concluded that he was dead, and so, taking him out, he carried him a 
good way from the town, and there left him* The sly animal instantly 
got up, and ran into the woods; when, observing that his coat was turned 
blue, he meditated in this manner: "I am now of the finest color! what 
great exaltation may I not bring about for myself?" Saying this, he 
called a number of jackals together, and addressed them in the following 
words: "Know that I have lately been sprinkled king of th$ forests, by 
the hands of the goddess herself who presides over these woods, with 
a water drawn from a variety of choice herbs. Observe my color, and 
henceforward let every business be transacted according to my orders." 
The rest of the jackals, seeing him of such a fine complexion, prostrated ' 
themselves before him, and said: "According as Your Highness com- 
mands!" By this step he made himself honored by his own relations, 
and so gained the supreme power over those of his own species, as well 
as all the other inhabitants of the forests. But after a while, finding him- 
self surrounded by a levee of the first quality, such as the tiger and the 
like, he began to look down upon his relations; and, at length, he kept 
them %t a distance. A certain old jackal, perceiving that his brethren were 
very much cast down at this behavior, cried: "Do not despair! If it con- 
tinue thus, this imprudent friend of ours will force us to be revenged. 
Let me alone to contrive his downfall. The lion, and the rest who pay 
him coun^ are taken by his outward appearance; and they obey him as 
their king, because they are not aware that he is nothing but a jackal: 
do something then by which he may be found out. Let this plan be pur- 
sued: Assemble all of you in a body about the close of the evening, 
and set up one general howl in his hearing; and I'll warrant you, the 
natural disposition of his species will incline him to join in the cry; for, 

Whatever may be the natural propensity of anyone is very hard to be 
overcome. If a dog were made king, would he not gnaw his shoe straps? 

And thus the tiger, discovering that he is nothing but a jackal, will pres- 
ently put him to death." The plan was executed, and the event was just 
as it had been foretold. 



Persia 



INTRODUCTION 

HE* 4 short story in Persia had its origin among the wandering story- 
* JL tellers, w&o sometimes invented their plots (so far as any one ever 
invents a Riot), but more commonly borrowed them from the extensive 
store of legends or folk-tales, Semitic or Mohammedan in origin. No 
story-teller's repertory was complete unless it included tales of treasure 
or of love. The motive of these characteristic stories was extremely 
simple: one set-out to amass a fortune, either by cunning or outright 
theft; or'efee one pursued some woman who was acclaimed <s the 
perfection of "maidenly beauty. In any event, the hero almost invariably 
succeeded in his quest and lived happy ever after. The obstacles in the 
way of achievement, whether the quest was treasure or a beautiful 
woman, formed the basis of the story, and when these were of a 
supernatural character the teller excelled in the invention of particularly 
ingenious obstacles. The introduction of supernatural elements was to 
be expected among a people whose imaginations had been stimulated by 
long ages of wandering in the uninhabited spots of the earth, and the 
Persian story-teller delighted in mixing his facts with fancy. 

The Golden Age of the Persian story was about the Eleventh Century 
A.D. Since that time there has been little activity on the part of the 
novelist or the short story writer. 

Tta Persians added to the art they so zealously practised a decorative 
element that was wanting in the Sanscrit stories, from which they largely 
borrowed, but apart from this they would deserve enduring fame for 
having transmitted to the Arabians the celebrated Arabian Nights. 



ABUL KASIM MANSUR FIRDAWSI 

(935-1025 A.D.) 

ABUL KASIM MANSUR FiRDAwrf was born in the city of Tus, in 
Persia, in 935. He left the city of his birth to join the famous court 
of Mahmud of Ghazna, but not before he had completed a rough 

76 



77 



draft of hit justly famous Shah-Nama, or Book of Kings. About 
forty years he devoted to this wonderful epic, an account of the 
glories of Iran from its very beginnings and one of the great 
contributions to classic literature. It is related that Mahmud prom- 
ised Firdawsi a fortune for his epic. When it was finally finished 
in 1010, the monarch failed of his word. Later, repenting of his 
misdeed, he sent the poet the promised gold, which arrived just as 
this ill-treated immortal was being buried. 

The present version of Jams hid and Zuhak, 
from The Book of the Kings, is from the tranj* 
Levy, M.A., copyrighted in 1923 by the 
by whose permission it is here reprinted. 



JAMSHID AND ZUH_ 

\T^ 

IN the days when the world was young, there w3 
hi capital in Iran, ruled the earth for seven 
name was Jamshid, and he was indeed a mighty monarch, for men and 
divs and birds and peris all obeyed him. The world grew prosperous 
under him, for he said: "I will prevent evildoers from working ill, and 
will guide* all men aright." 

For fifty years he concerned himself with weapons of war, to open 
the path to glory for the valiant, and made helmets and lances and coats 
of mail. Then he turned to the making of garments for his people. He 
prepared stuffs of linen, of wool, of beaver skins and of rich brocade, 
and taught the people how to weave; and when the material was ready 
he showed them how to clean it and make it into garments. This being 
achieved, he devoted a space of time to seeking out the precious stones, 
and discovered such treasured things as ruby, yellow amber, silver, and 
gold. Then he invented perfumes, such as balm, camphor and pure musk, 
aloes, umber and rose-water. Thereafter he discovered medicine, remedies 
against every sickness, and the means of preserving health and of curing 
wounds. Thereby he made the world contented and was himself happy. 

Three hundred years passed, and in that time death was unknown. 
There was neither pain nor sorrow, and the divs were kept in slavery, 
so that they never troubled men. But as time went on, the king became 
so powerful that he could see nothing in all the earth save himself, and 
by his arrogance incurred the anger of the gods. 

Now there lived at this time in Arabia a king among the desert chief- 
tain? and the captain of many armed bands of horsemen. He possessed 
flocks and .herds of goats, camels, and sheep, each a thousand strong, as 



78 GREAT SHORT STORIES OP THE WORLD 

well as cows and Arab horses. This generous king had a son Zuhak, who 
was brave, light-hearted, and care-free, and who was constantly engaged 
in wars against his enemies. 

It happened one day that Iblis, the god of the divs, came to the palaoe 
disguised as a nobleman, and so pleased the young prince that he turned 
aside from his brave and noble way in order to follow the wicked div. 
Iblis rejoiced greatly, and said: "I know many things which none can 
learn e Jo^^Trbftn jne." "Teach me them," said the young man, "and 

^^irsitsC said Iblis, "you must swear an oath not to reveal 
mjTsQCret&to any,mari^J "I swear," said Zuhak, "and I will do every- 
thing you tell me?' Yc Then," said Iblis to him, "why should there be 
Tany othef man^but youj illustrious prince, in the palace? Of what use 
fc r a father vftien he has a -son like you? Take his throne, for it belongs 
to you, ancP if^you foljow my counsel, you will be a great king on the 
earth." " * * ' 

WhAi Zuhak Jiaigl this he pondered long, for he loved his father. 
He saicLi;"I cannot *dj> it. Tell me something else, for that is not pos- 
sible."' Ililis fepfieji -in fury, "If you do not carry out my commands 
and if you break the oath you swore to me, my bonds will ifmain 
attached to your neck for ever." Zuhak submitted, and said: "How am 
I to bring this about?" 

"I, Iblis, will prepare the means, and raise you to the sun. You have 
but to keep silence." % 

Now the king had around his palace a garden in which he took great 
delight, and here, often rising before dawn, he would walk, without 
even one slave to carry his torch. On the path the div dug a deep pit, 
covered it with brushwood, and spread earth on the top. Early the fol- 
lowing morning, before the sun was up, the Arab king awoke and went 
out into the cold air of dawn. As he approached the fatal pit his star 
paled, but he disregarded its warning, and, falling into the chasm, was 
slain. Thus perished this pious man who had scarce ever spoken a harsh 
word to his son. 

Iblis, his plan accomplished, then approached Zuhak again, and said: 
"When you have turned your heart towards me, you itoay obtain all that 
you desire. Renew but your oath, and the entire world will be your 
kingdom; the wild beasts, the birds, and the fishes will be your subjects." 
And with these words he vanished. 

Soon afterwards IblJs assumed the guise of a young man of ready 
Speech and agile form, and presented himself to Zuhak, saying that he 
was an excellent cook. The prince engaged him, and by his royal com- 
mand delivered to him the keys of his kitchen. Now the design of Iblis 
was to make the prince abandon his eating of herbs and to persuade him 
to the eating of meat. He began by preparing yolk of egg for him, 
Which in a short time gave him great vigor of body. Zuhak was pleased 



PERSIA FIRDAWSf 79 

and commended his cook, who said, "To-morrow I will prepare for your 
Majesty a dish than which nought is more perfect." And the next day, 
when the blue dome of heaven was lighted by the red ruby of the sun, 
he prepared a dish of partridge and of silver pheasant, which the Arab 
ruler ate; and thus he abandoned his imprudent mind to the power of 
Iblis, who, on the third day, placed upon the table a mixture of birds 
and lambs' flesh. On the fourth day, when the meal was brought, the king 
feasted on the flesh of a young calf seasoned with rose-water, old wine, 
and pure musk. The meal filled him with delight at the skill of his 
cook, and, summoning him, he said, "Think what it is that you desire, 
and ask it of me." Iblis replied, "I have but one request to make of the 
king (may he live prosperous forever), but that is an honor too great 
for me; it is that I may be permitted to kiss his shoulders and to touch 
them with my eyes and face." 

Zuhak suspected nothing of his intention, and said: "I grant your 
wish; it may be that some honor will thereby accrue to your name," 
and he bared his shoulders to him as to a friend. Iblis kissed them and 
vanished from the earth. But from each of Zuhak's shoulders appeared 
a black serpent, and Zuhak became sick at heart and sought on all sides 
for a remedy. Finally he bade that the serpents be cut off close to his 
shoulder, but they grew again. Every physician and wise man in the 
kingdom tried his remedies, but all in vain. The last to come was Iblis 
himself, Hyho appeared as a physician before Zuhak. "It was inevitable," 
said he, "that this should happen. Leave the serpents and do not cut 
them off while there is life in them. To appease them you must feed 
them on the brains of men, which alone will at last slay them." 

While these events were, taking place at the court of Arabia, great 
tumults filled the land of Iran. The arrogance of Jamshid had set his 
subjects in revolt against him, and a great army marched towards Arabia 
from the highlands of Iran. They had heard that in Arabia there was 
a man with a serpent's face that inspired terror in men, and to him they 
went in order to elect him as their king. Zuhak eagerly returned with 
them and was crowned, and, turning his eyes towards the throne of Jam- 
shid, began to treat the world familiarly as if it were the ring upon his 
finger. Jamshid fled before him, and for a hundred years was seen by 
no man, till Zuhak fell upon him without warning in the confines of 
China and put him to death. Thus perished his pride from the earth. 

For a thousand years Zuhak occupied the throne and the world sub- 
mitted to him, so that goodness died away and was replaced by evil. 
Every night during that long period two youths were slain to provide 
the serpents' food. Now in the king's country there remained two men 
of purity, of Persian race, the one Irmail the Pious, and the other 
Girmail the Clear-sighted. It happened that they met one day and talked 
of many matters great and small; of *Jie unjust king, of his army, and 



So GREAT SHOfcT STORIES OF THE WORLD 

of his horrible custom. The one said: "We ought, by the art of die 
kitchen, to introduce ourselves into the king's household and apply our 
.Wits to saving the unfortunates who lose their lives each day." Setting 
to work, they learned the art of cookery, and succeeded in entering tlie 
king's kitchen. There, after no long time, they were entrusted with the 
preparation of the king's meal, and they contrived to mix the brains of 
a sheep with those of one of the youths who was brought for slaughter. 
The other one they saved alive and dismissed secretly, saying to him: 
"Escape in secret, beware of visiting any inhabited town; your portion 
in the world must be the desert and the mountain." 

In this manner they saved two hundred men, of whom is born the 
race of Kurds, who know not any fixed abode, whose houses are tents; 
and who have in their hearts no fear of God. 

While Zuhak still had forty years to live, one night he dreamed a 
dream, and he saw three royal warriors emerge, two of them aged, and 
another, younger, who walked between them, and jpho had die form 
of a cypress and the visage of a king. His girth and his gait were those 
of a prince, and he carried a club with a bull's head. He advanced 
straight upon Zuhak, smote him upon the forehead with his club, tied 
him hand and foot with thongs, and overwhelmed him with shame and 
torments. 

Zuhak awoke with a great cry of fear, that brought his wif e,^rnawaz, 
and his attendants running to him in alarm. Arnawaz, as she approached, 
cried out to him: "O king, confide in me and tell me what has hap- 
pened. You sleep in your palace securely; everything that is in the world 
obeys you; savage beasts, divs, and men are your guardians; the earth 
with its seven climes is your domain; all, from the firmament to the 
depths of the seas, is yours. Why then do you leap thus from your bed? 
Tell us." Zuhak replied: "My dream must be kept secret, for were I 
to reveal it, you would despair of my life." "Perhaps, if you reveal it," 
said Arnawaz, "we may find a remedy, for no ill exists that has not its 
remedy." The king was persuaded by this, and told what he had seen in 
his dream. "This is not a matter that you may neglect," exclaimed the 
queen on hearing it. "Summon from every country the sages that can 
read the stars, examine all sources, and seek thus to learn the secret. 
Discover what he is whose hand threatens you; man, div, or peri; and 
when you know, then immediately apply your remedy." And the king 
approved the counsel of this silver swan. 

; The world, plunged in night, was black as a raven's wing; suddenly 
light dawned upon the mountains as though the sun had scattered rubies 
fcpon the azure of the firmament. Wherever there were wise counselors 
the king sought them out and assembled them in his palace, where he 
told the whole company of his trouble, and sought their advice. The lips 
of the noblemen were dried with fear, their cheeks paled, and their 



PERSIA FIRDAWSf 8r 

hearts filled with" anguish. "For," sgid each to himself, "if we disclose 
what must happen, he will die, and if we remain silent, then we must 
bid^ adieu to life." Thus they remained hesitating for three days. And 
on the fourth day, Zuhak assembled them again and in rage asked for 
their counsel, and menaced them with death if they withheld from him 
their knowledge of the future. 

. At length there stood out from among the noble counselors one who 
was their chief, whose conduct was upright and whose heart was filled 
with wisdom. He loosened his tongue before Zuhak, and spoke thus: 
"Empty thine heart of vain hope, for no one is born save to die. There 
have been many kings before you worthy of the throne of power, they 
saw much of grief and much of joy; and, when their long days had 
flowed past, they died. Were you a rampart of iron securely founded, 
the turn of the skies would break you too, and you would disappear. 
There will be some one who will inherit your throne and will overturn 
your fortunes. His name is Faridun, but he is not yet born, and the 
time to fear him is not yet. He will grow like a tree destined to bear 
fruit, ftd when he has reached manhood his head will touch the moon. 
Then he will demand your girdle and your crown, your throne and your 
diadem. He will carry upon his shoulder a club of steel, and with his 
bull-headed mace he will strike you and drag you from your palace." 

"What {<jason has he for hating me?" cried out the impure Zuhak. 

"Because his father will die at your hands." 

The king heard and thought on this, fell from his throne, and 
swooned away. When his senses returned to him, he mounted again upon 
his throne and sent out searchers, both secret and public, to seek for 
traces of Faridun. He sought no vest or sleep or food, and bright day 
became gloomy to him. 

Thus passed a long space of time, while the serpent-man remained 
prey to his terror. Faridun was born, and the lot of the whole world was 
thereby destined to change. The youth grew up like a cypress, and he 
was resplendent with all the glory of majesty. He was like the shining 
sun, as needful to the world as rain, an adornment to the mind like 
knowledge. Zuhak filled the earth with sound and fury, searching every- 
where for Faridun son of Abtin. The earth became straitened for Abtin, 
who fled and struggled; but he was finally caught in the lion's net. 

Meantime Faridun was well secured by his mother, and was safe. 
The king ceased not night or day to be in anguish concerning him. One 
day he seated himself on his ivory throne, and, putting his crown upon 
his head, summoned all his nobles. To them he spoke thus: "O you men 
cf virtue, noble and prudent, I have a hidden enemy, as all men -know. 
I despise no en$my however feeble, for I fear lest fortune betray me. 
I must increase my army, and will have it of men, divs, and peris. I 
desire you to aid me, for I .cannot bear my torment alone. You must 



8* GREAT SHORT STORIES OF THE WORLD 

write for me a declaration that as king I have sown nought but the seed 
of good, that I have spoken nought save the words of truth, that I have 
never frustrated justice." All the noblemen, in fear of the king, Con- 
sented to his demand, and all, old and young, declared what the serpent- 
man desired. 

But suddenly at the gate of the palace was heard the voice of one 
crying out for justice. The complainant was brought before the king, 
who asked who had done him wrong. The man cried out, struck his 
head with his hands on seeing the monarch, and said: "I am Kawa, O 
king; I demand justice. Grant me justice. I have come in haste, and it 
is you whom I accuse in the bitterness of my heart. I had seventeen sons, 
and now there remains but one. Give me back this one, my only son; 
think how my heart will burn with grief, the whole length of my life. 
What crime have I committed? Even tyranny must have a pretext, and 
I am an innocent man, a blacksmith. You must render count to me for 
what you have done, and the world will be astonished thereby. It will 
see, by the account you will render to me, what my lot on earth has 
been, and how I have been compelled to give my sons to feid your 
serpents." 

The king looked harshly upon him on hearing these words, gave back 
the man's son, and strove to soothe him with words. Lastly he asked 
Kawa to sign the declaration of the nobles, but he, trembling with rage, 
tore and trampled on it and emerged shouting with a mighty anger. 
The crowd in the market-place gathered round him, and to them and 
the whole world he appealed to aid him in obtaining justice. He took 
off the apron which blacksmiths wear, tied it to a lance and marched 
through the bazaars crying: "Illustrious men, you that adore God, who 
desire to be delivered from the clutches of Zuhak, let us go to Faridun 
and let us rest in the shadow of his sovereignty." 

Having ascertained where Faridun lay hiding, he set out with a great 
troop of men, and after no long time reached his abode. The young 
prince saw the standard made of the blacksmith's apron, and accepted 
it as a good omen. Then, tarrying only while a suit of armor was made 
for him, he began his march at the head of his army, which moved as 
speedily as the wind. Soon they reached the Tigris River and the city of 
Baghdad. Arrived there, Faridun sent his greeting to the guardian of 
the crossing, and said: "Send me boats and ships, that I and my army 
may cross." But the guardian sent back answer: "The king has given 
me secret command that no man may cross without his sealed order." 

. Faridun heard the messenger with anger. The swift stream inspired 
him with no fear, and he with his warriors tightened girdle and plunged 
into it with their horses. Having crossed, they made their way to the 
royal city of Zuhak. On coming within a mile of it Faridun saw a 
palace whose walls were raised higher than Saturn, as if it had been 



PERSIA FIRDAWSt 83 

built to tear the stars from the sky. It shone like Jupiter in the celestial 
sphere. From its vastness and magnificence Faridun knew it to be the 
palace of the monster-king, and, turning to his companions, he said: "I 
fear one that has been able from dust and stones to rear so mighty a 
structure. I fear some secret bond between fortune and him, but it is 
better to fling ourselves into battle than to delay here." Thus he spoke, 
and, giving rein to his spirited horse, he raised his club and rushed like 
a flame past the wardens of the gate and into the palace. He dashed to 
the ground a talisman which Zuhak had set up against him, and struck 
down all that offered resistance; he placed his foot upon the throne of 
Zuhak, seized the royal crown, and took his place. 

A servant of Zuhak saw what had happened, and mounting a swift 
horse brought the tale to his master: "O king of a proud people, there 
are tokens that portend the fall of your fortunes. Three heroes have 
come from a strange land with an army. The youngest remains always 
between the two elder, his stature is that of a prince, his face that of a 
king. He carries a mighty club like a great rock, and he has seated him- 
self upon the throne." 

Zuhak, in great haste, prepared to return with an army of divs and 
men. By devious ways he flung his army against the terraces and gates 
of the palace, thinking of nought but vengeance. But the army of 
Faridun and the inhabitants of the town fought together in the battle, 
and their n&ss was like a mountain. 

Meantime rage incited Zuhak to further enterprise. Covering himself 
from head to foot with armor, that none might know him, in the con- 
fusion he climbed unseen into the palace by means of. a rope of sixty 
cubits. But he was recognized and pursued and, in his rage, leaped from 
the battlements to the ground. Faridun advanced, swift as the wind, 
and smote Zuhak with his club through his helmet to his head. But a 
faithful counselor held his hand, saying, "His time is not yet come. He 
is broken but not dead. Let him be placed to spend the rest of his days 
in the depths of the rocks, where neither his friends nor his vassals can 
find him." 

So Faridun prepared thongs of lion skin, and bound Zuhak's hands 
and feet and body, in such manner that a wild elephant could not have 
broken the bonds. He bore the monster, thus tightly bound, to the height 
of the lofty mountain of Damawand, and there, in a narrow bottomless 
chasm, he chained him. And there Zuhak remains suspended until the ill 
he wrought shall have vanished from the earth. 



84 GREAT SHORT STORIES OF THE WORLD 



THE SAILOR AND THE PEARL MERCHANT 



THE author of the following story is unknown. It was gathered 
with others in Persia, brought to England and presented to the 
Bodleian Library. 

The Story of the Sailor and the Pearl Merchant is a splendid 
example of the Persian story-teller's fantastic and magical art. 

The present version is from a translation by Rueben Levy, M.A., 
of MS. Ouseley 231, Bodleian Library. Copyright, 1923, by 
Oxford University Press, by whose permission it is here reprinted. 



THE SAILOR AND THE PEARL MERCHANT 

IT is related that in the city of Basrah there was a man, Abu'l Fawaris, 
who was the chief of the sailors of the town, for in the great ocean 
there was no port at which he had not landed. One day, as he sat on 
the seashore, with his sailors round him, an old man arrived in a ship, 
landed where Abu'l Fawaris was sitting, and said: "Friend, J. desire you 
to give me your ship for six months, and I will pay you whatever you 
desire." "I demand a thousand gold dinars," said the sailor, and at once 
received the gold from the old man, who, before departing, said that he 
would come again on the next day, and warned Abu'l Fawaris that 
there was to be no holding back. 

The sailor took home his gold, made his ship ready, and then, taking 
leave of his wife and sons, he went down to the shore, where he found 
the old man waiting for him with a slave and twenty ass-loads of empty 
sacks. Abu'l Fawaris greeted him, and together they loaded the ship 
and set sail. Taking a particular star for their mark, they sailed for three 
months, when an island appeared to one side of them. For this the old 
man steered, and they soon landed upon it. Having loaded his slave with 
some sacks, the old man with his companions set out towards a mountain 
which they could see in the distance. This they reached after some hours 
of travel, and climbed to the summit, upon which they found a broad 
plain where more than two hundred pits had been dug. The old man 
then explained to the sailor that he was a merchant, and that he had, 
on that spot, found a mine of jewels. "Now that I have given you my 
Confidence," he continued, "I expect faithfulness from you too. I desire 
you to go down into this pit and send up sufficient pearls to 11 these 
sacks. Half I will give to you, and we shall be able to spend the rest 
*>f our lives in luxury," The sailor thereupon asked how the pearls had 



PERSIA ANONYMOUS 8$ 

found their way into these pits, to which the old man replied that there 
was a passage connecting the pits with the sea. Along this passage oysters 
swam, and settled in the pits, where by chance he had come upon them. 
He explained further that he had only brought, the sailor because he 
needed help; but he desired not to disclose the matter to any one else. 

With great eagerness then the sailor descended into the pit, and there 
found oysters in great numbers. The old man let down a basket to him, 
which he filled again and again, until at last the merchant cried out that 
the oysters were useless, for they contained no pearls. Abu'l Fawaris 
therefore left that pit, and descended into another, where he found 
pearls in great number. By the time night fell he was utterly wearied, 
and called out to the old man to help him out of the pit. In reply the 
merchant shouted down that he intended to leave him in the pit, for he 
feared that Abu'l Fawaris might kill him for the sake of the jewels. 
With great vehemence the sailor protested that he was innocent of any 
such intention, but the old man was deaf to his entreaties, and, making 
his way back to the ship, sailed away. 

For Jthree days Abu'l Fawaris remained, hungry and thirsty. As he 
struggled to find a way out he came upon many human bones, and 
understood that the accursed old man had betrayed many others in the 
same fashion. In desperation he dug about, and at last he saw a small 
opening, wJjich he enlarged with his hands. Soon it was big enough for 
him to crawl through, and he found himself in the darkness, standing 
upon mud. Along this he walked carefully, and then felt himself sud- 
denly plunged to his neck in water, which was salt to the taste; and he 
knew that he was in the passage that led to the sea. Hq, swam along in 
this for some way, till, in front of him, there appeared a faint light. 
Greatly heartened by the sight of it, he swam vigorously until he reached 
the mouth of the passage. On emerging, he found himself facing the sea, 
and threw himself on his face to give thanks for his delivery. Then he 
arose, and a little distance from him he found the cloak which he had 
left behind when he set out for the mountain; but of the old merchant 
there was no sign, and the ship had disappeared. 

Full of trouble and despondency, he sat down at the water's brink, 
wondering what he was to do. As he gazed at the sea there came into 
view a ship, and he saw that it was filled with men. At sight of it the 
sailor leaped from his place; snatching his turban from his head, he 
waved it with all his might in the air, and shouted at the top of his 
voice. But as they approached he decided not to tell his rescuers the truth 
ef his presence there; therefore when they landed and asked how he 
came to be on the island he told them that his ship, had been wrecked at 
sea, that he had clung to a plank and been washed to the shore. 

They praised his good fortune at his escape, and in reply to his ques- 
tions with regard to the place of their .origin, told him that they had 



86 GREAT SHORT STORIES OF THE WORLD 

sailed from Abyssinia, and were then on their way to Hindustan. At 
this, Abu'l Fawaris hesitated, saying that he had no business in Hin- 
dustan. They assured him, however, that they would meet ships going 
to Basrah, and would hand him over to one of them. He agreed then to 
go with them, and for forty days they sailed without seeing any inhabited 
spot. At last he asked them whether they had not mistaken their way, 
and they admitted that for five days they had been sailing without know- 
ing whither they were going or what direction to follow. All together 
therefore set themselves to praying, and remained in prayer for some 
time. 

Soon afterwards, as they sailed, something in appearance like a minaret 
emerged from the sea, and they seemed to behold the flash of a Chinese 
mirror. Also they perceived that their ship, without their rowing, and 
without any greater force of wind, began to move at great speed over 
the water. In great amazement the sailors ran to Abu'l Fawaris and asked 
him what had come to the ship that it moved so fast. He raised his eyes, 
and groaned deeply as in the distance he saw a mountain that rose out 
of the sea. In terror he clapped his hand to his eyes and should out: 
"We shall all perish! My father continually warned me that if ever 
I lost my way upon the sea I must steer to the East; for if I went to 
the West I would certainly fall into the Lion's Mouth. When I asked 
him what the Lion's Mouth was, he told me that the Almighty had 
created a great hole in the midst of the ocean, at the foot of a mountain. 
That is the Lion's Mouth. Over a hundred leagues of water it will attract 
a ship, and no vessel which encounters the mountain ever rises again. I 
believe that this is the place and that we are caught." 

In great terror the sailors saw their ship being carried like the wind 
against the mountain. Soon it was caught in the whirlpool, where the 
wrecks of ten thousand ancient ships were being carried around in the 
swirling current. The sailors and merchants in the ship crowded to Abu'l 
Fawaris, begging him to tell them what they could do. He cried out to 
them to prepare all the ropes which they had in the ship; he would then 
swim out of the whirlpool and on to the shore at the foot of the moun- 
tain, where he would make fast to some stout tree. Then they were to 
cast their ropes to him and so he would rescue them from their peril. 
By great good fortune the current cast him out upon the shore, and he 
made the rope of his ship fast to a stout tree. 

Then, as soon as was possible, the sailor climbed to the top of the 
mountain in search of food, for neither he nor his shipmates had eaten 
for some days. When he reached the summit he found a pleasant plain 
stretching away in front of him, and in the midst of it he saw a lofty 
arch, made of green stone. As he -approached it and entered, he observed 
a tall pillar made of steel, from which there hung by a chain a great 
drum of Damascus bronze covered with a lion's skin. From the arch 



PERSIA ANONYMOUS 87 

also hung a great tablet of bronze, upon which was engraved the fol- 
lowing inscription: "O thou that dost reach this place, know that when 
Alexander voyaged round the world and reached the Lion's Mouth, he 
had been made aware of this place of calamity. He was therefore accom- 
panied by four thousand wise men, whom he summoned and whom he 
commanded to provide a means of escape from this calamitous spot. 
For long the philosophers pondered on the matter, until at last Plato 
caused this drum to be made, whose quality is that if any one, being 
caught in the whirlpool, can come forth and strike the drum three 
times, he will bring out his ship to the surface." 

When the sailor had read the inscription, he quickly made his way to 
the shore and told his fellows of it. After much debate he agreed to 
risk his life by staying on the island and striking the drum, on condition 
that they would return to Basrah on their escape, and give to his wife 
and sons one-half of what treasure they had in the ship. He bound them 
with an oath to do this, and then returned to the arch. Taking up a 
club he struck the drum three times, and as the mighty roar of it echoed 
from tSe hills, the ship, like an arrow shot from a bow, was flung out 
of the whirlpool. Then, with a cry of farewell to Abu'l Fawaris from 
the crew, they sailed to Basrah, where they gave one-half the treasure 
which they had to the sailor's family. 

With gr^at mourning the wife and family of Abu'l Fawaris cele- 
brated his loss; but he, after sleeping soundly in the archway and giving 
thanks to his Maker for preserving him alive, made his way again to the 
summit of the mountain. As he advanced across the plain he saw black 
smoke arising from it, and also in the plain were rivers, of which he 
passed nine. He was like to die of hunger and weariness, when suddenly 
he perceived on one side a meadow, in which flocks of sheep were graz- 
ing. In great joy he thought that he was at last reaching human habi- 
tation, and as he came towards the sheep, he saw with them a youth, 
tall in stature as a mountain, and covered with a tattered cloak of red 
felt, though his head and body were clad in mail. The sailor greeted 
him, and received greeting in reply, and also the question "Whence come 
you?" Abu'l Fawaris answered that he was a man upon whom catas- 
trophe had fallen, and so related his adventures to the shepherd. He 
heard it with a laugh, and said: "Count yourself fortunate to have 
escaped from that abyss. Do not fear now, I will bring you to a vil- 
lage." Saying this he set bread and milk before him and bade him eat. 
When he had eaten he said: "You cannot remain here all day, I will 
take you to my house, where you may rest for a time." 

Together they descended to the foot of the mountain, where stood a 
gateway. Against it leaned a mighty stone, which a hundred men could 
not have lifted, but the shepherd, putting his hand into a hole in die 
stone, lifted it away from .the gateway and admitted Abu'l Fawaris. 



SS GREAT SHORT STORIES OF TE WORLD 

Then he restored the stone to its place, and continued on his way. 

When the sailor had passed through the gateway he saw before him 
a beautiful garden in which were trees laden with fruit. In the mjdst 
of them was a kiosk, and this, the sailor thought, must be the shepherd's 
house. He entered and looked about from the roof, but though he saw 
many houses there was no person in sight. He descended therefore, and 
walked to the nearest house, which he entered. Upon crossing the 
threshold he beheld ten men, all naked and all so fat that their eyes 
were almost closed. With their heads down upon their knees, all were 
weeping bitterly. But at the sound of his footsteps they raised their heads 
and called out "Who are you?" He told them that the shepherd had 
brought him and offered him hospitality. A great cry arose from them 
as they heard this. "Here," they said, "is another unfortunate who has 
fallen, like ourselves, into the clutch of this monster. He is a vile crea- 
ture, who in the guise of a shepherd goes about and seizes men and 
devours them. We are all merchants whom adverse winds have brought 
here. That div has seized us and keeps us in this fashion." 

With a groan the sailor thought that now at last he was tmdone. 
At that moment he saw the shepherd coming, saw him let the sheep into 
the garden, and then close the gateway with the stone before entering 
the kiosk. He was carrying a bag full of almonds, dates, and pistachio 
nuts, with which he approached, and, giving it to the sailor, Jie told him 
to share it with the others. Abu'l Fawaris could say nothing, but sat 
down and ate the food with his companions. When they had finished 
their meal, the shepherd returned to them, took one of them by the 
hand, and then in sight of them all, slew, roasted, and devoured him. 
When he was sated, he brought out a skin of wine and drank until he 
fell into a drunken sleep. 

Then the sailor turned to his companions and said: "Since I am to 
die, let me first destroy him; if you will give me your help, I will do 
so." They replied that they had no strength left; but he, seeing the two 
long spits on which the ogre had roasted his meat, put them into the 
fire until they were red hot, and then plunged them into the monster's 
eyes. ' 

With a great cry the shepherd leaped up and tried to seize his tor* 
mentor, who sprang away and eluded him. Running to the stone, the 
shepherd moved it aside and began to let out the sheep one by one, in 
tile hope that when the garden was emptier he could the more easily 
capture the sailor. Abu'l Fawaris understood his intention: without delay, 
he slew a sheep, put on the skin and tried to pass through. But the shep* 
herd knew as soon as he felt him that this was not a sheep, and leaped 
after him in pursuit. Abu'l Fawaris flung off the pelt, and ran like the 
wind; Soon lie came to the sea, and into this he plunged, while th 
, shepherd after a few steps returned to the shore, for lie could not swim. 



PERSIA ANONYMOUS 89 

Full of terror the sailor swam till he reached the other side of the 
mountain. There he met an old man who greeted him, and, after hear- 
ing his adventure, fed him and took him to his house. But soon, 'to his 
hortror, Abu'l Fawaris found that this old man also was an ogre. With 
great cunning he told the ogre's wife that he could make many useful 
implements for her house, and she persuaded her husband to save him. 
After many days in the house, he was sent away to the care of a shep- 
herd, and put to guard sheep. Day by day he planned to escape, but there 
was only one way across the mountain and that was guarded. 

One day, as he wandered in a wood, he found in the hollow trunk 
of a tree a store of honey, of which he told the shepherd's wife when 
he went home. The next day, therefore, the woman sent her husband 
with Abu'l Fawaris, telling him to bring home some of the honey; but, 
on the way, the sailor leaped upon him and bound him to a tree. Then, 
taking the shepherd's ring, he returned and told the woman that her 
husband had given him leave to go, and that he sent his ring in token 
of this. But the woman was cunning and asked: "Why did not my 
husbanjl come himself to tell me this?" Seizing him by the cloak, she 
told him that she would go with him and find out the truth. The sailor, 
however, tore himself free, and again fled to the sea, where he thought 
that he might escape death. In haste and terror he swam for many 
hours, until at last he espied a ship full of men, who steered towards 
him and tobk him on board. Full of wonder they asked how he came 
there, and he related to them all his adventures. 

It happened by great good fortune that the ship's captain had business 
at one place only on the coast, and that from there he was sailing to 
Basrah. In the space of a month, therefore, Abu'l Fawaris was restored 
to his family, to the joy of them all. 

The many dangers and sufferings of the sailor had turned his hair 
white. For many days he rested, and then, one day, as he walked by the 
seashore, that same old man who had before hired his ship again ap- 
peared. Without recognizing him, he asked if he would lend his ship on 
hire for six months. Abu'l Fawaris agreed to do so for a thousand dinars 
of gold, which the old man at once paid to him, saying that he would 
come in a boat on the morrow, ready to depart. 

When the ancient departed, the sailor took honu the money to his 
wife, who bade him beware not to cast himself again into danger. He 
replied that he must be avenged not only for himself, but also for the 
thousand Muslims whom the villainous old man had slain. 

The next day, therefore, the sailor took on board the old man and a 
black slave, and for three months they sailed, until they once more 
reached the island of pearls. There they made fast the ship on the shore, 
and taking sacks, they ascended to the top of the mountain. Once arrived 
there, the old man made the same request to Abu'l Fawaris as before, 



90 GREAT SHORT STORIES OP THE WORLD 

namely, that he should go down into die pits and send up pearls. The 
sailor replied that he was unacquainted with the place, and preferred 
that the old man should go down first, in order to prove that there was 
no danger. He answered that there was surely no danger; he had never 
in his life harmed even an ant, and he would of a certainty never send 
Abu'l Fawaris down into the pits if he knew any peril lay there. But 
die sailor was obstinate, saying that until he knew how to carry it out, 
he could not undertake the task. 

Very reluctantly, therefore, the old man allowed himself to be lowered 
into the first pit by a basket and a rope. He filled the basket with oysters 
and sent it up, crying out: "You see, there is nothing to do harm in this 
pit. Draw me up now, for I am an old man and have no more strength 
left." The sailor replied, "Now that you are there, it were better if you 
remained there to complete your task. To-morrow I myself will go into 
another pit and will send up so many pearls as to fill the ship.' 9 For a 
long time the old man worked, sending up pearls, and at last he cried 
out again, "O my brother, I am utterly wearied, draw me out now." 
Then the sailor turned upon him with fury, and cried out: "H^w is it 
that thou dost see ever thine own trouble and never that of others? Thou 
misbegotten dog, art thou blind that thou dost not know me? I am Abu'l 
Fawaris, the sailor, whom long ago you left in one of these pits. By the 
favor of Allah I was delivered, and now it is your turn. Open your eyes 
to the truth and remember what you have done to so many^nen." The 
old man cried aloud for mercy, but it availed him nothing, for Abu'l 
Fawaris brought a great stone and covered up the mouth of the pit. The 
slave too he overwhelmed with threats, and then together they carried 
down the pearls to the ship, in which they set sail. In three months they 
arrived at Basrah. There Abu'l Fawaris related his adventures, to the 
amazement of all. Thenceforward he abandoned the sea and adopted a 
life of ease. Finally he died, and this story remains in memory of him. 
And Allah knoweth best. 



Arabia 



INTRODUCTION 

THE literature of the Arabs originated in the improvisations of stories 
and poems among the pre-Mohammedan inhabitants of Arabia. 
These were the oral recitations of the people, transmitted from genera- 
tion to generation. It is improbable that anything was actually collected 
and reduced to writing before the Ninth or Tenth Century A.D., 
although some time during the Ninth Century Al-Asma'i brought to- 
gether the elements that make up the Romance of Antar, one of the 
stories ' from which is here reprinted. This coloured and romantic 
accumulation of poetic stories and legends is the great epic of Arabian 
literature. 

The Arabs are noted for their nomadic existence, but there were also 
town dweMers in Arabia who appreciated a less simple story than the 
recitations of the wandering inhabitants of the desert and therefore im- 
ported several cycles or collections of tales, of which the supreme master- 
piece is the celebrated Thousand Nights and One Night, better known 
as the Thousand and One Nights, or simply the Arabian Nights. These 
famous tales had been translated from the Sanskrit (with certain elabo- 
rations) into the Persian, from which the Arabs borrowed them, though 
they added so much in the way of details and literary style that the 
collection may be considered an original contribution. These made their 
appearance in the Arabic somewhere between the Tenth and Fourteenth 
Centuries of our epoch. 

It is hazardous to attribute to any one person the actual invention of 
a literary form, but it is customary to designate Hamadhani (968-1054) 
as the first writer of stories in Arabic. His art was practised and im- 
proved upon by Al-Hariri (1054-1122), whose Lectures constitute an 
imposing array of fanciful tales. The Golden Meadows of Mas'udi, 
composed during the Tenth Century, are interesting rather as commen- 
taries upon contemporary life and manners than as tales. 

After the appearance of the Arabian Nights, there was little more in 
Arabian literature in the way of short stories to be added. Modern litera- 
ture is of relatively little importance. 

The Arabian tale, although it was not altogether indigenous, has estab- 



9* GREAT SHORT STORIES OF THE WORLD 

'*/-! , 

lished itself , at least in the minds of Occidentals, as a sort of symbol of 
the romance of the Orient. There was a gorgeousness of local color, a 
riot of sensuous imagery in the best of the Arabian stories, that later 
writers have sought in vain to imitate. 



AL-ASMA'I 

(9th Century, A.D.) 

PRACTICALLY nothing is known of the collector of the material that 
makes up the epical Romance of An far. K haled end Djaida, which 
is taken from that epic, is not so finished and skilful a narrative as 
the best of the tales in the Arabian Nights: it belongs rather to 
the type of episode which Homer introduced into the Odyssey, or 
the author of Beowulf into that work. Yet there is in it that ele- 
ment of wonder which the world's great story-tellers knew s 
well how to use, and a certain delicate art that spins out an inci- 
dent to the delight of idle listeners. 

The present text is based upon the translation by T. Hamilton: 
A Bedoueen Romance, London, 1820. There is no title to the 
original story. 



KHALED AND DJAIDA 
(From The Romance of Antar) 

|"OHARIB and Zahir were two brothers, by the same father and 
mother; the Arabians call them "germane." Both were emi- 
nent for their courage and daring. But Moharib was chief of the clan, 
and Zahir was his minister, subject to his authority, giving him counsel 
- and advice. It happened that a violent dispute and quarrel arose between 
them. Zahir retired to his tent, sorrowing and not knowing what to 
do. "What is the matter with you?" demanded his wife. "Why are you 
troubled? What has happened? Has anyone displeased or insulted you 
the greatest of Arabian chiefs?" "What am I to do?" said Zahir; "he 
who has injured me is one I cannot lay hands on, or wrong; my com- 
panion in private, my brother in the world. Oh, if it had been any other, 
K , I would have shown him what kind of man he was at odds with, and 
i made an example of him before the chiefs of our people!" "Leave 
' u ;{faim in the enjoyment of his possessions," cried his wife, and, to persuade 



ARABIA AL-ASMA'I 9$ 

her husband to do this, she recited verses from a contemporary poet, 
dissuading a man from accepting an insult even from his parents. 

Zahir accepted the advice of his wife. He made preparations for 
departure, took down his tents, loaded his camels, and started off towards 
the camp of the Saad clan, with whom he was allied. Nevertheless, 
he felt a pang at separating himself from his brother and thus he 
spoke: "On starting a journey which takes me from you, I shall seem 
a thousand years on the way, each year carrying me a thousand leagues. 
. . . Even though the favors you heap upon me be worth a thousand 
Egypts, and each Egypt had a thousand Niles, they would all be despised. 
I shall be happy with little so long as I am far from you. In my absence, 
I shall recite this verse, which is worth more than a necklace of fine 
pearls: 'When a man is insulted on the soil of his clan, there is nothing 
to do but to leave it; you, who have so wickedly injured me, ere long 
shall feel the power of the beneficent divinity, for he is your judge and 
mine, unchangeable and everlasting.' " 

Zahir proceeded on his journey, until he reached the Saad tribe, and 
dismounted from his horse. He was cordially welcomed and pressed to 
dwell 'among them. His wife was soon to become a mother, and he said 
to her: "If a son.be given us, he will be welcome; but if it be a 
daughter, conceal her sex, and allow people to think we have a boy, so 
that my brother may have no reason to crow over us." When her time 
came Zahar's wife brought forth a daughter. They agreed that her name 
should be Djaida, but that in public she should be known as Djonder, 
that people might think her a boy. In order to promote this belief, they 
feasted and entertained early and late for many days. 

About the same time Moharib, the other brother, had a son born to 
him, whom he called Khaled. He chose this name out of gratitude to 
God, because, since his brother's departure, his affairs had prospered. 

The two children in time reached maturity, and their fame spread 
far and wide among the Arabians. Zahir had taught his daughter to ride 
horseback, and trained her in all the accomplishments fitting to a brave 
and daring warrior. He accustomed her to the severest labor, and the 
most perilous enterprises. When he went to war, he put her among the 
other Arabs of the clan, and among these horsemen she soon took her 
rank as one of the most valiant of them. And thus it came to pass that 
she outstripped all her comrades, and would even attack the lions in 
their dens. At last her name inspired the greatest terror; when she had 
conquered a champion she never failed to cry out: "I am Djonder, son 
of Zahir, horseman of the clans." > 

For his part, her cousin Khaled distinguished himself likewise 
his brilliant* courage. His father Moharib, a wise and prudent 
tain, had built places of entertainment for strangers; and horsemen ^ 
found a welcome there. TChaled had grown up in the company of 



94 GREAT SHORT STORIES OF THE WORLD 

riots, In tills school his spirit had been moulded, here he had learned to 
ride, and had become at last an intrepid warrior, and a fear-inspiring 
hero. It was soon perceived by the army that his spirit and valor were 
unconquerable. 

Now at last he heard news of his cousin Djondcr, and his eagerness 
to see and know him and witness his skill in arms became extreme. But 
he was unable to satisfy this desire because of the dislike his father 
showed for his cousin, his uncle's son. Khaled's curiosity remained unsat- 
isfied until the death of his father Moharib, which put him in possession 
of rank, riches and land. He followed the example of his father in 
entertaining strangers, protecting the weak and unfortunate, and giving 
clothing to the naked. He continued also to sweep the plains on horse- 
back in company with his warriors, and thus became greater in bodily 
strength and courage. After some time, gathering together a number of 
precious gifts, he set out, in company with his mother, to visit his uncle. 
He did not draw rein until he reached the dwelling of Zahir, who was 
very glad to see him, and made magnificent preparations for his enter- 
tainment; for the uncle had heard news on several occasions of his 
nephew's worth and valor. Khaled also visited his cousin. He saluted 
her, pressed her to his bosom, and kissed her forehead, thinking that she 
was a young man. He felt the keenest pleasure when he was in her 
company, and remained for ten days with his uncle, taking part in the 
tournaments and contests of horsemen and warriors. As for fcis cousin, 
the moment she had seen how handsome and valiant Khaled was, she 
fell violently in love with him. She was unable to sleep; she could not 
eat; and her love drew to such a pitch that feeling her heart completely 
lost to him, she spoke to her mother, saying: "Oh, mother, if my cousin 
should leave without taking me with him, I shall die of grief at his 
absence." Then her mother was touched with pity for her, and spoke 
no reproaches, feeling that they would be in vain. "Djaida," she said, 
^conceal your feelings, and restrain yourself from grief. You have done 
nothing wrong, for your cousin is the man of your choice, and is of 
your own race and blood. Like him, you are beautiful and attractive; 
like him, brave and skilful in horsemanship. To-morrow morning, when 
his mother comes to us, I will lay before her the whole matter; we will 
soon afterwards give you to him in marriage, and at last we shall all 
return to our own country." 

Zahir's wife waited patiently until the following morning, when 
Khaled's mother arrived. She then presented her daughter, whose head 
she uncovered so as to allow the hair to fall over her shoulders. At the 
sight of such charms Khaled's mother was immeasurably astonished, and 
exclaimed: "What! is not this your son Djonder?" "No! it is Djaida 
.tfcehold, the moon of beauty! She at last has risen." She then went on to 
her all that had passed between herself and her husband, and how 



ARABIA AL-ASMA'I 95 

and why they had concealed the sex of their child. "Dear kinswoman/' 
answered Khaled's mother, still quite surprised, "among all the daughters 
of Arabia who have been famed for their beauty I have never seen 
one more lovely than this one. What is her name?" "I have already told 
you that her name is Djaida, and my special purpose in telling you the 
secret is to offer you these charms, for I ardently wish to marry my 
daughter to your son, so that we may all be able to return to our own 
land." Khaled's mother at once assented to this proposal, and said: "The 
possession of Djaida will surely render my son very happy." She rose 
immediately and went to look for Khaled, and told him all that she 
had seen and learned, not failing to praise especially the charms of 
Djaida. "By the faith of an Arab," said she, "never, oh, son, have I 
seen in the desert, or in any city, a girl like your cousin; not even the 
most beautiful. Nothing is so perfect as she, nothing lovelier and more 
attractive. Hasten, my son, to see your uncle and ask him for his daugh- 
ter in marriage. You will be happy indeed if he grants your prayer. 
Go, my son, and waste no time in winning her." 

On hearing these words Khaled cast his eyes on the ground; and 
remained for some time thoughtful and gloomy. Then he answered: 
"Mother, I cannot remain here longer. I must return home in company 
with my horsemen and troops. I have no intention of saying more to 
my cousin; I am convinced that she is a girl whose temper and phi- 
losophy ane uncertain; her character and mode of speech are destitute 
of stability and propriety. I have always been accustomed to live with 
warriors, on whom I spend my wealth, and with whom I win a soldier's 
fame. As for my cousin's love for me, it is the weakness of a woman, 
a young girl." He then put on his armor, mounted his horse, bade his 
uncle farewell, and announced his intention of leaving on the moment. 
"What means this haste?" cried Zahir. "I can remain here no longer," 
answered Khaled, and, putting his horse to a gallop, he plunged into 
the wilderness. His mother, after relating to Djaida the conversation 
she had had with her son, mounted a camel and proceeded on her way 
towards her own country. 

The sensitive soul of Djaida felt keenly this indignity. She brooded 
over it sleepless and without appetite. Some days afterwards, as her 
father was preparing to make a foray with his horsemen against his 
enemies, his glance fell on Djaida, and seeing how changed she was in 
face, and dejected in spirit, he refrained from saying anything, thinking 
and hoping that she would surely become herself again after a short time. 

Scarcely was Zahir out of sight of his tents, when Djaida, who felt 
herself nigh unto death, and whose melancholy was quite insupportable, 
said to her mother: "Mother, I feel that I am dying, while this misera- 
ble Khaled is still in the vigor of life. I should like, if God grants me, 
the power, to make him experience the fury of death, the bitterness of 



$6 , GREAT SHORT STORIES OP THE WORLD 

St paag^and torture/' So saying, she rose like a lioness, donned her armor, 
and mounted her horse, informing her mother she was going on a hunting 
Swiftly, and without stopping, she made her way over rocks 



and fountains, her excitement increasing as she approached the dwelling- 
place of her cousin. As she was disguised, she entered, without being 
recognized, into the tent where strangers were received. But her visor 
.was lowered, like that of a horseman of Hijaz. Slaves and servants 
welcomed her, offered her hospitality, behaving towards her as to one 
of the guests, and the most noble personages of the country. That night 
Djaida took rest; but the following day she took part in the military 
exercises, challenged many warriors, and exhibited so much skill and 
bravery, that she called forth great astonishment among all the spectators. 
Long before midday the horsemen of her cousin were forced to acknowl- 
edge her superiority over themselves. Khaled wished to witness her 
prowess, and, astonished at the sight of such skill, he offered to match 
.himself with her. Djaida entered the contest with him, and then both of 
them joining in combat tried, one after another, all the methods of 
attack and defense, until the shades of night came upon them. When 
they separated neither one was hurt, and none could say which rfas the 
victor. Thus Djaida, while rousing the admiration of the spectators, per- 
ceived the annoyance they felt on finding their chief equaled in fight by 
so skilful ail opponent. Khaled ordered his antagonist to be treated with 
.every care and honor, and then retired to his tent, his mind filled with 
thoughts of this conflict. Djaida remained for three days at her cousin's 
dwelling place. Every morning she presented herself on the field of 
combat and remained under arms until the fall of night. She enjoyed it 
greatly, still keeping her identity concealed, whilst Khaled, on the other 
.Hand, made.no inquiries, and asked no questions of her, as to who she was 
and to what clan she might belong. 

' On the morning of the fourth day, while Khaled, according to his 
custom, rode out over the plain, and passed close to the tents reserved 
for strangers, he caught sight of Djaida mounting her horse. He. saluted 
her, and she returned his salute. "Noble Arab," said Khaled, "I would 
ask you one question. Until this moment I have failed in courtesy towards 
you, but I now4)eg of you, in the name of that God who has given you 
such great dexterity in arms, tell me who you are, and to what noble 
princes are you allied? For I have never met your equal among brave 
warriors Answer me, I beseech you, for I am most impatient to learn." 
-Djaida smiled, and raising her visor, made answer: "Khaled, I am a 
.Womaii* not a warrior. I am your own cousin Djaida, who offered herself 
to r yov, and desired to give herself to you; but you refused her from 
the pride you felt in your passion for arms." As she spoke die turned 
^ her horse suddenly, pressed the spurs into him, and galloped off at full 
in the direction of her own country. 



ARABIA AL-ASMA'I 97 

Khalcd, covered with confusion, withdrew to his tent, not knowing 
what to do, and not knowing what would be the end of the passionate 
love which he suddenly felt surging within him. He was seized 'with a 
violent disgust for all his warlike habits and tastes, which had reduced 
him to the melancholy plight in which he now found himself. His 
distaste for women was suddenly changed into love. He sent for his 
mother and recounted to her all that had occurred. "My son/* said she, 
"all these circumstances ought to render Djaida still dearer to you. Wait 
patiently a little, until I have been able to go and ask her hand of her 
mother." She thereupon mounted her camel at once, and started off 
through the desert on the tracks of Djaida, who immediately on her 
arrival home had told her mother everything that had happened. As soon 
as Khaled's mother had arrived, she threw herself into the arms of her 
relative and demanded Djaida in marriage for her son, for Zahir had 
not yet returned from his expedition. When Djaida heard from her 
mother the request of Khaled, she said, "This shall never be, even though 
I be forced to drink the cup of death. What occurred at his tents was 
brought about by me to quench the fire of my grief and unhappiness, and 
soothe the anguish of my soul." 

On hearing these words Khaled's mother, disappointed, went back to 
her son, who was tortured by the crudest anxiety. He rose suddenly to 
his feet, for his love had reached the point of despair, and asked uneasily 
what were!* the feelings of his cousin. When he learned the answer of 
Djaida his distress became overwhelming, for her refusal served only to 
increase his passion. "What can be done, my mother," he exclaimed. "I 
see no way of escaping from this predicament," she replied, "excepting 
that you assemble all your horsemen from among the Arabian sheiks, 
and among those with whom you are on friendly terms. Wait until your 
uncle returns from the campaign, and then, surrounded by all your 
followers, go to him, and in the presence of the assembled warriors, 
demand of him the hand of his daughter in marriage. If he denies that 
he has a daughter, tell him everything that has happened, and urge him 
until he gives in to your demand." This advice, and the plan that was 
proposed moderated the grief of Khaled. The moment he learned that 
his uncle had returned home, he assembled chiefs of his family and told 
his story to them. They were all much astonished, and Madi Kereb, one 
of Khaled's bravest companions, could not help saying: "This is a strange 
thing; we have always heard i it said that your uncle had a son named 
Djonder, but now the truth is known. You are indeed the man who has 
the best right to the daughter of your uncle. It is therefore our best 
course to present ourselves in a body and prostrate ourselves before him, 
requesting him to return to his family and not give his daughter to s$ny^ 
Stranger." Khaled, without waiting to hear more, took with him a hundred 
of his bravest horsemen, those who had been brought up with Moharib 



98 GREAT SHORT STORIES OF THE WORLD 

and Zahir from their earliest childhood, and, having provided themselves 
with presents even more costly than those they had taken before, they 
started off on their journey, and marched until they came to the clan of 
Saad. Khaled began by complimenting his uncle on his fortunate retifrn 
from war, but no one could be more astounded than Zahir at this second 
visit, particularly when he saw his nephew with all the chieftains of his 
family. It never occurred to him that his daughter Djaida had anything 
to do with Khaled's return; he thought that his nephew simply wished 
to persuade him to return to his native land. He offered them every hos- 
pitality, provided them with tents and entertained them in great mag- 
nificence. He ordered camels and sheep killed, and offered a banquet, 
furnishing his guests with all things needful and proper for a period of 
three days. On the fourth day Khaled arose, and after thanking his uncle 
for all his courtesy, asked him for his daughter's hand, and begged him 
to return to his own land. Zahir denied that he had any child except his 
son Djonder, but Khaled told him all that he had learned, and all that 
had passed between himself and Djaida. On hearing these words Zahir 
was overcome with shame and cast his eyes to the ground. He regained 
for some time plunged in thought, and after reflecting that the affair 
must needs proceed from bad to worse, he addressed those present in 
the following words: "Kinsmen, I can no longer delay acknowledging 
this secret; therefore, she shall be. married to her cousin as soon as pos- 
sible, for of all the men I know, he is most worthy of her. wf tie offered 
his hand to Khaled, who at once clasped it in presence of the chiefs who 
were witnesses to the contract. The dowry was agreed upon at five 
hundred brown black-eyed camels, and a thousand camels loaded with the 
choicest products of Yemen. The clan of Saad, among which Zahir had 
lived, were excluded from all part in this matter. 

When Zahir had asked his daughter's consent to this arrangement, 
Djaida was overwhelmed with confusion at the course her father had 
taken. Since he let the girl clearly understand that he did not wish her 
to remain unmarried, she at last replied: "Father, if my cousin desires to 
have me in marriage, I shall not enter into his tent until he undertakes 
to slaughter at my wedding a thousand camels, among those which 
belong to Gheshem, son of Malik, 'The Brandisher of Spears.' Khaled 
agreed to this; but the sheiks and warriors did not leave Zahir before 
he had collected his possessions for transportation to his own land. No 
sooner were these preparations finished than Khaled marched forth at 
the head of a thousand horsemen, with whose assistance he conquered 
the clan of Aamir. Having thrice wounded "The Brandisher of Spears," 
and slain a great number of his champions, he carried oft their goods 
and brought back from their country a richer spoil even than Djaida had 
demanded. Loaded with booty he returned, and was intoxicated with 
his success. But when he asked that a day should be fixed for the wed* 



ARABIA AL-ASMA'I 99 

ding, Djaida begged him to approach, and spoke these words to him: 
"If you desire me to become your wife, fulfil first of all my wishes, 
and keep the engagement I make with you. This is my demand: that 
on the day of my marriage, some nobleman's daughter, a free-born 
woman, hold the bridle of my camel; she must be the daughter of a 
prince of the highest rank, in order that I may be most honored of all the 
daughters of Arabia/' Khaled consented, and set about to carry out her 
wishes. That same day he started with his horsemen, and crossed plains 
and valleys, searching the land of Ymer, until he reached the country of 
Hijar and the hills of Sand. In that place he attacked the tribe-family 
of Moawich, son of Mizal. He fell upon them like a tempest, and 
cutting a way with his sword through the opposing horsemen, took pris- 
oner Amima, daughter of Moawich, at the very moment when she was 
betaking herself to flight. 

Having accomplished feats which rendered useless the resistance of the 
skilful heroes, after having scattered all the clans in flight, and carried 
off all the wealth of all the Arabs in that country, he returned home. 
But he did not wish to approach his tents until he had gathered in all 
the wealth he had left at various points and places in the desert. 

The young girls marched before him sounding their cymbals and 
other musical instruments. All the clan rejoiced; and when Khaled ap- 
peared, he distributed clothing to widows and orphans, and invited his 
companion^ and friends to the banquet he was preparing for his wedding. 
All the Arabs of the country came in a vast assemblage to the marriage. 
He caused them to be regaled with abundance of flesh and wine. But 
while all the guests gave themselves up to feasting and pleasure, Khaled, 
accompanied by ten slaves, prepared to scour the wild and marshy places 
of the country, in order to attack in their lairs the lions and lionesses 
and their cubs, and carry them to the tents, in order to provide meat for 
all those who attended the festival. 

But Djaida had been informed beforehand of this plan. She disguised 
herself in a coat of mail, mounted her horse, and left the tents; since 
three days of festivities still remained, she quickly followed Khaled into 
the desert, and met him face to face in a cavern. She flung herself upon 
him with the impetuosity of a wild animal, and attacked him furiously, 
crying aloud, "Arab! dismount from your horse, take off your coat of 
mail and your armor; if you hesitate, I will run this lance through your 
heart." Khaled was determined at once to resist her in this demand. 
They engaged in a furious combat. The struggle lasted for well over 
an hour, when the warrior saw in the eyes of his adversary an expression 
which frightened him. He mounted his horse again, and having wheeled 
round his steed from the place of combat, exclaimed: "By the faith of 
an Arab, I beg of you to tell me what horseman of the desert you are; 
for I feel that your attack and the violence of your blows are irresistible. 



102 GREAT SHORT STORIES OP THE WORLD 

him, Alrashid and certain of his domestics passed by in disguise; for the 
caliph had experienced a contraction of the bosom and had come forth to 
amuse himself among the people. So Abou Hassan laid hold upon him, 
and said to him, O my master, hast thou any desire for a repast and 
beverage? And Alrashid complied with his request, saying to him, Con- 
duct us. And Abou Hassan knew not who was his guest. The calipK 
proceeded with him until they arrived at Abou Hassan's house: and when 
Alrashid entered, he found in it a saloon, such that if thou beheldest it, 
and lookedst towards its walls, thou wouldst behold wonders; and if 
thou observedst its conduits of water, thou wouldst see a fountain incased 
with gold. And after he had seated himself there, Abou Hassan called 
for a slave girl, like the twig of the Oriental willow, who took a lute 
and sang. And when Alrashid heard her, he said, Thou hast performed 
well. God bless thee! Her eloquence pleased him, and he wondered at 
Abou Hassan and his entertainment. 

He then said to Abou Hassan, O young man, who art thou? Acquaint 
me with thy history, that I may requite thee for thy kindness. But Abou 
Hassan smiled, and replied, O my master, far be it from me that what 
hath happened should recur, and that I should be in thy company *again 
after this time! And why so? said the caliph; and why wilt thou not 
acquaint me with thy case? So Abou Hassan told his story, and when the 
caliph heard it, he laughed violently, and said, By Allah, O my brother, 
thou art excusable in this matter. Then a dish of roast goose Was placed 
before him, and a cake of fine bread; and Abou Hassan sat, and cut off 
the meat, and put morsels into the mouth of the caliph, and they con- 
tinued eating until they were satisfied; when the basin and ewer were 
brought, with the kali; and they washed their hands. After this Abou 
Hassan lighted for his guests three candles and three lamps, spread the 
wine cloth, and brought clear, strained, old, perfumed wine, the odor 
of which was like fragrant musk, and, having filled the first cup, said, 
O my boon-companion, bashf ulness is dismissed from us, with thy per- 
mission. Thy slave is by thee. May I never be afflicted by the loss of 
thee! And he drank the cup, and filled the second, which he handed to 
the caliph, waiting upon him as a servant. And the caliph was pleased 
with his actions, and the politeness of his words, and said within himself, 
By Allah, I will certainly requite him for this! Abou Hassan then, after 
he had kissed the cup, handed it to the caliph, who accepted it from his 
hand, kissed it and drank it, and handed it back to him. Abou Hassan 
still continued serving him, saying, Drink, and may it be attended with 
health and vigor. And they drank and caroused until midnight. 

After this the caliph said to his host, O Abou Hassan, is there any 
service that thou wouldst have performed, or any desire that thou wouldst 
have accomplished? And Abou Hassan answered, In our neighborhood 
is a mosque to which belong an imam and four sheiks, and whenever 



ARABIA ANONYMOUS 103 

they hear music or any sport, they incite the judge against me, and im- 
pose fines upon me, and trouble my life, so that I suffer torment from 
them. If I had them in my power, therefore, I would give each 6f them 
a* thousand lashes, that I might be relieved from their excessive annoy- 
ance. 

Alrashid replied, May Allah grant thee the accomplishment of thy 
wish! And without his being aware of it, he put into a cup a lozenge 
of bhang, and handed it to him; and as soon as it had settled in his 
stomach, he fell asleep immediately. Alrashid then arose and went to the 
door, where he found his young men waiting for him, and he ordered 
them to convey Abou Hassan upon a mule, and returned to the palace, 
Abou Hassan being intoxicated and insensible. And when the caliph had 
rested himself in the palace, he called for his vizier Giafar, and Ab- 
dallah the son of Tahir, the Judge of Bagdad, and certain of his chief 
attendants, and said to them all, In the morning when ye see this young 
man (pointing to Abou Hassan) seated on the royal couch, pay obedi- 
ence to him, and salute him as caliph, and whatsoever he commanded! 
you, ^lo it. Then going to his female slaves, he directed them to wait 
upon Abou Hassan, and to address him as Prince of the Faithful: after 
which he entered a private closet, and, having let down a curtain over 
the entrance, slept. 

So when Abou Hassan awoke, he found himself upon the royal couch, 
with the attendants standing around, and kissing the ground before him; 
and a maid said to him, O our lord, it is the time for morning prayer. 
Upon which he laughed, and, looking round about him, he beheld a 
pavilion whose walls were adorned with gold and ultramarine, and the 
roof bespotted with red gold, surrounded by chambers with curtains of 
embroidered silk hanging before their doors; and he saw vessels of gold, 
and chinaware, and crystal, and furniture, and carpets spread, and lighted 
lamps, and female slaves, and eunuchs, and other attendants; whereat 
he was perplexed in his mind, and said, By Allah, either I am dream- 
ing, or this is Paradise, and the Abode of Peace. And he closed his eyes. 
So a eunuch said to him, O my lord, this is not thy usual custom, O 
Prince of the Faithful. And he was perplexed at his case, and put his 
head into his bosom, and then began to open his eyes by little and little, 
laughing, and saying, What is this state in which I find myself? And he 
bit his finger; and when he found that the bite pained him, he cried, 
Ah! and was angry. Then raising his head, he called one of the female 
slaves, who answered him, At thy service, O Prince of the Faithful! 
And he said to her, What is thy name? She answered, Cluster of Pearls. 
And he said, Knowest thou in what place I am, and who I am? Thou 
art the Prince of the Faithful, she answered, sitting in thy palace, upon 
the royal couch. He replied, I am perplexed at my case; my reason hath 
departed, and it seemeth that I am asleep: but what shall I say of my 



104 GREAT SHORT STORIES OF THE WORLD 

yesterday's guest? I imagine nothing but that he is a devil, or an en- 
chanter, who hath sported with my reason. 

All this time the caliph was observing him from a place where Abou 
Hassan could not see him. And Abou Hassan looked toward the chief 
eunuch, and called to him. So he came, and kissed the ground before 
him, saying to him, Yes, O Prince of the Faithful. And Abou Hassan 
said to him, Who is the Prince of the Faithful? Thou, he answered. 
Abou Hassan replied, Thou liest. And addressing another eunuch, he said 
to him, O my chief, as thou hopest for Allah's protection, tell me, am 
I the Prince of the Faithful? Yea, by Allah, answered the eunuch; thou 
art at this present time the Prince of the Faithful, and the caliph of the 
Lord of all creatures. And Abou Hassan, perplexed at all that he beheld, 
said, In one night do I become Prince of the Faithful! Was I not yes- 
terday Abou Hassan; and to-day am I Prince of the Faithful? He re- 
mained perplexed and confounded until the morning, when a eunuch 
advanced to him, and said to him, May Allah grant a happy morning 
to the Prince of the Faithful! And he handed to him a pair of shoes 
of gold stuff, reticulated with precious stones and rubies; and f Abou 
Hassan took them, and after examining them a long time, put them 
into his sleeve. So the eunuch said to him, These are shoes to walk in. 
And Abou Hassan replied, Thou hast spoken truth. I put them not into 
my sleeve but in my fear lest they should be soiled. He therefore took 
them forth, and put them on his feet. And shortly after, trie female 
slaves brought him a basin of gold and a ewer of silver, and poured 
the water upon his hands; and when he had performed the ablution, 
they spread for him a prayer carpet; and he prayed; but knew not how 
to do so. He continued his inclinations and prostrations until he had per- 
formed twenty rekahs; meditating and saying within himself, By Allah, 
I am none other than the Prince of the Faithful, in truth; or else this 
is a dream, and all these things occur not in a dream. He therefore con- 
vinced himself, and determined in his mind that he was the Prince of 
the Faithful; and he pronounced the salutations, and finished his prayers. 
They then brought him a magnificent dress, and, looking at himself as 
he sat upon the couch, he retracted, and said, All this is an illusion, and 
a machination of .the Genii. 

And while he was in this state, lo, one of the mamlouks came in and 
said to him, O Prince of the Faithful, the chamberlain is at the door, 
requesting permission to enter. Let him enter, replied Abou Hassan. So 
he came in, and, having kissed the ground before him, said, Peace be 
on thee, O Prince of the Faithful ! And Abou Hassan rose, and descended 
from the couch to the floor; whereupon the chamberlain exclaimed, 
Allah! Allah! O Prince of the Faithful! Knowest thou not that all 
men are thy servants, and under thy authority, and that it is not proper 
for the Prince of the Faithful to rise to anyone? Abou Hassan was then 



ARABIA ANONYMOUS 



105 



told that Giafar the Barmecide, and Abdallah the son of Tahir, and 
the chiefs of the mamlouks, begged permission to enter. And he gave 
them permission. So they entered, and kissed the ground before him, 
each of them addressing him as Prince of the Faithful. And he was 
delighted at this, and returned their salutation; after which he called 
the judge, who approached him, and said, At thy service, O Prince of 
the Faithful! And Abou Hassan said to him, Repair immediately to 
such a street, and give a hundred pieces of gold to the mother of Abou 
Hassan the Wag, with my salutation; then take the imam of the mosque, 
and the four sheiks, inflict upon each of them a thousand lashes; and 
when thou hast done that, write a bond against them, confirmed by 
oath, that they shall not reside in the street, after thou shalt have pa- 
raded them through the city, mounted on beasts, with their faces to the 
tails, and hast proclaimed before them, This is the recompense of those 
who annoy their neighbors. And beware of neglecting that which I 
have commanded thee to do. So the judge did as he was ordered. And 
when Abou, Hassan had exercised his authority until the close of the 
day,%e looked toward the chamberlain and the rest of the attendants, 
and said to them, Depart. 

He then called for a eunuch who was near at hand, and said tcf him, 
I am hungry, and desire something to eat. And he replied, I hear and 
obey; an 4 led him by the hand into the eating chamber, where the at- 
tendants placed before him a table of rich viands; and ten slave girls, 
high-bosomed virgins, stood behind his head. Abou Hassan, looking at 
one of these, said to her, What is thy name? She answered, Branch of 
Willow. And he said to her, O Branch of Willow, who am I? Thou 
art the Prince of the Faithful, she answered. But he replied, Thou liest, 
by Allah, thou slut! Ye girls are laughing at me. So she said, Fear Allah, 
O Prince of the Faithful; this is thy palace, and the female slaves are 
thine. And upon this he said within himself, It is no great matter to be 
effected by God, to whom be ascribed might and glory! Then the slave 
girls led him by the hand to the drinking chamber, where he saw what 
astonished the mind; and he continued to say within himself, No doubt 
these are of the Genii, and this person who was my guest is one of the 
kings of the Genii, who saw no way of requiting and compensating me 
for my kindness to him but by ordering his slaves to address me as 
Prince of the Faithful. All these are of the Genii. May Allah then de- 
liver me from them happily! And while he was thus talking to himself, 
lo, one of the slave girls filled for him a cup of wine; and he took it 
from her hand and drank it; after which, the slave girls plied him with 
wine in abundance; and one of them threw into his cup a lozenge of 
bhang; and when it had settled in his stomach, he fell down senseless. 

Alrashid then gave orders to convey him to his house; and the servants 
did so, and laid him on his bed, still in a state of insensibility. So when 



xo6 GREAT SHORT STORIES OF THE WORLD 

he recovered from his intoxication, in the latter part of the night, he 
found himself in the dark; and he called out, Branch of Willow! 
Cluster of Pearls! But no one answered him. His mother, however, 
heard him shouting these names, and arose and came, and said to him, 
What hath happened to thee, O my son, and what hath befallen thee? 
Art thou mad? And when he heard the words of his mother, he said to 
her, Who art thou, O ill-omened old woman, that thou addressest the 
Prince of the Faithful with these expressions? She answered, I am thy 
mother, O my son. But he replied, Thou liest: I am the Prince of the 
Faithful, the lord of the countries and the people. Be silent, she said, or 
else thy life will be lost. And she began to pronounce spells, and to 
recite charms over him, and said to him, It seemeth, O my son, that thou 
hast seen this in a dream, and all this is one of the ideas suggested by 
the devil. She said to him, I give thee good news, at which thou wilt be 
rejoiced. And what is it? said he. She answered, The caliph gave orders 
yesterday to beat the imam and the four sheiks, and caused a bond to be 
written against them, confirmed by oath, that they shall not transgress 
henceforth against anyone by their impertinent meddling; and hei sent 
me a hundred pieces of gold, with his salutation. And when Abou Hassan 
heard- these words from his mother, he uttered a loud cry, with which 
his soul almost quitted the world; and he exclaimed, I am he who gave 
orders to beat the sheiks, and who sent thee the hundred piece^ of gold, 
with my salutation, and I am the Prince of the Faithful. 

Having said this, he rose up against his mother, and beat her with an 
almond stick, until she cried out, O ye faithful. And he beat her with 
increased violence, until the neighbors heard her cries and came to her 
relief. He was still beating her, and saying to her, O ill-omened old 
woman, am I not the Prince of the Faithful? Thou hast enchanted me! 
And when the people heard his words, they said, This man hath become 
mad. And not doubting his insanity, they came in and laid hold upon 
him, bound his hands behind him, and conveyed him to the madhouse. 
There every day they punished him, dosing him with abominable medi- 
cines, and flogging him with whips, making him a madman in spite of 
himself. Thus he continued, stripped of his clothing, and chained by the 
neck to a high window, for the space of ten days; after which his 
mother came to salute him. And he complained to her of his case. So 
she said to him, O my son, fear God in thy conduct: if thou wert Prince 
of the Faithful, thou wouldst not be in this predicament. And when he 
heard what his mother said, he replied, By Allah, thou hast spoken truth. 
It seemeth that I was only asleep, and dreamed that they made me caliph, 
and assigned me servants and female slaves. So his mother said to him, 
O my son, verily Satan doeth more than this. And he replied, Thou hast 
spoken truth, and I beg forgiveness of God for the actions committed 
by me. 



ARABIA ANONYMOUS 107 

They therefore took him forth from the madhouse, and conducted 
him into the bath; and when he recovered his health, he prepared food 
and drink, and began to eat. But eating by himself was not pleasant 
to him; and he said to his mother, O my mother, neither life nor 
eating by myself is pleasant to me. She replied, If thou desire to do 
according to thy will, thy return to the madhouse is most probable. 
Paying no attention, however, to her advice, he walked to the bridge 
to seek for himself a cup-companion. And while he was sitting there, 
lo, Alrashid came to him in the garb of a merchant; for, from the 
time of his parting with him he came every day to the bridge, but 
found him not till now. As soon as Abou Hassan saw him, he said to 
him, A friendly welcome to thee, O King of the Genii! So Alrashid 
said, What have I done to thee? What more couldst thou do, said 
Abou Hassan, than thou hast done to me, O filthiest of the Genii? 
I have suffered beating, and entered the madhouse, and they pronounced 
toe a madman. All this was occasioned by thee. I brought thee to my 
abode, and fed thee with the best of my food; and after that thou gavest 
thy 4evils and thy slaves entire power over me, to make sport with my 
reason from morning to evening. Depart from me, therefore, and go 
thy way. 

The caliph smiled at this, and, seating himself by his side, addressed 
him in courteous language, and said to him, O my brother, when I went 
forth from thee, I inadvertently left the door open, and probably the 
devil went in to thee. Abou Hassan replied, Inquire not respecting that 
which happened to me. And what possessed thee, he added, that thou 
leftest the door open, so that the devil came in to me, and that such and 
such things befell me? And he related to the caliph all that had hap- 
pened to him from first to last, while Alrashid laughed, but concealed 
his laughter: after which the caliph said to him, Praise be to God that 
He hath dispelled from thee that which thou hatest, and that I have seen 
thee again in prosperity! 

But Abou Hassan replied, I will not take thee again as my boon- 
companion, nor as an associate to sit with me; for the proverb saith, He 
who stumbleth against a stone and returneth to it, is to be blamed and 
reproached: and with thee, O my brother, I will not carouse, nor will 
I keep company with thee: since I have not found thy visit to be fol- 
lowed by good fortune to me. The caliph, however, said, I have been 
the means of the accomplishment of thy desire with regard to the imam 
and the sheiks. Yes, replied Abou Hassan. And Alrashid added, Per- 
haps something will happen to thee that will rejoice thy heart more than 
that. Then what dost thou desire of me? said Abou Hassan. My desire, 
answered Alrashid, is to be thy guest this night. And at length Abou 
Hassan said, On the condition that thou swear to me by the inscription 
on the seal of Solomon the son of David (on both of whom be peace!) 



io8 GREAT SHORT STORIES OF THE WORLD 

that thou wilt not suffer thy Afrites to make sport with me. And 
Alrashid replied, I hear and obey. 

So Abou Hassan took him to his abode, and put the food before him 
and his attendants, and they ate as much as satisfied them; and when 
they had finished eating, the servants placed before them the wine and 
exhilarating beverages, and they continued drinking and carousing until 
the wine rose into their heads. Abou Hassan then said to the caliph, O 
my boon-companion, in truth I am perplexed respecting my case. It 
seemeth that I was Prince of the Faithful, and that I exercised authority, 
and gave and bestowed: and truly, O my brother, it was not a vision of 
sleep. But the caliph replied, This was the result of confused dreams. 
And having said this, he put a piece of bhang into the cup, and said, By 
my life, drink this cup. Verily I will drink it from thy hand, replied 
Abou Hassan. So he took the cup, and when he had drank it his head 
fell before his feet. The caliph then arose immediately, and ordered 
his young men to convey Abou Hassan to the palace, and to lay him 
upon his couch, and commanded the female slaves to stand around him; 
after which he concealed himself in a place where Abou Hassan t:ould 
not see him, and ordered a slave girl to take her lute and strike its chords 
over Abou Hassan's head, and desired the other slave girls to play upon 
their instruments. 

It was then the close of the night, and Abou Hassan, awaking, and 
hearing the sounds of the lutes, and tambourines, and flutes, and the 
singing of the slave girls, cried out, O my mother! Whereupon the 
slave girls answered, At thy service, O Prince of the Faithful! And 
when he heard this, he exclaimed, There is no strength nor power but 
in God, the High, the Great! Come to my help this night; for this 
night is more unlucky than the former! He reflected upon all that 
had happened to him with his mother, and how he had beaten her, 
and how he had been taken into the madhouse, and he saw the marks 
of the beating that he had suffered there. Then looking at the scene 
that surrounded him, he said, These are all of them of the Genii, in 
the shapes of human beings! I commit my affairs unto Allah! And 
looking toward a mamlouk by his side, he said to him, Bite my ear, 
that I may know if I be asleep or awake. The mamlouk said, How shall 
I bite thine ear, when thou art the Prince of the Faithful? But Abou 
Hassan answered, Do as I have commanded thee, or I will strike off thy 
head. So he bit it until his teeth met together, and Abou Hassan uttered 
a loud shriek. Alrashid (who was behind a curtain in a closet), and all 
who were present, fell down with laughter, and they said to the mam- 
louk, Art thou mad, that thou bitest the ear of the caliph? And Abou 
Hassan said to them, Is it not enough, O ye wretches of Genii, that hath 
befallen me? But ye are not in fault: the fault is your chief's, who 
tt&nsformed you from the shapes of Genii into the shapes of human 



ARABIA ANONYMOUS 109 

beings. I implore help against you this night by the Verse of the Throne, 
and the Chapter of Sincerity, and the two Preventives! Upon this 
Alrashid exclaimed from behind the curtain, Thou hast killed us, O 
Atiou Hassan! And Abou Hassan recognized him, and kissed the ground 
before him, greeting him with a prayer for the increase of his glory and 
the prolongation of his life. Alrashid then clad him in a rich dress, 
gave him a thousand pieces of gold, and made him one of his chief 
boon-companions. *" *~ 

Abou Hassan, after this, became a greater favorite with the caliph 
than all the other boon-companions, so that he sat with the caliph and 
his wife the Lady Zobeide, the* daughter of Kasim, and he married her 
female treasurer, whose name was Nouzatalfuad. With this wife he 
resided, eating, and drinking, and enjoying a delightful life, until all 
the money that they possessed had gone; whereupon he said to her, O 
Nouzatalfuad! And she answered, At thy service. I desire, said he, to 
practise a trick upon the caliph, and thou shah practise a trick upon the 
Lady Zobeide, and we will obtain from them immediately two hundred 
piecesfcof gold, and two pieces of silk. Do what thou desirest, replied she: 
and what, she asked, is it? He answered, We will feign ourselves dead. 
I will die before thee, and lay myself out: then do thou spread over 
me a napkin of silk, and unfold my turban over me, and tie my toes, 
and put ujjon my stomach a knife and a little salt: after which, dishevel 
thy hair, and go to thy Lady Zobeide, and tear thy vest, and slap thy 
face, and shriek. So she will say to thee, What is the matter with thee? 
And do thou answer her, May thy head long survive Abou Hassan the 
Wag; for he is dead! Whereupon she will mourn for me, and weep, 
and will order her female treasurer to give thee a hundred pieces of 
gold, and a piece of silk, and will say to thee, Go, prepare his corpse for 
burial, and convey it forth to the grave. So thou shalt receive from her 
the hundred pieces of gold, and the piece of silk, and come hither. And 
when thou comest to me, I will rise, and thou shalt lay thyself down 
in my place, and I will go to the caliph, and say to him, May thy head 
long survive Nouzatalfuad! And I will tear my vest and pluck my 
beard; upon which he will mourn for thee, and will say to his treasurer, 
Give to Abou Hassan a hundred pieces of gold, and a piece of silk: and 
he will say to me, Go, prepare her corpse for burial, and convey it forth 
to the grave. So I will come to thee. And Nouzatalfuad was delighted 
with this, and replied, Truly this is an excellent stratagem! 

She forthwith closed his eyes, and tied his feet, covered him with the 
napkin, and did all that her master told her; after which she tore her 
vest, uncovered her head, and disheveled her hair, and went in to the 
Lady Zobeide, shrieking and weeping. When the Lady Zobeide, there- 
fore, beheld her in this condition, she said to her, What is this state in 
which I see thee, and what hath happened unto thee, and what hath 



no GREAT SHORT STORIES OF THE WORLD 

caused thee to weep? And Nouzatalfuad wept and shrieked, and said, 
O my mistress, may thy head long survive Abou Hassan the Wag; for 
he is dead! And the Lady Zobeide mourned for him, and said, Poor 
Abou Hassan the Wag! Then, after weeping for him a while, file 
ordered the female treasurer to give to Nouzatalfuad a hundred pieces 
of gold and a piece of silk, and said, O Nouzatalfuad, go, prepare his 
body for burial, and convey it forth. So she took the hundred pieces of 
gold and the piece of silk, and, returning to her abode full of joy, went 
in to Abou Hassan, and acquainted him with what had happened to her; 
upon which he arose and rejoiced, and girded his waist and danced, and 
took the hundred pieces of gold, with the'piece of silk, and laid them up. 

He then extended Nouzatalfuad, and did with her as she had done 
with him; after which he tore his vest, and plucked his beard, and dis- 
ordered his turban, and ran without stopping until he went in to the 
caliph, who was in his hall of judgment; and in the condition above 
described, he beat his bosom. So the caliph said to him, What hath be- 
fallen thee, O Abou Hassan? and he wept, and said, Would that thy 
boon-companion had never been, nor his hour come to pass! The Caliph 
therefore said to him, Tell me. He replied, May thy head long survive, 
O my lord, Nouzatalfuad! And the caliph exclaimed, There is no deity 
but God! and struck his hands together. He then consoled Abou Hassan, 
and said to him, Mourn not: I will give thee a slave in her stead. And 
he ordered his treasurer to give him a hundred pieces of gold, and a 
piece of silk. The treasurer therefore did as he was commanded, and 
the caliph said to Abou Hassan, Go, prepare her corpse for burial, and 
convey it forth, and make a handsome funeral for her. And he took 
what the caliph gave him, and went to his abode joyful, and going in 
to Nouzatalfuad, said to her, Arise; for our desire is accomplished. She 
therefore arose, and he put before her the hundred pieces of gold and 
the piece of silk. So she rejoiced; and they put these pieces of gold on 
the other pieces, and the piece of silk on the former one, and sat con- 
versing and laughing at each other. 

But as to the caliph, when Abou Hassan parted from him, and went 
with the pretense of preparing the corpse of Nouzatalfuad for burial, 
he mourned for her, and, having dismissed the council, arose and went 
in, leaning upon Mesrour his executioner, to console the Lady Zobeide 
for the loss of her slave girl. He found her, however, sitting weeping, 
and waiting for his arrival, that she might console him for the loss of 
Abou Hassan the Wag. The caliph said, May thy head long survive thy 
slave girl, Nouzatalfuad! But she replied, O my lord, Allah preserve 
my slave girl! Mayest thou long survive thy boon-companion Abou 
Hassan the Wag; for he is dead! And the caliph smiled, and said to his 
eunuch, O Mesrour, verily women are of little sense. By Allah, was 
not Abou Hassan just now with me? Upon this the Lady Zobeide said, 



ARABIA ANONYMOUS in 

after uttering a laugh from an angry bosom, Wilt thou not give over 
thy jesting? Is not the death of Abou Hassan enough, but thou must 
make my slave girl to be dead, as though we had lost them both, and 
thou must pronounce me of little sense? The caliph replied, Verily 
Nouzatalf uad is the person who is dead. And the Lady Zobeide rejoined, 
In truth he was not with thee, nor didst thou see him; and none was 
with me just now but Nouzatalfuad, who was mourning and weeping, 
with her clothes rent in pieces; and I exhorted her to have patience, and 
gave her a hundred pieces of gold, and a piece of silk; and I was waiting 
for thee, that I might console thee for the loss of thy boon-companion 
Abou Hassan the Wag; and I was going to send for thee. On hearing 
this the caliph laughed, and said, None is dead but Nouzatalfuad. And 
the Lady Zobeide said, No, no, O my lord; none is dead but Abou 
Hassan. But the caliph now became enraged; the vein between his eyes, 
which was remarkable in members of the family of Hashim, throbbed, 
and he called out to Mesrour the Executioner, saying to him, Go forth 
and repair to the house of Abou Hassan the Wag, and see which of the 
two is dead/ 

Mesrour, therefore, went forth running. And the caliph said to the 
Lady Zobeide, Wilt thou lay me a wager? She answered, Yes, I will, 
and I say that Abou Hassan is dead. And I, replied the caliph, lay a 
wager, an$ say that none is dead but Nouzatalfuad; and our wager shall 
be, that I stake the Garden of Delight against thy pavilion, the Pavilion 
of the Pictures. And they sat waiting for Mesrour to return with the 
information. Now as to Mesrour, he ran without ceasing until he entered 
the by-street in which was the house of Abou Hassan the Wag. Abou 
Hassan was sitting reclining against the window, and, turning his eyes, 
he saw Mesrour running along the street. So he said to Nouzatalfuad, 
It seemeth that the caliph, after I went forth from him, dismissed the 
court, and hath gone in to the Lady Zobeide to console her, and that she, 
on his arrival, hath arisen and consoled him, and said to him, May God 
largely compensate thee for the loss of Abou Hassan the Wag! where- 
upon the caliph hath said to her, None is dead but Nouzatalfuad. May 
thy head long survive her! And she hath replied, None is dead but Abou 
Hassan the Wag, thy boon-companion. And he hath said again to her, 
None is dead but Nouzatalfuad. So they have become obstinate, and the 
caliph hath been enraged, and they have laid a wager, in consequence 
of which Mesrour the Executioner hath been sent to see who is dead. It 
is therefore the more proper that thou lay thyself down, that he may 
see thee, and go and inform the caliph, who will thereupon believe my 
assertion. 

Accordingly, Nouzatalfuad extended herself, and Abou Hassan cov- 
ered her with her veil, and seated himself at her head, weeping. And 
lo, Mesrour the eunuch came up into the house of Abou Hassan, and 



II* GREAT SHORT STORIES OF THE WORLD 

saluted him, and saw Nouzatalfuad stretched out; upon which he un- 
covered her face, and exclaimed, There is no deity but God! Our sister 
Nouzatalfuad is dead! How speedy was the stroke of fate! May Allah 
have mercy upon her, and acquit thee of responsibility! He then returned, 
and related what had happened before the caliph and the Lady Zobeide, 
laughing as he spoke. So the caliph said to him, O thou accursed, this is 
not a time for laughing. Tell us which of them is dead. He therefore 
replied, By Allah, O my lord, verily Abou Hassan is well, and none is 
dead but Nouzatalfuad. And upon this the caliph said to Zobeide, Thou 
hast lost thy pavilion in thy play. And he laughed at her,, and said, O 
Mesrour, relate to her what thou sawest. So Mesrour said to her, In 
truth, O my mistress, I ran incessantly until I went in to Abou Hassan 
in his house; whereupon I found Nouzatalfuad lying dead, and Abou 
Hassan sitting at her head, weeping; and I saluted him, and consoled 
him, and seated myself by his side; and, uncovering the face of Nouza- 
talfuad, I beheld her dead, with her face swollen: I therefore said to 
him, Convey her forth presently to the grave, that we may pray over 
her. And he replied, Yes. And I came, leaving him to prepare her corpse 
for burial, in order to inform you. Upon this the caliph laughed, and 
said, Tell it again and again to thy mistress, the person of little sense. 
But when the Lady Zobeide heard the words of Mesrour, she was en- 
raged, and said, None is deficient in sense but he who believ^th a slave. 
And she abused Mesrour, while the caliph continued laughing; and Mes- 
rour was displeased, and said to the caliph, He spoke truth who said that 
women are deficient in sense and religion. 

