The Project Gutenberg eBook of Legends That Every Child Should Know; a Selection of the Great Legends of All Times for Young People

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Title: Legends That Every Child Should Know; a Selection of the Great Legends of All Times for Young People

Author: Hamilton Wright Mabie

Release date: October 1, 2004 [eBook #6622]
Most recently updated: December 29, 2020

Language: English


Produced by David Garcia, Charles Franks

and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team.

[Illustration: GUY EARL OF WARWICK]



If we knew how the words in our language were made and what they have meant to successive generations of the men and women who have used them, we should have a new and very interesting kind of history to read. For words, like all other creations of man, were not deliberately manufactured to meet a need, as are the various parts of a bicycle or of an automobile; but grew gradually and slowly out of experiences which compelled their production. For it is one of the evidences of the brotherhood of men that, either by the pressure of necessity or of the instinct to describe to others what has happened to ourself and so make common property of personal experience, no interesting or influential or significant thing can befall a man that is not accompanied by a desire to communicate it to others.

The word legend has a very interesting history, which sheds light not only on its origin but on early habits of thought and customs. It is derived from the Latin verb legere, which means "to read." As legends are often passed down by word of mouth and are not reduced to writing until they have been known for centuries by great numbers of people, it seems difficult at first glance to see any connection between the Latin word and its English descendant. In Russia and other countries, where large populations live remote from cities and are practically without books and newspapers, countless stories are told by peasant mothers to their children, by reciters or semi-professional story-tellers, which have since been put into print. For a good many hundred years, probably, the vast majority of legends were not read; they were heard.

When we understand, however, what the habits of people were in the early Christian centuries and what the early legends were about, the original meaning of the word is not only clear but throws light on the history of this fascinating form of literature. The early legends, as a rule, had to do with religious people or with places which had religious associations; they were largely concerned with the saints and were freely used in churches for the instruction of the people. In all churches selections from some book or books are used as part of the service; readings from the Old and New Testament are included in the worship of all churches in Christendom. In the earliest times not only were Lessons from the Old Testament and the Gospels and Epistles of the New Testament read, but letters of bishops and selections from other writings which were regarded as profitable for religious instruction. Later stories of the saints and passages from the numerous lives which appeared were read at different services and contributed greatly to their interest. The first legends in Christian countries were incidents from the lives of the saints and were included in the selections made from various writings for public worship; these selections were called legends. The history of the word makes clear, therefore, the origin and early history of the class of stories which we call legends.

The use of the stories at church services led to the collection, orderly arrangement and reshaping of a great mass of material which grew rapidly because so many people were interested in these semi-religious tales. In the beginning the stories had, as a rule, some basis in fact, though it was often very slight. As time went on the element of fact grew smaller and the element of fiction larger; stories which were originally very short were expanded into long tales and became highly imaginative. In the Thirteenth Century the Legenda Aurea, or Golden Legend, which became one of the most popular books of the Middle Ages, appeared. In time, as the taste for this kind of writing grew, the word legend came to include any story which, under a historical form, gave an account of an historical or imaginary person.

During the Middle Ages verse-making was very popular and very widely practised; for versification is very easy when people are in the habit of using it freely, and a verse is much more easily remembered than a line of prose. For many generations legends were versified. It must be remembered that verse and poetry are often very far apart; and poetry is as difficult to compose as verse is easy. The versified legends were very rarely poetic; they were simply narratives in verse. Occasionally men of poetic genius took hold of these old stories and gave them beautiful forms as did the German poet Hartmann von Aue in "Der Arme Heinrich." With the tremendous agitation which found expression in the Reformation, interest in legends died out, and was not renewed until the Eighteenth Century, when men and women, grown weary of artificial and mechanical forms of literature, turned again to the old stories and songs which were the creation of less self-conscious ages. With the revival of interest in ballads, folk-stories, fairy stories and myths came a revival of interest in legends.

The myths were highly imaginative and poetic explanations of the world and of the life of man in it at a time when scientific knowledge and habits of thought had not come into existence. The fairy story was "a free poetic dealing with realities in accordance with the law of mental growth, … a poetic wording of the facts of life, … an endeavour to shape the facts of the world to meet the needs of the imagination, the cravings of the heart." The legend, dealing originally with incidents in the lives of the saints and with places made sacred by association with holy men, has, as a rule, some slight historical basis; is cast in narrative form and told as a record of fact; and, in cases where it is entirely imaginative, deals with some popular type of character like Robin Hood or Rip Van Winkle; or with some mysterious or tragic event, as Tennyson's "Idylls of the King" are poetic renderings of part of a great mass of legends which grew up about a little group of imaginary or semi-historical characters; Longfellow's "Golden Legend" is a modern rendering of a very old mediaeval tale; Irving's "Legend of Sleepy Hollow" is an example of purely imaginative prose, and Heine's "Lorelei" of a purely imaginative poetic legend.