The Lady Zobeide then said, O Prince of the Faithful, thou sportest 
and jestest with me, and this slave deceiveth me for the purpose of 
pleasing thee; but I will send and see which of them is dead. The caliph 
replied, Do so. And she called to an old woman, a confidential slave, 
and said to her, Repair quickly to the house of Nouzatalfuad, and see 
who is dead, and delay not thy return. And she threw money to her. So 
the old woman went forth running, the caliph and Mesrour laughing. 
The old woman ran without ceasing until she entered the street, when 
Abou Hassan saw her and knew her; and he said to his wife, O Nouza- 
talfuad, it seemeth that the Lady Zobeide hath sent to us to see who is 
dead, and hath not believed what Mesrour hath said respecting thy death: 
wherefore she hath sent the old woman to ascertain the truth of the 
matter. It is therefore more proper now for me to be dead, that the 
Lady Zobeide may believe thee. 

Then Abou Hassan laid himself along, and Nouzatalfuad covered 
him, and bound his eyes and his feet, and seated herself at his head, 
weeping. And the old woman came in to Nouzatalfuad, and saw her 
sitting at the head of Abou Hassan, weeping, and enumerating his 
merits; and when Nouzatalfuad saw the old woman, she shrieked, and 



ARABIA ANONYMOUS 113 

said to her, See what hath befallen me! Abou Hassan hath died and 
left me single and solitary! Then she shrieked again, and tore her 
clothes in pieces, and said to the old woman, O my mother, how good 
he was! The old woman replied, Truly thou art excusable; for thou 
hadst become habituated to him, and he had become habituated to thee. 
And knowing how Mesrour had acted to the caliph and the Lady 
Zobeide, she said to Nouzatalfuad, Mesrour is about to cause a quarrel 
between the caliph and the Lady Zobeide. And what is this cause of 
quarrel, O my mother? said Nouzatalfuad. The old woman answered, 
O my daughter, Mesrour hath come to them and told them that thou 
wast dead, and that Abou Hassan was well. O my aunt, replied Nouza- 
talfuad, I was just now with my lady, and she gave me a hundred 
pieces of gold and a piece of silk; and see thou my condition, and what 
hath befallen me. I am perplexed; and what shall I do, single and soli- 
tary? Would that I had died, and that he had lived! Then she wept, 
and the old woman wept with her, and advancing, and uncovering the 
face of Abou Hassan, saw his eyes bound, and swollen from the bandage. 
And shi* covered him, and said, Truly, O Nouzatalfuad, thou hast been 
afflicted for Abou Hassan. And she consoled her, and went forth from 
her running until she went in to the Lady Zobeide, when she related to 
her the story; on hearing which, the Lady Zobeide laughed, and said, 
Tell it to th*, caliph who hath pronounced me of little sense, and caused 
this ill-omened, lying slave to behave arrogantly toward me. But Mes- 
rour said, Verily this old woman lieth; for I saw Abou Hassan in good 
health, and it was Nouzatalfuad who was lying dead. The old woman 
replied, It is thou who liest, and thou desirest to excite a quarrel between 
the caliph and the Lady Zobeide. Mesrour rejoined, None lieth but 
thou, O ill-omened old woman, and thy lady believeth thee, for she is 
disordered in mind. And upon this the Lady Zobeide cried out at him, 
enraged at him and at his words; and she wept. ^ 

At length the caliph said to her, I lie, and my eunuch lieth, and thou 
liest, and thy female slave lieth. The right course, in my opinion, is this, 
that we four go together to see who among us speaketh truth. So Mes- 
rour said, Arise with us, that I may bring misfortunes upon this ill- 
omened old woman, and bastinade her for her lying. O thou imbecile in 
mind! exclaimed the old woman: is thy sense like mine? Nay, thy sense 
is like that of the hen. And Mesrour was enraged at her words, and 
would have laid violent hands upon her; but the Lady Zobeide, having 
pushed him away from her, said to him, Immediately will her veracity 
be distinguished from thine, and her lying from thine. They all four 
arose, laying wagers with each other, and wertt forth and walked from 
the gate of the palace until they entered the gate of the street in which 
dwelt Abou Hassan the Wag: when Abou Hassan saw them, and said 
to his wife Nouzatalfuad, In truth, everything that is slippery is not a 



xi4 GREAT SHORT STORIES OF THE WORLD 

pancake, and not every time the jar is struck doth it escape unbroken. It 
seemeth that the old woman hath gone and related the story to her lady, 
and acquainted her with our case, and that she hath contended with 
Mesrour the eunuch, and they have laid wagers respecting our death: so 
the caliph, and the eunuch, and the Lady Zobeide, and the old woman 
have all four come to us. And upon this Nouzatalfuad arose from her 
extended position, and said, What is to be done? Abou Hassan answered 
her, We will both feign ourselves dead, and lay ourselves out and hold 
in our breath. And she assented to his proposal. f 

They both stretched themselves along, bound their feet, closed their 
eyes, and held in their breath, lying with their heads in the direction of 
the kebla, and covered themselves with the veil. Then the caliph, and 
Zobeide, and Mesrour, and the old woman entered the house of Abou 
Hassan the Wag, and found him and his wife extended as if they were 
dead. And when the Lady Zobeide saw them, she wept, and said, They 
continued to assert the death of my female slave until she actually died; 
but I imagine that the death of Abou Hassan so grieved her that she died 
after him in consequence of it. The caliph, howe/* P. 1 said, Do Hot pre- 
vent me with thy talk and assertions; for she die r/ca /fore Abou Hassan, 
because Abou Hassan came to me with his clocP r torn in pieces, and 
with his beard plucked, and striking his bosom with two clods; and I 
gave him a hundred pieces of gold, with a piece of silk, and- said to him, 
Go, prepare her body for burial, and I will give thee a concubine better 
than her, and she shall serve in her stead: and it appears that her loss 
was insupportable to him; so he died after her. I have therefore over- 
come thee, and gained thy stake. But the Lady Zobeide replied in many 
words, and a long dispute ensued between them. 

The caliph then seated himself at the heads of the two pretended 
corpses, and said, By the tomb of the Apostle of Allah (God favor and 
preserve him!), and by the tortibs of my ancestors, if anyone would 
acquaint me which of them died before the other, I would give him a 
thousand pieces of gold. And when Abou Hassan heard these words of 
the caliph, he quickly rose and sprang up, and said, It was I who died 
first,* O Prince of the Faithful. Give me the thousand pieces of gold, 
and so acquit thyself of the bath that thou hast sworn. Then Nouza- 
talfuad arose and sat up before the caliph and the Lady Zobeide, who 
rejoiced at their safety. But Zobeide chid her female slave. The caliph 
and the Lady Zobeide congratulated them both on their safety, and knew 
this pretended death was a stratagem for the purpose of obtaining the 
gold: so the Lady Zobeide said to Nouzatalfuad, Thou shouldst have 
asked of me what thou desiredst without this proceeding, and not have 
tortured my heart on thine account. I was ashamed, O my mistress, 
replied Nouzatalfuad. But as to the caliph, he was almost senseless from 
laughing, and said, O Abou Hassan, thou hast not ceased to be a wag, 



ARABIA ANONYMOUS 115 

and to do wonders and strange acts. Abou Hassan replied, O Prince of 
the Faithful, this stratagem I practised in consequence of the dissipation 
of % the wealth that I received from thy hand; for I was ashamed to ask 
of thee a second time. When I was alone, I was not tenacious of wealth; 
but since thou hast married me to this female slave who is with me, if 
I possessed all thy wealth I should make an end of it. And when all 
that was in my possession was exhausted, I practised this stratagem, by 
means of which I obtained from thee these hundred pieces of gold and 
the piece of silk, all of which are an alms of our lord. And now make 
haste in giving me the thousand pieces of gold, and acquit thyself of 
thine oath. 

At this the caliph and the Lady Zobeide both laughed; and after they 
had returned to the palace, the caliph gave to Abou Hassan the thousand 
pieces of gold, saying to him, Receive them as a gratuity on account of 
thy safety from death. In like manner, also, the Lady Zobeide gave to 
Nouzatalfuad a thousand pieces of gold, saying to her the same words. 
Then the caliph allotted to Abou Hassan an ample salary and ample 
supplied, and he ceased not to live with his wife in joy and happiness, 
until they were visited by the terminator of delights and the separator 
of companions, the devastator of palaces and houses, and the replenisher 
of the graves. 



Great Britain 



INTRODUCTION 

history of the short story in Great Britain can be traced back to 
JL the very earliest epoch, before even the formation of the language it- 
self. By varying one's definition of the term "short story," it is pos- 
sible to fix a date as early as the Seventh or the Eighth Century A.D., or 
as late as the days of Addison, a thousand years after. The first example 
chosen for this collection is a brief episode from the Anglo-Saxon epic 
tale of Beowulf. When "our own branch of the Teutonic race migrated 
from the Continent, among the furniture it deemed too precioifs to be 
left behind was, apparently, the group of legends from which sprang 
Beowulf" (Walker.) Apart from such largely mythological works, we 
find in the ecclesiastical literature (particularly in the writings of Bede 
and Alfred) little stories which were used in sermons. Thesfc were popu- 
lar for centuries, and in the form of apologues and fables were in later 
times collected into such books as the Thirteenth Century South English 
Legendary. 

To trace the many and diverse influences French, German, Scandi- 
navian and Celtic that operated to produce the tales and poetical ro- 
mances of the Middle Ages, is here out of the question. It is sufficient 
to state that tales and traditional lore from all these sources were told 
and retold by poets and singers, priests and kings, each adapting the old 
material to his own ends. Of the writers who flourished in England before 
the time of Malory, only a few are represented in this volume: the 
authors of the stories in The Mabinoglon and the Gesta Romanorum, 
and Geoffrey of Monmouth. 

Chaucer's contribution to English literature is, of course, of the first 
importance, but his original prose tales are neither very short nor very 
interesting. His contemporaries, Langland and Gower, were somewhat 
better equipped, bringing as they did a sense of proportion into their 
otherwise inferior work. In the period between Chaucer and the end of 
the Fifteenth Century, when the Morte ^Arthur appeared, there is, 
except for the Gesta Romanorum, very little to detain us in our rapid 
survey of the development of the short story. 

When the ideas of the Italian Renaissance were at last introduced into 
England, there were several writers ready to translate, adapt, and imitate 

116 



GREAT BRITAIN INTRODUCTION 117 

the stories of Boccaccio and his followers. Among the first of the Eng- 
lish collections of tales was Painter's famous Palace of Pleasure (1566- 
67^, to which Shakespeare was indebted for more than one of his plots. 
Though the Elizabethans never altogether assimilated the Italian tale, 
men like Greene occasionally produced clever imitations. Thomas De- 
loney was an exceptional figure: his homely and realistic stories of middle- 
and lower-class life are still worth reading. The other fiction writers 
Lyly and Lodge and the rest were preoccupied rather with evolving 
a literary style than with the telling of effective stories. 

Between the age of Elizabeth and that of Anne there is little to record. 
With the advent of Addison and Defoe a new epoch opened. Addison has 
so long been praised as a stylist that it is time we remembered him as a 
story writer. His narratives in The Spectator are among the very best 
specimens of their kind in English literature. And to Defoe is due the 
credit not only for his epoch-making Robinson Crusoe y but for his re- 
markable realistic tales, The Cock-Lane Ghost and The Apparition of 
Mrs. Veal. 

The4ittle moral tale, as told by Addison and Steele, was taken up by 
Hawkesworth, Johnson, and Goldsmith, while even the novelists (in par- 
ticular Laurence Sterne) delighted to break the thread of their long 
narratives in order to introduce episodes that are true short stories. By the 
end of the ^Eighteenth Century there were comparatively few writers 
who did anything with- the story, and although Scott and Dickens wrote 
brief narratives, and an occasional Lover or Carleton devoted his life to 
the exploitation of character in the briefer narrative form, it was not 
until after the middle of the Nineteenth Century that the short story 
came into its own. The second half of the last century, not only in Eng- 
land, but throughout Europe and America, was an age of great fiction 
both in the novel and the short story. 

There is no use in repeating the names of the great story writers of 
modern times; it is enough to say that nearly all the novelists of Vic- 
torian and later days wrote short tales as well as long ones. 

In more recent times we have seen the development of the short story in 
the hands of specialists, like Kipling and Morrison, Jacobs and Merrick, 
writers who regard the story as an independent literary form deserving 
a life-time of application and care. 



GRENDEL'S RAID 

(Anonymous: About 7th Century, A.D.) 

THE poet who wrote the first important extant specimen of Anglo- 
Saxon literature was probably an inhabitant of Anglia, and except 



xi8 GREAT SHORT STORIES OF THE WORLD 

that he wrote Beowulf late in the Seventh Century or early in the 
Eighth (not later than 752), we know nothing of him. Apart from 
. its intrinsic merits, Beowulf is the "oldest surviving epic of any 
Teutonic people." It is partly mythological, but it does contain a 
certain amount of historical fact. The grim tale here offered is a 
crude but stirring narrative. 

The present version, translated from the Anglo-Saxon by J. R. C. 
Hall, is from Beowulf and the Finnsburg Fragment, published in 
London in 1911 by George Allen and Unwin, by whose permission 
it is here reprinted. There is no title in the original. 



GRENDEL'S RAID 
(From Beowulf) 

came Grendel, advancing from the moor, under the misty 
JL slopes; God's anger rested on him. The deadly foe thought to 
entrap one of the human race in the high Hall: he strode beneath the 
clouds in such wise that he might best discern the wine-building, the 
gold chamber of men, resplendent with adornment. Nor was that the 
first time that he had visited Hrothgar's home. Never in the days of his 
life, before or since, did he discover a braver warrior and hall-guards. 

So this creature, deprived of joys, came journeying to file hall. The 
door, fastened by four bands, opened straightway, when he touched it 
with his hand. Thus, bent on destruction, for he was swollen with rage, 
he tore away the entrance of the building. 

Quickly, after that, the fiend stepped onto the fair-paved floor, ad- 
vanced in angry mood; out of his eyes there started a weird light, most 
like a flame. He saw many men in the hall, a troop of kinsmen, a band 
of warriors, sleeping all together. Then his spirit exulted; he, the cruel 
monster, resolved that he would sever the soul of every one of them 
from his body before day came; for the hope of feasting full had come 
to him. That was no longer his fortune, that he should devour more of 
human kind after that night. Hygelac's mighty kinsman kept watching 
how the murderous foe would set to work with his sudden snatchings. 
The monster was not minded to put it off, but quickly seized a sleeping 
warrior as a first start, rent him undisturbed, bit his sinews, drank the 
blood from his veins, swallowed bite after bite, and soon he had eaten 
up all of the dead man, even his feet and hands. 

Forward and nearer he advanced, and then seized with his hands 
the doughty warrior on his bed the fiend reached out towards him with 
his claw. He (Beowulf) at once took in his evil plans,' and pressed heavily 
on his .(Grendel's) arm. Instantly the master of crimes realized that 
never in this middle-world, these regions of earth, had he met with a 
mightier hand-grip in any other man. He became affrighted in soul and 



GREAT BRITAINANONYMOUS 119 

spirit, but he could get away no faster for all that. His mind was bent 
on getting off, he wished to flee into the darkness and go back to the 
herd of devils. His case was unlike anything he had met with in his iif e- 
time there before. Then Hygelac's brave kinsman was mindful of his 
evening speech: he stood erect and grasped him tight, his fingers burst. 
The monster was moving out; the chief stepped forward too. The in- 
famous creature thought to slip further off, wheresoever he could, and 
to flee away thence to his fen-refuge; he knew the power of his fingers 
was in the foeman's grip. That was a sorry journey which the baleful 
fiend had made to Heorot! ' 

The warriors' hall resounded, there was panic among all the Danes, 
the castle-dwellers, the nobles and the heroes every one. Both the raging 
wardens of the house were furious; the building rang again. Then was 
it a great wonder that the wine-hall was proof against the savage fighters, 
that the fair earthly dwelling did not fall to the ground; yet it was 
(made) firm enough for it, inside and out, by means of iron clamps, 
forged with curious art. There, where the foemen fought, many a 
mead-bench adorned with gilding, started from the sill, as I have heard. 
Before that, veterans of the Scyldings weened that no man could shatter 
it, splendid and horn-bedecked, in any wise, or ruin it by craft, although 
the embrace of fire might swallow it in smoke. 

A sound za-ose, startling enough; a horrible fear clung to the North 
Danes, to everyone who heard the shrieking from the wall (heard) 
the adversary of God chant his grisly lay, his song of non-success, the 
prisoner of hell wailing over his wound. He held him fast who was 
strongest of men in might in this life's day! 

The defender of nobles would not by any means let the murderous 
visitor escape alive, he did not count his (GrendePs) life (-days) of 
use to any of the people. There many a noble of Beowulf's company 
brandished an old ancestral weapon they wished to protect the life of 
their lord, of their famous chief, if so be they might. They did not know, 
brave-minded men of war, when they took part in the contest, and 
thought to hew at him on every side, and to hunt out his life, that no 
war-bill on earth, no best of sabers, could touch the cursed foe, for that 
he used enchantment against conquering weapons, every sort of blades. 

In this life's day his breaking-up was to be pitiable the alien spirit 
was to journey far into the power of fiends. Then he who of yore 
had accomplished much of the joy of his heart, of crime against man- 
kind, he, the 'rebel against God, discovered this that his bodily frame 
was no help to him, but that the bold kinsman of Hygelac had him by 
the hands. While he lived, each was abhorrent to the other. The horrible 
wretch suffered deadly hurt, on his shoulder gaped a wound past remedy, 
the sinews sprang asunder, the tendons burst. Glory in fight was granted 
to Beowulf; Grendel, sick to death, must needs flee thence under the 



120 GREAT SHORT STORIES OF THE WORLD 

fen-fastnesses seek out his joyless dwelling; he knew too well that 
the end of his life had come, the (daily-) number of his days. After that 
bloody contest, the desire of all the Danes had come to pass! * 



GEOFFREY OF MONMOUTH 



OUR information about Geoffrey of Monmouth is very limited. 
He was probably of Welsh origin, and lived in the Welsh Marches, 
not far from the scenes of the most famous exploits of Arthur 
and his knights. His Chronicle has been aptly called a "romance- 
history." The twelve books or chapters of which it is composed are 
stories of the early (actual or imaginary) rulers of Britain. Among 
the finest of these are the stories of King Lear, King Arthur, and the 
one here reprinted. Esyllt and Sabrina is one of the loveliest of all 
the early English tales. 

The present version, translated from the original Latin by Louisa 
J. Menzies, is reprinted from Legendary Tales of the Ancient 
Britons, London, 1864. 



ESYLLT AND SABRINA 
(From the Chronicle of Geoffrey of Monmouth) 

IT was about three thousand years ago that there lived a fierce warrior, 
named Hymyr, the Hun, whose chief delight it was to voyage about 
over the mighty sea, and to make descents upon fruitful lands and take 
to himself by rapine and violence the produce of the long toil of the 
husbandman and the artisan; nor was he always content with stores 
of corn, treasure of gold, of silver, and apparel; many fair children 
did he carry off from burning homesteads, young maidens, and even 
wives, who sorrowed in vain for slaughtered husbands and brothers, and 
bore in pale resignation the stern rule of the tyrant and his haughty 
queen. 

Once Hymyr fitted out a great armament, and voyaging up the river 
Albis, carried off from its banks the fair daughter of a German King, 
whom he found playing with her maidens in a flowery meadow; then he 
coasted along the shore of Frisia, a terror to the husbandmen, and, foras- 
much as he had heard that there was much and singular wealth in the 
island of Albion, newly named Britain, from its King Brutus, he turned 
the heads of his ships northward, and came to the part of the island 



GREAT BRITAIN GEOFFREY OF MONMOUTH 121 

that lies towards the Great Bear, and which was then called Albany. 
Landing here with his fierce sea-robbers, he easily defeated Albanactus, 
the king, who came hastily to meet him with raw levies, for he was but 
newly come to his throne, and was thinking of nothing less than invasion. 

Then Hymyr had a joyous time of it, he reveled and feasted in the 
halls of Albanactus, and so pleasant did the country seem in his eyes, with 
its great rows of purple mountains, its gleaming lakes abounding in fish, 
and its forests teeming with game, that he was in no hurry to take to the 
sea again: so he hunted and feasted till the summer was past its prime, 
eating the good fruits of the earth, and making the land desolate of 
men. Then news came to him that Albanactus, the king, was marching 
up from the south with an army of tried warriors, the warriors of 
Locrinus, his brother, King of Loegria, for so the southern part of 
Britain was named, and that Locrinus himself was with them. 

Then Hymyr might have got on board his ships and sailed away as 
he had been wont to do, but the gods had maddened him with long 
good fortune, and nothing seemed good to him but to go and meet the 
brothciS; for he thought in his heart that he would slay them both, and 
possess their lands; but the gods had willed it otherwise. The armies 
met at a great river, half way down the island, and, because the brothers 
were afraid to cross in the face of the enemy, they remained in their 
camp on th* right bank of the river till they could construct rafts to 
cross in safety; but Hymyr had brought his ships round the coast, and 
impatient of delay, he went on board of them, and crossed the arm of 
the sea at the river's mouth, and his men came down on the compact lines 
of the brothers with shouting and boasting more like a rabble of revelers 
than tried soldiers going into battle. 

Then there was fierce fighting on both sides, and the Huns knew 
at last what was the manliness of the Britons, and repented them in 
blood and agony of their rash boasting; and Hymyr, their chief, flying 
to his ships, was carried away by the current of the river, and drowned; 
and the river perpetuates the memory of his defeat and death, even to 
this day; for the men of the country call it the Humber, as it was called 
at that time from Hymyr, the Hun. x 

When Hymyr was dead, his men, such, at least, as remained of them, 
laid down their arms, and gave themselves up to the Kings Locrinus 
and Albanactus, who received them kindly, and gave them waste lands 
to till, and ordered that they should be supplied with corn till their own 
crops were grown. Then all the treasure stored up in the ships was brought 
to the kings, and they were amazed at the costly garments, at the precious 
vessels plundered from the glowing west, at the armor, and at the rich 
furniture, spoil of palaces; and while they were admiring these things, 
lo! there came to them from the ships the fair princess Esyllt, led in 
triumph by the soldiers who had found her cowering among the sails, 



322 GREAT SHORT STORIES OF THE WORLD 

for she knew not whether the defeat of Hymyr were a cause of sorrow 
or rejoicing to her. ^ 

The. warlike bearing of the sturdy Britons tended little to reassure her, 
and she came slowly and fearfully to the tent where the princes were in- 
specting the spoil; but when the eyes of Locrinus lighted on her, albeit 
her looks were bent on the ground, and her long hair almost hid her fea- 
tures, love suddenly flooded his soul, and he stood like one smitten by the 
powerful wand of a magician; but when at length he gathered power to 
speak, and bade her be of good cheer, the sound of his noble voice and 
his kind words made the damsel lift her eyes with a touch of hope; and 
when she beheld the broad brow of the king, and all his presence radiant 
with youth and love, the color came into her cheeks and she stood revealed 
in all her beauty. 

Then King Locrinus knew what is the bliss of the gods who live for- 
ever, but because he would not have the princess stand as a captive and 
unattended in a place so public, he caused her to be conducted in all honor 
to his own tent, and spoke to his brother in this wise: 

"Brother, take the goodly ships, the armor, and the spoil; haply thou 
wilt find thy palace but an empty barn, and all thy costly things wasted 
by the riot of the slain sea-robber; but leave to me the fair Princess 
Esyllt, for my soul cleaveth to her, that I may make her my wife; she 
is of noble parentage and deserveth well to be a queen." % 

"Alas! my brother," replied Albanactus, "what frenzy hath seized 
thy mind? The captive is passing fair, and doubtless of noble lineage, but 
art not thou affianced to the Lady Guendolen, the only child of Corineus, 
our father's trusty comrade? How, think you, will the haughty chieftain 
brook it, if he hears that his daughter is set at naught for a captive?" 

The face of Locrinus darkened, and he answered from a heavy 
heart: 

"I never loved the proud Guendolen; who could love her? but because 
Corineus wished it, and because I thought it well to have him for a 
friend rather than a foe, I consented to take her. But, brother, then I 
had seen no damsel whom I desired to call my wife; now the gods hold 
out to me a joy which is like their own; I will grasp it if I die for it." 

Seeing him so set upon the matter, Albanactus said no more, but gath- 
ered his spoil together, and having made costly presents to his brother 
for his timely help, marched homewards where affairs were eagerly call- 
ing for him to restore law and order to his lands. 

Then Locrinus straightway took the Princess Esyllt for his wife, and 
delighted in her more and more: for she was as prudent as she was beau- 
tiful, and she loved the king, her deliverer, with the love of a true wife, 
and of a noble princess. 

' But when Corineus, the giant-slayer, heard that Locrinus had taken 
* foreign princess to be his wife, and that she sat beside him on his throne 



GREAT BRITAIN GEOFFREY OF MONMOUTH 123 

to the open scorn of Guendolen, his daughter, he arose in great wrath, 
and swore a mighty oath, that he would either make him put away his 
wife and marry the Lady Guendolen, to whom he was affianced, or that 
orie of the two should never eat bread more; and gathering together 
a band of Cornish men, sons of the giants, and taking with him Guendo- 
len, his daughter, he marched eastward, passing like an angry meteor 
through town and hamlet, for wrath drove him like a scourge. r 

King Locrinus, hearing of his coming, and boding ill of the issue, hid 
his wife privily in a shepherd's cottage, and caused a rumor to be spread 
that at the terror of the coming of the Giant-slayer, his queen had fallen 
into the pangs of premature labor, and that she and her infant had both 
perished; and to add greater faith to the tale, he had funeral rites per- 
formed, and went heavily as one who mourneth, and put on mourning 
garments. 

These tidings, meeting Corineus on the way, somewhat slaked the fury 
of his wrath, and halting, he sent forward a messenger to Locrinus, to 
demand of him that he would fulfil his contract with the Lady Guen- 
dolen. , 

The King with a sad heart assented, but would that the marriage should 
be deferred for the present that he might furnish himself with fitting 
ceremony to do honor to his bride; but Corineus would hear nothing of 
delay, and resuming his onward course burst furiously into the city of 
Trinovant, ''where Locrinus abode, and breaking unannounced into the 
presence of the King bade him keep to his covenant, and take the Lady 
Guendolen at once to his throne. 

The fierce countenance of Corineus was not less terrible because it 
was furrowed by age, and set round with strong white hair, and a beard 
like a trail of autumn cloud; the muscles stood out like serpents from his 
bare arms, and his loose garment of Tyrian purple left to view a broad 
patch of the shaggy breast against which, as in a vise, he had crushed the 
ribs of the monster Gogmagog. Such as Corineus was, such were his 
followers; shaggy-browed, iron-sinewed, ample in stature, resolute in 
purpose, and ruthless in action, they waited but a sign from their chief 
to dash like wolves upon the homesteads of the peaceful subjects of the 
King, or to tear him to pieces in his own halls. Then Locrinus sadly gave 
yray, priests whom Corineus had brought with him performed the rites 
that united a frowning bride to a bridegroom in a mourning habit, and 
the haughty Guendolen sat in the place of Esyllt. 

Little love was there between Locrinus and his new queen, as you 
may well guess; for the daughter of Corineus was not one to win love; 
but the more she saw that the heart of her husband was turned away 
from her, the more did she exult in the submission that her father had 
forced upon him, and triumph in the power that her high place gave her. 

Esyllt, meanwhile, tarried sadly in the shepherd's cottage, wearying for 



124 (&EAT SHORT STORIES OF THE WORLD 

the coming of her lord; the daily pain of his absence left her little 
thought for her changed fortunes, or for the lost throne 5 if she could 
only see him she thought he could be content to die, and day by day 
she sat upon the lonely shore looking out on the immeasurable 'waters, 
or climbed to the trackless downs, if perchance he might be coming 
by sea or by land; and when she came back weary and faint to the cot- 
tage, she could find little comfort in the talk of the shepherd and his 
wife, who told such tales of the wrath and of the strength of the great 
Prince Corineus, that the poor lady trembled to think of her dear lord, 
and lay awake half the night weeping and praying to the gods to protect 
him. 

At length, however, King Locrinus, on pretense of hunting, con- 
trived to steal away from Guendolen, and to visit the lonely Esyllt, and 
the hearts of both were refreshed, and the spark of life which was dying 
out in Esyllt's bosom shot up again into a bright flame, like a waning 
lamp newly fed with oil ; and they dared even to think of a time when 
their troubles might be at an end, and the gods, to whom all things are 
possible, might give them back something of their old happiness. But 
because the King loved Esyllt better than his life, and because he feared 
everything from the jealousy of Guendolen if she should in any way dis- 
cover that Esyllt lived, he fitted up a secret chamber, curiously contrived 
years ago by his father Brutus, for the deposit of treasure ^r for other 
need; and thither he conveyed the princess in the night, and hid her 
there for seven weary years. She had not been there many days, when 
a daughter was born to her, and care for the new life that had opened 
in the grave as it were, caused the princess herself to take fresh hold on 
life, and gave her strength to bear the privation of the blessed gifts of 
the sun for all those years. 

The little Sabrina, it was so Esyllt named her daughter, pined not for 
what she knew not of; the pale light of the lamp which burnt day and 
night in the chamber could not ripen the color in her cheeks or the 
laughter on her lips as the goodly sun does; but she grew ever more 
sweet and fair, her one pleasure to watch the motion of her mother's 
hands as she busily plied the loom, counting the threads and marking 
with great joy the pattern as it sprung into shape under her creative 
fingers; and so for seven long years they lived, companions only to each 
other^ and looking fondly for the short visit which Locrinus from time 
to time was able to pay them. But when the seven years were ended, news 
came from Cornwall that a sudden sickness had seized Corineus, and 
that he was dead. And Locrinus straightway resolved to divorce his Queen 
Guendolen, whose haughty and cruel temper .made the lives of all about 
her bitter to them, and to bring the imprisoned Esyllt to light again, 
and place her once more on the throne. When Guendolen heard the pur- 
pose of the King, and that Esyllt was still alive, her anger was very 



GREAT BRITAIN GEOFFREY OF MONlvfbUTH 125 

fierce; but, forasmuch, as there were none who loved her in Loegria, as 
Cornwall was far away, and in great confusion at the death of Corineus, 
she dissembled her wrath, and taking with her her son Madoc, she went 
back to her own Duchy of Cornwall, thinking of nothing but how she 
might revenge herself. 

But Locrinus fetched home his Queen Esyllt and his little daughter 
Sabrina in great state, and brought them to his palace in Trinovant; and 
the whole land rejoiced, as the earth rejoices and covers herself with 
beauty, when the cast wind is driven back to his caverns, and the genial 
western breeze dimples the lakes and calls forth the lingering flowers. 
But those who were near enough to see her marveled much at the pale 
countenance of the Queen, and at the face of the little princess, who sat 
like one dazzled and sorely perplexed by the side of her mother. 

In truth the glory of the upper world was well nigh too much for the 
child, she hid herself from the light and from the sounds, and languished 
for the still chamber which had been her home; the crowding faces, 
the gay dresses, and the obsequious manners of the many attendants about 
the court bewildered her, and she glided about like a silent shadow after 
her mother, Aweary and faint in spirit; but as months passed on, the 
strangeness of things wore off, and she grew to endure, and finally to 
love the open air; but it was ever the paths of shady forests that pleased 
her most, where the sunlight came tempered through countless leaves, 
and pale primroses and lurking violets formed a chaplet that pleased her 
better than roses and lilies. Her sweet nature made her very courteous 
to those about her, and she learned with aptitude the arts that were taught 
her, so that men praised her beauty and her princely carriage; but her 
cheeks remained ever colorless, and the smile that played on her fea- 
tures like moonlight on the waters was never broken up into laughter. 

And so it was, that when she was grown to be a fair damsel, and the 
King her father was thinking to which of the foreign princes whom the 
fame of her beauty had drawn to his court, he should give her in mar- 
riage, so as to strengthen his own hands and secure the throne to her, 
tidings came that the Lady Guendolen and Madoc her son were making 
ready to march eastward, and boasted that they would slay Locrinus 
and take Esyllt and her daughter alive. 

' Then the King bestirred himself, and gathering his troops marched 
to meet them, taking with him the Queen and the Princess, for he thought 
them safe nowhere but with him, neither would they let him go alone, 
for they saw that his soul foreboded evil, and that his heart was heavy 
within him. And so it was that the armies met together at a river just on 
the frontiers of Cambria, and a great battle was fought in which King 
Locrinus was slain by an arrow, and Esyllt and her daughter fell into 
the hands of Guendolen. 

When they were brought before the daughter of Corineus, the stern 



126 GREAT SHORT STORIES OF THE WORLD 

Princess gazed unmoved on the sorrow-stricken pair, no touch of pity 
stirring her bosom, but -vith fierce and angry words she reviled them, 
heaping insults on the head of the slain King, and triumphing savagely in 
her victory. To all this Esyllt said not a word, she only embraced h*r 
daughter, who clung to her in silent terror. Then Guendolen gave orders 
that both should be taken and flung without more ado into the river that 
was flowing by, and six fierce Cornish men, sons of the giants, sprung 
forward to seize them; but Esyllt lifted her head, and looking straight 
into the eyes of Guendolen, spoke to her in this wise: 

"Princess, if I have wronged thee, the gods have richly avenged thee, 
seeing that I did it unwillingly, yea even unwittingly. The fate thou 
adjudgest to me and to this child is a merciful one; I seek not to change 
it it is better to fall into the power of the gods; add to it yet this 
favor let not the hands of thy warriors come upon the maiden, seeing 
she is a Princess, and the daughter of Locrinus. Behold we go whither 
thou biddest us. May the gods receive us! " 

So saying, she walked down the green meadow to the amber river 
leading her daughter by the hand, and when they came to the brink, and 
the murmuring water kissed their feet, the Queen Esyllt turned her face 
to the setting sun, silently saluting it, then folding her .laughter in her 
arms, she plunged with her into the bosom of the stream, and no one 
saw them more; but the name of the Princess clung to the river, and 
men as they wander by the Glassy Severn dream even yet of'the gentle 
Sabrina, dwelling in the halls of the River Gods, and ready to hearken 
to the cry of the innocent, and to lend her help to the oppressed. 



THE HUMBLING OF JOVINIAN 

(Anonymous: i3th Century) 

THE famous collection of medieval tales gathered together under 
the title Deeds of the Romans (Gesta Romanorum) was compiled 
in Latin by an unidentified preacher some time between the 
Twelfth and the Fourteenth Centuries in England. The collection 
comprises two hundred and fifteen stories, that "might be used to 
enforce and enliven lessons from the pulpit." Each tale is written 
round some actual or imaginary Roman emperor. The writer was 
indebted for his material to the floating legends and traditions of 
the Middle Ages, to actual history, and to the ''fables and tales of 
the Arabs and other Oriental peoples. First printed in 1473, the 
tales of the Gesta Romanorum have been utilized time and again 
by Shakespeare and other writers of succeeding ages. 

The present version is reprinted from the translation by C. 
Swan, published in London in 1824. 



GREAT BRITAIN ANONYMOUS 117 

THE HUMBLING OF JOVINIAN 
(From the Gcsta Romanorum) 

rHEN Jovinian was emperor, he had very great power, and as he 
lay in bed reflecting upon the extent of his dominions, his heart 
was elated. 

"Is there," he impiously asked, "is there any other god than me?" 
Amid such thoughts he fell asleep. 

In the morning, he reviewed his troops, and said, "My friends, after 
breakfast we will hunt." 

Preparations being made accordingly, he set out with a large retinue. 
During the chase, the emperor felt such extreme oppression from the 
heat, that he believed his very existence depended upon a cold bath. As 
he anxiously looked around, he discovered a sheet of water at no great 
distance. "Remain here," said he to his guard, "until I have refreshed 
myself in yonder stream." Then spurring his steed, he rode hastily to 
the edge of ihe water. Alighting, he stripped oif his clothes, and experi- 
enced the greatest pleasure from its invigorating freshness and coolness. 
But whilst he was thus employed, a person similar to him in every re- 
spect in jpountenance and gesture arrayed himself unperceived in the 
emperor's dress, and then mounting his horse, rode off to the attendants. 
The resemblance to the sovereign was such that no doubt was entertained 
of the reality; and straightway command was issued for their return to 
the palace. 

Jovinian, however, having quitted the water, sought in every possible 
direction for his horse and clothes, and to his utter astonishment, could 
find neither. Vexed beyond measure at the circumstance (for he was 
completely naked, and saw no one near to assist him), he began to reflect 
upon what course he should pursue. "Miserable man that I am," said he, 
"to what a strait am I reduced! There is, I remember, a knight who lives 
close by; I will go to him, and command his attendance and service. I 
will then ride on to the palace and strictly investigate the cause of this 
extraordinary conduct. Some shall smart for it." 

Jovinian proceeded, naked and ashamed, to the castle of the aforesaid 
knight, and beat loudly at the gate. The porter, without unclosing the 
wicket, inquired the cause of the knocking. "Open the gate," said the 
enraged emperor, "and*you will see who I am." The gate was opened; 
and the porter, struck with the strange appearance he exhibited, replied, 
"In the name of all that is marvelous, what are you?" "I am," said he, 
"Jovinian, your emperor j go to your lord, and command him from me to 
supply the wants of his sovereign. I have lost both horse and clothes." 

"Infamous ribald!" shouted the porter, "just before thy approach, the 



128 GREAT SHORT STORIES OF THE WORLD 

Emperor Jovinian, accompanied by the officers of his household, entered 
the palace. My lord both went and returned with him; and but even now 
sat with him at meat. But because thou hast called thyself the emperor, 
however madly, my lord shall know of thy presumption." The porter 
entered, and related what had passed. Jovinian was introduced, but the 
knight retained not the slightest recollection of his master, although the 
emperor remembered him. "Who are you?" said the knight, "and what 
is your name?" "I am the Emperor Jovinian," rejoined he; "canst thou 
have forgotten me? At such a time I promoted thee to a military com- 
mand." "Why, thou most audacious scoundrel," said the knight, "darest 
thou call thyself the emperor? I rode with him myself to the palace, 
from whence I am this moment returned. But thy impudence shall not 
go without its reward. Flog him," said he, turning to his servants. "Flog 
him soundly, and drive him away." 

This sentence was immediately executed, and the poor emperor, burst- 
ing into a convulsion of tears, exclaimed, "Oh, my God, is it possible that 
one whom I have so much honored and exalted should do this? Not con- 
tent with pretending ignorance of my person, he orders these merciless 
villains to abuse me! However, it will not be long unavenged. There is 
a certain duke, one of my privy councilors, to whom I will make known 
my calamity. At least, he will enable me to return decently to the palace." 
To him, therefore, Jovinian proceeded, and the gate was ojjpned at his 
knock. But the porter, beholding a naked man, exclaimed in the greatest 
amaze, "Friend, who are you, and why come you here in such a guise?" 
He replied, "I am your emporor; I have accidentally lost my clothes 
and my horse, and I have come for succor to your lord. Inform the duke, 
therefore, that I have business with him." The porter, more and more 
astonished, entered the hall, and told of the man outside. "Bring him in," 
said the duke. He was brought in, but neither did he recognize the per- 
son of the emperor. "What art thou?" was again asked, and answered 
as before. "Poor mad wretch," said the duke, "a short time since, I 
returned from the palace, where I left the very emperor thou assumcst 
to be. But ignorant whether thou art more fool or knave, we will ad- 
minister such remedy as may suit both. Carry him to prison, and feed 
him with bread and water." The command was no sooner delivered, than 
obeyed; and the following day his naked body was submitted to the lash, 
and again cast into the dungeon. 

Thus afflicted, he gave himself up to the wretchedness of his un- 
toward condition. In the agony of his heart, he said: "What shall I do? 
Oh! what will be my destiny? I am loaded with the coarsest contumely, 
and exposed to the malicious observation of my people. It were better to 
hasten immediately to my palace, and there discover myself my wife 
will know me; surely, my wife will know me!" Escaping, therefore, 
from his confinement, he approached the palace and beat upon the gate. 



GREAT BRITAIN ANONYMOUS 129 

The same questions were repeated, and the same answers returned. "Who 
art thou?" said the porter. "It is strange," replied the aggrieved emperor, 
"it, is strange that thou shouldst not know me; thou, who hast served me 
so long!" "Served thee!" returned the porter indignantly; "thou liest 
abominably. I have served none but the emperor." "Why," said the other, 
"thou knowest that I am he. Yet, though you disregard my words, go, 
I implore you, to the empress; communicate what I will tell thee, and by 
these signs, bid her send the imperial robes, of which some rogue has 
deprived me. The signs I tell thee of are known to none but to ourselves." 
"In verity," said the porter, "thou art specially mad; at this very moment 
my lord sits at table with the empress herself. Nevertheless, out of re- 
gard for thy singular merits, I will intimate thy declaration within; and 
rest assured thou wilt presently find thyself most royally beaten." The 
porter went accordingly, and related what he had heard. But the em- 
press became very sorrowful, and said: "Oh, my lord, what am I to 
think? The most hidden passages of our lives are revealed by an obscene 
fellow at the gate, and repeated to me by the porter, on the strength 
of which he declares himself the emperor, and my espoused lord!** When 
the fictitious 'monarch was apprised of this, he commanded him to be 
brought in. He had no sooner entered, than a large dog, which crouched 
upon the hearth, and had been much cherished by him, flew at his throat, 
and, but fjr timely prevention, would have killed him. A falcon also, 
seated upon her perch, no sooner beheld him than she broke her jesses and 
flew out of the hall. Then the pretended emperor, addressing those who 
stood about him, said: "My friends, hear what I will ask of yon ribald. 
Who are you? and what do you want?" "These questions," said the 
suffering man, "are very strange. You know I am the emperor and master 
of this place." The other, turning to the nobles who sat or stood at the 
table, continued: "Tell me, on your allegiance, which of us two is your 
lord and master?" "Your majesty asks us an easy thing," replied they, 
"and need not to remind us of our allegiance. That obscene wretch 
cannot be our sovereign. You alone are he, whom we have known from 
childhood; and we intreat that this fellow may be severely punished as 
a warning to others how they give scope to their mad presumption." Then 
turning to the empress, the usurper said: "Tell me, my lady, on the 
faith you have sworn, do you know this man who calls himself thy lord 
and emperor?" She answered: "My lord, how can you ask such a question? 
Have I not known thee more than thirty years, and borne thee many chil- 
dren? Yet, at one thing I do admire. How can this fellow have acquired 
so intimate a knowledge of what has passed between us?" 

The pretended emperor made no reply, but addressing the real one, 
said: "Friend, how darest thou to call thyself emperor? We sentence 
thee, for this unexampled impudence, to be drawn, without loss of time, 
at the tail of a horse. And if thou utterest the same words again, thou 



130 GREAT SHORT STORIES OF THE WORLD 

shalt be doomed to an ignominious death?* He then commanded his guards 
to see the sentence put in force, but to preserve his life. The unfortunate 
emperor was now almost distracted; and urged by his despair, wished 
vehemently for death. "Why was I born?" he exclaimed. "My friefcds 
shun me, and my wife and children will not acknowledge me. But there 
is my confessor, still. To him will I go; perhaps he will recollect me, 
because he has often received my confessions." He went accordingly, and 
knocked at the window of his cell. "Who is 'there?" said the confessor. 
"The Emperor Jovinian," was the reply; "open the window and I will 
speak to thee." ,The window was opened; but no sooner had he looked 
out than he closed it again in great haste. "Depart from me," said he, 
"accursed thing: thou art not the emperor, but the devil incarnate." This 
completed the miseries of the persecuted man; and he tore his hair, and 
plucked up his beard by the roots. "Woe is me," he cried, "for what 
strange doom am I reserved?" At this crisis, the impious words which, 
in th.e arrogance of his heart, he* had uttered crossed his recollection. 
Immediately he beat again at the window of the confessor's cell, and ex- 
claimed: "For the love of Him who was suspended from the cross, hear 
my confession." The recluse opened the window, and said, "I will do 
this with pleasure"; and then Jovinian acquainted him with every par- 
ticular of his past life; and principally how he had lifted himself up 
against his Matter. 

The confession made, and absolution given, the recluse loflked out of 
his window, and directly knew him. "Blessed be the most high God," 
said he, "now I do know thee. I have here a few garments: clothe thyself, 
and go to the palace. I trust that they also will recognize thee." The em- 
peror did as the confessor directed. The porter opened the gate, and 
made a low obeisance to him. "Dost thou know me?" said he. "Very well, 
my lord!" replied the menial; "but I marvel that I did not observe you 
go dut." Entering the hall of his mansion, Jovinian* was received by all 
with a profound reverence. The strange emperor was at that time in 
another apartment with the queen; and a certain knight going to him, 
said, "My lord, there is one in the hall to whom everybody bends; he 
so much resembles you, that we know not which is the emperor." Hearing 
this, the usurper said to the empress, "Go and see if you know him." 
She went, and returned greatly surprised at what she saw. "Oh, my lord," 
said she, "I declare to you that I know not whom to trust."_"Then," 
returned he, "I will go and determine you." And taking her hand he 
led her into the hall and placed her on the throne beside him. Addressing 
the assembly, he said, "By the oaths you have taken, declare which of 
us is your emperor." The empress answered: "It is incumbent on me to 
speak first; but heaven is my witness, that I am unable to determine which 
is he." And so said all. Then the feigned emperor spoke thus: "My 
friends, hearken! That man is your king and ydur lord. He exalted him- 



GREAT BRITAIN ANONYMOUS 131 

self to the disparagement of his Maker; and God, therefore, scourged 
and hid him from your knowledge. But his repentance removes the rod; 
he has now made ample satisfaction, and again let your obedience wait 
updh him. Commend yourselves to the protection of heaven/' So saying, 
he disappeared. The emperor gave thanks to God, and surrendering to 
Him all his soul, lived happily and finished his days in peace. 



LLUDD AND LLEVELYS 

(Anonymous: Some Time Before I4th Century) 

NOT only is nothing known of the author of this story, but it is 
hardly possible to make a good guess within several centuries of the 
date of its composition. The Mabinogion, from which it is taken, is 
the title given to a collection of translations made from the Welsh 
by Lady Charlotte Guest some eighty years ago, in which she in- 
cluded twelve old Welsh romances. The literature of early Wales 
was extremely rich; from it sprang a host of stories, of which the 
most important were those treating of King Arthur and his court. 
In the words of Lady Guest, Welsh literature has "strong claims 
to be considered the cradle of European romance." 

The*present tale, translated by Lady Guest, is reprinted from 
The MMnogion, Everyman's Library, by permission of the pub- 
lisher, J. M* Dent and Sons. 



LLUDD AND LLEVELYS 
(From The Mabmogion) 

BELI the great, the son of Manogan, had three sons, Lludd and 
Caswallawn, and Nynyaw; and according to the story he had a 
fourth son called Llevelys. And after the death of Beli, the kingdom of 
the Island of Britain fell into the hands of Lludd, his eldest son; and 
Lludd ruled prosperously, and rebuilt the walls of London, and encom- 
passed it about with numberless towers. And after that he bade the citi- 
zens build houses therein, such as no houses in the kingdoms could equal. 
And moreover he was a mighty warrior, and generous and liberal in 
giving meat and drink to all that sought them. And though he had many 
castles and cities this one loved he more than any* And he dwelt therein 
most part of the year, and therefore was it called Caer Lludd, and at 
last Caer London. And after the stranger-race came, there, it was 
London, or Lwndrys. 



132 GREAT SHORT STORIES OF THE WORLD 

Lludd loved Llevelys best of all his brothers, because he was a wise and 
discreet man. Having heard that the king of France had died, leaving no 
heir except a daughter, and that he had left all his possessions in her 
hands, he came to Lludd his brother, to beseech his counsel and aid. And 
that not so much for his own welfare, as to seek to add to the glory 
and honor and dignity of his kindred, if he might go to France to woo 
the maiden for his wife. And forthwith his brother conferred with him, 
and this counsel was pleasing unto him. 

So he prepared ships and filled them with armed knights, and set forth 
towards France. And as soon as they had landed, they sent messengers 
to show the nobles of France the cause of the embassy. And by the joint 
counsel of the nobles of France and of the princes, the maiden was given 
to Llevelys, and the crown of the kingdom with her. And thenceforth 
he ruled the land discreetly, and wisely, and happily, as long as his life 
lasted. 

After a space of time had passed, three plagues fell on the Island of 
Britain, such as none in the islands had ever seen the like of. The first 
was a certain race that came, and was called the Coranians; and so great 
was their knowledge, that there was no discourse upon the face of the 
Island, however low it might be spoken, but what, if the wind met it, 
it was known to them. And through this they could not be injured. 

The second plague was a shriek which came on every May-eve, over 
every hearth in the Island of Britain. And this went thnfcigh people's 
hearts, and so scared them that the men lost their hue and their strength, 
and the women their children, and the young men and the maidens lost 
their senses, and all the animals and 'trees and the earth and the waters 
were left barren. 

The third plague was, that however much of provisions and food might 
be prepared in the king's courts, were there even so much as a year's 
provision of meat and drink, none of it could ever be found, except what 
was consumed in the first night. And two of these plagues, no one ever 
knew their cause, therefore was there better hope of being freed from 
the first than from the second and third. 

. And thereupon King Lludd felt great sorrow and care, because that 
he knew not how he might be freed from these plagues. And he called 
to him all the nobles of his kingdom, and asked counsel of them what 
they should do against these afflictions. And by the common counsel of 
the nobles, Lludd the son of Beli went to Llevelys his brother, king of 
France, for he was a man great of counsel and wisdom, to seek his advice. 

And they made ready a fleet, and that in secret and in silence, lest 
that race should know the cause of their errand, or any besides the king 
and his counselors. And when they were made ready, they went into their 
ships, Lludd and those whom he chose with him. And they began to 
cleave the seas towards France, 



GREAT BRITAIN ANONYMOUS 133 

And when these tidings came to Llevelys, seeing that he knew not 
the cause of his brother's ships, he came on the other side to meet him, 
and with him was a fleet vast of size. And when Lludd saw this, he left 
all the ships out upon the sea except one only; and in that one he came 
to meet his brother, and he likewise with a single ship came to meet 
him. And when they were come together, each put his arms about the 
other's neck, and they welcomed each other with brotherly love. 

After that Lludd had shown his brother the cause of his errand, 
Llevelys said that he himself knew the cause of the coming to those 
lands. And they took counsel together to discourse on the matter other- 
wise than thus, in order that the wind might not catch their words, nor 
the Coranians know what they might say. Then Llevelys caused a long 
horn to be made of brass, and through this horn they discoursed. But 
whatsoever words they spoke through this horn, one to the other, neither 
of them could hear any other but harsh and hostile words. And when 
Llevelys saw this, and that there was a demon thwarting them and 
disturbing through this horn, he caused wine to be put therein to wash it. 
And through the virtue of the wine the demon was driven out of the horn. 
And when iheir discourse was unobstructed, Llevelys told his brother 
that he would give him some insects whereof he should keep some to 
breed, lest by chance the like affliction might come a second time. And 
other of these insects he should take and bruise in water. And he assured 
him that it would have power to destroy the race of the Coranians. That 
is to say, that when he came home to his kingdom he should call together 
all the people both of his own race and of the race of the Coranians 
for a conference, as though with the intent of making peace between 
them; and that when they were all together, he should take this 
charmed water, and cast it over all alike. And he assured him that 
the water would poison the race of the Coranians, but that it would not 
slay or harm those of his own race. 

"And the second plague," said he, "that is in thy dominion, behold 
it is a dragon. And another dragon of a foreign race is fighting with it, 
and striving to overcome it. And therefore does your dragon make a 
fearful outcry. And on this wise mayest thou come to know this. After 
thou hast returned home, cause the Island to be measured in its length 
and breadth, and in the place where thou dost find the exact central point, 
there cause a pit to be dug, and cause a cauldron full of the best mead 
that can be made to be put in the pit, with a covering of satin over the 
face of the cauldron. And then, in thine own person do thou remain there 
watching, and thou wilt see the dragon fighting in the form of terrific 
animals. And at length they will take the form of dragons in the air. 
And last of all, after wearying themselves with fierce and furious fight- 
ing, they will fall in the form of two pigs upon the covering, and they 
will sink in, and the covering with them, and they, will draw it down to 



134 GREAT SHORT STORIES OF THE WORLD 

the very bottom of the cauldron. And they will drink up the whole of 
the mead; and after that they will sleep. Thereupon do thou immediately 
fold the covering around them, and bury them in a kistvaen, in the 
strongest place thou hast in thy dominions, and hide them in the earth. 
And as long as they shall bide in that strong place no plague shall come 
to the Island of Britain from elsewhere. 

. "The cause of the third plague," said he, "is a mighty man of magic, 
who takes thy meat and thy drink and thy store. And he through illusions 
and charms causes every one to sleep. Therefore it is needful for thee in 
thy own person to watch thy food and thy provisions. And lest he should 
overcome thee with sleep, be there a cauldron of cold water by thy side, 
and when thou art oppressed with sleep, plunge into the cauldron." 

Then Lludd returned back unto his land. And immediately he sum- 
moned to him the whole of his own race and of the Coranians. And as 
Llevelys had taught him, he bruised the insects in water, the which he 
cast over them all together, and forthwith it destroyed the whole tribe 
of the Coranians, without hurt to any of the Britons. 

And some time after this, Lludd caused the Island to be measured 
in its length and in its breadth. And in Oxford he found the central 
point, and in that place he caused the earth to be dug, and in that pit 
a cauldron to be set, full of the best mead that could be made, and a 
covering of satin over the face of it. And he himself watched that 
night. And while he was there, he beheld the dragons figjhting. And 
when they were weary they fell, and came down upon the top of the satin, 
and drew it with them to the bottom of the cauldron. And when they had 
drunk the mead they slept. And in their sleep, Lludd folded the covering 
around them, and in the securest place he had in Snowdon, he hid 
them in a kistvaen. Now after that this spot was called Dinas Emreis, 
but before that, Dinas Ffaraon. And thus the fierce outcry ceased in his 
dominions. 

And when this was ended, King Lludd caused an exceeding great ban- 
quet to be prepared. And when it was ready, he placed a vessel of cold 
water by his side, and he in his own proper person watched it. And as 
he abode thus clad with arms, about the third watch of the night, lo, 
he heard many surpassing fascinations and various songs. And drowsiness 
urged him to sleep. Upon this, lest he should be hindered from his pur- 
pose and be overcome by sleep, he went often into the water. And at 
last, behold, a man of vast size, clad in strong, heavy armor, came in, 
bearing a hamper. And, as he was wont, he put all the food and pro- 
visions of, meat and drink into the hamper, and proceeded to go with 
it forth. And nothing was ever more wonderful to Lludd, than that the 
hamper should hold so much. v 

And thereupon King Lludd went after him and spoke unto him thus. 
"Stop, stop," said he, "though thou hast done many insults and much 



GREAT BRITAIN ANONYMOUS 135 

spoil erewhile, them shalt not do so any more, unless thy skill in arms 
and thy prowess be greater than mine." 

.Then he instantly put down the hamper on the floor, and awaited him. 
And a fierce encounter was between them, so that the glittering fire flew 
out from their arms. And at last Lludd grappled with him, and fate be- 
stowed the victory on Lludd. And he threw the plague to the earth. And 
after he had overcome him by strength and might, he besought his mercy. 
"How can I grant thee mercy," said the king, "after all the many in- 
juries and wrongs that thou hast done me?" "All the losses that ever I 
have caused thee," said he, "I will make thee atonement for equal to 
what I have taken. And I will never do the like from this time forth. 
But thy faithful vassal will I be." And the king accepted this from him. 

And thus Lludd freed the Island of Britain from the three plagues. 
And from thenceforth until the end of his life, in prosperous peace did 
Lludd the son of Beli rule the Island of Britain. And this Tale is called 
the Story of Lludd and Llevelys. And thus it ends. 



' SIR THOMAS MALORY 

(Flourished Late I5th Century) 

PRACTICALLY nothing is known of this first great writer of Eng- 
lish prose romance. Malory's significance in the development of 
the English language is, for our purposes, not so vital a matter as 
his contribution to the art of story-telling. His vast compilation, 
which is a rewritten version of the outstanding episodes in the 
Arthurian cycle, was printed by Caxton in 1485, and, due to the 
rapid spread of books through the recently invented printing-press, 
Malory's influence was far greater than it would otherwise have 
been. "Malory," says Edmund Gosse, "tinges the whole English 
character; he is the primal fount of our passion for adventure, and 
of our love for active chivalry." 

The present version is reprinted from Malorfs History of King 
Arthur and the Quest of the Holy Grail, London, 1 886< There 
is no title in the original text. 



LAUNCELOT'S TOURNEY 
(From the Morte a? Arthur) 

ND then the Queen let make a privy dinner in the city of London, 
unto the knights of the Round Table; and all was to show out- 
ward that she had a great joy in all other knights of the Round Table, 



136 GREAT SHORT STORIES OF THE WORLD 

as she had in Sir Launcelot. All only at that dinner she had Sir Gawaine 
and his brethren; that is to say, Sir Agravaine, Sir Gaheris, Sir Gareth, 
and Sir Mordred. Also there was Sir Bors de Ganis, Sir Blamor de Ganis, 
Sir Bleoberis de Ganis, Sir Galihud, Sir Galihodin, Sir Ector de Man's, 
Sir Lionel, Sir Palomides, and his brother, Sir Safre; la Cote mal Tail, 
Sir Persuant, Sir Ironside, Sir Brandiles, Sir Kaye the seneschal, Sir 
Mador de la Port, Sir Patrice a knight of Ireland, Sir Aliducke, Sir 
Astomore, and Sir Pinell le Savage, the which was cousin unto Sir La- 
moracke de Galis, the good knight, the which Sir Gawaine and brethren 
slew by treason. And so these knights should dine with the Queen in 
a privy place by themselves; and there was made a great feast of all 
manner of dainty meats and drinks. But Sir Gawaine had a custom 
that he used daily at dinner and at supper, that he loved well all manner 
of fruits, and in especial apples and pears; and, therefore, whosoever 
dined or feasted, Sir Gawaine would commonly purvey for good fruit 
for him: and so did the Queen; for, to please Sir Gawaine, she let purvey 
for him of all manner of fruits. For Sir Gawaine was a passing hot 
knight of nature; and this Sir Pinell hated Sir Gawaine,., because of his 
kinsman, Sir Lamoracke de Galis: and, therefore, for pure envy and 
hate, Sir Pinell poisoned certain apples for to poison Sir Gawaine withal. 
And so this was well unto the end of the meat; and so it befell, by mis- 
fortune, that a good knight, named Sir Patrice, cousin untoJSir Mador 
de la Port, took one of the poisoned apples: and, when he had eaten it, he 
swelled till he burst; and there Sir Patrice fell down dead suddenly 
among them. Then every knight leaped from the board, ashamed, and 
enraged for wrath nigh out of their wits; for they wist not what to say, 
considering that Queen Guenever made the feast and dinner, they all 
had suspicion upon her. "My lady, the Queen," said Sir Gawaine, "wit 
ye well, madam, that this dinner was made for me: for all folks, that 
know my conditions, understand well that I love fruit; and now I 
see well I had been near slain: therefore, madam, I dread me least ye 
will be shamed." Then the Queen stood still, and was right sore abashed, 
that she wist not what to say. "This shall not be ended so," said Sir Mador 
de la Port; "for here have I lost a full noble knight of my blood: 
and, therefore, upon this shame and despite I will be revenged to the ut- 
termost." And thereupon Sir Mador appealed Queen Guenever of the 
death of his cousin, Sir Patrice. Then stood they all still, that none of 
them would speak a word against him; for they had a great suspcction 
unto Queen Guenever, because she let make the dinner. And the Queen 
was so sore abashed, that she could none otherwise do, but wept so 
heartily, that she fell in a swoon. With this noise and sudden cry came 
iinto them King Arthur, and marveled greatly what it might be; and, 
when he wist of their trouble, and the suddeg death of that good knight, 
Sir Patrice, he was; a passing heavy man. 



GREAT BRITAIN MALORY 137 

And ever Sir Mador stood still before King Arthur, and ever he 
appealed Queen Guenever of treason. For the custom was such at that 
time, that all manner of shameful death was called treason: "Fair lords," 
said King Arthur, "me repenteth sore of this trouble, but the cause is 
so, we may not have to do in this matter; for I must be a rightful judge, 
and that repenteth me that I may not do battle for my wife; for, as 
I deem, this deed came never of her, and therefore I suppose we shall 
not be all destitute, but that some good knight shall put his body in 
jeopardy, rather than she should be burnt in a wrong quarrel. And, 
therefore, Sir Mador, be not so hasty; for it may happen she shall not 
be all friendless: and, therefore, desire thou the day of battle, and she 
shall purvey her of some good knight, which shall answer you, or else 
it were to me great shame, and unto all my court." "My gracious lord/* 
said Sir Mador, "ye must hold me excused: for, though ye be our King 
in that degree, ye are but a knight as we are, and ye are sworn unto 
knighthood as we are: and, therefore, I pray you, that ye will not be 
displeased; for there is none of the twenty knights that were bidden for 
to come unto this dinner, but all they have great suspection unto the 
Queen. Whit say ye all, my lords?" said Sir Mador. Then they answered 
by and by, and said, that they "could not excuse the Queen; for why she 
made the dinner: and either it must come by her, or by her servants." 
"Alas!" said the Queen, "I made this dinner for a good intent, and never 
for any evil (so God help me in my right!) as I was never purposed to 
do such evil deeds, and that I report me unto God." "My lord, the King," 
said Sir Mador, "I require you heartily, as ye be a righteous king, give 
me a day that I may have justice." "Well," said King Arthur, "I give 
you a day this day fifteen days, that ye be ready armed on horseback in 
the meadow beside Westminster; and, if it so fall that there be any 
knight to encounter with you, there may ye do your best, and God speed 
the right: and, if it so fall that there be no knight at that day, then must 
my Queen be burnt, and there shall ye be ready to have her judgment." 
"Well I am answered," said Sir Mador; and every knight went where 
it liked him. So, when the King and the Queen were together, the King 
asked the Queen how this case befell. Then answered the Queen, "So 
God me help, I wot not how, or in what manner." "Where is Sir Launce- 
lot?" said King Arthur. "An he were here, he would not grudge to do 
battle for you." "Sir," said the Queen, "I cannot tell you where he is; 
but his brother, and all his kinsmen, deem that he is not within this realm." 
"That sore repenteth me," said King Arthur; "for an he were here, 
he would full soon stint this strife. Then I will counsel you," said the 
King, "that ye go unto Sir Bors, and pray him to do that battle for you 
for Sir Launcelot's sake: and, upon my life, he will not refuse you. For 
right well I perceive," said King Arthur, "that none of all those twenty 
knights, without more, that were with you in fellowship together at your 



GREAT SHORT STORIES OF THE WORLD 

dinner, where Sir Patrice was so traitorously slain, that will do battle 
for you, nor none of them will say well of you; and that shall be great 
slander for you in this court." "Alas!" said the Queen, "I cannot do 
withal: but now I miss Sir Launcelot; for, an he were here, he would 
put me full soon unto my heart's ease." "What aileth you," said King 
Arthur, "that ye cannot keep Sir Launcelot on your side? For wit ye 
well/ 1 said King Arthur, "whosoever hath the noble knight, Sir Launce- 
lot, on his part, hath the most man of worship in the world on his side. 
Now, go your way," said the King unto the Queen, "and require Sir 
Bors to do battle for you for Sir Launcelot's sake." ' 

So the Queen departed from the King, and sent for Sir Bors into her 
chamber; and when he was come, she besought him of succor. "Madam," 
said he, "what would ye that I do? for I may not with my worship have 
to do in this matter, because I was at the same dinner, for dread that 
any of those knights would have me in suspection. Also, madam," said 
Sir Bors, "now miss ye Sir Launcelot; for he would not have failed you, 
neither in right, nor yet in wrong, as ye have well proved when ye have 
been in danger; and now have ye driven him out of this country, by 
whom ye and we all were daily worshiped. Therefore, madam, I greatly 
marvel me how ye dare for shame require me to do any thing for you, 
insomuch as ye have chased him out of your country, by whom I was 
borne up and honored." "Alas! fair knight," said the Queen, ^1 put me 
wholly in your grace; and all that is done amiss I will amend, as ye will 
counsel me." And therewith she kneeled down upon both her knees, and 
besought Sir Bors to have mercy upon her, "for I shall have a shameful 
death, and theretd I never offended." Right so came King Arthur, and 
found the Queen kneeling before Sir Bors. Then Sir Bors took her up, 
and said, "Madam, ye do to me great dishonor." "Ah! gentle knight," 
said King Arthur, "have mercy upon my Queen, for I am now in a cer- 
tain that she is now untruly defamed; and, therefore, courteous knight," 
said the King, "promise her to do battle for her: I require you for the love 
of Sir Launcelot." "My lord," said Sir Bors, "ye require me of the 
greatest thing that any man may require me; and wit ye well if I grant 
to do battle for the Queen, I shall wrath many of my fellowship of the 
Round Table; but, as for that," said Sir Bors, "I will grant my lord, 
for my lord Sir Launcelot's sake, and for your sake, I will at that day be 
the Queen's champion, unless that there come by adventure a better knight 
than I am to do battle for her." "Will ye promise this," said the King, 
"by your faith?" "Yes, sir," said Sir Bors, "of that will I not fail you, 
nor her both: but if that there come a better knight than I am, then shall 
he have die battle." Then were the King and the Queen passing glad, 
thanked him heartily, and so departed. 

So then Sir Bors departed secretly upon a day, and rode unto Sir 
Launcelot there as he was with the hermit by Sir Brastias, and told him of 



GREAT BRITAIN MALORY 139 

all his adventures. "Ah! Jesu," said Sir Launcelot, "this is happily come 
as I would have it, and therefore I pray you make you ready to do battle; 
bu{ look that ye tarry till ye see me come as long as ye may, for I am 
sure Sir Mador is a hot knight, if he be chafed, for the more ye suffer 
him, the hastier will he be to do battle." "Sir," said Sir Bors, "let me deal 
with him; doubt ye not ye shall have all your will." Then departed Sir 
Bors from him, and came unto the court again. Then was it noised in 
all the court that Sir Bors should do battle for the Queen; wherefore 
many knights were greatly displeased with him, that he should take upon 
him to do battle in the Queen's quarrel; for there were but few knights 
in the court but that they deemed the Queen was in the wrong, and that 
she had done that treason. So Sir Bors answered thus unto his fellows of 
the Round Table, "Wit ye well, my fair lords, it were shame unto us 
all, and we suffered to see the most noble queen of the world for to 
be shamed openly, considering that her lord and our lord is the man of 
most worship of the world, and the most christened; and he hath always 
worshiped us all in all places." Many knights answered him again, and 
said, "As for our most noble King Arthur, we love him and honor him 
as well as ye do; but as for Queen Guenever, we love her not, for be- 
cause she is a destroyer of good knights." "Fair lords," said Sir Bors, "me 
seemeth, ye say, not as ye should say, for never yet in all my days knew 
I, nor heard say, that ever she was a destroyer of any good knight; 
but at all times as far as I ever could know, she was always a maintainer 
of good knights; and always she hath been large and free of her goods 
to all good knights, and the most bounteous lady of her gifts and her good 
grace that ever I saw, or heard speak of; and therefore it were great 
shame (said Sir Bors) unto us all to our most noble King's wife, if we 
suffer her to be shamefully slain: and wit ye well (said Sir Bors) I will 
not suffer it; for I dare say so much the Queen is not guilty of Sir 
Patrice's death, for she ought him never none evil will, nor none of the 
twenty knights that were at that dinner; for I dare well say that it was 
for good love she had us to dinner, and not for no malice, and that I 
doubt not shall be proved hereafter; for howsoever the game goeth, there 
was treason among some of us." Then some said to Sir Bors, "We may 
well believe your words." And so some of them were well pleased, and 
some were not pleased. " 

The day came on fast until the even that the battle should be. Then 
the Queen sent for Sir Bors, and asked him "how he was disposed." 
"Truly, madam," said he, "I am disposed in likewise as I promised you; 
that is to say, I shall not fail you, unless by adventure there come a better 
knight than I to do battle for you; then, madam, am I. discharged;*^ 
my promise." "Will ye," said the Queen, "that I tell my lord, King 
Arthur, thus?" "Do as it shall please you, madam," said Sir Bors. Then 
the Queen went unto the King, and told him the answer of Sir Bors. 



140 GREAT SHORT STORIES OF THE WORLD 

"Have ye no doubt," said the King, "of Sir Bors, for I call him now one 
of the best knights of the world, and the most profitablest man; and 
this is past forth until the morrow." And the King and the Queen, and 
all the knights that were there at that time, drew them to the meadcnv 
beside Winchester, whereas the battle should be. And so when the King 
was come with the Queen, and many knights of the Round Table, then 
the Queen was put there in the constable's ward, and there was made a 
great fire about the iron stake, that an Sir Mador de la Port had the 
better she should be burnt; such a custom was used in those days, that 
neither for favor, nor for love, nor for affinity, there should be none 
other but right wise judgment as well upon a King as upon a knight, 
as well upon a Queen as upon another poor lady. 

So in the meanwhile came in Sir Mador de la Port, and took the oath 
before the King, that Queen Guenever did this treason unto his cousin, 
Sir Patrice, and unto his oath he would prove it with his body, hand for 
hand, who that would say the contrary thereto. Right so came Sir 
Bors de Ganis, and said "that as for Queen Guenever she is in the right, 
and that will I make good with my hands, that she is not culpable of this 
treason that is put upon her." "Then make thee ready," said Sir Mador, 
"and we shall soon prove whether thou be in the right or I." "Sir," said 
Sir Bors, "wit ye well I know thee for a good knight, not for then I 
shall not fear thee so greatly, but I trust unto Almighty God, giy Maker, 
I shall be able enough to withstand thy malice; but thus much have I 
promised my lord, King Arthur, and my lady, the Queen, that I shall 
do battle for her in this case to the uttermost, only that there came a 
better knight than I am, and discharged me." "Is that all?" said Sir 
Mador. "Either come thou off and do battle with me, or else say nay." 
"Take your horse," said Sir Bors, "and as I suppose ye shall not tarry 
long, but that ye shall be answered/' Then either departed to their tents, 
and made them ready to mount upon horseback as they thought best. And 
anon Sir Mador de la Port came into the field with his shield on his 
shoulder, and a spear in his hand, and so rode about the place, crying unto 
King Arthur, "Bid your champion come forth an he dare." Then was 
Sir Bors ashamed, and took his horse, and came to the list end; and then 
was he ware whereas came out of a wood there fast by, a knight, all 
armed at all points, upon a white horse, with a strong shield and of strange 
arms; and he came riding all that he might run. And so he came to Sir 
Bors, and said, "Fair knight, I pray you, be not displeased, for here must 
a better knight than ye are have this battle; therefore I pray you to with- 
draw you; for I would ye knew I have had this day a right great 
journey^ and this battle ought to be mine, and so I promised you when I 
spake with you last, and with all my heart I thank you for your good 
will." Then Sir Bors rode unto King Arthur, and told him how there 
was a knight come that would have the battle for to fight for the Queen. 



GREAT BRITAIN MALORY 141 

"What knight is he?" said King Arthur. "I cannot show you," said Sir 
Bors, "but such a covenant made he with me for to be here this day. 
Now, my lord," said Sir Bors, "here am I discharged." 

Then the King called unto the knight, and asked him "if he would 
fight for the Queen?" Then he answered unto the King, "Therefore 
came I hither; and, therefore, Sir King," he said, "tarry me no longer, 
for I may not tarry; for anon as I have finished this battle, I must 
depart hence, for I have to do many matters elsewhere: for wit ye well," 
said that knight, "this is dishonor unto you, all knights of the Round 
Table, to see and know so noble a lady and so courteous a Queen, as 
Queen Guenever is, thus to be rebuked and shamed among you." Then 
marveled they all what knight that might be, that so took the battle 
upon him; but there was not one that knew him but if it were Sir 
Bors. "Then," said Sir Mador de la Port unto the King, "now let me 
wit with whom I shall have to do withal." And then they rode to the 
list's end, and there they couched their spears, and ran the one against 
the other with all their mights: and Sir Mador's spear brake all to pieces; 
but Sir Launcelot's spear held, and bare Sir Mador's horse and all back- 
ward to the ground, and had a great fall; but mightily and suddenly he 
avoided his horse, and dressed his shield before him, and then drew his 
sword, and bade that other knight alight and do battle with him on 
foot. Theiv*that knight descended lightly from his horse like a valiant 
man, and put his shield afore him, and drew out his sword. And so they 
came eagerly to battle, and either gave other many sad strokes, tracing 
and traversing, racing and foyning, and hurtling together with their 
swords, as they had been two wild boars. 

Thus were they fighting nigh an hour; for this Sir Mador was a full 
strong knight, and mightily proved in many strong battles. But, at the 
last, the knight smote Sir Mador groveling upon the ground, and the 
knight stepped near him for to have pulled Sir Mador flat-long upon the 
ground. And therewith, all suddenly, Sir Mador arose; and, in his aris- 
ing, he smote that knight through the thigh, that the blood ran out 
right fiercely. And when he felt himself so wounded, and saw his blood, 
he let him arise upon his feet, and then he gave him such a buffet upon 
the helm that he fell flat-long to the ground. And therewith he strode 
to him, for to have pulled off his helm from his head: and then Sir 
Mador prayed that knight to save his life; and so he yielded him as an 
overcome knight, and released the Queen of his quarrel. 4 s ! will not 
grant thee life," said the knight, "but only that you freely release the* 
Queen forever, and that no manner of mention be made upon Sir 
Patrice's tomb that ever Queen Guenever consented to that treason." 
"All this shall be done," said Sir Mador; "and clearly I discharge my 
quarrel forever." Then the knights' porters of the list took up Sir Mador, 
and led him to his tent; and the other knight went straight to the stair- 



X 4 2 GREAT SHORT STORIES OF THE WORLD 

foot, whereas King Arthur sat. And by that time was the Queen come 
unto the King, and either kissed other lovingly. And, when the King 
saw that knight, he stooped unto him, and thanked him; and in likewise 
did the Queen: and then the King prayed him to pull off his helm, and 
to rest him, and to take a sup of wine. And then he put off his helm to 
drink, and then every knight knew that he was the noble knight, Sir 
Launcelot. 



ROBERT GREENE 



GREENE was born at Norwich about 1560. He attended both Cam- 
bridge and Oxford Universities. He seems to have lived a wild and 
irregular life in London. He wrote plays, pamphlets, novels and 
stories and despite his popularity he died in poverty at an early 
age. Greene was one of the few Elizabethan writers who turned 
his hand to the composition of short tales. Two of his romances 
contain several examples, and here and there in his other waitings, 
he has introduced a story in the style of Roberto's Tale. In an age 
that had not learned to copy the technical finish of the Italians, 
Greene managed in this story, none the less, to surpass most of his 
predecessors in the art of elimination. 



ROBERTO'S TALE 

(From Greene's Groatsworth of Wit Bought with a Million 
of Repentance) 

IN the North parts there dwelt an old squire that had a young daughter 
his heir, who had (as I know, Madam Lamilia, you have had) many 
youthful gentlemen that long time sued to obtain her love. But she, know- 
ing her own perfection (as women are by nature proud), would not 
to any of them vouchsafe favor, insomuch that they, perceiving her 
relentless, showed themselves not altogether witless, but left her to her 
fortune when they found her frowardness. At last it fortuned, among 
other strangers, a farmer's son visited her father's house, on whom, at 
the first sight, she was enamored; he likewise on her. Tokens of love 
passed between them; either acquainted other's parents of their diofce, 



GREAT BRITAIN GREENE 143 

and they kindly gave their consent. Short tale to make, married they 
were, and great solemnity was at the wedding feast. 

A young gentleman that had been long a suitor to her, vexing that 
the son of a farmer should be so preferred, cast in his mind by what 
means, to mar their merriment, he might steal away the bride. Here- 
upon he confers with an old beldam called Mother Gunby dwelling 
thereby, whose counsel being taken, he fell to his practise and drift, and 
proceeded thus. In the afternoon, when dancers were very busy, he takes 
the bride by the hand and after a turn or two tells her in her ear he has 
a secret to impart unto her, appointing her in any wise, in the evening, to 
find a time to confer with him. She promised she would, and so they 
parted. Then goes he to the bridegroom and with protestations of entire 
affection, protests the great sorrow he takes at that which he must utter, 
whereon depended his especial credit, if it were known the matter by 
him should be discovered. After the bridegroom's promise of secrecy, 
the gentleman tells him that a friend of his received that morning from 
the bride a letter, wherein she willed him with some sixteen horse to 
await her coming at a park side; for that she detested him in her heart 
as a base country hind, whom her father compelled her to marry. The 
bridegroom, almost out of his .wits, began to bite his lip. "Nay," said the 
gentleman, "if you will by me be advised, you shall save her credit, 
win her by, kindness, and yet prevent her wanton complot." "As how?" 
said the bridegroom. "Marry, thus," said the gentleman: "In the evening 
(for till the guests be gone she intends not to gad) get you on horseback, 
and seem to be of the company that attends her coming. I am Appointed 
to bring her from the house to the park, and from thence fetch 1 winding 
compass of a mile about, but to turn unto bid Mother Gunby's house, 
where her lover (my friend) abides. When she alights, I will conduct 
her to a chamber far from his lodging, but when the lights are out and 
she expecting her adulterous copes-mate, yourself (as reason is) shall 
prove her bedfellow, where privately you may reprove her, and in the 
morning early return home without trouble. As for the gentleman my 
friend, I will excuse her absence to him by saying, She mocked thee 
with her maid instead of herself, whom, when I knew at her lighting, 
I disdained to bring her unto his presence." The bridegroom gave his 
hand it should be so. 

Now by the way we must understand this Mother Gunby had a daugh- 
ter who all that day sat heavily at home with a willow garland, for 
that the bridegroom (if he had dealt faithfully) should have wedded her 
before any other. But men, Lamilia, are inconstant: money nowadays 
makes the match, or else the match is marred. But to the matter: die 
bridegroom and the gentleman thus agreed. He took his time, conferred 
with the bride, persuaded her that her husband notwithstanding his fair 
show at the marriage had sworn, to his old sweetheart, neighbor Gunby's 



144 GREAT SHORT STORIES OF THE WORLD 

daughter, to be that night her bedfellow, and if she would bring her 
father, his father and her friends to the house at midnight, they should 
find it so. At this the young gentlewoman, inwardly vexed to be by a 
peasant so abused, promised, if she saw likelihood of his slipping away, 
that then she would do as he directed. 

' All this thus sorting, the old woman's daughter was trickly attired, 
ready to furnish this pageant, for her old mother provided all things 
necessary. Well, supper past, dancing ended, all the guests would home, 
and the bridegroom pretending to bring some friend of his home, got 
his horse and to the park side he rode, and stayed with the horsemen 
that attended the gentleman. Anon came Marian like mistress bride, and, 
mounted behind the gentleman, away they passed, fetched their compass, 
and at last alighted at an old wife's house, where suddenly she is con- 
veyed to her chamber, and the bridegroom sent to keep her company; 
where he had scarce devised how to begin his exhortation, but the father 
of his bride knocked at the chamber door. At which being somewhat 
amazed yet thinking to turn it to a jest, sith his wife (as he thought) 
was in bed with him, he opened the door saying, "Father, you are heartily 
welcome. I wonder how you found us out here. This device to remove 
ourselves was with my wife's consent, that we might rest quietly, without 
the maids and bachelors disturbing us." 

"But where is your wife?" said the gentleman. t 

"Why, here in bed," quoth the other. 

"My daughter had been your wife, for sure I am to-day she was given 
you in marriage." 

"You are merrily disposed," said the bridegroom. "What! Think you 
I have another wife?" 

"I think but as you speak," quoth the gentleman, "for my daughter 
is below, and you say your wife is in the bed." 

"Below!" said he. "You are a merry man." And with that, casting 
on a night-gown, he went down where, when he saw his wife, the gen- 
tleman* his father, and a number of his friends assembled, he was so 
confounded that how to behave himself he knew not, only he cried out 
that he was deceived. At this the old woman arrived, and making herself 
ignorant of all the whole matter, inquires the cause of that sudden tumult. 
When she was told the new bridegroom was found in bed with her 
daughter, she exclaimed against so great an injury. Marian was called 
in quorum; she justified it was by his allurement. He, being condemned 
by all their consents, was judged unworthy to have the gentlewoman unto 
his wife, and compelled (for escaping of punishment) to marry Marian; 
and the young gentleman (for his care in discovering the farmer's 
lewdness) was recompensed with the gentlewoman's ever-during love. 



GREAT BRITAIN DEFOE 

DANIEL DEFOE 



DANIEL FOE later changed to Defoe was born in London, prob- 
ably in 1659, of a lower middle-class family of Dissenters. He 
lived an active life as a hack-writer, earning a livelihood for the 
most part by writing political pamphlets, satires in a word paid 
propaganda for one or other of the powerful parties. He was 
also engaged in business, -and edited a periodical for nine years. He 
was once imprisoned for two years because of his bitter satire, The 
Shortest Way with Dissenters. It has not yet been possible to iden- 
tify all his very numerous writings. It was not until he reached the 
age of sixty that he began to write the works by which he is best 
known. The first of these was Robinson Crusoe y celebrated as one 
of the world's favorite books. But some years earlier he had written 
a few sketches, the best of which appears in the following pages. 
It is a most convincing bit of realistic writing. It was first pub- 
lished in 1,706 in pamphlet form, and later revised. 

The present is a reprint from the latest revised edition, in which 
spelling and punctuation have been modernized. 



TRUE RELATION OF THE APPARITION OF 
ONE MRS. VEAL 



thing is so rare in all its circumstances, and on so good au- 
JL thority, that my reading and conversation have not given me any- 
thing like it. It is fit to gratify the most ingenious and serious inquirer. 
Mrs. Bargrave is the person to whom Mrs. Veal appeared after her 
death; she is my intimate friend, and I can avouch for her reputation 
for these fifteen or sixteen years, on my own knowledge; and I can 
affirm the good character she had from her youth to the time of my 
acquaintance. Though, since this relation, she is calumniated by some 
people that are friends to the brother of Mrs. Veal who appeared to 
think the relation of this appearance to be a reflection, and endeavor 
what they can to blast Mrs. Bargrave's reputation and to laugh the 
story out of countenance. But by the circumstances thereof, and the 
cheerful disposition of Mrs. Bargrave, notwithstanding the ill usage of 
a very wicked husband, there is not yet the least sign of dejection in her 
face; nor did I ever hear her let fall a desponding or murmuring 
expression; nay, not when actually under her husband's barbarity, which 
I have been a witness to, and several other persons of undoubted repu- 
tation. 



146 GREAT SHORT STORIES OF THE WORLD 

Now you must know Mrs. Veal was a maiden gentlewoman of about 
thirty years of age, and for some years past had been troubled with fits, 
which were perceived coming on her by her going off from her dis- 
course very abruptly to some impertinence. She was maintained by an 
only brother, and kept his house in Dover. She was a very pious woman, 
and her brother a very sober man, to all appearance; but now he does 
all he can to null and quash the story. Mrs. Veal was intimately ac- 
quainted with Mrs. Bargrave from her childhood. Mrs. Veal's circum- 
stances were then mean; her father did not take care of his children as 
he ought, so that they were exposed to hardships. And Mrs. Bargrave in 
those days had as unkind a father, though she wanted neither for food 
nor clothing; while Mrs. Veal wanted for both, insomuch that she 
would often say, "Mrs. Bargrave, you are not only the best, but the only 
friend I have in the world; and no circumstance of life shall ever dis- 
solve my friendship." They would often condole each other's adverse 
fortunes, and read together Drellncourt ufon Death y and other books; 
and so, like two Christian friends, they comforted each other under their 
sorrow. * \ 

Some time after, Mr. Veal's friends got him a place in the custom- 
house at Dover, which occasioned Mrs. Veal, by little and little, to fall 
off from her intimacy with Mrs. Bargrave, though there was never any 
such thing as a quarrel; but an indifferency came on by cjegrees, till at 
last Mrs. Bargrave had not seen her in two years ar.u. a half, though 
above a twelvemonth of the time Mrs. Bargrave hath been absent from 
Dover, and this last half-year has been in Canterbury about two months 
of the time, dwelling in a house of her own. 

In this house, on the eighth of September, one thousand seven hun- 
dred and five, she was sitting alone in the forenoon, thinking over her 
unfortunate life, and arguing herself into a due resignation to Provi- 
dence, though her condition seemed hard: "And," said she, "I have been 
provided for hitherto, and doubt not but I shall be still, and am well 
satisfied that my afflictions shall end when it is most fit for me." And 
then took up her sewing work, which she had no sooner done but she j 
hears a knocking at the door; she went to see who was there, and this \ 
proved to be Mrs. Veal, her old friend, who was in a riding habit. At 
that moment of time the clock struck twelve at noon. 

"Madam," says Mrs. Bargrave, "I am surprised to see you, you who 
have been so long a stranger"; but told her she was glad to see her, and 
offered to salute her, which Mrs. Veal complied with, till their lips 
almost touched, and then Mrs. Veal drew her hand across her own 
eyes, and said, "I am not very well," and so waived it. She told Mrs. 
Bargrave she was going a journey, and had a great mind to see her 
first. "But," says Mrs. Bargrave, "how x:an you take a journey alone? I 
am amazed at it, because I know you have a fond brother." "Oh," says 



GREAT BRITAIN DEFOE 147 

Mrs. Veal, "I gave my brother the slip, and came away, because I had 
so great a desire to see you before I took my journey." So Mrs. Bar- 
grave went in with her into another room within the first, and Mrs. 
Veal sat her down in an elbow-chair, in which Mrs. Bargrave was sit- 
ting when she heard Mrs. Veal knock. "Then," says Mrs. Veal, "my 
dear friend, I am come to renew our old friendship again, and beg your 
pardon for my breach of it; and if you can forgive me, you are the 
best of women." "Oh," says Mrs. Bargrave, "do not mention such a 
thing; I have not had an uneasy thought about it." "What did you think 
of me?" says Mrs. Veal. Says Mrs. Bargrave, "I thought you were like 
the rest of the world, and that prosperity had made you forget yourself 
and me." Then Mrs. Veal reminded Mrs. Bargrave of the many 
friendly offices she did her in former days, and much of the conversa- 
tion they had with each other in the times of their adversity; what books 
they read, and what comfort in particular they received from Drelin- 
court's Book of Death, which was the best, she said, on the subject 
ever wrote. She also mentioned Dr. Sherlock, and two Dutch books, 
which were translated, wrote upon death, and several others. But Drel- 
incourt, she said, had the clearest notions of death and of the future 
state of any 'who had handled that subject. Then she asked Mrs. Bar- 
grave whether she had Drelincourt. She said, "Yes." Says Mrs. Veal, 
"Fetch it." ^And so Mrs. Bargrave goes upstairs and brings it down. 
Says Mrs. Veal, "Dear Mrs. Bargrave, if the eyes of our faith were as 
open as the eyes of our body, we should see numbers of angels about us 
for our guard. The notions we have of Heaven now are nothing like 
what it is, as Drelincourt says; therefore be comforted under your afflic- 
tions, and believe that the Almighty has a particular regard to you, and 
that your afflictions are marks of God's favor; and when they have 
done the business they are sent for, they shall be removed from you. 
And believe me, my dear friend, believe what I say to you, one minute 
of future happiness will infinitely reward you for all your sufferings. 
For I can never believe" (and claps her hand upon her knee with great 
earnestness, which, indeed, ran through most of her discourse) "that 
ever God will suffer you to spend all your days in this afflicted state. 
But be assured that your afflictions shall leave you, or you them, in a 
short time." She spake in that pathetical and heavenly manner that Mrs. 
Bargrave wept several times, she. was so deeply affected with it. 

Then Mrs. Veal mentioned Doctor Kendrick's Ascetic, at the end of 
which he gives an account of the 1 ives of the primitive Christians, Their 
pattern she recommended to our imitation, and said, "Their conversation 
was not like this of our age. For now," says she, "there is nothing but 
vain, frothy discourse, which is far different from theirs. Theirs was to 
edification, and to build one another up in faith, so that they were not 
as we are, nor are we as they were. But," said she, "we ought to do as 



I4& GREAT SHORT STORIES OF THE WORLD 

they did; there was a hearty friendship among them; but where is it 
now to be found?" Says Mrs. Bargrave, "It is hard indeed to find a 
true friend in these days." Says Mrs. Veal, "Mr. Norris has a fine copy 
of verses, called Friendship in Perfection, which I wonderfully admire. 
Have you seen the book?" says Mrs. Veal. "No," says Mrs. Bargrave, 
"but I have the verses of my own writing out." "Have you?" says Mrs. 
Veal; "then fetch them"; which she did from above stairs, and offered 
them to Mrs. Veal to read, who refused, and waived the thing, saying, 
"holding down her head would make it ache"; and then desiring Mrs. 
Bargrave to read them to her, which she did. As they were admiring 
Friendship, Mrs. Veal said, "Dear Mrs. Bargrave, I shall love you for- 
ever." In these verses there is twice used the word Elysian. "Ah!" says 
Mrs. Veal, "these poets have such names for Heaven." She would often 
draw her hand across her own eyes, and say, "Mrs. Bargrave, do not 
you think I am mightily impaired by my fits?" "No," says Mrs. Bar- 
grave; "I think you look as well as ever I knew you." 

After this discourse, which the apparition put in much finer words 
than Mrs. Bargrave said she could pretend to, and as much more as she 
can remember for it cannot be thought that an hour and three quarters' 
conversation could all be retained, though the main of it she thinks she 
does she said to Mrs. Bargrave she would have her write a letter to 
her brother, and tell him she would have him give rings to such and 
such; and that there was a purse of gold in her cabinet, "and that she 
would have two broad pieces given to her cousin Watson. 

Talking at this rate, Mrs. Bargrave thought that a fit was coming 
upon her, and so placed herself on a chair just before her knees, to keep 
her from falling to the ground, if her fits should occasion it; for the 
elbow-chair, she thought, would keep her from falling on either side. 
And to divert Mrs. Veal, as she thought, took hold of her gown-sleeve 
several times, and commended it. Mrs. Veal told her it was a scoured 
silk, and newly made up. But, for all this, Mrs. Veal persisted in her 
request, and told Mrs. Bargrave she must not deny her. And she would 
have her tell her brother all their conversation when she had the oppor- 
tunity. "Dear Mrs. Veal," says Mrs. Bargrave, "it is much better, me- 
thiftks, 'to do it yourself." "No," says Mrs. Veal, "though it seems im- 
pertinent to you now, you will see more reasons for it hereafter." Mrs. 
Bargrave, then, to satisfy her importunity, was going to fetch a pen and 
ink, but Mrs. Veal said, "Let it alone now, but do it when I am gone; 
but you must be sure to do it"; whkh was one of the last things she 
enjoined her at parting, and so she promised her. 

. Then Mrs. Veal asked for Mrs. Bargrave's daughter. She said she 
was not at home. "But if you have a mind to see her," says Mrs. Bar- 
grave, "I'll send for her." "Do," says Mrs. Veal; on which she left 
her, and went to a neighbor's to see her; and by the time Mrs. Bargrave 



GREAT BRITAIN DEFOE 149 

was returning, Mrs. Veal was without the door in the street, in the face 
of the beast-market, on a Saturday (which is market-day), and stood 
ready to part as soon as Mrs. Bargrave came to her. She asked her why 
she was in such haste. She said she must be going, though perhaps she 
might not go her journey till Monday; and told Mrs. Bargrave she 
hoped she should see her again at her cousin Watson's before she went 
whither she was going. Then she said she would take her leave of her, 
and walked from Mrs. Bargrave, in her view, till a turning interrupted 
the sight of her, which was three-quarters after one in the afternoon. . 

Mrs. Veal died the seventh of September, at twelve o'clock at noon, 
of her fits, and had not above four hours' senses before her death, in 
which time she received the sacrament. The next day after Mrs. Veal's 
appearance, being Sunday, Mrs. Bargrave was mightily indisposed with 
a cold and sore throat, that she could not go out that day; but on Mon- 
day morning she sends a person to Captain Watson's to know if Mrs. 
Veal was there. They wondered at Mrs. Bargrave's inquiry, and sent her 
word she was not there, nor was expected. At this answer, Mrs. Bar- 
grave told the maid she had certainly mistook the name or made some 
blunder. And though she was ill, she put on her hood and went herself 
to Captain Watson's, though she knew none of the family, to see if 
Mrs. Veal was there or not. They said they wondered at her asking, for 
that she had not been in town; they were sure, if she had, she would 
have been tliere. Says Mrs. Bargrave, "I am sure she was with me on 
Saturday almost two hours." They said it was impossible, for they must 
have seen her if she had. In comes Captain Watson, while they were in 
dispute, and said that Mrs. Veal was certainly dead, and the escutcheons 
were making. This strangely surprised Mrs. Bargrave, when she sent 
to the person immediately who had the care of them, and found it true. 
Then she related the whole story to Captain Watson's family; and what 
gown she had on, and how striped; and that Mrs. Veal told her that it 
was scoured. Then Mrs. Watson cried out, "You have seen her indeed, 
for none knew but Mrs. Veal and myself that the gown was scoured." 
And Mrs. Watson owned that she described the gown exactly; "for," 
said she, "I helped her to make it up." This Mrs. Watson blazed all 
about the town, and avouched the demonstration of truth of Mrs. Bar- 
grave's seeing Mrs. Veal's apparition. And Captain Watson carried two 
gentlemen immediately to Mrs. Bargrave's house to hear the relation 
from her own mouth. And when it spread so fast that gentlemen and 
persons of quality, the judicious and skeptical part of the world, flocked 
in upon her, it at last became such a task that she was forced to go out 
of the way; for they were in general extremely satisfied of the truth 
of the thing, and plainly saw that Mrs. Bargrave was no hypochondriac, 
for she always appears with such a cheerful air and pleasing mien that 
she has gained the favor and esteem of all the gentry, and it is thought 



GREAT SHORT STORIES OF THE WORLD 

a great favor if they can but get the relation from her own mouth. I 
should have told you before that Mrs. Veal told Mrs. Bargrave that her 
sister and brother-in-law were just come down from London to see her. 
Says Mrs. Bargrave, "How came you to order matters so strangely?" 
"It could not be helped," said Mrs. Veal. And her brother and sister did 
come to see her, and entered the town of Dover just as Mrs. Veal was 
expiring. Mrs. Bargrave asked her whether she would drink some tea. 
Says Mrs. Veal, "I do not care if I do; but I'll warrant you this mad 
fellow" meaning Mrs. Bargrave's husband "has broke all your trin- 
kets." "But," says Mrs. Bargrave, "I'll get something to drink in for 
all that"; but Mrs. Veal waived it, and said, "It is no maner; let it 
alone," and so it passed. 

All the time I sat with Mrs. Bargrave, which was some hours, she 
recollected fresh sayings of Mrs. Veal. And one material thing more she 
told Mrs. Bargrave, that old Mr. Bretton allowed Mrs. Veal ten pounds 
a year, which was a secret, and unknown to Mrs. Bargrave till Mrs. 
Veal told her. 

Mrs. Bargrave never varies in her story, which puzzles those who 
doubt of the truth, or are unwilling to believe it. A servant in the 
neighbor's yard adjoining to Mrs. Bargrave's house heard her talking to 
somebody an hour of the time Mrs. Veal was with her. Mrs. Bargrave 
went out to her next neighbor's the very moment she parted with Mrs. 
Veal, and told her what ravishing conversation she had had with an old 
friend, and told the whole of it. Drelincourt's Book of Death is, since 
this happened, bought up strangely. And it is to be observed that, not- 
withstanding all the trouble and fatigue Mrs. Bargrave has undergone 
upon this account, she never took the value of a farthing, nor suffered 
her daughter to take anything of anybody, and therefore can have no 
interest in telling the story. 

But Mr. Veal does what he can to stifle the matter, and said he would 
see Mrs. Bargrave; but yet it is certain matter of fact that he has been 
at Captain Watson's since the death of his sister, and yet never went 
near Mrs. Bargrave; and some of his friends report her to be a liar, and 
that she knew of Mr. Bretton's ten pounds a year. But the person who 
pretends to say so has the reputation to be a notorious liar among per- 
sons whom I know to be of undoubted credit. Now, Mr. Veal is more 
of a gentleman than to say she lies, but says a bad husband has crazed 
her; but she needs only present herself, and it will effectually confute 
that pretense. Mr. Veal says he asked his sister on her death-bed whether 
she had a mind to dispose of anything. And she said no. Now the things 
which Mrs. Veal's apparition would have disposed of were so trifling, 
and nothing of justice aimed at in her disposal, that the design of it , 
appears to me to be only in order to make Mrs. Bargrave satisfy the 
world of the reality thereof as to what she had seen and heard, and to 



GREAT BRITAIN DEFOE 151 

secure her reputation among the reasonable and understanding part of 
mankind. \nd then again, Mr. Veal owns that there was a purse of 
gold; but it was not found in her cabinet, but in a comb-box. This looks 
improbable; for that Mrs. Watson owned that Mrs. Veal was so very 
careful of the key of her cabinet that she would trust nobody with it; 
and if so, no doubt she would not trust her gold out of it. And Mrs. 
Veal's often drawing her hands over her eyes, and asking Mrs. Bargrave 
whether her fits had not impaired her, looks to me as if she did it on 
purpose to remind Mrs. Bargrave of her fits, to prepare her not to 
think it strange that she should put her upon writing to her brother, to 
dispose of rings and gold, which looks so much like a dying person's be- 
quest; and it took accordingly with Mrs. Bargrave as the effect of her 
fits coming upon her, and was one of the many instances of her won- 
derful love to her and care of her, that she should not be affrighted, 
which, indeed, appears in her whole management, particularly in her 
coming to her in the daytime, waiving the salutation, and when she was 
alone; and then the manner of her parting, to prevent a second attempt 
to salute her. 

Now, why Mr. Veal should think this relation a reflection as it is 
plain he does, by his endeavoring to stifle it I cannot imagine; because 
the generality believe her to be a good spirit, her discourse was so heav- 
enly. Her tvjjo great errands were, to comfort Mrs. Bargrave in her 
affliction, and to ask her forgiveness for her breach of friendship, and 
with a pious discourse to encourage her. So that, after all, to suppose 
that Mrs. Bargrave could hatch such an invention as this, from Friday 
noon to Saturday noon supposing that she knew of Mrs. Veal's death 
the very first moment without jumbling circumstances, and without 
any interest, too, she must be more witty, fortunate, and wicked, too, 
than any indifferent person, I dare say, will allow. I asked Mrs. Bar- 
grave several times if she was sure she felt the gown. She answered, 
modestly, "If my senses be to be relied on, I am sure of it." I asked her 
if she heard a sound when she clapped her hand upon her knee. She 
said she did not remember she did, but said she appeared to be as much 
a substance as I did who talked with her. "And I may," said she, "be 
as soon persuaded that your apparition is talking to me now as that I did 
not really see her; for I was under no manner of fear, and received 
her as a friend, and parted with her as such. I would not," says she, 
"give one farthing to make any one believe it; I have no interest in it; 
nothing but trouble is entailed upon me for a long time, for aught I 
know; and, had it not come to light by accident, it would never have 
been made public." But now she says she will make her own private use 
of it, and keep herself out of the way as much as she can; and so she 
has done since. She says she had a gentleman who came thirty miles to 
her to hear the relation; and that she had told it to a roomful of people 



x 5* GREAT SHORT STORIES OF THE WORLD 

at the time. Several particular gentlemen have had the story from Mrs. 
Bargrave's own mouth. 

This thing has very much affected me, and I am as well satisfied as 
I am of the best-grounded matter of fact. And why we should dispute 
matter of fact, because we cannot solve things of which we can have 
no certain or demonstrative notions, seems strange to me; Mrs. Bar- 
grave's authority and sincerity alone would have been undoubted in any 
other case. 



JOSEPH ADDISON 

(1672-1719) 

BORN in Wiltshire in 1672, of a respected and cultured family, 
Joseph Addison went to Oxford, and began his literary life by 
writing Latin verses. In 1 699 he travelled on the Continent by way 
of preparation for a political career. But on the death of the King 
in 1703 his hopes of advancement were shattered. The next year, 
however, he celebrated Marlborough's victory at Blenheirg in his 
poem The Campaign, which attracted considerable notice. In 1709 
he collaborated with his friend Richard Steele in the recently 
founded periodical, The Tatter, and later in the better-known 
Spectator, contributing essays and sketches and several charmingly 
written tales which are among the most finished and neatly turned 
stories in the language. 



THE STORY OF AN HEIR 
(From The Spectator) 

k S I was yesterday taking the air with my friend Sir Roger, we were 
met by a fresh-colored ruddy young man who rid by us full speed, 
with a couple of servants behind him. Upon my inquiry who he was, 
Sir Roger told me that he was a young gentleman of a considerable 
estate, who had been educated by a tender mother that lived not many 
miles from the place where we were. She is a very good lady, says my 
friend, but took so much care of her son's health that she has made him 
good for nothing. She quickly found that reading was bad for his eyes, 
and that writing made his head ache. He was let loose among the woods 



GREAT BRITAIN ADDISON 153 

as soon as he was able to ride on horseback, or to carry a gun upon his 
shoulder. To be brief, I found, by my friend's account of him, that he 
had got a great stock of health, but nothing else; and that if it were a 
man's business only to live, there would not be a more accomplished 
young fellow in the whole country. 

The truth of it is, since my residing in these parts I have seen and 
heard innumerable instances of young heirs and elder brothers who either 
from their own reflecting upon the estates they are born to, and there- 
fore thinking all other accomplishments unnecessary, or from hearing 
these notions frequently inculcated to them by the flattery of their serv- 
ants and domestics, or from the same foolish thought prevailing in those 
who have the care of their education, are of no manner of use but to 
keep up their families, and transmit their lands and houses in a line to 
posterity. 

This makes me often think on a story I have heard of two friends, 
which I shall give my reader at large, under feigned names. The moral 
of it may, I hope, be useful, though there are some circumstances which 
make it rather appear like a novel, than a true story. 

Eudoxus and Leontine began the world with small estates. They were 
both of thfem men of good sense and great virtue. They prosecuted their 
studies together in their earlier years, and entered into such a friendship 
as lasted to,the end of their lives. Eudoxus, at his first setting out in the 
world, threw himself into a court, where by his natural endowments 
and his acquired abilities he made his way from one post to another, till 
at length he had raised a very considerable fortune. Leontine on the 
contrary sought all opportunities of improving his mind by study, con- 
versation and travel. He was not only acquainted with all the sciences, 
but with the most eminent professors of them throughout Europe. He 
knew perfectly well the interests of its princes, with the customs and 
fashions of their courts, and could scarce meet with the name of an 
extraordinary person in the Gazette whom he had not either talked to 
or seen. In short, he had so well mixed and digested his knowledge of 
men and books, that he made one of the most accomplished persons of 
his age. During the whole course of his studies and travels he kept up 
a punctual correspondence with Eudoxus, who often made himself ac- 
ceptable to the principal men about court by the intelligence which he 
received from Leontine. When they were both turned of forty (an age 
in which, according to Mr. Cowley, there is no dallying with life) they 
determined, pursuant to the resolution they had taken in the beginning 
of their lives, to retire, and pass the remainder of their days in the 
country. In order to this, they both of them married much about the 
same time. Leontine, with his own and his wife's fortune, bought a farm 
of three hundred a year, which lay within the neighborhood of his friend 
Eudoxus, who had purchased an estate of as many thousands. They were 



154 GREAT SHORT STORIES OF THE WORLD 

both of them fathers about the same time, Eudoxus having a son born 
to him, and Leontine a daughter; but to the unspeakable grief of the 
latter, his young wife (in whom all his happiness was wrapped up) died 
in a few days after the birth of her daughter. His affliction would have 
been insupportable, had not he been comforted by the daily visits and 
conversations of his friend. As they were one day talking together with 
their usual intimacy, Leontine, considering how incapable he was of 
giving his daughter a proper education in his own house, and Eudoxus, 
reflecting on the ordinary behavior of a son who knows himself to be 
the heir of a great estate, they both agreed upon an exchange of chil- 
dren, namely that the boy should be bred up with Leontine as his son, 
and that the girl should live with Eudoxus as his daughter, till they were 
each of them arrived at years of discretion. The wife of Eudoxus, know- 
ing that her son could not be so advantageously brought up as under the 
care of Leontine, and considering at the same time that he would be 
perpetually under her own eye, was by degrees prevailed upon to fall in 
with the project. She therefore took Leonilla, for that wai . r ~ name of 
the girl, and educated her as her own daughter. The two friends on 
each side had wrought themselves to such an habitual tenderness for the 
children who were under their direction, that each of them had the real 
passion of a father, where the title was but imaginary. Florio, the name 
of the young heir that lived with Leontine, though he hadall the duty 
and affection imaginable for his supposed parent, was taught to rejoice 
at the sight of Eudoxus, who visited his friend very frequently, and was 
dictated by his natural affection, as well as by the rules of prudence, to 
make himself esteemed and beloved by Florio. The boy was now old 
enough to know his supposed father's circumstances, and that therefore 
he was to make his way in the world by his own industry. This con- 
sideration grew stronger in him every day, ^nd produced so good an 
effect, that he applied himself with more than ordinary attention to the 
pursuit of everything which Leontine recommended to him. His natural 
abilities, which were very good, assisted by the directions of so excellent 
a counselor, enabled him to make a quicker progress than ordinary 
through all the parts of his education. Before he was twenty years of 
age, having finished his studies and exercises with great applause, he was 
removed from the university to the Inns of Court, where there are very 
few that make themselves considerable proficients in the studies of the 
place, who know they shall arrive at great estates without them. This 
was not Florio's case; he found that three hundred a year was but a 
poor estate for Leontine and himself to live upon, so that he studied 
without intermission till he gained a very good insight into the consti- 
tution and laws of his country. 

I should have told my reader, that whilst Florio lived at the house 
of his foster-father he was always an acceptable guest in the family of 



GREAT BRITAIN ADDISON 155 

Eudoxus, where he became acquainted with Leonilla from her infancy. 
His acquaintance with her by degrees grew into love, which in a mind . 
trained up in all the sentiments of honor and virtue became a very un- 
easy passion. He despaired of gaining an heiress of so great a fortune, 
and would rather have died than attempted it by any indirect methods. 
Leonilla, who was a woman of the greatest beauty joined with the 
greatest modesty, entertained at the same time a secret passion for Florio, 
but conducted herself with so much prudence that she never gave him 
the least intimation of it. Florio was now engaged in all those arts and 
improvements that are proper to raise a man's private fortune, and give 
him a figure in his country, but secretly tormented with that passion 
which burns with the greatest fury in a virtuous and noble heart, when 
he received a sudden summons from Leontine to repair to him in the 
country the next day. For it seems Eudoxus was so filled with the report 
of his son's reputation that he could no longer withhold making himself 
known to him. The morning after his arrival at the house of his sup- 
posed father, Leontine told him that Eudoxus had something of great 
importance to communicate to him; upon which the good man embraced 
him and wept. Florio was no sooner arrived at the great house that stood 
in his neighborhood, but Eudoxus took him by the hand, after the first 
salutes were over, and conducted him into his closet. He there opened 
to him the jvhole secret of his parentage and education, concluding after 
this manner: I have no other way left of acknowledging my gratitude 
to Leontine y than by marrying you to his daughter. He shall not lose the 
pleasure of being your father by the discovery I have made to you. 
Leonilla too shall be still my daughter; her filial fiety, though mis- 
placed, has been so exemplary that it deserves the greatest reward I can 
confer upon it. You shall have the pleasure of seeing a great estate fall 
to you, which you would have lost the relish of had you known your- 
self born to it. Continue only to deserve it in the same manner you did 
before you were possessed of it. I have left your mother in the next 
room. Her heart yearns towards you. She is making the same discoveries 
to Leonilla which I have made to yourself. Florio was so overwhelmed 
with this profusion of happiness, that he was not able to make a reply, 
but threw himself down at his father's feet, and amidst a flood of tears, 
kissed and embraced his knees, asking his blessing, and expressing in 
dumb show those Sentiments of love, duty, and gratitude that were too 
big for utterance. To conclude, the happy pair were married, and half 
Eudoxus* estate settled upon them. Leontine and Eudoxus passed the re- 
mainder of their lives together; and received in the dutiful and affec- 
tionate behavior of Florio and Leonilla the just recompense, as well as 
the natural effects, of that care which they had bestowed upon them in 
their . education. 



15* GREAT SHORT STORIES OF THE WORLD 

OLIVER GOLDSMITH 

(1728-1774) 



GOLDSMITH'S family were Irish people of English descent. Oliver 
Goldsmith was born in County Longford, Ireland. He went to 
Trinity College, Dublin, and after his graduation in 1749, began 
the study of medicine at Edinburgh. After a short period in Scot- 
land he left for the Continent, where he wandered from country 
to country. After his return to London in 1756 his early essays and 
verses attracted the attention of Dr. Johnson, and he became a 
member of the illustrious group that gathered round that literary 
monarch. The years between 1759 and 1773 were the most produc- 
tive of his entire career. The Vicar of Wakefield, which is a land- 
mark in the development of prose fiction, appeared in 1766. Like 
Addison and Steele and other of the periodical essayists, Goldsmith 
wrote several short stories of high merit. The Disabled Soldier was 
first printed in the Citizen of the World, in 1760. 



THE DISABLED SOLDIER 
(From the Citizen of the World} 

"O observation is more common, and at the same time more true, 
than that one half of the world are ignorant how the other half 
lives. The misfortunes of the great are held up to engage our attention; 
are enlarged upon in tones of declamation; and the world is called upon 
to gaze at the noble sufferers: the great, under the pressure of calamity, 
are conscious of several others sympathizing with their distress; and 
have, at once, the comfort of admiration and pity. . 

There is nothing magnanimous in bearing misfortunes with fortitude, 
when the whole world is looking on: men in such circumstances will act 
bravely even from motives of vanity: but he who, in the vale of ob- 
scurity, can brave adversity; who without friends to encourage, acquaint- 
ances to pity, or even without hope to alleviate his misfortunes, can be- 
have with tranquillity and indifference, is truly great: whether peasant 
or courtier, he deserves admiration, and should be held up for our imi- 
tation and respect 



GREAT BRITAINGOLDSMITH 157 

While the slightest inconveniences of the great are magnified into 
calamities; while tragedy mouths out their sufferings in all the strains 
of eloquence, the miseries of the poor are entirely disregarded; and yet 
some of the lower ranks of people undergo more real hardships in one 
day, than those of a more exalted station suffer in their whole lives. It 
is inconceivable what difficulties the meanest of our common sailors and 
soldiers endure without murmuring or regret; without passionately de- 
claiming against providence, or calling their fellows to be gazers on 
their intrepidity. Every day is to them a day of misery, and yet they 
entertain their hard fate without repining. 

With what indignation do I hear an Ovid, a Cicero, or a Rabutin 
complain of their misfortunes and hardships, whose greatest calamity 
was that of being unable to visit a certain spot of earth, to which they 
had foolishly attached an idea of happiness. Their distresses were pleas- 
ures, compared to what many of the adventuring poor every day endure 
without murmuring. They ate, drank, and slept; they had slaves to at- 
tend them, and were sure of subsistence for life; while many of their 
fellow creatures are obliged to wander without a friend to comfort or 
assist them, and even without shelter from the severity of the season. 

I have "been led into these reflections from accidentally meeting, some 
days ago, a poor fellow, whom I knew when a boy, dressed in a sailor's 
jacket, an<i begging at one of the outlets of the town, with a wooden 
leg. I knew him to have been honest and industrious when in the coun- 
try, and was curious to learn what had reduced him to his present situa- 
tion. Wherefore, after giving him what I thought proper, I desired to 
know the history of his life and misfortunes, and the manner in which 
he was reduced to his present distress. The disabled soldier, for such he 
was, though dressed in a sailor's habit, scratching his head, and leaning 
on his crutch, put himself into an attitude to comply with my request, 
and gave me his history as follows: 

"As for my misfortunes, master, I can't pretend to have gone through 
any more than other folks; for, except the loss of my limb, and my 
being obliged to beg, I don't know any reason, thank Heaven, that I 
have to complain. There is Bill Tibbs, of our regiment, he has lost both 
his legs, and an eye to boot; but, thank Heaven, it is not so bad with 
me yet. 

"I was born in Shropshire; my father was a laborer, and died when 
I was five years old, so I was put upon the parish. As he had been a 
wandering sort of a man, the parishioners were not able to tell to what 
parish I belonged, or where I was born, so they sent me to another parish, 
and that parish sent me to a third. I thought in my heart, they kept 
sending me about so long, that they would not let me be born in any 
parish at all; -but at last, however, they fixed me. I had some disposition 
to be a scholar, and was resolved at least to know my letters: but the 



X5& GREAT SHORT STORIES OF THE WORLD 

master of the workhouse put me to business as soon as I was able to 
handle a mallet; and here I lived an easy kind of life for five years. 
I only wrought ten hours in the day, and had my meat and drink pro- 
vided for my labor. It is true, I was not suffered to stir out of the house, 
for fear, as they said, I should run away; but what of that? I had the 
liberty of the whole house, and the yard before the door, and that was 
enough for me. I was then bound out to a farmer, where I was up both 
early and late; but I ate and drank well; and liked my business well 
enough, till he died, when I was obliged to provide for myself; so I 
resolved to go seek my fortune. 

"In this manner I went from town to town, worked when I could 
get employment, and starved when I could get none; when, happening 
one day to go through a field belonging to a justice of peace, I spied a 
hare crossing the path just before me; and I believe the devil put it into 
my head to fling my stick at it. Well, what will you have on't? I killed 
the hare, and was bringing it away, when the justice himself met me; 
he called me a poacher and a villain, and collaring me, desired I would 
give an account of myself. I fell upon my knees, begged his worship's 
pardon, and began to give a full account of all that I knew of my breed, 
seed, and generation; but though I gave a very true account, the justice 
said I could give no account; so I was indicted at the sessions, found 
guilty of being poor, and sent up to London to Newgate, in jrder to be 
transported as a vagabond. 

"People may say this and that of being in jail, but, for my part, I 
found Newgate as agreeable a place as ever I was in in all my life. I 
had my belly full to eat and drink, and did no work at all. This kind 
of life was too good to last forever; so I was taken out of prison, after 
five months, put on board of ship, and sent off, with two hundred more, 
to the plantations. We had but an indifferent passage, for being all con- 
fined in the hold, more than a hundred of our people died for want of 
sweet air; and those that remained were sickly enough, God knows. 
When we came ashore we were sold to the planters, and I was bound 
for seven years more. As I was no scholar, for I did not know my let- 
ters, I was obliged to work among the negroes; and I served out my 
time, as in duty bound to do. 

"When my time was expired, I worked my passage home, and glad 
I was to see old England again, because I loved my country. I was 
afraid, however, that I should be indicted for a vagabond once more, so 
did not much care to go down into the country, but kept about the town, 
and did little jobs when I could get them. 

"I was very happy in this manner for some time till one evening, 
coming home from work, two men knocked me down, and then desired 
tne to stand. They belonged to a press-gang. I was carried before the 
Justice, and as I could give no account of myself, I had my choice left, 



GREAT BRITAIN GOLDSMITH 159 

whether to go on board a man-of-war, or list for a soldier. I chose the 
latter, and in this post of a gentleman, I served two campaigns in 
Flanders, was at the battles of Val and Fontenoy, and received but one 
wtfund through the breast here; but the doctor of our regiment sootf 
made me well again. 

"When the peace came on I was discharged; and as I could not work, 
because my wound was sometimes troublesome, I listed for a landman 
in the East India Company's service. I have fought the French in six 
pitched battles; and I verily believe that if I could read or write, our 
captain would have made me a corporal. But it was not my good for- 
tune to have any promotion, for I soon fell sick, and so got leave to 
return home again with forty pounds in my pocket. This was at the 
beginning of the present war, and I hoped to be set on shore, and to 
have the pleasure of spending my money; but the Government wanted 
men, and so I was pressed for a sailor, before ever I could set a foot 
on shore. 

"The boatswain found me, as he said, an obstinate fellow: he swore 
he knew that I understood my business well, but that I shammed Abra- 
ham, to be idle; but God knows, I knew nothing of sea-business, and 
he beat me without considering what he was about. I had still, however, 
my forty pounds, and that was some comfort to me under every beating; 
and the money I might have had to this day, but that our ship was taken 
by the French, and so I lost all. 

"Our crew was carried into Brest, and many of them died, because 
they were not used to live in a jail; but, for my part, it was nothing 
to me, for I was seasoned. One night, as I was asleep on the bed of 
boards, with a warm blanket about me, for I always loved to lie well, 
I was awakened by the boatswain, who had a dark lantern in his hand. 
'Jack/ says he to me, 'will you knock out the French sentry's brains?' 
*I don't care/ says I, striving to keep myself awake, 'if I lend a hand.' 
'Then, follow me/ says he, 'and I hope we shall do business/ So up I 
got, and tied my blanket, which was all the clothes I had, about my 
middle, and went with him to fight the Frenchman. I hate the French, 
because they are all slaves, and wear wooden shoes. 

"Though we had no arms, one Englishman is able to beat five French 
at any time; so we went down to the door where both the sentries were 
posted, and rushing upon them, seized their arms in a moment, and 
knocked them down. From thence nine of us ran together to the quay, 
and seizing the first boat we met, got out of the harbor and put to sea. 
We had not been here three days before we were taken up by the Dorset 
privateer, who were glad of so many good hands ^ and we consented to 
run our chance. However, we had not as much luck as we expected. In 
three day* we fell in with the Pompadour privateer of forty guns, while 
we had but twenty-three, so to it we went, yard-arm and yard-arm. The 



x6o GREAT SHORT STORIES OF THE WORLD 

fight lasted three hours, and I verily believe we should have taken the 
Frenchman, had we but had some more men left behind; but unfortu- 
nately we lost all our men just as we were going to get the victory. . 

"I was once more in the power of the French, and I believe it would 
have gone hard with me had I been brought back to Brest; but by good 
fortune we were retaken by the Vifer. I had almost forgotten to tell 
you that in that engagement I was wounded in two places: I lost four 
fingers off'the left hand, and my leg was shot off. If I had had the good 
fortune to have lost my leg and use of my hand on board a king's ship, 
and not aboard a privateer, I should have been entitled to clothing and 
maintenance during the rest of my life; but that was not my chance: 
one man is born with a silver spoon in his mouth, and another with a 
wooden ladle. However, blessed be God, I enjoy good health, and will 
forever love liberty and old England. Liberty, property, and old Eng- 
land, forever, huzza!" 

Thus saying, he limped off, leaving me in admiration at his intrepidity 
and content; nor could I avoid acknowledging that an habitual acquaint- 
ance with misery serves better than philosophy to teach us to despise it. 



SIR WALTER SCOTT 


(I77I-I832) 

WALTER SCOTT, founder of the romantic historical novel, was bora 
at Edinburgh in 1771, He entered his father's law office, but be- 
fore long gave up law for literature. His first works were bal- 
lads and long narrative poems. In 1814 he published the novel 
Waverley, which established his position as a writer. At the very 
height of his brilliant career he found himself morally obliged 
to pay off an enormous debt, and spent the rest of his life trying 
to do so. Scott wrote several short stories. The Bridal of Janet 
Dalrymfle, not so well known as the far longer Wandering Willie's 
Tale from Red gauntlet, is a well-written and (for Scott) surpris- 
ingly short and closely-woven narrative. 

The present edition is reprinted from the volume, Scottish Love 
Tales, London, no date. 



THE BRIDAL OF JANET DALRYMPLE 

-1SS JANET DALRYMPLE, daughter of the first Lord Stair, 
L and Dame Margaret Ross, had engaged herself without the 
knowledge of her parents to the Lord Rutherford, who was not ac- 
ceptable to them either on account of his political principles, or, his want 



GREAT BRITAIN SCOTT . 161 

of fortune. The young couple broke a piece of gold together, and pledged 
their troth in the most solemn manner; and it is said the young lady 
imprecated dreadful evils on herself should she break her plighted faith. 
Shcfrtly after, a suitor who was favored by Lord Stair, and still more 
so by his lady, paid his addresses to Miss Dalrymple. The young lady 
refused the proposal, and being pressed on the subject, confessed her 
secret engagement. Lady Stair, a woman accustomed to universal sub- 
mission (for even her husband did not dare to contradict her), treated 
this objection as a trifle, and insisted upon her daughter yielding her con- 
sent to marry the new suitor, David Dunbar, son and heir to David 
Dunbar of Baldoon, in Wigtonshire. The first lover, a man of very high 
spirit, then interfered by letter, and insisted on the right he had acquired 
by his troth plighted with the young lady. Lady Stair sent him for an- 
swer, that her daughter, sensible of her undutiful behavior in entering 
into a Contract unsanctioned by her parents, had retracted her unlawful 
vow, and now refused to fulfil her engagement with him. 

The lover in return declined positively to receive such an answer 
from anyone but his mistress in person; and as she had to deal with a 
man who was both of a most determined character, and of too high 
condition to be trifled with, Lady Stair was obliged to consent to an 
interview between Lord Rutherford and her daughter. But she took care 
to be presenj in person, and argued the point with the disappointed and 
incensed lover with pertinacity equal to his own. She particularly insisted 
on the Levitical law, which declares, that a woman shall be free of a 
vow which her parents dissent from. This is the passage of Scripture 
she founded on: 

"If a man vow a vow unto the Lord, or swear an oath to bind his 
soul with a bond; he shall not break his word, he shall do according to 
all that proceedeth out of his mouth. 

"If a woman also vow a vow unto the Lord, and bind herself by a 
bond, being in her father's house in her youth; 

"And her father hear her vow, and her bond wherewith she hath 
bound her soul, and her father shall hold his peace at her: then all her 
vows shall stand, and every bond wherewith she hath bound her soul 
shall stand. } 

"But if her father disallow her in the day that he heareth; not any 
of her vows, or of her bonds wherewith she hath bound her soul, shall 
stand: and the Lord shall forgive her, because her father disallowed 
her." Numbers xxx. 2, 3, 4, 5. 

While the mother insisted on these topics, the lover in vain conjured 
the daughter to declare her own opinion and feelings. She remained 
totally overwhelmed, as it seemed mute, pale, and motionless as a 
statue. Only at her mother's command, sternly uttered, she summoned 
strength enough to restore to her plighted suitor the piece of broken 



162 GREAT SHORT STORIES OF THE WORLD 

gold, which was the emblem of her troth. On this he burst forth into a 
tremendous passion, took leave of the mother with maledictions, and as 
he left the apartment, turned back to say to his weak, if not fickle, mis- 
tress, "For you, madam, you will be a world's wonder"; a phrase by 
which some remarkable degree of calamity is usually implied. He went 
abroad, and returned not again. If the last Lord Rutherford was the 
unfortunate party, he must have been the third who bore that title, and 
who died in 1685. 

The marriage betwixt Janet Dalrymple and David Dunbar of Bal- 
doon now went forward, the bride showing no repugnance, but being 
absolutely passive in everything her mother commanded or advised. On 
the day of the marriage, which, as was then usual, was celebrated by 
a great assemblage of friends and relations, she was the same sad, 
silent, and resigned, as it seemed, to her destiny. A lady, very nearly 
connected with the family, told the author that she had conversed on 
the subject with one of the brothers of the bride, a mere lad at the time, 
who had ridden before his sister to church. He said her hand, which lay 
on his as she held her arm round his waist, was as cold and damp as 
marble. But, full of his new dress, and the part he acted in the pro- 
cession, the circumstance, which he long afterwards remembered with 
bitter sorrow and compunction, made no impression on him at the time. 

The bridal feast was followed by dancing; the bride ar^d bridegroom 
retired as usual, when of a sudden the most wild and piercing cries were 
heard from the nuptial chamber. It was then the custom, to prevent any 
coarse pleasantry which old times perhaps admitted, that the key of the 
nuptial chamber should be intrusted to the brideman. He was called 
upon, but refused at first to give it up, till the shrieks became so hideous 
that he was compelled to hasten with others to learn the cause. On 
opening the door, they found the bridegroom lying across the threshold, 
dreadfully wounded, and streaming with blood. The bride was then 
sought for. She was found in the corner of the large chimney, having 
no covering save her shift, and that dabbled in gore. There she sat grin- 
ning at them, mopping and mowing, as I heard the expression used; in 
a word, absolutely insane. The only words she spoke were, "Tak up 
your bonny bridegroom." She survived this horrible scene little more 
than a fortnight, having been married on the 24th of August, and dying 
on the 1 2th of September, 1669. 

The unfortunate Baldoon recovered from his wounds, but sternly 
prohibited all inquiries respecting the manner in which he had received 
them. If a lady, he said, asked him any question upon the subject, he 
would neither answer her nor speak to her again while he lived; if a 
gentleman, he would consider it as a mortal affront, and demand satis- 
faction as having received such. He did not very long survive the dread- 
ful catastrophe, having met with a fatal injury by a fall from his horse, 



GREAT BRITAIN SCOTT 163 

as he rode between Leith and Holyrood House, of which he died the 
next day, 28th March, 1682. Thus a few years removed all the prin- 
cipal actors in this frightful tragedy. 

Various reports went abroad on this mysterious affair, many of them 
very inaccurate, though they could hardly be said to be exaggerated. It 
was difficult at that time to become acquainted with the history of a 
Scottish family above the lower rank; and strange things sometimes took 
place there, into which even the law did not scrupulously inquire. 

The credulous Mr. Law says, generally, that the Lord President Stair 
had a daughter, who "being married, the night she was bride in [that 
is, bedded bride], was taken from her bridegroom and harled [dragged] 
through the house (by spirits, we are given to understand), and soon 
afterwards died. Another daughter," he says, was "possessed by an evil 
spirit." 

My friend, Mr. Sharpe, gives another edition of the tale. According 
to his information, it was the bridegroom who wounded the bride. The 
marriage, according to this account, had been against her mother's in- 
clination, who had given her consent in these ominous words: "You 
may marry him, but soon shall you repent it." 

I find still another account darkly insinuated in some highly scur- 
rilous and abusive verses. They are docketed as being written "Upon 
the late Vissount Stair and his family, by Sir William Hamilton of 
Whitelaw. The marginals by William Dunlop, writer in Edinburgh, a 
son of the Laird of Househill, and nephew to the said Sir William 
Hamilton." There was a bitter and personal quarrel and rivalry betwixt 
the author of this libel, a name which it richly deserves, and Lord Presi- 
dent Stair; and the lampoon, which is written with much more malice 
than art, bears the following motto: 

"Stair's neck, mind, wife, sons, grandson, and the rest, 
Are wry, false, witch, pests, parricide, possessed." 

This malignant satirist, who calls up all the misfortunes of the fam- 
ily, does not forget the fatal bridal of Baldoon. He seems, though his 
verses are as obscure as unpoetical, to intimate, that the violence done 
to the bridegroom was by the intervention of the foul fiend to whom 
the young lady had resigned herself, in case she should break her con- 
tract with her first lover. His hypothesis is inconsistent with the account 
given in the note upon Law's Memorials, but easily reconcilable to the 
family tradition, 

"In al Stair's offspring we no difference know, 
They doe the females as the males bestow; 
So he of s daughter's marriage gave the ward, 
a true vassal, to Glenluce's Laird; 



164 GREAT SHORT STORIES OP THE WORLD 

He knew what she did to her suitor plight. 

If she her faith to Rutherfurd should slight, 

Which, like his own, for greed he broke outright* 

Nick did Baldoon 's posterior right deride, 

And, as first substitute, did seize the bride; 

Whatever he to his mistress did or said, 

He threw the bridegroom from the nuptial bed, 

Into the chimney did so his rival maul, 

His bruised bones ne'er were cured but by the fall." 

One of the marginal notes ascribed to William Dunlop applies to 
the above lines. "She had betrothed herself to Lord Rutherfoord under 
horrid imprecations, and afterwards married Baldoon, his nevoy, and 
her mother was the cause of her breach of faith." 

The same tragedy is alluded to in the following couplet and note: 

"What train of curses that base brood pursues, 
When the young nephew wed's old uncle's spouse." 

The note on the word uncle explains it as meaning "Rutherfoord, 
who should have married the Lady Baldoon, was Baldoon's uncle." The 
poetry of this satire on Lord Stair and his family was, as already noticed, 
written by Sir William Hamilton of Whitelaw, a rival of Lord Stair 
for the situation of President of the Court of Session; a person much 
inferior to that great lawyer in talents, and equally ill-treated by the 
calumny or just satire of his contemporaries, as an unjust and partial 
judge. Some of the notes are by that curious and laborious antiquary, 
Robert Milne, who, as a virulent Jacobite, willingly lent a hand to 
blacken the family of Stair. 

Another poet of the period, with a very different purpose, has left an 
elegy, in which he darkly hints at and bemoans the fate of the ill-starred 
young person, whose very uncommon calamity Whitelaw, Dunlop, and 
Milne thought a fitting subject for buffoonery and ribaldry. This bard 
of milder mood was Andrew Symson, before the Revolution minister 
of Kirkinner, in Galloway, and after his expulsion as an Episcopalian, 
following the humble occupation of a printer in Edinburgh. He fur- 
nished the family of Baldoon, with which he appears to have been in- 
timate, with an elegy on the tragic event in their family. In this piece 
he treats the mournful occasion of the bride's death with mysterious 
solemnity. 

. The verses bear this title "On the unexpected death of the virtuous 
Lady Mrs. Janet Dalrymple, Lady Baldoon, younger/' and afford us 
the precise dates of the catastrophe, which could not otherwise have been 
easily ascertained. "Nupta August 12. Domum Ducta August 24. Obiit 
September 12. Sepult. September 30, 1669." The form of the elegy is 



GREAT BRITAIN SCOTT 165 

a dialogue betwixt a passenger and a domestic servant. The first, recol- 
lecting that he had passed that way lately, and seen all around enlivened 
by the appearances of mirth and festivity, is desirous to know what had 
changed so gay a scene into mourning. We preserve the reply of the 
servant as a specimen of Mr. Symson's verses, which are not of the first 
quality: 

Sir, 'tis truth you've told, 
We did enjoy great mirth; but now, ah me! 
Our joyful song's turned to an elegie. 
A virtuous lady, not long since a bride, 
Was to a hopeful plant by marriage tied, 
And brought home hither. We did all rejoice, 
Even for her sake. But presently our voice 
Was turn'd to mourning for that little time 
That she'd enjoy: She waned in her prime, 
For Atropos, with her impartial knife, 
Soon cut her thread, and therewithal her life; 
And for the time we may it well remember, 
It being in unfortunate September; 
Where we must leave her till the resurrection, 
'Tis then the' Saints enjoy their full perfection/' 



SAMUEL LOVER 

(i797?-i868) 

SAMUEL LOVER was born in Dublin of an English Protestant fam- 
ily. He studied painting at an early age, and though he continued 
to practise that art, he soon discovered his talent for writing. Many 
of his most delightful sketches of Irish life appeared in various 
Dublin periodicals in the early thirties. In 1832 he published his 
Legends and Stories of Ireland, in which The White Trout is 
found. The best known of his novels is Handy Andy. 

The White Trout is reprinted from Yeats' Irish Fairy and Folk 
Tales; New York, no date. 



THE WHITE TROUT 

was wanst upon a time, long ago, a beautiful lady that lived 
JL in a castle upon the lake beyant, and they say she was promised to 
a king's son, and they wor to be married, when all of a sudden he was 
murthered, the crathur (Lord help us), and threwn into the lake above, 



166 GREAT SHORT STORIES OF THE WORLD 

and so, of course, he couldn't keep his promise to the fairy lady and 
more's the pity. 

Well, the story goes that she went out iv her mind, bekase av loosin' 
the king's son for she was tendher-hearted, God help her, like the rest 
iv us! and pined away after him, until at last, no one about seen her, 
good or bad; and the story wint that the fairies took her away. 

Well, sir, in coorse o' time, the White Throut, God bless it, was seen 
in the sthrame beyant, and sure the people didn't know what to think av 
the crathur, seein' as how a white throut was never heard av afor, nor 
since; and years upon years the throut was there, just where you seen it 
this blessed minit, longer nor I can tell aye throth, and beyant the 
memory o' th' ouldest in the village. 

At last the people began to think it must be a fairy; for what else 
could it be? and no hurt nor harm was iver put an the white throut, 
until some wicked sinners of sojers kem to these parts, and laughed at 
all the people, and gibed and jeered them for thinkin' o' the likes; and 
one o' them in partic'lar (bad luck to him; God forgi' me for saying 
it!) swore he'd catch the throut and ate it for his dinner the black- 
guard! 

Well, what would you think o' the villainy of the sojer? Sure enough 
he cotch the throut, and away wid him home, and puts an the fryin'- 
pan, and into it he pitches the purty little thing. The thjymt squeeled 
all as one as a Christian crathur, and, my dear, you'd think the sojer 
id split his sides laughin' for he was a harden'd villain; and when he 
thought one side was done, he turns it over to fry the other; and, what 
would you think, but the divil a taste of a burn was an it at all at all; 
and sure the sojer thought it was a quare throut that could not be briled. 
"But," says he, "I'll give it another turn by and by," little thinkin' 
what was in store for him, the haythen. 

Well, when he thought that side was done he turns it agin, and lo 
and behold you, the divil a taste more done that side was nor the other. 
"Bad luck to me," says the sojer, "but that bates the world," says he; 
"but I'll thry you agin, my darlint," says he, "as cunnin' as you think 
yourself"; and so with that he turns it over and over, but not a sign of 
the fire was on the purty throut. "Well," says the desperate villain 
(for sure, sir, only he was a desperate villain entirely y he might know 
he was doing a wrong thing, seein' that all his endeavors was no good) 
"Well," says he, "my jolly little throut, maybe you're fried enough, 
though you don't seem over well dress'd; but you may be better than 
you look, like a singed cat, and a tit-bit afther all," says he; and with 
that he ups with his knife and fork to taste a piece o* the throut; but, 
my jew 9 !, the minit he puts his knife into the fish, there was a murtherin* 
screech, that you'd think the life id lave you if you hurd it, and away 
jumps die throut out av the fryin'-pan into the middle o' the flure; and 



GREAT BRITAIN LOVER 167 

an the spot where it fell, up riz a lovely lady the beau ti fullest crathur 
that eyes ever seen, dressed in white, and a band o' goold in her hair, and 
a sthrame o* blood runnin' down her arm. 

<r Look where you cut me, you villain," says she, and she held out her 
arm to him and, my dear, he thought the sight id lave his eyes. 

"Couldn't you lave me cool and comfortable in the river where you 
snared me, and not disturb me in my duty?" says she. 

Well, he thrimbled like a dog in a wet sack, and at last he stammered 
but something and begged for his life, and ax'd her ladyship's pardin, 
and said he didn't know she was on duty, or he was too good a sojer not 
to know betther nor to meddle wid her. 

"I was on duty, then," says the lady; "I was watchin* for my true 
love that is comin' by wather to me," says she, "an* if he comes while 
I'm away, an* that I miss iv him, I'll turn you into a pinkeen, and I'll 
hunt you up and down for evermore, while grass grows or wather runs." 

Well, the sojer thought the life id lave him, at the thoughts iv his 
bein' turned into a pinkeen, and begged for mercy; and with that says 
the lady: 

"Renounce your evil coorses," says she, "you villain, or you'll 'repint 
it too late? be a good man for the futhur, and go to your duty reg'lar, 
and now," says she, "take me back and put me into the river again, 
where you Sound me." 

"Oh, my lady," says the sojer, "how could I have the heart to drownd 
a beautiful lady like you?" 

But before he could say another word, the lady was vanished, and 
there he saw the little throut an the ground. Well, he put it in a clean 
plate, and away he runs for the bare life, for fear her lover would 
come while she was away; and he run, and he run, even till he came to 
the cave agin, and threw the throut into the river. The minit he did, 
the wather was as red as blood for a little while, by rayson av the cut, 
I suppose, until the sthrame washed the stain away; and to this day 
there's a little red mark an the throut's side, where it was cut. 

Well, sir, from that day out the sojer was an altered man, and re- 
formed his ways, and went to his duty reg'lar, and fasted three times 
a week though it was never fish he tuk an fastin' days, for afther the 
fright he got, fish id never rest an his stomach savin' your presence. 

But anyhow, he was an altered man, as I said before, and in coorse 
o' time he left the army, and turned hermit at last; and they say he 
used to fray evermore for the soul of the White Throut. 



168 GREAT SHORT STORIES OF THE WORLD 

CHARLES DICKENS 

(1812-1870) 

THE son of a government clerk, Charles Dickens was born at 
Portsea in 1812. His family moved to London shortly after his 
birth. The early London life of the Dickens family was utilized 
in several of the son's novels, especially in David Cofferfield. 
His first great success was with the Pickwick Pafers, which ap- 
peared serially in 1836. Then followed the novels which have 
become celebrated and are read the world over. Dickens was an 
indefatigable writer, editor an$, later in life, a public reader. He 
wrote a number of short stories, of which The Old Man's Tale 
of the Queer Client is probably the most skilfully constructed and 
best written. It is related by one of the characters in the Pick- 
wick Papers. 



THE OLD MAN'S TALE OF THE QUEER CLIENT 

Ct 

(From the Pickwick Papers) 

"TTT matters little," said the old man, "where, or how, I picked up 
JL this brief history. If I were to relate it in the order in which it 
reached me, I should commence in the middle, and when I had arrived 
at the conclusion, go back for a beginning. It is enough for me to say 
that some of its circumstances passed before my own eyes. For the 
remainder I know them to have happened, and there are some persons 
yet living who will remember them but too well. 

"In the Borough High Street, near St. George's Church, and on the 
same side of the way, stands, as most people know, the smallest of our 
debtors' prisons, the Marshalsea. Although in later times it has been a 
very different place from the sink of filth and dirt it once was, even its 
improved condition holds out but little temptation to the extravagant, 
or consolation to the provident. The condemned felon has as good a yard 
for air and exercise in Newgate, as the insolvent debtor in the Marshal- 
sea Prison. 

"It may be my fancy, or it may be that I cannot separate the place 
from the old recollections associated with it, but this part of London I 
cannot bean The street is broad, the shops are spacious, the noise of pass- 
ing vehicles, the footsteps of a perpetual stream of people all the busy 



GREAT BRITAIN DICKENS 169 

sounds of traffic, resound in it from morn to midnight, but the streets 
around are mean and close; poverty and debauchery lie festering in the 
crowded alleys; want and misfortune are pent up in the narrow prison; 
an air of gloom and dreariness seems, in my eyes at least, to hang about 
the scene, and to impart to it a squalid and sickly hue. 

"Many eyes, that have long since been closed in the grave, have looked 
round upon that scene lightly enough, when entering the gate of the 
old Marshalsea Prison for the first time: for despair seldom comes with 
the first severe shock of misfortune. A man has confidence in untried 
friends, he remembers the many offers of service so freely made by his 
boon companions when he wanted them not; he has hope the hope of 
happy inexperience and however he may bend beneath the first shock, 
it springs up in his bosom, and flourishes there for a brief space, until it 
droops beneath the blight of disappointment and neglect. How soon have 
those same eyes, deeply sunken in the head, glared from faces wasted 
with famine, and sallow from confinement, in days when it was no 
figure of speech to say that debtors rotted in prison, with no hope of 
release, and no prospect of liberty! The atrocity in its full extent no 
longer exists, but there is enough of it left to give rise to occurrences 
that make'the heart bleed. 

"Twenty years ago, that pavement was worn with the footsteps of a 
mother and phild, who, day by day, so surely as the morning came, pre- 
sented themselves at the prison gate; often, after a night of restless 
misery and anxious thoughts, were they there, a full hour too soon, and 
then the young mother turning meekly away, would lead the child to 
the old bridge, and raising him in her arms to show him the glistening 
water, tinted with the light of the morning's sun, and stirring with all 
the bustling preparations for business and pleasure that the river pre- 
sented at that early hour, endeavor to interest his thoughts in the objects 
before him. But she would quickly set him down, and, hiding her face 
in her shawl, give vent to the tears that blinded her; for no expression 
of interest or amusement lighted up his thin and sickly face. His recol- 
lections were few enough, but they were all of one kind: all connected 
with the poverty and misery of his parents. Hour after hour had he sat 
on his mother's knee, and with childish sympathy watched the tears that 
stole down her face, and then crept quietly away into some dark corner, 
and sobbed himself to sleep. The hard realities of the world, with many 
of its worst privations hunger and thirst, and cold and want had all 
come home to him, from the first dawnings of reason; and though the 
form of childhood was there, its light heart, its merry laugh, and 
sparkling eyes, were wanting. 

"The father and mother looked on upon this, and upon each other, 
with thoughts of agony they dared not breathe in words. The healthy, 
strong-made man, who could have borne almost any fatigue of active 



i?o GREAT SHORT STORIES OF THE WORLD 

exertion, was wasting beneath the close confinement and unhealthy at- 
mosphere of a crowded prison. The slight and delicate woman was sink- 
ing beneath the combined effects of bodily and mental illness. The 
child's young heart was breaking. 

"Winter came, and with it weeks of cold and heavy rain. The poor 
girl had removed to a wretched apartment close to the spot of her hus- 
band's imprisonment; and though the change had been rendered neces- 
sary by their increasing poverty, she was happier now, for she was nearer 
him. For two months, she and her little companion watched the opening 
of the gate as usual. One day she failed to come, for the first time. 
Another morning arrived, and she came alone. The child was dead. 

"They little know, who coldly talk of the poor man's bereavements, 
as a happy release from pain to the departed, and a merciful relief from 
expense to the survivor they little know, I say, what the agony of those 
bereavements is. A silent look of affection and regard when all other 
eyes are turned coldly away the consciousness that we possess the sym- 
pathy and affection of one being when all others have deserted us is 
a hold, a stay, a comfort, in the deepest affliction, which no wealth could 
purchase, or power bestow. The child had sat at his parents' feet for 
hours together, with his little hands patiently folded in each other, and 
his thin wan face raised towards them. They had seen him pine away, 
from day to day; and though his brief existence had been a joyless one, 
and he was now removed to that peace and rest which, child as he was, 
he had never known in this world, they were his parents, and his loss 
sunk deep into their souls. 

"It was plain to those who looked upon the mother's altered face, that 
death must soon close the scene of her adversity and trial. Her husband's 
fellow-prisoners shrank from obtruding on his grief and misery, and 
left to himself alone the small room he had previously occupied in 
common with two companions. She shared it with him: and lingering 
on without pain, but without hope, her life ebbed slowly away. 

"She had fainted one evening in her husband's arms, and he had borne 
her to the open window, to revive her with the air, when the light of 
the moon falling full upon her face showed him a change upon her 
features, which made him stagger beneath her weight, like a helpless 
infant. 

" *Set me down, George,' she said faintly. He did so, and seating him- 
self beside her, covered his face with his hands, and burst into tears. 

" *It is very hard to leave you, George,' she said, 'but it is God's will, 
and you must bear it for my sake. Oh! how I thank Him for having 
taken our boy! He is happy, and in Heaven now. What would he have 
done here without his mother!' 

" 'You shall not die, Mary, you shall not die!' said the husband, start- 
ing up. He paced hurriedly to and fro, striking his head with his clenched 



GREAT BRITAIN DICKENS 171 

fists; then reseating himself beside her, and supporting her in his arms, 
added more calmly, 'Rouse yourself, my dear girl. Pray, pray do* You 
will revive yet/ 

<M Never again, George; never again,' said the dying woman. 'Let 
them lay me by my poor boy now, but promise me that if ever you leave 
this dreadful place, and should grow rich, you will have us removed to 
some quiet country churchyard, a long, long way off very far from 
here, where we can rest in peace. Dear George, promise me you will.' 

" 'I do, I do, 1 said the man throwing himself passionately on his knees 
before her. 'Speak to me, Mary, another word; one look but one!' 

"He ceased to speak: for the arm that clasped his neck grew stiff and 
heavy. A deep sigh escaped from the wasted form before him; the lips 
moved, and a smile played upon the face; but the lips were pallid, and 
the smile faded into a rigid and ghastly stare. He was alone in the 
world. 

"That night, in the silence and desolation of his miserable room, the 
wretched man knelt down by the dead body of his wife, and called on 
God to witness a terrible oath, that from that hour he devoted himself 
to revenge her death and that of his child; that thenceforth to the last 
moment pf his life, his whole energies should be directed to this one 
object; that his revenge should be protracted and terrible; that his hatred 
should be undying and inextinguishable; and should hunt its object 
through the world. 

"The deepest despair, and passion scarcely human, had made such 
fierce ravages on his face and form, in that one night, that his com- 
panions in misfortune shrunk affrighted from him as he passed by. His 
eyes were bloodshot and heavy, his face a deadly white, and his body bent 
as if with age. He had bitten his under lip nearly through in the violence 
of his mental suffering, and the blood which had flowed from the wound 
had trickled down his chin, and stained his shirt and neckerchief. No 
tear or sound of complaint escaped him: but the unsettled look, and dis- 
ordered haste with which he paced up and down the yard, denoted the 
fever which was burning within. 

"It was necessary that his wife's body should be removed from the 
prison, without delay. He received the communication .with perfect calm- 
ness, and acquiesced in its propriety. Nearly all the inmates of the prison 
had assembled to witness its removal; they fell back on either side when 
the widower appeared; he walked hurriedly forward, and stationed him- 
self, alone, in a little railed area close to the lodge gate, from whence 
the crowd, with an instinctive feeling of delicacy, had retired. The rude 
coffin was borne slowly forward on men's shoulders. A dead silence per- 
vaded the throng, broken only by the audible lamentations of the women, 
and the shuffling steps of the bearers on the stone pavement. They reached 
the spot where the bereaved husband stood: and stopped. He laid his 



172 GREAT SHORT STORIES OF THE WORLD 

hand upon the coffin, and mechanically adjusting the pall with which 
it was covered, motioned them onward. The turnkeys in the prison lobby 
took off their hats as it passed through, and in another moment the heavy 
gate closed behind it. He looked vacantly upon the crowd, and fell 
heavily to the ground. 

"Although for many weeks after this he was watched, night and 
day, in the wildest ravings of fever, neither the consciousness of his 
loss, nor the recollection of the vow he had made, ever left him for a 
moment. Scenes changed before his eyes, place succeeded place, and event 
followed event, in all the hurry of delirium; but they were all connected 
in some way with the great object of his mind. He was sailing over a 
boundless expanse of sea, with a blood-red sky above, and the angry 
waters, lashed into fury beneath, boiling and eddying up on every side. 
There was another vessel before them, toiling and laboring in the howl- 
ing storm: her canvas fluttering in ribbons from the mast, and her deck 
thronged with figures who were lashed to the sides, over which huge 
waves every instant burst, sweeping away some devoted creatures into the 
foaming sea. Onward they bore, amidst the roaring mass of water, with 
a speed and force which nothing could resist; and striking the stern of 
the foremost vessel, crushed her beneath their keel. From the huge 
whirlpool which the sinking wreck occasioned, arose a shriek so loud 
and shrill the death-cry of a hundred drowning creatures, blended into 
one fierce yell that it rung far above the war-cry of the e'fements, and 
echoed and reechoed till it seemed to pierce air, sky, and ocean. But 
what was that that old gray head that rose above the water's surface, 
and with looks of agony, and screams for aid, buffeted with the waves! 
One look, and he had sprung from the vessel's side, and with vigorous 
strokes was swimming towards it. He reached it; he was close upon it. 
They were his features. The old man saw him coming, and vainly strove 
to elude his grasp. But he clasped him tight, and dragged him beneath 
the water. Down, down with him, fifty fathoms down; his struggles 
grew fainter and fainter, until they wholly ceased. He was dead; he 
had killed him, and had kept his oath. 

"He was traversing the scorching sands of a mighty desert, barefooted 
and alone. The sajid choked and blinded him; its fine thin grains entered 
the very pores of his skin, and irritated him almost to madness. Gigantic 
masses of the same material, carried forward by the wind, and shone 
through by the burning sun, stalked in the distance like pillars of living 
fire. The bones of men, who had perished in the dreary waste, lay scat- 
tered at his feet; a fearful light fell on everything around; so far as 
the eye could reach, nothing but objects of dread and horror presented 
themselves. Vainly striving to utter a cry of terror, with his tongue 
cleaving to his mouth, he rushed madly forward. Armed with super- 
natural strength, he waded through die sand, until exhausted with 



GREAT BRITAIN DICKENS 173 

fatigue and thirst, he fell senseless on the earth. What fragrant coolness 
revived him; what gushing sound was that? Water! It was indeed a 
well; and the clear fresh stream was running at his feet. He drank 
deeply of it, and throwing his aching limbs upon the bank, sank into a 
delicious trance. The sound of approaching footsteps aroused him. An 
old gray-headed man tottered forward to slake his burning thirst. It was 
he again! He wound his arms round the old man's body, and held him 
back. He struggled, and shrieked for water, for but one drop of water 
to save his life! But he held the old man firmly, and watched his agonies 
with greedy eyes; and when his lifeless head fell forward on his bosom, 
he rolled the corpse from him with his feet. 

"When the fever left him, and consciousness returned, he awoke to 
find himself rich and free: to hear that the parent who would have let 
him die in jail would! who had let those who were far dearer to him 
than his own existence die of want and sickness of heart that medicine 
cannot cure had been found dead on his bed of down. He had had all 
the heart to leave his son a beggar, but proud even of his health and 
strength, had put off the act till it was too late, and now might gnash 
his teeth in the other world, at the thought of the wealth his remissness 
had left him. He awoke to this, and he awoke to more. To recollect the 
purpose for which he lived, and to remember that his enemy was his 
wife's own father the man who had cast him into prison, and who, 
when his daughter and her child sued at his feet for mercy, had spurned 
them from his door. Oh, how he cursed the weakness that prevented him 
from being up, and active, in his scheme of vengeance! 

"He caused himself to be carried from the scene of his loss and misery, 
and conveyed to a quiet residence on the sea coast, not in the hope of 
recovering his peace of mind or happiness, for both were fled forever; 
but to restore his prostrate energies, and meditate on his darling object. 
And here, some evil spirit cast in his way the opportunity for his first, 
most horrible revenge. 

"It was summer-time; and wrapped in his gloomy thoughts, he would 
issue from his solitary lodgings early in the evening, and wandering 
along a narrow path beneath the cliffs, to a wild and lonely spot that 
had struck his fancy in his ramblings, seat himself on some fallen frag- 
ment of the rock, and burying his face in his hands, remain there for 
hours sometimes until night had completely closed in, and the long 
shadows of the frowning cliffs above his head cast a thick black dark- 
ness on every object near him. 

"He was seated here, one calm evening, in his old position, now and 
then raising his head to watch the flight of a sea-gull, or carry his eye 
along the glorious crimson path, which, commencing in the middle of 
the ocean, seemed to lead to its very verge where the sun was setting, 
when the profound stillness of the spot was broken by a loud cry for 



174 GREAT SHORT STORIES OF THE WORLD 

help; he listened, doubtful of his having heard aright, when the Cry 
wds repeated with even greater vehemence than before, and starting to 
his feet, he hastened in the direction whence it proceeded. 

"The tale told itself at once; some scattered garments lay on < the 
beach; a human head was just visible above the waves at a little distance 
from the shore; and an old man, wringing his hands in agony, was run- 
ning to and fro, shrieking for assistance. The invalid, whose strength 
was now sufficiently restored, threw off his coat, and rushed towards the 
sea, with the intention of plunging in, and dragging the drowning man 
ashore. 

"'Hasten here, sir, in God's name; help, help, sir, for the love of 
Heaven. He is my son, sir, my only son!' said the old man, frantically, 
as he advanced to meet him. 'My only son, sir, and he is dying before 
his father's eyes!' 

"At the first word the old man uttered, the stranger checked himself 
in his career, and, folding his arms, stood perfectly motionless. 
" 'Great God!' exclaimed the old man, recoiling. 'Heyling!' 
"The stranger smiled, and was silent. 

"'Heyling!' said the old man, wildly: 'My boy, Heyling, my dear 
boy, look, look!' Gasping for breath, the miserable father pointed to the 
spot where the young man was struggling for life. 

"'Hark!' said the old man. 'He cries once more. He is alive yet. 
Heyling, save him, save him!' * 

"The stranger smiled again, and remained immovable as a statue. 
" 'I have wronged you,' shrieked the old man, falling on his knees, 
and clasping his hands together. 'Be revenged; take my all, my life; cast 
me into the water at your feet, and, if human nature can repress a 
struggle, I will die, without stirring hand or foot. Do it, Heyling, do 
it, but save my boy; he is so young, Heyling, so young to die!' 

" 'Listen,' said the stranger, grasping the old man fiercely by the 
wrist: *I will have life for life, and here is ONE. My child died, before 
his father's eyes, a far more agonizing and painful death than that young 
slanderer of his sister's worth is meeting while I speak. You laughed 
laughed in your daughter's face, where death had already set his hand 
at our sufferings, then. What do you think of them now? See there, see 
there!' 

"As the stranger spoke, he pointed to the sea. A faint cry died away 
upon its surface; the last powerful struggle of the dying man agitated 
the rippling waves for a few seconds: and the spot where he had gone 
down into his early grave was indistinguishable from the surrounding 
water. 

"Three year's had elapsed, when a gentleman alighted from a private 
carriage at the door of a London attorney, then well known as a man 



GREAT BRITAIN DICKENS 175 

of no great nicety in his professional dealings; and requested a private 
interview on business of importance. Although evidently not past the 
prime of life, his face was pale, haggard, and dejected; and it did not 
require the acute perception of the man of business, to discern at a 
glance that disease or suffering had done more to work a change in his 
appearance than the mere hand of time could have accomplished in twice 
the period of his whole life. 

" 'I wish you to undertake some legal business for me,' said the 
stranger. 

"The attorney bowed obsequiously, and glanced at a larger packet 
which the gentleman carried in his hand. His visitor observed the look, 
and proceeded: 

" 'It is no common business,' said he, c nor have these papers reached 
my hands without long trouble and great expense/ 

"The attorney cast a still more anxious look at the packet: and his 
visitor, untying the string that bound it, disclosed a quantity of promis- 
sory notes, with copies of deeds, and other documents. 

" 'Upon these papers,' said the client, 'the man whose name they bear, 
has raised, as you will see, large sums of money, for some years past. 
There was a tacit understanding between him and the men into whose 
hands they originally went and from whom I have by degrees pur- 
chased the 'yhole, for treble and quadruple their nominal value that 
these loans should be from time to time renewed, until a given period 
had elapsed. Such an understanding is nowhere expressed. He has sus- 
tained many losses of late; and these obligations accumulating upon him 
at once would crush him to the earth.' 

" 'The whole amount is many thousands of pounds,' said the attorney, 
looking over the papers. 

" c lt is,' said the client. 

"'What are we to do?' inquired the man of business. 

"'Do!* replied the client, with sudden vehemence. 'Put every engine 
of the law in force, every trick that ingenuity can devise and rascality 
execute; fair means and foul; the open oppression of the law, aided by 
all the craft of its most ingenious practitioners. I would have him die 
a harassing and lingering death. Ruin him, seize and sell his lands and 
goods, drive him from house and home, and drag him forth a beggar 
in his old age, to die in a common jail.' > 

* " 'But the costs, my dear sir, the costs of all this,' reasoned the at- 
torney, when he had recovered from his momentary surprise. 'If the 
defendant be a man of straw, who is to pay the costs, sir?' 

" 'Name any sum,' said the stranger, his hand trembling so violently 
with excitement that he could scarcely hold the pen he seized as he 
spoke; 'any sum, and it is yours. Don't be afraid to name it, man. I 
shall not think it dear, if you gain my object.' 



176 GREAT SHORT STORIES OP THE WORLD 

"The attorney named a large sum, at hazard, as the advance he should 
require to secure himself against the 'possibility of loss; but more with 
the view of ascertaining how far his client was really disposed to c go, 
than with any idea that he would comply with the demand. The stranger 
wrote a check upon his banker, for the whole amount, and left him. 

"The draft was duly honored, and the attorney, finding that his 
strange client might be safely relied upon, commenced his work in 
earnest. For more than two years afterwards, Mr. Heyling would sit 
whole days together, in the office, poring over the papers as they accumu- 
lated, and reading again and again, his eyes gleaming with joy, the let- 
ters of remonstrance, the prayers for a little delay, the representations 
of the certain ruin in which the opposite party must be involved, which 
poured in, as suit after suit, and process after process, was commenced. 
To all applications for a brief indulgence, there was but one reply 
the money must be paid. Land, house, furniture, each in its turn, was 
taken under some one of the numerous executions which were issued; 
and the old man himself would have been immured in prison had he not 
escaped the vigilance of the officers, and fled. 

"The implacable animosity of Heyling, so far from being satiated by 
the success of his persecution, increased a hundred-fold with the ruin he 
inflicted. On being informed of the old man's flight, his fury was un- 
bounded. He gnashed his teeth with rage; tore the hair from Hs head, and 
assailed with horrid imprecations the men who had been entrusted with 
the writ. He was only restored to comparative calmness by repeated as- 
surances of the certainty of discovering the fugitive. Agents were sent 
in quest of him, in all directions; every stratagem that could be invented 
was resorted to, for the purpose of discovering his place of retreat; but 
it was all in vain. Half a year had passed over, and he was still undis- 
covered. 

"At length, late one night, Heyling, of whom nothing had been seen 
for many weeks before, appeared at his attorney's private residence, and 
sent up word that a gentleman wished to see him instantly. Before the 
attorney, who had recognized his voice from above stairs, could order the 
servant to admit him, he had rushed up the staircase, and entered the 
drawing-room, pale and breathless. Having closed the door, to prevent 
being overheard, he sank into a chair, and said, in a low voice: 

" 'Hush! I have found him at last.' 

" 'No!* said the attorney. 'Well done, my dear sir; well done.' 

u< He lies concealed in a wretched lodging in Camden Town,' said 
Heyling. 'Perhaps it is as well we did lose sight of him, for he has been 
living alone there, in the most abject misery, all the time, and he is poor 
very poor.' 

" 'Very good,' said th$ attorney. 'You will have the capture made to- 
morrow, of course?' 



GREAT BRITAIN DICKENS 177 

"<Yes,' replied Heyling. 'Stay! no! The next day. You are surprised 
at my wishing to postpone it/ he added, with a ghastly smile; 'but I had 
forgotten. The next day is an anniversary in his life: let it be done then/ 

"'Very good/ said the attorney. Will you write down instructions 
for the officer?' 

" 'No; let him meet me here, at eight in the evening, and I will ac- 
company him myself.' 

"They met on the appointed night, and, hiring a hackney coach, 
directed the driver to stop at that corner of the old Pancras Road, at 
which stands the parish workhouse. By the time they alighted there, it 
was quite dark; and, proceeding by the dead wall in front of the Veteri- 
nary Hospital, they entered a small by-street, which is, or was at that 
time, called Little College Street, and which, whatever it may be now, 
was in those days a desolate place enough, surrounded by little else than 
fields and ditches. 

"Having drawn the traveling cap he had on half over his face, and 
muffled himself in his cloak, Heyling stopped before the meanest-looking 
house in the street, and knocked gently at the door. It was at once opened 
by a woman, who dropped a curtsey of recognition, and Heyling, whis- 
pering the i officer to remain below, crept gently upstairs, and, opening 
the door of the front room, entered at once. 

"The object of his search and his unrelenting animosity, now a decrepit 
i old man, was seated at a bare deal table, on which* stood a miserable 
candle.^He started on the entrance of the stranger, and rose feebly to his 
feet. ** 

" c What now, what now?' said the old man. What fresh misery is 
this? What do you want here?' 

" 'A word with you? replied Heyling. As he spoke, he seated himself 
at the other end of the table, and, throwing off his cloak and cap, dis- 
closed his features. 

"The old man seemed instantly deprived of the power of speech. 
He fell backward in his chair, and, clasping his hands together, gazed on 
the apparition with a mingled look of abhorrence and fear. 

" 'This day six years,' said Heyling, C I claimed the life you owed me 
for my child's. Beside the lifeless form of your daughter, old man, 
I swore to live a life of revenge. I have never swerved from my purpose 
for a moment's space; but if I had, one thought of her uncomplaining, 
suffering look, as she drooped away, or of the starving face of our inno- 
cent child, would have nerved me to my task. My first act of requital 
you well remember: this is my last.' 

"The old man shivered, and his hands dropped powerless by his side. 

" C I leave England to-morrow,' said Heyling, after a moment's pause. 
'To-night I consign you -to the living death to which you devoted her 
a hopeless prison ' - , 



178 GREAT SHORT STORIES OF THE WORLD 

"He raised his eyes to the old man's countenance, and paused. He 
lifted the light to his face, set it gently down, and left the apartment. 

" 'You had better see to the old man/ he said to the woman, as he 
opened the door and motioned the officer to follow him into the street. 
'I think he is ill.' The woman closed the door, ran hastily upstairs, and 
found him lifeless. 

"Beneath a plain gravestone, in one of the most peaceful and secluded 
churchyards in Kent, where wild flowers mingle with the grass, and the 
soft landscape around forms the fairest spot in the garden of England, 
lie the bones of the young mother and her gentle child. But the ashes of 
the father do not mingle with theirs; nor, from that night forward, did 
the attorney ever gain the remotest clue to the subsequent history of his 
queer client." 



WILKIE COLLINS 

(1824-1889) 

WILLIAM WILKIE COLLINS was born at London in 1824. Like his 
friend Dickens, he was a voluminous writer of novels and *ales, an 
editor and a dramatist. He was rather more interested in the short 
story form than Dickens, and a more accomplished master of it. A 
Terribly Strange Bed is one of the best known examples of the 
tale that is related for the sake of the thrill. 

The story is reprinted from the volume After Dark, first pub- 
lished in London, 1856. 



- A TERRIBLY STRANGE BED 

OHORTLY after my education at college was finished, I happened to 
O be staying at Paris with an English friend. We were both young 
men then, and lived, I am afraid, rather a wild life, in the delightful 
city of our sojourn. One night we were idling about the neighborhood 
of the Palais Royal, doubtful to what amusement we should next betake 
ourselves. My friend proposed a visit to Frascati's; but his suggestion was 
not to my taste. I knew Frascati's, as the French saying is, by heart; had 
lost and won plenty of five-franc pieces there, merely for amusement's 
sake, until it was amusement no longer, and was thoroughly tired, in 
fact, of all the ghastly respectabilities of such a social anomaly as a re- 
spectable gambling-house. 



GREAT BRITAIN COLLINS 179 

"For Heaven's sake," said I to my friend, "let us go somewhere where 
we can see a little genuine, blackguard, poverty-stricken gaming, with no 
false gingerbread glitter thrown over it at all. Let us get away from 
fashionable Frascati's, to a house where they don't mind letting in a man 
with a ragged coat, or a man with no coat, ragged or otherwise." 

''Very well," said my friend, "we needn't go out of the Palais Royal 
to find the sort of company you want. Here's the place just before 
us; as blackguard a place, by all report, as you could possibly wish to 



see." 



In another minute we arrived at the door, and entered the house." 
When we got upstairs, and had left our hats and sticks with the door- 
keeper, we were admitted into the chief gambling-room. We did not 
find many people assembled there. But, few as the men were who looked 
up at us on our entrance, they were all types lamentably true types 
of their respective classes. 

We had come to see blackguards; but ttese men were something worse. 
There is a comic side, more or less appreciable, in all blackguardism: here 
there was nothing but tragedy mute, weird tragedy. The quiet in the 
room was horrible. The thin, haggard, long-haired young man, whose 
sunken eyes fiercely watched the turning up of the cards, never spoke; 
the flabby, fat-faced, pimply player, who pricked his piece of pasteboard 
perse veringly, to register how often black won, and how often red, never 
spoke; the dirty, wrinkled old man, with the vulture eyes and the darned 
great-coat, who had lost his last sou, and still looked on desperately after 
he could play no longer, never spoke. Even the voice of the croupier 
sounded as if it were strangely dulled and thickened in the atmosphere of 
the room. I had entered the place to laugh, but the spectacle before me 
was something to weep over. I soon found it necessary to take refuge in 
excitement from the depression of spirits which was fast stealing on me. 
Unfortunately I sought the nearest excitement, by going to the table 
and beginning to play. Still more unfortunately, as the event will show, 
I won won prodigiously; won incredibly; won at such a rate that the 
regular players at the table crowded round me; and staring at my stakes 
with hungry, superstitious eyes, whispered to one another that the Eng- 
lish stranger was going to break the bank. 

1 The game was Rouge et Noir. I had played at it in every city in 
Europe, without, however, the care or the wish to study the Theory 
of Chances that philosopher's stone of all gamblers! And a gambler, 
in the strict sense of the word, I had never been. I was heart-whole 
from the corroding passion for play. My gaming was a mere idle amuse- 
ment. I never resorted to it by necessity, because I never knew what it 
was to want money. I never practised it so incessantly as to lose more 
than I could afford, or to gain more than I could coolly pocket without 
being thrown off my balance by my good luck. In short, I had hitherto 



i8o GREAT SHORT STORIES OP THE WORLD 

frequented gambling-tables just as I frequented ball-rooms and opera- 
houses because they amused me, and because I had nothing better to 
do with my leisure hours. 

But on this occasion it was very different now, for the first time 
in my life, I felt what the passion for play really was. My successes 
first bewildered, and then, in the most literal meaning of the word, in- 
toxicated me. Incredible as it may appear, it is nevertheless true, that I 
only lost when I attempted to estimate chances, and played according 
to previous calculation. If I left everything to luck, and staked without 
any "care or consideration, I was sure to win to win in the face of every 
recognized probability in favor of the bank. At first some of the men 
present ventured their money safely enough on my color; but I speedily 
increased my stakes to sums which they dared not risk. One after another 
they left off playing, and breathlessly looked on at my game. 

Still, time after time, I staked higher and higher, and still won. The 
excitement in the room rose t fever pitch. The silence was interrupted 
by a deep-muttered chorus of oaths and exclamation's in different 
languages, every time the gold was shoveled across to my side of the table 
3 even the imperturbable croupier dashed his rake on the floor in a 
(French) fury of astonishment at my success. But one man present pre- 
served his self-possession, and that man was my friend. He came to my 
side, and whispering in English, begged me to leave the place, satisfied 
with what I had already gained. I must do him the justice* to say that 
he repeated his warnings and entreaties several times, and only left me 
and went away, after I had rejected his advice (I was to all intents and 
purposes gambling drunk) in terms which rendered it impossible for him 
to address me again that night. 

Shortly after he had gone, a hoarse voice behind me cried, "Permit 
me, my dear sir permit me to restore to their proper place, two napo- 
leons which you have dropped. Wonderful luck, sir! I pledge you my 
.word of honor, as an old soldier, in the course of my long experience 
in this sort of thing, I never saw such luck as yours never! Go on, sir 
^^Sacre mille bombes! Go on boldly, and break the bank!" 

I. turned round and saw, nodding and smiling at me with inveterate 
civility, a tall man, dressed in a frogged and braided surtout. 

If I had been in my senses, I should have considered him, personally, 
as being rather a suspicious specimen of an old soldier. He had goggling, 
bloodshot eyes, mangy mustaches, and a broken nose. His voice betrayed 
a barrack-room intonation of the worst order, and he had the dirtiest pair 
of hands I ever saw even in France. These little personal peculiarities 
^xercised*. however, no repelling influence on me. In the mad excite- 
ment, the reckless triumph of that moment, I was ready to "fraternize" 
with anybody who encouraged me in my game. I accepted the old sol- 
Offered pinch of snuff j clapped him on the back, and swore he 



GREAT BRITAIN COLLINS i$i 

was the honestest fellow in the world the most glorious relic of the 
Grand Army that I had ever met with. "Go on! " % cried my military 
friend, snapping his fingers in ecstasy "Go on, and win! Break the 
bank Mille tonnerres! my gallant English comrade, break the bank!" 
And I did go on went on at such a rate, that in another quarter of 
an hour the croupier called out, "Gentlemen, the bank has discontinued 
for to-night." All the notes, and all the gold in that "bank," now lay 
in a heap under my hands; the whole floating capital of the gambling- 
house was waiting to pour into my pockets! ^ 

"Tie up the money in your pocket-handkerchief, my worthy sir/* 
said the old soldier, as I wildly plunged my hands into my heap of 
gold. "Tie it up, as we used to tie up a bit of dinner in the Grand 
Army; your winnings are too heavy for any breeches-pockets that ever 
were sewed. There! that's it shovel them in, notes and all! Credie! 
what luck! Stop! another napoleon on the floor. Ah! sacre fetit folisson 
de Napoleon! have I found thee at last? Now then, sir two tight double 
knots each way with your honorable permission, and the money's safe. 
Feel it! feel it, fortunate sir! hard and round as a cannon-ball A has 
if they had only fired such cannon-balls at us at Austerlitz nom d*une 
fife! if they only had! And now, as an ancient grenadier, as an ex- 
brave of the French army, what remains for me to do? I ask what? 
Simply this, to entreat my valued English friend to drink a bottle of 
champagnt with me, and toast the goddess Fortune in foaming goblets 
before we part!" 

"Excellent ex-brave! Convivial ancient grenadier! Champagne by all 
means! An English cheer for an old soldier! Hurrah! hurrah! Another 
English cheer for the goddess Fortune! Hurrah! hurrah! hurrah!" 

"Bravo! the Englishman; the amiable, gracious Englishman, in 
whose veins circulates the vivacious blood of France! Another glass ?, 
A has! the bottle is empty! Never mind! Vive le vin! I, the old sol- 
dier, order another bottle, and half a pound of bonbons with it!" 

"No, no, ex-brave; never ancient grenadier! Your bottle last time;' 
my bottle this! Behold it! Toast away! The French Army! the great 
Napoleon! the present company! the croupier! the honest croupier's wife 
and daughters if he has any! the ladies generally! everybody in the 
world!" . 

By the time the second bottle of champagne was emptied, I felt as 
if I had been drinking liquid fire my brain seemed all aflame. No 
excess in wine had ever had this effect on me before in my life. Was 
it the result of a stimulant acting upon my system when I was in a 
highly excited state? Was my stomach in a particularly disordered con- 
dition? Or was the champagne amazingly strong? 

"Ex-brave of the French Army!" cried I, in a mad state of exhilara- 
tion, < 1 am on fire! how are you? You have set me on firel Do you 



X82 GREAT SHORT STORIES OF THE WORLD 

hear, my hero of Austerlitz? Let us have a third bottle of champagne 
to put the flame out!" 

The old soldier' wagged his head, rolled his goggle-eyes, until I ex- 
pected to see them slip out of their sockets; placed his dirty forefingjr 
by the side of his broken nose; solemnly ejaculated "Coffee!" and 
immediately ran off into an inner room. 

The word pronounced by the eccentric veteran seemed to have a 
magical effect on the rest of the company present. With one accord they 
all rose to depart. Probably they had expected to profit by my intoxica- 
tion; but finding that my new friend was benevolently bent on prevent- 
ing me from getting dead drunk, had now abandoned all hope of thriv- 
ing pleasantly on my winnings. Whatever their motive might be, at any 
rate they went away in a body. When the old soldier returned and sat 
down again opposite to me at the table, we had the room to ourselves. 
I could see the croupier, in a sort of vestibule which opened out of it, 
eating his supper in solitude. The silence was now deeper than ever. 

A sudden change, too, had come over the "ex-brave." He assumed a 
portentously solemn look; and when he spoke to me again, his speech 
was ornamented by no oaths, enforced by no finger-snapping, enlivened 
by no apostrophes or exclamations. 

"Listen, my dear sir," said he, in mysteriously confidential tones 
"listen to an old soldier's advice. I have been to the mistress of the 
house (a very charming woman, with a genius for cookery ! ) *io impress 
on her the necessity of making us some particularly strong and good 
coffee. You must drink this coffee in order to get rid of your little 
amiable exaltation of spirits before you think of going home you must, 
my good and gracious friend! With all that money to take home to- 
night, it is a sacred duty to yourself to have your wits about you. You 
are known to be a winner to an enormous extent by several gentlemen 
present to-night, who, in a certain point of view, are very worthy and 
excellent fellows; but they are mortal men, my dear sir, and they have 
their amiable weaknesses! Need I say more? Ah, no, no! you under- 
stand me! Now, this is what you must do send for a cabriolet when 
you feel quite well again draw up all the windows when you get into 
it and tell the driver to take you home only through the large and 
well-lighted thoroughfares. Do this; and you and your money will be 
safe. Do this; and to-morrow you will thank an old soldier for giving 
you a word of honest advice." 

Just as the ex-brave ended his oration in very lachrymose tones, the 
coffee came in, ready poured out in two cups. My attentive friend 
handed me one of the cups with a bow. I was parched with thirst, and 
drank it off at a draft. Almost instantly afterward I was seized with a 
fit of giddiness, and felt more completely intoxicated than ever. The 
room whirled round and round furiously; the old soldier seemed to be 



GREAT BRITAIN COLLINS 183 

regularly bobbing up and down before me like the piston of a steam- 
engine. I was half deafened by a violent singing in my ears; a feeling 
of utter bewilderment, helplessness, idiocy, overcame me. I rose from 
my chair, holding on by the table to keep my balance; and stammered 
out that I felt dreadfully unwell so unwell that I did not know how 
I was to get home. 

"My dear friend," answered the old soldier and even his voice 
seemed to be bobbing up and down as he spoke "my dear friend, it 
would be madness to go home in your state; you would be sure to lose 
your money; you might be robbed and murdered with the greatest ease. 
/ am going to sleep here: do you sleep here, too they make up capital 
beds in this house take one; sleep off the effects of the wine, and go 
home safely with your winnings to-morrow to-morrow, in broad day- 

light." 

I had but two ideas left: one, that I must never let go hold of my 
handkerchief full of money; the other, that I must lie down somewhere 
immediately, and fall off into a comfortable sleep. So I agreed to the 
proposal about the bed, and took the offered arm of the old soldier, 
carrying my money with my disengaged hand. Preceded by the croupier, 
we parsed along some passages and up a flight of stairs into the bed- 
room which I was to occupy. The ex-brave shook me warmly by the 
hand, proposed that we should breakfast together, and then, followed 
by the croupier, left me for the night. 

I ran to the wash-hand stand; drank some of the water in my jug; 
poured the rest out, and plunged my face into it; then sat down in a 
chair and tried to compose myself. I soon felt better. The change for 
my lungs, from the fetid atmosphere of the gambling-house to the cool 
air of the apartment I now occupied, the almost equally refreshing 
change for my eyes, from the glaring gaslights of the "salon" to the 
dim, quiet flicker of one bedroom-candle, aided wonderfully the restora- 
tive effects of cold water. The giddiness left me, and I began to feel 
a little like a reasonable being again. My first thought was of the risk 
of sleeping all night in a gambling-house ; my second, of the still greater 
risk of trying to get out after the house was closed, and of going home 
alone at night through the streets of Paris with a large sum of money 
about me. I had slept in worse places than this on my travels; so I 
determined to lock, bolt, and barricade my door, and take my chance till 
the next morning. 

Accordingly, I secured myself against all intrusion; looked under the 
bed, and into the cupboard; tried the fastening of the window; and 
then, satisfied that I had taken every proper precaution, pulled off my 
upper clothing, put my light, which was a dim one, on the hearth among 
a feathery litter of wood-ashes, and got into bed, with the handkerchief 
full of money under my pillow. 



184 GREAT SHORT STORIES Of THEt WORLD 

I soon felt not only that I could not go to sleep, but that I could not 
even close my eyes. I was wide awake, and in a high fever. Every nerve 
in my body trembled every one of my senses seemed to be preter- 
naturally sharpened. I tossed and rolled, and tried every kind of posi- 
tion and perseveringly sought but the cold corners of the bed, and all 
to no purpose. Now I thrust my arms over the clothes; now I poked 
them under the clothes; now I violently shot my legs straight out down 
to the bottom of the bed; now I convulsively coiled them up as near my 
chin as they would go; now I shook out my crumpled pillow, changed 
it to the cool side, patted it flat, and lay down quietly on my back; now 
I fiercely doubled it in two, set it up on end, thrust it against the board 
of the bed, and tried a sitting posture. Every effort was in vain; I 
groaned with vexation as I felt that I was in for a sleepless night. 

What could I do? I had no book to read. And yet, unless I found 
out some method of diverting my mind, I felt certain that I was in the 
condition to imagine all sorts of horrors; to rack my brain with fore- 
bodings of every possible and impossible danger; in short, to pass the 
night in suffering all conceivable varieties of nervous terror. 

I raised myself on my elbow, and looked about the room which was 
brightened by a lovely moonlight pouring straight through the window 
to see if it contained any pictures or ornaments that I could at all 
clearly distinguish. While my eyes wandered from wall to yrall, a re- 
membrance of Le Maistre's delightful little book, "Voyage autour de 
ma Chambre," occurred to me. I resolved to imitate the French author, 
and find occupation and amusement enough to relieve the tedium of my 
wakefulness, by making a mental inventory of every article of furni- 
ture I could see, and by following up to their sources the multitude of 
associations which even a chair, a table, or a wash-hand stand may be 
made to call forth. 

In the nervous, unsettled state of my mind at that moment, I found 
it much easier to make my inventory than to make my reflections, and 
thereupon soon gave up all hope of thinking in Le Maistre's fanciful 
track or, indeed, of thinking at all. I looked about the room at the 
different articles of furniture, and did nothing more. 

There was, first, the bed I was lying in; a four-post bed, of all 
things in the world to meet with in Paris yes, a thorough clumsy 
British four-poster, with a regular top lined with chintz the regular 
fringed valance all round the regular stifling, unwholesome curtains, 
which I remembered having mechanically drawn back against the posts 
without particularly noticing the bed when I first got into the room. 
Then there was the marble-topped wash-hand stand, from which the 
water I had spilled, in my hurry to pour it out, was still dripping, slowly 
and more slowly, on to the brick floor. Then two small chairs, with my 
coat, waistcoat, and trousers flung on them. Then a large elbow-chair 



GREAT BRITAIN COLLINS igS 

covered with dirty white dimity, with my cravat and shirt collar thrown 
over the back. Then a chest of drawers with two of the brass handles 
off, and a tawdry, broken china inkstand placed on it by way of orna- 
ment for the top. Then the drfessing-table, adorned by a very small 
looking-glass, and a very large pincushion. Then the window an un- 
usually large window. Then a dark old picture, which the feeble candle 
dimly showed me. It was the picture of a fellow in a high Spanish hat, 
crowned with a plume of towering feathers. A swarthy, sinister ruffian, 
looking upward, shading his eyes with his hand, and looking intently 
upward it might be at some tall gallows on which he was going to 
be hanged. At any rate, he had the appearance of thoroughly deserv- 
ing it. 