The legend is not so sharply defined as the myth and the fairy story, and it is not always possible to separate it from these old forms of stories; but it always concerns itself with one or more characters; it assumes to be historical; it is almost always old and haunts some locality like a ghost; and it has a large admixture of fiction, even where it is not wholly fictitious. Like the myth and fairy story it throws light on the mind and character of the age that produced it; it is part of the history of the unfolding of the human mind in the world; and, above all, it is interesting.



  From "Indian Myths." By Ellen Emerson.

  From "A Book of Famous Myths and Legends."

  From "A Book of Famous Myths and Legends."

  Alfred Tennyson.

  From "The Epic of Kings. Stories Retold from Firdusi." By Helen Zimmern.

  From "Curious Myths of the Middle Ages." By Sabine Baring-Gould.

  From "Popular Romances of the Middle Ages." By George W. Cox,
  M. A. and Eustace Hinten Jones.

  From "The English and Scottish Popular Ballads." Edited by Francis
  James Child.

  From "Gods and Fighting Men: The Story of the Tuatha de Danaan
  and of the Fianna of Ireland." Arranged and put into English by Lady

  From "Voices of the Night." By Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

  From "Curious Myths of the Middle Ages." By Sabine Baring-Gould.

  From "Curious Myths of the Middle Ages." By Sabine Baring-Gould.

  From "The Wayside Inn." By Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

  From "Il Libro d'Oro of Those Whose Names are Written in the
  Lamb's Book of Life." Translated from the Italian by Mrs. Francis
  Alexander. Originally written in Latin by Messer Torrelo of
  Casentino, Canonico of Fiesole, and put into Italian by Don Silvano.

  From the German of Heinrich Heine.

  From "Idylls of the King." By Alfred Tennyson.

  Washington Irving.

  From "Twice Told Tales." By Nathaniel Hawthorne.

  Washington Irving.


WIGWAM LEGEND OF HIAWATHA [Footnote: This story is ascribed to Abraham le Fort, an Onondaga chief, a graduate of Geneva College. The poem of Longfellow has given it general interest. Hiawatha is an example of the intellectual capacity of one of that race of whom it has been said "Take these Indians in their owne trimme and naturall disposition, and they bee reported to bee wise, lofty spirited, constant in friendship to one another: true in their promise, and more industrious than many others."—Wood's, "New England's Prospect," London, 1634.]

On the banks of Tioto, or Cross Lake, resided an eminent man who bore the name of Hiawatha, or the Wise Man.

This name was given him, as its meaning indicates, on account of his great wisdom in council and power in war. Hiawatha was of high and mysterious origin. He had a canoe which would move without paddles, obedient to his will, and which he kept with great care and never used except when he attended the general council of the tribes. It was from Hiawatha the people learned to raise corn and beans; through his instructions they were enabled to remove obstructions from the water courses and clear their fishing grounds; and by him they were helped to get the mastery over the great monsters which overran the country. The people listened to him with ever increasing delight; and he gave them wise laws and maxims from the Great Spirit, for he had been second to him only in power previous to his taking up his dwelling with mankind.

Having selected the Onondagas for his tribe, years passed away in prosperity; the Onondagas assumed an elevated rank for their wisdom and learning, among the other tribes, and there was not one of these which did not yield its assent to their superior privilege of lighting the council-fire.

But in the midst of the high tide of their prosperity, suddenly there arose a great alarm at the invasion of a ferocious band of warriors from the North of the Great Lakes; and as these bands advanced, an indiscriminate slaughter was made of men, women, and children. Destruction fell upon all alike.

The public alarm was great; and Hiawatha advised them not to waste their efforts in a desultory manner, but to call a council of all the tribes that could be gathered together, from the East to the West; and, at the same time, he appointed a meeting to take place on an eminence on the banks of the Onondaga Lake. There, accordingly, the chief men assembled, while the occasion brought together a vast multitude of men, women, and children, who were in expectation of some marvellous deliverance.