This picture put a kind of constraint upon me to look upward too- 
at the top of the bed. It was a gloomy and not an interesting object, and 
I looked back at the picture. I counted the feathers in the man's hat 
they stood out in relief three white, two green. I observed the crown 
of his hat, which was of a conical shape, according to the fashion sup- 
posed to have been favored by Guido Fawkes. I wondered what he was 
looking up at. It couldn't be at the stars; such a desperado was neither 
astrologer nor astronomer. It must be at the high gallows, and he was 
going to be hanged presently. Would the executioner come into posses- 
sion of h conical crowned hat and plume of feathers?, I counted the 
feathers again three white, two green. 

While I still lingered over this very improving and intellectual em- 
ployment, my thoughts insensibly began to wander. The moonlight shin- 
ing into the room reminded me of a certain moonlight night in Eng- 
land the night after a picnic party in a Welsh valley. Every incident 
of the drive homeward, through lovely scenery, which the moonlight 
made lovelier than ever, came back to my remembrance, though I had 
never given the picnic a thought for years; though, if I had tried to 
recollect it, I could certainly have recalled little or nothing of that 
scene long past. Of all the wonderful faculties that help to tell us we 
are immortal, which speaks the sublime truth more eloquently than 
memory? Here was I, in a strange house of the most suspicious character, 
in a situation of uncertainty, and even of peril, which might seem to 
make the cool exercise of my recollection almost out of the question} 
nevertheless, remembering, quite involuntarily, places, people, conversa- 
tions, minute circumstances of every kind, which I had thought forgotten 
forever; which I could not possibly have recalled at will, even under 
the most favorable auspices. And what cause had 'produced in a moment 
the whole of this strange, complicated, mysterious effect? Nothing but 
some rays of moonlight shining in at my bedroom window. 

I was still thinking of the picnic of our merriment on the 4nv 
home pf the sentimental young lady who would quote Child* 



186 GREAT SHORT STORIES OF THE WORLD 

because it was moonlight. I was absorbed by these past scenes and past 
amusements, when, in an instant, the thread on which my memories hung 
snapped asunder; my attention immediately came back to present things 
more vividly than ever, and I found myself, I neither knew why nor 
wherefore, looking hard at the picture again. 

Looking for what? 

Good God! the man had pulled his hat down on his brows! No! the 
hat itself was gone! Where was the conical crown? Where the feathers 
three white, two green? Not there! In place of the hat and feathers, 
what dusky object was it that now hid his forehead, his eyes, his shading 
hand? 

Was the bed moving? 

I turned on my back and looked up. Was I mad? drunk? dreaming? 
giddy again? or was the top of the bed really moving down sinking 
slowly, regularly, silently, horribly, right down throughout the whole of 
its length and breadth right down upon me, as I lay underneath? 

My blood seemed to stand still. A deadly, paralyzing coldness stole all 
over me as I turned my head round on the pillow and determined to test 
whether the bed-top was really moving or not, by keeping my eye on the 
man in the picture. 

The next look in that direction was enough. The dull, black, frowsy 
outline of the valance above me was within an inch of beiSg parallel 
with his waist. I still looked breathlessly. And steadily and slowly very 
slowly I saw the figure, and the line of frame below the figure, vanish, 
as the valance moved down before it. 

I am, constitutionally, anything but timid. I have been on more than 
one occasion in peril of my life, and have not lost my self-possession lor 
an instant; but when the conviction first settled on my mind that the 
bed-top was really moving, was steadily and continuously sinking down 
upon me, I looked up shuddering, helpless, panic-stricken, beneath the 
hideous machinery for murder, which was advancing closer and closer 
to suffocate me where I lay. 

I looked up, motionless, speechless, breathless. The candle, fully spent, 
went out; but the moonlight still brightened the room. Down and down, 
without pausing and without sounding, came the bed-top, and still my 
panic terror seemed to bind me faster and faster to the mattress on which 
I lay down and down it sank, till the dusty odor from the lining of 
the canopy came stealing into my nostrils. * 

*At that final momerit the instinct of self-preservation startled me out 
of my trance, and I moved at last. There was just room for me to roll 
myself sidewise off the bed. As I dropped noiselessly to the floor, the edge 
of. the murderous canopy touched me on the shoulder. 

Without stopping to draw my breath, without wiping the cold sweat 



GREAT BRITAIN COLLINS 187 

from my face, I rose instantly on my knees to watch the bed-top. I was 
literally spellbound by it. If I had heard footsteps behind me, I could 
not have turned round; if a means of escape had been miraculously pro- 
vided for me, I could not have moved to take advantage of it. The 
whole life in me was, at that moment, concentrated in my eyes. 

It descended the whole canopy, with the fringe round it, came down 
down close down; so close that there was not room now to squeeze 
my finger between the bed-top and the bed. I felt at the sides, and dis- 
covered that what had appeared to me from beneath to be the ordinary 
light canopy of a four-post bed was in reality a thick, broad mattress, 
the substance of which was concealed by the valance and its fringe. I 
looked up and saw the four posts rising hideously bare. In the middle 
of the bed-top was a huge wooden screw that had evidently worked it 
down through a hole in the ceiling, just as ordinary presses are worked 
down on the substance selected for compression. The frightful apparatus 
moved without making the faintest noise. There had been no creaking 
as it came down; there was now not the faintest sound from the room 
above. Amidst a dead and awful silence I beheld before me in the 
Nineteenth Century, and in the civilized capital of France such a ma- 
chine for secret murder by suffocation as might have existed in the worst 
days of tfce Inquisition, in the lonely inns among the Hartz Mountains, 
in the mysterious tribunals of Westphalia! Still, as I looked on it, I 
could not move, I could hardly breathe, but I began to recover the 
power of thinking, and in a moment I discovered the murderous con- 
spiracy framed against me in all its horror. 

My cup of coffee had been drugged, and drugged too strongly. I had 
been saved from being smothered by having taken an overdose of some 
narcotic. How I had chafed and fretted at the fever fit which had pre- 
served my life by keeping me awake! How recklessly I had confided 
myself to the two wretches who had led me into this room, determined, 
for the sake of my winnings, to kill me in my sleep by the surest and 
most horrible contrivance for secretly accomplishing my destruction! 
How many men, winners like me, had slept, as I had proposed to sleep, 
in that bed, and had never been^seen or heard of more! I shuddered at 
the bare idea of it. 

But ere long all thought was again suspended by the sight of the mur- 
derous canopy moving once more. After it had remained on the bed 
as nearly as I could guess about ten minutes, it began to move up again. 
The villains who worked it from above evidently believed that their 
purpose was now accomplished. Slowly and silently, as it had descended, 
that horrible bed-top rose toward its former place. When it reached the 
upper extremities of the four posts, it reached the ceiling too. Neither 
hole nor screw could be seen; the bed became in appearance an ordinary 



188 GREAT SHORT STORIES OF THE WORLD 

bed again the canopy an ordinary canopy even to the most suspicious 
eyes. 

Now, for the first time, I was able to move to rise from my knees-r 
to dress myself in my upper clothing and to consider of how I should 
escape. If I betrayed by the smallest noise that the attempt to suffocate 
me had failed, I was certain to be murdered. Had I made any noise 
already? I listened intently, looking toward the door. ^ 

No! No footsteps in the passage outside no sound of a tread, light 
or heavy, in the room above absolute silence everywhere. Besides lock- 
ing and bolting my door, I had moved an old wooden chest against it, 
which I had found under the bed. To remove this chest (my blood ran 
cold as I thought of what its contents might be ! ) without making some 
disturbance was impossible; and, moreover, to think of escaping through 
the house, now barred up for the night, was sheer insanity. Only one 
chance was left me the window. I stole to it on tiptoe. 

My bedroom was on the first floor, above an entresol, and looked into 
the back street. I raised my hand to open the window, knowing that on 
that action hung, by the merest hair-breadth, my chance of safety. They 
keep vigilant watch in a House of Murder. If any part of the frame 
cracked, if the hinge creaked, I was a lost man! It must have occupied 
me at least five minutes, reckoning by time five hours reckoning by 
suspense to open that window. I succeeded in doing it silently in 
doing it with all the dexterity of a house-breaker and then looked 
down into the street. To leap the distance beneath me would be almost 
certain destruction! Next, I looked round at the sides of the house. 
Down the left side ran a thick water-pipe it passed close by the outer 
edge of the window. The moment I saw the pipe, I knew I was saved. 
My breath came and went freely for the first time since I had seen the 
canopy of the bed moving down upon me! 

To some men the means of escape which I had discovered might have 
seemed difficult and dangerous enough to me the prospect of slipping 
down the pipe into the street did not suggest even a thought of peril. I 
had always been accustomed, by the practise of gymnastics, to keep up 
my school-boy powers as a daring and expert climber; and knew that 
my head, hands, and feet would serve me faithfully in any hazards of 
ascent or descent.* I had already got one leg over the window-sill, when 
I remembered the handkerchief filled with money under my pillow. I 
could well have afforded to leave it behind me, but I was revengefully 
determined that the miscreants of the gambling-house should miss their 
plunder as well as their victim. So I went back to the bed and tied the 
heavy handkerchief at my back by my cravat. 

Just as I had made it tight and fixed it in a comfortable place, I 
thought I heard a sound of breathing outside the door. The chill feeling 
of horror ran through me again as I listened. No! Dead silence still in 



GREAT BRITAIN COLLINS 189 

the passage J had only heard the night air blowing softly into the room; 
The next moment I was on the window-sill and the next I had a firm 
grip on the water-pipe with my hands and knees. " 

I slid down into the street easily and quietly, as I thought I should, 
and immediately set off at the top of my speed to a branch "Prefecture" 
of Police, which I knew was situated in the immediate neighborhood*. 
A "Sub-pref ect," and several picked men among his subordinates, hap-r 
pened to be up, maturing, I believe, some scheme for discovering the 
perpetrator of a mysterious murder which all Paris was talking of just 
then. When I began my story, in a breathless hurry and in very bad 
French, I could see that the Sub-prefect suspected me of being a drunken 
Englishman who had robbed somebody; but he soon altered his opinion, 
as I went on, and before I had anything like concluded, he shoved all 
the papers before him into a drawer, put on his hat, supplied me with 
another (for I was bareheaded), ordered a file of soldiers, desired his 
expert followers to get ready all sorts of tools for breaking open doors 
and ripping up brick flooring, and took my arm, in the most friendly 
and familiar manner possible, to lead me with him out of the house. I 
will venture to say that when the Sub-prefect was a little boy, and was 
taken for the first time to the play, he was not half as much pleased as 
he was now at the job in prospect for him at the gambling-house! 

Away we went through the streets, the Sub-prefect cross-examining 
and congratulating me in the same breath as we marched at the head of 
bur formidable fosse comltatus. Sentinels were placed at the back and 
front of the house the moment we got to it, a tremendous battery of 
knocks was directed against the door; a light appeared at a window; I 
was told to conceal myself behind the police then came more knocks, 
and a cry of "Open in the name of the law!" At that terrible summons 
bolts and locks gave way before an invisible hand, and the moment after 
the Sub-prefect was in the passage, confronting a waiter half dressed 
and ghastly pale. This was the short dialogue which immediately took 
place: 

"We want to see the Englishman who is sleeping in this house?" 

"He went away hours ago." 

"He did no such thing. His friend went away; he remained. Show us 
to his bedroom!" 

"I swear to you, Monsieur le Sous-prefet, he is not here! He " 

"I swear to you, Monsieur le Garden, he is. He slept here he didn't 
find your bed comfortable he came to us to complain of it here he 
is among my men and here am I ready to look for a flea or two in his 
bedstead. Renaudin!" (calling to one of the subordinates, and pointing 
to the waiter), "collar that man, and tie his hands behind him. Now, 
then, gentlemen, let us walk upstairs!" 

Every man and woman in the house was secured the "Old Soldier" 



190 GREAT SHORT STORIES OF THE WORLD 

the first. Then I identified the bed in which I had slept, and then we 
went into the room above. 

No object that was at all extraordinary appeared in any part of it. The 
Sub-prefect looked round the place, commanded everybody to be silent, 
stamped twice on the floor, called for a candle, looked attentively at the 
spot he had stamped on, and ordered the flooring there to be carefully 
taken up. This was done in no time. Lights were produced, and we saw 
a deep raftered cavity between the floor of this room and the ceiling of 
the room beneath. Through this cavity there ran perpendicularly a sort 
of case of iron thickly greased; and inside the case appeared the screw, 
which communicated with the bed-top below. Extra lengths of screw, 
freshly oiled; levers covered with felt; all the complete upper works 
of a heavy press constructed with infernal ingenuity so as to join 
the fixtures below, and when taken to pieces again to go into the 
smallest possible compass were next discovered and pulled out on the 
floor. After some little difficulty the Sub-prefect succeeded in putting the 
machinery together, and, leaving his men to work it, descended with me 
to the bedroom. The smothering canopy was then lowered, but not so 
noiselessly as I had seen it lowered. When I mentioned this to th Sub- 
prefect, his answer, simple as it was, had a terrible significance, "My 
men," said he, "are working down the bed-top for the first time the 
men whose money you won were in better practise." 

We left the house in the sole possession of two police agents every 
one of the inmates being removed to prison on the spot. The Sub-prefect, 
after taking down my "proces verbal" in his office, returned with me to 
my hotel to get my passport. "Do you think," I asked, as I gave it to 
him, "that any men have really been smothered in that bed, as they tried 
to smother me?'*. 

"I have seen dozens of drowned men laid out at the Morgue," an- 
swered the Sub-prefect, "in whose pocketbooks were found letters stating 
that they had committed suicide in the Seine, because they had lost every- 
thing at the gaming-table. Do I know how many of those men entered 
the same gambling-house that you entered? won as you won? took that 
bed as you took it? slept in it? were smothered in it? and were privately 
thrown into the river, with a letter of explanation written by the mur- 
derers and placed in their pocketbooks? No man can say how many or 
how few have suffered the fate from which you have escaped. The 
people of the gambling-house kept their bedstead machinery a secret from 
useven from the police! The dead kept the rest of the secret for them. 
Good-night, or rather good-morning, Monsieur Faulkner! Be at my 
office again at nine o'clock in the meantime, au revoir!" 

The rest of my story is soon told. I was examined and reexamined; 
the gambling-house was strictly searched all through from top to bottom; 
the prisoners were separately interrogated; and two of the less guilty 



GREAT BRITAIN COLLINS 191 

among them made a confession. I discovered that the Old Soldier was 
the master of the gambling-house justice discovered that he had been 
drummed out of the army as a vagabond years ago; that he had been 
guilty of all sorts of villainies since; that he was in possession of stolen 
property, which the owners identified; and that he, the croupier, another 
accomplice, and the woman who had made my cup of coffee, were all 
in the secret of the bedstead. There appeared some reason to doubt 
whether the inferior persons attached to the house knew anything of the 
suffocating machinery; and they received the benefit of that doubt, by 
being treated simply as thieves and vagabonds. As for the Old Soldier 
and his two head myrmidons, they went to the galleys; the woman who 
had drugged my coffee was imprisoned for I forget how many years; 
the regular attendants at the gambling-house were considered "suspi- 
cious," and placed under "surveillance"; and I became, for one whole 
week (which is a long time), the head "lion" in Parisian society. My 
adventure was dramatized by three illustrious play-makers, but never saw 
theatrical daylight; for the censorship forbade the introduction on the 
stage of a correct copy of the gambling-house bedstead. 

One good result was produced by my adventure, which any censorship 
must have approved : it cured me of ever again trying "Rouge et Noir" 
as an amusement. The sight of a green cloth, with packs of cards and 
heaps of money on it, will henceforth be forever associated in my mind 
with the sight of a bed canopy descending to suffocate me in the silence 
and darkness of the night. 



THOMAS HARDY , 

(1840) 

THOMAS HARDY was born in Dorsetshire in 1840. At an early age 
he went to Dorchester to study architecture, and later to London. 
His first novel (published 1871) was read and appreciated by 
George Meredith, who saw it in MS. After its publication Hardy 
returned to Dorchester, where he has lived for the past half-cen- 
tury. Among his many volumes of fiction there are four collections 
of short stories. Hardy's chief qualities his grasp of character and 
his ability to create atmosphere are observable in his short tales 
quite as clearly as in his greater and more extensive novels. 

The present story is reprinted, by permission of the publisher, 
from A Group of Noble Dames, Macmillan and Co, 



19* GREAT SHORT STORIES OF THE WORLD 

SQUIRE PETRICK'S LADY 
(From A Group of Noble Dames) 

FOLK who are at all acquainted with the traditions of Stapleford 
Park will not need to be told that in the middle of the last century 
it was owned by that trump of mortgagees, Timothy Petrick, whose skill 
in gaining possession of fair estates by granting sums of money on their 
title-deeds has seldom if ever been equaled in our part of England. 
Timothy was a lawyer by profession, and agent to several noblemen, by 
which means his special line of business became opened to him by a sort 
of revelation. It is said that a relative of his, a very deep thinker, whq 
afterwards had the misfortune to be transported for life for mistaken 
notions on the signing of a will, taught him considerable legal lore, 
which he creditably resolved never to throw away for the benefit of 
other people, but to reserve it entirely for his own. 

However, I have nothing in particular to say about his early and active 
days, but rather of the time when, an old man, he had become the owner 
of vast estates by the means I have signified among them the great 
manor of Stapleford, on which he lived, in the splendid old mansion 
now pulled down; likewise estates at Marlott, estates near Sherton Abbas, 
nearly all the borough of Millpool, and many properties near Ivell. In- 
deed, I can't call to mind half his landed possessions, and I don't know 
that it matters much at this time of day, seeing that he's been dead and 
gone many years. It is said that when he bought an estate he would not 
decide to pay the price till he had walked over every single acre with his 
own two feet, and prodded the soil at every point with his own spud, to 
test its quality, which, if we regard the extent of his properties, must 
have been a stiff business for him. 

At the time I am speaking of he was a man over eighty, and his son. 
was dead; but he had two grandsons, the eldest of whom, his namesake, 
was married, and was shortly expecting issue. Just then the grandfather 
was taken ill, for death, as it seemed, considering his age. By his will 
the old man had created an entail (as I believe the lawyers call it), 
devising the whole of the estates to his elder grandson and his issue male, 
failing which, to his younger grandson and his issue male, failing which, 
to remoter relatives, who need not be mentioned now. 

While old Timothy Petrick was lying ill, his elder grandson's wife, 
Annetta, gave .birth to her expected child, who, as fortune would have 
it, was a son. Timothy, her husband, though sprung of a scheming 
family, was no great schemer himself; he was the single one of the 
Patricks then living whose heart had ever been greatly moved by senti- 
ments which did not run in the groove of ambition; and on this account 



GREAT BRITAIN HARDY 193 

he had not married well, as the saying is, his wife having been the 
daughter of a family of no better beginnings than his own; that is to 
say, her father was a country townsman of the professional class. But 
she was a very pretty woman, by all accounts, and her husband had 
seen, courted, and married her in a high tide of infatuation, after a 
very short acquaintance, and with very little knowledge of her heart's 
history. He had never found reason to regret his choice as yet, and his 
anxiety for her recovery was great. 

She was supposed to be out of danger, and herself and the child pro- 
gressing well, when there was a change for the worse, and she sank so 
rapidly that she was soon given over. When she felt that she was about 
to leave him, Annetta sent for her husband, and, on his speedy entry and 
assurance that they were alone, she made him solemnly vow to give the 
child every care in any circumstances that might arise, if it should please 
Heaven to take her. This, of course, he readily promised. Then, after 
some hesitation, she told him that she could not die with a falsehood 
upon her soul, and dire deceit in her life; she must make a terrible con- 
fession .to him before her lips were sealed forever. She thereupon related 
an incident concerning the baby's parentage which was not as he sup- 
posed. 

Timothy Petrick, though a quick-feeling man, was not of a sort to 
show nerves outwardly; and he bore himself as heroically as he possibly 
could do in this trying moment of his life. That same night his wife 
died; and while she lay dead, and before her funeral, he hastened to 
the bedside of his sick grandfather, and revealed to him all that had 
happened the baby's birth, his wife's confession, and her death, be- 
seeching the aged man, as he loved him, to bestir himself now, at the 
eleventh hour, and alter his will so as to dish the intruder. Old Tim- 
othy, seeing matters in the same light as his grandson, required no urging 
against allowing anything to stand in the way of legitimate inheritance; 
he executed another will, limiting the entail to Timothy, his grandson, 
for life, and his male heirs thereafter to be born; after them to his 
other grandson, Edward, and Edward's heirs. Thus the newly born 
infant, who had been the center of so many hopes, was cut off and 
scorned as none of the elect. 

The old mortgagee lived but a short time after this, the excitement 
of the discovery having told upon him considerably, and he was gath- 
ered to his fathers like the most charitable man in his neighborhood. 
Both wife and grandparent being buried, Timothy settled down to .his 
usual life as well as he was able, mentally satisfied that he had, by 
prompt action, defeated the consequences of such dire domestic treachery 
as had been shown towards him, and resolving to marry a second time 
as soon as he could satisfy himself in the choice of a wife. 

But men do not always know themselves. The imbittered state of 



194 GREAT SHORT STORIES OF THE WORLD 

Timothy Patrick's mind bred in him by degrees such a hatred and mis- 
trust of womankind that, though several specimens of high attractiveness 
came under his eyes, he could not bring himself to the point of propos- 
ing marriage. He dreaded to take up the position of husband a second 
time, discerning a trap in every petticoat, and a Slough of Despond in 
possible heirs. "What has happened once, when all seemed so fair, may 
happen again," he said to himself. "I'll risk my name no more." So he 
abstained from marriage, and overcame his wish for a lineal descendant 
to follow him in the ownership of Staple ford. 

Timothy had scarcely noticed the unfortunate child that his wife had 
borne, after arranging for a meager fulfilment of his promise to her to 
take care of the boy, by having him brought up in his house. Occasion- 
ally, remembering his promise, he went and glanced at the child, saw 
that he was doing well, gave a few special directions, and again went 
his solitary way. Thus he and the child lived on in the Stapleford man- 
sion-house till two or three years had passed by. One day he was walking 
in the garden, and by some accident left his snuff-box on a bench. When 
he came back to find it he saw the little boy standing there; ,he had 
escaped his nurse, and was making a plaything of the box, in spite of 
the convulsive sneezings which the game brought in its train. Then the 
man with the incrusted heart became interested in the little fellow's per- 
sistence in his play under such discomforts; he looked in the child's face, 
saw there his wife's countenance, though he did not see his own, and fell 
into thought on the piteousness of childhood particularly of despised 
and rejected childhood, like this before him. 

From that hour, try as he would to counteract the feeling, the human 
necessity to love something or other got the better of what he had called 
his wisdom, and shaped itself in a tender anxiety for the youngster 
Rupert. This name had been given him by his dying mother when, at 
her request, the child was baptized in her chamber, lest he should not 
survive for public baptism; and her husband had never thought of it as 
a name of any significance till, about this time, he learned by accident 
that it was the name of the young Marquis of Christminster, son of the 
Duke of Southwesterland, for whom Annetta had cherished warm feel- 
ings before her marriage. Recollecting some wandering phrases in his 
wife's last words, which he had not understood at the time, he perceived 
at last that this was the person to whom she had alluded when affording 
him a clew to little Rupert's history. 

He would sit in silence for hours with the child, being no great 
speaker at the best of times; but the boy, on his part, was too ready 
with his tongue for any break in discourse to arise because Timothy 
Petrick had nothing to say. After idling away his mornings in this man- 
ner, Patrick would go to his own room and swear in long, loud whispers, 
and walk up and down, calling himself the most ridiculous dolt that 



GREAT BRITAIN HARDY 195 

ever lived, and declaring that he would never go near the little fellow 
again; to which resolve he would adhere for the space, perhaps, of a 
day. ^Such cases are happily not new to human nature, but there never 
was a case in which a man more completely befooled his former self 
than in this. 

As the child grew up, Timothy's attachment to him grew deeper, till 
Rupert became almost the sole object for which he lived. There had 
been enough of the family ambition latent in him for Timothy Petrick 
to feel a little envy when, some time before this date, his brother Ed- 
ward had been accepted by the Honorable Harriet Mountclere, daughter 
of the second viscount of that name and title; but having discovered, 
as I have before stated, the paternity of his boy Rupert to lurk in even 
a higher stratum of society, those envious feelings speedily dispersed. 
Indeed, the more he reflected thereon, after his brother's aristocratic 
marriage, the more content did he become. His late wife took softer 
outline in his memory, as he thought of the lofty taste she had displayed, 
though only a plain burgher's daughter, and the justification for his 
weakness in loving the child the justification that he had longed for 
was afforded now in the knowledge that the boy was by nature, if not 
by name, a representative of one of the noblest houses in England. 

"She was a woman of grand instincts, after all," he said to himself, 
proudly. "Tofix her choice upon the immediate successor in that ducal 
line it was finely conceived! Had he been of low blood like myself 
or my relations she would scarce have deserved the harsh measure that 
I have dealt out to her and her offspring. How much less, then, when 
such groveling tastes were farthest from her soul! The man Annetta 
loved was noble, and my boy is noble in spite of me." 

The after-clap was inevitable, and it soon came. "So far," he rea- 
soned, "from cutting off his child from inheritance of my estates, as I 
have done, I should have rejoiced in the possession of him! He is of 
pure stock on one side at least, while in the ordinary run of affairs he 
would have been a commoner to the bone." 

" Being a man, whatever his faults, of good old beliefs in the divinity 
of kings and those about 'em, the more he overhauled the case in this 
light the more strongly did his poor wife's conduct in improving the 
blood and breed of the Petrick family win his heart. He considered what 
ugly, idle, hard-drinking scamps many of his own relations had been; 
the miserable scriveners, usurers, and pawnbrokers that he had numbered 
among his forefathers, and the probability that some of their bad quali- 
ties would have come out in a merely corporeal child, to give him sorrow 
in his old age, turn his black hairs gray, his gray hairs white, cut down 
every stick of timber, and Heaven knows what all, had he not, like a 
this right-minded man fell down on his knees every night and morning 
skilful gardener, minded his grafting and changed the sort; till at length 



196 GREAT SHORT STORIES OF THE WORLD 

and thanked God that he was not as other meanly descended fathers in 
such matters. v 

It was in the peculiar disposition of the Petrick family that the satis- 
faction which ultimately settled in Timothy's breast found nourishment. 
The Petricks had adored the nobility, and plucked them at the same time. 
That excellent man Izaak Walton's feelings about fish were much akin 
to those of old Timothy Petrick, and of his descendants in a lesser 
degree, concerning the landed aristocracy. To torture and to love simul- 
taneously is a proceeding strange to reason, but possible to practise, as 
these instances show. 

Hence, when Timothy's brother Edward said slightingly one day that 
Timothy's son was well enough, but that he had nothing but shops and 
offices in his backward perspective, while his own children, should he 
have any, would be far different, in possessing such a mother as the 
Honorable Harriet, Timothy felt a bound of triumph within him at the 
power he possessed of contradicting that statement if he chose. 

So much was he interested in his boy in this new aspect that he now 
began to read up chronicles of the illustrious house ennobled as the Dukes 
of Southwesterland, from their very beginning in the glories of the 
Restoration of the blessed Charles till the year of his own time. He 
mentally noted their gifts from royalty, grants of lands, purchases, inter- 
marriages, plantings, and buildings; more particularly their political and 
military achievements, which had been great, and their performances in 
arts and letters, which had been by no means contemptible. He studied 
prints of the portraits of that family, and then, like a chemist watching 
a crystallization, began to examine young Rupert's face for the unfold- 
ing of those historic curves and shades that the painters Vandyke and 
Lely had perpetuated on canvas. 

When the boy reached the most fascinating age of childhood, and his 
shouts of laughter rang through Stapleford House from end to end, the 
remorse that oppressed Timothy Petrick knew no bounds. Of all people 
in the world this Rupert was the one on whom he could have wished the 
estates to devolve; yet Rupert, by Timothy's own desperate strategy at 
the time of his birth, had been ousted from all inheritance of them; and, 
since he did not mean to remarry, the manors would pass to his brother 
and his brother's children, who would be nothing to him, whose boasted 
pedigree on one side would be nothing to his Rupert's. 

Had he only left the first will of his grandfather alone! 

His mind ran on the wills continually, both of which were in exist- 
ence, and the first, the canceled one, in his own possession. Night after 
night, when the servants were all abed, and the click of safety-locks 
sounded as loud as a crash, he looked at that first will, and wished it had 
been the second and not the first. 

The crisis came at last. One^ night, after having enjoyed the boy's 



GREAT BRITAIN HARDY 197 

company for hours, he could no longer bear that his beloved Rupert 
should be dispossessed, and he committed the felonious deed of altering 
the date of the earlier will to a fortnight later, which made its execution 
appear subsequent to the date of the second will already proved. He 
then boldly propounded the first will as the second. 

His brother Edward submitted to what appeared to be not only incon- 
testible fact, but a far more likely disposition of old Timothy's property; 
for, like many others, he had been much surprised at the limitations 
defined in the other will, having no clew to their cause. He joined his 
brother Timothy in setting aside the hitherto accepted document, and 
matters went on in their usual course, there being no dispositions in the 
substituted will differing from those in the other, except such as related 
to a future which had not yet arrived. 

The years moved on. Rupert had not yet revealed the anxiously ex- 
pected historic lineaments which should foreshadow the political abilities 
of the ducal family aforesaid, when it happened on a certain day that 
Timothy Patrick made the acquaintance of a well-known physician of 
Budmouth, who had been the medical adviser and friend of the late 
Mrs. Petrick's family for many years, though after Annetta's marriage, 
and consequent removal to Stapleford, he had seen no more of her, the 
neighboring prattitioner who attended the Patricks having then become 
her doctor as a% matter of course. Timothy was impressed by the insight 
and knowledge disclosed in the conversation of the Budmouth physician, 
and the acquaintance ripening to intimacy, the physician alluded to a 
form of hallucination to which Annetta's mother and grandmother had 
been subject that of believing in certain dreams as realities. He deli- 
cately inquired if Timothy had ever noticed anything of the sort in his 
wife during her lifetime; he, the physician, had fancied that he dis- 
cerned germs of the same peculiarity in Annetta when he attended her 
in her girlhood. One explanation begat another, till the dumbfounded 
Timothy Petrick was persuaded in his own mind that Annetta's con- 
fession to him had been based on a delusion. 

"You look down in the mouth!" said the doctor, pausing. 

"A bit unmanned. 'Tis unexpected-like," sighed Timothy. 

But he could hardly believe it possible; and, thinking it best to be 
frank with the doctor, told him the whole story which, till now, he 
had never related to living man, save his dying grandfather. To his sur- 
prise, the physician informed him that such a form of delusion was pre- 
cisely what he would have expected from Annetta's antecedents at such 
a physical crisis in her life. 

Petrick prosecuted his inquiries elsewhere; and the upshot of his labors 
was, briefly, that a comparison of dates and places showed irrefutably 
that his poor wife's assertion could not possibly have foundation in fact. 
The young Marquis of her tender passion a highly moral and bright- 



198 GREAT SHORT STORIES OF THE WORLD 

minded nobleman had gone abroad the year before Annetta's marriage, 
and had not returned until after her death. The young girl's love for 
him had been a -delicate ideal dream no more. fc 

Timothy went home, and the boy ran out to meet him; whereupon 
a strangely dismal feeling of discontent took possession of his soul. After 
all, then, there was nothing but plebeian blood in the veins of the heir 
to his name and estates; he was not to be succeeded by a noble-natured 
line. To be sure, Rupert was his son; but that glory and halo he be- 
lieved him to have inherited from the ages, outshining that of his 
brother's children, had departed from Rupert's brow forever; he could 
no longer read history in the boy's face and centuries of domination in 
his eyes. 

His manner towards his son grew colder and colder from that day 
forward; and it was with bitterness of heart that he discerned the char- 
acteristic features of the Patricks unfolding themselves by degrees. In- 
stead of the elegant knife-edged nose, so typical of the Dukes of South- 
westerland, there began to appear on his face the broad nostril and hol- 
low bridge of his grandfather Timothy. No illustrious line of politicians 
was promised a continuator in that graying blue eye, for it was acquiring 
the expression of the orb of a particularly objectionable cousin of his 
own; and, instead of the mouth-curves which had thrilled Parliamentary 
audiences in speeches now bound in calf in every well-ordered library, 
there was the bull-lip of that very uncle of his who had. had the mis- 
fortune with the signature of a gentleman's will, and had been trans- 
ported for life in consequence. 

To think how he himself, too, had sinned in this same matter of a 
will for this mere fleshly reproduction of a wretched old uncle whose 
very name he wished to forget! The boy's Christian name, even, was an 
imposture and an irony, for it implied hereditary force and brilliancy 
to which he plainly would never attain. The consolation of real son- 
ship was always left him certainly; but he could not help groaning 
to himself, "Why cannot a son be one's own and somebody else's 
likewise?" 

The Marquis was shortly afterwards in the neighborhood of Staple- 
ford, and Timothy Petrick met him, and eyed his noble countenance 
admiringly. The next day, when Petrick was in his study, somebody 
knocked at the door. 

"Who's there?" 

"Rupert." 

"I'll Rupert thee, you young impostor! Say, only a poor commonplace 
Petrick!" his father grunted. "Why didn't you have a voice like the 
Marquis I saw yesterday!" he continued, as the lad came in. "Why 
haven't you his looks, and a way of commanding as if you'd done it 
for centuries hey?" 



GREAT BRITAIN HARDY 199 

"Why? How can you expect it, father, when I'm not related to him?" 
"Ugh! Then you ought to be!" growled his father. 



ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON 

(1850-1894) 

STEVENSON was born at Edinburgh in 1850. He studied first for 
the law, and then turned to writing. His earliest books were essays 
and travel sketches. In the early eighties he tried his hand at short 
stories, and throughout his career he turned often to the short 
story medium for the expression of a mood or the recounting of 
a picturesque episode. He travelled a great deal, both in Europe 
and in the United States, and, ever in search of a climate that 
would suit his frail health, he went in 1889 to Samoa, where he 
lived with his family until his death in 1894. Stevenson is a 
romantic of the line of Scott and Dumas, but differing from his 
masters in that lie was primarily a literary writer, whose first care 
was the perfection of a beautiful style. 

Thrown Janet first appeared in a magazine in 1882, and was 
included in 'the volume The Merry Men^ published in 1886 by 
Chatto and Windus, by whose permission, and that of Mr. Lloyd 
Osbourne, it is here reprinted. 



THRAWN JANET 

THE Reverend Murdoch Soulis was long minister of the moorland 
parish of Bal weary, in the vale of Dule. A severe, bleak- faced old 
man, dreadful to his hearers, he dwelt in the last years of his life, with- 
out relative or servant or any human company, in the. small and lonely 
manse under the Hanging Shaw. In spite of the iron composure of his 
features, liis eye was wild, scared, and uncertain; and when he dwelt, 
in private admonitions, on the future of the impenitent, it seemed as if 
his eye pierced through the storms of time to the terrors of eternity. 
Many young persons, coming to prepare themselves against the season of 
the Holy*' Communion, were dreadfully affected by his talk. He had a 
sermon on 1st Peter, v. and 8th, "The devil as a roaring lion,'* on the 
Sunday after every seventeenth of August, and he was accustomed to 
surpass himself upon that text both by the appalling nature of the matter 
and the terror of his bearing in the pulpit. The children were frightened 
into fits, and the old looked more than usually oracular, and were, all 
that day, full of those hints that Hamlet deprecated. The manse itself, 
where it stood by the water of Dule among some thick trees, with the 



aoo GREAT SHORT STORIES OF THE WORLD 

Shaw overhanging it on the one side, and on the other many cold, 
moorish hilltops rising toward the sky, had begun, at a very early period 
of Mr. Soulis's ministry, to be avoided in the dusk hours by ^11 who 
valued themselves upon their prudence; and guidmen sitting at the 
clachan alehouse shook their heads together at the thought of passing 
late by that uncanny neighborhood. There was one spot, to be more par- 
ticular, which was regarded with especial awe. The manse stood between 
the high road and the water of Dule, with a gable to each; its back was 
toward the kirktown of Bal weary, nearly half a mile away; in front 
of it, a bare garden, hedged with thorn, occupied the land between the 
river and the road. The house was two stories high, with two large rooms 
on each. It opened not directly on the garden, but on a causewayed path, 
or passage, giving on the road on the one hand, and closed on the other 
by the tall willows and elders that bordered on the stream. And it was 
this strip of causeway that enjoyed among the young parishioners of Bal- 
weary so infamous a reputation. The minister walked there often after 
dark, sometimes groaning aloud in the instancy of his unspoken prayers; 
and when he was from home, and the manse door was locked, the more 
daring schoolboys ventured, with beating hearts, to "follow my leader 1 * 
across that legendary spot. 

This atmosphere of terror, surrounding, as it did, a man of God of 
spotless character and orthodoxy, was a common cause ^>f wonder and 
subject of inquiry among the few strangers v/ho were led by chance or 
business into that unknown, outlying country. But many even* of the 
people of the parish were ignorant of the strange events which had 
marked the first year of Mr. Soulis's ministrations; and among those 
who were better informed, some were naturally reticent, and others shy 
of that particular topic. Now and again, only, one of the older folk 
would warm into courage over his third tumbler, and recount the cause 
of the minister's strange looks and solitary life. ' 

Fifty years syne, when Mr. Soulis cam 9 first into Ba'weary, he was 
still a young man a callant, the folk said fu' o' book learnin' and 
grand at the exposition, but, as was natural in sae young a man, wi' nae 
leevin* experience in religion. The younger sort were greatly taken wP 
his gifts and his gab; but auld, concerned, serious men and women were 
moved even to prayer for the young man, whom they took to be a self- 
deceiver, and the parish that was like to be sae ill-supplied. It was before 
the days o* the moderates weary fa' them; but ill things are like, guid 
they baith come bit by bit, a pickle at a time; and there were folk 
even then that said the Lord had left the college professors to their ata 
devices, an' the lads that went to study wi' them wad hae done mair 
and better sittin' in a peat-bog, like their forebears of the persecution, 
3ri' a Bible under their oxter and a speerit o' prayer in their heart. There 



GREAT BRITAIN STEVENSON 201 

was nac doubt, onyway, but that Mr. Soulis had been ower lang at the 
college. He was careful and troubled for mony things besides the ae 
thing needful. He had a feck o' books wi' him mair than had ever 
been sen before in a' that presbytery; and a sair wark the carrier had 
wi* them, for they were a' like to have smoored in the DeiTs Hag be- 
tween this and Kilmackerlie. They were books o' divinity, to be sure, or 
so they ca'd them; but the serious were o' opinion there was little service 
for sae mony, when the hail o' God's Word would gang in the neuk of 
a plaid. Then he wad sit half the day and half the nicht forbye, which 
was scant decent writin', nae less; and first, they were feared he wad 
read his sermons; and syne it proved he was writin* a book himsel', which 
was surely no fittin' for ane of his years an' sma* experience. 

Onyway it behooved him to get an auld, decent wife to keep the 
manse for him an* see to his bit denners; and he was recommended to 
an auld limmer Janet M'Clour, they ca'd her and sae far left to 
himsel' as to be ower persuaded. There was mony advised him to the 
contrar, for Janet was mair than suspeckit by the best folk in Ba'weary. 
Lang or that, she had had a wean to a dragoon; she hadnae come forrit 
for maybe thretty year; and bairns had seen her mumblin' to hersel' up 
on Key's Loan in the gloamin', whilk was an unco time an* place for a 
God-fearin' woman. Howsoever, it was the laird himsel' that had first 
tauld the minister o' Janet; and in thae days he wad have gane a far 
gate to pleesure the laird. When folk tauld him that Janet was sib to 
the deil, it was a* superstition by his way of it; an' when they cast up 
the Bible to him an' the witch of Endor, he wad threep it doun their 
thrapples that thir days were a* gane by, and the deil was mercifully 
restrained. 

Weel, when it got about the clachan that Janet M'Ciour was to be 
servant at the manse, the folk were fair mad wi' her an' him thegether; 
and some o' the guidwives had nae better to dae than get round her door 
cheeks and chairge her wi' a' that was ken't again her, f rae the sodger's 
bairn to John Tamson's twa kye. She was nae great speaker; folk usually 
let her gang her ain gate, an' she let them gang theirs, wi' neither Fair- 
guid-een nor Fair-guid-day; but when she buckled to she had a tongue 
to deave the miller. Up she got, an' there wasnae an auld story in 
Ba' weary but she gart somebody lowp for it that day; they couldnae say 
ae thing but she could say twa to it; till, at the hinder end, the guid- 
wives up and claught haud of her, and clawed the coats aff her back, 
and pu'd her doun the clachan to the water o' Dule, to see if she were 
a witch or no, soum or droun. The carline skirled till ye could hear her 
at the Hangin* Shaw, and she focht like ten; there was mony a guid- 
wife bure the mark of her neist day, an' mony a lang day after; and 
just in the hettest o' the collieshangie, wha suld come up (for his sins) 
but the new minister. 



aoa GREAT SHORT STORIES OF THE WORLD 

"Women," said he (and he hail a grand voice), "I charge you in the 
Lord's name to let her go." 

Janet ran to him she was fair wud wi' terror an* clang to him an* 
prayed him, for Christ's sake, save her frae the cummers; an 1 thtey, for 
their pairt, tauld him a 9 that was ken't, and maybe mair. 

"Woman," says he to Janet, "i$ this true?" 

"As the Lord sees me," says she, "as the Lord made me, no a word 
o't. Forbye the bairn," says she, "I've been a decent woman a* my days." 

"Will ^ou," says Mr. Soulis, "in the name of God, and before me, 
His unworthy minister, renounce the devil and his works?" 

Weel, it wad appear that when he askit that, she gave a girn that 
fairly frichtit them that saw her, an* they could hear her teeth play dirl 
thegether in her chafts; but there was naething for it but the ae way or 
the ither; an* Janet lifted up her hand and renounced the deil before 
them a*. 

"And now," said Mr. Soulis to the guidwives, "home with ye, one 
and all, and pray to God for His forgiveness." 

And he gied Janet his arm, though she had little on her but a sark, 
and took her up the clachan to her ain door like a leddy of the land; 
an* her skreighin* and laughin' as was a scandal to be heard. 

There were mony grave folk lang ower their prayers that nicht; but 
when the morn cam' there was sic a fear fell upon a* Ba'weary that the 
bairns hid theirsels, and even the men-folk stood and keekit frae their 
doors. For there was Janet comin* doun the clachan her or her like- 
ness, nane could tell wi* her neck thrawn, and her heid on ae side, like 
a body that has been hangit, and a girn on her face like an un- 
streakit corp. By an* by they got used wi' it, and even speered at her 
to ken what was wrang; but frae that day forth she couldnae speak 
like a Christian woman, but slavered and played click wi* her teeth like 
a pair o* shears; and frae that day forth the name o* God cam* never 
on her lips. Whiles she wad try to say it, but it michtnae be. Them that 
kenned best said least; but they never gied that Thing the name o' Janet 
M'Clour; for the auld Janet, by their way o't, was in muckle hell that 
day. But the minister was neither to haud nor to bind; he preached about 
naething but the folks* cruelty that had gi'en her a stroke of the palsy; 
he skelpt the bairns that meddled her; and he had her up to the manse 
that same nicht and dwalled there a* his lane wi' her under the Hangin* 
Shaw. 

Weel, time gaed by: and the idler sort commenced to think mair 
lichtly o* that black business. The minister was weel thocht o'; he was 
aye late at the writing, folk wad see his can'le doun by the Dule water 
after twal* at e'en; and he seemed pleased wi' himsel* and upsitten as 
at first, though a* body could see that he was dwining. As for Janet she 
cam* an* she gaed; if she didnae speak muckle afore, it was reason she 



GREAT BRITAIN STEVENSON ' 203 

should speak less then; she meddled naebody; but she was an eldritch 
thing to see, an* nane wad hae mistrysted wi' her for Ba'weary glebe. 
About the end o' July there cam* a spell o' weather, the like o't never was 
in that countryside; it was lown an* het an* heartless; the herds couldnae 
win up the Black Hill, the bairns were ower weariet to play; an* yet it 
was gousty too, wi' claps o' het wund that rumm'led in the glens, and 
bits o' shouers that sleekened naething. We aye thocht it but to thun'er 
on the morn; but the morn cam', and the morn's morning, and it was 
aye the same uncanny weather, sair on folks and bestial. Of a 1 that 
were the waur, nane suffered like Mr. Soulis; he could neither sleep 
nor eat, he tauld his elders; an* when he wasnae writin' at his weary 
book, he wad be stravaguin' ower a' the countryside like a man possessed, 
when a' body else was blythe to keep caller ben the house. 

Abune Hangin' Shaw, in the bield o' the Black Hill, there's a bit in- 
closed grund wi' an iron yett; and it seems in the auld days, that was 
the kirkyaird o' Ba' weary, and consecrated by the Papists before the 
blessed licht shone upon the kingdom. It was a great howff o' Mr. 
Soulis's, onyway; there he would sit an' consider his sermons; and in- 
deed it's a bieldy bit. Weel, as he cam' ower the wast end o' the Black 
Hill, ae day, he saw first twa, an' syne fower, an' syne seeven corbie 
craws fleein' round an' round abune the auld kirkyaird. They flew laigh 
and heavy, an' squawked to ither as they gaed; and it was clear to Mr. 
Soulis that something had put them frae their ordinar. He wasnae easy 
fleyed, an* gaed straucht up to the wa's; an' what suld he find there but 
a man, or the appearance of a man, sittin' in the inside upon a grave. 
He was of a great stature, an' black as hell, and his ecn were singular 
to see. Mr. Soulis had heard tell o' black men, mony's the time; but 
there was something unco about this black man that daunted him. Het 
as he was, he took a kind o' cauld grue in the marrow o' his banes; but 
up he spak for a' that; an' says he: "My friend, are you a stranger in 
this place?" The black man answered never a word; he got upon his 
feet, an' begude to hirstle to the wa' on the far side; but he aye lookit 
at the minister; an' the minister stood an' lookit back, till a* in a meenute 
the black man was over the wa' an* rinnin' for the bield o' the trees. 
Mr. Soulis, he hardly kenned why, ran after him; but he was sair for- 
jaskit wi' his walk an' the het, unhalesome weather; and rin as he likit, 
he got nae mair than a glisk o' the black man amang the birks, till he 
won doun to the foot o' the hillside, an' there he saw him ance mair, 
gaun, hap, step, an' lowp, ower Dule water to the manse. 

Mr. Soulis wasnae weel pleased that this fearsome gangrel suld mak' 
sae free wi' Ba' weary manse; an' he ran the harder, an', wet shoon, ower 
the burn, an* up the walk; but the deil a black man was there to see. He 
stepped out upon the road, but there was naebody there; he gaed a' ower 
the gairden, but na, nae black man. At the hinder end, and a bit feared 



204 GREAT SHORT STORIES OF THE WORLD 

as was but natural, he lifted the hasp and into the manse; and there was 
Janet M'Clour before his een, wi* her thrawn craig, and nane sae pleased 
to see him. And he aye minded sinsyne, when first he set his een upon 
her, he had the same cauld and deidly grue. * 

"Janet," says he, "have you seen a black man?" 

"A black man?" quo* she. "Save us a'! Ye*re no wise, minister. 
There's nae black man in a* Ba'weary." 

But she didnae speak plain, ye maun understand; but yam-yammered, 
like a powney wi' the bit in its moo. 

"Weel," says he, "Janet, if there was nae black man, I have spoken 
with the Accuser of the Brethren." 

And he sat down like ane wi' a fever, an* his teeth chittered in his heid, 

"Hoots," says she, "think shame to yoursel', minister"; an* gied him 
a drap brandy that she keept aye by her. 

Syne Mr. Soulis gaed into his study amang a* his books. It's a lang, 
laigh, mirk chalmer, perishin' cauld in winter, an* no very dry even in 
the tap o* the simmer, for the manse stands near the burn. Sae doun he 
sat, and thocht of a* that had come an* gane since he was in Ba'weary, 
an* his hame, an' the days when he was a bairn an* ran daffin* on the 
braes; and that black man aye ran in his heid like the owercome of a 
sang. Aye the mair he thocht, the mair he thocht o* the black man. He 
tried the prayer, an* the words wouldnae come to him; an* he tried, they 
say, to write at his book, but he couldnae male' nae maif o* that. There 
was whiles he thocht the black man was at his oxter, an* the swat stood 
upon him cauld as well-water; and there was other whiles, when he 
cam* to himself like a christened bairn and minded naething. 

The upshot was that he gaed to the window an* stood glowrin* at 
Dule water. The trees are unco thick, an* the water lies deep an* black 
under the manse; an* there was Janet washin* the cla'es wi' her coats 
kilted. She had her back to the minister, an* he, for his pairt, hardly 
kenned what he was lookin* at. Syne she turned round an* shawed her 
face; Mr. Soulis had the same cauld grue as twice that day afore, an* it 
was borne in upon him what folk said, that Janet was deid lang syne, 
an* this was a bogle in her clay cauld flesh. He drew back a pickle and 
he scanned her narrowly. She was tramp-trampin* in the cla'es, croonin* 
to hersel'; and eh! Gude guide us, but it was a fearsome face. Whiles 
she sang louder, but there was nae man born o* woman that could tell 
the words o* her sang; an* whiles she lookit side-lang doun, but there 
was naething there for her to look at. There gaed a scunner through 
the flesh upon his banes; and that was Heeven's advertisement. But Mr. 
Soulis just blamed himsel', he said, to think sae ill of a puir, auld 
afflicted wife that hadnae a freend forby himsel'; and he put up a bit 
prayer for him and her, an* drank a little caller water for his heart 
rose again the meat an' gaed up to his naked bed in the gloaming. 



GREAT BRITAIN STEVENSON ' 405 

That was a nicht that has never been forgotten in Ba'weary, the 
nicht o* the seeventeenth of August, seeventeen hun*er an* twal*. It 
had been het afore, as I hae said, but that nicht it was hetter than ever. 
The*sun gaed doun amang unco-lookin* clouds; it fell as mirk as the 
pit; no a star, no a breath o* wund; ye couldnae see your han* before 
your face, and even the auld folk cuist the covers f rae their beds and 
lay pechin* for their breath. Wi' a' that he had upon his mind, it was 
gey and unlikely Mr. Soulis wad get muckle sleep. He lay an* he tum- 
mled; the gude, caller bed that he got into brunt his very banes; whiles 
he slept, and whiles he waukened; whiles he heard the time o' nicht, and 
whiles a tyke yowlin* up the muir, as if somebody was deid; whiles he 
thocht he heard bogles claverin' in his lug, an' whiles he saw spunkies in 
the room. He behooved, he judged, to be sick; an* sick he was little he 
jaloosed the sickness. 

At the hinder end, he got a clearness in his mind, sat up in his sark 
on the bedside, and fell thinkin' ance mair o' the black man an'* Janet. 
He couldnae weel tell how maybe it was the cauld to his feet but it 
cam* in upon him wi' a spate that there was some connection between 
thir twa, an* that either or baith o* them were bogles. And just at that 
moment, in Janet*s room, which was neist to his, there cam* a stramp o* 
feet as if men were wars'lin', an* then a loud bang; an* then a wund 
gaed reishling* round the fower quarters of the house; an* then a* was 
aince mair as^eelent as the grave. 

Mr. Soulis was feared fx>r neither man nor deevil. He got his tinder 
box, an* lighted a can'le, an* made three steps o't ower to Janet*s door. 
It was on the hasp, an* he pushed it open, an* keeked bauldly in. It was 
a big room, as big as the minister's ain, an* plenished wi* grand, auld, 
solid gear, for he had naething else. There was a fower-posted bed wi* 
auld tapestry; and a braw cabinet of aik, that was fu* o* the minister's 
divinity books, an* put there to be out o* the gate; an* a wheen duds o' 
Janet*s lying here and there about the floor. But nae Janet could Mr. 
Soulis see; nor ony sign of a contention. In he gaed (an* there's few 
that wad ha'e followed him) an* lookit a* round, an* listened. But there 
was naethin* to be heard, neither inside the manse nor in a* Ba'weary 
parish, an* naethin' to be seen but the muckle shadows turnin* round the 
can*le. An* then a* at aince, the minister's heart played dunt an' stood 
stock-still; an* a cauld wund blew amang the hairs o' his heid. Whaten 
a weary sicht was that for the puir man's een! For there was Janet 
hangin* frae a nail beside the auld aik cabinet: her heid aye lay on her 
shouther, her een were steeked, the tongue projekit frae her mouth, and 
her heels were twa feet clar abune the floor. 

"God forgive us all!*' thocht Mr. Soulis; "poor Janet's dead." 

He cam* a step nearer to the corp; an* then his heart fair whammled 
in his inside. For by what cantrip it wad ill-beseem a man to judge, she 



206 GREAT SHORT STORIES OF THE WORLD 

was hingin' fae a single nail an* by a single wursted thread for darnin' 
hose. 

It's an awfu' thing to be your lane at nicht wi' siccan prodigies o* 
darkness; but Mr. Soulis was strong in the Lord. He turned an* gaad his 
ways oot o' that room, and lockit the door ahint him; and step by step, 
doon the stairs, as heavy as leed; and set doon the can'le on the table at 
the stairfoot. He couldnae pray, he couldnae think, he was dreepin' wi' 
caul* swat, an* naething could he hear but the dunt-dunt-duntin' o' his 
ain heart. He micht maybe have stood there an hour, or maybe twa, he 
minded sae little; when a' o' a sudden he heard a laigh, uncanny steer 
upstairs; a foot gaed to an* fro in the cha'mer whaur the corp was 
hingin'; syne the door was opened, though he minded weel that he had 
lockit it; an 9 syne there was a step upon the landin 9 , an' it seemed to 
him as if the corp was lookin' ower the rail and doun upon him whaur 
he stood. 

He took up the can'le again (for he couldnae want the licht) and, as 
saf tly as ever he could, gaed straucht out o' the manse an' to the far end 
o' the causeway. It was aye pitmirk; the flame o' the can'le, when he set 
it on the grund, brunt steedy and clear as in a room; naething moved, 
but the Dule water seepin' and sabbin' doon the glen, an' yon unhaly 
footstep that cam' ploddin' doun the stairs inside the manse. He kenned 
the foot ower weel, for it was Janet's; and at ilka step that cam' a wee 
thing nearer, the cauld got deeper in his vitals. He commanded his soul 
to Him that made an' keepit him; "and O Lord," said he, "give me 
strength this night to war against the powers of evil." 

By this time the foot was comin' through the passage for the door; 
he could hear a hand skirt alang the wa', as if the fearsome thing was 
feelin' for its way. The saughs tossed an' maned thegether, a lang sigh 
cam' ower the hills, the flame o' the can'le was blawn aboot; an' there 
stood the corp of Thrawn Janet, wi' her grogram goun an' her black 
mutch, wi' the heid aye upon the shouther, an' the girn still upon the 
face o't leevin', ye wad hae said deid, as Mr. Soulis weel kenned 
upon the threshold o' the manse. 

It's a strange thing that the saul of man should be that thirled into 
his perishable body; but the minister saw. that, an* his heart didnae 
break. 

She didnae stand there lang; she began to move again an* cam 1 slowly 
toward Mr. Soulis whaur he stood under the saughs. A' the life o' his 
body, a' the strength o' his speerit, were glowerin' f rae his een. It seemed 
she was gaun to speak, but wanted words, an' made a sign wi' the left 
hand. There cam* a clap o' wund, like a cat's fuff; oot gaed the can'le, 
the saughs skrieghed like folk; an' Mr. Soulis kenned that, live or die, 
this was the end o't. 

"Witch, beldam, devil!" he cried, "I charge you, by the power of 



GREAT BRITAIN STEVENSON 207 

God, begone if you be dead, to the grave if you be damned, to hell." 
An* at that moment the Lord's ain hand out o' the Heevens struck 
the Horror whaur it stood; the auld, deid, desecrated corp o' the witch- 
wife*, sae lang keepit frae the grave and hirsled round by deils, lowed up 
like a brunstane spunk and fell in ashes to the grund; the thunder fol- 
lowed, peal on dirling peal, the rairing rain upon the back o' that; and 
Mr. Soulis lowped through the garden hedge, and ran, wi' skelloch upon 
skelloch, for the clachan. 

That same mornin', John Christie saw the Black Man pass the Muckle 
Cairn as it was chappin' six; before eicht, he gaed by the change-house 
at Knockdow; an' no lang after, Sandy M'Lellan saw him gaun linkin* 
doun the braes frae Kilmackerlie. There's little doubt it was him that 
dwalled sae lang in Janet's body; but he was awa* at last; and sinsyne 
the deil has never fashed us in Ba'weary. 

But it was a sair dispensation for the minister; lang, lang he lay 
ravin' in his bed; and frae that hour to this, he was the man ye ken 
the day. 



OSCAR WILDE 

f 

-. (1854-1900) 

WILDE was born in Dublin in 1854, the son of distinguished par- 
ents. His mother, Lady Wilde, was famous for her volumes of 
Irish stories. Wilde went first to Trinity College, Dublin, and later 
to Oxford. His first published work was a volume of poems 
in 1 88 1. From that time until 1895 he wrote plays, poems, essays, 
a novel, and several short stories and fairy talcs. Wilde's jewelled 
style was never employed to better purpose than in the group of 
tales from which The SelfisA Giant has been selected. In 1895 
he was sentenced to two years' hard labor as a result of a notorious 
trial. After his release he travelled in Italy and France, and died 
in 1900 at Paris. 

The Se/fisA Giant is reprinted, by permission of Mr. Philip Nutt, 
from The Hapfy Prince and Other Tales, published by Gerald 
Duckworth and Co. in 1885. 



THE SELFISH GIANT 

TTpVERY afternoon, as they were coming from school, the children 
JLdf used to go and play in the Giant's garden. 

It was a large lovely garden, with soft green grass. Here and there 
over the grass stood beautiful flowers like stars, and there were twelve 



208 GREAT. SHORT STORIES OP THE WORLD 

peach-trees that in the Spring-time broke out into delicate Blossoms of 
pink and pearl, and in the autumn bore rich fruit. The birds sat on the 
trees and sang so sweetly that the children used to stop their games in 
order to listen to them. "How happy we are here!" they cried to 'each 
other. 

One day the Giant came back. He had been to visit his friend the 
Cornish ogre, and had stayed with him for seven years. After the seven 
years were over he had said all that he had to say, for his conversation was 
limited, and he determined to return to his own castle. When he arrived 
he saw the children playing in the garden. 

"What are you doing there?" he cried in a very gruff voice, and the 
children ran away. 

"My own garden is my own garden," said the Giant; "anyone can 
understand that, and I will allow nobody to play in it but myself." So 
he built a high wall all round it, and put up a notice-board. 



TRESPASSERS 

WILL BE 
PROSECUTED 



He was a very selfish Giant. * 

The poor children had now nowhere to play. They tried to play on 
the road, but the road was very dusty and full of hard stones, and they 
did not like it. They used to wander round the high wall when their les- 
sons were over, and talk about the beautiful garden inside. "How happy 
we were there," they said to each other. 

Then the Spring came, and all over the country there were little 
blossoms and little birds. Only in the garden of the Selfish Giant it was 
still winter. The birds did not care to sing in it, as there were no chil- 
dren, and the trees forgot to blossom. Once a beautiful flower put its 
head out from the grass, but when it saw the notice-board it was so sorry 
for the children that it slipped back into the ground again, and went off 
to sleep. The only people who were pleased were the Snow and the 
Frost. "Spring has forgotten this garden," they cried, "so we will live 
here all the year round." The Snow covered up the grass with her great 
white cloak, and the Frost painted all the trees silver. Then they invited 
the North Wind to stay with them, and he came. He was wrapped in furs, 
and he roared all day about the garden, and blew the chimney-pots down. 
"This is a delightful spot," he said; "we must ask the Hail on a visit.". 
So the Hail came. Every day for three hours he rattled on the roof of 
the castle till he broke most qf the slates, and then he ran round and 
round the garden as fast as he could go. Be was dressed in gray, and 
his breath was like ice. 



GREAT BRITAIN WILDE 209 

*1 can -not understand why the Spring is so late in coming," said the 
Selfish Giant, as he sat at the window and looked out at his cold white 
rgarden; "I hope there will be a change in the weather." 

Bift the Spring never came, nor the Summer. The Autumn gave golden 
fruit to every garden, but to the Giant's garden she gave none. "He is too 
selfish," she said. So it was always Winter there, and the North Wind, 
and the Hail, and the Frost, and the Snow danced about through the 
trees. 

One morning the Giant was lying awake in bed when he heard some 
lovely music. It sounded so sweet to his cars that he thought it must be 
the King's musicians passing by. It was really only a little linnet singing 
outside his window, but it was so long since he had heard a bird sing 
in his garden that it seemed to him to be the most beautiful music in the 
world. Then the Hail stopped dancing over his head, and the North Wind 
peased roaring, and a delicious perfume came to him through the open 
casement "I believe the Spring has come at last," said the Giant j and he 
jumped out of bed and looked out. 

What did he gee? 

He saw a most wonderful sight. Through a little hole in the wall the 
children had crept in, and they were sitting in the branches of the trees. 
In every tree, that he could see there was a little child. And the trees 
were so glad tp have the children back again that they had covered them- 
selves with blossoms, and were waving their arms gently above the chil- 
dren's heads. The birds were flying about and twittering with delight, and 
the flowers were looking up through the green grass and laughing. It 
was a lovely scene, only in one corner it was still winter. It was the 
farthest corner of the garden, and in it was standing a little boy. He 
was so small that he could not reach up to the branches of the tree, and 
he was wandering all round it, crying bitterly. The poor tree was still 
quite covered with frost and snow, and the North Wind was blowing and 
roaring above it. "Climb up, little boy," said the Tree, and it bent its 
branches down as low as it could; but the boy was too tiny. 

And the Giant's heart melted as he looked out. "How selfish I have 
been!" he said; "now I know why the Spring would not come here. I 
will put that poor little boy on the top of the tree, and then I will knock 
down the wall, and my garden shall be the children's playground for 
ever and ever." He was really very sorry for what he had done. 

So he crept downstairs and opened the front door quite softly, and went 
out into the garden. But when the children saw him they were so fright- 
ened that they all ran away, and the garden became winter again. Only 
the little boy did not run, for his eyes were so full of tears that he did 
not see the Giant coming. And the Giant stole up behind him and took 
him gently in his hand, and put him up into the tree. And the .tree broke 
at once into blossoms, and the birds came and sang on it, and the little 



GREAT SHORT STORIES OF THE WORLD 

boy stretched out his two arms and flung them round the Giant's neck, 
and kissed him. And the other children, when they saw that the Giant 
Was not wicked any longer, came running back, and with them came 
the Spring. "It is your garden now, little children," said the Giant, and 
he took a great axe and knocked down the wall. And when the people 
were going to market at twelve o'clock they found the Giant playing 
with the children in the most beautiful garden they had ever seen. 

All day long they played, and in the evening they came to the Giant 
to bid him good-bye. 

"But where is your little companion?" he said: "the boy I put into 
the tree." The Giant loved him the best because he had kissed him. 
, "We don't know," answered the children; "he has gone away." 

"You must tell him to be sure and come here to-morrow," said the 
Giant. But the children said that they did not know where he lived, and 
had never seen him before; and the Giant felt very sad. 

Every afternoon, when school was over, the children came and played 
with the Giant. But the little boy whom the Giant loved was never seen 
again. The Giant was very kind to all the children, yet he longed for 
his first little friend, and often spoke of him. "How I would like to see 
him!" he used to say. 

Years went over, and the Giant grew very old and feeble. He could 
not play about any more, so he sat in a huge armchair, and watched the 
children at their games, and admired his garden. "I have many beautiful 
flowers," he said; "but the children are the most beautiful flowers of 
all." 

One winter morning he looked out of his window as he was dressing. 
He did not hate the Winter now, for he knew that it was merely the 
Spring asleep, and that the flowers were resting. 

Suddenly he rubbed his eyes in wonder, and looked and looked. It cer- 
tainly was a marvelous sight. In the farthest corner of the garden was a 
tree quite covered with lovely white blossoms. Its branches were all golden, 
and silver fruit hung down from them, and underneath it stood the 
little boy he had loved. 

Downstairs ran the Giant in great joy, and out into the garden. He 
hastened across the grass, and came near to the child. And when he came 
quite close his face grew red with anger, and he said, "Who hath dared 
to wound thee?" For on the palms of the child's hands were the prints 
of two nails, and the prints of two nails were on the little feet. 

"Who hath dared to wound thee?" cried the Giant; "tell me, that I 
may take my big sword and slay him." 

"Nay!" answered the child; "but these are the wounds of Love." 

"Who art thou?" said the Giant, and a strange awe fell on him, and 
he knelt before the little child. 

And the child smiled on the Giant, and said to him, "You let me play 



GREAT BRITAIN WILDE ' 211 

once in your garden, to-day you shall come with me to my garden, which* 
is Paradise." 

And when the children ran in that afternoon, they found the Giant 
lying* dead under the tree, all covered with white blossoms. 



GEORGE MOORE 

(1852-) 

GEORGE MOORE was born in County Mayo, in 1852, of a well- 
to-do family. At an early age he wished to become a painter, 
and went to Paris for that purpose. Finding that he had no real 
gift for painting, he turned to literature. His earliest efforts were 
plays and imitative verses. He spent the period between 1872 and 
1882 in Paris, and when he returned to London to earn his liveli- 
hood, he was a confirmed Naturalist of the school of Zola. Under 
Zola's influence he wrote his first successful novel, A Mummer's 
Wife. During the eighties and nineties he wrote several novels 
of contemporary English and Irish life, including his masterpiece, 
Esther Waters. Most of Moore's short stories are in the volume 
The Unlilled Field (1903). These are beautifully written studies 
of Irish life. 

Julia CahiWs Curse is reprinted from The Untilled Field, by 
permission of the author and the publisher, William Heinemann. 
Copyright, 1903, 



JULIA CAHILL'S CURSE 

"A ND what has become of Margaret?" 

^rjJL "Ah, didn't her mother send her to America as soon as the 
baby was born? Once a woman is wake here she has to go. Hadn't Julia 
to go in the end, and she the only one that ever said she didn't mind 
the priest?" 

" Julia who?" said I. 

"Julia Cahill." 

The name struck my fancy, and I asked the driver to tell me her story. 

"Wasn't it Father Madden who had her put out of the parish, but she 
put her curse on it, and it's on it to this day." 

"Do you believe in curses?" 

"Bedad I do, sir. It's a terrible thing to put a curse on a man, and 
the curse that Julia put on Father Madden's parish was a bad one, the 
divil a worse. The sun was up at the time, and she on the hilltop raising 
both her hands. And the curse she put on the parish was that every year 



an GREAT SHORT STORIES OF THE WORLD 

a roof must fall in and a family go to America. That was the curse, 
your honor, and every word of it has come true. You'll see for yourself 
as soon as we cross the mearing." 

"And what has become of Julia's baby?" 

"I never heard she had one, sir." 

He flicked his horse pensively with his whip, and it seemed to me that 
the disbelief I had expressed in the power of the curse disinclined him 
for further conversation. 

"But," I said, "who is Julia Cahill, anfl how did she get the power 
to put a curse upon the village?" 

"Didn't she go into the mountains every night to meet the fairies, 
and who else could've given her the power to put a curse upon the 
village?" 

"But she couldn't walk so far in one evening." 

"Them that's in league with the fairies can walk that far and much 
farther in an evening, your honor. A shepherd saw her; and you'll see 
the ruins of the cabins for yourself as soon as we cross the mearing, and 
I'll show you the cabin of the blind woman that Julia lived with before 
she went away." 

"And how long is it since she went?" 

"About twenty year, and there hasn't been a girl the like of her in 
these parts since. I was only a gossoon at the time, but Fve^heard tell she 
Was as tall as I'm myself, and as straight as a poplar. She walked with 
a little swing in her walk, so that all the boys used to be looking after 
her, and she had fine black eyes, sir, and she was nearly always laughing. 
Father Madden had just come to the parish; and there was courting in 
these parts then, for aren't we the same as other people we'd like to 
go out with a girl well enough if it was the custom of the country. 
Father Madden put down the ball alley because he said the boys stayed 
there instead of going into Mass, and he put down the cross-road dances 
because he said dancing was the cause of many a bastard, and he wanted 
none in his parish. Now there was no dancer like Julia; the boys used 
to gather about to see her dance, and whoever walked with her under 
the hedges in the summer could never think about another woman. The 
village was cracked about her. There was fighting, so I suppose the priest 
was right: he had to get rid of her. But I think he mightn't have been as 
hard on her as he was. 

"One evening he went down to the house. Julia's people were well- 
to-do people, they kept a grocery-store in the village; and when he came 
into the shop ^vho should be there but the richest farmer in the country, 
Michael Moran by name, trying to get Julia for his wife. He didn't 
go straight to Julia, and that's what swept him. There are two counters 
in that shop, and Julia was at the one on the left hand as you go in. 
And many's the pound she had made for her parents at that counter. 



GREAT BRITAIN MOORE 213 

Michael Moran says to the father, 'Now, what fortune are you going to 
give with Julia?' And the father says there was many a man who would 
take her without any; and that's how they spoke, and Julia listening 
quietly all the while at the opposite counter. For Michael didn't- know 
what a spirited girl she was, but went on arguing till he got the father 
to say fifty pounds, and thinking he had got him so far he said, Til 
never drop a flap to her unless you give the two heifers.' Julia never said 
a word, she just sat listening. It was then that the priest came in. And 
over he goes to Julia. 'And now,* says he, 'aren't you proud to hear that 
you'll have such a fine fortune, and it's I that'll be glad to see you mar- 
ried, for I can't have any more of your goings-on in my parish. You're 
the encouragement of the dancing and courting here, but I'm going to 
put an end to it.' Julia didn't answer a word, and he went over to them 
that were arguing about the sixty pounds. 'Now, why not make it fifty- 
five?' says he. So the father agreed to that, since the priest had said it, and 
all three of them thought the marriage was settled. 'Now what will you 
be taking, Father Tom?' says Cahill, 'and you, Michael?' Sorra one of 
them thought of asking her if she was pleased with Michael; but little 
did they know what was passing in her mind, and when they came over 
to the counter to tell her what they had settled, she said, 'Well, I've just 
been listening, to you, and 'tis well for you to be wasting your time talk- 
ing about me^' and she tossed her head, saying she would just pick the 
boy out of the parish that pleased her best. And what angered the priest 
most of all was her way of saying it that the boy that would marry 
her would be marrying herself and not the money that would be paid 
when the book was signed or when the first baby was born. Now it was 
agin girls marrying according to their fancy that Father Madden had 
set himself. He had said in his sermon the Sunday before that young 
people shouldn't be allowed out by themselves at all, but that the parents 
should make up the marriages for them. And he went fairly wild when 
Julia told him the example she was going to set. He tried to keep his 
temper, sir, but it was getting the better of him all the while. And Julia 
said, 'My boy isn't in the parish now, but maybe he is on his way here, 
and he may be here to-morrow or the next day.' And when Julia's father 
heard her speak like that he knew that no one would turn her from what 
she was saying, and he said, 'Michael Moran, my good man, you may 
go your way: you will never get her.' Then he went back to hear what 
Julia was saying to the priest, but it was the priest that was talking. 'Do 
you think,' says he, 'I am going to let you go on turning the head of 
every boy in the parish? Do you think,' says he, 'I'm going to see you galli- 
vanting with one and then with the other? Do you think I am going to 
see fighting and quarreling for your like? Do you think I am going 
to hear stories like I heard last week about poor Patsy Carey, who has 
gone out of his mind, they say, on account of your treatment? No,' says 



214 GREAT SHORT STORIES OF THE WORLD 

he, C P11 have no more of that. I'll have you but of my parish, or Pll 
have you married. 9 Julia didn't answer the priest; she tossed her head, 
and went on making up parcels of tea and sugar, and getting the steps 
and taking down candles, though she didn't want them, just to show the 
priest that she didn't mind what he was saying. And all the while her 
father trembling, not knowing what would happen, for the priest had a 
big stick, and there was no saying that he wouldn't strike her. Cahill 
tried to quiet the priest, he promising him that Julia shouldn't go out 
any more in the evenings, and bedad, sir, she was out the same evening 
with a young man and the priest saw them, and the next evening she 
was out with another and the priest saw them, nor was she minded at 
the end of the month to marry any of them. Then the priest went .down 
to the shop to speak to her a second time, and he went down again a third 
time, though what he said the third time no one knows, no one being there 
at the time. And next Sunday he spoke out, saying that a disobedient 
daughter would have the worst devil in hell to attend on her. I've heard 
tell that he called her the evil spirit that set men mad. But most of the 
people that were there are dead or gone to America, and no one rightly 
knows what he did say, only that the words came out of his mouth, and 
the people when they saw Julia crossed themselves, and even the boys 
that were most mad after Julia ;were afraid to speak to her. Cahill had 
to put her out." 

"Do you mean to say that the father put his daughter out?" 

"Sure, didn't the priest threaten to turn him into a rabbit if he didn't, 
and no one in the parish would speak to Julia, they were so afraid of 
Father Madden, and if it hadn't been for the blind woman that I was 
speaking about a while ago, sir, it is to the Poor House she'd have to 
go. The blind woman has a little cabin at the edge of the bog I'll point 
it out to you, sir; we do be passing it by and she was with the blind 
woman for nearly two years disowned by her own father. Her clothes 
wore out, but she was as beautiful without them as with them. The boys 
were told not to look back, but sure they couldn't help it. 

"Ah, it was a long while before Father Madden could get shut of her. 
The blind woman said she wouldn't see Julia thrown out on the road- 
side, and she was as good as her word for well-nigh two years, till Julia 
went to America, so some do be saying, sir, whilst others do be saying 
She joined the fairies. But 'tis for sure, sir, that the day she left the 
parish Pat Quinn heard a knocking at his window and somebody asking 
if he would lend his cart to go to the railway station. Pat was a heavy 
sleeper and he didn't get up, and it is thought that it was Julia who wanted 
Pat's cart to take her to die station; it's a good ten mile; but she got 
there all the same!" 

"You said something about a curse?" 

<( YeS| sir. You'll see the hill presently. -And a man who was taking 



GREAT BRITAIN MOORE 215 

some sheep to the fair saw her there. The sun was just getting up and he 
saw her cursing the village, raising both her hands, sir, up to the sun, 
and since that curse was spoken every year a roof has. fallen in, sometimes 
two or three." 

I could see he believed the story, and for the moment I, too, believed 
in an outcast Venus becoming the evil spirit of a village that would not 
accept her as divine. 

"Look, sir, the woman coming down the road is Bridget Coyne. And 
that's her house," he said, and we passed a house built of loose stone with- 
out mortar, but a little better than the mud cabins I had seen in Father 
MacTurnan's parish. 

"And now, sir, you will see the loneliest parish in Ireland." 

And I noticed that though the land was good, there seemed to be few 
people on it, and, what was more significant, that the untilled fields were 
the ruins, for they were not the cold ruins of twenty, or thirty, or forty 
years ago when the people were evicted and their tillage turned into 
pasture the ruins I saw were the ruins of cabins that had been lately 
abandoned, and I said: 

"It wasn't the landlord who evicted these people." 

"Ah, it's the landlord who would be glad to have them back, but there's 
no getting them back. Every one here will have to go, and 'tis said that 
the priest will* say Mass in an empty chapel, sorra a one will be there but 
Bridget, and she'll be the last he'll give communion to. It's said, your 
honor, that Julia has been seen in America, and I'm going there this 
autumn. You may be sure I'll keep a lookout for her." 

"But all this is twenty years ago. You won't know her. A woman 
changes a good deal in twenty years." 

"There will be no change in her, your honor. Sure, hasn't she been 
with the fairies?" 



ARTHUR MORRISON 



ARTHUR MORRISON is one of the few writers of his period for 
he belongs to the "School" of the Nineties whose work is still 
widely popular. He is known almost exclusively for his small vol- 
ume of stories called Tales of Mean Streets^ from which That 
Brute Simmons has been selected. The entire collection, says 
Mencken, reveals "the amazing life of the London East End, the 
sewer of England and of Christendom." 

Reprinted from Tales of Mean Streets, Methuen, 1894, by 
permission of the author and publishers.. 



216 GREAT SHORT STORIES OF THE WORLD 



THAT BRUTE SIMMONS 

SIMMONS'S infamous behavior toward his wife is still matter for 
profound wonderment among the neighbors. The other women had 
all along regarded him as a model husband, and certainly Mrs. Sim* 
mons was a most conscientious wife. She toiled and slaved for that man, 
as any woman in the whole street would have maintained, far more than 
any husband had a right to expect. And now this was what she got 
for it. Perhaps he had suddenly gone mad. 

Before she married Simmons, Mrs. Simmons had been the widowed 
Mrs. Ford. Ford had got a berth as donkey-man on a tramp steamer, 
and that steamer had gone down with all hands off the cape a judg- 
ment, the widow woman feared, for long years of contumacy which 
had culminated in the wickedness of taking to the sea, and taking to it 
as a donkey-man, an immeasurable fall for a capable engine-fitter. 
Twelve years as Mrs. Ford had left her still childless, and childless she 
remained as Mrs. Simmons. 

As for Simmons, he, it was held, was fortunate in that capable wife. 
He was a moderately good carpenter and joiner, but no man of the 
world, and he wanted to be one. Nobody could tell what might not 
have happened to Tommy Simmons if there had been no Mrs. Simmons 
to take care of him. He was a meek and quiet man, with a boyish face 
and sparse, limp whiskers. He had no vices (even his pipe departed him 
after his marriage), and Mrs. Simmons had ingrafted on him divers 
exotic virtues. He went solemnly to chapel every Sunday, under a tall 
hat, and put a penny one returned to him for the purpose out of 
his week's wages in the plate. Then, Mrs. Simmons overseeing, he took 
off his best clothes and brushed them with solicitude and pains. On Satur- 
day afternoons he cleaned the knives, the forks, the boots, the kettles 
and the windows, patiently and conscientiously. On Tuesday evenings 
he took the clothes to the mangling. And on Saturday nights he attended 
Mrs. Simmons in her marketing, to carry the parcels. ' 

Mrs. Simmons's own virtues were native and numerous. She was a 
wonderful manager. Every penny of Tommy's thirty-six or thirty-eight 
shillings a week was bestowed to the greatest advantage, and Tommy 
never ventured to guess how much of it she saved. Her cleanliness in 
housewifery was distracting to behold. She met Simmons at the front 
door whenever he came home, and then and there he changed his boots 
for slippers, balancing himself painfully on alternate feet on the cold 
flags. This was because she scrubbed the passage and doorstep turn about 
with the wife of the downstairs family, and because the stair-carpet was 
her own. She vigilantly supervised her husband all through the process of 
"cleaning himself" after work, so as to come between her walls and 



GREAT BRITAIN MORRISON 217 

the possibility of random splashes; and if, in spite of her diligence, a 
spot remained to tell the tale, she was at pains to impress the fact on 
Simmons's memory, and to set forth at length all the circumstances of 
his ungrateful selfishness. In the beginning she had always escorted him 
to the ready-made clothes shop, and had selected and paid for his clothes 
for the reason that men are such perfect fools, and shopkeepers do 
as they like with them. But she presently improved on that. She found 
a man selling cheap remnants at a street corner, and straightway she 
conceived the idea of making Simmons's clothes herself. Decision was 
one of her virtues, and a suit of uproarious check tweeds was begun 
that afternoon from the pattern furnished by an old one. More: it 
was finished by Sunday, when Simmons, overcome by astonishment at 
the feat, was indued in it, and pushed off to chapel ere he could recover 
his senses. The things were not altogether comfortable, he found; the 
trousers clung tight against his shins, but hung loose behind his heels; 
and when he sat, it was on a wilderness of hard folds and seams. Also 
his waistcoat collar tickled his nape, but his coat collar went straining 
across from shoulder to shoulder, while the main garment bagged gen- 
erously below his waist. Use made a habit of his discomfort, but it never 
reconciled him to the chaff of his shopmates; for as Mrs. Simmons elabo- 
rated successive suits, each one modeled on the last, the primal accidents 
of her design Seveloped into principles, and grew even bolder and more 
hideously pronounced. It was vain for Simmons to hint as hint he did 
that he shouldn't like her to overwork herself, tailoring being bad 
for the eyes, and there was a new tailor's in the Mile End Road, very 
cheap, where . . . "Ho yus," she retorted, "you're very consid'rit I 
dessay sittin' there actin' a livin' lie before your own wife, Thomas 
Simmons, as though I couldn't see through you like a book; a lot you care 
about overworkin' me as long as your turn's served throwin' away money 
like dirt in the street on a lot o' swindling tailors an' me workin' an* 
slavin' 'ere to save a 'apenny an' this is my return for it; any one 'ud 
think you could pick up money in the 'orseroad an' I b'lieve I'd be thought 
better of if I laid in bed all day like some would, that I do." So that 
Thomas Simmons avoided the subject, nor even murmured when she 
resolved to cut his hair. 

So his placid fortune endured for years. Then there came a golden 
summer evening when Mrs. Simmons betook herself with a basket to 
do some small shopping, and Simmons was left at home. He washed and 
put away the tea-things, and then he fell to meditating pri a new pair _ 
of trousers, finished that day and hanging behind the parlor door. 
There they hung, in all their decent innocence of shape in the seat, and 
they were shorter of leg, longer of waist, and wilder of pattern than 
he had ever worn before. And as he looked on them the small devil "of 
original sin awoke and clamored in his breast. He was ashamed of it, 



2i8 -GREAT SHORT STORIES OP THE WORLD 

of course, for well he knew the gratitude he owed his wife for those 
same trousers, among other blessings. Still, there the small devil was, 
and the small devil was fertile in base suggestions, and could net be 
kept from hinting at the new crop of workshop gibes that would spring 
at Tommy's first public appearance in such things. 

"Pitch 'em in the dust-bin!" said the small devil, at last; "it's all 
they're fit for." 

Simmons turned away in sheer horror of his wicked self, and for a 
moment thought of washing the tea-things over again by way of disci- 
pline. Then he made for the back room, but saw from the landing that 
the front door was standing open, probably by the fault of the child 
downstairs. Now, a front door standing open was a thing that Mrs. 
Simmons would not abide; it looked low. So Simmons went down, that 
she might not be wroth with him for the thing when she came back; 
and, as he shut the' door, he looked forth into the street. 

A man was loitering on the pavement, and prying curiously about the 
door. His face was tanned, his hands were deep in the pockets of 
his unbraced blue trousers, and well back on his head he wore the 
high-crowned peaked cap topped with a knob of wool, which is affected 
by Jack ashore about the docks. He lurched a step nearer to the door, 
and: "Mrs. Ford ain't in, is she?" he said. 

Simmons stared at him for a matter of five seconds, Snd then said: 
"Eh?" 

"Mrs. Ford as was, then Simmons now, ain't it?" 

He said this with a furtive leer that Simmons neither liked nor un- 
derstood. 

"No," said Simmons, "she ain't in now.'* 

"You ain't her 'usband, are ye?" 

"Yus." 

The man took his pipe from his mouth, and grinned silently and long. 
"Blimy," he said, at length, "you look the sort o' bloke she'd like." And 
with that he grinned again. Then, seeing that Simmons made ready to 
shut the door, he put a foot on the sill and a hand against the panel. 
"Don't be in a 'urry, matey," he said; "I come 'ere t'ave a little talk 
ivith you, man to man, d'ye see?" And he frowned fiercely. 

nons felt uncomfortable, but the door would not shut, SO 
itjer want?" he asked. "I dunno you." 

excuse the liberty, I'll interdooce meself , in a manner 
ing. 1 * AlfctSuched his cap with a bob of mock humility. "I'm 
Bob'Bjjfd," he^aid^come back out o' kingdom-come, so to say. Me 
as $et 8]jm ( m&i the 'Mooltan' safe dead five years gone. I come 

During this SJj8w" Thomas Simmons's jaw was dropping lower and 
lower. At th^i* f it he poked his fingers up through his hair, looked 




220 GREAT SHORT STORIES OF THE WORLI* 

"Ah!" Ford pursued, "she ain't got no milder. An', my davy, wot 
a jore!" 

Simmons began to feel that this was no longer his business. Plainly, 
'Anner was this other man's wife, and he was bound in honor to 
acknowledge the fact. The small devil put it to him as a matter of duty. 

"Well," said Ford, suddenly, "time's short, an' this ain't business. 
I won't be 'ard on you, matey. I ought prop'ly to stand on my rights, 
but seein' as you're a well-meanin' young man, so to speak, an' all settled 
an' a-livin 'ere quiet an' matrimonual, I'll" this with a burst of gen- 
erosity "damme, yus, I'll compound the felony, an* take me 'ook. 
Come, I'll name a figure, as man to man, fust an' last, no less an' no 
more. Five pound does it." 

Simmons hadn't five pounds he hadn't even jfive pence and he said 
so. "An' I wouldn't think for to come between a man an' 'is wife," 
he added, "not on no account. It may be rough ion me, but it's a dooty. . 
/'//'ook it." 

"No," said Ford, hastily, clutching Simmons by the arm. "don't do 
that. I'll make it a bit cheaper. Say three quid come, that's reasonable, 
ain't it? Three quid ain't much compensation for me goin' away for- 
ever where the stormy winds do blow, so to say an' never as much 
as seein' me own wife agin for bettor nor wuss. Between man an* man 
now three quid; an' I'll shunt. That's fair, ain't it?" 

"Of course it's fair," Simmons replied, effusively. "It's*more'n fair; 
it's noble downright noble, / call it. But I ain't goin' to take a mean 
advantage o' your good-'artedness, Mr. Ford. She's your wife, an' I 
oughtn't to 'a' come between you. I apologize. You stop an' 'ave yer 
proper rights. It's me as ought to shunt, an' I will." And he made a step 
toward the door. 

" 'Old on," quoth Ford, and got between Simmons and the door; 
"don't do things rash. Look wot a loss it'll be to you with no 'ome to go 
to, an' nobody to look after ye, an' all that. It'll be dreadful. Say a 
couple there, we won't quarrel, jest a single quid, between man an' man, 
an' I'll stand a pot o' the money. You can easy raise a quid the clock 
'ud pretty nigh do it. A quid does it; an' I'll " 

There was a loud double-knock at the front door. In the East End 
a double-knock is always for the upstairs lodgers. 
' Bob Ford, apprehensively. 

Simmons in reply, and he made a rush for 



. 



f |X "Bob Ford heafi^ri A open the front door. Then he went to the window, 
and ju^ftelow nfi^ saw the crown of a bonnet. It vanished, and 
borne jto jln^tf f ok^v^thin the door there fell upon his ear the sound 

g. ye gq^Jii^v with no 'at?" asked the voice, sharply. 



GREAT BRITAIN MORRISON . 221 

"Awright, 'Anner there's there's somebody upstairs to sec you," 
Simmons answered. And, as Bob Ford could see, a man went scuttling 
down the street in the gathering dusk. And behold, it was Thomas 
S millions. * 

Ford reached the landing in three strides. His wife was still at the 
front door, staring after Simmons. He flung into the back room, threw 
open the window, dropped from the wash-house roof into the back- 
yard, scrambled desperately over the fence, and disappeared into the 
gloom. He was seen by no living soul. And that is why Simmons's base 
desertion under his wife's very eyes, too is still an astonishment to 
the neighbors. 



V. R. NARtA* 

Germany 



INTRODUCTION 

THE contribution of German writers to the technical development 
and the sum total of the world's stories has been especially rich. 
Owing doubtless to the political vicissitudes of the German-speaking peo- 
ples, and to the widely varying elements that combined through the ages 
to produce it, the short-story literature of the Germans offers a greater- 
diversity in subject-matter and treatment than that of France or Italy 
or Spain. There is a substratum of pre-Christian folklore and tradition 
that has persisted through the centuries, lending to the stories of even the 
most recent writers a certain air of romance and mystery that is often 
lacking among the best productions of other lands. 

The earliest specimen of German vernacular literature, the Lay of 
Hildebrandy a precious document dating from the early Ninth Century, 
happens to be a well-told short story. The author was an Austrian, but 
it must be remembered that German literature as a whole embraces 
certain adjacent countries which, like parts of Switzerland and Austria, 
are essentially German, racially and intellectually. 

As early as the second decade of the Eleventh Century there existed 
a fairly well-defined fiction form. Ruodlieb, though it is too long for in- 
clusion in this volume, is a genuine long-short story. It was written about 
the year 1030. Not long afterward came the romances and Lays of 
chivalry, like the Gudrun, and somewhat later The Lay of the Nibelungs. 
During the Twelfth and Thirteenth Centuries the courtly romances 
flourished; it was the age of the great Minnesingers, Wolfram von 
Eschenbach, Hartmann von Aue, and Gottfried von Strassburg, all of 
whom drew largely on France for their plots and characters. It is 
possible to select from the romances of these poets an infinity of episodes, 
like The Coming of Gandin (which appears in the following pages), 
which are true short stories. 

With the decline of Chivalry and the growth of the merchant classes, 
the courtly tales languished. They gave way to such realistic work as 
Wernher the Gardner's Fanner Helmbrecht (1250), and Reynard the 
Fox which, though in fable-form, was a realistic work. This was fol- 
lowed by several imitations. Passing rapidly now; to the period of the 

222 



GERMANY INTRODUCTION 223 

Reformation, we find a growing literature of and by tfke jpeople-^rof ten 
formless and rambling like Brant's Ship of Fools, v^hjbn^cu^4 fr&m th*e 
early Sixteenth Century. Far better artistically is Wickram's Galmy 
(15^9), usually regarded as the first German novel. 

The same century was especially rich in the collections of episodes 
like the celebrated Till Eulensfiegel, Pauli's Jest and Earnest, and the 
Faust chapbooks. These popular works were accumulations of folklore, 
history, gossip, and the odds and ends of other literatures. The Italian 
Renaissance had also affected .Germany, and influences from France 
continued as before. Boccaccio and Rabelais, together with their fol- 
lowers and imitators, were well-known by the end of the Sixteenth 
Century. 

Of a more original character is the work of Moscherosch, Grimmel- 
hausen and his follower, Christian Weise. Grimmelhausen was the 
Creator of the famous character of Simplicissimus. The Adventures of 
that remarkable person are still read with interest. 

Under the influence of the pseudo-classical Gottsched, about the mid- 
dle of the Eighteenth Century, a new era dawned. Its most important 
contribution was the short verse fable and tale, which was perfected by 
Gellert, though others, like Lessing, tried their hand at it. By the end 
of the century, the Storm and Stress and later the Romantic movements, 
helped on byGoethe and Schiller, the Schlegels and several others, pre- 
pared the way for the first of the moderns, Hauff and Hoffmann and 
Zschokke. 

The Nineteenth Century produced a large number of romantic writers 
who, in common with the French, evolved a highly finished type of 
short story. Supreme among these writers were Keller and Heyse, though 
the novelists Freytag, Auerbach, Spielhagen, Baumbach, and Reuter (to 
mention only a few) all wrote short tales. Toward the end of the cen- 
tury the short story became with certain writers, like Ludwig Thoma and 
others, the vehicle for the interpretation of peasant life, while with 
writers like Schnitzler and Bahr, Hartleben and Wedekind, it was 
largely an expression of the Time Spirit of all Europe. 

The more recent writers, like Heinrich and Thomas Mann, Zweig, 
Wassermann, Sternheim and Kellermann are developing new varieties 
of form, and reveal the influence of the Russians to a marked extent. 



THE LAY OF HILDEBRAND 

(Anonymous: Early 9th Century, A.D.) 

THE fragmentary Lay of Hildebrand is the very earliest surviving 
specimen of literature in the German language. Beyond the fact 



GREAT SHORT STORIES OF THE: WORLD* 

that he was an Austrian, nothing is known of the writer. The frag" 
ment consists of sixty-nine lines of verse, and relates tribe greater 
part of an incident which belongs to the much longer Dietrich 
saga. Fortunately, what we possess of The Lay of Hildebrand is < 
really, so far as it goes, a short story in itself. It bears a striking 
resemblance to the old story of Sohrab and Rustem. 

The present version is reprinted from W. Taylor's Historic S#r- 
vey of German Poetry , etc., London, 1830. There is no title in 
the original. 



THE LAY OF HILDEBRAND 

I HAVE heard say that Hildebrand and Amelung agreed to go on a 
warlike expedition. These kinsmen made ready their horses, prepared 
their .war-shirts and girded on their chain-hiked swords. 

As they rode to the meeting of heroes Hildebrand, Hildebrand's son 
(he was one of the wise and questioned in few words), said to his com- 
panion: "If thou wilt tell me who was thy father and of what people 
thou art sprung, I will give thee three garments." 

"I am a child of the Huns," answered Amelung, "and our old people 
have told me that my father's name was Hildebrand. In tf ormer times 
he came from the east, flying the enmity of Otto-asa, and put himself 
with Theodoric and his blades. 

"He left behind in the land a bride in childbed and a child without 
inheritance; and went to the south with Theodoric, where he stood many 
brunts. 

"He was a man without connections, not a match for Otto-asa; but 
he was a good soldier, while he strove under Theodoric, acquired do- 
mains, was his people's father, and dear to brave men. I do not believe 
that he is living." 

"My worthy god Irmin in heaven above," quoth Hildebrand, "do not 
let me fight with so near a kinsman." Then he untwisted golden brace- 
lets from his arm, and imperial rings which his king had given him, 
saying: "This I give thee not without good will. I am thy father Hilde- 
brand." 

Amelung answered: "With willing soul be gifts taken, tit for tat. 
Thou art not of his age. Craftily thou seekest to deceive % me: but I will 
convict thee out of thy own mouth. Thou art so advanced in years, and 
thou must be older than he. And shipwrecked men told me that he died 
by the Wendel-Sea in the west." 

Then Hildebrand answered: "I well see thou hast in thy breast no 
Lord God, and carest nought for his kingdom. Go now, so God be 
willing," said Hildebrand; "I would we were parted. Sixty summers 



GERMANY ANONYMOUS 225 

have I wandered out of my country, and sometimes I have joined archers 
but in no borough did ever fasten my legs: and now my nearest kinsman 
would aim his battle-ax at my neck, or I must bind his legs. Yet you may 
now* easily, if your valor is up, win the spoils of the dead from one you 
should venerate, if you have any sense of right. He would be a base 
Ostrogoth," continued Hildebrand, "who should refuse thee battle, seeing 
thou so greatly desirest it. Good commoners, be judges which it is who 
flinches in the field, and which it is who ought to have our two coats 
of mail." 

Then they let them fly their ashen spears with such force that they 
stuck in the shields. Then they struck together their stone axes, and up- 
lifted hostilely their white shields, till their loins and bellies quivered. 

But the lady Utta rushed in between them: "I know," said she, cc the 
cross of gold which I gave him for his shield; this is my Hildebrand. 
You, Amelung, sheath your sword; this is your father." 

Then she led both champions into her hall, and gave them meat and 
wine and many embraces. 



'SIEGFRIED AND KRIEMHILD 

(Anonymous: End of 1 2th Century) 

THE unknown writer of the NibelungenUedy or Lay of the Ni- 
beltings^ was an Austrian. Nothing is known of him except that 
he wrote his celebrated ballad-epic toward the end of the Twelfth 
Century. Rediscovered toward the end of the Eighteenth Century, 
the Lay is, in the words of Prof. Calvin Thomas, "a powerful 
poem and a human document of many-sided interest." The compo- 
nent episodes are related with great vivacity, and the characters de- 
veloped by means of a powerful imagination. The Lay was founded 
upon earlier versions of various legends, traditions, and songs that 
were current in pre-Christian times. Many of the same stories are 
found in the two Icelandic Ed das and in the Volsunga Saga. 

The present version comprises two chapters, or "Adventures" 
(the fourth and fifth) of The Pall of the Nifolungs, translated 
by Margaret Armour, Everyman's Library. Reprinted by permission 
of the publishers, J. M, Dent and Sons. There is no title in the 
original* 



3*6 GREAT SHORT STORIES OF THE WORLD? 

SIEGFRIED AND KRIEMHILD 
(From The Lay of the Nibelungs) 

r OW there were brought into Gunther's land strange tidings by 
envoys sent from afar by foreign princes that hated him; and 
when they heard the message they were troubled. The kings were as I 
will tell you: Ludger of the Saxons, a high and mighty prince; and 
Ludgast of Denmark, and many bold warriors with them. 

These envoys, sent by his f oemen, came into Gunther's land, and the 
strangers were asked their business, and brought before the king. 

The king greeted them fair, and said, "I know not who hath sent you 
hither, and would hear it" So spake the good king, and they greatly 
feared his wrath. 

"If thou wilt have our message, O king, we will teK it plain, and 
name thee the princes that have sent us. They are Ludgast and Ludger, 
and will come against thee into thy land. Thou art fallen in their dis- 
pleasure, and we know that they bear thee bitter hate. They come hither 
with an armed force to Worms by the Rhine they and their warriors. 
Wherefore be warned. Inside of twelve days they will ride. If thou hast 
trusty friends, let it appear now; let them help thee to kegp thy castles 
and thy country, for, or long, there will be smiting of helmets and 
shields here. Or wouldst thou treat with them, then declare it straight- 
way, that thy f oemen come not nigh thee to thy hurt, and that goodly 
knights perish not thereby." 

"Tarry a while ye shall have answer betimes that I may bethink 
me," said the good king. "If I have true liegemen, I will not hide it 
from them, but will take counsel with them on this hard matter." 

Heavy enow of his cheer was Gunther. He pondered the message 
secretly in his heart, and summoned Hagen, and others of his men, and 
sent to the court in haste for Gernot. His best knights drew round him, 
and he said, "Without cause, and with a mighty array, foemen come 
hither against us into our land." 

Thereto answered Gernot, a hardy and bold warrior, "We shall 
hinder that with our swords. They only perish that fate dooms. Let 
them die. They shall not turn me from honor. Our foemen are wel- 
come." 

Spake Hagen of Trony then, "Methinketh that were unwise. Ludgast 
and Ludger are proud men withal, and we can hardly in so few days 
muster our men." Therefore the bold knight said, "Tell Siegfried." 

They bade lodge the envoys in the town. Albeit they were his foemen, 
Gunther, the great king, commanded the folk to entreat them well 
rightly he did so till that he knew the friends that would stand by him. 



GERMANY- ANONYMOUS 227 

The king was heavy of his cheer, and Siegfried, the good knight, saw 
that he was downcast, but wist not the reason, and asked King Gunther 
what ailed him. "I marvel much," said Siegfried, "that thou takest no 
part in our sports as heretofore." And Gunther, the doughty knight, 
answered him, "Not to every man may I declare the secret heaviness of 
my heart; only unto true friends shall the heart tell its dole." 

Siegfried changed color, and grew red and white, and he said to the 
king, "I have denied thee naught, and now I would help thee. If thou 
seekest friends, I will be one of them, and stand to it truly to my 
life's end." 

"Now God requite thee, Sir Siegfried, for I like thy word; and albeit 
thy might availed me nothing, I would rejoice none the less that thou 
art well-minded toward me; as much and more will I do to thee if I 
live. I will tell thee the cause of my trouble. Envoys from my foemen 
have brought a message that with an army they will come against me; 
such inroad of warriors hath not been aforetime in this country." 

"Be not sorrowful for that," answered Siegfried; "be of good cheer, 
and do now as I say. I will win for thee honor and profit or ever thy 
foemen reach this land. Had thy stark adversaries thirty thousand war- 
riors at their back, and I but one thousand, I would withstand them 
trust me for that." 

King Gunther answered, "Thou shalt be well paid for this." 

"Give me a thousand of thy knights, since of mine own I have but 
twelve here with me, and I will keep thy land for thee. The hand of 
Siegfried will serve thee truly. Hagen shall help us in this, and also 
Ortwin, Dankwart, and Sindolt, thy loving knights, and eke Folker, the 
bold man, who shall bear the standard: better knight thou wilt not find. 
Bid the envoys return to their country; tell them they shall see us there 
soon enow. So shall our castles go scatheless." 

The king let summon his kinsmen and his liegemen, and Ludger's 
messengers went to the court. They were glad to be gone. Gunther, the 
good king, gave them gifts and an escort, whereat they were well content. 

Spake Gunther, "Thou shalt say on this wise to my haughty foemen: 
'They did wisely to turn from their journey, for if my friends fail me 
not, and they seek me here in my land, they will find work enow.' " 

They -brought out rich gifts for the envoys, whereof Gunther had to 
spare, and these said not "nay." Then they took their leave, and departed 
rejoicing. 

When the messengers were come again to Denmark, and told Lud- 
gast how that the Rhine-men would ride thither, he was wroth at their 
boldness. They made report to him of the many brave men Gunther had, 
and how that they had seen a knight there amidst of them that hight 
Siegfried, a hero from the Netherland, the which was heavy news for 
Ludgast. 



228 GREAT SHORT STORIES OF THE WORLD 

When they of Denmark heard it, they hasted the more to summon 
their friends, till that Ludgast had ready for the onset twenty thousand 
warriors withal. ' 

On like manner Ludger of Saxony summoned his men to the'nu&ber 
of forty thousand, ready to march into Burgundy. 

The same also did King Gunther to his liegemen, and to his brothers 
with their vassals, and to Hagen and his knights. These were sorry enow 
at the news; by reason thereof many a knight looked on death. 

They hasted and made ready for the journey. Brave Folker bare the 
standard. They purposed to cross the Rhine from Worms. Hagen of 
Trony led the force. Sindolt and bold Hunolt were there, that they 
might deserve King Gunther's gold ; also Hagen's brother Dankwart, and 
Ortwin, fit men and worthy for the undertaking. 

"Sit thou at home, O King," spake Siegfried. "Since thy knights are 
willing to follow me, stay here by the women and be of good cheer; for, 
by my troth, I will guard for thee both goods and honor. I will see to 
it, that they that seek thee here at Worms by the Rhine bide where they 
are; we will pierce deep into their country, till their vaunting is turned 
to sorrow." 

They passed from the Rhine through Hesse against Saxony, where the 
battle was fought afterward. With plunder and with fire they laid waste 
the land, the which both the princes found to their cost. f 

When they were come to the marches, the warriors hasted forward, 
and Siegfried began to ask them, "Which of us shall guard the rest from 
surprise?" More to their hurt the Saxons never took the field. 

They answered, "Let bold Dankwart guard the younger knights. He 
is a good warrior. So shall we come in less scathe by Ludger's men. He 
and Ortwin shall guard the rear." 

"I myself will ride forward," said Siegfried, "and spy out the foe, 
that I may know rightly who the warriors be." 

Fair Sieglind's son did on his armor in haste. He gave his knights in 
charge to Hagen and bold Gernot when he set out. He rode into Saxony 
all alone, and won honor by his quest. He perceived a great host en- 
camped on a field, that loomed mightily against him, beyond the strength 
of one man: forty thousand or more. And the high heart of Siegfried 
rejoiced. 

One of the enemy's knights kept watch warily, and perceived Sieg- 
fried, and Siegfried him, and they glared fiercely on each other. I 
will tell you who he was that kept watch. On his arm he bare a glit- 
tering shield of gold. It was King Ludgast that kept ward over his 
host. 

The noble stranger pricked toward him fiercely. Ludgast dressed him 
also. They put spurs to their horses and smote with all their strength on 
the shields with their spears, that it was like to go hard with the king. 



GERMANY ANONYMOUS 229 

On their horses, pricked forward by the spur, the princes bare down on 
each other like the wind. Then they wheeled round deftly these two 
fierce men and fell to hacking with their swords. Sir Siegfried smote, 
that the field rang therewith; the hero with his mighty blade struck 
sparks from Ludgast's helmet. Fiercely fought the prince of the Nether- 
land, and Ludgast, likewise, dealt many a grim blow. Each drave with 
all his might at the other's shield. The combat was spied by thirty of 
Ludgast's men, but Siegfried, by means of three deep wounds and grisly 
that he dealt Ludgast through his white harness, overcame the king or 
these knights came up. His sword drew blood with each stroke, that King 
Ludgast came in evil plight, and begged for his life, offering his land 
as the price thereof, and said that his name was Ludgast. 

His knights hasted to his rescue, for they had seen the encounter at 
the ward-post. Siegfried would have led him thence, but thirty of Lud- 
gast's men rode at him. With mighty blows the stark warrior kept his 
rich captive; and soon his hands did even deadlier deeds. He smote the 
thirty men dead in his defense, save one that fled and told what had 
happed, the truth whereof was proven by his bloody helmet. 

They of Denmark were aghast when they heard their king was taken 
captive; they told it to his brother, who fell in a great fury by reason 
of the disaster. 

So the mighty Ludgast was taken by Siegfried's prowess, and given 
in charge to Hagen. When that good knight heard that it was Ludgast 
he was not sorry. 

They bade raise the standard of Burgundy. "Forward!" cried Sieg- 
fried. "More shall be done or the day end, if I lose not my life. The 
Saxon women shall rue it. Hearken now, ye men of the Rhine. I can 
lead you to Ludger's army. There ye will see helmets hewn by the 
good hands of heroes. They shall be in evil case or we turn again." 

Then Gernot and his men sprang to horse. The banner was unfurled 
by Folker, the minstrel knight. He rode before the host, and they all 
made them ready for battle. They numbered not more than a thousand 
men, and thereto the twelve strangers. The dust rose from their path, 
and they rode through the land, their shields flashing. 

The Saxons, also, were come up, bearing well-sharpened swords. So 
hath the story been told me. The swords in the heroes' hands dealt grim 
blows in defense of their castles and their land. 

[The marshal led the army, and Siegfried was come forward with 
the twelve men that he had with him from the Netherland. Many a 
hand was bloody that day in the battle. Sindolt and Hunolt and eke 
Gernot smote many heroes dead in the fight, that were bold enow till 
they felt their prowess. For their sake sorrowed women not a few. 
Folker and Hagen and Ortwin, the fierce warriors, quenched the flash 
of many helmets with blood. Dankwart, also, did wonders. The Danes 



230 GREAT SHORT STORIES OF THE WORLD 

proved their mettle, and loud were heard the hurtling of shields and the 
clash of sharp swords swung mightily. The Saxons, bold in strife, made 
havoc enow. Wide were the wounds hewn by the men of Burgundy 
when they rushed to the encounter. Blood ran down the saddles. So c was 
honor wooed of these knights bold and swift. Loud rang the keen swords 
in the hands of the heroes of the Netherland, when they rode with their 
lord into the fray. They rode with Siegfried like good knights. None 
from the Rhine kept pace with him. By reason of Siegfried's hand 
streams of blood ran from bright helmets, till that he lit on Ludgast 
amidst of his men. Thrice he pierced through the army of the Saxons, 
and thrice returned. Hagen, by this time, was come u with him, that 
helped him in his quest. They slew many a brave knight. 

When bold Ludger found Siegfried with Balmung, the good sword, 
swung aloft, wherewith he made a mighty slaughter, he was wroth, and of 
his mood full grim. With a fierce rush and clash of swords the warriors 
came together. So exceeding furious was their onset that the host gave 
way. Terrible was their hate. The Saxon king knew well that his brother 
was taken captive, and he was wroth thereat; but he knew it not for 
Siegfried's work till now. They had blamed Gernot. Now he found out 
the truth. Ludger smote so hard that Siegfried's horse reeled under him. 
But when he was come to, Siegfried was more terrible than afore. Hagen 
and Gernot, Dankwart and Folker, stood by him. The dead, lay in heaps. 
Sindolt and Hunolt and Ortwin the knight slew many in the strife. The 
princes held together in the fray. Bright spears in the hands of heroes 
flashed above the helmets, that clave the shining bucklers in twain. Many 
a massy shield was red with blood. In the fierce encounter many men 
fell from their horses. Bold Siegfried and King Ludger strove together, 
and lances whizzed, and sharp spears. Ludger's shield-plate flew off 
through the strength of Siegfried's hand. Then the hero of the Nether- 
land thought to have gotten the victory over the Saxons that were hard 
pressed. Ha! what polished bucklers doughty Dankwart brake! 

Of a sudden Ludger espied a crown that was painted on Siegfried's 
shield, and he knew the mighty man, and cried aloud to his friends, 
"Forbear, my men all. I have seen the son of Siegmund, even bold 
Siegfried. The Devil hath sent him hither into Saxony." He bade lower 
the standard, and sued for peace. They granted this, yet he was com- 
pelled by Siegfried to go captive into Gunther's land. 

With one accord they ceased from the strife. They threw down their 
shivered helmets and shields. Blood-red were they all by the hands of the 
Burgundians. They took captive whom they listed, for they had the 
power. 

Gernot and Hagen gave order to convey the wounded on litters. They 
led five hundred noble knights as prisoners to the Rhine. * 

The vanquished warriors rode back to Denmark. Nor had the .Saxons 



GERMANY ANONYMOUS 131 

fought so as to win them honor, and they were downcast. The dead were 
mourned by their friends. 

They sent the weapons to the Rhine on sumpters. So wondrously had 
Siegfried done, that all Gunther's men praised him. 

Sir Gernot sent word to Worms, and throughout the whole land, to 
their friends, how it had sped with them; for as bold knights and 'hon- 
orable they had fought. The pages hasted and told it, and the glad news 
rejoiced the loving ones that had sorrowed; The noble women ceased not 
from questioning how it had fared with the great king's men. 

Kriemhild bade a messenger to her in secret; publicly she durst not, 
for to one of them she bare dear heart's love. 

When the messenger was come to her chamber, Kriemhild, the beau- 
tiful maiden, spake him fair. "Now tell me glad tidings; thou shalt have 
gold therefor; and, sayest thou sooth, I will ever be beholden to thee. 
How sped my brother Gernot in the battle, and the rest of my friends?, 
Are there many dead? Who did most valiantly? Now tell me." ' 

Whereto the messenger answered truthfully, "We had no coward 
among us. Yet since thou wilt hear it, noble princess, none rode in the 
thick of the fight like the knight of the Netherland. Marvelous was the 
work of Siegfried's hand. All that the knights did in battle Dankwart 
and Hagen and the rest though with honor fought they all, was but 
as a wind mltched with the prowess of Siegfried, the son of Siegmund. 
Many heroes have they slain, yet of the deeds of Siegfried, done in 
battle, none shall tell to the end. By reason of him many maidens mourn 
for their kin. Low lieth the dear one of many a bride. Loud smote he 
on the helmets, that they ran blood. In all things he is a knight bold 
and good. 

"Ortwin of Metz, also, won worship. Whoso came within range of 
his sword lieth wounded or dead. Thy brother, too, made fierce havoc 
in the battle. To his prowess must all testify. The proud Burgundians 
have so fought that none may question their honor. For many a saddle 
Was emptied by them when the field rang loud with gleaming swords. 
On such wise fought the knights of the Rhine that their foemen had 
done better to flee. The brave men of Trony rode fiercely in the strife. 
Hagen with his hand slew many, whereof Burgundy shall hear. So 
Valiantly fought Sinolt and Hunolt, Gernot's men, and eke Rumolt, 
that Ludger may well rue that he ever met thy kinsmen by the Rhine. 
But the mightiest deeds, first and last, were done by Siegfried. He 
bringeth rich captives into Gunther's land, that his strength hath con-? 
quered, by reason whereof King Ludgast and his brother, Ludger of 
Saxony, suffer dole. For list to the marvel, noble queen: both these 
princes hath Siegfried's hand taken. Never have so many captives been 
led into this land as come hither now through his prowess." 

The maiden was glad at the tale. 



232 GREAT SHORT STORIES OF THE WORLD 

"Of unwounded men they bring five hundred or more, and eighty 
red biers (I say sooth) of the wounded, fallen, the most part, by Sieg- 
fried's might. They that arrogantly withstood the knights of the RJiine 
are now Gunther's captives. Our men lead them hither rejoicing." 

When she had heard the news aright, her fair cheek reddened, and 
her lovely face was the color of the rose, because it had gone well with 
young and noble Siegfried, and he was come with glory out of peril. 
She joyed for her kinsmen also, as in duty bound. And she said, "Thou 
hast spoken well; for guerdon thereof thou shalt have costly raiment, 
and ten golden marks, that I will bid them bear to thee." It is good to 
tell glad tidings to rich women. 

He got his envoy's fee of gold and vesture, and the fair maids hasted 
to the window and looked down the road, where the high-hearted war- 
riors rode home. They drew nigh, whole and wounded, and heard the 
greeting of friends, unashamed. Light of heart Gunther rode to meet 
them, for now his grim care was turned to joy. He received his own 
men well and also the strangers. Not to have thanked them that were 
come to his court, for that they had done valiantly in battle, would have 
been unseemly in so great a king. And he asked tidings of his friends, 
and who were slain. None were lost to him save sixty only, and these 
were mourned as many a hero hath been mourned since. 

They that were unhurt brought many battered shields f md shivered 
helmets back to Gunther's land. The warriors sprang down from their 
horses before the palace, and there was a joyful noise of welcome. 

Order was given to lodge the knights in the town, and the king com- 
manded that his guests should be courteously entreated, and that the 
wounded should be seen to and given good chambers. So he approved 
himself generous to his foes. He said to Ludger, "Thou art welcome! 
Much scathe have I suffered through thee; yet, if I prosper henceforth, 
I will consider myself well paid. God reward my warriors, for well 
have they served me!" 

"Thou hast cause to thank them," answered Ludger, "for nobler 
captives were never won for a king; and gold without stint shall be 
thine, if thou do well by me and my friends." 

Said Gunther, "Ye shall both go free. Yet I must have a pledge that 
my foemen quit not my land till peace be sealed betwixt us." And they 
promised it, and gave their hand thereon. They led them to their quarters 
to rest, and saw the wounded men laid softly in their beds. They set 
before them that were whole meat and good wine, and never were men 
merrier. They bare the battered shields away into safe keeping; and the 
bloody saddles, of which there were enow, they hid, that the women 
might not grieve thereat. Many a weary knight was there. 

The king entreated his guests right royally, and the land was full of 



GERMANY ANONYMOUS 233 

friends and of strangers. He bade see to the sore wounded ones whose 
pride was brought low. To them that were skilled in leech craft they 
offered a rich fee of unweighed silver and yellow gold, that they might 
heal the heroes of their wounds gotten in battle; the king sent alslo pre- 
cious gifts to his guests. They that thought to ride home were bidden 
stay as friends. And the king took counsel how he might reward his 
liegemen that had done valiantly for his sake. 

Sir Gernot said, "Let them go hence for the present, and summon 
them after six weeks to a hightide. Many will then be whole that now 
lie sick of their wounds." 

Siegfried of the Netherland would have taken leave also, but, when 
King Gunther knew his intent, he besought him lovingly to tarry, the 
which Siegfried had not done but for Gunther's sister's sake. He was too 
rich to take money, albeit he well deserved it; the king loved him, and 
also the king's kinsmen that had seen the deeds wrought by his hand in 
battle. So, for love of the maiden, he agreed to tarry, that haply he 
might win to see her, the which, or long, came to pass; for he knew 
her to his heart's desire, and rode home joyfully afterward to his father's 
land. 

The young knights obeyed the king's command willingly, and prac- 
tised daily at the tourney. Seats were raised on the stand before Worms 
for the guests that were coming into Burgundy. 

When it was time for them to arrive, fair Kriemhild heard the news, 
that they were about to hold a hightide with their friends. Then the 
beautiful women busied them with their kirtles and their headgear that 
they were to wear. 

Uta, the great queen, heard of the proud knights that were coming, 
and gorgeous robes were taken from their wrapping-cloths. For love of 
her children she bade them bring forth the garments. Many women and 
maidens were adorned therewith, and, of the young knights of Bur- 
gundy, not a few. Jo many of the strangers, also, she gave goodly 
apparel. 

A vast multitude of them that would attend the hightide drew daily 
to the Rhine; and unto those that came for love of the king horses were 
given and goodly raiment, and to each his place, even unto two and 
thirty princes of the highest and the best. So they tell us. 

And the women vied with one another in their attire. Giselher, the 
youth, and Gernot, and their two squires, rested not from welcoming 
both friends and strangers. They gave courtly greeting unto the war- 
riors. 

The guests brought with them to the Rhine, to the tourney, saddles 
worked in ruddy gold, and finely wrought shields, and knightly apparel. 
Ar\d the sick rejoiced, and they that lay on their beds sore wounded for* 



GREAT SHORT STORIES OF THE WORLD 

got that death is an hard thing. When the rumor of the festival was 
noised abroad, no man took heed more of them that groaned, for each 
thought only how he might sojourn there as a guest. Joy without measure 
had all they that were found there, and gladness and rejoicing were in 
Gunther's land. 

On Whitsun morning, there drew toward the hightide a goodly com- 
pany of brave men, fairly clad: five thousand or more, and they made 
merry far and wide, and strove with one another in friendly combat. 

Now Gunther knew well how, truly and from his heart, the hero of 
the Netherland loved his sister whom he had not yet seen, and whose 
beauty the people praised before that of all other maidens. 

And he said, "Now counsel me, my kinsmen and my lieges, how we 
may order this hightide, that none may blame us in aught; for only unto 
such deeds as are good pertaineth lasting fame." 

Then answered Ortwin, the knight, to the king, "If thou wilt win 
for thyself glory from the hightide, let now the maidens that dwell with 
honor in our midst appear before us. For what shall pleasure or glad a 
man more than to behold beautiful damsels and fair women? Bid thy 
sister come forth and show herself to thy guests." 

And this word pleased the knights. 

"That will I gladly do," said the king; and they that ]Ard him re- 
joiced. He sent a messenger to Queen Uta, and besough\her that she 
t would come to the court with her daughter and her women-folk. 

And these took from the presses rich apparel, and what lay therein 
in wrapping-cloths; they took also brooches, and their silken girdles 
worked with gold, and attired themselves in haste. Many a noble maiden 
adorned herself with care, and the youths longed exceedingly to find 
favor in their eyes, and had not taken a rich king's land in lieu thereof. 
And they that knew not one another before looked each upon each right 
gladly. 

The rich king commanded an hundred men of his household, his 
kinsmen and hers, to escort his sister, their swords in their hands. Uta, 
with an hundred and more of her women, gorgeously attired, came 
forth from the female apartments, and many noble damsels followed 
after her daughter. The knights pressed in upon them, thinking thereby 
to behold the beautiful maiden. 

And lo! the fair one appeared, like the dawn from out the dark 
clouds. And he that had borne her so long in his heart was no more 
aweary, for the beloved one, his sweet lady, stood before him in her 
beauty. Bright jewels sparkled on her garments, and bright was the rose* 
red of her hue, and all they that saw her proclaimed her peerless amonp 
maidens. 

As the .moon excelleth in light the stars shining clear from the clouds. 



GERMANY ANONYMOUS 

So stood she, fair before the other women, and the hearts of the war- 
riors were uplifted. The chamberlains made way for her through them 
that pressed in to behold her. And Siegfried joyed, and sorrowed like- 
wise, for he said in his heart, "How should I woo such as thee? 1 Surely 
it was a vain dream; yet I were liefer dead than a stranger to thee." 

Thinking thus he waxed oft white and red; yea, graceful and proud 
stood the son of Sieglind, goodliest of heroes to behold, as he were drawn 
on parchment by the skill of a cunning master. And the knights fell 
back as the escort commanded, and made way for the high-hearted 
women, and gazed on them with glad eyes. Many a dame of high degree 
was there. 

Said bold Sir Gernot, the Burgundian, then, "Gunther, dear brother, 
unto the gentle knight, that hath done thee service, show honor now 
before thy lieges. Of this counsel I shall never shame me. Bid Siegfried 
go before my sister, that the maiden greet him. Let her, that never 
greeted knight, go toward him. For this shall advantage us, and we 
shall win the good warrior for ours." 

Then Gunther's kinsmen went to the knight of the Netherland, and 
said to him, "The king bids thee to the court that his sister may greet 
thee, for he would do thee honor." 

It rejoiced Siegfried that he was to look upon Uta's fair child, and 
he forgot Kfc sorrow. 

She greeted him mild and maidenly, and her color was kindled when 
she saw before her the high-minded man, and she said, "Welcome, Sir 
Siegfried, noble knight and good." His courage rose at her words, and 
graceful, as beseemed a knight, he bowed himself before her and thanked 
her. And love that is mighty constrained them, and they yearned with 
their eyes in secret. I know not whether, from his great love, the youth 
pressed her white hand, but two love-desirous hearts, I trow, had else 
done amiss. 

Nevermore, in summer or in May, bore Siegfried in his heart such 
high joy as when he went by the side of her whom he coveted for his 
dear one. And many a knight thought, "Had it been my hap to walk 
with her, as I have seen him do, or to lie by her side, certes, I had suf- 
fered it gladly! Yfet never, truly, hath warrior served better to win a 
queen." From what land soever the guests came, they were ware only of 
these two. And she was bidden kiss the hero. He had never had like joy 
before in this world. 

Said the King of Denmart then, "By reason of this high greeting 
many good men lie low, slain by the hand of Siegfried, the which hath 
been proven to my cost. God grant he return not to Denmark!" 

Then they ordered to make way for fair Kriemhild. Valiant knights 
In stately array escorted her to the minster, where she was parted from 



236 GREAT SHORT STORIES OF THE WORLD 

Siegfried. She went thither followed by her maidens; and so rich was 
her apparel that the other women, for all their striving, were as naught 
beside her, for to glad the eyes of heroes she was born. 

Scarce could Siegfried tarry till they had sung mass, he yearned so to 
thank her for his gladness, and that she whom he bore in his heart had 
inclined her desire toward him, even as his was to her, which was meet. 
Now when Kriemhild was come forth to the front of the minster, they 
bade the warrior go to her again, and the damsel began to thank him, 
that before all others he had done valiantly. And she said, "Now, God 
requite thee, Sir Siegfried, for they tell me thou hast won praise and 
honor from all knights." 

He looked on the maid right sweetly, and he said, "I will not cease 
to serve them. Never, while I live, will I lay head on pillow, till I have 
brought their desire to pass. For love of thee, dear lady, I will do this." 

And every day of twelve, in the sight of all the people, the youth 
walked by the side of the maiden as she went to the court. So they 
showed their love to the knight. 

And there was merriment and gladness and delight in the hall of 
Gunther, without and within, among the valiant men. Ortwin and 
Hagen did many wonderful deeds, and if any devised a sport, warriors, 
joyous in strife, welcomed it straightway. So were the knights proven 
before the guests, and they of Gunther's land won glory. The wounded 
also came forth to take part with their comrades, to skirmish with the 
buckler, and to shoot the shaft, and waxed strong thereby, and increased 
their might. 

Gunther gave order that, for the term of the hightide, they should set 
before them meats of the daintiest, that he might fail in naught as a 
king, nor the people blame him. 

And he came to his guests, and said, "Receive my gifts ere ye go 
hence, and refuse not the treasure that I would share with you." 

The Danes made answer, "Ere we turn again to our land, make thou 
a lasting peace with us. We have need of such, that have many dear 
friends, slain by thy warriors." 

Ludgast and eke the Saxon were healed of their wounds gotten in 
battle, but many tarried behind, dead. * 

Then Gunther sought Siegfried and said, "Now counsel me in this. 
On the morrow our guests ride forth, and they desire of me and mine 
a lasting covenant. What they offer I will tell thee: as much gold as 
five hundred horses may carry, they will give me to go free." 

And Siegfried answered, "That were ill done. Send them forth with- 
out ransom, that they ride no more hither as foexnen. And they shall give 
thee the hand thereon for surety." 

"What thou counselest I will do. They shall depart as thou sayest." 



GERMANY AKONYMOUS 

And they told it to his enemies; also that none desired their gold. They 
said it to the war-tired men, by reason of whom the dear ones of their 
own land sorrowed. 

And the king took shields full of treasure, and divided it among them 
without weighing it, five hundred marks and more. Gernot, the brave 
knight, counseled him thereto. And they took their leave, for they were 
aweary for home. And they passed before Kriemhild and Queen Ut&; 
never were knights dismissed more courteously. 

The chambers were void when they left, nevertheless the king abode 
there still with his lieges and his vassals and knights. And these ceased 
not to go before Kriemhild. 

Then Siegfried, the hero, had also taken leave, for he thought not to 
attain his desire. But the king heard of it, and Giselher the youth turned 
him back. "Whither ridest thou, Sir Siegfried? Prithee yield to me in 
this. Go not from among our knights, and Gunther, and his men. Here 
are fair maidens enow that thou mayest behold at will." 

Said bold Sir Siegfried, "Let stand the horses, bear hence the shields. 
I would have ridden forth and turned again to my land, but Giselher 
hath changed my intent." 

So he abode among them through love, nor in any land had it been 
sweeter for him. And Kriemhild, the fair maiden, he saw daily, by 
reason of tffeose beauty he tarried. 

They passed the time in sports and feats of chivalry. But his heart 
was weary with love; yea, for love he sorrowed then, and, after, died 
miserably. 



GOTTFRIED VON STRASSBURG 

(Died about 1210) 

GOTTFRIED was one of the most famous of that group of Min- 
nesingers which included Hartmann von Aue and Wolfram von 
Eschenbach. These were the most popular writers of the so-called' 
romances of knighthood, Gottfried's Tristan was a working-over of 
a French version of the tale (now existing only in fragmentary 
form) by Thomas the Trouvere. The German^ work is a many- 
coloured story of love and adventure, direct, simple, and devoid of 
the finer subtleties of psychology. The Coming of Gandin is one of 
the complete episodes which abound throughout the romance. 

The present version, translated by Jessie L. Weston, is reprinted 
by her permission from Tristan and Iseult, published by David Nutt 
in 1899. There is no title in the original. 



338 GREAT SHORT STORIES OF THfi WORLD 

THE COMING OF GANDIN 

(From Tristan and Iseult) 

FOR in these days a ship came to Mark's haven in Cornwall, and 
there landed from it a knight, a noble baron of Ireland, named 
Gandin; he was rich, handsome, and courteous, so manly and strong of 
limb that all Ireland spake of his valor. 

Fairly clad, without shield or spear, he came riding to the king's court. 
On his back he bare a lute adorned with gold and precious stones, 
a-strung as a lute should be. 

He dismounted, entered the palace, and greeted Mark and Iseult in 
fitting wise. Many a time and in many ways had he served the queen 
in her own land, through his knighthood, and the great love he bare her, 
and for her sake had he journeyed hither from Ireland. 

Then Iseult knew him, and greeted him courteously. "God save thee, 
Sir Gandin." 

"Gramercy, fair Iseult, fair and fairer than gold in the eyes of 
Gandin!" 

Iseult spake softly to the king, saying who the knight was and whence 
he came; and Mark hearkened, wondering much why ho -bare a lute, 
and in sooth so did all the folk, for such was not the wont of wandering 
knights. Nevertheless would Mark do him all the honor he might, both 
for his own sake and for that of Iseult, since he was the queen's coun- 
tryman; so he bade the stranger sit beside him, and spake to him of 
his folk and land, and of knightly deeds. 

When the feast was ready, and water was brought round to the guests 
to wash their hands, then did the courtiers pray the stranger to play the 
lute before them. The king and queen said nought, they would leave it 
to his own will; and when he took no heed of their prayers, the 
courtiers mocked him, calling him "The Knight of the Lute/* "The 
Prince with the Penance"; and Gandin said nought, but sat beside King 
Mark, and ate and drank, and heeded them not. 

When the feast was over, and the tables borne away, then King Mark 
prayed him, an he could, to pleasure them awhile with his skill on the 
lute; but Gandin answered: "Sire, I may not, save that I know what 
my reward may be." 

"Sir Knight, what meanest thou? Dost thou desire aught of my pos- 
sessions? If so, 'tis granted; let us but hearken thy skill, and I will give 
thee whatever thou desirest." 

"So be it," spake the knight of Ireland. 

Then he sang a lay which pleased them all well, so that the king 
desired him to sing another. The traitor laughed in his heart. "Tell me," 



GERMANY GOTTFRIED VON STRASSBURG 

he said, "what thou wilt, that I may play even as shall please thee." 

Now when he had sung another lay, Gandin arose and stood before 
the king, holding the lute in his hand. "Sir King/' he said, "bethink 
thee of what thou didst promise me." 

And Mark answered: "Of good will will I do it. Tell me what wilt 
thou?" 

"Give me Iseult," quoth the knight. 

"Friend," said Mark, "whatever else thou desirest thou shalt have, 
but this may not be." 

"Verily, Sir King," said Gandin, "I will neither much nor little, but 
Iseult alone." 

The King spake: "Of a truth, that shall not be!" 

"Sire, wilt thou then break thy promise? If thou be thus forsworn, 
henceforth shall men hold thee unworthy to be king of any land. Bid 
them read the right of kings, and if this be not so, then will I renounce 
my claim. Or, dost thou, or any other say that thou didst not swear to 
give me what I asked, then will I assert my right against thee, or against 
whomsoever the court may choose. My body shall be overcome with fight 
ere I renounce my claim. Choose thou a knight to ride in the ring 
against me, and I will prove by combat that fair Iseult is mine." 

The king looked all about and on either side if he might find one 
who would* 4are to uphold his cause; but there was no man who would 
set his life on such a wager, nor would Mark himself fight for his 
queen, for Gandin was so strong and valiant that none durst take up his 
challenge. 

Now Tristan had ridden forth to the woods to hunt, and as he came 
homeward to the court he heard on the way the news of what had 
chanced. 'Twas all true: Gandin had led the queen, weeping and lament- 
ing bitterly from the palace to the seashore. On the shore was pitched 
a tent, rich and costly, wherein he led the queen that they might wait 
till tide and river rose and floated the bark, which now lay high on the 
sand. 

When Tristan heard the tale from beginning to end, he mounted his 
horse and took his harp in his hand, and rode swiftly, even to the haven. 
There he turned aside secretly, to a grove, made his horse fast to the 
bough of a tree, and with his harp in his hand took his way to the tent. 
The knight of Ireland sat there, armed, beside the weeping queen, whom 
he strove hard to comfort, but little might it avail, till he saw Tristan 
and his harp. 

He greeted Gandin, saying: "God save thee, fair minstrel!" 
"Gramercy, gentle knight." 

"Sir," he said, "I have hastened hither. Men have told me thou art 
Come from Ireland: I too am from thence. I pray thee, of thine honor, 
take me back to mine own land." 



840 GREAT SHORT STORIES OP THE WORLD 

The Irish knight made answer: "That will I do; but sit thee down, 
play to me, and if thou canst comfort my lady, whom thou seest weep- 
ing sorely, I will give thee the fairest garment that is in this tent." 

" 'Tis a fair offer, Sir Knight," said Tristan. "I have good hope' that 
I may do so; an her grief be not so great that it will stay not for any 
man's playing, she must needs be consoled." 

Therewith he harped so sweetly that the notes crept into Iseult's heart 
and bare her thoughts so far hence that she ceased weeping, and thought 
but of her love. 

Now, when the lay was ended, the water had come up to the bark, 
and it floated, so that they on board cried to the haven: "Sir, sir, come 
aboard; if my lord Tristan comes whilst thou art yet ashore, we shall 
have but an ill time ! Folk and land alike are in his power also he him- 
self, so they say, is of such wondrous daring, so valiant and strong, he 
will likely do thee a mischief." 

This was unpleasing to Gandin, and he said angrily: "Now may 
heaven hate me if I stir hence a moment earlier for that! Comrade, 
play me the Lay of Dido; thou dost harp so sweetly that I must needs 
love thee for it. Now, play and banish my lady's sorrow. Out of love 
for thee will I bear thee hence with her and me, and will give thee all 
I have promised thee, yea, and more!" 

"So be it," quoth Tristan. 

The minstrel touched his harp again; and he played so sweetly that 
Gandin listened eagerly, and Iseult was all intent on the music. And 
when it had ended the knight took the queen by the hand, and would 
lead her aboard, but by now was the tide so high and running so strong 
that no man might reach the bark save on horseback. "What shall we 
do now?" asked Gandin. "How may my lady come aboard?" 

"See, Sir Knight," quoth the minstrel, "since I am sure thou wilt take 
me hence with thee, I think but little of what I have here in Cornwall* 
.1 have a horse near by; I ween he shall be tall enough to carry my ladyj 
thy friend, over to the bark without the sea wetting her." 

Gandin said: "Good minstrel, haste, bring thy horse hither, and take 
also the robe I promised thee." 

Tristan fetched his horse swiftly, and when he came back he swung 
his harp behind him and cried: "Now, knight of Ireland, give me my 
lady, I will carry her before me through the water." 

"Nay, minstrel, thou shalt not touch her; I will carry her myself." 

"Nay, sir," said fair Iseult, " 'tis needless to say he shall not touch 
me. Know the truth, I go not aboard save the minstrel bear me." 

Then Gandin led her to Tristan. "Comrade," he said, "have a care 
of her carry her so gently that I shall be ever grateful to thee." 

Now as soon as Tristan held Iseult he spurred his steed forward, and 
when Gandin saw it he spake in wrath: "Ha, fool, what dost thou?/' 



GERMANY GOTTFRIED VON STRASSBURG .241 

"Nay, nay, fool Gandin," quoth Tristan, " 'tis thou who art the fool; 
what thou didst steal from King Mark by the lute, that I do bear away 
with my harp. Thou didst betray, now art thou betrayed. Tristan has 
followed thee till he has befooled thee! Friend, thou hast indeed given 
me a rich garment, even the richest that thy tent did hold." 

With that Tristan rode his way, leaving Gandin beyond measure sor- 
rowful; his loss and his shame cut him to the heart; mourning, he re- 
turned over-seas. 

Tristan and Iseult rode homeward, rejoicing in their love; and when 
they came to the palace, Tristan led the queen to King Mark, and spake 
bitterly: "Sire, God knoweth, if thou dost hold thy queen so dear as thou 
sayest, 'tis a great folly to give her up lightly for mere lute or harp play! 
The world may well mock! Whoever saw a queen the chattel of a lay? 
Henceforth bethink thee, and guard my lady better." 



BRUIN THE BEAR AND REYNARD THE FOX 

(Anonymous: about 1230) 



known of the writer of the first version of the cele- 
brated Reynard the Fox. The problem of the origin of the book 
is complicated, but it is generally agreed that a series of incidents 
attributed to an Alsatian writer of the late Twelfth Century was 
the basis of the book as it stands in the version here used. This was 
printed in 1498, though it was probably written about 1230. 
Reynard was soon afterwards translated into nearly every language 
of Europe. The book, in one form or another, has been a popular 
favourite among all classes of readers, and has for centuries been 
rewritten to suit the tastes of each generation. 

The present version, translated by Thomas Roscoe, is reprinted 
from Roscoe's German Novelists, London, no date. It is Chapter 
IV of The Pleasant History of Reynard the Fox. The full title 
of the chapter is How Bruin the Bear Sfed with Reynard the 
Fox, followed by a brief description. 



BRUIN THE BEAR AND REYNARD THE FOX 
(From Reynard the Fox) 

THE next morning away went Sir Bruin the bear in quest of the fox, 
armed against all kinds of plots and deceit whatsoever; and as he 
went along through a dark forest in which Reynard had a by-path which 



242 GREAT SHORT STORIES OF THE WORLD 

he used when he was out hunting or being hunted, he saw a high moun- 
tain, pver which he must pass to reach Malepardus. For though Reynard 
had many houses, Malepardus is his chief and most ancient castle, and 
there he resorted both for defense and pleasure. When Bruin at length 
came to the place > he found the gates close shut; at which, after he had 
knocked, sitting upon his tail, he called aloud, "Sir Reynard, are you at 
home? I am Bruin, your kinsman, sent by the king to summon you to 
court, to answer the many foul accusations laid at your door. His majesty 
hath taken a great vow that if you fail to appear to the summons, your 
life shall answer for your contempt, and your whole goods and honors 
become confiscated to the crown. Therefore, fair kinsman, be advised by 
your friend, and come with me to court, in order to shun the fate that 
will otherwise overtake you": so said the bear. Reynard, who was lying 
near the gate, as was his custom, basking in the sun, hearing these words, 
departed into one of his holes, Malepardus being full of many intricate 
and curious apartments, through which he could pass in case of danger 
or for objects of prey, where he determined to commune with himself 
awhile how best he might counterplot, and bring the bear into disgrace, 
while he added to his own credit, for he detested the bear; and at last 
coming forth, said, "Is it you, dear uncle Bruin? you are exceeding wel- 
come, and excuse my delay in saying so; but the truth is, that when you 
began to speak I was saying my vespers, and devotion must not be 
neglected for any worldly concerns. Yet I believe he hath done you no 
good service, nor do I thank him who hath sent you hither, a long and 
weary journey, in which your sweat and toil far exceed the worth of 
the labor performed. It is certain, that had you not come, I had to- 
morrow attended the court of mine own accord. As it is, however, my 
regret is much diminished, because your counsel just at this time may 
turn to my double benefit. Alas! uncle, could his majesty find no meaner 
a messenger than your noble self to employ in these trivial affairs? Truly 
it appears strange to me, especially since, next his royal self, you are of 
greatest renown, both in point of blood and riches. For my part, I would 
that we were both at court, as I fear our journey will be exceedingly 
troublesome. To say truth, since my entire abstinence from flesh, I have 
lived upon strange new meats, which have very much disagreed with me, 
and swelled my body as if it was about to burst." "Alas! dear cousin," 
said the bear, "what kind of meat can it be that makes you so ill?" 
"Uncle," he replied, "what will it avail you to know? The food was 
simple and mean: we poor gentry are no lords, you know, but are glad 
to eat from necessity what others taste for mere wantonness. Yet not 
to delay you, that which I ate was honeycombs, large, full, and very 
pleasant. But, impelled by hunger, I ate so very immoderately that I was 
afterwards infinitely distempered." "Ay!" quoth Bruin; "honeycombs, 
do you say? Hold you them in such slight respect, nephew? Why, sir, it 



GERMANY ANONYMOUS $43 

is food for the greatest emperors in the world. Help me, fair nephew, 
to some of these honeycombs, and command me while I live; for only 
a small share I will be your servant everlastingly." "You are jesting with 
me, surely, uncle," replied the fox. "Jest with you!" cried Bruiii; "be- 
shrew my heart, then; for I am in such serious good earnest, that for a 
single lick of the same you shall count me among the most faithful of 
your kindred." "Nay, if you be," returned Reynard, "I will bring you 
where ten of you would not be able to eat the whole at a meal. This I 
do out of friendship, for I wish to have yours in return, which above all 
things I desire." "Not ten of us," cried the bear, "not ten of us! it is 
impossible; for had I all the honey between Hybla and Portugal, I could 
eat the whole of it very shortly myself." "Then know, uncle, that near 
at hand there dwells a husbandman named Lanfert, who is master of 
so much that you could not consume it in seven years, and this, for your 
love and friendship's sake, I will put into your possession." Bruin, now 
mad for the honey, swore that for one good meal he would stop the 
mouths of all Reynard's enemies. Smiling at his easy credulity, the latter 
said, "If you would wish for seven ton, uncle, you shall have it"; and 
these words pleased the bear so much, and made it so pleasant, that he 
could not actually stand for laughing. "Well," thought the fox, "this 
is good fortune; though I will assuredly lead him where he shall laugh 
more in reaSb-a." He then said, "Uncle, we must lose no time, and- 1 will 
spare no pains, such as I would not undertake for any of my kin." The 
bear gave him thanks, and away they went together, the fox promising 
as much honey as he could carry, but meaning as many stripes as he could 
undergo. At length they came to Lanfert's house, the sight of which 
made the bear caper for joy. This Lanfert was a stout brawny carpenter, 
who the other day had brought into his yard a large oak, which he had 
begun to cleave, and struck into it two wedges, so that the cleft lay a 
great way open, at which the fox rejoiced, as it was just what he wished. 
Then, with a smiling countenance, turning to the bear, "Behold now," 
he said, "dear uncle, and be careful of yourself; for within this tree is 
contained so much honey, that if you can get to it you will find it im- 
measurable; yet be cautious, good uncle, and eat moderately. The combs 
are sweet and good, but a surfeit is always dangerous, and may prove 
troublesome on your journey, which I would not for the world, as no 
harm can happen to you but must redound to my dishonor." "Concern 
not yourself for me, faith, nephew Reynard; I am not such a fool but 
I can temper my appetite if I can only get at the honey." "True, I was 
perhaps too bold to say what I did, my best uncle ; so I pray you enter in 
at the end, and you shall there find what you want." With all haste the 
bear entered the tree with his fore feet forward, and thrust his head into 
the hole quite over the ears. When the fox saw this, he instantly ran and 
pulled the wedges out of the tree, so that the bear remained locked fast. 



344 GREAT SHORT STORIES OF THE WORLD 

Neither flattery nor anger now availed the bear, for his nephew had got 
him in so fast a prison, that it was impossible to free himself by any 
maneuver. What profited him his great strength and valor now? They 
only served to irritate and annoy him; and deprived of all relief, he 
began to howl and bray, to scratch and tumble, and make such a noise, 
that Lanfert came running hastily out of the house to see what was the 
matter. He held a sharp hook in his hand, and while the bear lay tearing 
and roaring in the tree, the fox cried out in scorn, "He is coming, uncle! 
I fear you will not like the honey; is it good? Do not eat too much; 
pleasant things are apt to surfeit, and you will delay your journey back 
to court. If your belly be too full, Lanfert will give you drink to digest 
it." Having said which, he set off towards his castle again. Lanfert, find- 
ing that the bear was taken fast, ran to his neighbors and desired them 
to come. The tidings spreading through the town, there was neither man, 
woman, nor child but ran to see; some with one weapon and some with 
another, goads, rakes, and broom-staves, and whatever they could lay 
hands on. The priest bore the handle of a large cross, the clerk had holy 
water, and the priest's wife, Dame Jullock, brought her distaff, as she 
happened to be spinning: nay, the old beldams came that had never a 
tooth in their heads. Hearing the approach of this army, Bruin fell into 
great fear, there being none but himself to withstand them; and as they 
came thundering down upon him, he struggled so fiercely that he con- 
trived to get his head out of jeopardy by leaving behind the best part of 
the skin, along with his ears, insomuch that never age beheld a more 
foul ugly beast; for the blood covered his face and hands, leaving his 
claws and skin behind him, so that he could hardly move or see. It was 
an ill market he came to, for in spite of this torment Lanfert and his 
crew came upon him, and so belabored him with staves, and hooks, and 
rakes, that it might well be a warning to every one taken in misery, 
showing how the weakest must evermore go to the wall. This Bruin 
cruelly experienced, every one venting their fury upon his hide, even 
Houghlin with his crooked leg, and Ludolf with the long broad nose; 
the one armed with a leaden mall, and the other with an iron scourge. 
None lashed so hard as Sir Bertolf with the long fingers, and none an- 
noyed him more than Lanfert and Ortam, one being armed with a 
sharp Welsh hook, and the second with a crooked staff heavily leaded at 
the end, with which he used to play at stab-ball. There was Burkin and 
Armes Ablequack, Bane the priest with his cross-handle, and Jullock his 
wife. All these so belabored the poor bear that his life was in extreme 
jeopardy; he sat and sighed sadly during the massacre, but the thunder- 
ing weight of Lanfert's fierce blows was the most cruel to bear; for 
Dame Podge, at Casport, was his mother, and his father was Marob, the 
staple-maker, a passing stout man when he was alone. From him Bruin 
received euch a shower of stones, at the same time that Lanf ert's brother 



GERMANY ANONYMOUS 245 

wielded him a savage blow upon the pate, that he could no longer see 
nor hear, but made a desperate plunge into the adjoining river, through 
a cluster of old wives standing by, many of whom he threw into the 
water, which was broad and deep, among whom was the parson's wife. 
Seeing her floating there like a sea-mew, the holy man left off striking 
the bear, crying out, "Help, oh, help! Dame Jullock is in the water! 
I absolve the man, woman, or child that saves her, from all their sins 
and transgressions, past and to come, and I remit all penance." Hearing 
this, all left the pursuit of the bear to succor Dame Jullock, upon which 
Bruin cut the stream with fresh strength, and swam away. The priest 
only pursued him, crying in great rage, "Turn, villain, turn, that I may 
be revenged upon thee!" But the bear, having the advantage of the 
stream, heeded not his calling, for he was proud of the triumph of hav- 
ing escaped from them. He bitterly cursed the honey tree, and more bit- 
terly the fox, who had not only betrayed him, but made him lose his 
hood from his face and his leather gloves from his fingers. In this con- 
dition he swam about three miles down the stream, when he grew so very 
weary that he was obliged to seek a landing. The blood trickled down his 
face; he sighed, and drew his breath so short that it seemed as if his last 
hour was come. 

Meanwhile the fox, on his way home, had stolen a fat pullet, and 
running tfiniugh a by-path to elude pursuit, he now came towards the 
river with infinite joy. For he never doubted but the bear was slain, and 
he therefore said, "My fortune is made, for my greatest enemy at the 
court is dead, and no one can suspect me." But as he spoke, looking 
towards the river-side, he espied the bear lying down to ease his grievous 
wounds. At this sight Reynard's heart misgave him, and he railed bit- 
terly against Lanfert the carpenter, cursing him for a silly fool, that did 
not know how to kill a bear in a trap. "What madman," he cried, 
"would have lost such good venison? so fat and wholesome, and which 
lay taken to his hand. A wise man would have been proud of the for- 
tune which thou, like a fool, hast neglected." Thus fretting and chid- 
ing, he came to the river, where he found the bear covered with wounds, 
which Reynard alone had caused. Yet he said in scorn as he passed, 
"Monsieur, Dieu vous garde!" "O thou foul red villain!" said the bear 
to himself. "What impudence can equal thine?" But the fox continued 
his speech: "What, uncle, have you forgotten everything at Lanfert's, or 
have you paid for the honeycombs you stole? I would rather pay for 
them myself than that you should incur any disgrace. If the honey was 
good, you may have plenty more at the same price. Good uncle, tell me 
before I go, into what order you mean to enter, that you wear this new- 
fashioned hood? Will you be a monk, an abbot, or a friar? He that 
shaved your crown seems also to have cropped your ears; your forelock 
is lost, and your leather gloves are gone. Fie, sloven! go not bareheaded! 



246 GREAT SHORT STORIES OF THE WORLD 

They say you can sing peccavi rarely/' These taunts made Bruin mad 
With rage; but because he could not take revenge, he was obliged to let 
him talk on. At last, to avoid him, he plunged again into the river and 
landed on the other side, where he began to meditate how best he might 
reach the court; for he had lost both his ears and his talons, and could 
scarcely walk. Yet of necessity he must move forward, which he could 
only do by setting his buttocks upon the ground, and tumbling his body 
over and over. In this manner he first rolled about half a mile, then 
rested, and rolled another half-mile, until by -dint of perseverance he 
tumbled his way to court. Witnessing his strange method of approach, a 
number of courtiers gazed upon him as a sort of prodigy, little deeming 
that it was the famous Sir Bruin the bear. 

The king himself was the first who recognized him, and he said, "It 
is Sir Bruin my servant: what villains have wounded him thus? Where 
can he have been, that he could contrive it to bring his death as it 
were back with him? let us hear what tidings he has got." "O my dread 
sovereign lord the king," cried out the bear, "I have to complain griev- 
ously. Behold how I am massacred ; a massacre I humbly beseech you to 
revenge on that false malignant Reynard, who hath wrought me this 
foul disgrace and slaughter, merely because I have done your royal 
pleasure in conveying him a summons to court." His majesty then said, 
"How durst he do this thing? Now, by my crown I sweai^ I will take 
such revenge as shall make the traitor tremble, and remember the foul 
deed." So forthwith the king summoned his whole council, and con- 
sulted how and in what way to proceed most efficaciously against the wily 
fox. At length, after much discussion, it was unanimously concluded 
that he should be again summoned to appear and answer his transgres- 
sions in person. The party now appointed to execute the summons was 
Tibert the cat, being equally recommended for his gravity and his wis- 
dom; an appointment likewise well pleasing to the king. 



EULENSPIEGEL AND THE MERCHANT 

(Anonymous: about 1500) 

THE earliest known version of EuUnspicgel dates from 1515? 
though an edition is said to have been printed in 1483. Nothing at 
all is known about the author. The merry pranks of Eulenspiegel, 
like the adventures of Reynard and his companions, formed the basis 
of several collections of adventures in the late Sixteenth and early 
Seventeenth Centuries. They were utilized in the Nineteenth Cen- 
tury by the Belgian Charles de Coster. The original book, in the 
words of Roscoe, is "a national storehouse of amusement from which 



GERMANY ANONYMOUS *47 

each successive generation has largely drawn." Like most of the 
books of its kind, it was derived from fables and popular traditions. 
The present version, translated by Thomas Roscoe, is reprinted 
from Roscoe's German Novelists, London, no date. It is one of the 
separate adventures apd has only a descriptive note by way of title. 



EULENSPIEGEL AND THE MERCHANT 
(From Eulensfiegel, the Merry Jester) 

IN the town of Herdcllem there resided a rich merchant, who, hap- 
pening one day to be walking in one of his own fields, a short way 
out of the city, saw Howleglass lying on the green. He inquired who 
he was. To this Howleglass replied, "I am a cook without a master, and 
I have been a cook's servant, otherwise a scullion; but that is now not 
a place for me." The merchant said, "If you like to become my servant, 
I will give you good board and wages, besides your clothes; you shall 
have a trial, for my wife is continually bickering one after another with 
all her cooks." Howleglass promised to do his best to please him; and his 
new master asked his name, to which our hero replied that it was Bar- 
tholomew. *"JThe name," said the merchant, "is too long; you shall be 
called Dot." "Sir," said Howleglass, "just as you like best, it pleases me 
well." "Then come," added his master, "you are the sort of man I 
want; let us go directly into my garden to gather herbs for the young 
boiled chickens, as to-morrow I have a party coming, and we must make 
merry with the best cheer." So they went to the house, and when the 
merchant's wife saw them come in, she said, "Heyday, master mine, 
what kind of a servant have you brought us here? Are you afraid lest 
the bread should be left to grow moldy? What is he for?" "Oh, you 
shall see that, my dear, to-morrow. Here, Dol, take this pannier, and 
follow me to the shambles." 

Away they went, and the merchant bought some pieces of roasting 
meat, saying on his return, "Now, Dol, remember when you put this 
sirloin down to-morrow, that you leave it to do coolly at a distance, so 
as not to catch or singe; the boiling piece you may put on a good deal 
earlier." 

"Very good, master," said Howleglass, "it shall be done." So the next 
morning he rose betimes and brought the meat he was to boil near the 
fire. But that which he intended to roast he stuck upon the spit, and 
placed it at a cool distance as he had been told (namely, in the cellar 
between two barrels of beer) from the fire. Now, before the merchant's 
guests had assembled, he went to see that all was going on well in the 
kitchen (for his wife was a fine lady), and he inquired whether the 



248 GREAT SHORT STORIES OF THE WORLIJ 

dinner was almost ready, to which Howleglass made answer, "Yes, 
everything but the roast beef." "Everything but!" exclaimed the mer- 
chant; "and where is that?" "It is on the spit," answered Howleglass; 
"it is doing cool at a distance, as you desired, in the coolest place in the 
house, which is the beer cellar. You did not say when you would like to 
have it roasted." While his master was discussing this point with Howie- 
glass, the guests began to arrive, to whom he candidly related the inci- 
dent, at which some looked grave and others laughed, while his lady was 
least of all satisfied with the joke. Indeed, she proposed an ejectment of 
the new cook from the premises forthwith. 

"My love," said the merchant, "give yourself no kind of uneasiness 
about that! To-morrow I am going to Gollai, and he must see me there; 
but on my return he shall be discharged." Then they all proceeded to 
dinner, and made as good cheer as they could upon what they had got. 
In the evening when all was over, his master called Howleglass, and 
said, "Dol, see that my coach is in readiness early to-morrow morning, 
for I and the priest are going as far as Gollai, so look that it be well 
cleaned and greased." Accordingly when the whole family were abed, 
Howleglass proceeded to grease the chariot well both inside and out. And 
in the morning our merchant and the priest mounted to drive off; but 
slip went the priest wherever he laid his hand or foot! And he had many 
a time nearly broken his neck as they drove along. "What the deuce," 
he cried, "can it be that it is so thick and greasy?" 

So they stopped and called Howleglass in a great passion, inquiring 
what vile work he had been doing, and swore and threatened dreadfully. 
Just then a wagon-load of straw luckily went by, and the unhappy party 
purchased a small quantity, with which to purify the well-bedizened 
chariot. Quite enraged, the merchant cried out, "Off to the gallows, you 
rascal!" and soon after Howleglass saw one not far from the roadside, 
and driving the chariot right underneath it, he was proceeding very 
leisurely to unharness the horses. "What is it that you are about, vil- 
lain?" said his master. "Why," replied Howleglass, "did not you order 
me to drive off to the gallows? where I thought I was to set you down." 
On looking up, the priest and the merchant sure enough saw the gibbet; 
upon which his master, being seized with a panic, commanded him to 
back, and drive right away as hard as he could flog. Hearing this, Howie- 
glass dashed neck and nothing through the mud, so that by the horrible 
pulling and tearing, the vehicle came straight in two, jie hinder part 
remaining with the merchant and the priest stuck in the mud, and the 
other proceeding with Howleglass and the horses just as if nothing had 
happened. At length with much shouting and running the merchant over- 
took his driver, and was beginning to inflict summary vengeance upon 
him, when the priest came up and prevented him; and in this fashion 
they contrived to accomplish their journey, and so home again. Well! 



GERMANY ANONYMOUS 

his wife inquired how the merchant had enjoyed his journey? "Oh, de- 
lightful," sried the merchant, "now that we are safely returned." Then 
he, called Howleglass, saying, "To-night eat and drink to your heart's 
content, for to-morrow you quit this house. I cannot keep you, you are 
too great a malicious rascal for me." "All right, master," said Howle- 
glass. And in the morning when the merchant went out, he again said, 
"Eat and drink, take as much as you like, but do not let me find you 
here when I come home from church." So while the family was at church, 
Howleglass proceeded as he had been ordered to take what he liked; and 
very shortly he had almost completely gutted the house. In short, the 
merchant met him with a whole load of his goods in the street as he 
was coming from church. "Ha! my honest cook," he cried, "what are 
you dressing now?" "What you commanded me to do," replied Howle- 
glass: "you informed me that I might take what I liked, and rid the 
house of me." "Leave these things where they are," exclaimed the mer- 
chant, "and go to the devil if you please." Howleglass said, "I do every- 
thing that my masters order me, and yet I cannot live in peace." So he 
quitted the merchant in a huff, whom he was sorry again to have met with, 
while the former had his goods conveyed back to the house. 



DOCTOR FAUST AND THE USURER 

(Anonymous: Late i6th Century) 

THE author of the so-called Chapbook of Dr. Faust was in all 
probability a Lutheran pastor. The first known edition appeared in 
1587. It is a loosely constructed collection of incidents more or less 
remotely centred in the actual career of Dr. Faust, who died 
some fifty years before. It is a "curious patchwork of genuine 
folk tales that were really current about Doctor Faust . . . and 
learned demonological rubbish taken from preexistent treatises." A 
version of this chapbook fell into the hands of Christopher Mar- 
lowe; to this we owe Dr. Faustus, as well as the Faust of Goethe. 
The present version, translated by Thomas Roscoe, is reprinted 
from Roscoe's German Nwelists y London, no date. It is one of 
the separate incidents in the Life & It bears only a long description 
by way of title. 



GREAT SHORT STORIES OF THE WORLD 

DOCTOR FAUST AND THE USURER 
(From The History of Dr. J. Faust . . . , etc.) 

IT used to be an old saying that the conjuror, "charm he never so 
wisely," for the year together, was never half a stiver richer in the 
world for his pains. Now Doctor Faustus began to experience the truth of 
this, inasmuch as the grand promises made by his demon in their first 
contract were mere bubbles, well worthy of their proprietor a liar and 
the father of lies. For he had led the Doctor to believe that he was com- 
pelled into the service and overreached by him, so that vast riches would 
flow in upon him. Four years of his demon's apprenticeship had yet to 
run, though he was still not a whit the richer, either in gold or goods, 
for all that Mephistopheles had done. It was agreed likewise he was to 
partake only of the best fare that could be obtained at princes' courts 
wheresoever he should travel, as we have already seen. On this account 
he had held a variety of disputations with his familiar demon, which 
generally ended, however, by his inviting some boon companions to come 
and banquet with him. At length, finding himself in want of ready cash, 
he was compelled to apply to a certain Jew, with whom in the first 
instance he agreed for sixty dollars, which he promised to return in the 
space of one month. This being expired, the Jew went to demand his 
dollars with the interest which was become due, when the Doctor re- 
plied to his^ application as follows: "J ew > I have no money; and I have 
no means, just now, of procuring any. However, if you are willing to 
accept good security, I think we can come to terms. I will give you either 
an arm or a leg, whichever shall best please you, and which shall be 
made over to you as a pledge of mortgage; though under this one condi- 
tion: that as soon as I shall have the money forthcoming, you will be 
prepared to restore to me my leg." Now, the Jew, being naturally every 
good Christian's enemy, thought to himself, I am glad of this, but he 
must be a most singular genius to think of pawning me his life and 
blood for the sake of money. What can I do with such security as this? 
But meanwhile Doctor Faustus, taking out a saw, was very leisurely saw- 
ing off his leg, which he handed to the Jew (though it was all mere 
illusion), repeating the same condition that he was to return it the mo- 
ment he should obtain the money, as he (the Doctor) knew how to set 
it in its place again. So the Jew, not a little pleased with his contract, 
marched off with the Doctor's leg. When he had kept it, however, a short 
time, he began to think, What shall I .do with this rogue of a Christian's 
limb? If I carry it about with me I shall be poisoned with the stench, 
besides its being of no further use to him when he shall want it, how- 
ever good a security, for what more could he give? Being at length quite 



GERMANY ANONYMOUS 251 

puzzled in which way to act for the best, one day as he was crossing over 
a bridge, weary with calculating fro et contra^ he threw the Doctor's 
leg into the water, and thought himself well rid of it. Doctor Faustus, 
fully aware of what had passed, sent notice to the Jew three days after- 
wards that he was ready to repay him the money. The latter repented 
now that he had been so hasty, but he went. The first question put by 
the Doctor was what he had done with his pledge. "What have I done!" 
replied the Jew. "What could I do with it? It was of no use, and I 
threw it away." The Doctor on hearing this took the Jew roundly to 
task, declaring that he must have his leg again, come what would, or that 
he (the Jew) must look for the consequences. Alarmed at the violence 
of the Doctor's threats, the unlucky Israelite at length consented to adjust 
the matter by further advancing sixty dollars, in order to avoid the terrors 
of the law. 



CHRISTIAN GELLERT 

(1715-1769) 

THE son of a Saxon clergyman, Christian Furchtegott (meaning 
Christian Fear-God) Gellert is said to have exemplified by his 
life the* meaning of his names. For years a victim of ill-health and 
a hypochondriac, he spent the last part of his life lecturing on 
poetry at the University of Leipzig. He wrote plays, novels, fables 
and tales, but is to-day remembered only for his Tables and Talcs 
in verse (1746-1748). These are written in a sprightly manner, 
and are conceived and executed with a delicacy that was rare among 
the German writers of Gellert's day. 

The Sick Wife, one of the Fables and Tales, is translated espe- 
cially for this volume, by Barrett H. Clark. 



THE SICK WIFE 

"TTTTHO can estimate the innumerable evils that constantly threaten the 
v v health and well-being of mankind? It is needful that we in- 
quire into their causes, for the more we know of the dangers the better 
able are we to avoid trouble. 

The fair young Sulpicia, dearly beloved of her husband, went off one 
day to visit a friend. Though she left home in the best of health, she 
returned half dead, it seemed, and at once threw herself down upon 
her bed. Could it be that her circulation had suddenly stopped? Her 
clothes were loosened, and three pairs of hands made busy to assist her. 
None too many, forsooth! 



252 GREAT SHORT STORIES OF THE WORLD 

The poor young husband dissolved in a flood of tears: who could 
fail to be affected by so serious a situation? It was still too early, after 
but a single year of marriage, to wish to be rid of his wife! So he 
sent immediately for a physician. The youthful ./Esculapius appeared* on 
the scene in full regalia. Seating himself on the edge of the patient's 
bed, he assumed an expression as much as to say he had precisely the 
right remedy. He felt the wife's pulse, and wondered to himself what 
his medical books recommended in a case of this sort. But he ordered 
pen and ink to be brought him at once, and sat down to write. A servant 
was sent post-haste, and meantime the husband inquired! what could be 
the trouble with his wife? The physician looked at him and smiled: 

"You ask me what is the matter? There is really no need to tell you 
that. You know, it is a very good sign when young wives fret and com- 
plain!" 

At this news the husband was overjoyed. 

The night passed. The patient drank her potion, but it had no effect 
upon her at all. Another physician had to be summoned. 

Patience! At last they were about to discover what really ailed the 
woman. The second physician was in no doubt: she was coming down 
with the smallpox! 

Well, first she was going to become a mother, and then it was a case 
of smallpox! 

Say no more, Doctors, and prescribe nothing further, for one of you 
at least is entirely in the wrong! Rather leave her in the hands of Nature 
and to the mercies of her own comfortable bed. No matter how dan- 
gerous the disease, it is not half so dangerous as the Doctors' cures. 

Patience! Perhaps she will recover to-day. 

Her good husband never left her side, and not a half-hour passed but he 
asked her a hundred times if she didn't feel a little better? My good 
fellow, what use is that? Will your talk not make her worse? 

She spoke in gasps. It was easy to see by her speech that the pain was 
increasing. Alas, poor woman! Death seemed at hand. It would be a 
blessed release from her agony. 

But hark! Who knocks? It must be the Doctor? No. 

It was a tailor, bringing a dress. Ha, he comes in good time! 

"Is it," asks the wife with great difficulty, "my funeral dress? Alas, 
I will look quite as pale. Had Heaven permitted me to live, I would have 
ordered a dress like that, of the same kind of material. The tailor would 
know just how to make it. He made one for my friend. It's the loveliest 
dress in the whole world. Last time I called on her she wore it. Ah, how 
short is life. All is vanity!" 

Take courage, grief-stricken husband! You hear, do you not, that 
your wife can at last speak with considerable ease? Don't lose hope. The 
breath has not yet left her body. 



GERMANY GELLERT 353 

The tailor left the room, and the husband went out with him, and 
the two spoke secretly together behind the closed door. The tailor swore 
mighty oaths, and went off to do what he promised. He returned before 
evening, and went in to Sulpicia who, still in bed, thanked him heartily 
for coming. 

What did the tailor bring with him? 

He proceeded at once to unroll something that was wrapped in cloth. 
What a wonderful sight to behold! The selfsame cloth, the rich and 
marvelous dress! But what was it doing there? Surely the young wife 
could not hope to wear it? 

"My dearest angel," said her husband, "I would give everything I pos- 
sess to see you well again and wearing this dress!" 

"Oh, I am so ill," began the wife, "I am not even strong enough to 
deny you anything. I will get up from this bed, so that you may see 
this very day how the dress becomes me." 

The screen was brought, and the poor woman, as weak as though she 
had lain in bed a whole year, got up. After she was completely dressed 
out in her finery, she sat down and drank coffee. Well at last! There 
was no trace of any illness. 

A dress was what had ailed her, and a dress was the only effective 
remedy. A tailor had cured what no physician could so much as diagnose. 



JAKOB GRIMM 

(1775-1863) 

WILHELM GRIMM 
(1776-1859) 

THE BROTHERS GRIMM, as they are still affectionately called, were 
both scholars of high repute, and both professors at the University 
of Berlin. Though they contributed a great deal to the science of 
philology and the history of literature, their fame rests chiefly on 
their collections of folk-tales, issued under the title Children's and 
Household Stories, in 1812 and 1814. These were the result of 
personal investigation and travel. Little Briar-Rose is only one of 
their many charming tales. It is to be observed that in the work of 
the Brothers Grimm the writers have moulded each story with a 
conscious art: they are not to be classified as scientists, but artists. 
The present version, anonymously translated, is reprinted from 
an undated London edition of the Tales of the Brothers Grimm. 



254 GREAT SHORT STORIES OP THE WORLD 

LITTLE BRIAR-ROSE 
(From Children*: and Household Stories) 

LONG ago there was a king and a queen. They said every day, "Oh, 
if we only had a child!" and still they never got one. Then it 
happened, when once the queen was bathing, that a frog crept ashore 
out of the water, and said to her, "Your wish shall be fulfilled. Before 
-a year passes you shall bring a daughter into the world." 

What the frog said, happened, and the queen had a little girl that was 
so beautiful that the king could not contain himself for joy, and made 
a great feast. He invited not only his relatives, friends, and acquaintances, 
but also the wise women, that they might be gracious and kind to the 
child. Now, there were thirteen of them in his kingdom; but because 
he had only twelve gold plates for them to eat from, one of them had 
to stay at home. The feast was splendidly celebrated, and when it was 
over the wise women gave the child their wonderful gifts. One gave her 
virtue, another beauty, another wealth, and so with everything that people 
want in the world. But when eleven had spoken, suddenly the thirteenth 
came in. She wished to avenge herself, because she had not been asked; 
and without greeting or looking at anyone, she cried out, "In her 
fifteenth year the king's daughter shall wound herself oq a spindle, 
and fall down dead." And without saying another word, she turned 
around and left the hall. All were frightened. When the twelfth came 
up, who had her wish still to give, since she could not remove the sentence, 
but only soften it, she said, "Yet it shall not be a real death, but only 
a hundred years' deep sleep, into which the king's daughter shall fall." 

The king, who wanted to save his dear child from harm, sent out an 
order that all the spindles in the kingdom should be burned. But in the 
girl the gifts of the wise women were all fulfilled; for she was so 
beautiful, good, kind, and sensible, that nobody who saw her could help 
loving her. It happened that just on the day when she was fifteen years 
old the king and queen were not at home, and the little girl was left 
quite alone in the castle. Then she went wherever she pleased, looked 
in the rooms and chambers, and at last she got to an old tower. She 
went up the narrow winding stairs, and came to a little door. In the key- 
hole was a rusty key, and when she turned it the door sprang open, and 
there in a little room sat an old woman with a spindle, and spun busily 
her flax. "Good-day, Aunty," said the king's daughter; "what are you 
doing there?" "I am spinning," said the old woman, and nodded. "What 
sort of a thing is that that jumps about so gaily?" said the girl. She took 
the spindle and wanted to spin, too. But she had hardly touched the 
spindle before the spell was fulfilled, and she pricked her finger with it. 

At the instant she felt the prick she fell down on the bed that stood 



GERMANY GRIMM 2$$ 

there, and lay in a deep deep. And this sleep spread over all die castle. 
The king and queen, who had just come home and entered the hall, be- 
gan to go to sleep, and all the courtiers with them. The horses went to 
sleep in the stalls, the dogs in the yard, the doves on the roof, the flies 
on the wall, yes, the fire that was flickering on the hearth grew still 
and went to sleep. And the roast meat stopped sputtering, and the cook, 
who was going to take the cook-boy by the hair because he had forgotten 
something, let him go and slept. And the wind was still, and no leaf 
stirred in the trees by the castle. 

But all around the castle a hedge of briars grew, that got higher every 
year and at last surrounded the whole castle and grew up over it, so 
that nothing more could be seen of it, not even the flag on the roof. 
But the story went about in the country of the beautiful sleeping Briar- 
Rose (for so the king's daughter was called); so that from time to time 
kings' sons came and tried to get through the hedge into the castle. But 
they could not; for the briars, as though they had hands, clung fast 
together, and the young men stuck fast in them, could not get out again, 
and died a wretched death. After long, long years, there came again a 
king's son to that country, and heard how an old man told about the 
briar hedge; that there was a castle behind it, in which a wonderfully 
beautiful king's daughter called Briar-Rose had been sleeping for a 
hundred years, and that the king and the queen and all the court were 
sleeping with her. He knew, too, from his grandfather that many kings' 
sons had already come and tried to get through the briar hedge, but had 
all been caught in it and died a sad death. Then the young man said, 
"I am not afraid. I will go and see the beautiful Briar-Rose." The good 
old man might warn him as much as he pleased; he did not listen to his 
words. 

But now the hundred years were just passed, and the day was come 
when Briar-Rose was to wake again. So when the king's son went up 
to the briars, they were just great beautiful flowers that opened of their 
own accord and let him through unhurt; and behind him they closed to- 
gether as a hedge again. In the yard he saw the horses and the mottled 
hounds lying and sleeping; on the roof perched the doves, their heads 
stuck under their wings; and when he came into the house the flies were 
sleeping on the wall, in the kitchen the cook still held up his hand as 
though to grab the boy, and the maid was sitting before the black hen that 
wa$ to be plucked. Then he went further, and in the hall saw all the 
courtiers lying and sleeping, and upon their throne lay the king and 
the queen. Then he went further, and all was so still that you could 
hear yourself breathe; and at last he came to the tower and opened the 
door of the little room where Briar-Rose was sleeping. There she lay, 
and she was so beautiful that he could not take his eyes off her; and he 
bent down and gave her a kiss. But just as he touched her with the kiss, 



GREAT SHORT STORIES OF THE WORLD 

Briar-Rose opened her eyes, awoke, and looked at him very kindly. 
Then they went downstairs together 5 and the king awoke, and the queen, 
and all the courtiers, and made great eyes at one another. And the horses 
in the yard got up and shook themselves, the hounds sprang about and 
wagged their tails, the doves on the roof pulled out their heads from 
under their wings, looked around and flew into the field, the flies on the 
wall went on crawling, the fire in the kitchen started up and blazed and 
cooked the dinner, the roast began to sputter again, and the cook gave 
the boy such a box on the ear that he screamed, and the maid finished 
plucking the hen. Then the wedding of the king's son with Briar-Rose 
was splendidly celebrated, and they lived happy till their lives' end. 



E. T. A. HOFFMANN ' 
(1776-1822) 

ERNST THEODOR AMADEUS HOFFMANN was a master of one par- 
ticular type of short story, which was to a great extent a product 
of the romantic tendencies of his times. His earliest collection of 
tales, Fantasy Pieces in the Manner of Callot, are characterized 
by those qualities of fantasy and mystery with which his name is 
always associated. The collection under the title of The Serafion 
Brethren, is set within a "frame-narrative of the story-telling club 
in Berlin, where Hoffmann spent the last six years of his life as 
judge of a criminal^ court." Poe was especially indebted to Hoff- 
mann in the composition of his stories, as were several of the most 
important Nineteenth Century fiction writers all over Europe. 

The present translation, by Alexander Ewing, is reprinted from 
The Serafion Brethren, Bohn Library, London, by permission of 
the publishers, G. Bell and Sons. 



THIT STORY OF SERAPION 
(From The Serafion Brethren) 

OU know that some years ago I spent a considerable time in 

JL B , a place -in one of the pleasantest districts of the South 

of Germany. As my habit is, I used to take long walks in the surround- 
ing country by myself, without any guide, though I should often have 
been the better for one. On one of these occasions I got into a piece of 
thickly wooded country and lost my way; the farther I went, the less 
could I discover the smallest vestige of a human footstep. At last the 
wood grew less thick, and I saw, not far from me, a man in a hermit's 



GERMANY HOFFMANN 257 

brown robe, with a broad straw hat on his head, and a long, wild black 
beard, sitting on a rock by the side of a deep ravine, gazing, with folded 
hands, thoughtfully into the distance. This sight had something so strange, 
unexpected, and out of the common about it that I felt a shiver of 
eeriness and awe. One can scarcely help such a feeling when what one 
has only heretofore seen in pictures, or read of in books, suddenly appears 
before one's eyes in actual, everyday life. Here was an anchorite of the 
early ages of Christianity, in the body, seated in one of Salvator Rosa's 
wild mountain scenes. But it soon occurred to me that probably a monk 
on his peregrinations was nothing uncommon in that part of the country. 
So I walked up to him, and asked if he could tell me the shortest way 

out of the wood to the high road leading to B . He looked at me 

from head to foot with a gloomy glance, and said, in a hollow and 
solemn voice: 

" 'I know well that it is merely an idle curiosity to see me, and to 
hear me speak which has led you to this desert. But you must perceive 
that I have no time to talk with you now. My friend Ambrosius of 
Camaldoli is returning to Alexandria. Travel with him.* 

"With which he arose and walked down into the ravine. 

"I felt as if I must be in a dream. Presently I heard the sound of 
wheels close by. I made my way through the thickets, and found myself 
in a forest track, where I saw a countryman going along in a cart. I 
overtook him, and he shortly brought me to the high road leading to 

B . As we went along I told him my adventure, and asked if he 

knew who the extraordinary man in the forest was. 

" c Oh, sir,* he said, 'that was the worthy man who calls himself Priest 
Serapion, and who has been living in these woods for. some years, in a 
little hut which he built himself. People say he's not quite right in his 
head, but he is a nice, good gentleman, never does any harm, and edifies 
us of the village with pious discourses, giving us all the good advice 
that he can.* 

"I had come across the anchorite some six or eight miles from B , 

so I concluded that something must be known of him there, and this 

proved to be the case. Dr. S told me all the story. This hermit had 

once been one of the most brilliant intellects, one of the most universally 
accomplished men in M ; and belonging, as he did, to a very dis- 
tinguished family, he was naturally appointed to an important diplomatic 
post as soon as he had completed his studies: the duties of this office he 
discharged with great ability and energy. Moreover, he had remarkable 
poetical gifts, and everything he wrote was inspired by a most brilliant 
fancy, a mind and imagination which sounded the profoundest depths 
of all subjects. His incomparable humor, and the unusual charm of his 
character made him the most delightful of companions imaginable. 
He had risen from step to step of his career, and was on the point of 



aS* GREAT SHORT STORIES OF THE WORLD 

being despatched on an important diplomatic mission, when he disap- 
peared, in the most incomprehensible fashion, from M . All search 

for him was fruitless, and conjecture and inquiry were baffled by a com- 
bination of circumstances. 

"After a time there appeared amongst the villages, in the depths of 
the Tyrolese mountains, a man in a brown robe, who preached in these 
hamlets, and then went away into the wildest parts of the forests, where 

he lived the life of a hermit. It chanced one day that Count P saw 

this man (who called himself Priest Serapion), and at once recognized 

him as his unfortunate nephew, who had disappeared from M . He 

was taken into custody, became violent, and all the skill of the best 

doctors in M could do nothing to alleviate his terrible condition. 

He was taken to the lunatic asylum at B , and there the methodical 

system, based upon profound psychological knowledge, pursued by the 
medical man then in charge of that institution, succeeded in bringing 
frtxnit a condition of much less excitement, and greater quietness in the 
form of his malady. Whether this doctor,- true to his theory, gave the 
patient an opportunity of escaping, or whether he himself found the 
means t>f doing so, escape he did, and was lost sight of for a considerable 
time. 

"Serapion appeared, ultimately, in the country some eight miles from 

B , where I had seen him; and the doctor declared tfeat if any true 

compassion was to be shown him, he should not be again driven into a 
condition of wild excitement; but that, if he was to ]be at peace, and, 
after his fashion, happy, he should be left in these woods in perfect 
freedom, to do just as he liked; in which case he, the said doctor, would 
be responsible for the consequences. Accordingly, the police authorities 
were content to leave him to a distant and imperceptible supervision by 
the officials of the nearest village, and the result bore out what the doctor 
had said. Serapion built himself a little hut, pretty, and, under the cir- 
cumstances, comfortable. He made chairs and tables, wove mats of rushes 
to lie upon, and laid out a garden where he grew flowers and vegetables. 
In all that did not touch the idea that he was the hermit Serapion who 
fled into the Theban desert in the days of the Emperor Decius, and suf- 
fered martyrdom in Alexandria, his mind was completely unaffected. He 
could carry on the most intellectual conversation, and often showed traces 
of the brilliant humor and charming individuality of character for which 
he had been remarkable in his former life. The aforesaid doctor de- 
clared him to be completely incurable, and strongly deprecated all at- 
tempts to restore him to the world and to his. former pursuits and 
duties. 

"You will readily understand that I could not drive this anchorite of 
mine out of my thoughts, and that I experienced an irresistible longing 
to see him again. But just picture to yourselves the excess of my folly! 



GERMANY HOFFMANN 959 

I had no less an undertaking in my mind than that of attacking Serapion's 
fixed idea at its very roots. I read Pinel, Reil, every conceivable book on 
insanity which I could lay my hands on. I fondly believed that it might 
be reserved for me, an amateur psychologist and doctor, to cast some rays 
of light into Serapion's darkened intelligence. And I did not omit, either, 
to make myself acquainted with the stories of all the Serapions (there 
were no fewer than eight of them) treated of in the histories of saints 
and martyrs. 

"Thus equipped, I set out one fine morning in search of my anchorite. 

"I found him working in his garden with hoe and spade, singing a de- 
votional song. Wild pigeons, for which he had strewed an abundant 
supply of food, were fluttering and cooing round him, and a young deer 
was peeping through the leaves on the trellis. He was evidently living in 
the closest intimacy with the woodland creatures. Not the faintest trace 
of insanity was visible in his face; it bore a quiet expression of remark- 
able serenity and happiness; and all this confirmed what Dr. S in 

B had told me. When he heard of my projected visit to the an- 
chorite, he advised me to go some fine, bright, pleasant morning, because 
he said, his mind would be less troubled then and he would be more in- 
clined to talk to a stranger, whereas at evening he would shun all inter- 
course with mankind. 

"As soon as he saw me he laid down his spade, and came towards me 
in a kind and friendly manner. I said that, being weary with a longish 
journey, I should be glad if he would allow me to rest with him for a 
little while. 

" 'You are heartily welcome,' he said. 'The little which I can offer 
you in the shape of refreshment is at your service.' 

"And he took me to a seat of moss in front of his hut, brought out a 
little table, set on bread, magnificent grapes, and a can of wine, and 
hospitably begged me to eat and drink. He sat down opposite to me, and 
ate bread with much appetite, washing it down with draughts of water. 

"In good sooth I did not see how I was to lead the conversation to 
my subject how I was to bring my psychological science to bear upon 
this peaceful, happy man. At last I pulled myself together and began: 

"'You style yourself Serapion, reverend sir?' 

<c 'Yes, certainly,' he answered. 'The Church has given me that name. 1 

" 'Ancient ecclesiastical history,' I continued, 'mentions several cele- 
brated holy men of that name. An abbot Serapion, known for his good 
works the learned Bishop Serapion alluded to by Hieronimus in his book 
De Viris Illustribus. There was also a monk Serapion, who (as Hera- 
elides relates in his Paradise) on one occasion, coming from the 
Theban desert to Rome, ordered a virgin, who had joined him saying 
she had renounced the world and its pleasures to prove this by walking 
with him naked in the streets of Rome, and repulsed her when she 



260 GREAT SHORT STORIES OF THE WORLD 

hesitated, saying, "You still live the life of Nature, and are careful 
for the opinions of mankind. Think not that you are anything great or 
have overcome the world." If I am not mistaken, reverend sir, this was 
the "filthy monk" (Heraclides himself so styles him) who suffered a 
terrible martyrdom under the Emperor Decius his limbs being torn 
asunder at the joints, and his body thrown down from a lofty rock.' 

" 'That was so/ said Serapion, turning pale, and his eyes glowing with 
a somber fire. 'But Serapion the martyr, had no connection with that 
monk, who, in the fury of his asceticism, did battle against human 
nature. / am Serapion the martyr, to whom you allude.' 

"'What?' I cried, with feigned surprise. 'You believe that you are 
that* Serapion who suffered such a hideous martyrdom so many hundred 
years ago?' 

" 'That,' said Serapion with much calmness, 'may appear incredible 
to you, and I admit that it must sound very wonderful to many who 
cannot see further than the points of their own noses. However, it is 
as I tell you. God's omnipotence permitted me to survive my martyrdom, 
and to recover from its effects, because it was ordained, in His myste- 
rious providence, that I had still to pass a certain period of my existence, 
to His praise and glory, here in the Theban desert. There is nothing 
now to remind me of the tortures which I. suffered except sometimes 
a severe headache, and occasional violent cramps and twitchings in my 
limbs.' 

" 'Now,' thought I, 'is the time to commence my cure.' 

"I made a wide circumbendibus, and talked in an erudite style con- 
cerning the malady of 'Fixed Idea,' which attacks people, marring, like 
one single discord, the otherwise harmonious organisms. I spoke of the 
scientific man who could not be induced to rise from his chair for fear 
he would break the windows across the street with his nose. I mentioned 
the Abbot Molanus, who conversed most rationally upon every subject, 
but would not leave his room because he thought he was a barleycorn, 
and the hens would swallow him. I came to the fact that to confound 
oneself with some historical character was a frequent form of Fixed 
Idea. 'Nothing more absurd and preposterous,' I said, 'could possibly 
be imagined than that a little bit of woodland country eight miles from 

B , daily frequented by country folk, sportsmen, and people walking 

for exercise was the Theban desert, and he himself that ascetic who suf- 
fered martyrdom many centuries ago.* 

"Serapion listened in silence. He seemed to feel what I said, and to be 
Struggling with himself in deep reflection. So that I thought it was time 
to strike my decisive blow. I stood up, took him by both hands, and cried, 
loudly and emphatically: 

" 'Count P , awake from the pernicious dream which is enthralling 

you; throw off that abominable dress, and come back to your family, 



GERMANY HOFFMANN 261 

which mourns your loss, and to the world where you have such im- 
portant duties to discharge.' 

"Serapion gazed at me with a somber, penetrating gaze. Then a 
sarcastic smile played about his lips and cheeks, and he said, slowly 
and solemnly: 

" c You have spoken, sir, long, and, as you consider, wisely and well. 
Allow me y in turn, to say a few words in reply. Saint Anthony, and all 
the men of the Church who have withdrawn from the world into solitude, 
were often visited by vexing spirits, who, envying the inward peace and 
contentment of their souls, carried on with them lengthy contests, until 
they had to lie down conquered in the dust. And such is my fortune also. 
Every now and then there appear to me emissaries, sent by Satan, who 

try to persuade me that I am Count P of M , and that I ought 

to betake myself to the life of Courts, and all sorts of unholiness. Were 
it not for the efficacy of prayer, I should take these people by the shoulders, 
turn them out of my little garden, and carefully barricade it against them. 
But I need not do so in your case; for you are, most unmistakably, the 
very feeblest of all the adversaries who have ever come to me, and I 
can vanquish you with your own weapons those of ratiocination. It 
is insanity that is in question between us. But if one of us two is suffering 
from that sad malady, it is evident that you are so in a much greater 
degree than J[. 9 You maintain that it is a case of Fixed Idea that I be- 
lieve myself to be Serapion the martyr and I am quite aware that 
many persons hold the same opinion, or pretend that they do. Now, if 
I am really insane, none but a lunatic can think that he could argue me 
out of the Fixed Idea which insanity has engendered in me. Were such 
a proceeding possible, there would soon be no madmen on the face of 
the earth, for men would be able to rule, and command, their mental 
power, which is not their own, but merely lent to them for a time 
by that Higher Power which disposes of them. But if I am not mad, and 
if I am really Serapion the martyr, it is insane to set about arguing me 
out of that, and leading me to adopt the Fixed Idea that I am Count 
p O f M jYou say that Serapion the martyr lived several cen- 

turies ago, and that, consequently, I cannot be that martyr, presumably 
for the reason that human beings cannot remain so long on this earth. 
Well, as regards this, the notion of time is just as relative a notion as 
that of number; and I may say to you that, according to the notion of 
time which I have in me> it is scarcely three hours (or whatever appella- 
tion you may choose to give to the divisions of time) since I was put 
to martyrdom by the Emperor Decius. But, leaving this on one side, can 
you assert, in opposition to me, that a life of such length as I say I have 
lived, is unexampled and contrary to human nature ? Have you cognizance 
of the precise length of the life of every human being who has existed 
in all this wide world, that you can employ the expression 'unexampled* 



26* GREAT SHORT STORIES OP THE WORLD 

in this pert and decisive manner? Do you compare God's omnipotence 
to the wretched art of the clockmaker, who can't save his lifeless ma- 
chinery from destruction? You say this place where we are is not the 

Theban desert, but a little woodland district eight miles from B , 

daily frequented by country folk, sportsmen and others. Prove that to 
me.' 

"Here I thought I had rtiy man. 

" 'Come with me,' said I, 'and in a couple of hours we shall be in 
B , and what I assert will be proved.' 

" 'Poor blinded fool,' said Serapion. What a wide distance lies between 

us and B ! But put the case that I went with you to some town 

which you call B ; would you be able to convince me that we had 

been traveling for two hours only, and the place we had arrived at was 

really B ? If I were to assert that you were insane, and suppose 

the Theban desert is a little bit of wooded country, and far-away Alex- 
andria the town of B in the south of Germany, what would you 

say in reply? Our old discussion would go on forever. Then there is 
another point which you ought seriously to consider. You must, I should 
suppose, perceive that I, who am talking with you, am leading the peace- 
ful and happy life of a man reconciled with God. It is only after having 
passed through martyrdom that such a life dawns upon the soul. And 
if it has pleased the Almighty to cast a veil over what fyappened before 
my martyrdom, is it not a terrible and diabolical action to try to tear that 
veil away?' 

"With all my wisdom, I stood confounded and silenced in the pres- 
ence of this insane man! With the very rationality of his irrationality 
he had beaten me completely out of the field, and I saw the folly of 
my undertaking in all its fulness. Still more than that, I felt the reproach 
contained in what he had last said as deeply as I was astounded at the 
dim remembrance of his previous life which shone through it like some 
lofty, invulnerable higher spirit. 

"Serapion seemed to be reading my thoughts, and, looking me full 
in the face with an expression of the greatest kindliness, he said: 

" *I never took you for an evil-disposed adversary, and I see I was 
not mistaken, You may have been instigated by somebody perhaps by 
the Evil One himself to come here to vex and try me, but I am sure 
it was not a spontaneous act of yours. And perhaps the fact that you found 
me other than you expected, may have strengthened you in your ex- 
pression of the doubts which you have suggested. Although I in no 
sense deviate from the devoutness beseeming him who has given up his 
life to God and the Church, that cynicism of asceticism into which many 
of my brethren have fallen thereby giving proof of the weakness, nay, 
utter destruction of their mental vigor, instead of its boasted strength 
is utterly foreign to me! You expected to find the Monk Serapion pale 



GERMANY HOFFMANN 263 

and haggard, wasted with fast and vigil, ail the horror of visions, ter- 
rible as those which drove even St. Anthony to despair, in his somber face, 
with quivering knees scarce able to support him, in a filthy robe, stained 
with his blood. You find a placid, cheerful man. But I, too, have passed 
through those tortures, and have overcome them and survived. And when 
I awoke with shattered limbs and fractured skull, the spirit dawned, and 
shone bright within me, restoring my mind and my body to health. May 
it please Heaven speedily to grant to you also, my brother, even here on 
earth, a peace and happiness such as those which daily refresh and 
strengthen me. Have no dread of the terror of the deepest solitude. It 
is only there that a life like this can dawn upon the pious soul.' 

"Serapion, who had spoken with genuine priestly unction, raised, in 
silence, his eyes to Heaven with an expression of blissful gratitude. How 
could I feel otherwise than awe-struck! A madman, congratulating him- 
self on his condition, looking upon it as a priceless gift from Heaven, 
and, from the depths of his heart, wishing me a similar fate! 

"I was on the point of leaving him, but he began in an altered tone, 
saying: 

" c You would, probably, scarcely suppose that this wild inhospitable 
desert is often almost too full of the noise and bustle of life to be 
suitable for my silent meditations. Every day I receive visits from the 
most remartahfo people of the most diverse kinds. Ariosto was here yes- 
terday, and Dante and Petrarch afterwards. And this evening I expect 
Evagrus, the celebrated father, with whom I shall discuss the most recent 
ecclesiastical affairs, as I did poetry yesterday. I often go up to the top 
of that hill there, whence the towers of Alexandria are to be seen dis- 
tinctly in clear weather, and the most wonderful and interesting events 
happen before my eyes. Many people have thought that incredible, too, 
and considered that I only fancy I see before me, in actual life, what is 
merely born in my mind and imagination. Now / say that is the most 
incomprehensible piece of folly that can exist. What is it, except the mind, 
which takes cognizance of what happens around us in time and space? 
What is it that hears, and feels, and sees? Is it the lifeless mechanism 
which we call eyes, ears, hands, etc., and not the mind? Does the mind 
give form and shape to that peculiar world of its own which has space 
and time for its conditions of existence, and then hand over the functions 
of seeing, hearing, etc., to some other principle inherent in us? How il- 
logical! Therefore, if it is the mind only which takes cognizance of 
events around us, it follows that that which it has taken cognizance of 
has actually occurred. Last evening only, Ariosto was speaking of the 
images of his fancy, and saying he had created in his brain forms and 
events which had never existed in time and space. I at once denied the 
possibility of this, and he was obliged to allow that it was only from lack 
of a higher knowledge that a poet would box up within the narrow 



264 GREAT SHORT STORIES OF THE WORLD 

limits of his brain that which, by virtue of his peculiar seer gift, he was 
enabled to see in full life before him. But the complete acquirement of 
this higher knowledge only comes after martyrdom, and is strengthened 
by the life in profound solitude. You don't appear to agree with me; 
probably you don't understand me here. Indeed how could a child of 
this world, however well disposed, understand an anchorite consecrated 
in all his works and ways to God. Let me tell you what happened be- 
fore my eyes, as I was standing this morning at sunrise at the top of 
that hill.' 

"He then related a regular romance, with a plot and incidents such 
as only the most imaginative poet could have constructed. The characters 
and events stood out with such a vivid, plastic relief, that it was impos- 
sible carried away as one was by the magic spell of them to help 
believing, as if in a species of dream, that Serapion had actually wit- 
nessed them from the hilltop. This romance was succeeded by another, 
and that by another, by which time the sun stood high above us in the 
noontide sky. Serapion then rose from his seat, and looking into the dis- 
tance, said: * Yonder comes my brother Hilarion, who, in his overstrict- 
ness, always blames me for being too much given to the society of 
strangers.* 

"I understood the hint, and took my leave, asking if I should be al- 
lowed to pay him another visit. Serapion answered with a gentle smile, 
'My friend, I thought you would be eager to get away from this wilder- 
ness, so little adapted to your mode of life. But if it is your pleasure 
to take up your abode for a time in my neighborhood, you will always 
be welcome to my cottage and my little garden. Perhaps it may be 
granted to me to convert him who came to me as an adversary. Farewell, 
my friend.' 

"I am wholly unable to characterize the impression which my visit to 
him had made upon me. Whilst his condition, his methodical madness in 
which he found the joy of his life, produced the weirdest effect upon me, 
his extraordinary poetical genius filled me with amazement, and his 
kindly, peaceful happiness, instinct with the quietest resignation of the 
purest mind, touched me unspeakably. I thought of Ophelia's sorrow- 
ful words: 

" *O what a noble mind is here o'erthrown ! etc.' 

V. 

Yet I could not make plaint against the Omnipotence, which probably 
had, in this mysterious fashion, steered his bark away from reefs, which 
might have wrecked it, into this secure haven. 

"The oftener I went to see him, the more attached to him I became. 
I always found him happy, and disposed to converse, and I took great 
care never again to essay my role of the psychological doctor. It was 



GERMANY HOFFMANN 265 

wonderful with what acuteness and penetration he spoke of life in all 
its aspects, and most remarkable of all, how he deduced historical events 
from causes wholly remote from all ordinary theories on the subject. 
When sometimes notwithstanding the striking acuteness of those divina- 
tions of his I took it upon me to object that no work on history made 
any mention of the circumstances which he alluded to, he would answer, 
with his quiet smile, that probably no historian in the world knew as 
much about them as he did, seeing that he had them from the very lips 
of the people concerned, when they came to see him. 

"I was obliged to leave B and it was three years before I could 

go back there. It was late in Autumn, about the middle of November 
the 1 4th, if I do not mistake when I set out to pay my anchorite a 
visit. Whilst I was still at a distance, I heard the sound of the little bell 
which hung above his hut, and was filled with gloomy forebodings, 
without apparent cause. At last I reached the cottage and went in. 

"Serapion was lying on his mat, with his hands folded on his breast. 
I thought he was sleeping, and went softly up to him. Then I saw that 
he was dead." 



, , GOTTFRIED KELLER 

(1819-1890) 

KELLER, one of the most distinguished writers of Switzerland, 
is claimed by the Germans becauie he wrote in their language. 
The son of a Swiss mechanic, he spent a dreamy and aimless youth. 
He lived a great part of his life in Ziirich. It was not until 
after his death that he was recognized as one of the masters of Ger- 
man literature. Professor Thomas declares that his "books are on 
the whole the very best reading to be found in the whole range 
of Nineteenth Century German fiction." He wrote almost entirely 
of his beloved Switzerland. His Seven Legends (1872), in which 
A Legend of the Dance first appeared, is one of his most beau- 
tiful books. 

The present version, translated by Martin Wyness, is reprinted, 
by permission of the publishers, from Seven Legends^ Gowans & 
Gray, Glasgow, 1911. 



A LEGEND OF. THE DANCE 

A CCORDING to Saint Gregory, Musa was the dancer aiming the 
<L&. saints. The child of good people, she was a bright young lady, a 
diligent servant of the Mother of God, and subject only to one weakness, 



266 GREAT SHORT STORIES OF THE WORLD 

such an uncontrollable passion for the dance that when the child was 
not praying she was dancing, and that on all imaginable occasions. Musa 
danced with her playmates, with children, with the young men, and even 
by herself. She danced in her own room and every other room in the 
house, in the garden, in the meadows. Even when she went to the altar 
it was to a gracious measure rather than a walk, and even on the smooth 
marble flags before the church door, she did not scruple to practice a 
few hasty steps. 

In fact, one day when she found herself alone in the church, she 
could not refrain from executing some figures before the altar, arid, 
so to speak, dancing a pretty prayer to the Virgin Mary. She became 
so oblivious of all else that she fancied she was merely dreaming when 
she saw an oldish but handsome gentleman dancing opposite her and 
supplementing her figures so skilfully that the pair got into the most 
elaborate dance imaginable. The gentleman had a royal purple robe, 
a golden crown on his head, and a glossy black curled beard, which age 
had touched as with streaks of starlight. At the same time music sounded 
from the choir where half a dozen small angels stood, or sat with their 
chubby little legs hanging over the screen, and fingered or blew their 
various instruments. The urchins were very pleasant and skilful. Each 
rested his music on one of the stone angels with which the choir screen 
was adorned, except the smallest, a puffy-cheeked pipen.who sat cross- 
legged and contrived to hold his music with his pink toes. He * was the 
most diligent of them all. The others dangled their feet, kept spreading 
their pinions, one or other of them, with a rustle, so that their colors 
shimmered like doves' breasts, and they teased each other as they played. 

Musa found no time to wonder at all this until the dance, which lasted 
a pretty long time, was over; for the merry gentleman seemed to enjoy 
himself as much as the maid, who felt as if she were dancing about in 
heaven. But when the music ceased and Musa stood there panting, she 
began to be frightened in good earnest, and looked in astonishment at 
the ancient, who was neither out of breath nor warm, and who now 
began to speak. He introduced himself as David, the Virgin Mary's royal 
ancestor, and her ambassador. He asked if she would like to pass eternal 
lliss in an unending pleasure dance, compared with which the dance they 
had just finished could only be called a miserable crawl. 

To this she promptly answered that she would like nothing better. 
Whereupon the blessed King David said again that in that case she 
had nothing more to do than to renounce all pleasure and all dancing 
for the rest of her days on earth and devote herself wholly to penance 
and spiritual exercises, and that without hesitation or relapse. The maiden 
was taken aback at these conditions, and asked whether she must really 
give up dancing altogether. She questioned indeed whether there was any 
dancing in Heaven; for there was a time for everything. This earth 



GERMANY KELLER 267 

looked very fit and proper for dancing; it stood to reason that Heaven 
must have very different attractions, else death were a superfluity. 

But David explained to her that her notions on the subject were er- 
roneous, and proved from many Bible texts, and from his own example 
that dancing was assuredly a sanctified occupation for the blessed. But 
what was wanted just now was an immediate decision, Yes or No, 
whether she wished to enter into eternal joy by way of temporal self- 
denial, or not. If she did not, then he would go farther on; for they 
wanted some dancers in Heaven. 

Musa stood, still doubtful and undecided, and fumbled anxiously 
with her finger-tips in her mouth. It seemed too hard never to dance 
again from that moment, all for the sake of an unknown reward. At 
that, David gave a signal, and suddenly the musicians struck up some 
bars of a dance of such unheard-of bliss and unearthliness that the girl's 
soul leaped in her body, and her limbs twitched; but she could not get 
one of them to dance, and she noticed that her body was far too heavy 
and stiff for the tune. Full of longing, she thrust Aer hand into the 
King's and made the promise which he demanded. 

Forthwith he was no more to be seen, and the angel-musicians whirred 
and fluttered and crowded out and away through an open window. But, 
in mischievous childish fashion, before going they dealt the patient stone 
angels a soundipg slap on the cheeks with their rolled-up music. 

Musa went home with devout step, carrying that celestial melody in 
her ears; and having laid all her dainty raiment aside, she got a coarse 
gown made and put it on. At the same time she built herself a cell at 
the end of her parents' garden, where the deep shade of the trees lingered, 
made a scant bed of moss and from that day onward separated herself 
from all her kindred, and took up her abode there as a penitent and saint. 
She spent all her time in prayer, and often disciplined herself with a 
scourge. But her severest penance consisted in holding her limbs stiff and 
immovable, for whenever she heard a sound, the twitter of a bird or the 
rustling of the leaves Jn the wind, her feet twitched as much as to tell 
her they must dance. 

As this involuntary twitching would not forsake her, and often seduced 
her to a little skip before she was aware, she caused her tender feet to 
be fastened together by a light chain. Her relatives and friends marveled 
day and night at the transformation, rejoiced to possess such a saint, 
and guarded the hermitage under the trees as the apple of their eye. 
Many came for her counsel and intercession. In particular, they used to 
bring young girls to her who were rather clumsy on their feet, for 'it 
was observed that everyone whom she touched at once became light 
and graceful in gait. 

So she spent three years in her cell, but by the end of the third year 
Musa had become almost as thin and transparent as a summer cloud. 



268 GREAT SHORT STORIES OF THE WORLD 

She lay continually on her bed of moss, gazed wistfully into Heaven, and 
was convinced that she could already see the golden sandals of the blessed, 
dancing and gliding about through the azure. 

At last one harsh autumn day the tidings spread that the saint lay on 
her death-bed. She had taken off her dark penitential robe, and caused 
herself to be arrayed in bridal garments of dazzling white. So she lay 
with folded hands and smilingly awaited the hour of death. The garden 
was all filled with devout persons, the breezes murmured, and the leaves 
were falling from the trees on all sides. But suddenly the sighing of the 
wind changed into music, which appeared to be playing in the tree-tops, 
and as the people looked up, lo, all the branches were clad in fresh green, 
the myrtles and pomegranates put out blossom and fragrance, the earth 
decked itself with flowers, and a rosy glow settled upon the white, frail 
form of the dying saint. 

That same instant she yielded up her spirit. The train about her feet 
sprang asunder with a sharp twang, Heaven opened wide all around, full 
of unbounded radiance so that all could see in. Then they saw many 
thousands of beautiful young men and maidens in the utmost splendor, 
dancing circle upon circle farther than the eye could reach. A magnifi- 
cent King enthroned on a cloud, with a special band of small angels 
seated on its edge, bore down a little way towards earth, and received 
the form of the sainted Musa from before the eyes of all the beholders 
who filled the garden. They saw, too, how she sprang into the open 
Heaven and immediately danced out of sight among the jubilant radiant 
circle. 

That was a high feast-day in Heaven. Now the custom (to be sure, it 
is denied by Saint Gregory of Nyssa, but stoutly maintained by his name- 
sake of Nazianza) on feast-days was to invite the nine Muses, who sat 
for the rest of their time in Hell and to admit them to Heaven that 
they might be of assistance. They were well entertained, but once the 
feast was over had to go back to the other place. 

When, now, the dances and songs and all the ceremonies had come to 
an end and the heavenly company sat down, Musa was taken to a table 
where the nine Muses were being served. They sat huddled together half 
scared, glancing about with their fiery black or dark-blue eyes. The busy 
Martha of the Gospels was caring for them in person. She had on her 
finest kitchen-apron and a tiny little smudge on her white chin and was 
pressing all manner of good things on the Muses in the friendliest pos- 
sible way, but when Musa and Saint Cecilia and some other artistic women 
arrived and greeted the shy Pierians cheerfully, and joined their com- 
pany, they began to thaw, grew confidential, and the feminine circle be- 
came quite pleasant and happy. Musa sat beside Terpsichore, and Cecilia 
between Polyhymnia and Euterpe, and all took one another's hands. 
Next came the little minstrel urchins and made up to the beautiful women 



GERMANY KELLER 269 

with an eye to the bright fruit which shone on the ambrosial table. King 
David himself came and brought a golden cup, out of which all drank, 
so that gracious joy warmed them. He went round the table, not omitting 
as he passed to chuck pretty Erato under the chin. While things were 
going on so favorably at the Muses' table, Our Gracious Lady herself 
appeared in all her beauty and goodness, sat down a few minutes beside 
the Muses, and kissed the august Urania with the starry coronet tenderly 
upon the lips, when she took her departure, whispering to her that she 
would not rest until the Muses could remain in Paradise forever. 

But that never came about. To declare their gratitude for the kindness 
and friendliness which had been shown them, and to prove their good- 
will, the Muses took counsel together and practised a hymn of praise 
in a retired corner 'of the Underworld. They tried to give it the form of 
the solemn chorals which were the fashion in Heaven. They arranged it 
in two parts of four voices each, with a sort of principal part, which 
Urania took, and they thus produced a remarkable piece of vocal music. 

The next time a feast-day was celebrated in Heaven, and the Muses 
again rendered their assistance, they seized what appeared to be a favor- 
able moment for their purpose, took their places, and began their song. 
It began softly, but soon swelled out mightily, but in those regions it 
sounded so dismal, almost defiant and harsh, yet so wistful and mourn- 
ful that first oTf all a horrified silence prevailed, and next the whole 
assembly was seized with a sad longing for earth and home, and broke 
into universal weeping. 

A sigh without end throbbed throughout Heaven. All the Elders and 
Prophets started up in dismay while the Muses, with the best of inten- 
tions, sang louder and more mournfully, and all Paradise, with the 
Patriarchs and Elders and Prophets and all who ever walked or lay in 
green pastures, lost all command of themselves. Until at last, the High 
and Mighty Trinity Himself came to put things right, and reduced the 
too zealous Muses to silence with a long reverberating peal of thunder. 

Then quiet and composure were restored to Heaven, but the poor 
nine Sisters had to depart and never dared enter it again from that day 
onward. 



PAUL HEYSE 
(1830) 

HEYSE is one of the most distinguished and highly respected Ger- 
man writers of the past century. Poet, novelist, dramatist, critic, he 
"created a new standard of style and artistic finish for the nov- 
elette." The Fury appeared in Heyse's first collection of stories, 



870 GREAT SHORT STORIES OF THE WORLD 

which was published in 185$. It is generally regarded as one of 
the very best stories in the German language. 

Reprinted from the volume Tales from the German of Paul 
Heyse, New York, 1878, D* Appleton & Co., publishers, by whose 
permission it is here used. The original title is L'Arrabbiata. 



THE FURY 

day had scarcely dawned. Over Vesuvius hung one broad gray 
JL stripe of mist, stretching across as far as Naples, and darkening 
all the small towns along the coast. The sea lay calm. Along the shore 
of the narrow creek that lies beneath the Sorrento cliffs, fishermen and 
their wives were at work already, some with giant cables drawing their 
boats to land, with the nets that had been cast the night before, while 
others were rigging their craft, trimming the sails, or fetching out oars 
and masts from the great grated vaults that have been built deep into 
the rocks for shelter to the tackle overnight. Nowhere an idle hand; even 
the very aged, who had long given up going to sea, fell into the long chain 
of those who were hauling in the nets. Here and there, on some flat 
housetop, an old woman stood and spun, or busied herself about her grand- 
children, whom their mother had left to help her husband. 

"Do you see, Rachela? yonder is our padre curato," said one to a little 
thing of ten, who brandished a small spindle by her side; "Antonio is to 
row him over to Capri. Madre Santissima! but the reverend signore's 
eyes are dull with sleep!" and she waved her hand to a benevolent-look- 
ing little priest, who was settling himself in the boat, and spreading out 
upon the bench his carefully tucked-up skirts. 

The men upon the quay had dropped their work to see their pastor 
off, who bowed and nodded kindly, right and left. 

"What for must he go to Capri, granny?" asked the child. "Have 
the people there no priest of their own, that they must borrow ours?" 

"Silly thing!" returned the granny. "Priests they have in plenty 
and the most beautiful of churches, and a hermit too, which is more than 
we have. But there lives a great signora, who once lived here; she was 
so very ill! Many's the time our padre had to go and take the Most Holy 
to her, when chey thought she could not live the night. But with the 
Blessed Virgin's help she got strong and well, and was able to bathe every 
day in the sea. When she went away, she left a fine heap of ducats be- 
hind her for our church, and for the poor; and she would not go, they 
say, until our padre promised to go and see her over there, that she might 
confess to him tis before. It is quite wonderful, the store she lays by 
him! Indeed, and we have cause to bless ourselves for having a curato who 
has gifts enough for an archbishop, and is in such request with all the 



GERMANY HEYSE 271 

great folks. The Madonna be with him!" she cried, and waved her 
hand again, as the boat was about to put from shore. 

"Are we to have fair weather, my son?" inquired the little priest, with 
an anxious look toward Naples. 

"The sun is not yet up," the young man answered; "when he comes, 
he will easily do for that small trifle of mist." 

"Off with you, then! that we may arrive before the heat." 

Antonio was just reaching for his long oar to shove away the boat, 
when suddenly he paused, and fixed his eyes upon the summit of the 
steep path that leads down from Sorrento to the water. A tall and slender 
girlish figure had become visible upon the heights, and was now hastily 
stepping down the stones, waving her handkerchief. She had a small 
bundle under her arm, and her dress was mean and poor. Yet she had 
a distinguished if somewhat savage way of throwing back her head, 
and the dark tress wreathed around it was like a diadem. 

"What have we to wait for?" inquired the curato. 

"There is someone coming who wants to go to Capri with your per- 
mission, padre. We shall not go a whit the slower. It is a slight youhg 
thing, but just eighteen." 

At that moment the young girl appeared from behind the wall that 
bounds the winding path. 

"Laurella!", cried the priest. "And what has she to do in Capri?" 

Antonio Shrugged his shoulders. She came up with hasty steps, her 
eyes fixed straight before her. 

"Ha! FArrabiata! good-morning!" shouted one or two of the young 
boatmen. But for the curato's presence, they might have added more; 
the look of mute defiance with which the young girl received their wel- 
come appeared to tempt the more mischievous among them. 

"Good-day, Laurella!" now said the priest. "How are you? Are you 
coming with us to Capri?" 

"If I may, padre." 

"Ask Antonio there; the boat is his. Every man is master of his own, 
I say, as God is master of us all." 

"There is half a carlino, if I may go for that?" said Laurella, with- 
out looking at the young boatman. 

"You need it more than I," he muttered, and pushed aside some 
orange-baskets to make room: he was to sell the oranges in Capri, which 
little isle of rocks has never been able to grow enough for all its visitors. 

"I do not choose to go for nothing," said the girl, with a slight frown 
of her dark eyebrows. 

"Come, child," said the priest; "he is a good lad, and had rather 
not enrich himself with that little morsel of your poverty. Come now, 
and step in," and he stretched out his hand to help her, "and sit you 
down by me. See, now, he has spread his jacket for you, that you may 



272 GREAT SHORT STORIES OF THE WORLD 

sit the softer. Young folks are all alike; for one little maiden of eighteen 
they will do more thian for ten of us reverend fathers. Nay, no excuse, 
Tonino. It is the Lord's own doing, that like and like should hold to- 
gether." 

Meantime Laurella had stepped in, and seated herself beside the padre, 
first putting away Antonio's jacket without a word. The young fellow 
let it lie, and, muttering between his teeth, he gave one vigorous push 
against the pier, and the little boat flew out into the open bay. 

"What are you carrying there in that little bundle?" inquired the 
padre, as they were floating on over a calm sea, now just beginning to 
be lighted up with the earliest rays of the rising sun. 

"Silk, thread, and a loaf, padre. The silk is to be sold at Anacapri, to 
a woman who makes ribbons, and the thread to another." 

"Spun by yourself?" 

"Yes, sir." 

''You once learned to weave ribbons yourself, if I remember right?" 

"I did, sir; but mother has been much worse, and I cannot stay so 
long from home; and a loom to ourselves we are not rich enough to 
buy." 

"Worse, is she? Ah! dear, dear! when I was with you last, at Easter, 
she was up." 

"The spring is .always her worst time. Ever since tfrose last great 
storms, and the earthquakes she has been forced to keep her bed from 
pain." 

"Pray, my child. Never slacken your prayers and petitions that the 
Blessed Virgin may intercede for you; and be industrious and good, that 
your prayers may find a hearing." 

After a pause: "When you were coming toward the shore, I heard 
them calling after you. 'Good-morning, PArrabiata!' they said. What 
made them call you so? It is not a nice name for a young Christian 
maiden, who should be meek and mild." 

The young girl's brown face glowed all over, while her eyes flashed 
fire. 

"They always mock me so, because I do not dance and sing, and stand 
about to chatter, as other girls do. I might be left in peace, I think; 
I do them no harm." 

"Nay, but you might be civil. Let others dance and sing, on whom this 
life sits lighter; but a kind word now and then is seemly even from the 
most afflicted.". .. 

Her dark eyes fell, and she drew her eyebrows closer over them, as if 
she would have hidden them. 

They went on a while in silence. The sun now stood resplendent above 
the mountain chain; only the tip of Mount Vesuvius towered beyond the 
group of clouds that had gathered about its base; and on the Sorrento 



GERMANY HEYSE , 273 

plains the houses were gleaming white from the dark green of their 
orange-gardens. 

"Have you heard no more of that painter, Laurella?" asked the curato 
"that Neapolitan, who wished so much to marry you?-" She shook her 
head. "He came to make a picture of you. Why would you not let him?" 

"What did he want it for? There are handsomer girls than I. Who 
knows what he would have done with it? He might have bewitched me 
with it, or hurt my soul, or even killed me, mother says." 

"Never believe such sinful things!" said the little curato very earnestly. 
"Are not you ever in God's keeping, without whose will not one hair 
of your head can fall? and is one poor mortal with an image in his 
hand to prevail against the Lord? Besides, you might have seen that he 
was fond of you; else why should he want to marry you?" 

She said nothing. 

"And wherefore did you refuse him? He was an honest man, they 
say, and comely; and he would have kept you and your mother far 
better than you ever can yourself, for all your spinning and silk- 
winding." 

"We are so poor!" she said passionately; "and mother has been ill so 
long, we should have become a burden to him. And then I never should 
have done for a signora. When his friends came to see him, he would 
only have been* ashamed of me." 

"How can you say so? I tell you the man was good and kind; he 
would even have been willing to settle in Sorrento. It will not be so 
easy to find another, sent straight from heaven to be the saving x>f you, 
as this man, indeed, appeared to be." 

"I want no husband I never shall," she said, very stubbornly, half 
to herself. 

"Is this a vow? or do you mean to be a nun?/' 

She shook her head. 

"The people are not so wrong who call you wilful, although the name 
they give you is not kind. Have you ever considered that you stand alone 
ill the world, and that your perverseness must make your sick mother's 
illness worse to bear, her life more bitter? And what sound reason can 
you have to give for rejecting an honest hand, stretched out to help you 
and your mother? Answer me, Laurella." 

"I have a reason," she said reluctantly, and speaking low; "but it is 
one I cannot give." 

"Not give! not give to me? not to your confessor, whom you surely 
know to be your friend or is he not? " 

Laurella nodded. 

"Then, child, unburden your heart. If your reason be a good one, 
I shall be the very first to uphold you in it. Only you are young, and 
know so little of the world, A time may come when you will find cause 



274 GREAT SHORT STORIES OF THE WORLD 

to regret a chance of happiness thrown away for some foolish fancy now/' 

Shyly she threw a furtive glance over to the other end of the boat, 
where the young boatman sat, rowing fast. His woolen cap was pulled 
deep down over his eyes; he was gazing far across the water, with 
averted head, sunk, as it appeared, in his own meditations. 

The priest observed her look, and bent his ear down closer. 

"You did not know my father?" she whispered, while a dark look 
gathered in her eyes. 

"Your father, child! Why, your father died when you were ten years 
old. What can your father (Heaven rest his soul in paradise!) have to 
do with this present perversity of yours?" 

"You did not know him, padre; you did not know that mother's ill- 
ness was caused by him alone." 

"And how?" 

"By his ill-treatment of her; he beat her and trampled upon her. 
I well remember the nights when he came home in his fits of frenzy. 
She never said a word, and did everything he bade her. Yet he would 
beat her so, my heart felt ready to break. I used to cover up my head and 
pretend to be asleep, but I cried all night. And then, when he saw her 
lying on the floor, quite suddenly he would change, and lift her up 
and kiss her till she screamed and said he smothered her. Mother for- 
bade me ever to say a word of this; but it wore her out. And in all these 
long years since father died, she has never been able to get well again. 
And if she should soon die which God forbid! I know who it was 
that killed her." 

The 'little curate's head wagged slowly to and fro; he seemed un- 
certain how far to acquiesce in the young girl's reasons. At length he 
said: "Forgive him, as your mother has forgiven! And turn your thoughts 
from such distressing pictures, Laurella; there may be better days in 
store for you, which will make you forget the past." 

"Never shall I forget that!" she said, and shuddered. "And you must 
know, padre, it is the reason why I have resolved to remain unmarried. 
I never will be subject to a man, who may beat and then caress me. 
Were a man now to want to beat or kiss me, I could defend myself; but 
mother could not neither from his blows nor kisses because she loved 
him. Now, I will never so love a man as to be made ill and wretched 
by him." 

"You are but a child, and you talk like one who knows nothing at all 
of life. Are all men like that poor father of yours? Do all ill-treat their 
wives, and give vent to every whim and gust of passion? Have you 
never seen a good man yet? or known good wives, who live in peace and 
harmony with their husbands?" 

tc But nobody ever knew how father was to mother; she would have 
died sooner than complain or tell of him, and all because she loved him. 



HEYSE 

If this be love if^ love can close our lipg when they should cry out 
for help if it is to' nrtake us suffdr without resistance, worse than even 
our worst enemy could make us suffer then, I say, I never will be fond 
of mortal man." 

"I tell you you are childish; you know not what you are saying. When 
youf time comes, you are iiot likely to be consulted whether you choose 
to fall in love or ftot." After a pause, he added, "And that painter: did 
you think he could halve been cruel?" 

"He made those eyes I have seen my father make, when he begged my 
mother's pardon and took her in his arms to make it up. I know those 
eyes. A man may make such eyes, and yet find it in his heart to beat a 
wife who never did a thing to vex him ! It made my flesh creep to see those 
eyes again." 

After this she would not say another word. The curate also remained 
silent. He bethought himself of more than one wise saying, wherewith 
the maiden might have been admoriished; but he refrained, in considera- 
tion of the young boatman, who had been growing rather restless toward 
the close of this confession. 

When, after two hours' rowing, they reached the little bay of Capri, 
Antonio took the padre in his arms, and carried him through the last 
few. ripples of shallow water, to set him reverently down upon his legs 
on dry land. But Laurella did not wait for him to wade back and fetch 
her. Gathering up her little petticoat, holding in one hand her wooden 
shoes and in the .other her little bundle, with one splashing step or two 
she had reached the shore. "I have some time to stay at Capri," said the 
priest. "You need not wait I may not perhaps return before to-morrow. 
When you get home, Laurella, remember me to your mother; I will 
come and see her within the week. YOU mean to go back before it gets 
dark?" 

"If I find an opportunity," answered the girl, turning all her attention 
to her skirts. 

"I must return, you- foiow," said Antonio, in a tone which hie believed 
to be one of great indifference. "I shall wait here till the Ave Maria. 
If you should not coirie, it is the same to me." 

"You must come," interposed the little priest* "you neVef ckri leave 
your mother all alone a night. Is it far you have to go?" 

"To a vineyard by Anacapri." 

"And I to Capri. So now God bless you, child^arid you, my son." 

Laurella kissed his hand, aftd let one farewell drt>p, for the padre and 
Antonio to divide between them. Antonio, however, appropriated no part 
of it to himself; he pulled off his cap exclusively to the padre, without* 
even looking at Laurella. But after they had turned their backs, he let 
his eyes travel but a short way with the padfe, as he went toiling' over 
tte deep bed of small, loose stones; he soon sfcnt theft' after* the 



GREAT* SHORT STORIES of tHE WORLD 

who, turning to the right, had begun to climb the heights, holding ohe 
hand above her eyes to protect them from the scorching sun. Just before 
Ae path disappeared behind high walls, she, stopped, as if to gather 
breath, and looked behind her. At her feet lay the marina; the rugged 
rocks rose high around her; the sea was shining in the rarest of its deep- 
blue splendor. The scene was surely worth a moment's pause. But, as 
chance would have it, her eyes, in glancing past Antonio's boat, met An- 
tonio's own, which had been following her as she climbed. 

Each made a slight movement, as persons do who would excuse them- 
selves for some mistake; and then, with her darkest look, the maiden went 
her way. 

Hardly one hour had passed since noon, and yet for the last two An- 
tonio had been sitting waiting on the bench before the fishers' tavern. 
He must have been very much preoccupied with something, for he jumped 
up every moment to step out into the sunshine, and look carefully up 
and down the roads, which, parting right and left, lead to the only two 
little towns upon the island. He did not altogether trust the weather, he 
then said to the hostess of the osteria; to be sure, it was clear enough, 
but he did not quite like that tint of sea and sky. Just so it had looked, 
he said, before the last awful storm, when the English family had been 
so nearly lost; surely she must remember it? e 

No, indeed, she said, she didn't. 

Well, if the weather should happen to change before night, she was 
to think of him, he said. 

* c Have you many fine folk over there?" she asked him, after a while. 

"They are only just beginning; as yet, the season has been bad enough j 
those who came to bathe, came late," 

"The spring came late. Have you not been earning more than we at 
Capri?" 

"Not enough to give me macaroni twice a week, if I had had nothing 
but the boat only a letter now and then to take to Naples, or a gentleman 
to row out into the open sea, that he might fish. But you know I have, 
an uncle who is rich; he owns more than one fine orange-garden; aa4 
Tonino,' says he to me, 'while I live you shall not suffer want and 
when I am gone you will find that I have taken care of you** And so, 
with God's help, I got through the winter." 

"Has he children, this wele who is rich?" 

"No, he never nitrified; he was long in foreign parts, and many a 
good piastre he. has laid together. He is going to set up a great fishing 
business, a^d act me over it, to see the rights of it," 

''Why, then you are a made nxaifc, Tonino!" 

The young boatman shrugged his shoulders. "Every man has Ms own 
burden," said he, starti&g up again tq Have another look at die weather, 



GERMANY HEYSE 277 

turning his eyes right and left, although he must have known that there 
can be no weather side but one. 

"Let me fetch you another bottle," said the hostess; "your uncle can 
well afford to pay for it." 

"Not more than one glass; it is a fiery wine you have in Capri, and 
my head is hot already." 

"It does not heat the blood; you may drink as much of it as you like. 
And here is my husband coming; so you must sit a while, and talk to 
him." 

And in fact, with his nets over his shoulder, and his red cap upon his 
curly head, down came the comely padrone of the osteria. He had been 
taking a dish of fish to that great lady, to set before the little curato. 
As soon as he caught sight of the young boatman, he began waving him 
a most cordial welcome; and he came to sit beside him on the bench, 
chattering and asking questions. Just as his wife was bringing her second 
bottle of pure unadulterated Capri, they heard the crisp sand crunch, and 
Laurella was seen approaching from the left-hand road to Anacapri. 
She nodded slightly in salutation; then stopped, and hesitated. 

Antonio sprang from his seat. "I must go," he said. "It is a young 
Sorrento girl, who came over with the signer curato in the morning. 
She has to get back to her sick mother before night." 

"Well, well, time enough yet before night," observed the fisherman; 
"time enough to take a glass of wine. Wife, I say, another glass!" 

"I thank you; I had rather not"; and Laurella kept her distance. 

'Till the glasses, wife; fill them both, I say; she only wants a little 
pressing." 

"Don't," interposed the lad. "It is a wilful head of her own she has; 
a saint could not persuade her to do what she does not choose." And, 
taking a hasty leave, he ran down to the boat, loosened the rope, and stood 
waiting for Laurella. Again she bent her head to the hostess, and slowly 
approached the water, with lingering steps. She looked around on every 
side, as if in hopes of seeing some other passenger. But the marina was 
deserted. The fishermen were asleep, or rowing about the coast with rods 
or nets; a few women and children sat before their doors, spinning or 
sleeping; such strangers as had come over in the morning were waiting 
for the cool of the evening to return. She had not time to look about her 
long; before she could prevent him, Antonio had seized her in his arms 
and carried her to the boat, as if she had been an infant. He leaped in 
after her, and with a stroke or two of his oar they were in deep water. 

She had seated herself at the end of the boat, half turning her back 
to him, so that he could only see her profile. She wore a sterner look 
than ever; the low, straight brow was shaded by her hair; the rounded 
lips were firmly closed; only the delicate nostril occasionally gave a 
wilful quiver. After they had gone on a while in silence, she began to 



278 GREAT SHORT STORIES OF THE WORLD 

feel the scorching of the sun; and, unloosening her bundle, she threw 
the handkerchief over her head, and. began to make her dinner of the 
bread; for in Capri she had eaten nothing. 

Antonio did not stand this long; he fetched out a couple of the oranges 
with which the baskets had been filled in the morning. "Here is some- 
thing to eat to your bread, Laurella," he said. "Don't think I kept them 
for you; they had rolled out of the basket, and I only found them when 
I brought the baskets back to the boat." 

"Eat them yourself; bread is enough for me." 

"They are refreshing in this heat, and you have had to walk so far." 

"They gave me a drink of water, and that refreshed me." 

"As you please," he said, and let them drop into the basket. 

Silence again. The sea was smooth as glass. Not a ripple was heard 
against the prow. Even the white sea-birds that roost among the caves 
of Capri pursued their prey with soundless flight. 

"You might take the oranges to your mother," again commenced 
Tonino. 

"We have oranges at home; and when they are gone, I can go and 
buy some more." 

"Nay, take these to her, and give them to her with my compliments." 

"She does not know you." 

"You could tell her who I am." 

"I do not know you either." 

It was not the first time that she had denied him thus. One Sunday 
of last year, when that painter had first come to Sorrento, Antonio had 
chanced to be playing boccla with some other young fellows in the little 
piazza by the chief street. 

There, for the first time, had the painter caught sight of Laurella, 
who, with her pitcher on her head, had passed by without taking any 
notice of him. The Neapolitan, struck by her appearance, stood still and 
gazed after her, not heeding that he was standing in the very midst 
of the game, which, with two steps, he might have cleared. A very un- 
gentle ball came knocking against his shins, as a reminder that this was 
not the spot to choose for meditation. He looked round, as if in expecta- 
tion of some excuse. But the young boatman who had thrown the ball 
stood silent among his friends, in such an attitude of defiance that the 
stranger had found it more advisable to go his ways and avoid discus- 
sion. Still, this little encounter had been spoken of, particularly at the 
time when the painter had been pressing his suit to Laurella. "I do not 
even know him," she said indignantly, when the painter asked her 
whether it was for the sake of that uncourteous lad she now refused 
him. But she had heard that piece of gossip, and known Antonio well 
enough when she had met him since. 

And now they sat together in this boat, like two most deadly enemies, 



GERMANY HEYSE 279 

while their hearts were beating fit to kill them. Antonio's usually so 
good-humored face was heated to scarlet; he struck the oars so sharply 
that the foam flew over to where Laurella sat, while his lips moved as if 
muttering angry words. She pretended not to notice, wearing her most 
unconscious look, bending over the edge of the boat, and letting the cool 
water pass between her fingers. Then she threw off her handkerchief 
again, and began to smooth her hair, as though she had been alone. Only 
her eyebrows twitched, and she held up her wet hands in vain attempts 
to cool her burning cheeks. , 

Now they were well out in the open sea. The island was far behind, 
and the coast before them lay yet distant in the hot haze. Not a sail was 
within sight, far or near not even a passing gull to break the stillness. 
Antonio looked all round, evidently ripening some hasty resolution. The 
color faded suddenly from his cheek, and he dropped his oars. Laurella 
looked round involuntarily fearless, yet attentive. 

"I must make an end of this," the young fellow burst forth. "It has 
lasted too long already! I only wonder that it has not killed me! You 
say you do not know me? And all this time you must have seen me pass 
you like a madman, my whole heart full of what I had to tell you; and 
then you only made your Grossest mouth, and turned your back upon me." 

"What had I to say to you?" she curtly replied. "I may have seen 
that you wer inclined to meddle with me, but I do not choose to be on 
people's Wicked tongues for nothing. I do not mean to have you for 
a husband ijeither you nor any other." 

"Nor any other? So you will not always say! You say so now, be- 
cause you would not have that painter. Bah, you were but a child! You 
.will feel lonely enough yet, some day; and then, wild as you are, you will 
take the next best who comes to hand." 

"Who knows? which of us can see the future? It may be that I will 
change my mind. What is that to you?" 

"What is it to me?" he flew out, starting to his feet, while the small 
boat leaped and danced. "What is it to me, you say? You know well 
enough! I tell you, that man shall perish miserably to whom you shall 
prove kinder than you have been to me!" 

"And to you, what did I ever promise? Am I to blame if you be mad? 
What right have you to me?" 

"Ah! I know," he cried, "my right is written nowhere. It has not 
been put in Latin by any lawyer, nor stamped with any seal. But this I 
feel: I have just the right to you that I have to heaven, if I die an 
honest Christian. Do you think I could look on and see you go to church 
with another man, and see the girls go by and shrug their shoulders 
at me?" 

"You can do as you please. I am not going to let myself be frightened 
by all those threats. I also mean to do as I please." 



*86 GREAT SHORT STORIES OF THE WORLD 

. "You shall not say so long!" and his whole frame shook with passion. 
**I am not the man to let my whole life be spoiled by a stubborn wench 
like you! You are in my power here, remember, and may be made to 
4o my bidding." 

She could not repress a start, but her eyes flashed bravely on him. 

"You may kill me if you dare," she said slowly. 

"I do nothing by halves," he said, and his voice sounded choked and 
hoarse. "There is room for us both in the sea. I cannot help thee, child" 
he spoke the last words dreamily, almost pitifully "but we must both 
go down together both at once and now!" he shouted, and snatched 
her in his arms. But at the same moment he drew back his right hand; 
the blood gushed out; she had bitten him fiercely, 

"Ha! can I be made to do your bidding?" she cried, and thrust him 
from her, with one sudden movement. "Am I here in your power?" and 
she leaped into the sea, and sank. 

She 'rose again directly; her scanty skirts clung close; her long hair, 
loosened by the waves, hung heavy about her neck. She struck out val- 
iantly, and, without uttering a sound, she began to swim steadily from 
the boat toward the shore. 

With senses benumbed by sudden terror, he stood, with outstretched 
neck, looking after her, his eyes fixed as though they had just been wit- 
ness to a miracle. Then, giving himself a shake, he seized* his oars, and 
began rowing after her with all the strength he had, while all the time 
the bottom of the boat was reddening fast with the blood that kept stream- 
ing from his hand. 

Rapidly as she swam, he was at her side in a moment. "For the love 
pf our most Holy Virgin," he cried, "get into the boat! I have been a 
madman! God alone can tell what so suddenly darkened my brain. It 
came upon me like a flash of lightning and set me all on fire. I knew 
not what I did or said. I do not even ask you to forgive me, Laurella, 
only to come into the boat again and not to risk your life!" 

She swam on as though she had not heard him. 

"You can never swim to land. I tell you it is two miles off. Think 
of your mother! If you should come to grief, I should die of horror." 

She measured the distance with her eye, and then, without answering 
him one word, she swam up to the boat, and laid her hands upon the 
edge; he rose to help her in. As the T>oat tilted over to one side with the 
girl's weight, his jacket that was lying on the bench slipped into the 
water. Agile as she was, she swung herself on board without assistance, 
and gained her former seat. As soon as he saw that she was safe, he took 
to his oars again, while she began quietly wringing but he* dripping 
clothes, and shaking the water from her hair. As her eyes fell upon 
die bottom of the boat, and saw the blood, she gave a quick look at the 
hand, which held the oar as if it had been unhurt. 



GERMANY HEYSE 281 

"Take this," she said, and held out her handkerchief. He shook his 
head, and went on rowing. After a time she rose, and, stepping up to 
him, bound the handkerchief firmly round the wound, which was very 
deep. Then, heedless of his endeavors to prevent her, she took an oar, 
and, seating herself opposite him, began to row with steady strokes, keep- 
ing her eyes from looking toward him fixed upon the oar that was scar- 
let with his blood. Both were pale and silent. As they drew near land, 
such fishermen as they met began shouting after Antonio and gibing at 
Laurella; but neither of them moved an eyelid, or spoke one word. 

The sun stood yet high over Procida when they landed at the marina. 
Laurella shook out her petticoat, now nearly dry, and jumped on shore. 
The old spinning woman, who in the morning had seen them start, was 
still upon her terrace. She called down, "What is that upon your hand, 
Tonino? Jesus Christ! the boat is full of blood!" 

"It is nothing, comare," the young fellow replied. "I tore my hand 
against a nail that was sticking out too far; it will be well to-morrow. 
It is only this confounded ready blood of mine, that always makes a 
thing look worse than it is." 

"Let me come and bind it up, comparello. Stop one moment; I will 
go and fetch the herbs, and come to you directly." 

"Never trouble yourself, comare. It has been dressed already; to- 
morrow morr/Jng it will be all over and forgotten. I have a healthy 
skin, that lieals directly." 

"Addio!" said Laurella, turning to the path that goes winding up the 
cliffs. "Good-night!" he answered, without looking at her; and then 
taking his oars and baskets from the boat, and climbing up the small 
stone stairs, he went into his own hut. 

He was alone in his two little rooms, and began to pace them up and 
down. Cooler than upon the dead calm sea, the breeze blew fresh through 
the small unglazed windows, which could only be closed with wooden 
shutters. The solitude was soothing to him. He stooped before the little 
image of the Virgin, devoutly gazing upon the glory round the head 
(made of stars cut out in silver paper). But he did not want to pray. 
What reason had he to pray, now that he had lost all he had ever hoped 
for? 

And this day appeared to last forever. He did so long for night! for 
he was weary, and more exhausted by the loss of blood than he would 
have cared to own. His hand was very sore. Seating himself upon a little 
stool, he untied the handkerchief that bound it; the blood, so long re- 
pressed, gushed out again; all round the wound the hand was swollen 
high. 

He washed it carefully, cooling it in the water; then he clearly saw 
the marks of Lauretta's teeth. 



*82 GREAT SHORT STORIES .OF THE WORLD 

"She was right/* he said; "I was a brute, and deserved no better. I 
will send her back the handkerchief by Giuseppe to-morrow. Never 
shall she set eyes on me again." And he washed the handkerchief with 
the greatest care, and spread it out in the sun to dry. 

And having bound up his hand again, as well as he could manage with 
his teeth and his left hand, he threw himself upon his bed, and closed 
his eyes. 

He was soon waked up from a sort of slumber by the rays of the 
bright moonlight, and also by the pain of his hand; he had just risen 
for more cold water to soothe its throbbings, when he heard the sound 
of someone at the door. Laurella stood before him. 

She came in without a question, took off the handkerchief she had 
tied over her head, and placed her little basket upon the table; then 
she drew a deep breath. 

"You are come to fetch your handkerchief,' 1 he said. "You need not 
have taken that trouble. In the morning I would have asked Giuseppe to 
take it to you." 

"It is not the handkerchief," she said quickly. "I have been up among 
the hills to gather herbs to stop the blood; see here." And she lifted the 
lid of her little basket. 

"Too much trouble," he said, not in bitterness "far too much trouble. 
I am better, much better; but if I were worse, it would be* no more than 
I deserve. Why did you come at such a time? If any one should see you?, 
YOU know how they talk, even when they don't know what they are 
saying." 

"I care for no one's talk," she said, passionately. "I came to see your 
hand, and put the herbs upon it; you cannot do it with your left." 

"It is not worth while, I tell you." 

"Let me see it then, if I am to believe you." 

She took his hand, that was not able to prevent her, and unbound the 
linen. When she saw the swelling, she shuddered, and gave a cry: "Jesus 
Maria!" 

"It is a little swollen," he said; "it will be over in four-and-twenty 
hours." 

She shook her head. "It will certainly be a week before you can go 
to sea." 

"More likely a day or two; and if not, what matters?" 

She had fetched a basin, and began carefully washing out the wound, 
which he suffered passively, like a child. She then laid on the healing 
leaves, which at once relieved the burning pain, and finally bound it up 
with the linen she had brought with her. 

When it was done: "I thank you," he said. "And now, if you would 
do me one more kindness, forgive the madness that came over me; forget 
all I said and did. I cannot tell how it came to pass; certainly it was 



GERMANY HEYSE 283 

not your fault not yours. And never shall you hear from me again 
one word to vex you." 

She interrupted him. "It is I who have to beg your pardon. I should 
have spoken differently. I might have explained it better, and not en- 
raged you with my sullen ways. And now that bite " 

"It was in self-defense; it was high time to bring me to my senses. 
As I said before, it is nothing at all to signify. Do not talk of being for- 
given; you only did me good, and I thank you for it. And now, here 
is your handkerchief; take it with you." 

He held it to her, but yet she lingered, hesitated, and appeared to have 
some inward struggle. At length she said: "You have lost your jacket, 
and by my fault; and I know that all the money for the oranges was 
in it. I did not think of this till afterward. I cannot replace it now; we 
have not so much at home or if we had, it would be mother's. But this 
I have this silver cross. That painter left it on the table the day he 
came for the last time. I have never looked at it all this while, and do 
not care to keep it in my box; if you were to sell it? It must be worth 
a few piastres, mother says. It might make up the money you have lost; 
and if not quite, I could earn the rest by spinning at night when mother 
is asleep." 

"Nothing will make me take it," he said shortly, pushing away the 
bright new cross which she had taken from her pocket. 

"You must," she said; "how can you tell how long your hand may keep 
you from your work? There it lies; and nothing can make me so much 
as look at it again." 

"Drop it in the sea, then." 

"It is no present I want to make you; it is no more than is your due; 
it is only fair." 

"Nothing from you can be due to me; and hereafter when we chance 
to meet, if you would do me a kindness, I beg you not to look my way. 
It would make me feel you were thinking of what I have done. And 
now good-night; and let this be the last word said." 

She laid the handkerchief in the basket, and also the cross, and closed 
the lid. But when he looked into her face, he started. Great heavy drops 
were rolling down her cheeks; she let them flow unheeded. 

"Maria Santissima!" he cried. "Are you ill? YOU are trembling from 
head to foot!" 

"It is nothing," she said; "I must go home"; and with unsteady steps 
she was moving to the door, when suddenly she leaned her brow against 
the wall, and gave way to a fit of bitter sobbing. Before he could go 
to her she turned upon him suddenly, and fell upon his neck. 

"I cannot bear it!" she cried, clinging to him as a dying thing to life 
"I cannot bear it! I cannot let you speak so kindly, and bid me go, 
with all this on my conscience. Beat me! trample on me! curse me! Or 



*84 GREAT SHORT STORIES OF THE WORLD 

if it can be that you love me still, after all I have done to you, take me 
and keep me, and do with me as you please; only do not send me away, 
so!" She could say no more for sobbing. 

Speechless, he held her a while in his arms. "If I can love you still!" 
he cried at last. "Holy Mother of God! Do you think that all my best 
heart's blood has gone from me through that little wound? Don't you 
hear it hammering now, as though it would burst my breast and go to 
you? But if you say this to try me, or because you pity me, I can forget 
it. You are not to think you owe me this, because you know what I have 
suffered for you." 

"No!" she said very resolutely, looking up from his shoulder into his 
face, with her tearful eyes; "it is because I love you; and let me tell 
you, it was because I always feared to love you that I was so cross. I 
will be so different now. I never could bear again to pass you in the street 
without one look! And lest you should ever feel a doubt, I will kiss you, 
that you may say, 'She kissed me'; and Laurella kisses no man but her 
husband." 

She kissed him thrice, and, escaping from his arms: "And now good- 
night, amor mio, cara vita mia!" she said. "Lie down to sleep, and let 
your hand get well. Do not come with me ; I am afraid of no man, save 
of you alone." 

And so she slipped out, and soon disappeared in the shadow of the 
wall. 

He remained standing by the window, gazing far out over the calm 
sea, while all the stars in heaven appeared to flit before his eyes. 

The next time the little curato sat in his confessional, he sat smiling 
to himself. Laurella had just risen from her knees after a very long 
confession. 

"Who would have thought it?" he said musingly "that the Lord 
would so soon have taken pity upon that wayward little heart? And I 
had been reproaching myself for not having adjured more sternly that 
ill demon of perversity. Our eyes are but shortsighted to see the ways of 
Heaven! Well, may God bless her, I say, and let me live to go to sea 
with Laurella's eldest born rowing me in his father's place! Ah! well, 
indeed! 1'Arrabiata!" 



ARTHUR SCHNITZLER 
(1862) 

ARTHUR SCHNITZLER, torn at Vienna in 1862, is one of the most 
distinguished figures in contemporary Austrian literature, and a 



GERMANY SCHNITZLER 285 

dramatist and fiction writer of international renown* His delicately 
written and finely conceived short stories are among the very best 
of their kind. The Trifle Warning is a philosophical and meta- 
physical parable related in the author's best and most brilliant style. - 
The present version is translated especially for this collection 
by Barrett H. Clark, from the volume Masks and Miracles, by per- 
mission of the author. 



THE TRIPLE WARNING 

IN the morning mist, shot through with the blue of the heavens, a 

youth was making his way toward the beckoning mountains. His heart 
thrilled to the rhythmical beat of all the world. Without a care or worry 
he went on for hours over the level country when, on reaching the 
edge of a forest, a voice rang out, sounding at once near at hand and 
far-off, and very mysterious: 

"Go not through this forest, youth, unless thou wouldst commit 
murder." 

The youth stood still in astonishment, looked in every direction, and 
seeing nowhere any sign of a living being, concluded that it was a spirit 
that had addressed him. But his innate courage would not permit him 
to heed the strange call, and reducing his gait only a little, he proceeded 
on his way without misgiving, his senses keenly alert, in order that 
he might be prepared for a meeting with the unknown enemy that had 
warned him. But he met no one, nor heard any suspicious sound as, un- 
challenged, he emerged out of the deep shadows of the trees into the 
open. Under the last wide boughs he sank down for a short rest, allowing 
his eyes to wander out across a wide meadow toward the mountains, from 
among which one peak rose aloft, naked and sharply outlined. This was 
his ultimate goal. 

But scarcely had he arisen again when for the second time the myste- 
rious voice was heard, sounding at once near at hand and far-off, 
mysteriously, but more earnestly than before: 

"Go not through this meadow, youth, unless thou wouldst bring ruin 
to thy Fatherland." 

The youth's pride this time forbade his taking heed; he even smiled 
at the rigmarole, which was delivered with the air as of one concealing 
something very important, and hurried on, not knowing whether im- 
patience or unrest hastened his steps. The damp mist of evening descended 
upon the plain as he at last stood facing the rocky wall below his goal. 
Hardly had he set foot upon the bare surface of the stone, when the 
voice rang out again, near at hand and far-off, mysteriously, but more 
threateningly than before: 



266 GREAT SHORT STORIES OF THE WORLD 

"No farther, youth, else wilt thou suffer death." 

The youth laughed loudly and, without haste or hesitation, went on 
his way. And the less clear the ascending path became, the more did his 
chest expand, and finally on the bravely conquered peak his head was 
illumined by the last light of day. 

"Here I am!" he called out in a tone of triumph. "If this was a 
test, O good or evil spirit, then have I won! No murder weighs on 
my conscience, unharmed slumbers my Fatherland below, and I still live. 
Whosoever thou art, I am stronger than thou, for I did not believe thee, 
and I did right." 

Whereupon came a great sound as of thunder from the mountain 
sides, and at the same time exceeding close at hand: 

"Youth, thou errest!" And the overpowering weight of the words 
felled the wanderer. He stretched himself out on the edge of rock as 
though he intended to rest there, and with an ironical curl of the lips 
he said half to himself: 

"So it appears that I have committed murder without knowing it!" 

"Thy careless foot has crushed a worm," the answer thundered back. 
And the youth answered with indifference: 

"I see: neither a good nor an evil spirit spoke to me, but a spirit with 
a sense of humor. I was not aware that such hovered about among us 
mortals." 9 

And again the voice resounded in the fading twilight of the heights: 

"Art thou then no longer the same youth whose heart only this morn- 
ing thrilled to the rhythmical beat of all the world? Is thy soul so dead 
that thou art untouched by the happiness and sorrow of even a worm?" 

"Is that thy meaning?" replied the youth, wrinkling his forehead. 
"In that event am I a hundred a thousand times guilty, like other 
mortals, whose careless steps have innocently destroyed tiny creatures 
without number." 

"Against this particular thing wast thou warned. Dost thou know to 
what purpose this worm was destined in the eternal scheme of things?" 

With sunken head the youth made answer: 

"Since I neither knew nor could know that, thou must humbly confess 
that in my wandering through the forest I have committed precisely 
the one of many possible murders that it was thy will to prevent. But 
how I have contrived in my way over the fields to bring ruin to my 
Fatherland, I am really most curious to learn." 

"Sawest thou, youth, the bright-colored butterfly," came the whispered 
answer, "that fluttered once to the right of thee?" 

"Many butterflies did I see, as well as the one thou mentionest." 

"Many butterflies! Ah, many did the breath from thy lips drive far 
from their way; but the one I speak of was driven off to the east, wing- 
ing its way far and wide until it flew over the golden fence that en* 



GERMANY SCHN1TZLER 387 

closes the royal park. From that butterfly will be born the caterpillar 
which next year, one hot summer afternoon, will crawl over the white 
neck of the young queen, awakening her so suddenly from her sleep 
that her heart will stand still in her breast, and the fruit of her womb 
languish and die. Thus the king's brother will inherit the kingdom in- 
stead of the rightful heir, whom thou wilt have cheated of his life; 
vicious, malicious, and cruel, he will so rule as to bring his people to 
despair, madness, and finally, in a frantic effort to save himself, he will 
plunge his country into a terrible war, and thus bring thy dear Fatherland 
to ruin. And on no one but thou rests the blame for all this, thou whose 
breath drove the colored butterfly eastwards across the meadow until 
it flew over the golden fence of the king's park." 

The youth shrugged his shoulders: 

"How, O invisible spirit, can I deny that all this that thou prophesiest 
will come to pass, since on earth one thing always follows from another, 
and often the most terrible events are caused by the most trivial things, 
and the most trivial events by the most terrible things? And why should I 
believe this particular prophecy, since the other, threatening me with 
death should I mount these steps, has not come to pass?" 

"He who mounts those steps," rang out the terrible voice, "must turn 
back and descend them, if he wishes to mix with mankind again. Hast 
thou ponderejj that?" 

The youth stopped suddenly and for a moment it seemed as though 
he would take the safe path downwards, but fearing the impene- 
trable night that encircled him, he clearly perceived that for so hazardous 
an enterprise he would require the light of day, and in order to make 
sure that he would have all his wits at his command on the morrow, he 
lay down again on the narrow ledge, longing ardently for the sleep 
that strengthens. As he lay there motionless, his thoughts keeping him 
awake, he opened his tired eyelids, while anxious shudders ran through 
his heart and veins. The dizzy precipice was ever before his eyes: that 
way lay the only road back to life. He who until then had been always 
sure of his path, now felt in his soul a doubt he had never before ex- 
perienced, that deepened and caused him ever greater agony, until he 
could no longer bear it. He therefore decided rather to attempt forthwith 
what could not be avoided than to await the light in a torment of in- 
certitude. Again he arose, ready for the venture without the blessed light 
of day, to conquer with faltering steps the dangerous path. But hardly 
had he set foot into the darkness when he realized as though condemned 
by an irrevocable judgment, that his fate was to be fulfilled without 
delay. He called out into the emptiness in anger and sorrow: 
"O Invisible Spirit, who hast three times warned me and whom I 
have thrice refused to believe, O Spirit to whom I now bow down as 
to one stronger than I, tell me, ere thou destroyest me, who thou art?" 



288 GftEAT SHORT STORIES OF THEE WORLD 

Again the voice rang out, stiflingly dose at hand and immeasurably 
far away: 

"No mortal hath yet known me. Many names have I: the superstitious 
call me Destiny, fools call me Luck, and the pious call me God. To 
those who deem themselves wise I am that Power which was in the Be- 
ginning and continues without end through all Eternity." 

"Then I curse thee in this my last moment," shouted the youth with 
die bitterness of death in his heart. "If thou art indeed the Power that 
was in the Beginning and continues without end through all Eternity, 
then was it fated that all should happen as it did that I should go 
through the forest and commit murder, that I should cross the meadow 
and bring ruin upon my Fatherland, that I should climb this rock and 
here find death all this despite thy warning. But why was I condemned 
to hear thee speak to me thrice, if thy warning was not to help me? And 
why, oh, irony of ironies! must I in this my last moment whimper my 
feeble question to thee?" 

An answer was made to the youth, stern and terrible, in a peal of 
mysterious laughter that echoed to the utmost confines of the invisible 
heavens. As he tried to catch the words the earth moved and sank from 
under his feet. He fell, deeper than a million bottomless pits, amid all the 
lurking nights of time, that have been and will be, from the Beginning 
to the End of all things. 



HERMANN SUDERMANN 

(1857) 

SUDERMANN was born in East Prussia in 1857, and educated at the 
Universities of Konigsberg and Berlin. He was one of the fore- 
most leaders of the dramatic movement of the nineties, though 
to-day he is regarded as definitely belonging to the past. But his 
stories of East Prussian and Lithuanian life, and his novels, are 
written with a fine imaginative power, and are still read both in 
Germany and abroad. 

The present version, translated by Grace I. Colbron, is reprinted 
by permission of the publisher, from Short Story Classics, pub- 
lished and copyright by P. F. Collier's Sons, New York, 1907. 



A NEW-YEAR'S EVE CONFESSION 

FTT*HANKS be to God, dear lady, that I may once more sit beside you 
JL for a peaceful chat. The holiday tumult is past, and you have a - 
little leisure for me again. 



GERMANY SUDERMANN 289 

Oh, this Christmas season! I believe that it was invented by some 
evil demon expressly to annoy us poor bachelors, to show us the more 
clearly all the desolation of our homeless existence. For others a source 
of joy, it is for us a torture. Of course, I know, we are not all entirely 
lonely for us also the joy of making others happy may blossom, that 
joy upon which rests the whole secret of the blessed holiday mood. But 
the pleasure of joining m the happiness of others is tainted for us by 
a touch of self-irony partly, and also by that bitter longing to which in 
contrast to homesickness I would give the name of "marriage sickness." 

Why didn't I come to pour out my heart to you? you ask, you pitying 
soul, you you that can give of your sympathy in the same rich measure 
that others of your sex save for their dainty malices. There's a reason. 
You remember what Speidel says in his delightful Lonely Sparrows, 
which you sent me the day af ter Christmas, with a true perception of my 
state of mind? "The bachelor by instinct," he says, "does not desire com- 
fort. Once he is unhappy, he wishes to have the full enjoyment of his 
unhappiness." 

Besides the "lonely sparrow" whom Speidel portrays, there is another 
sort of bachelor, the so-called "friend of the family," By this I do 
not mean those professional wreckers of homes, in whose eyes the serpent 
glitters as they settle down comfortably at the hospitable hearthstone. 
I mean the good uncle, papa's former school friend, who rocks the 
baby on his, knee while he reads the magazine essays to mamma, care- 
fully omitting all the doubtful portions. 

I know men who give up their entire lives to the service of some family 
whose friendship they have won men who live on without desire by 
the side of a beautiful woman whom in their hearts they secretly adore. 

You doubt me? Oh, it is the words "without desire" that disturb you? 
You are right, perhaps. In the depth of even the tamest heart some wild 
desire lies, but understand me here it lies bound in chains. 

As an instance I would like to tell you about a conversation which 
took place day before yesterday, on New Year's Eve, between two old, 
two very old, gentlemen. It is my secret how I came to know of this 
conversation, and I ask you not to let it go any further. May I begin, 
then? 

Picture to yourself, as a setting for my story, a high-ceilinged room, 
old-fashioned in furnishings, lighted by a green-shaded, impertinently 
bright hanging-lamp of the sort our parents had in use before the era 
of petroleum. The cone of light that goes out from the flame falls upon 
a round, white-clothed table, upon which stands the various ingredients 
for a New-Year's punch, while several drops of oil show out broadly in 
the center of the table. 

My two old gentlemen sat half in the shadow of the green lamp-shade, 
moldering ruins both, from long-past days, bowed and trembling, gazing 



GREAT SHORT STORIES OF THE WORLD 

before them with the dull glance of the dimming eyes of age. One, the 
host, is evidently an old officer, as you would recognize at once from his 
carefully wound cravat, his pointed, sharply cut mustache, and his 
martial eyebrows. He sits holding the handle of his roller-chair like a 
crutch tightly clasped in both hands. He is motionless except for his jaws, 
which move up and down ceaselessly with the motion of chewing. The 
other, who sits near him on the sofa, a tall, spare figure, his narrow 
shoulders crowned by the high-domed head of a thinker, draws occasional 
thin puffs of smoke from a long pipe which is just about to go out. 
Among the myriad wrinkles of his smooth-shaven, dried-up face, framed 
in a wreath of snow-white curls, there lurked a quiet, gentle smile, a 
Smile which the peace of resignation alone can bring to the face of age. 
The two were silent. In the perfect stillness of the room the soft 
bubbling of the burning oil mingled with the soft bubbling of the 
tobacco juice. Then, from the darkness of the background, the hanging 
clock began to announce hoarsely the eleventh hour. "This is the 
hour when she would begin to make the punch," said the man with the 
domed forehead. His voice was soft, with a slight vibration. 

"Yes, this is the time," repeated the other. The sound of his speech 
was hard, as if the rattle of command still lingered in it. 

"I did not think it would be so desolate without her," said the first 
speaker again. 

The host nodded, his jaws moving. 

"She made the New-Year's punch for us f our-and-forty times," con- 
tinued his friend. 

"Yes, it's as long as that since we moved to Berlin, and you became 
our friend," said the old soldier. 

"Last year at this time we were all so jolly together," said the other. 
"She sat in the armchair there, knitting socks for Paul's eldest. She 
worked busily, saying she must finish it by twelve o'clock. And she did 
finish it. Then we drank our punch and spoke quite calmly of death. 
And two months later they carried her away. As you know, I have 
written a fat book on the 'Immortality of the Idea. 5 You never cared 
much about it I don't care for it myself now that your wife is dead. 
The entire Idea of the Universe means nothing to me now." 

"Yes, she was a good wife," said the husband of the dead woman; 
"she cared for me well. When I had to go out for service at five o'clock 
in the morning, she was always up before me to look after my coffee. 
Of course she had her faults. When she got into philosophizing with 
you h'm." 

"You never understood her," murmured the other, the corners of his 
mouth trembling in controlled resentment. But the glance that rested 
long on his friend's face was gentle and sad, as if a secret guilt pressed 
upon his soul. 



GERMANY SUDERMANN 291 

After a renewed pause, he began: 

"Franz, there is something I want to tell you, something that has 
long troubled me, something that I do not want to carry with me to 



my grave" 



fire away," said the host, taking up the long pipe that stood 
beside his chair. 

"There was once -somethingbetween your wife and me." 

The host let his pipe fall back again, and stared at his friend .with 
wide-opened eyes. 

"No jokes, please, doctor/' he said finally. 

"It is bitter earnest, Franz," replied the other. "I have carried it 
about with me these forty years, but now it is high time to have it 
out with you." 

"Do you mean to say that the dead woman was untrue to me?" cried 
the husband angrily. 

"For shame, Franz," said his friend with a soft, sad smile. 

The old soldier murmured something and lit his pipe. 

"No, she was as pure as God's angels," continued the other. "It is 
you and I who are the guilty ones. Listen to me. It is now forty-three 
years ago; you had just been ordered here as captain to Berlin, and I 
was teaching at the University. You were a gay bird then, as you know." 

"H'm," rejnarked the host, raising his trembling old hand to his 
mustache. 

"There was a beautiful actress with great black eyes and little white 
teeth do you remember?" 

"Do I? Bianca was her name," answered the other as a faded smile 
flashed over his weather-beaten, self-indulgent face. "Those little white 
teeth could bite, I can tell you." 

"You deceived your wife, and she suspected it. But she said nothing 
and suffered in silence. She was the first woman who had come into 
my life since my mother's death. She came into it like a shining star, 
and I gazed up to her in adoration as one might adore a star. I found 
the courage to ask her about her trouble* She smiled and said that 
She was not feeling quite strong yet you remember it was shortly after 
the birth of your Paul. Then came New-Year's Eve forty-three years 
ago to-night. I came in at eight o'clock as usual. She sat over her em- 
broidery and I read aloud to her while we waited for you. One hour 
after another passed and still you did not come. I saw that she grew 
more and more uneasy, and began to tremble. I trembled with her. I 
knew where you were, and I feared you might forget the hour of 
midnight in the arms of that woman. She had dropped her work, I 
read no longer. A terrible silence weighed upon us. Then I saw a tear 
gather under her eyelid and drop slowly down upon the embroidery 
in her Jap. I sprang up to go out and look for you* I felt myself capable 



29* GREAT SHORT STORIES OF THE WORLD 

of tearing you away from that woman by force. But at the same moment 
she sprang up also from her seat -this very same place where I am 
sitting now. ^ 

" * Where are you going?' she cried, terror in every feature. 'I am go- 
ing to fetch Franz/ I said. And then she screamed aloud: Tor God's 
sake, you stay with me at least don't you forsake me also.' 

"And she hurried to me, laid both hands on my shoulders and buried 
her tear^bedewed face on my breast. I trembled in every fiber, no woman 
had ever stood so near me before. But I controlled myself, and soothed 
and comforted her she was so sadly in need of comfort. You came 
in soon after. .You did not notice my emotion, your cheeks were burning, 
your eyes heavy with the fatigue of love. Since that evening a change 
had come over me, a change that frightened me. When I had felt 
her soft arms around my neck, when I had felt the fragrance of her 
hair, the shining star fell from its heaven, and a woman stood before 
me, beautiful, breathing love. I called myself a villain, a betrayer, and 
to sooth my conscience somewhat I set about separating you from your 
mistress. Fortunately I had some money at my disposal. She was satisfied 
with the sum I offered her, and " 

"The devil!" exclaimed the old soldier in surprise; "then you were 
the cause of that touching farewell letter that Bianca sent me in which 
she declared that she must give me up although her heart jvould break?" 

"Yes, I was the cause of it," said his friend. "But listen, there is more 
to tell. I had thought to purchase peace with that money, but the peace 
did not come. The wild thoughts ran riot all the more madly in my brain. 
I buried myself in my work it was just about that time that I was 
working out the plan of my book on the immortality of the Idea* but 
Still could not find peace. And thus the year passed and New-Year's Eve 
came round again. Again we sat together here, she and I. You were 
at home this time, but you lay sleeping on the sofa in the next room. 
A merry Casino dinner had tired you. And as I sat beside her, and my 
eyes rested on her pale face, then memory came over me with irresistible 
power. Once more I would feel her head on my breast, once more I 
would kiss her and then the end, if need be. Our eyes met for an 
instant; I seemed to see a secret understanding, an answer in her glance. 
I could control myself no longer; I fell at her feet and buried my burn- 
ing face in her lap. 

"I lay there motionless for two seconds perhaps, then I felt her soft 
hand rest cool upon my head, and her voice, soft and gentle, spoke the 
words: 'Be brave, dear friend; yes, be brave do not deceive the man 
sleeping so trustfully in the next room.' I sprang up and gazed about, 
bewildered. She took a book from the table and handed it to me. I 
Understood, opened it at random, and began to read aloud. I do not know 
what it was I read, the letters danced before my eyes. But the storm 



GERMANY SUDERMANN 203 

within my soul began to abate, and when twelve o'clock struck, and you 
came in sleepily for the New-Year's wishes, it was as if that moment 
of sin lay far, far behind me, in days that had long passed. 

"Since that day I have been calmer. I knew that she did not return my 
love, and that I had only pity to hope from her. Years passed, your chil- 
dren grew up and married, we three grew old together. You gave up 
your wild life, forgot the other women, and lived for one alone, as I 
did. It was not possible that I should ever cease to love her, but my love 
took on another shape; earthly desires faded, and a bond of the spirit grew 
up between us. You have often laughed when you heard us philosophizing 
together. But if you had known how close were our souls at such moments 
you would have been very jealous. And now she is dead, and before the 
next New-Year's Eve comes round we two may follow her. It is, there- 
fore, high time that I rid myself of this secret and say to you, Tranz, 
I sinned against you once, forgive me.' " 

He held out an imploring hand toward his friend; but the other 
answered, grumbling: "Nonsense. There is nothing to forgive. What you 
told me there, I knew it long ago. She confessed it herself forty years 
ago. And now I will tell you why I ran after other women until I was 
an old man because she told me then that you were the one and only 
love of her life." 

The friend jtared at him without speaking, and the hoarse clock began 
to strike midnight. 



y. R. NARLA 

France 



INTRODUCTION 

are probably more short stories, as there is assuredly a longer 
JL and more continuous development of the form, in the French than 
in any other literature of the world. In the earliest efforts of native 
writers, long before the close of the Middle Ages, are to be found the 
seeds of those lively and often beautiful forms that flourished from the 
Twelfth to the Sixteenth Centuries Fabliaux, Lays, devotional and 
miraculous tales. From the epic Chansons de geste, beginning with the 
Song of Roland^ throughout the whole period in which these remarkable 
poems thrived, the trouveres and troubadours incorporated independent 
and unified anecdotes and episodes into their long romances of chivalry 
and gallantry. These were in effect romantic and religious stories, treat- 
ing of war and love and wonder and pious devotion. 

But the earliest examples of independent tales are found in the 
Fabliaux. Although these were written in verse, they were the delight 
of the middle and lower classes: the verse was scarcely poetry, it was 
only a medium for the telling of the story. Of the hundred and fifty 
examples that survive out of the many thousands written, the first 
Fabliau dates from 1159, an ^ the Lst from 1340. Most of them were 
anonymous, but among the few names of writers that have come down 
to us is that of Bernier, which is still remembered, because he wrote 
the exquisite Divided Horsecloth. The famous poet Ruteboeuf also wrote 
Fabliaux, but he is better known for his other productions. For several 
reasons still a matter of dispute among literary historians the Fabliau 
suddenly disappeared about the middle of the Fourteenth Century. The 
other more or less similar forms like the Lay, the Miracle and the 
Devotional Tale still continued sporadically up to the end of the Mid- 
dle Ages. 

The trouveres and troutadours and minstrels who went over into 
Sicily and Italy and were instrumental in establishing there a vernacular 
literature, took with them their stories, which reappeared in prose form 
and in a more skilful guise some centuries later in the work of Boc- 
caccio and his followers. Many of them were again treated by later 
French yrriters, Rabelais and Marguerite de Navarre and Antoine 

294 



FRANCE INTRODUCTION 

de Saintre, editor of the French Hundred New Tales, .R^hglais was fol- 
lowed by imitators, like Noel du Fail, Bonaventure de$* F^ners 'ind 
Beroalde de Verville, all of whom added their share to the development 
of the story form. 

With the opening of the Seventeenth Century the short story was 
overshadowed by the drama and the long-winded sentimental romance, 
although such writers as D'Alcripe, Tallement des Reaux, Camus, and 
Sorel assiduously applied themselves to the form. Toward the end of the 
century a new form was developed through the art of La Fontaine and 
Charles Perrault, whose fables and fairy tales are unsurpassed. 

The Eighteenth Century, with its new philosophy, its scepticism, and 
its preoccupation with literary form, saw the rise of the philosophical 
and the moral tale. Fenelon began the Oriental, a variety of the moral 
tale, in the late 'sixteen hundreds. In England the same type was em- 
ployed with success by Addison in the Spectator papers, and later by Dr. 
Johnson and Goldsmith. In France Voltaire was the supreme master of 
the form. Marmontel developed his own type of moral tale, with its 
extreme sentimentality. It is toward the close of the century that, as 
in England and Germany and Italy, we detect the first symptoms of a 
radical change in subject-matter and method of treatment. The same 
spirit that affected Mrs. Radcliffe and Monk Lewis in England, oper- 
ated upon cer&in French forerunners of the romantic-fantastic "school." 
Influences from England and Germany were strong in the work of such 
writers as Gerard de Nerval and Alfred de Musset. 

With the dawn of the Nineteenth Century we come to the modern 
short story. The number of writers in France who assiduously applied 
themselves to the writing of short stories without ulterior motives or 
philosophical and moral purpose was enormous. In the hands of Balzac, 
Musset, Gamier, Vigny, Merimee, Nodier, and a host of others, the 
short story became a pure work of art. To Balzac is due much of the 
credit for bringing about a complete break with the past in this respect. 
As the century progressed, the form was adopted by nearly all the great 
writers of fiction: Flaubert, George Sand, Adam, Anatole France, 
Daudet, Zola, Coppee, Maupassant, Richepin, and the rest. 

The modern short story is one of the most highly perfected branches 
of French literature. There is something in the language that seems to 
make it a fit medium for the conveyance of this kind of fiction; at any 
rate the French short story at its best has never been surpassed. 



396 GREAT SHORT STORIES OF THE WORLD 

BERNIER 

(i2th or 1 3th Century, A.D.) 

NOTHING is known of the author of this story except his name, 
which is signed on the MS. The Divided Horsecloth is one of the 
best examples of a type that flourished in France during the 
Twelfth and Thirteenth Centuries: the Fabliau is a short story in 
verse differing principally from the Lay and the Pious or Devotional 
Tale by its simple style and its appeal, which is directed rather 
to the middle classes than the nobility. This particular story has 
been very popular with later writers, among whom both Montaigne 
and Browning have made use of it. 

The present version is translated by Eugene Mason, in the 
volume Aucassin and Nicolette and Other Medieval Romances and 
Legends. Published in Everyman's Library, J. M. Dent and Sons, 
by whose permission it is here reprinted. 



THE DIVIDED HORSECLOTH 

i 

EACH owes it to his fellows to tell as best he may, or, better still, 
to write with fair enticing words, such deeds and adventures as 
are good and profitable for us to know. For as men come and go about 
their business in the world, many things are told them which it is seemly 
to keep in remembrance. Therefore, it becomes those who say and relate, 
diligently and with fair intent to keep such matters in thought and study, 
even as did our fathers before us. Theirs is the school to which we all 
should pass, and he who would prove an apt scholar, and live beyond 
his day, must not be idle at his task. But the world dims our fine gold: 
the minstrel is slothful, and singers forget to sing, because of the pain 
and travail which go to the finding of their songs. So without waiting 
for any to-morrow, I will bring before you a certain adventure which 
chanced, even as it was told to me. 

Some seven years ago it befell that a rich burgess of Abbeville de- 
parted from the town, together with his wife, his only son, and all his 
wealth, his goods and plenishing. This he did like a prudent man, since 
he found himself at enmity with men who were stronger and of more 
substance than he. So, fearing lest a worse thing should bechance him, 
from Abbeville he went up to Paris. There he sought a shop and dwell- 
ing, and paying his service, made himself vassal and burgess of the King. 
The merchant was diligent and courteous, his wife smiling and gracious, 
and their son was not given over to folly, but went soberly, even as his 



FRANCE BERNIER 297 

parents taught him. Much were they praised of their neighbors, and those 
who lived in the same street often set foot in their dwelling. For very 
greatly are those loved and esteemed by their fellows who are courteous 
in speech and address. He who has fair words in his mouth receives again 
sweet words in his ear, and foul words and foul deeds bring naught but 
bitterness and railing. Thus was it with this prudent merchant. For 
more than seven years he went about his business, buying and selling, 
concerning himself with matters of which he had full knowledge, put- 
ting by of his earnings a little every day, like a wise and worthy citizen. 
So this wealthy merchant lived a happy blameless life, till, by the will 
of God, his wife was taken from him, who had been his companion for 
some thirty years. Now these parents had but one only child, a son, even 
as I have told you before. Very grievously did he mourn the death of 
her who had cherished him so softly, and lamented his mother with 
many tears, till he came nigh to swoon. Then, to put a little comfort in 
his heart, his father said to him: 

"Fair son, thy mother is dead, and we will pray to God that He grant 
her mercy in that day. But dry now thine eyes and thy face, for tears 
can profit thee nothing. By that road we all must go, neither can any 
man pass Death upon the way, nor return to bring us any word. Fair 
son, for thee there is goodly comfort. Thou art a young bachelor, and 
it is time to talre thee a wife. I am full of years, and so I may find thee 
a fair marriage in an honorable house I will endow thee with my sub- 
stance. I will now seek a bride for thee of birth and breeding one of 
family and descent, one come of ancient race, with relations and friends 
a gracious company, a wife from honest folk and from an honest home. 
There, where it is good and profitable to be, I will set thee gladly, nor 
of wealth and moneys shalt thou find a lack." 

Now in that place were three brethren, knights of high lineage, cousins 
to mighty lords of peerage, bearing rich and honorable blazons on their 
shields. But these knights had no heritage, since they had pawned all 
that they owned of woods and houses and lands, the better to take their 
pleasure at the tourney. Passing heavy and tormented were these brethren 
because in no wise might they redeem their pledge. The eldest of these 
brothers had a daughter, but the mother of the maid was dead. Now 
this damsel owned in Paris a certain fair house, over against the man- 
sion of the wealthy merchant. The house was not of her father's her- 
itage, but came to her from her mother, who had put the maid in ward 
to guardians, so that the house was free from pledge. She received in 
rent therefrom the sum of twenty Paris pounds every year, and her dues 
were paid her right willingly. So the merchant, esteeming her a lady 
of family and estate, demanded her hand in marriage of her father and 
of all her friends. The knight inquired in his turn of the means and 
substance of the merchant, who answered very frankly: 



298 GREAT SHORT STORIES OF THE WORLD 

"Li merchandise and in moneys I have near upon fifteen hundred 
pounds. Should I tell you that I had more, I should lie, and speak not 
the truth. I have besides one hundred Paris pounds, which I have gained 
in honest dealings. Of all this I will give my son the half." 

"Fair sir," made answer the knight, "in no wise can this be agreed 
to. Had you become a Templar, or a White or a Black monk you would 
have granted the whole of your wealth either to the Temple or your 
Abbey. By my faith, we cannot consent to so grudging an offer, certes, 
sir merchant, no." 

"Tell me then what you would have me do." 

"Very willingly, fair, dear sir. We would that you grant to your son 
the sum and total of your substance, so that he be seized of all your 
wealth, and this in such fashion that neither you, nor any in your name, 
may claim return of any part thereof. If you consent to this the mar- 
riage can be made, but otherwise he shall never wed our child and niece." 

The merchant turned this over for a while, now looking upon his son, 
now deep in thought. But very badly he was served of all his thought 
and pondering. For at the last he made reply to him and said: 

"Lord, it shall even be done according to your will. This is our cove- 
nant and bargain, that so your daughter is given to my son I will grant 
him all that I have of worth. I take this company as witness that here I 
strip myself of everything I own, so that naught is mine, but all is his, 
of what I once was seized and possessed." 

Thus before the witnesses he divested himself utterly of all his wealth, 
and became naked as a peeled wand in the eyes of the world, for this 
merchant now had neither purse nor penny, nor wherewithal to break 
his fast, save it were given him by his son. So when the words were 
spoken and the merchant altogether spoiled, then the knight took his 
daughter by the hand and handfasted her with the bachelor, and she 
became his wife. 

For two years after this marriage the husband and the dame lived a 
quiet and peaceful life. Then a fair son was born to the bachelor, and 
the lady cherished and guarded him fondly. With them dwelt the mer- 
chant in the same lodging, but very soon he perceived that he had given 
himself a mortal blow in despoiling himself of his substance to live on 
the charity of others. But perforce he remained of their household for 
more than twelve years, until the lad had grown up tall, and began to 
take notice, and to remember that which often he heard of the making 
of his father's marriage. And well he promised himself that it should 
never go from mind. 

The merchant was full of years. He leaned upon his staff, and went 
bent with age, as one who searches for his lost youth. His son was weary 
of his presence, and would gladly have paid for the spinning of his 
shroud. The dame, who was proud and disdainful, held him in utter 



FRANCE BERNIER 399 

despite, for greatly he was against her heart. Never was she silent, but 
always was she saying to her lord: 

"Husband, for love of me, send your father upon his business. I lose 
all appetite just for the sight of him about the house." 

"Wife," answered he, "this shall be done according to your wish." 

So because of his wife's anger and importunity, he sought out his 
father straightway, and said: 

"Father, father, get you gone from here. I tell you that you must do 
the best you can, for we may no longer concern ourselves with you and 
your lodging. For twelve years and more we have given you food and 
raiment in our house. Now all is done, so rise and depart forthwith, 
and fend for yourself, as fend you must." 

When the father heard these words he wept bitterly, and often he 
cursed the day and the hour in which he found he had lived too long. 

"Ah, fair, sweet son, what is this thou sayest to me ! For the love of 
God turn me not from thy door. I lie so close that thou canst not want 
my room. I require of thee neither seat in the chimney corner, nor soft 
bed of feathers, no, nor carpet on the floor; but only the attic, where I 
may bide on a little straw. Throw me not from thy house because I eat 
of thy bread, but feed me without grudging for the short while I have 
to live. In the eyes of God this charity will cover all thy sins better 
than if thou went in haircloth next the flesh." 

'Tair father," replied the bachelor, "preach me no preachings, but get 
you forth at once, for reason that my wife would have you gone." 

"Fair son, where then shall I go, who am esteemed of nothing 
worth?" 

"Get you gone to the town, for amongst ten thousand others very 
easily you may light on good fortune. Very unlucky you will be if there 
you cannot find a way to live. Seek your fortune bravely. Perchance 
some of your friends and acquaintances will receive you into their 
houses." 

"Son, how then shall men take me to their lodging, when you turn 
me from the house which I have given you? Why should the stranger 
welcome that guest whom the son chases from his door? Why should I 
be received gladly by him to whom I have given naught, when I am 
evilly entreated of the rich man for whose sake I go naked?" 

"Father," said he, "right or wrong, I take the blame upon my own 
head; but go you must because it is according to my will." 

Then the father grieved so bitterly that for a little his very heart 
would have broken. Weak as he was, he raised himself to his feet and 
went forth from the house, weeping. 

"Son," said he, "I commend thee to God; but since thou wilt that I 
go, for the love of Him give me at least a portion of packing cloth to 
dicker me against the wind. I am asking no great matter; nothing but 



300 GREAT SHORT STORIES OF THE WORLD 

a little cloth to wrap about me, because I am but lightly clad, and fear 
to die for reason of the cold." 

Then he who shrank from any grace of charity made reply: 

"Father, I have no cloth, so neither can I bestow, nor have it taken 
from me." 

Tair, sweet son, toy heart trembles within me, so greatly do I dread 
the cold. Give me, then, the cloth you spread upon your horse, so that 
I come to no evil." 

So he, seeing that he might not rid himself of his father save by the 
granting of a gift, and being desirous above all that he should part, bade 
his son to fetch this horsecloth. When the lad heard his father's call he 
sprang to him, saying: 

"Father, what is your pleasure?" 

"Fair son," said he, "get you to the stable, and if you find it open 
give my father the covering that is upon my horse. Give him the best 
cloth in the stable, so that he may make himself a mantle or a habit, 
or any other sort of cloak that pleases him." 

Then the lad, who was thoughtful beyond his years, made answer: 

"Grandsire, come now with me." 

So the merchant went with him to the stable, exceedingly heavy and 
wrathful. The lad chose the best horsecloth he might find in the stable, 
the newest, the largest, and the most fair; this he folded in two, and 
drawing forth his knife, divided the cloth in two portions. Then he 
bestowed on his grandfather one half of the sundered horsecloth. 

"Fair child," said the old man, "what have you done? Why have you 
cut the cloth that your father has given me? Very cruelly have you 
treated me, for you were bidden to give me the horsecloth whole. I 
shall return and complain to my son thereof." 

"Go where you will," replied the boy, "for certainly you shall have 
nothing more from me." 

The merchant went forth from the stable. 

"Son," said he, "chastise now thy child, since he counts thy word as 
nothing but an idle tale, and fears not to disobey thy commandment. 
Dost thou not see that he keeps one half of the horsecloth?" 

"Plague take thee!" cried the father; "give him all the cloth." 

"Certes," replied the boy, "that will I never do, for how then shall 
you be paid? Rather will I keep the half until I am grown a man, and 
then give it to you. For just as you have chased him from your house, 
so I will put you from my door. Even as he has bestowed on you all 
his wealth, so, in my turn, will I require of you all your substance. 
Naught from me shall you carry away, save that only which you have 
granted to him. If you leave him to die in his misery, ^1 wait my day, 
and surely will leave you to perish in yours." 

The father listened to these words, and at the end sighed heavily. 



FRANCE BERNlER 301 

He repented him of the evil that he purposed, and from the parable that 
his child had spoken took heed and warning. Turning himself about 
towards the merchant, he said: 

"Father, return to my house. Sin and the Enemy thought to have 
caught me in the snare, but, please God, I have escaped from the 
fowler. You are master and lord, and I render all that I have received 
into your hands. If my wife cannot liye with you in quiet, then you 
shall be served and cherished elsewhere. Chimney corner, and carpet, 
pillow and bed of feathers, at your ease you shall have pleasure in them 
all. I take St. Martin to witness that never will I drink stoup of wine, 
never carve morsel from dish, but that yours shall be the richer portion. 
Henceforth you shall live softly in the ceiled chamber, near by a blazing 
fire, clad warmly in your furred robe, even as I. And all this is not of 
charity, but of your right, for, fair, sweet father, if I am rich it is 
because of your substance/* 

Thus the brave witness and the open remonstrance of a child freed 
his father from the bad thoughts that he harbored. And deeply should 
this adventure be considered of those who are about to marry their chil- 
dren. Let them not strip themselves so bare as to have nothing left. 
For he who gives all, and depends upon the charity of others, prepares 
a rod for his own back. 



THE PRIEST AND THE MULBERRIES 

(Anonymous: I2th or I3th Century) 

PRACTICALLY nothing is known of the author of this pleasant little 
Fabliau. Compared with the great majority of surviving stories of 
its kind, it is remarkably free from the coarseness which character- 
izes the Fabliau, particularly when it deals with the clergy. 

The present version is translated by Eugene Mason, in the vol- 
ume Aucassin and Nicolette and Other Medieval Romances and 
Legends. Published in Everyman's Library, J. M. Dent and Sons, 
by whose permission it is here reprinted. The title of the story 
in the original is The Priest Who Ate Mulberries. 



THE PRIEST AND THE MULBERRIES 

A CERTAIN priest having need to go to market, caused his mare 
to be saddled and brought to his door. The mare had carried her 
master for two years, and was high and well nourished, for during these 
years never had she known thirst nor hunger, but of hay and of oats 



30* GREAT SHORT* STORIES OF THE WORLD 

ever had she enough and to spare. The priest climbed to the saddle aiid 
set out upon his journey, and well I remember that it was the month 
of September, for in that season mulberries grow upon the bushes irt 
great plenty and abundance. The priest rode upon his way repeating his 
hours, his matins and his vigils. As he drew near the gate of the town 
the path ran through a certain deep hollow, and raising his eyes from 
his book the priest marked a bush thick with mulberries, bigger, blacker 
and more ripe than any he had ever seen. Desire entered his heart, for 
very covetous was he of this fair fruit, and gradually checking the pace 
of his mare, he presently caused her to stand beside the bush. Yet one 
thing still was wanting to his delight. The mulberries near the ground 
were set about with spines and thorns, whilst the sweetest of all hung 
o high upon the tree that in no wise could he reach them from his seat, 
this thing the priest saw, so in a while he climbed up, and stood with 
his two feet upon the saddle, whence by leaning over a little he Could 
pluck the fruit. Then he chose the fairest, the ripest, and the sweetest 
of all these mulberries, eating them as swiftly and greedily as hef might, 
whilst the mare beneath him moved never a whit. Now, when this priest 
had eaten as many mulberries as he was able, he glanced downwards, 
and saw that the mare was standing still and coy, with her head turned 
towards the bank of that deep road. Thereat the priest rejoiced Very 
greatly, for his: two feet were yet upon the saddle, andthe mare was 
very tall. 

"God I" said he, "if any one now should cry c Gee up! 1 " He thought 
and spoke the words at the same moment, whereat the mare was sud- 
denly frighted, and springing forward on the instant tumbled the luck- 
less priest into the bush where the thorns and briars grew sharpest and 
thickest. There he lay in that uneasy bed, nor might move from one side 
to the other, backwards or forwards, for all the money in the mint. 

The mare galloped straight to her own stable, but when the priest's 
household saw her return in this fashion they were greatly discomforted. 
The servants cursed her for an evil and a luckless jade, whilst the cook 
maid swooned like any dame, for well she believed that her master was 
dead. When they were returned a little to themselves they ran to and 
fro, here and there, about the country searching for the priest, and 
presently on their way to the market town they drew near to that bush 
where their master yet lay in much misease. On hearing their words 
bewailing his piteous case, the priest raised a lamentable voice, and cried: 

"Diva, Diva, do not pass me by. This bush is an uneasy bed, and here 
I lie very hurt and troubled and utterly cast down. Do you not see how 
niy blood is staining these thorns and briars a vermeil red?" 

The servants hurried to the bush, and stared upon the priest. 

"Sir," said they, "who has flung you herein ?" 

"Alas," answered he, " 'tis sin that has undone me. This morning 



FRANCE ANONYMOUS 303 

when I rode this way reading in my Book of Hours, I desired over 
greatly to eat of the mulberries growing hereon, and so I fell into the 
sin of gluttony. Therefore this bush gat hold upon me. But help me 
forth from this place, for I wish now for no other thing but to have 
a surgeon for my hurts, and to rest in my own house." 

Now by this little story we may learn that the prudent man does not 
cry aloud all he may think in his heart, since by so doing many an one 
has suffered loss and shame, as we may see by this fable of the Priest 
and the Mulberries. 



MARIE DE FRANCE 

(About 1150-1200) 

ALL that is positively known of the author of this Lay is that she 
wrote in Norman French, that her name was Marie, and that she 
was "of France." It is even thought that she may have been an 
English subject. Her collection of Lays, or romantic love tales, was 
immensely popular both in France and England. Both in her Fables 
and Lays she utilized old materials. The Lay of the Two Lovers 
is one of *the most charming of the French Lays. 

The* present version is translated by Eugene Mason, in the vol- 
ume French Medieval Romances from the Lays of Marie de 
France* Published in Everyman's Library, J. M. Dent and Sons, by 
whose permission it is here reprinted. 



THE LAY OF THE TWO LOVERS 

jNCE upon a time there lived in Normandy two lovers, who were 
passing fond, and were brought by Love to Death. The story of 
their love was bruited so abroad, that the Bretons made a song in their 
own tongue, and named this song the Lay of the Two Lovers. 

In Neustria that men call Normandy there is verily a high and 
marvelously great mountain, where lie the relics of the Two Children. 
Near this high place the King of those parts caused to be built a certain 
fair and cunning city, and since he was lord of the Pistrians, it was 
known as Pistres. The town yet endures, with its towers and houses, to 
bear witness to the truth; moreover the country thereabouts is known to 
us all as the Valley of Pistres. 

This King had one fair daughter, a damsel sweet of face and gracious 
of manner, very near to her father's heart, since he had lost his Queen. 



304 , GREAT SHORT STORIES OF THE WORLD 

The maiden increased in years and favor, but he took no heed to her 
trothing, so that men yea, even his own people blamed him greatly 
for this thing. When the King heard thereof he was passing heavy and 
dolent, and considered within himself how he might be delivered from 
this grief. o then, that none should carry off his child, he caused it to 
be proclaimed, both far and near, by script and trumpet, that he alone 
should wed the maid, who would bear her in his arms to the pinnacle 
of the great and perilous mountain, and that without rest or stay. When 
this news was noised about the country, many came upon the quest. But 
strive as they would they might not enforce themselves more than they 
were able. However mighty they were of body, at the last they failed 
upon the mountain, and fell with their burthen to the ground. Thus, 
for a while, was none so bold as to seek the high Princess. 

Now in this country lived a squire, son to a certain count of that realm, 
seemly of semblance and courteous, and right desi vcr a *^liat prize, 
which was so coveted of all. He was a welcome gj? est > * n< l t ^ le s lrt, and 
the King talked with him very willingly. This si greedily as c *-fii s heart 
upon the daughter of the King, and many a tit^ Tr 'spc> 7 Jj p "in her ear, 
praying her to give him again the love he had bestowed upon her. So 
seeing him brave and courteous, she esteemed him for the gifts which 
gained him the favor of the King, and they loved together in their 
youth. But they hid this matter from all about the Corfrt. This thing 
was very grievous to them, but the damoiseau thought within himself 
that it were good to bear the pains he knew, rather than to seek out 
others that might prove sharper still. Yet in the end, altogether distraught 
by love, this prudent varlet sought his friend, and showed her his case, 
saying that he urgently required of her that she would flee with him, 
for no longer could he endure the weariness of his days. Should he ask 
her of the King, well he knew that by reason of his love he would refuse 
the gift, save he bore her in his arms up the steep mount. Then the 
maiden made answer 'to her lover, and said: 

"Fair friend, well I know you may not carry me to that high place. 
Moreover should we take to flight, my father would suffer wrath and 
sorrow beyond measure, and go heavily all his days. Certainly my love 
is too fond to plague him thus, and we must seek another counsel, for 
this is not to my heart. Hearken well. I have kindred in Salerno, of 
rich estate. For more than thirty years my aunt has studied there the art 
of medicine, and knows the secret gift of every root and herb. If you 
hasten to her, bearing letters from me, and show her your adventure, 
certainly she will find counsel and cure. Doubt not that she will dis- 
cover some cunning simple, that will strengthen your body, as well as 
comfort your heart. Then return to this realm with your potion, and ask 
me at my father's hand. He will deem you but a stripling, and set forth 
the terms of his bargain, that to him alone shall I be given who knows 



FRANCE MARIE DE FRANCE 305 

how to climb the perilous mountain, without pause or rest, bearing his 
lady between his arms." 

When the varlet heard this cunning counsel of the maiden, he rejoiced 
greatly, and thanking her sweetly for her rede, craved permission to 
depart. He returned to his own home, and gathering together a goodly 
store of silken cloths most precious, he bestowed his gear upon the pack 
horses, and made him ready for the road. So with a little company of 
men, mounted on swift palfreys, and most privy to his mind, he arrived 
at Salerno. Now the squire made no long stay at his lodging, but as soon 
as he might, went to the damsel's kindred to open out his mind. He de- 
livered to the aunt the letters he carried from his friend, and bewailed 
their evil case. When the dame had read these letters with him, line by 
line, she charged him to lodge with her awhile, till she might do accord- 
ing to his wish. So by her sorceries, and for the love of her maid, she 
brewed such a potion that no man, however wearied and outworn, but by 
drinking this philter, would not be refreshed in heart and blood and 
bones. Such virtue had this medicine, directly it were drunken. This 
simple she poured within a little flacket, and gave it to the varlet, who 
received the gift with great joy and delight, and returned swiftly to his 
own land. 

The varlet made no long sojourn in his home. He repaired straightway 
to the Court, qjid, seeking out the King, required of him his fair daugh- 
ter in marriage, promising, for his part, that were she given him, he 
would bear her in his arms to the summit of the mount. The King was 
no wise wroth at his presumption. He smiled rather at his folly, for how 
should one so young and slender succeed in a business wherein so many 
mighty men had failed? Therefore he appointed a certain day for this 
judgment. Moreover he caused letters to be written to his vassals and 
his friends passing none by bidding them to see the end of this ad- 
venture. Yea, with public cry and sound of trumpet he bade all who 
would, come to behold the stripling carry his fair daughter to the pin- 
nacle of the mountain. And from every region round about men came 
to learn the issue of this thing. But for her part the fair maiden did all 
that she was able to bring her love to a good end. Ever was it fast day 
and fleshless day with her, so that by any means she might lighten the 
burden that her friend must carry in his arms. 

Now on the appointed day this young dansellon came very early to the 
appointed place, bringing the flacket with him. When the great company 
were fully met together, the King led forth his daughter before them; 
and all might see that she was arrayed in nothing but her smock. The 
varlet took the maiden in his arms, but first he gave her the flacket with 
the precious brewage to carry, since for pride he might not endure to 
drink therefrom, save at utmost peril. The squire set forth at a great 
pace, and climbed briskly till he was halfway up the mount. Because of 



306 GREAT SHORT STORIES OF THE WORLD 

the joy he had in clasping his burden, he gave no thought to the potion. 
But she she knew the strength was failing in his heart. 

"Fair friend," said she, "well I know that you tire: drink now, I pray 
you, of the flacket, and so shall your manhood come again at need." 

But the varlet answered: 

"Fair love, my heart is full of courage; nor for any reason will I 
pause, so long as I can hold upon my way. It is the noise of all this folk 
the tumult and the shouting that makes my steps uncertain. Their 
cries distress me, I do not dare to stand." 

But when two-thirds of the course was won, the grasshopper would 
have tripped him off his feet. Urgently and often the maiden prayed him, 
saying: 

"Fair friend, drink now of thy cordial." 

But he would neither hear, nor give credence to her words. A mighty 
anguish filled his bosom. He climbed upon the summit of the mountain, 
and pained himself grievously to bring his journey to an end. This he 
might not do. He reeled and fell, nor could he rise again, for the heart 
had burst within his breast. 

When the maiden saw her lover's piteous plight, she deemed that he 
had swooned by reason of his pain. She kneeled Hastily at his side, and 
put the enchanted brewage to his lips, 'but he could neither drink nor 
speak, for he was dead, as I have told you. She bewailed ly's evil lot, with 
many shrill cries, and flung the useless flacket far away. The precious 
potion bestrewed the ground, making a garden of that desolate place. 
For many saving herbs have been found there since that day by the 
simple folk of that country, which from the magic philter derived all 
their virtue. 

But when the maiden knew that her lover was dead, she made such 
wondrous sorrow, as no man had ever seen. She kissed his eyes and 
mouth, and falling upon his body, took him in her arms, and pressed 
-him closely to her breast. There was no heart so hard as not to be 
touched by her sorrow; for in this fashion died a dame, who was fair 
and sweet and gracious beyond the wont of the daughters of men. 

Now the King and his company, since these two lovers came not 
again, presently climbed the mountain to learn their end. But when the 
King came upon them lifeless, and fast in that embrace, incontinent he 
fell to the ground, bereft of sense. After his speech had returned to 
him, he was passing heavy, and lamented their doleful case, and thus 
did all his people with him. 

Three days they kept the bodies of these two fair children from earth, 

with uncovered face. On the third day they sealed them fast in a goodly 

coffin of marble, and by the counsel of all men, laid them softly to rest 

on that mountain where they died. Then they departed from them, and 

'left them together, alone. 



FRANCE MARIE DE FRANCE ' 30? 

Since this adventure of the Two Children this hill is known as the 
Mountain of the Two Lovers, and their story being bruited abroad, the 
Breton folk have made a Lay thereof, even as I have rehearsed before 
you. 



MARGUERITE DE NAVARRE 

(1492-1549) 

MARGUERITE D'ANGOULEME, daughter of the Due d'Angouleme 
and sister of Frangois I, was the second wife of the King of 
Navarre, and grandmother of Henry IV of France. A woman of 
culture and learning, and of immense political ability, she was a 
writer of considerable importance. But among all her varied literary 
works none is more popular than her famous collection of tales 
under the title of the Heftameron, a volume more or less based on 
the Decameron of Boccaccio. These tales are for the most part in- 
tended to teach manners, wisdom and courtesy, and though they 
are no longer a practical or useful Book of Etiquette, they are still 
readable. Marguerite was a shrewd observer of men, and showed 
in the bet of her stories a feeling for character and a love of 
nature. The Heftatneron was not published until after her death, 
though the stories circulated in MS. during her lifetime. 

The present tale is reprinted from an anonymous translation 
published in London in 1894. It is the fifty-sixth story, and has 
for title only a lengthy descriptive paragraph. 



THE PIOUS LADY AND THE GRAY FRIAR 
(From the Heftameron, Tale 56) 

A FRENCH lady, whilst sojourning at Padua, was informed that 
there was a Gray Friar in the Bishop's prison there, and finding 
that everyone spoke jestingly about him, she inquired the reason. She 
was told that this Gray Friar, who was an old man, had been confessor 
to a very honorable and pious widow lady, mother of only one daughter, 
whom she loved so dearly as to be at all pains to amass riches for her 
and to find her a good husband. Now, seeing that her daughter was 
grown up, she was unceasingly anxious to find her a husband who might 
live with them in peace and quiet, a man, that is, of a good conscience, 
such as she deemed herself to possess. And since she had heard some 
foolish preacher say that it were better to do evil by the counsel of theo- 



308 * GREAT SHORT STORIES Of THE WORLD 

logians than to do well through the belief in the inspiration of the Holy 
Spirit, she had recourse to her Father Confessor, a man already old, a 
doctor of theology and one who was held to lead a holy life by the 
whole town, for she felt sure that, with his counsel and good prayers, 
she could not fail to find peace both for herself and for her daughter. 
After she had earnestly begged him to choose for her daughter such a 
husband as he knew a woman that loved God and her honor ought to 
desire, he replied that first of all it was needful to implore the grace 
of the Holy Spirit with prayer and fasting, and then, God guiding his 
judgment, he hoped to find what she required. 

So the Friar retired to think over the matter; and whereas he had 
heard from the lady that she had got five hundred ducats together to 
give to her daughter's husband, and that she would take upon herself the 
charge of maintaining both husband and wife with lodgment, furniture 
and clothes, he bethought himself that he had a young comrade of 
handsome figure and pleasant countenance, to whom he might give the 
fair maiden, the house, the furniture, maintenance and food, whilst he 
himself kept the five hundred ducats to gratify his burning greed. And 
when he spoke to his comrade of the matter, he found that they were 
both of one mind upon it. 

He therefore returned to the lady and said: 

"I verily believe that God has sent his angel Raphael t6 me as he did 
to Tobit, to enable me to find a perfect husband for your daughter. I 
have in my house the most honorable gentleman in Italy, who has some- 
times seen your daughter and is deeply in love with her. And so to-day, 
whilst I was at prayer, God sent him to me, and he told me of his desire 
for the marriage, whereupon, knowing his lineage and kindred and 
notable descent, I promised him to speak to you on the matter. There 
is, indeed, one defect in him, of which I alone have knowledge, and it 
is this: Wishing to save one of his friends whom another man was striv- 
ing to slay, he drew his sword in order to separate them; but it chanced 
that his friend slew the other, and thus, although he himself had not 
dealt a blow, yet inasmuch as he had been present at a murder, and had 
drawn his sword, he became a fugitive from his native town. By the 
advice of his kinsfolk he came hither in the garb of a scholar, and he 
dwells here unknown until his kinsfolk shall have ended the matter; 
and this he hopes will shortly be done. For this reason, then, it would be 
needful that die marriage should be performed in secret, and that you 
should suffer him to go in the daytime to the public lectures and return 
home every evening to sup and sleep." 

"Sir," replied the worthy woman, "I look upon what you tell me as 
of great advantage to myself, for I shall at least have by me what I 
most desire in the world." 

Thereupon the Gray Friar brought his comrade, bravely attired with 



FRANCE MARGUERITE DE NAVARRE * 309 

a crimson satin doublet, and the lady was well pleased with him. And 
as soon as he was come the betrothal took place, and, immediately after 
midnight, a mass was said and they were married. Then they went to 
bed together until daybreak, when the bridegroom told his wife that to 
escape discovery he must needs return to the college. * 

After putting on his crimson satin doublet and his long robe, without 
forgetting his coif of black silk, he bade his wife, who was still in bed, 
good-bye, promising that he would come every evening to sup with her, 
but that at dinner they must not wait for him. So he went away and 
left his wife, who esteemed herself the happiest woman alive to have 
found so excellent a match. And the young wedded Friar returned to 
the old father and brought him the five hundred ducats, as had been 
agreed between them when arranging the marriage. 

In the evening he failed not to return and sup with her, who believed 
him to be her husband, and so well did he make himself liked by her 
and by his mother-in-law, that they would not have exchanged him for 
the greatest prince alive. 

This manner of life continued for some time, but God in His kind- 
ness takes pity upon those that are deceived without fault of their own, 
and so in His mercy and goodness it came to pass that one morning the 
lady and her daughter felt a great desire to go and hear mass at St. 
Francis, and "visit their good father confessor through whose means they 
deemed themselves so well provided, the one with a son-in-law and the 
other with a husband. It chanced that they did not find the confessor 
aforesaid nor any other that they knew, and, while waiting to see whether 
the father would come, they were pleased to hear high mass, which was 
just beginning. And whilst the young wife was giving close heed to the 
divine service and its mystery, she was stricken with astonishment on 
seeing the Priest turn himself about to pronounce the Dominus vobiscum, 
for it seemed to her that it was her husband or else his very fellow. 
She uttered, however, not a word, but waited till he should turn round 
again, when, looking still more carefully at him, she had no doubt that 
it was indeed he. Then she twitched her mother, who was deep in con- 
templation, and said: 

"Alas! madam, what is it that I see?" 

"What is it?" said her mother. 

, "That is my husband," she replied, "who is singing mass, or else 'tis 
one as like him as can be." 

"I pray you, my daughter," replied the mother, who had not carefully 
observed him, "do not take such a thought into your head. It is impossible 
that men who are so holy should have practised such deceit. You would 
sin grievously against God if you believed such a thing." 

Nevertheless the mother did not cease looking at him, and when it 
came to the Ita missa est she indeed perceived that no two sons of the 



3io * GREAT SHORT STORIES OF THE WORLD 

same mother were ever so much alike. Yet she was so simple that she 
would fain have said, "O God, save me from believing what I see." 
Since her daughter was concerned in the matter, however, she would 
not suffer it to remain in uncertainty, and resolved to learn the truth. 

When evening was come, and the husband (who had perceived noth- 
ing of them) was about to return, the mother said to her daughter: 

"We shall now, if you are willing, find out the truth concerning your 
husband. When he is in bed I will go to him, and then, while he is not 
thinking, you will pluck off his coif from behind, and we shall see 
whether he be tonsured like the Friar who said mass." 

As it was proposed, so was it done. As soon as the wicked husband 
was in bed, the old lady came and took both his hands as though in sport 
her daughter took off his coif, and there he was with his fine tonsure. 
At this both mother and daughter were as greatly astonished as might 
be, and forthwith they called their servants to seize him and bind him 
fast till the morning, nor did any of his excuses or fine speeches avail 
him aught. 

When day was come, the lady sent for her confessor, making as 
though she had some great secret to tell him, whereupon he came with 
all speed, and then, reproaching him for the deceit that he had practised 
on her, she had him seized like the other. Afterwards she sent for the 
"officers of justice, in whose hands she placed them both. It <Is to be sup- 
posed that if the judges were honest men they did not suffer the offense 
to go unpunished. 



FRANCOIS RABELAIS 

(i49-?-i553?) 

RA&ELAIS was born at Chinon in Touraine during the last years of 
the Fifteenth Century. He studied medicine at Montpellier and 
then went to Lyon, where he practised and began writing. It was 
during the 30*8 that he began publishing Garganttta and Pantagruel* 
Somewhat later, he was physician to Cardinal Du Bella/, and toward 
the end of his life he entered the priesthood, though after a short 
while he left it. He died about 1553. 

A great scholar and Humanist, one of the giant figures of lit- 
erature, Rabelais sang the praises of life in his magnificent books. 
In these are found occasional episodes, like the two included in 
this collection, that entitle Rabelais to an important place among 
the writers of short tales. 

The present version of these tales is from the old translation of 
The Lives, Heroic Deeds . . . of Gargantua and His Son Pan- 
to gruel> by Sir ^Thomas Urquhart and Peter Le Motteux. The first 



. FRANCERABELAIS 3 n 

story is from Chapter XXXIV, the second from Chapter XXXVII, 
of the Third Book. Neither story has any title in the original. 



HE WHO MARRIED A DUMB WIFE 
(From Gargantua and Pantagruel, Book 3) 

WELCOME, in good faith, my dear Master, welcome; it did me 
good to hear you talk, the Lord be praised for all. I do not 
remember to have seen you before now, since the last time that you acted 
at Montpellier, with our ancient friends, Anthony Saporra, Guy Bour- 
guyer, Balthasar Noyer, Tolly, Jhon Quentin, Francis Robinet, Jhon 
Perdrier, and Francis Rabelais, the Moral Comedy of him who had 
espoused and married a Dumb Wife. I was there, quoth Epistemon; the 
good honest man, her husband, was very earnestly urgent to have the 
fillet of her tongue untied, and would needs have her speak by all means: 
At his desire some pains were taken on her, and partly by the industry 
of the physician, other part by the expertness of the surgeon, the ency- 
liglotte, which she had under her tongue, being cut, she spoke and spoke 
again; yea, within few hours she spoke so loud, so much, so fiercely, 
and so long? that her poor husband returned to the same physician for 
a recipe to make her hold her peace: There are (quoth the physician) 
many proper remedies in our art, to make dumb women speak, but there 
are none, that ever I could learn therein, to make them silent. The only 
cure which I have found out, is their husband's deafness. The wretch 
became within few weeks thereafter, by virtue of some drugs, charms 
or enchantments, which the physician had prescribed unto him, so deaf, 
that he could not have heard the thundering of nineteen hundred can- 
nons at a salvo. His wife, perceiving that indeed he was as deaf as a 
door-nail, and that her scolding was but in vain, sith that he heard her 
not, she grew stark mad. Some time after, the doctor asked for his fee 
of the husband; who answered, That truly he was deaf, and so was not 
able to understand what the tenure of his demand might be. Whereupon 
the leech bedusted him with a little, I know not what, sort of powder; 
which rendered him a fool immediately: so great was the stiltificating 
virtue of that strange kind of pulverized dose. Then did this fool of a 
husband and his mad wife join together, falling on the doctor and the 
surgeon, did so scratch, bethwack, and bang them, that they were left 
half dead upon the place, so furious were the blows which they received: 
I never in my lifetime laughed so much, as at the acting of that buf- 
foonery. 



GREAT SHORT STORIES OF THE WORLD 



THE ROAST-MEAT SELLER 

AT Paris, in the Roast-meat Cookery of the Petit Chastelet, before 
the cook-shop 9f one of the roast-meat sellers of that lane, a cer- 
tain hungry porter was eating his bread, after he had by parcels kept it 
awhile above the reek and steam of a fat goose on the spit, turning at a 
great fire, and found it so besmoaked with the vapor, to be savory; which 
the'' Cook observing, took no notice, till after having ravined his Penny 
Loaf, whereof no Morsel has been unsmoakified, he was about discamp- 
ing and going away; but by your leave, as the Fellow thought to have 
departed thence shot-free, the Master-Cook laid hold upon him by the 
Gorget, demanded payment for the smoak of his roast-meat. The Porter 
answered, that he had sustained no loss at all; that by what he had done 
there was no diminution made of the flesh, that he had taken nothing 
of his, and that therefore he was not indebted to him in anything: As 
for the smoak in question, that, although he had not been there, it would 
howsoever have been evaporated: Besides that, before that time it had 
never been seen nor heard, that roast-meat smoak was sold upon the 
streets of Paris. The Cook hereto replied, That he was not obliged nor 
any way bound to feed and nourish for nought a Porter whom he had 
never seen before with the smoak of his roast-meat; and thereupon 
swore, that if he would not forthwith content and satisfie him with 
present payment for the repast which he had thereby got, that he would 
take his crooked staves from off his back; which instead of having loads 
thereafter laid upon them, should serve for fuel to his kitchen fires. 
Whilst he was going about so to do, and to have pulled them to him by 
one of the bottom rungs, which he had caught in his hand, the sturdy 
Porter got out of his gripes, drew forth the knotty cudgel, and stood to 
his own defence. The altercation waxed hot in words, which moved the 
gaping hoydens of the sottish Parisians to run from all parts thereabouts 
to see what the issue would be of that babling strife and contention. In 
the interim of this dispute, to very good purpose, Seiny Jhon the Fool 
and Citizen of Paris, hapened to be there, whom the Cook perceiving, 
said to the Porter, Wilt thou refer and submit unto the noble Seiny 
Jhon, the decision of the difference and controversie which is betwixt us? 
Yes, by the blood of a goose, answered the Porter, I am content. Seiny 
Jhon the Fool, finding that the Cook and Porter had compromised the 
determination of their variance and debate to the discretion of his award 
and arbitrament; after that the reasons on either side whereupon was 
grounded the mutual fierceness of their brawling jar had been to the 
full displayed and laid open before him, commanded the Porter to draw 
out of the fab of his belt a piece of money, if he had it. Whereupon 
the Porter immediately without delay, in reverence to the authority of 



FRANCE RABELAIS 313 

such a judicious umpire, put the tenth part of a silver Phillip into his 
hand. This little Phillip Seiny Jhon took, then set it on his left shoulder, 
to try by feeling if it was of a sufficient weight; after that, laying it 
on the palm of his hand he made it ring and tingle, to understand by 
the ear if it was of a good alloy in the metal whereof it was composed: 
Thereafter he put it to the ball or apple of his left eye, to explore by the 
sight if it was well stamped and marked; all which being done, in a 
profound silence of the whole doltish people, who were there spectators 
of this pageantry, to the great hope of die Cooks, and despair of the 
Porters Prevalency in the suit that was in agitation, he finally caused the 
Porter to make it sound several times upon the stal of the Cooks Shop. 
Then with a presidential majesty holding his Bable (scepter-like) in his 
Hand, muffling his head with a hood of marten skins, each side whereof 
had the resemblance of an ape's face, sprucified up with ears of pasted 
paper, and having about his neck a buckled ruff, raised, furrowed, and 
ridged, with ponting sticks of the shape and fashion of small organ- 
pipes; he first, with all the force of his lungs, coughed two or three 
times, and then with an audible voice pronounced this following sen- 
tence, The Court declareth, That the Porter, who ate his Bread at the 
Smoak of the Roast, hath civilly paid the Cook with the Sound of his 
Money: And the said Court Ordaineth, That every one return to his 
own Home, aitd attend his proper Businesss, without Cost and Charges,, 
and for a Cause. This verdict, award and arbitrament of the Parisian 
Fool, did appear so equitable, yea, so admirable to the aforesaid doctors, 
that they very much doubted, if the matter had been brought before the 
Sessions for Justice of the said Place, or that the Judges of the Rota at 
Rome had been umpires therein; or yet that the Areopagites themselves 
had been the deciders thereof, if by any one part, or all of them to- 
gether, it had been so judicially sententiated and awarded. 



CHARLES PERRAULT 

(1628-1703) 

PERRAULT, one of several talented brothers who graced the age of 
Louis XIV, was a scholar, government official, and writer. He lived 
a life devoid of extraordinary events, except for the celebrated 
Quarrel of the Ancients and Moderns in which he fought a long 
contest with Boileau and other believers in the superiority of the 
ancient over the modern writers. Toward the end of his life he 
wrote eleven fairy tales (published 1697), ^ ase d on traditional 
stories. He was the first to give a literary form to Little Red Rid- 
ing-Hood, Cinderella^ Puss in Boots, The Sleeping Beauty^ and 



314 GREAT SHORT STORIES OF THE WORLD 

half a dozen other household stories, which are destined to last as 
long as children enjoy fairy tales. 

The present version, revised from an early English translation, 
is reprinted from an anonymously translated edition of the Fairy 
Tales of Perrault, London, no date. 



LITTLE RED RIDING-HOOD 

(From Tales of My Mother Goose) 

f 

ONCE upon a time there lived in a certain village a * Me country 
girl, the prettiest creature was ever seen. Her mot tit: - l^vas exces- 
sively fond of her, and her grandmother doted on her sfl " e iore. This 
good woman got made for her a little red riding-hood; which became 
the girl so extremely well that everybody called her Little Red Riding- 
Hood. 

One day her mother, having made some custards, said to her: 

"Go, my child, and see how thy grandmamma does, for I hear she 
has been very ill; carry her a custard, and this little pot of butter." 

Little Red Riding-Hood set out immediately to go to her grandmother, 
who lived in another village. As she was going through the wood, she 
met with Gaffer Wolf, who had a very great mind to eat her up, but 
he durst not, because of some fagot-makers hard by in the forest. He 
asked her whither she was going. The poor child, who did not know 
that it was dangerous to stay and hear a wolf talk, said to him: 

"I am going to see my grandmamma, and carry her a custard and a 
little pot of butter from my mamma." 

"Does she live far off?" said the wolf. 

"Oh, ay," answered Little Red Riding-Hood. "It is beyond that mill 
you see there, at the first house in the village." 

"Well," said the wolf, "and I'll go and see her too. I'll go this way 

you go that, and we shall see who will be there soonest." 
.,The wolf began to run as fast as he could, taking the nearest way, 
the little girl went by that farthest about, diverting herself in gath- 
$ering nuts, running after butterflies, and making nosegays of such little 
flowers as she met with. The wolf was not long before he got to the 
old woman's house. He knocked at the door tap, tap! 

"Who's there?" 

"Your grandchild, Little Red Riding-Hood," replied the wolf, coun- 
terfeiting her voice, "who has brought you a custard and a little pot of 
butter, sent you by mamma." 

The good grandmother, who was in bed, because she was somewhat 
ill, cried out: 



FRANCE PERRAULT 31$ 

"Pull the bobbin and the latch will go up." The wolf pulled the 
bobbin, and the door opened; and then presently he fell upon the good 
woman and ate her up in a moment, for it was above three days that he 
had not touched a bit. He then shut the door, and went into the grand- 
mother's bed, expecting Little Red Riding-Hood, who came sometime 
afterward and knocked at the door tap, tap! 

"Who's there?" 

Little Red Riding-Hood, hearing the big voice of the wolf, was at 
first afraid; but, believing her grandmother had got a cold and was 
hoarse, answered: 

" 'Tis your grandchild, Little Red Riding-Hood, who has brought 
you a custard and little pot of butter mamma sends you." 

The wolf cried out to her, softening his voice as much as he could: 

"Pull the bobbin and the latch will go up." 

Little Red Riding-Hood pulled the bobbin, and the door opened. The 
wolf, seeing her come in, said to her, hiding himself under the bed- 
clothes: 

"Put the custard and the little pot of butter upon the stool, and come 
and lie down with me." 

Little Red Riding-Hood undressed herself and went into bed, when, 
being greatly amazed to see how her grandmother looked in her night- 
clothes, she ijaid to her: 

"Grandmamma, what great arms you have got!" 

"That is the better to hug thee, my dear!" 

"Grandmamma, what great legs you have got!" 

"That is to run the better, my child!" 

"Grandmamma, what great ears you have got!" 

"That is to hear the better, my child!" 

"Grandmamma, what great eyes you have got!" 

"It is to see the better, my child!" 

"Grandmamma, what great teeth you have got ! " 

"That is to eat thee up!" 

And, saying these words, this wicked wolf fell upon Little Red 
Riding-Hood, and ate her all up. 



JEAN DE LA FONTAINE 
(1621-1695) 

ONE of the great figures of the age of Louis XIV, Jean de La 
Fontaine was born at Chateau-Thierry in 1621. He studied at 
Rheims and PjgK though he returned to his home afterward. In 
1647 he marrJS&'knd entered the government service. He left his 



316 GREAT SHORT STORIES OF THE WORLD 

wife shortly after his marriage, and placed himself under the pro- 
tection of several persons of rank and power. In 1668 the first col- 
lection of his Fables was published, and the following year his 
Tales in verse. He wrote a romance and several plays besides, was 
elected to membership in the French Academy, and died in 1695. 

La Fontaine's Tables are by all counts his greatest achievement. 
These are, in the words of Lanson, "a picture of human life and 
French society.*' Based on ^Isop and Phaedrus and the other fabu- 
lists, the little masterpieces of La Fontaine are highly artistic lit- 
erary performances. The Tour Friends represents the ultimate per- 
fection of this type of fable. 

The present version is translated by Barrett H. Clark, and ap- 
pears for the first time in this collection. 



THE FOUR FRIENDS 
(From The Tables) 

A RAT, a raven, a tortoise, and a gazelle were once upon a time 
the greatest friends imaginable. This happy friendship first began 
in a home which was unknown to any human being. However, there is 
no place safe from humankind, be it in the densest wood, under the 
deepest river, or on the highest peaks where eagles perch. One day the 
graceful gazelle was disporting herself when by ill-luck a barking 
hound (that ferocious, servant of ferocious man) found her trail and 
followed the scent. The gazelle ran on and on. 

At meal-time the rat addressed his friends: "Brothers, how comes it 
that we are only three to-day? Is Miss Gazelle so fickle that she has 
forgotten us?" Up spoke the tortoise: "Now, if I were a bird, like the 
raven, I would at once take flight and learn what accident had befallen 
our fleet-footed sister, and where. My dear rat, it is shameful to doubt 
her affection for us." Whereupon the raven flew off, and from a dis- 
tance caught sight of the unfortunate gazelle he could recognize her 
face all tangled up in a snare, and suffering agonies. So back he flew 
and gave the alarm. He was no fool, and he thought it would be foolish 
to ask the why and wherefore, the when and how of the poor sufferer, 
as would some pedantic schoolmaster, and thereby lose the chance of 
saving the victim. . 

The three friends, on hearing the sad news, took counsel and delib- 
erated. Two voted to hurry to the spot where the poor gazelle was lying. 
"Our friend with the shell," said the raven, "might very well remain 
here to keep watch over the house; when would such a slow creeper 
reach the spot? Why, the gazelle would be dead." So without further 
discussion the other two flew to the assistance of the gazelle. But the 



FRANCE DE LA FONTAINE , 3 i 7 

tortoise was also set on going. Bewailing his inability to walk fast and 
cursing fate for having made him carry his house on his back, he trudged 
on behind the others. 

Rongemail (that was the rat's name) cut the snare. Was not that for- 
tunate? But just then the huntsman came along. "Who has set loose my 
gazelle?" he cried. Rongemail quickly scurried into a hole in the ground; 
the raven flew up into a tree, and the gazelle ran off into the woods. 
The huntsman, now very angry and seeing no trace of his prey, caught 
sight of the tortoise and forgot his anger. "Why," he asked himself, 
"lose courage because my snare has not worked this time? Here is some- 
thing for my supper." And so saying, he put the tortoise into his 
bag. 

The poor tortoise would have met his fate had not the raven told the 
gazelle, who came forth from her hiding-place, pretending to be lame. 
The man, eager for the chase, threw his bag to one side, and Rongemail 
immediately opened it as he had opened the snare, thus depriving the 
huntsman of a supper on his friend the tortoise. 



VOLTAIRE 

* (Franfois-Marie Arouet) 

(1694-1779) 

VOLTAIRE was born in Paris in 1694. His early education was re- 
ceived at a Jesuit school. He began writing verses at an early age, 
and though his father wished him to study law, he continued to 
write. He was several times imprisoned for libellous verses and 
often forced to go into exile. A good part of his life he spent away 
from France. Fo.r over half a century he dominated the intel- 
lectual and artistic life of Europe, writing plays, histories, pam- 
phlets, stories and satires. He was one of the greatest French writers 
and one of the most influential thinkers of modern times. His 
stories, of which he wrote a fairly large number, are philosophical 
and satirical tracts cast into narrative form. Memnon is what is 
known as a philosophical tale: it is one of the keenest satires Vol- 
taire ever wrote. 

The present version, anonymously translated, appeared originally 
in Romances, Tales, and Smaller Pieces of M. de Voltaire, vol. " 
London, 1794. 



GREAT SHORT STORIES OF THE WORLD 

MEMNON THE PHILOSOPHER, OR HUMAN WISDOM 

; T\/rEMNON one day took it into his head to become a great philoso- 
JLYJL pher. There are few men who have not, at some time or other, 
conceived the same wild project. Says Memnon to himself, To be a per- 
fect philosopher, and of course to be perfectly happy, I have nothing to 
do but to divest myself entirely of passions; and nothing is more easy, 
as everybody knows. In the first place, I will never be in love; for, when 
I see a beautiful woman, I will say to myself, These cheeks will one 
day grow wrinkled, these eyes be encircled with vermilion, that bosom 
become flabby and pendant, that head bald and palsied. Now I have only 
to consider her at present in imagination, as she will afterwards appear; 
and certainly a fair face will never turn my head. 
, In the second place, I will be always temperate. It will be in vain to 
tempt me with good cheer, with delicious wines, or the charms of society. 
I will have only to figure to myself the consequences of excess, an aching 
head, a loathing stomach, the loss of reason, of health, and of time. I 
will then only eat to supply the waste of nature; my health will be 
always equal, my ideas pure and luminous. All this is so easy that there 
is no merit in accomplishing it. 

But, says Memnon, I must think a little of how I am to regulate my 
fortune: why, my desires are moderate, my wealth is securely placed with 
the Receiver General of the finances of Nineveh: I have wherewithal to 
live independent; and that is the greatest of blessings. I shall never be 
under the cruel necessity of dancing attendance at court: I will never 
envy anyone, and nobody will envy me; still, all this is easy. I have 
friends, continued he, and I will preserve them, for we shall never have 
any difference; I will never take amiss anything they may say or do; 
and they will behave in the same way to me. There is no difficulty in 
all this. 

Having thus laid his little plan of philosophy in his closet, Memnon 
put his head out of the window. He saw two women walking under 
the plane trees near his house. The one was old, and appeared quite at 
her ease. The other was young, handsome, and seemingly much agitated: 
she sighed, she wept, and seemed on that account still more beautiful. 
Our philosopher was touched, not, to be sure, with the beauty of the 
lady (he was too much determined . not to feel any uneasiness of that 
kind) but with the distress which he saw her in. He came downstairs 
and accosted the young Ninevite in the design of consoling her with 
philosophy. That lovely person related to him, with an air of great sim- 
plicity, and in the most affecting manner, the injuries she sustained from 
an imaginary uncle; with what art he had deprived her of some imagi- 



FRANCE VOLTAIRE > 319 

nary property, and of the violence which she pretended to dread from 
hifri. "You appear to me," said she, "a man of such wisdom that if you 
will condescend to come to my house and examine into my affairs, I am 
persuaded you will be able to draw me from the cruel embarrassment I 
am at present involved in." Memnon did not hesitate to follow her, to 
examine her affairs philosophically and to give her sound counsel. . 

The afflicted lady led him into a perfumed chamber, and politely made 
him sit down with her on a large sofa, where they both placed them- 
selves opposite to each other in the attitude of conversation, their legs 
crossed; the one eager in telling her story, the other listening with de- 
vout attention. The lady spoke with downcast eyes, whence there some- 
times fell a tear, and which, as she now and then ventured to raise them, 
always met those of the sage Memnon. Their discourse was full of ten- 
derness, which redoubled as often as their eyes met. Memnon took her 
affairs exceedingly to heart, and felt himself every instant more and 
more inclined to oblige a person so virtuous and so unhappy. By degrees, 
in the warmth of conversation, they ceased to sit opposite; they drew 
nearer; their legs were no longer crossed. Memnon counseled her so 
closely and gave her such tender advices that neither of them could talk 
any longer of business nor well knew what they were about. 

At this interesting moment, as may easily be imagined, who should 
come in but the uncle; he was armed from head to foot, and the first 
thing he said was, that he would immediately sacrifice, as was just, the 
sage Memngn and his niece; the latter, who made her escape, knew that 
he was well enough disposed to pardon, provided a good round sum were 
offered to him. Memnon was obliged to purchase his safety with all he 
had about him. In those days people were happy in getting so easily quit. 
America was not then discovered, and distressed ladies were not nearly 
as dangerous as they are now. 

Memnon, covered with shame and confusion, got home to his own 
house; there he found a card inviting him to dinner with some of his 
intimate friends. If I remain at home alone, said he, I shall have my 
mind so occupied with this vexatious adventure that I shall not be able 
to eat a bit, and I shall bring upon myself some disease. It will there- 
fore be prudent in me to go to my intimate friends, and partake with 
them of a frugal repast. I shall forget in the sweets of their society that 
folly I have this morning been guilty of. Accordingly, he attends the 
meeting; he is discovered to be uneasy at something, and he is urged 
to drink and banish care. A little wine, drunk in moderation, comforts 
the heart of god and man: so reasons Memnon the philosopher, and he 
becomes intoxicated. After the repast, play is proposed. A little play 
with one's intimate friends is a harmless pastime; He plays and loses 
all that is in his purse, and four times as much on his word. A dispute 
arises on some circumstances in the game, and the disputants grow warm; 



320 GREAT SHORT STORIES OF THE WORLD 

one of his intimate friends throws a dice box at his head, and strikes 
out one of his eyes. The philosopher Memnon is carried home to his 
house, drunk and penniless, with the loss of an eye. 

He sleeps out his debauch, and when his head has got a little clear, he 
sends his servant to the Receiver General of the finances of Nineveh to 
draw a little money to pay his debts of honor to his intimate friends. 
The servant returns and informs him that the Receiver General had 
that morning been declared a fraudulent bankrupt and that by this means 
an hundred families are reduced to poverty and despair. Memnon, almost 
beside himself, puts a plaster on his eye and a petition in his pocket, and 
goes to court to solicit justice from the king against the bankrupt. In 
the saloon he meets a number of ladies all in the highest spirits, and 
sailing along with hoops four-and-twenty feet in circumference. One of 
them, who knew him a little, eyed him askance, and cried aloud, "Ah! 
What a horrid monster!" Another, who was better acquainted with him, 
thus accosts him, "Good-morrow, Mr. Memnon. I hope you are very 
.well, Mr. Memnon. La, Mr. Memnon, how did you lose your eye?" 
And, turning upon her heel, she tripped away without waiting an answer. 
Memnon hid himself in a corner and waited for the moment when he 
could throw himself at the feet of the monarch. That moment at last 
arrived. Three times he kissed the earth, and* presented his petition. His 
gracious majesty received him very favorably, and referred the paper to 
one of his satraps, that he might give him an account of it. The satrap 
takes Memnon aside and says to him with a haughty air and satirical 
grin, "Hark ye, you fellow with the one eye, you must be a comical dog 
indeed, to address yourself to the king rather than to me; and still more 
so, to dare to demand justice against an honest bankrupt, whom I honor 
with my protection, and who is nephew to the waiting-maid of my mis- 
tress. Proceed no further in this business, my good friend, if you .wish 
to preserve the eye you have left." 

Memnon, having thus in his closet resolved to renounce women, the 
excesses of the table, play and quarreling, but especially having deter- 
mined never to go to court, had been in the short space of four-and- 
twenty hours, duped and robbed by a gentle dame, had got drunk, had 
gamed, had been engaged in a quarrel, had got his eye knocked out, and 
had been at court where he was sneered at and insulted. 

Petrified with astonishment, and his heart broken with grief, Memnon 
returns homeward in despair. As he was about to enter his house, he is 
repulsed by a number of officers who are carrying off his furniture for 
the benefit of his creditors: he falls down almost lifeless under a plane 
tree. There he finds the fair dame, of the morning, who was walking 
with her dear uncle; and both set up a loud laugh on seeing Memnon 
with his plaster. The night approached, and Memnon made his bed on 
some straw near the walls of his house. Here the ague seized him, and 



FRANCE VOLTAIRE 321 

he fell asleep in one of the fits, when a celestial spirit appeared to him 
in a dream. 

It was all resplendent with light: it had six beautiful wings, but neither 
feet nor head nor tail, and could be likened to nothing. "What art 
thou?" said Memnon. "Thy good genius," replied the spirit. "Restore 
to me then my eye, my health, my fortune, my reason," said Memnon; 
and he related how he had lost them all in one day. "These are adven- 
tures which never happen to us in the world we inhabit," said the spirit. 
"And what world do you inhabit?" said the man of affliction. "My na- 
tive country," replied the other, "is five hundred millions of leagues dis- 
tant from the sun, in a little star near Sirius, which you see from hence." 
"Charming country!" said Memnon. "And are there indeed no jades to 
dupe a poor devil, no intimate friends that win his money, and knock 
out an eye for him, no fraudulent bankrupts, no satraps that make a jest 
of you while they refuse you justice?" "No," said the inhabitant of the 
star, "we have nothing of what you talk of; we are never duped by 
women, because we have none among us; we never commit excesses at 
table, because we neither eat nor drink; we have no bankrupts, because 
with us there is neither silver nor gold; our eyes cannot be knocked out 
because we have not bodies in the form of yours; and satraps never do 
us injustice because in our world we are all equal." "Pray, my lord," 
then said Memnon, "without women and without eating how do you 
spend your time?" "In watching," said the genius, "over the other worlds 
that are entrusted to us; and I am now come to give you consolation." 
"Alas!" replied Memnon, "why did you not come yesterday to hinder 
me from committing so many indiscretions?" "I was with your elder 
brother Hassan," said the celestial being. "He is still more to be pitied 
than you are. His Most Gracious Majesty the Sultan of the Indies, in 
whose court he has the honor to serve, has caused both his eyes to be put 
out for some small indiscretion ; and he is now in a dungeon, his hands 
and feet loaded with chains." " 'Tis a happy thing truly," said Memnon, 
"to have a good genius in one's family, when out of two brothers one 
is blind of an eye, the other blind of both: one stretched upon straw, 
the other in a dungeon." "Your fate will soon change," said the animal 
of the star. "It is true, you will never recover your eye, but, except 
that, you may be sufficiently happy if you never again take it into your 
head to be a perfect philosopher." "It is then impossible?" said Memnon. 
"As impossible as to be perfectly wise, perfectly strong, perfectly pow- 
erful, perfectly happy. We ourselves are very far from it. There is a 
world indeed where all this is possible; but, in the hundred thousand 
millions of worlds dispersed over the regions of space, everything goes 
on by degrees. There is less philosophy, and less enjoyment on the second 
than in the first, less in the third than in the second, and so forth till 
the last in the scale, where all are completely fools." "I am afraid/' 



322 GREAT SHORT STORIES OF THE WORLD 

said Memnon, "that our little terraqueous globe here is the madhouse 
of those hundred thousand millions of worlds of which Your Lordship 
does me the honor to speak." "Not quite," said the spirit, "but very 
nearly: everything must be in its proper place." "But are those poets and 
philosophers wrong, then, who tell us that everything is for the best?" 
"No, they are right, when we consider things in relation to the grada- 
tion to the whole universe." "Oh! I shall never believe it till I recover 
my eye again," said poor Memnon. 



J. F. MARMONTEL 

(1723-1799) 

MARMONTEL, born in the Limousin of artisan parents, came early 
into popular esteem, and, when only a boy, was awardc/d several 
prizes for poetry. He wrote to Voltaire, who thought his verses 
showed an aptitude for finance, and got him a position in Paris. 
There until the eve of the Revolution he lived a happy and pros- 
perous life. He wrote plays, verses, romances, tales, literary criti- 
cism. Popular at court, protected by powerful nobles, he enjoyed 
the society or the philosophers and writers of his time. His Moral 
Tales, from which Lausus and Lydia is taken, were widely read 
throughout Europe. Strange as it may seem, Lausus and Lydia was 
considered a very pathetic story in its day. It does, however, possess 
merits of clarity and skilful construction. It may be considered a 
good example of a much-practised type of story in vogue in the 
Eighteenth Century, in which the author employs a foreign back- 
ground often of some imaginary Oriental land for the purpose 
of exemplifying a moral or philosophical point. 

The present version is reprinted from Moral Tales by M. Mar- 
montel> translated by C. Dennis and R. Lloyd, London, 1771. 



LAUSUS AND LYDIA 
(From the Moral Tales) 

THE character of Mezentius, King of Tyrrhene, is well known. A 
bad prince and a good father, cruel and tender by turns. He had 
nothing of the tyrant, nothing that showed violence as long as his de- 
sires knew no obstacle; but the calm of this haughty soul was the repose 
of a lion. 

Mezentius had a son named Lausus, whose valor and beauty rendered 
him famous among the young heroes of Italy. Lausus had attended 



FRANCE MARMONTEL , 323 

Mezentius in the war against the King of Prseneste. His father, at the 
very summit of joy, saw him, covered with blood, fighting and van- 
quishing by his side. The King of Prseneste, driven out of his territories 
and seeking safety in flight, had left in the hands of the conqueror a 
treasure more precious than his crown, a princess at that age wherein 
the heart has only the virtues of nature, and nature has all the charms 
of innocence and beauty. Everything that the Graces in tears possess, 
either noble or affecting, was painted on Lydia's countenance. In her 
grief, courage, and dignity, one might discover the daughter of kings 
amongst the crowd of slaves. She received the first compliments of her 
enemies without haughtiness, without acknowledgment, as an homage 
due to her rank, the noble sentiments of which were not weakened by 
ill fortune. 

She heard her father named, and at that name lifted up to heaven 
her fine eyes filled with tears. All hearts were moved. Mezentius him- 
self, astonished, forgot his pride and age. Prosperity, which hardens 
weak souls, softens proud hearts, and nothing can be gentler than an hero 
after a victory. If the savage heart of old Mezentius was not able to 
resist the charms of his captive, what was the impression on the virtuous 
soul of young Lausus? He mourned over his exploits; he reproached 
himself with his victory: it cost Lydia tears. "Let her avenge herself," 
said he; "let her hate me as much as I love her; I have deserved it but 
too much." Btit an idea still more distressful presents itself to his imagi- 
nation. He^sees Mezentius, astonished, softened, pass on a sudden from 
rage to clemency. He judged rightly that humanity alone had not effected 
the revolution, and the fear of having his father for a rival completed 
his confusion. 

At the age of Mezentius jealousy follows closely upon love. The 
tyrant observed the eyes of Lausus with an uneasy attention; he saw 
extinguished in them all at once the joy and ardor which had lighted 
up the face of the young hero on his first victory. He saw him dis- 
turbed: he caught some looks which it was but too easy to understand. 
From that instant he considered himself as betrayed; but nature inter- 
posed and suspended his rage. A tyrant, even in his fury, constrains him- 
self to think that he is just; and before he condemned his son Mezen- 
tius labored to convict him. He began by dissembling his own passion 
with so much art that the prince looked on his former fears as vain, 
and considered the attentions of love as nothing more than the effects 
of clemency. At first he affected to allow Lydia all the appearances of 
liberty, but the tyrant's court was full of spies and informers, the usual 
retinue of men of power who, not being able to make themselves be- 
loved, place their greatness in being feared. 

His son was no longer afraid of paying Lydia a respectful homage. 
He mingled with his sentiments an interest so delicate and tender, .that 



324 GREAT SHORT STORIES OF THE WORLD 

Lydia very soon began to reproach herself for the hatred which she 
thought she entertained for the blood of her enemy; while Lausus 
lamented that he had contributed to Lydia's misfortunes. He called the 
gods to witness that he would do all in his power to repair them. "The 
King my father," says he, "is as generous after victory as intractable 
before battle: satisfied with victory, he is incapable of oppression. It is 
easier than ever for the King of Praeneste to engage him to a peace that 
shall be glorious to both. That peace will dry up your tears, beautiful 
Lydia; but will it efface the remembrance of their crime who caused you 
to shed them? Why did I not see all my blood flow rather than those 
tears? " 

Lydia's replies, which were full of modesty and greatness, betrayed 
to Lausus no warmer emotion than that of gratitude: though at the bot- 
tom of her heart she was but too sensible of the care he took to console 
her. She sometimes blushed for having listened to him with complaisance; 
but her father's interests made it a law to her to avail herself of such 
a support. In the meantime their conference growing more frequent 
became also more animated, more interesting, more intimate; and love 
made its way insensibly through respect and gratitude, as a flower which, 
in order to blow, opens the slight texture in which it is enfolded. 

Deceived more and more by the feigned tranquillity of Mezentius, the 
credulous Lausus flattered himself that he should very soon see his duty 
accord with his inclination, and nothing in the world, in liis opinion, was 
easier than to reconcile them. The treaty of peace which he had medi- 
tated, was reduced to two articles: to restore to the King of Praeneste 
his crown and his territories, and to make his marriage with the princess 
the bond of union between the two powers. He communicated this 
project to Lydia. The confidence he placed in it, the advantages he saw 
accruing from it, the transports of joy which the idea alone inspired him 
with, surprised the lovely captive into a smile, mingled with tears. "Gen- 
erous Prince," said she to him, "may Heaven fulfill the wishes you pour 
out for my father! I shall not be sorry that I am made a pledge of 
peace and the token of gratitude." This touching reply was accompanied 
with a look still more touching. The tyrant was informed of all. His 
first transport would have hurried him to sacrifice his rival, but his son 
was the only support of his crown, the only barrier between the people 
and him: the same stroke would have rendered him completely odious 
to his subjects and have taken from him the only defender whom he 
could oppose to the public hatred. Fear is the ruling passion of tyrants. 
Mezentius resolved to dissemble. He ordered his son into his presence, 
talked to him with good humor and bade him prepare to set out the next 
day for the frontiers of his territory, where he had left his army. The 
prince endeavored to conceal the grief which wrung his soul, and set out 
without having time to take leave of Lydia, 



FRANCE MARMONTEL 325 

The very day of Lausus' departure, Mezentius had caused honorable 
conditions of peace to be proposed to the King of Praeneste, the first 
article of which was his marriage with the daughter of the vanquished 
monarch. That unfortunate monarch hesitated not to consent, and the 
same ambassador that offered him peace brought back his agreement for 
an answer. 

Lausus had in the court a friend, who had been attached to him from 
his infancy. A remarkable resemblance to the young prince had been 
the means of making the fortune of the young man, who was called 
Phanor, but they resembled each other still more in their disposition than 
their figure; the same inclinations, the same virtues. Lausus and Phanor 
seemed to have but one soul. Lausus at parting had confided to Phanor 
his passion and his despair. The latter was therefore inconsolable on 
hearing of the marriage of Lydia with Mezentius: he thought it his duty 
to acquaint the prince with it. The situation of the lover at this news 
cannot be described; his heart was troubled, his reason forsook him, and 
in the distraction of blind sorrow, he wrote to Lydia the warmest and 
most imprudent letter that love ever dictated. Phanor was charged with 
the delivery of it. He went to her at the hazard of his life, if he should 
be discovered. He was so. Mezentius, enraged, ordered him to be laden 
with irons and dragged to a frightful prison. 

However, everything was prepared for a celebration of this unhappy 
marriage. We* may justly conclude that the feast was suitable to the 
character of Mezentius. Wrestling, the cestus, gladiators, combats be- 
tween men and animals bred up to carnage, everything that barbarity 
has invented for its amusements was to have graced the pomp: nothing 
was wanting to this bloody spectacle but persons to fight against the wild 
beasts; for it was customary to expose to these fights none but criminals 
condemned to die, and Mezentius, who on any suspicion was always 
eager to put the innocent to death, retarded still less the punishment of 
the guilty. There remained in the prisons none but the faithful friend 
of Lausus. "Let him be exposed," said Mezentius; "let him fall a prey 
to devouring lions: the traitor deserves a more cruel death, but this best 
suits his crime and my vengeance, and his punishment is a feast worthy 
of injured love!" 

Lausus having in vain expected the answer of his friend, impatiently 
gave way to affright. "Should we be discovered," said he, "should I have 
lost my friend by my fatal imprudence! Lydia herself! Ah, I tremble! 
No, I cannot live any longer in this dreadful uncertainty." He set out; 
he disguised himself carefully. He arrived, and heard the reports spread 
among the people; learned that his friend was in chains, and that the 
next day was to unite Lydia with Mezentius. He learned that they were 
preparing the feast which was to precede the festival; they were to see 
the unhappy Phanor a prey to wild beasts. He shrunk at this recital; a 



326 GREAT SHORT STORIES OF THE WORLD 

deadly dullness spread through all his veins; he came again to himself, 
but lost in distraction he fell upon his knees and cried out, "Great gods, 
restrain my hand, my despair terrifies me! Let me die honorably!" Re- 
solved to deliver his dear Phanor, though he should perish in his stead, 
he flew to the gates of the prison; but how was he to enter? He addressed 
himself to the slave whose office it was to carry food to the prisoners. 
"Open your eyes," said he, "and know me ; I am Lausus, I am the son 
of the King. I expect an important service from you. Phanor is confined 
here: I will see him, I will. I have but one way to come at him: give 
me your clothes, and fly! There are the pledges of my acknowledgment. 
Withdraw yourself from the vengeance of my father. If you betray me, 
you rush on your ruin; if you assist me in my undertaking, my favor 
shall find you in the very heart of the deserts." 

The weak and timorous slave yielded to his promises and threats. He 
assisted the prince in disguising himself, and disappeared, after having ^ 
told him the hour at which he was to present himself, and the conduct he 
was to observe in order to deceive the vigilance of the guards. Night ap- 
proached and the moment arrived. Lausus presented himself, assuming 
the name of the slave. The bolts of the dungeon opened with a dismal 
sound. By the feeble glimmering of a torch, he penetrated into this man- 
sion of horror; he advanced and listened: the accents of a moaning voice 
struck his ear; he knew it to be the voice of his friend. Hq saw him lying 
down in the corner of the cell covered with rags, consumed with weak- 
ness, the paleness of death on his countenance, and the fire of despair in 
his eyes. "Leave me," said Phanor to him, taking him for the slave; 
"away with these odious nourishments: suffer me to die. Alas," added he, 
sending forth cries interrupted by sighs, "alas! my dear Lausus is still 
more unhappy than I. Oh, gods above! If he knows the state to which he 
has reduced his friend!" "Yes," cried Lausus, throwing himself on his 
bosom, "yes, my dear Phanor, he does know it, and he partakes of it!" 
"What do I see?" cried Phanor, transported. "Ah, Lausus, my Prince!" 
At these words both of them lost the use of their senses, locked in each 
other's arms. Their hearts met, and their sighs intermingled. They re- 
mained for a long time mute and immovable, stretched out on the floor 
of the dungeon. Grief stifled their voices, and they answered each other 
only by embracing more closely, and bathing one another with their 
tears. Lausus, at last coming to himself, "Let us lose no time," said he; 
"take these clothes, get hence and leave me here." "What, I! Great 
gods, can I be so vile! Ah? Lausus, could you believe it? Ought you to 
propose it to me?" "I know you well," said the Prince, "but you should 
also know me. The sentence is pronounced, your punishment is prepared, 
you must die or fly." "Fly!" "Hear me: my father is violent, but he is 
not without sensibility. Nature asserts her right over his heart. If I de- 
liver you from death I have only to melt him to compassion for myself; 



FRANCE MARMONTEL ' 327 

and his arm, when lifted up against a son, will be easily disarmed." "He 
would strike," said Phanor, "and your death would be my crime: I can- 
not abandon you." "Well, then," said Lausus, "remain here, but at your 
death you shall see mine also. Depend not on my father's clemency j it 
would be in vain for him to pardon me: think not that I would pardon 
myself. This hand, which wrote the fatal letter that condemns you, this 
hand which, even after its crime is still the hand of your friend, shall 
reunite us in your own despite." In vain would Phanor have insisted. 
"Let us argue no longer," interrupted Lausus; "you can say nothing to 
me that can equal the shame of surviving my friend, after I have 
destroyed him. Your pressing earnestness makes me blush, and your 
prayers are an affront. I will answer for my own safety if you will 
fly. I swear to die if you will stay and perish. Choose: the moments now 
are precious." 

Phanor knew his friend too well to pretend to shake his resolution. 
"I consent," said he, "to let you try the only means of safety that is 
left us; but live if you would have me live: your scaffold shall be mine." 
"I readily believe it," said Lausus, "and your friend esteems you too 
much to desire you to survive him." At these words they embraced, and 
Phanor went out of the dungeon in the habit of the slave, which Lausus 
had just thrown off. 

. What a night! What a dreadful night for Lydia! Alas, how shall we 
paint the emotions that arose in her soul, that divided, tore it between 
love and virtue? She adored Lausus, she detested Mezentius, she was 
sacrificing herself to her father's interests, delivering herself up to the 
object of her hatred, tearing herself forever from an adored lover. They 
led her to the altar as it were to punishment. Barbarous Mezentius! 
Thou art content to reign over the heart by violence and fear! It suf- 
fices thee that thy consort trembles before thee as a slave before his 
master. Such is love in the heart of a tyrant. Yet, alas! it is for him 
alone that she is hereafter to live: it is to him that she is going to be 
united. If she resists, she must betray her lover and her father: a refusal 
would discover the secret of her soul, and if Lausus were suspected to 
be dear to her, he were undone. It was in this cruel agitation that Lydia 
awaited the day. The terrible day arrived. Lydia, dismayed and trem- 
bling, saw herself decked out not as a bride to be presented at the altar 
of Love and Hymen, but as one of those innocent victims that a bar- 
barous piety crowned with flowers before {^sacrificed them. 

They led her to the place where the spectftle was to be exhibited; the 
people assembled there in multitudes, and the sports began. I shall not 
stop to describe the engagements at the cestus, at wrestling, at the sword: 
a more dreadful object engages our attention. 

An enormous lion advances. At first, with a calm pride, he traverses 
the arena, throwing his dreadful looks round the amphitheater that en- 



328 GREAT SHORT STORIES OF THE WORLD 

virons him; a confused murmur announces the terror that he inspires. 
In a short time the sound of clarions animates him; he replies by his 
roarings; his shaggy mane is erected around his monstrous head; he 
lashes his loins with his tail, and the fire begins to issue from his spar- 
kling eyeballs. The affrighted populace wish and dread to see the wretch 
appear who is to be delivered up to the rage of this monster. Terror and 
pity seize on every breast. The combatant, whom Mezentius' guards 
themselves had taken for Phanor, presents himself. Lydia could not dis- 
tinguish him. The horror with which she was seized obliged her to turn 
away her eyes from this spectacle, which shocks the sensibility of her 
tender soul. Alas! what would she feel if she knew that Phanor, the 
dear friend of Lausus, was the criminal whom they have selected; if 
she knew that Lausus himself had taken his friend's place, and that it 
was he who was going to fight! 

Half-naked, his hair disheveled, he walked with an intrepid air; a 
poniard for the attack, a buckler for defense, are the only arms by which 
he was protected. Mezentius, prepossessed, sees in him only the guilty 
Phanor. His own blood is drunk, Nature is blind ; it is his own son whom 
he delivers up to death, and his bowels are not moved. Resentment and 
revenge stifle every other sentiment. He saw with a barbarous joy the 
fury of the lion rising by degrees. Lausus, impatient, provoked the mon- 
ster and urged him to the combat. He advanced toward him; the lion 
sprang forward. Lausus avoided him. Thrice the enraged animal made 
toward him with his foaming jaws, and thrice Lausus escaped his mur- 
derous fangs. 

In the meantime Phanor learned what was happening. He ran up, 
bearing down the multitude before him, while his piercing cries made 
the amphitheater resound. "Stop, Mezentius! Save your son, for it is he! 
It is Lausus who is engaged!" Mezentius looked and knew Phanor, who 
hastened toward him. "Oh, ye gods, what do I see! My people, assist 
me! Throw yourselves on the arena, save my son from the jaws of 
death!" At the name of Lausus, Lydia fell down dead on the steps of 
the amphitheater: her heart cold, her eyes covered with darkness. Mezen- 
tius saw only his son, now in imminent danger. A thousand hands strive 
in vain for his defense: the monster pursued him and would have de- 
voured him before they could have come to his assistance But, oh, in- 
credible wonder! Unlooked-for happiness! Lausus, eluding the bounds 
of the furious animal, stru< him a mortal wound and his sword was 
drawn reeking from the lim's heart. He fell amid torrents of blood 
spat forth from the foaming jaws. The universal alarm now changed 
into triumph, and the people replied to Mezentius' doleful cries only by 
shouts of admiration and joy. These shouts recalled Lydia to life: she 
opened her eyes and saw Lausus at Mezentius' feet, holding in one hand 
the bloody dagger, and in the other his dear and faithful Phanor. "It is 



FRANCE MARMONTEL ' 329 

I," said he to his father, "I alone who am culpable. Phanor's crime was 
mine: it was my duty to explain it. I forced him to resign his place, and 
was about to kill myself if he refused. I live, I owe my life to him, and 
if your son be still dear to you, you owe your son to him, but if your 
vengeance is not appeased, our days are in your hands. Strike, we will 
perish together, our hearts have sworn it." Lydia, trembling at this dis- 
course^ viewed Mezentius with suppliant eyes, overflowing with tears. 
The tyrant's cruelty could not withstand this trial. The cries of Nature 
and the voice of remorse put to silence jealousy and revenge. He re- 
mained for a long time immovable and dumb, casting by turns looks of 
trouble and confusion on the culprits before him, looks in which love, 
hatred, indignation, and pity succeeded to one another. All trembled 
around the tyrant. Lausus, Phanor, Lydia, and a multitude innumerable 
waited with terror the first words that he was to pronounce. He sub- 
mitted at last, in spite of himself, to that virtue whose ascendancy over- 
powered him, and passing of a sudden with impetuous violence from 
rage to tenderness, he threw himself into his son's arms. "Yes," said he, 
"I pardon thee, and I pardon also thy friend. Live, love one another; 
but there remains one sacrifice more for me to make thee, and thou 
hast just now rendered thyself worthy of it. Receive it, then," said he 
with a new effort; "receive this hand, the gift of which is dearer to 
thee than life^It is thy valor which has forced it from me; it is that 
alone could have obtained it." 



HONORE DE BALZAC 
(1799-1850) 

BORN at Tours in 1799, Balzac left his native city at an early age 
and after various attempts at making a living went into the pub- 
lishing business in Paris. Failing at that, he set to work more ear- 
nestly than ever at writing, and until the end of his life he toiled 
incessantly at the series of novels and tales which have rendered 
him famous as one of the great novelists of the world. In his 
Human Comedy, Balzac included several short stories, which are 
among the very first of their kind; in them the short story is at 
last entirely free of the past. His workPhas that contemporary 
quality that is one of the distinguishing marks of all great art. 

The Mysterious Mansion is grouped among the Scenes from 
Private Life. It is one of the great stories of modern times. 

The present version, anonymously translated, is reprinted from 
Great Short Stories, Collier's Sons, New York. The original title 
of the story is La Grande Breteche.^ 



330 GREAT SHORT STORIES OF THE WORLD 



THE MYSTERIOUS MANSION 

ABOUT a hundred yards from the town of Vendome, on the borders 
of the Loire, there is an old gray house, surmounted by very high 
gables, and so completely isolated that neither tanyard nor shabby hos- 
telry, such as you may find at the entrance to all small towns, exists in 
its immediate neighborhood. 

In front of this building, overlooking the river, is a garden, where the 
once well-trimmed box borders that used to define the walks now grow 
wild as they list. Several willows that spring from the Loire have grown 
as rapidly as the hedge that encloses it, and half conceal the house. The 
rich vegetation of those weeds that we call foul adorns the sloping shore. 
Fruit trees, neglected for the last ten years, no longer yield their harvest, 
and their shoots form coppices. The wall-fruit grows like hedges against 
the walls. Paths once graveled are overgrown with moss, but, to tell the 
truth, there is no trace of a path. From the height of the hill, to which 
cling the ruins of the old castle of the Dukes of Vendome, the only spot 
whence the eye can plunge into this enclosure, it strikes you that, at a 
time not easy to determine, this plot of land was the delight of a country 
gentleman, who cultivated roses and tulips and horticulture in general, 
and who was besides a lover of fine fruit. An arbor i$, still visible, or 
rather the debris of an arbor, where there is a table that time has not 
quite destroyed. The aspect of this garden of bygone days suggests the 
negative joys of peaceful, provincial life, as one might reconstruct the 
life of a worthy tradesman by reading the epitaph on his tombstone. As 
if to complete the sweetness and sadness of the ideas that possess one's 
soul, one of the walls displays a sun-dial decorated with the following 
commonplace Christian inscription: "Ultimam cogita!" The roof of 
this house is horribly dilapidated, the shutters are always closed, the bal- 
conies are covered with swallows* nests, the doors are perpetually shut, 
weeds have drawn green lines in the cracks of the flights of steps, the 
locks and bolts are rusty. Sun, moon, winter, summer, and snow have 
worn the paneling, warped the boards, gnawed the paint. The lugubrious 
silence which reigns there is only broken by birds, cats, martins, rats and 
mice, free to course to and fro, to fight and to eat each other. Every- 
where an invisible hand has graven the word mystery. 

Should your curiosity kad you to glance at this house from the side 
that points to the road, yon would perceive a great door which the chil- 
dren of the place have riddled with holes. I afterward heard that this 
door had been closed for the last ten years. Through the holes broken 
by the boys you would have observed the perfect harmony that existed 
between the fagades of both garden and courtyard. In both the same 
disorder prevails. Tufts of weed encircle the paving-stones. Enormous 



FRANCE BALZAC ! 331 

cracks furrow the walls, round whose blackened crests twine the thou- 
sand garlands of the pellitory. The steps are out of joint, the wire of 
the bell is rusted, the spouts are cracked. What fire from heaven has 
fallen here? What tribunal has decreed that salt should be strewn on 
this dwelling? Has God been blasphemed, has France been here be- 
trayed? These are the questions we ask ourselves, but get no answer from 
the crawling things that haunt the place. The empty and deserted house 
is a gigantic enigma, of which the key is lost. In bygone times it was 
a small fief, and bears the name of the Grande Breteche. 

I inferred that I was not the only person to whom my good landlady 
had communicated the secret of which I was to be the sole recipient, 
and I prepared to listen. 

"Sir," she said, "when the Emperor sent the Spanish prisoners of war 
and others here, the Government quartered on me a young Spaniard 
who had been sent to Vendome on parole. Parole notwithstanding he 
went out every day to show himself to the sous-prefet. He was a Spanish 
grandee! Nothing less! His name ended in os and dia, something like 
Burgos de Feredia. I have his name on my books; you can read it if you 
like. Oh! but he was a handsome young man for a Spaniard; they are 
all said to be ugly. He was only five feet and a few inches high, but he 
was well-grown; he had small hands that he took such care of; ah! 
you should hav* seen ! He had as many brushes for his hands as a woman 
for her whole dressing apparatus! He had thick black hair, a fiery eye, 
his skin was rither bronzed, but I liked the look of it. He wore the finest 
linen I have ever seen on any one, although I have had princesses stay- 
ing here, and, among others, General Bertrand, the Duke and Duchess 
d'Abrantes, Monsieur Decazes, and the King of Spain. He didn't eat 
much; but his manners were so polite, so amiable, that one could not 
owe him a grudge. Oh! I was very fond of him, although he didn't 
open his lips four times in the day, and it was impossible to keep up a 
conversation with him. For if you spoke to him, he did not answer. It 
was a fad, a mania with them all, I heard say. He read his breviary like 
a priest, he went to Mass and to all the services regularly. Where did he 
sit? Two steps from the chapel of Madame de Merret. As he took his 
place there the first time he went to church, nobody suspected him of 
any intention in so doing. Besides, he never raised his eyes from his 
prayer-book, poor young man! After that, sir, in the evening he would 
walk on the mountains, among the castle ruins. It was the poor man's 
only amusement, it reminded him of his country. They say that Spain 
is all mountains! From the commencement of his imprisonment he 
stayed out late. I was anxious when I found that he did not come home 
before midnight; but we got accustomed to this fancy of his. He took the 
key of the door, and we left off sitting up for him. He lodged in a house 
of ours in the Rue des Casernes. After that, one of our stable-men told 



332 GREAT SHORT STORIES OF THE WORLD 

us that in the evening when he led the horses to the water, he thought 
he had seen the Spanish grandee swimming far down the river like a 
live fish. When he returned, I told him to take Care of the rushes; he 
appeared vexed to have been seen in the water. At last, one day, or rather 
one morning, we did not find him in his room; he had not returned. 
After searching everywhere, I found some writing in the drawer of a 
table, where there were fifty gold pieces of Spain that are called 
doubloons and were worth about five thousand francs; and ten thousand 
francs' worth of diamonds in a small sealed box. The writing said, that 
in case he did not return, he left us the money and the diamonds, on 
condition of paying for Masses to thank God for his escape, and for 
his salvation. In those days my husband had not been taken from me; 
he hastened to seek him everywhere. 

"And now for the strange part of the story. He brought home the 
Spaniard's clothes, that he had discovered under a big stone, in a sort of 
pilework by the river-side near the castle, nearly opposite to the Grande 
Breteche. My husband had gone there so early that no one had seen him. 
After reading the letter, he burned the clothes, and according to Count 
Feredia's desire we declared that he had escaped. The sous-prefet sent all 
the gendarmerie in pursuit of him; but brust! they never caught him. 
Lepas believed that the Spaniard had drowned himself. I, sir, don't think 
so; I am more inclined to believe that he had something to do with the 
affair of Madame de Merret, seeing that Rosalie told me that the crucifix 
that her mistress thought so much of, that she had it buried with her, 
was of ebony and silver. Now in the beginning of his stay here, Mon- 
sieur de Feredia had one in ebony and silver, that I never saw him with 
later. Now, sir, don't you consider that I need have no scruples about 
the Spaniard's fifteen thousand francs, and that I have a right to them?" 

"Certainly; but you haven't tried to question Rosalie?" I said. 

"Oh, yes, indeed, sir; but to no purpose! the girl's like a wall. She 
knows something, but it is impossible to get her to talk." 

After exchanging a few more words with me, my landlady left me 
a prey to vague and gloomy thoughts, to a romantic curiosity, and a 
religious terror not unlike the profound impression produced on us when 
by night, on entering a dark church, we perceive a faint light under high 
arches; a vague figure glides by the rustle of a robe or cassock is heard, 
and we shudder. 

Suddenly the Grande Breteche and its tall weeds, its barred windows, 
its rusty ironwork, its closed doors, its deserted apartments, appeared like 
a fantastic apparition before me. I essayed to penetrate the mysterious 
dwelling, and to find the knot of its dark story the drama that had 
killed three persons. In my eyes Rosalie became the most interesting 
person in Vendome. As I studied her, I discovered the traces of secret 
care, despite the radiant health that shone in her plump countenance. 



FRANCE BALZAC 333 

There was in her the germ of remorse or hope; her attitude revealed a 
secret, like the attitude of a bigot who prays to excess, or of the infan- 
ticide who ever hears the last cry of her child. Yet her manners were 
rough and ingenuous her silly smile was not that of a criminal, and 
could you but have seen the great kerchief that encompassed her portly 
bust, framed and laced in by a lilac and blue cotton gown, you would 
have dubbed her innocent. No, I thought, I will not leave Vendome 
without learning the history of the Grande Breteche. To gain my ends 
I will strike up a friendship with Rosalie, if needs be. 

"Rosalie," said I, one evening. 

"Sir?" 

"You are not married?" 

She started slightly. 

"Oh, I can find plenty of men, when the fancy takes me to be made 
miserable," she said, laughing. 

She soon recovered from the effects of her emotion, for all women, 
from the # great lady to the maid of the inn, possess a composure that is 
peculiar to them. 

"You are too good-looking and well favored to be short of lovers. 
But tell me, Rosalie, why did you take service in an inn after leaving 
Madame de Merret? Did she leave you nothing to live on?" 

"Oh, yes! But, sir, my place is the best in all Vendome." 

The reply was one of those that judges and lawyers would call eva- 
sive. Rosalie' appeared to me to be situated in this romantic history like 
the square in the midst of a chessboard. She was at the heart of the truth 
and chief interest; she seemed to me to be bound in the very knot of it. 
The conquest of Rosalie was no longer to be an ordinary siege in this 
girl was centered the last chapter of a novel, therefore from this mo- 
ment Rosalie became the object of my preference. 

One morning I said to Rosalie: "Tell me all you know about Madame 
de Merret." 

"Oh!" she replied in terror, "do not ask that of me, Monsieur 
Horace." 

Her pretty face fell her clear, bright color faded and her eyes lost 
their innocent brightness. 

"Well, then," she said, at last, "if you must have it so, I will tell you 
about it; but promise to keep my secret!" 

"Done! my dear girl, I must keep your secret with the honor of a 
thief, which is the most loyal in the world." 

Were I to transcribe Rosalie's diffuse eloquence faithfully, an entire 
volume would scarcely contain it; so I shall abridge". 

The room occupied by Madame de Merret at. the Breteche was on 
the ground floor. A little closet about four feet deep, built in the thick- 
ness of the wall, served as her wardrobe. Three 'months before the 



CHEAT SHORT STORIES OF THE WORLD 

eventful evening of which I am about to speak, Madame de Merret had 
been so seriously indisposed that her husband had left her to herself in 
her own apartment, while he occupied another on the first floor. By one 
of those chances that it is impossible to foresee, he returned home from 
the club (where he was accustomed to read the papers and discuss politics 
with the inhabitants of the place) two hours later than usual. His wife 
supposed him to be at home, in bed and asleep. But the invasion of 
France had been the subject of a most animated discussion; the billiard- 
match had been exciting, he had lost forty francs, an enormous sum for 
Vendome, where every one hoards, and where manners are restricted 
within the limits of a praiseworthy modesty, which perhaps is the source 
of the true happiness that no Parisian covets. For some time past Mon- 
sieur de Merret had been satisfied to ask Rosalie if his wife had gone 
to bed; and on her reply, which was always in the affirmative, had im- 
mediately gained his own room with the good temper engendered by 
habit and confidence. On entering his house, he took it into his head 
to go and tell his wife of his misadventure, perhaps by way of t consola- 
tion. At dinner he found Madame de Merret most coquettishly attired. 
On his way to the club it had occurred to him that his wife was restored 
to health, and that her convalescence had added to her beauty. He was, 
as husbands are wont to be, somewhat slow in making this discovery. 
Instead of calling Rosalie, who was occupied just then in watching the 
cook and coachman play a difficult hand at brisque, Monsieur de Merret 
went to his wife's room by the light of a lantern that he deposited on 
the first step of the staircase. His unmistakable step resounded under the 
vaulted corridor. At the moment that the Count turned the handle of 
his wife's door, he fancied he could hear the door of the closet I spoke 
of close; but when he entered Madame de Merret was alone before the 
fireplace. The husband thought ingenuously that Rosalie was in the 
closet, yet a suspicion that jangled in his ear put him on his guard. He 
looked at his wife and saw in her eyes I know not what wild and hunted 
expression. 

"You are very late," she said. Her habitually pure, sweet voice seemed 
changed to him. 

Monsieur de Merret did not reply, for at that moment Rosalie entered. 
It was a thunderbolt for him. He strode about the room, passing from 
one YiSfldgajUjto the other, with mechanical motion and folded arms. 

bad news, or are you unwell?" inquired his wife 
undressed her. 




said Madame de Merret to her maid; "I will 
put my iMrfjfi cur J jwp^rs myself." 

From^ly 'eattpmn Bf her husband's face she foresaw trouble, and 
o beCfloneAJuKhtthim. When Rosalie had e-one. or was siiDoosed 



FRANCE BALZAC ' 335 

to have gone (for she stayed in the corridor for a few minutes), Mon- 
sieur de Merret came and stood in front of his wife, and said coldly 
to her: 

"Madame, there is someone in your closet!" She looked calmly at 
her husband and replied simply: 

"No, sir." 

This answer was heartrending to Monsieur de Merret; he did not 
believe in it. Yet his wife had never appeared to him purer or more 
saintly than at that moment. He rose to open the closet door; Madame 
de Merret took his hand, looked at him with an expression of melan- 
choly, and said in a voice that betrayed singular emotion: 

"If you find no one there, remember this, all will be over between 
us!" The extraordinary dignity of his wife's manner restored the Count's 
profound esteem for her, and inspired him with one of those resolutions 
that only lack a vaster stage to become immortal. 

"No," said he, "Josephine, I will not go there. In either case it would 
separate us forever. Hear me, I know how pure you are at heart, and 
that your life is a holy one. You would not commit a mortal sin to save 
your life." 

At these words Madame de Merret turned a haggard gaze upon her 
husband. 

"Here, take your crucifix," he added. "Swear to me before God that 
there is no one in there; I will believe you, I will never open that 
door." 

Madame de Merret took the crucifix and said: 

"I swear." 

"Louder," said the husband, "and repeat 'I swear before God that 
there is no one in that closet.' " 

She repeated the sentence calmly. 

"That will do," said Monsieur de Merret, coldly. 

After a moment of silence: 

"I never saw this pretty toy before," he said, examining the ebony 
crucifix inlaid with silver, and most artistically chiseled. 

"I found it at Duvivier's, who bought it of a Spanish monk when 
the prisoners passed through Vendome last year." 

"Ah!" said Monsieur de Merret, as he replaced the crucifix on the 
nail, and he rang. Rosalie did not keep him waiting. Monsieur de Merret 
went quickly to meet her, led her to the bay window^ 
the garden and whispered to her: 

"Listen! I know that Gorenflot wishes to 
only drawback, and you told him that you wouldjj 
the means to establish himself as a master mas 
him, tell him to come here with his trowel 
awaken any one in his house but himself; his 



336 GREAT SHORT STORIES OF THE WORLD 

your desires. Above all, leave this room without babbling, otherwises w 
He frowned. Rosalie went away, he recalled her. 

"Here, take my latchkey," he said. "Jean!" then cried Monsieur de 
Merret, in tones of thunder in the corridor. Jean, who was at the same 
time his coachman and his confidential servant, left his game of cards 
and came. & 

"Go to bed, all of you," said his master, signing to him to approach; 
and the Count added, under his breath: "When they are all asleep 
adeefy d'ye hear? you will come down and tell me." Monsieur de 
Merret, who had not lost sight of his wife all the time he was giving 
his orders, returned quietly to her at the fireside and began to tell her 
of the game of billiards and the talk of the club. When Rosalie returned 
she found Monsieur and Madame de Merret conversing very amicably. 

The Count had lately had all the ceilings of his reception rooms on 
the ground floor repaired. Plaster of Paris is difficult to obtain in Ven- 
dome; the carriage raises its price. The Count had therefore bought a 
good deal, being well aware that he could find plenty of purchasers for 
whatever might remain over. This circumstance inspired him with the 
design he was about to execute. 

"Sir, Gorenflot has arrived," said Rosalie in low tones. 

"Show him in," replied the Count in loud tones. 

Madame de Merret turned rather pale when she saw $e mason. 

"Gorenflot," said her husband, "go and fetch bricks from the coach- 
house, and bring sufficient to wall up the door of this closet; you will 
use the plaster I have over to coat the wall with." Then calling Rosalie 
and the workman aside: 

"Listen, Gorenflot," he said in an undertone, "you will sleep here 
to-night. But to-morrow you will have a passport to a foreign country, 
to a town to which I will direct you. I shall give you six thousand francs 
for your journey. You will stay ten years in that town; if you do not 
like it, you may establish yourself in another, provided it be in the same 
country. You will pass through Paris, where you will await me. There 
I will insure you an additional six thousand francs by contract, which 
will be paid to you on your return, provided you have fulfilled the con- 
ditions of our bargain. This is the price for your absolute silence as to 
what you are about to do to-night. As to you, Rosalie, I will give you 
ten thousand francs on the day of your wedding, on condition of your 
ip^nyiiig Gbtenflot; but if you wish to marry, you must hold your 
ftongueis j or-^no "dowry." 

"Jfcosalie;" sajd ftt^dame de Merret, "do my hair." 

. ~*Fh^ husbandv\vaHcd calmly up and down, watching the door, the 

*mason, and his wife, but without betraying any insulting doubts. Madame 

de Meiret cht^ 4 ; faofaent when the workman was unloading bricks 

t and her h&b^nd'wa^^aijthe other end of the room to say to Rosalie: "A 



FRANCE BALZAC ;,. 337 

thousand francs a year for you, my child, if you can tell Gorenflot to 
leave a chink at the bottom." Then out loud, she added coolly: 

"Go and help him!" 

Monsieur and Madame de Merret were silent all the time that Goren- 
flot took to brick up the door. This silence, on the part of the hiisband* 
who did not choose to furnish his wife with a pretext for saying things 
of a double meaning, had its purpose; on the part of Madame de Merret * 
it was either pride or prudence. When the wall was about half-way 
up, the sly workman took advantage of a moment when the Count's 
back was turned, to strike a blow with his trowel in one of the glass 
panes of the closet-door. This act informed Madame de Merret that 
Rosalie had spoken to Gorenflot. 

All three then saw a man's face; it was dark and gloomy with black 
hair and eyes of flame. Before her husband turned, the poor woman had 
time to make a sign to the stranger that signified: Hope! 

At four o'clock, toward dawn, for it was the month of September, 
the construction was finished. The mason was handed over to the care 
of Jean, and Monsieur de Merret went to bed in his wife's room. 

On rising the following morning, he said carelessly: 

"The deuce! I must go to the Maine for the passport." He put his 
hat on his head, advanced three steps toward the door, altered his mind 
and took the crucifix. 

His wife trembled for joy. "He is going to Duvivier," she thought. 
As soon as the Count had left, Madame de Merret rang for Rosalie; 
then in a terrible voice: 

"The trowel, the trowel!" she cried, "and quick to work! I saw how 
Gorenflot did it; we shall have time to make a hole and to mend it 
again." 

In the twinkling of an eye, Rosalie brought a sort of mattock to her 
mistress, who with unparalleled ardor set about demolishing the wall. 
She had already knocked out several bricks and was preparing to strike 
a more decisive blow when she perceived Monsieur de Merret behind 
her. She fainted. 

"Lay Madame on her bed," said the Count coldly. He had foreseen 
what would happen in his absence and had set a trap for his wife; he 
had simply written to the mayor, and had sent for Duvivier. The jeweler 
arrived just as the room had been put in order. 

"Duvivier," inquired the Count, "did you buy crucifixes of the Span- 
iards who passed through here?" 

"No, sir." 

"That will do, thank you," he said, looking at his wife like a tiger. 
"Jean," he added, "you will see that my meals are served in the Count- 
ess's room; she is ill, and I shall not leave her until she has recovered/' 

The cruel gentleman stayed with his wife for twenty days. In the 



338 GREAT SHORT STORIES OF THE WORLD 

beginning, when there were sounds in the walled closet, and Josephine 
attempted to implore his pity for the dying stranger, he replied, without 
permitting her to say a word: 

" t You have sworn on the cross that there is no one there." 



PROSPER MERIMEE 
(1803-1870) 

BORN in Paris in 1803, Merimee spent the greater part of his life 
in the government service and in travelling. In later years he became 
a senator. His chief works are his stories and the novel Carmen. 
Merimee was one of the earliest authors who were content to write 
for the purpose of giving esthetic pleasure, and is considered, with 
Gautier, one of the chief exponents of the Art for Art's Sake 
theory. His stories are written with great deliberation and care. 
Mateo Falcone is a masterpiece of its kind. 

The present version, anonymously translated, is reprinted by per- 
mission from International Short Stories^ P. F. Collier's Sons, 
New York. Copyright, 1910. 



MATEO FALCONE 

ON leaving Porto- Vecchio from the northwest and directing his steps 
towards the interior of the island, the traveler will notice that the 
land rises rapidly, and after three hours' walking over tortuous paths 
obstructed by great masses of rock and sometimes cut by ravines, he will 
find himself on the border of a great maquis. The maquis is the domain 
of the Corsican shepherds and of those who are at variance with justice. 
It must be known that, in order to save himself the trouble of manuring 
his field, the Corsican husbandman sets fire to a piece of woodland. If 
the flame spread farther than is necessary, so much the worse! In any 
case he is certain of a good crop from the land fertilized by the ashes 
of the trees which grow upon it. He gathers only the heads of his grain, 
leaving the straw, which it would be unnecessary labor to cut. In the 
following spring the roots that have remained in the earth without being 
destroyed send up their tufts of sprouts, which in a few years reach a 
height of seven or eight feet. It is this kind of tangled thicket that is 
called a maquis. They are made up of different kinds of trees and 
shrubs, so crowded and mingled together at the caprice of nature that 
only with an ax in hand can a man open a passage through them, and 
mlquis are frequently seen so thick and bushy that the wild sheep them- 
selves cannot penetrate them. 



If you have killed a man, go into the maquis of Porto- Vecchio. WitJi 
a good gun and plenty of powder and balls, you can live there in safety. 
Do not forget a brown cloak furnished with a hood, which will serve 
you for both cover and mattress. The shepherds will give you chestnuts, 
milk and cheese, and you will have nothing to fear from justice 'nor the 
relatives of the dead except when it is necessary for you to descend to 
the city to replenish your ammunition. 

When I was in Corsica in 18 , Mateo Falcone had his house half 
a league from this maquis. He was rich enough for that country, living 
in noble style that is to say, doing nothing on the income from his 
flocks, which the shepherds, who are a kind of nomads, lead to pasture 
here and there on the mountains. When I saw him, two years after the 
event that I am about to relate, he appeared to me to be about fifty years 
old or more. Picture to yourself a man, small but robust, with curly 
hair, black as jet, an aquiline nose, thin lips, large, restless eyes, and a 
complexion the color of tanned leather. His skill as a marksman was 
considered extraordinary even in his country, where good shots are so 
common. For example, Mateo would never fire at a sheep with buck- 
shot; but at a hundred and twenty paces, he would drop it with a ball 
in the head or shoulder, as he chose. He used his arms as easily at night 
as during the day. I was told this feat of his skill,, which will, perhaps, 
seem impossible to those who have not traveled in Corsica. A lighted 
candle was placed at eighty paces, behind a paper transparency about the 
size of a plate. He would take aim, then the candle would be extin- 
guished, and, at the end of a moment, in the most complete darkness, 
he would fire and hit the paper three times out of four. 

With such a transcendent accomplishment, Mateo Falcone had ac- 
quired a great reputation. He was said to be as good a friend as he "was 
a dangerous enemy; accommodating and charitable, he lived at peace 
with all the world in the district of Porto-Vecchio. But it is said of him 
that in Corte, where he had married his wife, he had disembarrassed 
himself very vigorously of a rival who was considered as redoubtable in 
war as in love; at least, a certain gun-shot which surprised this rival as 
he was shaving before a little mirror hung in his window was attributed 
to Mateo. The affair was smoothed over and Mateo was married. His 
wife Giuseppa had given him at first three daughters (which infuriated 
him), and finally a son, whom he named Fortunato, and who became 
the hope of his family, the inheritor of the name. The daughters were 
well married: their father could count at need on the poniards and car- 
bines of his sons-in-law. The son was only ten years old, but he already 
gave promise of fine attributes. 

On a certain day in autumn, Mateo set out at an early hour with his 
wife to visit one of his flocks in a clearing of the maquis. The little 
Fortunato wanted to go with them, but the clearing was too far away; 



340 GREAT SHORT STORIES OF THE WORLD 

rfforeover, it was necessary someone should stay to watch the house; 
therefore the father refused: it will be seen whether or not he had reason 
to repent. 

He had been gone some hours, and the little Fortunate was tranquilly 
stretched out in the sun, looking at the blue mountains, and thinking that 
the next Sunday he was going to dine in the city with his uncle, the 
Caporal, when he was suddenly interrupted in his meditations by the 
firing of a musket. He got up and turned to that side of the plain whence 
the noise came. Other shots followed, fired at irregular intervals, and 
each time nearer; at last, in the path which led from the plain to Mateo's 
house, appeared a man wearing the pointed hat of the mountaineers, 
bearded, covered with rags, and dragging himself along with difficulty 
by the support of his gun. He had just received a wound in his thigh. 

This man was an outlaw, who, having gone to the town by night to 
buy powder, had fallen on the way into an ambuscade of Corsican 
light-infantry. After a vigorous defense he was fortunate in making his 
retreat, closely followed and firing from rock to rock. But he was only 
a little in advance of the soldiers, and his wound prevented him from 
gaining the maquis before being overtaken. 

He approached Fortunato and said: "You are the son of Mateo Fal- 
cone ? ""Yes." 

"I am Gianetto Saupiero. I am followed by the yellow-collars. Hide 
me, for I can go no farther." * 

"And what will my father say if I hide you without his permission?" 

"He will say that you have done well." 

"How do you know?" 

"Hide me quickly; they are coming." 

"Wait till my father gets back." 

"How can I wait? Malediction! They will be here in five minutes. 
Come, hide me, or I will kill you." 

Fortunato answered him with the utmost coolness: 

"Your gun is empty, and there are no more cartridges in your belt." 

"I have my stiletto." 

"But can you run as fast as I can?" 

He gave a leap and put himself out of reach. 

"You are not the son of Mateo Falcone! Will you then let me be 
captured before your house?" 

The child appeared moved. 

"What will you give me if I hide you?" said he, coming nearer. 

The outlaw felt in a leather pocket that hung from his belt, and took 
out a five-franc piece, which he had doubtless saved to buy ammunition 
with. Fortunato smiled at the sight of the silver piece; he snatched it, 
and said to Gianetto: 

"Fear nothing." 



PRANCE MRIME 341 

Immediately he made a great hole in a pile of hay that was near &e 
house. Gianetto crouched down in it and the child covered him in such 
a way that he could breathe without it being possible to suspect that the 
hay concealed a man. He bethought himself further, and, with the 
subtlety of a tolerably ingenious savage, placed a cat and her kittens on 
the pile, that it might not appear to have been recently disturbed. Then, 
noticing the traces of blood on the path near the house, he covered them 
carefully with dust, and, that done, he again stretched himself out in the 
sun with the greatest tranquillity. 

A few moments afterwards, six men in brown uniforms with yellow 
collars, and commanded by an Adjutant, were before Mateo's door. This 
Adjutant was a distant relative of Falcone's. (In Corsica the degrees of 
relationship are followed much further than elsewhere.) His name was 
Tiodoro Gamba; he was an active man, much dreaded by the outlaws, 
several of whom he had already entrapped. 

"Good day, little cousin," said he, approaching Fortunate; "how tall 
you have grown. Have you seen a man go past here just now?" 

"Oh ! I am not yet so tall as you, my cousin," replied the child with 
a simple air. 

"You soon will be. But haven't you seen a man go by here, tell me?" 

"If I have seen a man go by?" 

"Yes, a man with a pointed hat of black velvet, and a vest embroid- 
ered with red and yellow." 

"A man with a pointed hat, and a vest embroidered with red and 
yellow?" * 

"Yes, answer quickly, and don't repeat my questions!" 

"This morning the cure passed before our door on his horse, Piero. 
He asked me how papa was, and I answered him " 

"Ah, you little scoundrel, you are playing sly! Tell me quickly which 
way Gianetto went? We are looking for him, and I am sure he took 
this path." 

"Who knows?" 

"Who knows? It is I know that you have seen him." 

"Can any one see who passes when they are asleep?" 

"You were not asleep, rascal; the shooting woke you up." 

"Then you believe, cousin, that your guns make so much noise? My 
father's carbine has the advantage of them." 

"The devil take you, you cursed little scapegrace! I am certain that 
you have seen - Gianetto. Perhaps, even, you have hidden him. Come, 
comrades, go into the house and see if our man is there. He could only 
go on one foot, and the knave has too much good sense to try to reach 
the maquis limping like that. Moreover, the bloody tracks stop here." 

"And what will papa say?" asked Fortunato with a sneer. "What will 
he say if he knows that his house has been entered while he was away?" 



343 GREAT SHORT STORIES OF THE WORLD 



rascal," said the Adjutant, taking him by the car, "do you know 
that it only remains for me to make you change your tone? Perhaps 
you will speak differently after I have given you twenty blows with the 
fiat of my sword." 

Fortunate continued to sneer. 

"My father is Mateo Falcone," said he with emphasis. 

"You little scamp, you know very well that I can carry you off to 
Corte or to Bastia. I will make you lie in a dungeon, on straw, with 
your feet in shackles, and I will have you guillotined if you don't tell 
me where Gianetto is." 

The child burst out laughing at this ridiculous menace. He repeated: 

"My father is Mateo Falcone." 

"Adjutant," said one of the soldiers in a low voice, "let us have no 
quarrels with Mateo." 

Gamba appeared evidently embarrassed. He spoke in an undertone 
with the soldiers who had already visited the house. This was not a very 
long operation, for the cabin of a Corsican consists only of a single 
square room, furnished with a table, some benches, chests, housekeeping 
utensils and those of the chase. In the meantime, little Fortunate petted 
his cat and seemed to take a wicked enjoyment in the confusion of the 
soldiers and of his cousin. 

One of the men approached the pile of hay. He saw the cat, and gave 
the pile a careless thrust with his bayonet, shrugging his shoulders as if 
he felt that his precaution was ridiculous. Nothing moved; the boy's 
face betrayed not the slightest emotion. 

The Adjutant and his troop were cursing their luck. Already they 
were looking in the direction of the plain, as if disposed to return by 
the way they had come, when their chief, convinced that menaces would 
produce no impression on Falcone's son, determined to make a last effort, 
and try the effect of caresses and presents. 

"My little cousin," said he, "you are a very wide-awake little fellow. 
You will get along. But you are playing a naughty game with me; and 
if I wasn't afraid of making trouble for my cousin, Mateo, the devil 
take me, but I would carry you off with me." 

"Bah!" 

"But when my cousin comes back I shall tell him about this, and he 
will whip you till the blood comes for having told such lies." 

"You don't say so!" 

"You will see. But hold on! be a good boy and I will give you 
something." 

"Cousin, let me give you some advice: if you wait much longer 
Gianetto will be in the maquis and it will take a smarter man than you 
to follow him." 

.The Adjutant took from his pocket a silver watch worth about ten 



FRANCE MRIME ! 343 

crowns, and noticing that Fortunato's eyes Darkled at the sight of it, 
said, holding the watch by the end of its steel chain: 

* "Rascal! you would like to have such a watch as that hung around 
your neck, wouldn't you, and to walk in the streets of Porto-Vecchio 
proud as a peacock? People would ask you what time it was, and you 
would say: 'Look at my watch.* " 

"When I am grown up, my uncle, the Caporal, will give me a 
watch." 

"Yes; but your uncle's little boy has one already; not so fine as this 
either. But then, he is younger than you." 
The child sighed. 

"Well! Would you like this watch, little cousin ?" 
Fortunate, casting sidelong glances at the watch, resembled a cat that 
has been given a whole chicken. It feels that it is being made sport of, 
and does not dare to use its claws; from time to time it turns its eyes 
away so as not to be tempted, licking its jaws all the while, and has the 
appearance of saying to its master, "How cruel your joke is!" 

However, the Adjutant seemed in earnest in offering his watch. For- 
tunato did not reach out his hand for it, but said with a bitter smile: 
"Why do you make fun of me?" 

"Good God! I am not making fun of you. Only tell me where 
Gianetto is and the watch is yours." 

Fortunate 'smiled incredulously, and fixing his black eyes on those of 
the Adjutant tried to read there the faith he ought to have had in his 
words. 

"May I lose my epaulettes," cried the Adjutant, "if I do not give 
you the watch on this condition. These comrades are witnesses; I can- 
not deny it." 

While speaking he gradually held the watch nearer till it almost 
touched the child's pale face, which plainly showed the struggle that 
was going on in his soul between covetousness and respect for hospitality. 
His breast swelled with emotion; he seemed about to suffocate. Mean- 
while the watch was slowly swaying and turning,^ometimes brushing 
against his cheek. Finally, his right hand was gradually stretched toward 
it; the ends of his fingers touched it; then its whole weight was in his 
hand, the Adjutant still keeping hold of the chain. The face was light 
blue; the cases newly burnished. In the sunlight it seemed to be all on 
fire. The temptation was too great. Fortunato raised his left hand and 
pointed over his shoulder with his thumb at the hay against which he 
was reclining. The Adjutant understood him at once. He dropped the 
end of the chain and Fortunato felt himself the sole possessor of the 
watch. He sprang up with the agility of a deer and stood ten feet from 
the pile, which the soldiers began at once to overturn. 

There was a movement in the hay, and a bloody man with a poniard 



344 GREAT SHORT STORIES OF THE WORLD 

in his hand appeared. He tried to rise to his feet, but his stiffened leg 
would not permit it and he fell. The Adjutant at once grappled with 
him and took away his stiletto. He was immediately secured, notwith- 
standing his resistance. 

Gianetto, lying on the earth and bound like a fagot, turned his head 
towards Fortunate, who had approached. 

"Son of !" said he, with more contempt than anger. 

The child threw him the silver piece which he had received, feeling 
that he no longer deserved it; but the outlaw paid no attention to the 
movement, and with great coolness said to the Adjutant: 

"My dear Gamba, I cannot walk; you will be obliged to carry me 
to the city." 

"Just now you could run faster than a buck," answered the cruel 
captor; "but be at rest. I am so pleased to have you that I would carry 
you a league on my back without fatigue. Besides, comrade, we are 
going to make a litter for you with your cloak and some branches, and 
at the Crespoli farm we shall find horses." 

"Good," said the prisoner. "You will also put a little straw on your 
litter that I may be more comfortable." 

While some of die soldiers were occupied in making a kind of 
stretcher out of some chestnut boughs and the rest were dressing 
Gianetto's wound, Mateo Falcone and his wife suddenly Appeared at a 
turn in the path that led to the maquis. The woman was staggering 
under the weight of an enormous sack of chestnuts, while her husband 
was sauntering along, carrying one gun in his hands, while another was 
slung across his shoulders, for it is unworthy of a man to carry other 
burdens than his arms. 

At the sight of the soldiers Mateo's first thought was that they had 
come to arrest him. But why this thought? Had he then some quarrels 
with justice? No. He enjoyed a good reputation. He was said to have a 
particularly good name, but he was a Corsican and a Highlander, and 
there are few Corsican highlanders who, in scrutinizing their memory, 
cannot find some pdteadillo, such as a gun-shot, dagger-thrust, or similar 
trifles. Mateo more than others had a clear conscience; for more than 
ten years he had not pointed his carbine at a man, but he was always 
prudent, and put himself into a position to make a good defense if neces- 
sary. "Wife," said he to Giuseppa, "put down the sack and hold your- 
self ready." 

She obeyed at once. He gave her the gun that was slung across his 
shoulders, which would have bothered him, and, cocking the one he 
held in his hands, advanced slowly towards the house, walking among 
the trees that bordered the road, ready at the least hostile demonstration, 
to hide behind the largest, whence he could fire from under cover. His 
wife followed closely behind, holding his reserve weapon and his 



FRANCE MRIME 345 

Cartridge-box. The duty of a good housekeeper, in case of a fight, is to 
road her husband's carbines. 

On the other side the Adjutant was greatly troubled to see Mateo 
advance in this manner, with cautious steps, his carbine raised, and his 
finger on the trigger. 

"If by chance," thought he, "Mateo should be related to Gianetto, or 
.if he should be his friend and wish to defend him, the contents of his 
two guns would arrive amongst us as certainly as a letter in the post; 
and if he should see me, notwithstanding the relationship!" 

In this perplexity he took a bold step. It was to advance alone towards 
Mateo and tell him of the affair while accosting him as an old acquaint- 
ance, but the short space that separated him from Mateo seemed ter- 
ribly long. 

"Hello! old comrade," cried he. "How do you do, my good fellow? 
It is I, Gamba, your cousin." 

Without answering a word, Mateo stopped, and in proportion as the 
other spoke, slowly raised the muzzle of his gun so that it was pointing 
upward when the Adjutant joined him. 

"Good-day, brother," said the Adjutant, holding out his hand. "It is 
a long time since I have seen you." 

"Good-day, brother." 

"I stopped while passing, to say good-day to you and to cousin Pepa 
here. We have had a long journey to-day, but have no reason to com- 
plain, fof we have captured a famous prize. We have just seized 
Gianetto Saupiero." 

"God be praised!" cried Giuseppa. "He stole a milch goat from us 
last week." 

These words reassured Gamba. 

"Poor devil!" said Mateo. "He was hungry." 

"The villain fought like a lion," continued the Adjutant, a little 
mortified. "He killed one of my soldiers, and not content with that, 
broke Caporal Chardon's arm; but that matters little, he is only a 
Frenchman. Then, too, he was so well hidden that the devil couldn't 
have found him. Without my little cousin, Fortunate, I should never 
have discovered him." 

"Fortunato!" cried Mateo. 

"Fortunato!" repeated Giuseppa. 

"Yes, Gianetto was hidden under the hay-pile yonder, but my little 
cousin showed me the trick. I shall tell his uncle, the Caporal, that he 
may send him a fine present for his trouble. Both his name and yours 
will be in the report that I shall send to the Attorney-general." 

"Malediction!" said Mateo in a low voice. 

They had rejoined the detachment. Gianetto was already lying on the 
litter ready to set out. When he saw Mateo and Gamba in company he 



346 GREAT SHORT STORIES OF THE WORLD 

smiled a strange smile, then, turning his head towards the door of tie 
house, he spat on the sill, saying: 

"House of a traitor." 

Only a man determined to die would dare pronounce the word traitor 
to Falcone. A good blow with the stiletto, which there would be no 
need of repeating, would have immediately paid the insult. However, 
Mateo made no other movement than to place his hand on his forehead 
like a man who is dazed. 

Fortunate had gone into the house when his father arrived, but now 
he reappeared with a bowl of milk which he handed with downcast eyes 
to Gianetto. 

"Get away from me!" cried the outlaw, in a loud voice. Then, turn- 
ing to one of the soldiers, he said: 

"Comrade, give me a drink." 

The soldier placed his gourd in his hands, and the prisoner drank the 
water handed to him by a man with whom he had just exchanged bul- 
lets. He then asked them to tie his hands across his breast instead of 
behind his back. 

"I like," said he, "to lie at my ease." 

They hastened to satisfy him; then the Adjutant gave the signal to 
start, said adieu to Mateo, who did not respond, and descended with 
rapid steps towards the plain. 

Nearly ten minutes elapsed before Mateo spoke. The child looked with 
restless eyes, now at his mother, now at his father, who was leaning on 
his gun and gazing at him with an expression of concentrated rage. 

"You begin well," said Mateo at last with a calm voice, but frightful 
to one who knew the man. 

"Oh, father!" cried the boy, bursting into tears, and making a for- 
ward movement as if to throw himself on his knees. But Mateo cried, 
"Away from me!" 

The little fellow stopped and sobbed, immovable, a few feet from 
his father. 

Giuseppa drew near. She had just discovered the watch-chain, the end 
of which was hanging out of Fortunato's jacket. 

"Who gave you that watch?" demanded she in a severe tone. 

"My cousin, the Adjutant." 

Falcone seized the watch and smashed it in a thousand pieces against 
a rock. 

"Wife," said he, "is this my child?" 

Giuseppa's cheeks turned a brick-red. 

"What are you saying, Mateo? Do you know to whom you speak?" 

"Very well, this child is the first of his race to commit treason." 

Fortunato's sobs and gasps redoubled as Falcone kept his lynx-eyes 
upon him. Then he struck the earth with his gun-stock, shouldered the 



FRANCE MRIME 347 

weapon, and turned in the direction of the maquis, calling to Fortunate 
to follow. The boy obeyed. Giuseppa hastened after Mateo and seized 
his arm. 

"He is your son," said she with a trembling voice, fastening her black 
eyes on those of her husband to read what was going on in his heart. 

"Leave me alone," said Mateo. "I am his father." 

Giuseppa embraced her son, and bursting into tears entered the house. 
She threw herself on her knees before an image of the Virgin and prayed 
ardently. In the meanwhile Falcone walked some two hundred paces 
along the path and only stopped when he rerched a little ravine which 
he descended. He tried the earth with the butt-end of his carbine, and 
found it soft and easy to dig. The place seemed to be convenient for 
his design. 

"Fortunato, go close to that big rock there." 

The child did as he was commanded, then he kneeled. 

"Say your prayers." 

"Oh, father, father, do not kill me!" 

"Say your prayers!" repeated Mateo in a terrible voice. 

The boy, stammering and sobbing, recited the Pater and the Credo. 
At the end of each prayer the father loudly answered, "Amen!" 

"Are those all the prayers you know?" 

"Oh! fafher, I know the Ave Maria and the litany that my aunt 
taught me." 

"It is yery long, but no matter." 

The child finished the litany in a scarcely audible tone. 

"Are you finished?" 

"Oh! my father, have mercy! Pardon me! I will never do so again. 
I will beg my cousin, the Caporal, to pardon Gianetto." 

He was still speaking. Mateo raised his gun, and, taking aim, said: 

"May God pardon you!" 

The boy made a desperate effort to rise and grasp his father's knees, 
but there was not time. Mateo fired and Fortunato fell dead. 

Without casting a glance on the body, Mateo returned to the house 
for a spade with which to bury his son. He had gone but a few steps 
when he met Giuseppa, who, alarmed by the shot, was hastening hither. 

"What have you done?" cried she. 

"Justice." 

"Where is he?" 

"In the ravine. I am going to bury him. He died a Christian. I shall 
have a mass said for him. Have my son-in-law, Tiodoro Bianchi, sent 
for to come and live with us." 



348 GREAT SHORT STORIES OF THE WORLD 

THEOPHILE GAUTIER 

(1811-1872) 

THEOPHILE GAUTIER was born at Tarbes in the south of France 
in 1811. He came to Paris as an infant. In 1830 he published his 
first volume of poems. He was, with Victor Hugo and others, one 
of the prominent initiators of the so-called Romantic Movement 
in French literature. His finest novel, Mile, de Maufin, appeared 
in 1835. For many years he wrote art, dramatic, and literary criti- 
cisms, poems, stories, ballets and pantomimes, and a number of 
charming impressionistic travel books. Gautier is one of the most 
accomplished poets of the external and visible world: his style is 
vivid, jewelled, and sensuous. His short stories are exotic, highly pol- 
ished literary exercises, though some of them, like The Mummy's 
Foot, are intrinsically fascinating for their plot and atmosphere. 
The present version, translated by Lafcadio Hearn, is reprinted, 
by permission of the publisher, from the volume, One of Cleo- 
fatra's Nights, published by Brentano's. 



THE MUMMY'S FOOT 

I HAD entered, in an idle mood, the shop of one of those curiosity- 
venders, who are called marchands de bric-a-brac in that Parisian 
argot which is so perfectly unintelligible elsewhere in France. 

You have doubtless glanced occasionally through the windows of some 
of these shops, which have become so numerous now that it is fashion- 
able to buy antiquated furniture, and that every petty stockbroker thinks 
he must have his chambre au moyen age. 

There is one thing there which clings alike to the shop of the dealer 
in old iron, the wareroom of the tapestry-maker, the laboratory of the 
chemist, and the studio of the painter: in all those gloomy dens where 
a furtive daylight filters in through the window-shutters, the most mani- 
festly ancient thing is dust; the cobwebs are more authentic than the 
guimp laces; and the old pear-tree furniture on exhibition is actually 
younger than the mahogany which arrived but yesterday from America. 

The warehouse of my bric-a-brac dealer was a veritable Capharnaum; 
all ages and all nations seemed to have made their rendezvous there; an 
Etruscan lamp of red clay stood upon a Boule cabinet, with ebony panels, 
brightly striped by lines of inlaid brass; a duchess of the court of Louis 
XV nonchalantly extended her fawn-like feet under a massive table of 
the time of Louis XIII with heavy spiral supports of oak, and carven 
designs of chimeras and foliage intermingled. 



FRANCE GAUTIER 349 

Upon the denticulated shelves of several sideboards glittered immense 
Japanese dishes with red and blue designs relieved by gilded hatching; 
side by side with enameled works by Bernard Palissy, representing ser- 
pents, frogs, and lizards in relief. 

From disemboweled cabinets escaped cascades of silver-lustrous Chi- 
nese silks and waves of tinsel, which an oblique sunbeam shot through 
with luminous beads; while portraits of every era, in frames more or 
less tarnished, smiled through their yellow varnish. 

The striped breastplate of a damascened suit of Milanese armor glit- 
tered in one corner; Loves and Nymphs of porcelain; Chinese Gro- 
tesques, vases of celadon and crackle-ware; Saxon and old Sevres cups 
encumbered the shelves and nooks of the apartment. 

The dealer followed me closely through the tortuous way contrived 
between the piles of furniture; warding off with his hand the hazardous 
sweep of my coat-skirts; watching my elbows with the uneasy attention 
of an antiquarian and a usurer. 

It was a singular face, that of the merchant: an immense skull, pol- 
ished like a knee, and surrounded by a thin aureole of white hair, which 
brought out the clear salmon tint of his complexion all the more strik- 
ingly, lent him a false aspect of patriarchal bonhomie, counteracted, 
however, by the scintillation of two little yellow eyes which trembled 
in their orbiis like two louis-d'or upon quicksilver. The curve of his nose 
presented an aquiline silhouette, which suggested the Oriental or Jewish 
type. His hands thin, slender, full of nerves which projected like strings 
upon the finger-board of a violin, and armed with claws like those on 
the terminations of bats' wings shook with senile trembling; but those 
convulsively agitated hands became firmer than steel pincers or lobsters* 
claws when they lifted any precious article an onyx cup, a Venetian 
glass, or a dish of Bohemian crystal. This strange old man had an aspect 
so thoroughly rabbinical and cabalistic that he would have been burnt 
on the mere testimony of his face three centuries ago. 

"Will you not buy something from me to-day, sir? Here is a Malay 
kreese with a blade undulating like flame: look at those grooves contrived 
for the blood to run along, those teeth set backwards so as to tear out 
the entrails in withdrawing the weapon it is a fine character of fero- 
cious arm, and will look well in your collection: this two-handed sword 
is very beautiful it is the work of Josepe de la Hera; and this coliche- 
marde, with its fenestrated guard what a superb specimen of handi- 
craft!" i, 

"No; I have quite enough weapons and instruments of carnage; I 
want a small figure, something which will suit me as a paper-weight; 
for I cannot endure those trumpery bronzes which the stationers sell, 
and which may be found on everybody's desk." 

The old gnome foraged among his ancient wares, and finally arranged 



$$0 GREAT SHORT STORIES OF THE WORLD 

before me some antique bronzes so-called, at least; fragments of mala- 
chite; little Hindoo or Chinese idols a kind of poussah toys in jade- 
stone, representing the incarnations of Brahma or Vishnoo, and won- 
derfully appropriate to the very undivine office of holding papers and 
letters in place. 

I was hesitating between a porcelain dragon, all constellated with 
warts its mouth formidable with bristling tusks and ranges of teeth 
and an abominable little Mexican fetish, representing the god Zitzili- 
putzili au naturel y when I caught sight of a charming foot, which I at 
first took for a fragment of some antique Venus. 

It had those beautiful ruddy and tawny tints that lend to Florentine 
bronze that warm living look so much preferable to the gray-green 
aspect of common bronzes, which might easily be mistaken for statues 
in a state of putrefaction: satiny gleams played over its rounded forms, 
doubtless polished by the amorous kisses of twenty centuries; for it 
seemed a Corinthian bronze, a work of the best era of art perhaps 
molded by Lysippus himself. 

"That foot will be my choice," I said to the merchant, who regarded 
me with an ironical and saturnine air, and held out the object desired 
that I might examine it more fully. 

I was surprised at its lightness; it was not a foot of metal, but in 
sooth a foot of flesh an embalmed foot a mummy's fojt: on exam- 
ining it still more closely the very grain of the skin, and the almost im- 
perceptible lines impressed upon it by the texture of the bandages, became 
perceptible. The toes were slender and delicate, and terminated by per- 
fectly formed nails, pure and transparent as agates; the great toe, slightly 
separated from the rest, afforded a happy contrast, in the antique style, 
to the position of the other toes, and lent it an aerial lightness the grace 
of a bird's foot; the sole, scarcely streaked by a few almost imper- 
ceptible cross lines, afforded evidence that it had never touched the bare 
ground, and had only come in contact with the finest matting of Nile 
rushes, and the softest carpets of panther skin. 

"Ha, ha! you want the foot of the Princess Hermonthis," ex- 
claimed the merchant, with a strange giggle, fixing his owlish eyes upon 
me- 1 "ha, ha, ha! for a paper-weight! an original idea! artistic 
idea! Old Pharaoh would certainly have been surprised had some one 
told him that the foot of his adored daughter would be used for a paper- 
weight after he had had a mountain of granite hollowed out as a 
receptacle for the triple coffin, painted and gilded covered with hiero- 
glyphics and beautiful paintings of the Judgment of Souls," con- 
tinued the queer little merchant, half audibly, as though talking to 
himself! 

"How much will you charge me for this mummy fragment? 1 ' 

"Ah, the highest price I can get; for it is a superb piece: if I had 



FRANCE-^-GAUTIER ! 351 

the match of it you could not have it for less than five hundred francs; 
the daughter of a Pharaoh! nothing is more rare." 

" Assuredly that is not a common article; but, still, how much do you 
want? In the first place let me warn you that all my wealth consists 
of just five louis: I can buy anything that costs five louis, but nothing 
dearer ;-^you might search my vest pockets and most secret drawers with* 
out even finding one poor five-franc piece more." 

"Five louis for the foot of the Princess Hermonthis! that is very 
little, very little indeed; 'tis an authentic foot," muttered the merchant, 
shaking his head, and imparting a peculiar rotary motion to his eyes. 
"Well, take it, and I will give you the bandages into the bargain," he 
added, wrapping the foot in an ancient damask rag "very fine! real 
damask Indian damask which has never been redyed; it is strong, and 
yet it is soft," he mumbled, stroking the frayed tissue with his fingers, 
through the trade-acquired habit which moved him to praise even an 
object of so little value that he himself deemed it only worth the giving 
away. 

He poured the gold coins into a sort of mediaeval alms-purse hanging 
at his belt, repeating: 

"The foot of the Princess Hermonthis, to be used for a paper- 
weight!" 

Then turning his phosphorescent eyes upon me, he exclaimed in a 
voice strident as the crying of a cat which has swallowed a fish-bone: 

"Old Pharaoh will not be well pleased; he loved his daughter the 
dear man!" 

"You speak as if you were a contemporary of his: you are old enough, 
goodness knows! but you do not date back to the Pyramids of Egypt," 
I answered, laughingly, from the threshold. 

I went home, delighted with my acquisition. 

With the idea of putting it to profitable use as soon as possible, I 
placed the foot of the divine Princess Hermonthis upon a heap of papers 
scribbled over with verses, in themselves an undecipherable mosaic work 
of erasures; articles freshly begun; letters forgotten, and posted in the 
table drawer instead of the letter-box an error to which absent-minded 
people are peculiarly liable. The effect was charming, bizarre^ and 
romantic. 

Well satisfied with this embellishment, I went out with the gravity 
and pride becoming one who feels that he has the ineffable advantage 
over all the passers-by whom he elbows, of possessing a piece of the 
Princess Hermonthis, daughter of Pharaoh. 

I looked upon all who did not possess, like myself, a paper-weight so 
authentically Egyptian, as very ridiculous people; and it seemed to me 
that the proper occupation of every sensible man should consist in the 
mere fact of having a mummy's foot upon his desk. ' 



35* GREAT SHORT STORIES OP THE WORLD 

Happily I met some friends, whose presence distracted me in my in- 
fatuation with this new acquisition: I went to dinner with them; for I 
could not very well have dined with myself. 

When I came back that evening, with my brain slightly confused by 
a few glasses of wine, a vague whiff of Oriental perfume delicately 
titillated my olfactory nerves: the heat of the room had warmed the 
natron, bitumen, and myrrh in which the faraschistes, who cut open the 
bodies of the dead, had bathed the corpse of the princess; it was a 
perfume at once sweet and penetrating a perfume that four thousand 
years had not been able to dissipate. 

The Dream of Egypt was Eternity: her odors have the solidity of 
granite, and endure as long. 

I soon drank deeply from the black cup of sleep: for a few hours all 
remained opaque to me; Oblivion and Nothingness inundated me with 
their somber waves. 

Yet light gradually dawned upon the darkness of my mind; dreams 
commenced to touch me softly in their silent flight. 

The eyes of my soul were opened; and I beheld my chamber as it 
actually was; I might have believed myself awake, but for a vague con- 
sciousness which assured me that I slept, and that something fantastic 
was about to take place. 

The odor of the myrrh had augmented in intensity: rnd I felt a 
slight headache, which I very naturally attributed to several glasses of 
champagne that we had drunk to the unknown gods and our future 
fortunes. 

I peered through my room with a feeling of expectation which I 
saw nothing to justify: every article of furniture was in its proper place; 
the lamp, softly shaded by its globe of ground crystal, burned upon its 
bracket; the water-color sketches shone under their Bohemian glass; the 
curtains hung down languidly; everything wore an aspect of tranquil 
slumber. 

After a few moments, however, all this calm interior appeared to be- 
come disturbed; the woodwork cracked stealthily; the ash-covered log 
suddenly emitted a jet of blue flame; and the disks of the pateras seemed 
like great metallic eyes, watching, like myself, for the things which 
were about to happen. 

My eyes accidentally fell upon the desk where I had placed the foot 
of the Princess Hermonthis. 

Instead of remaining quiet as behooved a foot which had been em- 
balmed for four thousand years it commenced to act in a nervous man- 
ner; contracted itself, and leaped over the papers like a startled frog; 
one would have imagined that it had suddenly been brought into contact 
.with a galvanic battery: I could distinctly hear the dry sound made by 
its little heel, hard as the hoof of a gazelle. 



FRANCE GAUTIER 353 

I became rather discontented with my acquisition, inasmuch as I 
wished my paper-weights to be of a sedentary disposition, and thought it 
very unnatural that feet should walk about without legs; and I com- 
menced to experience a feeling closely akin to fear. 

Suddenly I saw the folds of my bed-curtain stir; and heard a bump- 
ing sound, like that caused by some person hopping on one foot across 
the floor. I must confess I became alternately hot and cold; that I felt 
a strange wind chill my back; and that my suddenly rising hair caused 
my nightcap to execute a leap of several yards. 

The bed-curtains opened and I beheld the strangest figure imaginable 
before me. 

It was a young girl of a very deep coffee-brown complexion, like the 
bayadere Amani, and possessing the purest Egyptian type of perfect 
beauty: her eyes were almond-shaped and oblique, with eyebrows so 
black that they seemed blue; her nose was exquisitely chiseled, almost 
Greek in its delicacy of outline; and she might indeed have been taken 
for a Corinthian statue of bronze, but for the prominence of her cheek- 
bones and the slightly African fulness of her lips, which compelled one 
to recognize her as belonging beyond all doubt to the hieroglyphic race 
which dwelt upon the banks of the Nile. 

Her arms, slender and spindle-shaped, like those of very young girls, 
were encircledby a peculiar kind of metal bands and bracelets of glass 
beads; her hair was all twisted into little cords; and she wore upon her 
bosom a little idol-figure of green paste, bearing a whip with seven 
lashes, which proved it to be an image of Isis: her brow was adorned 
with a shining plate of gold; and a few traces of paint relieved the 
coppery tint of her cheeks. 

As for her costume, it was very odd indeed. 

Fancy a fagne or skirt all formed of little strips of material bedizened 
with red and black hieroglyphics, stiffened with bitumen, and apparently 
belonging to a freshly unbandaged mummy. 

In one of those sudden flights of thought so common in dreams I 
heard the hoarse falsetto of the bric-a-brac dealer, repeating like a mo- 
notonous refrain the phrase he had uttered in his shop with so enig- 
matical an intonation: 

"Old Pharaoh will not be well pleased: he loved his daughter, the 
dear man!" 

One strange circumstance, which was not at all calculated to restore 
my equanimity, was that the apparition had but one foot; the other was 
broken off at the ankle! 

She approached the table where the foot was starting and fidgeting 
about more than ever, and there supported herself upon the edge of the 
desk. I saw her eyes fill with pearly-gleaming tears. 

Although she had not as yet spoken, I fully comprehended the 



SS4 GREAT SHORT STORIES OF THE WORLD 

thoughts which agitated her: she looked at her foot for it was indeed 
her own with an exquisitely graceful expression of coquettish sadness; 
but the foot leaped and ran hither and thither, as though impelled on 
steel springs. 

Twice or thrice she extended her hand to seize it, but could not 
succeed. 

Then commenced between the Princess Hermonthis and her foot 
which appeared to be endowed with a special life of its owa a very 
fantastic dialogue in a most ancient Coptic tongue, such as might have 
been spoken thirty centuries ago in the syrinxes of the land of Ser: 
luckily, I understood Coptic perfectly well that night. 

The Princess Hermonthis cried, in a voice sweet and vibrant as the 
tones of a crystal bell: 

"Well, my dear little foot, you always flee from me; yet I always 
took good care of you. I bathed you with perfumed water in a bowl of 
alabaster; I smoothed your heel with pumice-stone mixed with palm oil; 
your nails were cut with golden scissors and polished with a hippopotamus 
tooth; I was careful to select tatbebs for you, painted and embroidered 
and turned up at the toes, which were the envy of all the young girls 
in Egypt: you wore on your great toe rings bearing the device of the 
sacred Scarabaeus; and you supported one of the lightest bodies that a 
lazy foot could sustain." * 

The foot replied, in a pouting and chagrined tone: 

"You know well that I do not belong to myself any longer; I have 
been bought and paid for; the old merchant knew what he was about; 
he bore you a grudge for having refused to espouse him; this is an ill 
turn which he has done you. The Arab who violated your royal coffin 
in the subterranean pits of the necropolis of Thebes was sent thither by 
him: he desired to prevent you from being present at the reunion of the 
shadowy nations in the cities below. Have you five pieces of gold for 
my ransom?" 

"Alas, no! my jewels, my rings, my purses of gold and silver, they 
were all stolen from me," answered the Princess Hermonthis, with a 
sob. 

"Princess," I then exclaimed, "I never retained anybody's foot un- 
justly; even though you have not got the five louis which it cost me, 
I present it to you gladly: I should feel unutterably wretched to think 
that I were the cause of so amiable a person as the Princess Hermonthis 
being lame." 

I delivered this discourse in a royally gallant, troubadour tone, which 
must have astonished the beautiful Egyptian girl. 

, She turned a look of deepest gratitude upon me; and her eyes shone 
with bluish gleams of light. 

She took her foot which surrendered itself willingly this time 



FRANCR-GAUTIER 355 

like a woman about to put on her little shoe, and adjusted it to her leg 
with much skill. 

This operation over, she took a few steps about the room, as though 
to assure herself that she was really no longer lame. 

"Ah, how pleased my father will be! he who was so unhappy be- 
cause of my mutilation, and who from the moment of my birth set a 
whole nation at work to hollow me out a tomb so deep that he might 
preserve me intact until that last day, when souls must be weighed in 
the balance of Amenthi! Come with me to my father; he will receive 
you kindly; for you have given me back my foot." 

I thought this proposition natural enough. I arrayed myself in a dress- 
ing-gown of large-flowered pattern, which lent me a very Pharaonic 
aspect; hurriedly put on a pair of Turkish slippers, and informed the 
Princess Hermonthis that I was ready to follow her. 

Before starting, Hermonthis took from her neck the little idol of 
green paste, and laid it on the scattered sheets of paper which covered 
the table. 

"It is only fair," she observed smilingly, "that I should replace your 
paper-weight." 

She gave me her hand, which felt soft and cold, like the skin of a 
serpent; and we departed. 

We passed fgr some time with the velocity of an arrow through a fluid 
and grayish expanse, in which half-formed silhouettes flitted swiftly by 
us, to right fnd left. 
. For an instant we saw only sky and sea. 

A few moments later obelisks commenced to tower in the distance: 
pylons and vast flights of steps guarded by sphinxes became clearly out- 
lined against the horizon. 

We had reached our destination. 

The princess conducted me to the mountain of rose-colored granite, 
in the face of which appeared an opening so narrow and low that it 
would have been difficult to distinguish it from the fissures in. the rock, 
had not its location been marked by two stelae wrought with sculp- 
tures. 

Hermonthis kindled a torch, and led the way before me. 

We traversed corridors hewn through the living rock: their walls, 
covered with hieroglyphics and paintings of allegorical processions, might 
well have occupied thousands of arms for thousands of years in their 
formation; these corridors, of interminable length, opened into square 
chambers, in the midst of which pits had been contrived, through which 
we descended by cramp-irons or spiral stairways; these pits again con- 
ducted us into other chambers, opening into other corridors, likewise 
decorated with painted sparrow-hawks, serpents coiled in circles, the sym- 
bols of the tau and fedumr prodigious works of ait which no living 



35 GREAT SHORT STORIES OF THE WORLD 

eye can ever examine interminable legends of granite which only the 
dead have time to read through all eternity. 

At last we found ourselves in a hall so vast, so enormous, so im- 
measurable, that the eye could not reach its limits; files of monstrous 
columns stretched far out of sight on every side, between which twinkled 
livid stars of yellowish flame; points of light which revealed further 
depths incalculable in the darkness beyond. 

The Princess Hermonthis still held my hand, and graciously saluted 
the mummies of her acquaintance. 

My eyes became accustomed to the dim twilight, and objects became 
discernible. 

I beheld the kings of the subterranean races seated upon thrones 
grand old men, though dry, withered, wrinkled likei parchment, and 
blackened with naphtha and bitumen all wearing fshents of gold, and 
breastplates and gorgets glittering with precious stones; their eyes im- 
movably fixed like the eyes of sphinxes, and their long beards whitened 
by the snow of centuries. Behind them stood their "peoples, in the stiff 
and constrained posture enjoined by Egyptian art, all eternally preserv- 
ing the attitude prescribed by the hieratic code. Behind these nations, the 
cats, ibises, and crocodiles contemporary with them rendered monstrous 
of aspect by their swathing bands mewed, flapped their wings, or ex- 
tended their jaws in a saurian giggle. * 

All the Pharaohs were there Cheops, Chephrenes, Psammetichus, 
Sesostris, Amenotaph all the dark rulers of the pyramids and syrinxes : 
on yet higher thrones sat Chronos and Xixouthros who was contem- 
porary with the deluge; and Tubal Cain, who reigned before it. 

The beard of King Xixouthros had grown seven times around the 
granite table, upon which he leaned, lost in deep reverie and buried in 
dreams. 

Further back, through a dusty cloud, I beheld dimly the seventy-two 
pre-Adamite Kings, with their seventy-two peoples forever passed 
away. 

After permitting me to gaze upon this bewildering spectacle a few 
moments, the Princess Hermonthis presented me to her father Pharaoh, 
who favored me with a most gracious nod. 

"I have found my foot again! I have found my foot!" cried the 
Princess, clapping her little hands together with every sign of frantic 
joy: "it was this gentleman who restored it to me." 

The races of Kemi, the races of Nahasi all the black, bronzed, and 
copper-colored nations repeated in chorus: 

"The Princess Hermonthis has found her foot again!" 

Even Xixouthros himself was visibly affected. 

He raised his heavy eyelids, stroked his mustache with his fingers, and 
turned upon me a glance weighty with centuries. 



FRANCE GAUTIER 357 

"By Oms, the dog of Hell, and Tmei, daughter of the Sun and of 
Truth! this is a brave and worthy lad!" exclaimed Pharaoh, pointing 
to me with his scepter, which was terminated with a lotus-flower. 

"What recompense do you desire?" 

Filled with that daring inspired by dreams in which nothing seems 
impossible, I asked him for the hand of the Princess Hermonthis; the 
hand seemed to me a very proper antithetic recompense for the foot. 

Pharaoh opened wide his great eyes of glass in astonishment at my 
witty request. 

"What country do you come from? and what is your age?" 

"I am a Frenchman; and I am twenty-seven years old, venerable 
Pharaoh." 

" Twenty-seven years old! and he wishes to espouse the Princess 

Hermonthis, who is thirty centuries old!" cried out at once all the 
Thrones and all the Circles of Nations. 

Only Hermonthis herself did not seem to think my request unreason- 
able. 

"If you were even only two thousand years old," replied the ancient 
King, "I would willingly give you the Princess; but the disproportion is 
too great; and, besides, we must give our daughters husbands who will 
last well: you do not know how to preserve yourselves any longer; even 
those who dieA only fifteen centuries ago are already no more than a 
handful of dust; behold! my flesh is solid as basalt; my bones are bars 
of steel! > 

"I shall be present on the last day of the world, with the same body 
and the same features which I had during my lifetime: my daughter 
Hermonthis will last longer than a statue of bronze. 

"Then the last particles of your dust will have been scattered abroad 
by the winds; and even Isis herself, who was able to find the atoms of 
Osiris, would scarce be able to recompose your being. 

"See how vigorous I yet remain, and how mighty is my grasp," he 
added, shaking my hand in the English fashion with a strength that 
buried my rings in the flesh of my fingers. 

He squeezed me so hard that I awoke, and found my friend Alfred 
shaking me by the arm to make me get up. 

"O you everlasting sleeper! must I have you carried out into the 
middle of the street, and fireworks exploded in your ears? It is after 
noon^ don't you recollect your promise to take me with you to see M. 
Aguado's Spanish pictures?" 

"God! I forgot all, all about it," I answered, dressing myself hur- 
riedly; "we will go there at once; I have the permit lying on my desk." 

I started to find it; but fancy my astonishment when I beheld, 
instead of the mummy's foot I had purchased the evening before, the 
little green paste idol left in its place by the Princess Hermonthis! 



35* GREAT SHORT STORIES OF THE WORLD 

VILLIERS DE L'ISLE ADAM 

(1838-1889) 

COUNT VILLIERS DE L'!SLE ADAM, born in Brittany in 1838, led 
a strange life. "Born without average will-power," says Huneker, 
"except the will to imagine beautiful and strange things, all his 
years he fought the contending impulses of his dual nature." He 
was the very model of a bohemian. His strange tales, the best of 
which are collected under the title Cruel Tales, are fantastic prose 
poems in the manner of Poe. The Torture of Hope, according to 
Huneker, recalls Poe at his best. 

The present version, anonymously translated, is reprinted from 
an American collection of tales, not dated. It is from the volume 
of Cruel Tales. 



THE TORTURE OF HOPE 

MANY years ago, as evening was closing in, the venerable Pedro 
Arbuez d'Espila, sixth prior of the Dominicans of Segovia, and 
third Grand Inquisitor of Spain, followed by a fra red,im$tor y and pre- 
ceded by two familiars of the Holy Office, the latter carrying lanterns, 
made their way to a subterranean dungeon. The bolt of a massive door 
creaked, and they entered a mephitic in face, where the dim light re- 
vealed between rings fastened to the wall a bloodstained rack, a brazier, 
and a jug. On a pile of straw, loaded with fetters and his neck encircled 
by an iron carcan, sat a haggard man, of uncertain age, clothed in rags. 

This prisoner was no other than Rabbi Aser Abarbanel, a Jew of 
Aragon, who accused of usury and pitiless scorn for the poor had 
been daily subjected to torture for more than a year. Yet "his blindness 
was as dense as his hide," and he had refused to abjure his faith. 

Proud of a filiation dating back thousands of years, proud of his an- 
cestors for all Jews worthy of the name are vain of their blood he 
descended Talmudically from Othoniel and consequently from Ipsiboa, 
the wife of the last judge of Israel, a circumstance which had sustained 
his courage amid incessant torture. With tears in his eyes at the thought 
of this resolute soul rejecting salvation, the venerable Pedro Arbuez 
d'Espila, approaching the shuddering rabbi, addressed him as follows: 

"My son, rejoice: your trials here below are about to end. If in the 
presence of such obstinacy I was forced to permit, with deep regret, the 
use of great severity, my task of fraternal correction has its limits. You 
are the fig tree which, having failed so many times to bear fruit, at last 
withered, but God alone can judge your soul Perhaps Infinite Mercy 



FRANCE ADAM 359 

will shine upon you at the last moment! We must hope so. There are 
examples. So sleep in peace to-night. To-morrow you will be included in 
the auto da fe: that is, you will be exposed to the quemadero, the sym- 
bolical flames of the Everlasting Fire: it burns, as you know, only at a 
distance, my son; and Death is at least two hours (often three) in com- 
ing, on account of the wet, iced bandages with which we protect the 
heads and hearts of the condemned. There will be forty-three of you. 
Placed in the last row, you will have time to invoke God and offer to 
Him this baptism of fire, which is of the Holy Spirit. Hope in the Light, 
and rest." 

With these words, having signed to his companions to unchain the 
prisoner, the prior tenderly embraced him. Then came the turn of the 
fra redemftor, who, in a low tone, entreated the Jew's forgiveness for 
what he had made him suffer for the purpose of redeeming him; then 
the two familiars silently kissed him. This ceremony over, the captive 
was left, solitary and bewildered, in the darkness. 

Rabbi Aser Abarbanel, with parched lips and visage worn by suffering, 
at first gazed at the closed door with vacant eyes. Closed? The word 
unconsciously roused a vague fancy in his mind, the fancy that he had 
seen for an instant the light of the lanterns through a chink between the 
door and the wall. A morbid idea of hope, due to the weakness of his 
brain, stirred his whole being. He dragged himself toward the strange 
appearance. Then, very gently and cautiously, slipping one finger into 
the crevice, he drew the door toward him. Marvelous! By an extraor- 
dinary accident the familiar who closed it had turned the huge key an 
instant before it struck the stone casing, so that the rusty bolt not having 
entered the hole, the door again rolled on its hinges. 

The rabbi ventured to glance outside. By the aid of a sort of luminous 
dusk he distinguished at first a semicircle of walls indented by winding 
stairs; and opposite to him, at the top of five or six stone steps, a sort of 
black portal, opening into an immense corridor, whose first arches only 
were visible from below. 

Stretching himself flat he crept to the threshold. Yes, it was really a 
corridor, but endless in length. A wan light illumined it: lamps sus- 
pended from the vaulted ceiling lightened at intervals the dull hue of 
the atmosphere the distance was veiled in shadow. Not a single door 
appeared in the whole extent! Only on one side, the left, heavily grated 
loopholes, sunk in the walls, admitted a light which must be that of eve- 
ning, for crimson bars at intervals rested on the flags of the pavement. 
What a terrible silence! Yet, yonder, at the far end of that passage 
there might be a doorway of escape! The Jew's vacillating hope was 
tenacious, for it was the last. 

Without hesitating, he ventured on the flags, keeping close under the 



360 GREAT SHORT STORIES OF THE WORLD 

loopholes, trying to make himself part of the blackness of the long walls. 
He advanced slowly, dragging himself along on his breast, forcing back 
the cry of pain when some raw wound sent a keen pang through his 
whole body. 

Suddenly the sound of a sandaled foot approaching reached his ears. 
He trembled violently, fear stifled him, his sight grew dim. Well, it was 
over, no doubt. He pressed himself into a niche and, half lifeless with 
terror, waited. 

It was a familiar hurrying along. He passed swiftly by, holding in his 
clenched hand an instrument of torture a frightful figure and van- 
ished. The suspense which the rabbi had endured seemed to have sus- 
pended the functions of life, and he lay nearly an hour unable to move. 
Fearing an increase of tortures if he were captured, he thought of re- 
turning to his dungeon. But the old hope whispered in his soul that 
divine ferhaps, which comforts us in our sorest trials. A miracle had 
happened. He could doubt no longer. He began to crawl toward the 
chance of escape. Exhausted by suffering and hunger, trembling with 
pain, he pressed onward. The sepulchral corridor seemed to lengthen 
mysteriously, while he, still advancing, gazed into the gloom where there 
must be some avenue of escape. 

Oh! oh! He again heard footsteps, but this time they were slower, 
more heavy. The white and black forms of two inquisitors appeared, 
emerging from the obscurity beyond. They were conversing in low tones, 
and seemed to be discussing some important subject, for they were ges- 
ticulating vehemently. 

At this spectacle Rabbi Aser Abarbanel closed his eyes: his heart beat 
so violently that it almost suffocated him; his rags were damp with the 
cold sweat of agony; he lay motionless by the wall, his mouth wide 
open, under the rays of a lamp, praying to the God of David. 

Just opposite to him the two inquisitors paused under the light of the 
lamp doubtless owing to some accident due to the course of their argu- 
ment. One, while listening to his companion, gazed at the rabbi! Ajnd, 
beneath the look whose absence of expression the hapless man did not 
at first notice he fancied he again felt the burning pincers scorch his 
flesh, he was to be once more a living wound. Fainting, breathless, with 
fluttering eyelids, he shivered at the touch of the monk's floating robe. 
But strange yet natural fact the inquisitor's gaze was evidently that 
of a man deeply absorbed in his intended reply, engrossed by what he 
was hearing; his eyes were fixed and seemed to look at the Jew with" 
out seeing him. 

In fact, after the lapse of a few minutes, the two gloomy figures 
slowly pursued their way, still conversing in low tones, toward the place 
whence the prisoner had come; HE HAD NOT BEEN SEEN! Amid the 
horrible confusion of the rabbi's thoughts, the idea darted through his 



FRANCE ADAM ! 361 

brain: "Can I be already dead that they did not see me?" A hideous im- 
pression roused him from his lethargy: in looking at the wall against 
which his face was pressed, he imagined he beheld two fierce eyes watch- 
ing him! He flung his head back in a sudden frenzy of fright, his hair 
fairly bristling! Yet, no! No. His hand groped over the stones: it was 
the reflection of the inquisitor's eyes, still retained in his own, which 
had been refracted from two spots on the wall. 

Forward! He must hasten toward that goal which he fancied (ab- 
surdly, no doubt) to be deliverance, toward the darkness from which he 
was now barely thirty paces distant. He pressed forward faster on his 
knees, his hands, at full length, dragging himself painfully along, and 
soon entered the dark portion of this terrible corridor. 

Suddenly the poor wretch felt a gust of cold air on the hands resting 
upon the flags; it came from under the little door to which the two 
walls led. 

Oh, Heaven, if that door should open outward. Every nerve in the 
miserable fugitive's body thrilled with hope. He examined it from top 
to bottom, though scarcely able to distinguish its outlines in the sur- 
rounding darkness. He passed his hand over it: no bolt, no lock! A latch! 
He started up, the latch yielded to the pressure of his thumb: the door 
silently swung open before him. 

% 

"Halleluia!" murmured the rabbi in a transport of gratitude as, 
standing on the threshold, he beheld the scene before him. 

The door had opened into the gardens, above which arched a starlit 
sky, into spring, liberty, life! It revealed the neighboring fields, stretch- 
ing toward the sierras, whose sinuous blue lines were relieved against 
the horizon. Yonder lay freedom! Oh, to escape! He would journey all 
night through the lemon groves, whose 'fragrance reached him. Once in 
the mountains and he was safe! He inhaled the delicious air; the breeze 
revived him, his lungs expanded! He felt in his swelling heart the Vent 
foras of Lazarus! And to thank once more the God who had bestowed 
this mercy upon him, he extended his arms, raising his eyes toward 
Heaven. It was an ecstasy of joy! 

Then he fancied he saw the shadow of his arms approach him 
fancied that he felt these shadowy arms inclose, embrace him and that 
he was pressed tenderly to someone's breast. A tall figure actually did 
stand directly before him. He lowered his eyes and remained motion- 
less, gasping for breath, dazed, with fixed eyes, fairly driveling with 
terror. 

Horror! He was in the clasp of the Grand Inquisitor himself,. the 
venerable Pedro Arbuez d'Espila, .who gazed at him with tearful eye^ 
like a good shepherd who had found his stray lamb. 

The dark-robed priest pressed the hapless Jew to his heart with so 



36* GREAT SHORT STORIES OF THE WORLD 

fervent an outburst of love, that the edges of the monachal haircloth 
rubbed the Dominican's breast. And while Aser Abarbanel with pro- 
truding eyes gasped in agony in the ascetic's embrace, vaguely compre- 
hending that all the phases of this fatal evening were only a prearranged 
torture^ that of HOPE, the Grand Inquisitor, with an accent of touching 
reproach and a look of consternation, murmured in his ear, his breath 
parched and burning from long fasting: 

"What, my son! On the eve, perchance, of salvation you wished to 
leave us?" 



ALPHONSE DAUDET 

(184.0-1897) 

ALPHONSE DAUDET, one of the masters of the Naturalistic School 
of modern France, was born at Nimcs in 1840. He made his lit- 
erary debut in 1858 with a volume of verses. He was both ' .tovelist 
and short story writer, but the Contes du Lundi and Lettres de 
man Moulin are now read in preference to Saffho and Jack. The 
Tartarin books are perhaps an exception: they are little masterpieces 
of humour and observation. The Contes du Lundi (1870 contain 
some of Daudet's most delicate and appealing stories. In The Last 
Lesson there is a spontaneity and feeling which is characteristic of 
all his best work. 

The present version, anonymously translated, is reprinted from 
Great Short Stories, P. F. Collier Sons, New York, 1909. Copy- 
right, 1909, by the Frank A. Munsey Co., by whose permission it 
is here used. 



THE LAST LESSON 

1 STARTED for school very late that morning and was in great dread 
of a scolding, especially because M. Hamel had said that he would 
question us on participles, and I did not know the first word about them. 
For a moment I thought of running away and spending the day out of 
doors. It was so warm, so bright! The birds were chirping at the edge 
of the woods; and in the open field back of the saw-mill the Prussian 
soldiers were drilling. It was all much more tempting than the rule for 
participles, but I had the strength to resist, and hurried off to school. 

When I passed the town hall there was a crowd in front of the 
bulletin-board. For the last two years all our bad news had come from 
there the lost battles, the draft, the orders of the commanding officer 
and I thought to myself, without stopping: 



WtANCE DAUDET 

"What can be the matter now?" 

Then, as I hurried by as fast as I could go, the blacksmith, Wachter, 
who was there, with his apprentice, reading the bulletin, called after me: 

"Don't go so fast, bub; you'll get to your school in plenty of time!" 

I thought he was making fun of me, and reached M, Hamel's little 
garden all out of breath. 

Usually, when school began, there was a great bustle, which could 
be heard out in the street, the opening and closing of desks, lessons re- 
peated in unison, very loud, with our hands over our ears to understand 
better, and the teacher's great ruler rapping on the table. But now it was 
all so still! I had counted on the commotion to get to my desk without 
being seen; but, of course, that day everything had to be as quiet as 
Sunday morning. Through the window I saw my classmates, already in 
their places, and M. Hamel walking up and down with his terrible iron 
ruler under his arm. I had to open the door and go in before everybody. 
You can imagine how I blushed and how frightened I was. 

But nothing happened. M. Hamel saw me and said very kindly: 

"Go to your place quickly, little Franz. We were beginning without 
you." 

I jumped over the bench and sat down at my desk. Not till then, when 
I had got a little over my fright, did I see that our teacher had on his 
beautiful green coat, his frilled shirt, and the little black silk cap, all 
embroidered, tfiat he never wore except on inspection and prize days. 
Besides, the whole school seemed so strange and solemn. But the thing 
that surprised* me most was to see, on the back benches that were always 
empty, the village people sitting quietly like ourselves; old Hauser, with 
his three-cornered hat, the former mayor, the former postmaster, and 
several others besides. Everybody looked sad; and Hauser had brought 
an old primer, thumbed at the edges, and he held it open on his knees 
with his great spectacles lying across the pages. 

While I was wondering about it all, M. Hamel mounted his chair, 
and, in the same grave and gentle tone which he had used to me, said: 

"My children, this is the last lesson I shall give you. The order has 
come from Berlin to teach only German in the schools of Alsace and 
Lorraine. The new- master comes to-morrow. This is your last French 
lesson. I want you to be very attentive." 

What a thunderclap these words were to me! 

Oh, the wretches; that was what they had put up at the town-hall! 

My last French lesson! Why, I hardly knew how to write! I should 
never learn any more! I must stop there, then! Oh, how sorry I was for 
not learning my lessons, for seeking, birds' eggs, or going sliding on the 
Saar! My books, that had seemed such a nuisance a while ago, so heavy 
to carry, my grammar, and my history of the saints, were old friends 
now that I couldn't give up. And M. Hamel, too; the idea that he was 



364 GREAT SHORT STORIES OF THE WORLD 

going away, that I should never see him again, made me forget all about 
his ruler and how cranky he was. 

Poor man! It was in honor of this last lesson that he had put on his 
fine Sunday clothes, and now I understood why the old men of the 
village were sitting there in the back of the room. It was because they 
were sorry, too, that they had not gone to school more. It was their way 
of thanking our master for his forty years of faithful service and of 
showing their respect for the country that was theirs no more. 

While I was thinking of all this, I heard my name called. It was my 
turn to recite. What would I not have given to be able to say that dread- 
ful rule for the participle all through, very loud and clear, and without 
one mistake? But I got mixed up on the first words and stood there, 
holding on to my desk, my heart beating, and not daring to look up. 
I heard M. Hamel say to me: 

"I won't scold you, little Franz; you must feel bad enough. See how 
it is! Every day we have said to ourselves: 'Bah! I've plenty of time. 
I'll learn it to-morrow/ And now you see where we've come out. Ah, 
that's the great trouble with Alsace; she puts off learning till to-morrow. 
Now those fellows out there will have the right to say to you: 'How is 
it; you pretend to be Frenchmen, and yet you can neither speak nor 
write your own language?' But you are not the worst, poor little Franz. 
We've all a great deal to reproach ourselves with. 

"Your parents were not anxious enough to have you learn. They pre- 
ferred to put you to work on a farm or at the mills, so as to have a 
little more money. And I? I've been to blame also. Have I not often 
sent you to water my flowers instead of learning your lessons? And 
when I wanted to go fishing, did I not just give you a holiday?" 

Then, from one thing to another, M. Hamel went on to talk of the 
French language, saying that it was the most beautiful language in the 
world the clearest, the most logical; that we must guard it among us 
and never forget it, because when a people are enslaved, as long as they 
hold fast to their language it is as if they had the key to their prison. 
Then he opened a grammar and read us our lesson. I was amazed to see 
how well I understood it. All he said seemed so easy, so easy! I think, 
too, that I had never listened so carefully, and that he had never ex- 
plained everything with so much patience. It seemed almost as if the 
poor man wanted to give us all he knew before going away, and to put 
it all into our heads at one stroke. 

After the grammar, we had a lesson in writing. That day M. Hamel 
had new copies for us, written in a beautiful round hand: France, 
Alsace, France, Alsace. They looked like little flags floating everywhere 
in the school-room, hung from the rod at the top of our desks. You 
ought to have seen how every one set to work, and how quiet it was! 
The only sound was the scratching of the pens over the paper. Once 



FRANCE DAUDET , 365 

some beetles flew in; but nobody paid any attention to them, not even 
the littlest ones, who worked right on tracing their. fish-hooks, as if that 
was French, too. On the roof the pigeons cooed very low, and I thought 
to myself: 

"Will they make them sing in German, even the pigeons?" 

Whenever I looked up from my writing I saw M. Hamel sitting 
motionless in his chair and gazing first at one thing, then at another, as if 
he wanted to fix in his mind just how everything looked in that little 
school-room. Fancy! For forty years he had been there in the same 
place, with his garden outside the window and his class in front of him, 
just like that. Only the desks and benches had been worn smooth; the 
walnut-trees in the garden were taller, and the hop-vine that he had 
planted himself twined about the windows to the roof. How it must 
have broken his heart to leave it all, poor man; to hear his sister moving 
about in the room above, packing their trunks! For they must leave the 
country next day. 

But he had the courage to hear every lesson to the very last. After 
the writing, we had a lesson in history, and then the babies chanted their 
ba, be, bi, bo, bu. Down there at the back of the room old Hauser had 
put on his spectacles and, holding his primer in both hands, spelled the 
letters with them. You could see that he, too, was crying; his voice 
trembled with emotion, and it was so funny to hear him that we all 
wanted to laugR and cry. Ah, how well I remember it, that last lesson! 

All at once the church-clock struck twelve. Then the Angelus. At 
the same mofnent the trumpets of the Prussians, returning from drill, 
sounded under our windows. M. Hamel stood up, very pale, in his chair. 
I never saw him look so tall. 

"My friends," said he, "I I " But something choked him. He 
could not go on. 

Then he turned to the blackboard, took a piece of chalk, and, bearing 
on with all his might, he wrote as large as he could: 

"Vive La France!" 

Then he stopped and leaned his head against the wall, and, without 
a word, he made a gesture to us with his hand: 

"School is dismissed you may go." 



EMILE ZOLA 

(1840-1903) 

EMILE ZOLA was one of the most extraordinary writers of the last 
century. With limitless energy and scrupulous pains he constructed 
an imposing edifice of novels and tales, the epic of a certain French 



3.66 GREAT SHORT STORIES OF THE WORLD 

family. He, preached the doctrine of Naturalism, believing that 
every novel or story should be based upon what he called a "human 
document." Opinions still differ as to his importance as an artist. 
There is no doubt, however, that he influenced most of the fiction 
writers who have followed him. The prevailing tone of his work 
is tragic and the details sordid, but he occasionally turned to the 
purely fantastic. In the Tales for Nation (1864), one of his very 
earliest productions, he delights in relating a number of delicate 
fairy tales. The Fairy Amoureuse is one of the most charming of 
these tales. 

The present version is translated by Barrett H. Clark, and ap- 
pears in this collection for the first time in English. 



THE FAIRY AMOUREUSE 

DO you hear the rain, Nanon, beating against the windows? And 
the wind sighing through the long corridor? It's a horrid night, a 
night when poor wretches shiver before the gates of the rich, who dance 
indoors in rooms bright with many gilded chandeliers. Take off those 
silk slippers of yours, and come sit on my knee before the blazing hearth. 
Lay aside your gorgeous finery: I'm going to tell you a pretty fairy tale 
this evening. 

Once upon a time, Nanon, there stood on the top of a mountain an 
ancient castle, somber and forbidding to look upon. It was a mass of 
turrets and ramparts and portcullises with heavy clanking chains; men- 
at-arms clad in steel from top to toe stood guard night and day on its 
battlements. Of those who came to the castle only warriors found a 
welcome at the hands of its master, Count Enguerrand. 

If you had seen this old warrior stalking through the long galleries, 
and heard the sudden outbursts of his dry and menacing voice, you would 
have trembled with fright, just like his niece Odette, a pious and pretty 
little lady. Have you ever seen an Easter daisy among the nettles and 
briars open its petals in the early morning to the first kiss of the sun? 
Odette was like that, living among the rough knights in attendance on 
her uncle. Whenever she caught sight of him she would suddenly stop 
playing, and her eyes fill with tears. She had grown tall and fair, and 
often sighed with a vague desire for she knew not what; and every time 
the Lord Enguerrand appeared she was seized with an unspeakable and 
growing dread. 

She had her room in a turret in a distant part of the castle, and spent 
her time embroidering lovely banners; she found repose in praying to 
God and in looking out of her window at the emerald landscape and the 
azure sky. How often, at night, had she risen from her bed and gone 



FRANCE ZOLA > 367 

to the window to gaze at the stars! How often had the heart of this 
sixteen-year-old child leaped up toward the vasty spaces of the heavens, 
asking her radiant sisters of the firmament what it was that so troubled 
her! And after these sleepless nights, these first stirrings of her yet un- 
conscious love, she would have strange promptings urging her to embrace 
the rough old knight her uncle. But a short answer or a stern glance 
would check her impulse, and all atremble she would take up her needle 
again. You are sorry, Nanon, for the poor child: she was like a fresh- 
scented flower whose loveliness and scent are alike spurned. 

One day as poor Odette was sitting at her window following with 
her eyes the flight of two doves, she heard a soft voice far below her 
at the foot of the castle wall. She leaned out and saw a handsome young 
man who, with a song on his lips, demanded hospitality of the inmates 
of the castle. Though she listened intently, she could not understand 
what he said, but the sweet voice made her heart heavy, and the tears 
ran slowly down her cheeks, wetting the sprig of marjoram which she 
held in her hand. 

But the castle gates were not opened, and a man-at-arms cried out 
from the walls: 

"Stand back. Only soldiers are admitted here." 

Odette continued to look out of the window. She let slip the flower 
from her hand, still wet with her tears. It fell near the feet of the 
singer who, raising his eyes and seeing the fair hair of the girl, kissed 
the sprig and turned away, though he stopped at every step to look back. 
After he hatt disappeared, Odette went to her prie-dieu and prayed a 
long time. She gave thanks to heaven, she knew not why; she felt happy, 
though she did not suspect the reason of her happiness. And that night 
she dreamed a beautiful dream. She saw again the sprig of marjoram 
she had thrown to the young man. Slowly, out of the midst of the quiv- 
ering leaves, there emerged a tiny fairy, with flame-colored wings, a 
crown of myosotis and a long robe of green, the color of hope. 

"Odette," said the fairy in a soothing voice, "I am the Fairy Amou- 
reuse. It was I who sent the young man Lois to you this morning the 
young man with the enchanting voice. It was I who, seeing your tears, 
wanted to dry them. I go about the world seeking lonely hearts and 
bringing together those who sigh in solitude. I visit the peasant's hut as 
well as the lord's manor, and at times I see fit to unite the shepherd's 
crook with the king's scepter. I sow flowers under the feet of those I 
protect. I enthrall them with bonds so precious and sweet that their 
hearts throb with joy. My home is among the green things that grow, 
the forest paths, and in winter-time among the glowing logs on the 
hearth, in the rooms of husbands and wives. Wherever I set my foot 
there are kisses and tenderness. Cry no more, Odette, I am Amoureuse, 
the good Fairy, who have come to dry your tears." 



$68 GREAT SHORT STORIES OF THE WORLD 

Then she disappeared again into her flower, which closed once more 
and became an ordinary bud. 

You know, of course, Nanon, that the Fairy Amoureuse really exists. 
Watch her dancing in our own home, and pity the poor people who don't 
believe in her. 

When Odette awoke next morning a ray of sunshine lighted up her 
room, the song of a bird rose to her high tower and the morning breeze, 
scented with the first kiss of the flowers, caressed her bright tresses. She 
rose, happy, and spent the whole day singing, hoping that the Fairy's 
prophecy would come true. Sometimes she would scan the countryside, 
smiling at each swiftly flying bird, and feeling within her breast some- 
thing that made her happy and forced her to clap her hands with joy. 

When evening came she descended into the great hall. Near the Count 
Enguerrand was a knight who listened respectfully to what the old man 
was saying. Odette seated herself before the fireplace, where a cricket 
was chirping, and busily plied her ivory distaff. 

As she worked, she cast glances from time to time at the stranger 
knight, and once she caught sight of the sprig of marjoram, which he 
held tight in one hand. By that sign, and by his sweet voice, she recog- 
nized Lois. She almost cried aloud for joy, but in order to conceal her 
blushes she leaned forward toward the glowing logs, and shook the fire 
with a long iron rod. The flames darted upwards in a^brilliant array, 
and all at once out of the shower of sparks the Fairy Amoureuse sprang 
up smiling. Shaking from her green silk robe the bits of burning wood 
that looked like grains of pure gold, she made off into the great hall 
where, invisible to the Count, she stood just behind the two young 
people, while the old warrior went on busily relating the details of a 
frightful battle with the Infidels. The Fairy spoke in a soothing under- 
tone: 

"You must love each other, my children. Leave to the old the memo- 
ries of youth, and the telling of long tales by the fireside. Let your kisses 
be the only sound to mingle with the crackling logs. Later will be time 
enough to mitigate the sorrows of old age by remembering the happy 
hours long past. When you love at sixteen, words are of no avail: a 
single look tells more than a lengthy discourse. Love each other, my 
children, and let old age prate." 

Then she covered the two with her wings so completely that the 
Count, who was explaining how the Giant Buch the Iron-headed was 
.killed by a great blow from the hand of Giralda of the Heavy Sword, 
could not see when Lois implanted his first kiss on the brow of the 
trembling Odette. 

Now I must tell you, Nanon, about those beautiful wings of the 
Fairy Amoureuse. They were as transparent as glass and as delicate as 
the wings of a fly. But when two lovers are in danger of being seen, 



FRANCE ZOLA - 369 

they grow and grow and become so thick and so opaque that they shut 
off the view of anything behind them and prevent anyone's hearing the 
kisses. And so the old man went on and on with his wondrous tale, 
while Lois continued to caress the fair Odette, right in the presence of 
the wicked old lord. .J, 

Good heavens, what wonderful wings they were! Young girls, I am 
told, discover them for themselves, and more than one has succeeded in 
concealing herself from her grandparents. Isn't that so, Nanon? 

Well, when the Count had at last brought to a close his lengthy dis- 
course, the Fairy Amoureuse disappeared again into the fire, and Lois 
withdrew after thanking his host and throwing a farewell kiss to Odette. 
The girl was so happy that she dreamed that night of mountains studded 
with flowers made bright by millions of stars, each of them a thousand 
times more radiant than the sun. 

Next morning she went down into the garden, wandering from arbor 
to arbor. In one of them she came upon a man-at-arms, bowed to him 
and was about to pass on, when she noticed a sprig of marjoram in his 
hand, still wet with tears, and recognized again her Lois. He had come 
to the castle under a new disguise. He made her sit down on a grassy 
bank near a fountain, and they gazed into each other's eyes, delighted 
to be able to see each other's features by the light of day. The warblers 
sang, and the Jtwo lovers felt that the Fairy Amoureuse must surely be 
hovering about in the air near them. 

I shan't tell you all that the discreet old oak-trees heard that morning. 
It was pleasant to watch the boy and the girl sitting there chatting hour 
after hour, so long indeed that one warbler found ample time to build 
herself a nest in a nearby bush. 

Suddenly the heavy footsteps of Count Enguerrand were heard in the 
garden walk. The lovers trembled, but the water of the fountain rippled 
more sweetly than ever, and Amoureuse rose out of the crystal stream, 
a smile on her face. She covered the lovers with her wings, and quickly 
slipped between them and the Count, who was greatly surprised to hear 
voices and yet see no one at all. 

Holding her friends in her embrace, she repeated to them in a soft 
undertone: 

"I am she who protects love, who closes the eyes and ears of those 
who no longer love. Fear nothing, dear lovers: love each other in this 
beautiful clear sunlight, in these garden walks, by the side of these foun- 
tains, wherever you happen to be. I am with you, [watching over you. 
God has sent me among men, and they who scoff at sacred things shall 
never interrupt you. God gave me these beautiful wings, telling me, 'Go, 
and let the hearts of the young rejoice!' Love each other, while I keep 
guard over you." 

Then she darted off, gathering dew off the foliage (her only nour- 



370 GREAT SHORT STORIES OF THE WORLD 

ishment), and taking with her in her joyous round Odette and Lois, 
whose arms were ever interlaced. 

You will ask me what the lovers did next? Really, my dear, I hardly 
dare tell you. Fm afraid you would not believe me, or be jealous of 
their happiness, and refuse to return my kisses. Naughty girl, you are 
curious, aren't you? I see I shall have to satisfy your curiosity. 

Know then, that the Fairy flew hither and thither until nightfall, and 
when she tried to separate her lovers, she found them so reluctant that 
she had to give them a good talking-to. It seems (for her voice was 
low) that she said things so beautiful that their faces lighted up and 
their eyes opened wide from happiness. And after she had done speaking 
and they consented to her proposal, she touched their foreheads with 
her magic wand. 

Suddenly oh, Nanon, how big your eyes are! And how you would 
tap your little foot if I were to refuse to tell you the sequel! Suddenly, 
Lois and Odette were changed into stalks of marjorrtn, so large and 
magnificent that only a fairy could have made them so. There they 
were, side by side, so close that their leaves were entwined. Marvelous 
flowers they were; they would bloom forever, and eternally mingle their 
perfumes and their dew. 

As for the Count Enguerrand, they say he consoled himself by relat- 
ing every single night the story of the Giant Buch the Iron-Headed and 
how he was killed by a great blow from the hand of Giralda of the 
Heavy Sword. 

And now, Nanon, when we go to the country, we shall look for the 
' two magic marjorams and ask them in which flower we may find the 
Fairy Amoureuse. Perhaps, my dear, there is a little moral hidden in 
this tale. However, I have told it to you here, as we sit stretched out 
before the hearth, just in order to make you forget the December rain 
beating against our windows, and in the hope that it will inspire you 
to love a little more the young man who told it to you. 



FRANCOIS COPP^E 

(1842-1908) 

COPPE, the poet of the poor and humble, lived a long and un- 
eventful life. His volumes of verse are characterized by qualities 
of sentiment and simplicity. But his novels, plays, and short stories, 
especially the last, are an integral part of his literary work. These, 
says Brander Matthews, "have qualities of their own; they have 
sympathy, poetry, and a power of suggesting pictures not exceeded, 



FRANCE COPP^E . 371 

I think, by those of either M. de Maupassant or M. Daudet." 
The present version, translated by Walter Learned, is reprinted 
from Ten Tales by Franfois Coffee, by permission of the publisher, 
Harper & Brothers. 



THE SUBSTITUTE 

HE was scarcely ten years old when he was first arrested as a 
vagabond. 

He spoke thus to the judge: 

"I am called Jean Francois Lcturc, and for six months I was with 
the man who sings and plays upon a cord of catgut between the lanterns 
at the Place de la Bastille. I sang the refrain with him, and after that 
I called, 'Here's all the new songs, ten centimes, two sous!' He was 
always drunk, and used to beat me. That is why the police picked me 
up the other night. Before that I was with the man who sells brushes. 
My mother was a laundress, her name was Adele. At one time she lived 
with a man on the ground-floor at Montmartre. She was a good work- 
woman and liked me. She made money because she had for customers 
waiters in the cafes, and they use a good deal of linen. On Sundays she 
used to put me to bed early so that she could go to the ball. On week- 
days she sent me to Les Freres, where I learned to read. Well, the 
sergent-de-vflle whose beat was in our street used always to stop before 
our windows to talk with her a good-looking chap, with a medal from 
the Crimea. They were married, and after that everything went wrong. 
He didn't take to me, and turned mother against me. Every one had a 
blow for me, and so, to get out of the house, I spent whole days in the 
Place Clichy, where I knew the mountebanks. My father-in-law lost his 
place, and my mother Her work. She used to go out washing to take care 
of him; this gave her a cough the steam. . . . She is dead at Lam- 
boisiere. She was a good woman. Since that I have lived with the seller 
of brushes and the catgut scraper. Are you going to send me to prison ? " 

He said this openly, cynically, like a man. He was a little ragged 
street-arab, as tall as a boot, his forehead hidden under a queer mop of 
yellow hair. 

Nobody claimed him, and they sent him to the Reform School. 

Not very intelligent, idle, clumsy with his hands, the only trade he 
could learn there was not a good one that of reseating straw chairs. 
However, he was obedient, naturally quiet and silent, and he did not 
seem to be profoundly corrupted by that school of vice. But when, in his 
seventeenth year, he was thrown out again on the streets of Paris, he 
unhappily found there his prison comrades, all great scamps, exercising 



312 GREAT SHORT STORIES OF THE WORLD 

their dirty professions: teaching dogs to catch rats in the sewers, and 
blacking shoes on ball nights in the passage of the Opera amateur 
wrestlers, who permitted themselves to be thrown by the Hercules of the 
booths or fishing at noontime from rafts; all of these occupations he 
followed to some extent, and, some months after he came out of the 
house of correction, he was arrested again for a petty theft a pair of 
old shoes prigged from a shop- window. Result: a year in the prison of 
Sainte Pelagic, where he served as valet to the political prisoners. 

He lived in much surprise among this group of prisoners, all very 
young, negligent in dress, who talked in loud voices, and carried their 
heads in a very solemn fashion. They used to meet in the cell of one 
of the oldest of them, a fellow of some thirty years, already a long time 
in prison and quite a fixture at Sainte Pelagic a large cell, the walls 
covered with colored caricatures, and from the window of which one 
could see all Paris its roofs, its spires, and its domes and far away 
the distant line of hills, blue and indistinct upon the sky. There were 
upon the walls some shelves filled with volumes and all the old para- 
phernalia of a fencing-room: broken masks, rusty foils, breastplates, and 
gloves that were losing their tow. It was there that the "politicians" used 
to dine together, adding to the everlasting "soup and beef," fruit, cheese, 
and pints of wine which Jean Francois went out and got by the can 
a tumultuous repast interrupted by violent disputes, and jyhere, during 
the dessert, the "Carmagnole" and "Ca Ira" were sung in full chorus. 
They assumed, however, an air of great dignity on those days when a 
newcomer was brought in among them, at first entertaining him gravely 
as a citizen, but on the morrow using him with affectionate familiarity 
and calling him by his nickname. Great words were used there: Cor- 
poration, Responsibility, and phrases quite unintelligible to Jean Francois 
such as this, for example, which he once heard imperiously put forth 
by a frightful little hunchback who blotted some writing-paper every 
night: 

"It is done. This is the composition of the Cabinet: Raymond, the 
Bureau of Public Instruction; Martial, the Interior; and for Foreign 
Affairs, myself." i 

His time done, he wandered again around Paris, watched afar by the 
police, after the fashion of cockchafers, made by cruel children to fly 
at the end of a string. He became one of those fugitive and timid beings 
whom the law, with a sort of coquetry, arrests and releases by turn 
something like those platonic fishers who, in order that they may not 
exhaust their fish-pond, throw immediately back into the water the fish 
which has just come out of the net. Without a suspicion on his part that 
so much honor had been done to so sorry a subject, he had a special 
bundle of memoranda in the mysterious portfolios of the Rue de Jeru- 
salem. His name was written in round hand on the gray paper of the 



FRANCE COPPEE ' 373 

cover, and the notes and reports, carefully classified, gave him his suc- 
cessive appellations: "Name, Leturc"; "the prisoner Leturc," and, at 
last, "the criminal Leturc." 

He was two years out of