Three days elapsed, and Hiawatha did not appear. The multitude began to fear that he was not coming, and messengers were despatched for him to Tioto, who found him depressed with a presentiment that evil would follow his attendance. These fears were overruled by the eager persuasions of the messengers; and Hiawatha, taking his daughter with him, put his wonderful canoe in its element and set out for the council. The grand assemblage that was to avert the threatened danger appeared quickly in sight, as he moved rapidly along in his magic canoe; and when the people saw him, they sent up loud shouts of welcome until the venerated man landed. A steep ascent led up the banks of the lake to the place occupied by the council; and, as he walked up, a loud whirring sound was heard above, as if caused by some rushing current of air. Instantly, the eyes of all were directed upward to the sky, where was seen a dark spot, something like a small cloud, descending rapidly, and as it approached, enlarging in its size and increasing in velocity. Terror and alarm filled the minds of the multitude and they scattered in confusion. But as soon as he had gained the eminence, Hiawatha stood still, causing his daughter to do the same—deeming it cowardly to fly, and impossible, if it was attempted, to divert the designs of the Great Spirit. The descending object now assumed a more definite aspect; and, as it came nearer, revealed the shape of a gigantic white bird, with wide-extended and pointed wings. This bird came down with ever increasing velocity, until, with a mighty swoop, it dropped upon the girl, crushing her at once to the earth.

The fixed face of Hiawatha alone indicated his consciousness of his daughter's death; while in silence he signalled to the warriors, who had stood watching the event in speechless consternation. One after the other stepped up to the prostrate bird, which was killed by its violent fall, and selecting a feather from its snow-white plumage, decorated himself therewith. [Footnote: Since this event, say the Indians of this tribe, the plumage of the white heron has been used for their decorations on the war-path.]

But now a new affliction fell upon Hiawatha; for, on removing the carcass of the bird, not a trace could be discovered of his daughter. Her body had vanished from the earth. Shades of anguish contracted the dark face of Hiawatha. He stood apart in voiceless grief. No word was spoken. His people waited in silence, until at length arousing himself, he turned to them and walked in calm dignity to the head of the council.

The first day he listened with attentive gravity to the plans of the different speakers; on the next day he arose and said: "My friends and brothers; you are members of many tribes, and have come from a great distance. We have come to promote the common interest, and our mutual safety. How shall it be accomplished? To oppose these Northern hordes in tribes singly, while we are at variance often with each other, is impossible. By uniting in a common band of brotherhood we may hope to succeed. Let this be done, and we shall drive the enemy from our land. Listen to me by tribes. You, the Mohawks, who are sitting under the shadow of the great tree, whose branches spread wide around, and whose roots sink deep into the earth, shall be the first nation, because you are warlike and mighty. You, the Oneidas, who recline your bodies against the everlasting stone that cannot be moved, shall be the second nation, because you always give wise counsel. You, the Onondagas, who have your habitation at the foot of the great hills, and are overshadowed by their crags, shall be the third nation, because you are greatly gifted in speech. You, the Senecas, whose dwelling is in the dark forest, and whose home is all over the land, shall be the fourth nation, because of your superior cunning in hunting. And you, the Cayugas, the people who live in the open country and possess much wisdom, shall be the fifth nation, because you understand better the art of raising corn and beans, and making lodges. Unite, ye five nations, and have one common interest, and no foe shall disturb and subdue you. You, the people who are the feeble bushes, and you who are a fishing people, may place yourselves under our protection, and we will defend you. And you of the South and West may do the same, and we will protect you. We earnestly desire the alliance and friendship of you all. Brothers, if we unite in this great bond, the Great Spirit will smile upon us, and we shall be free, prosperous, and happy; but if we remain as we are, we shall be subject to his frown. We shall be enslaved, ruined, perhaps annihilated. We may perish under the war-storm, and our names be no longer remembered by good men, nor be repeated in the dance and song. Brothers, those are the words of Hiawatha. I have spoken. I am done." [Footnote: Canassatego, a renowned chief of the Confederacy, in his remarkable piece of advice to the Colonial Commissioners of Lancaster in July, 1744, seems to imply that there was an error in this plan of Hiawatha, as it did not admit all nations into their Confederacy with equal rights.]

The next day his plan of union was considered and adopted by the council, after which Hiawatha again addressed the people with wise words of counsel, and at the close of this speech bade them farewell; for he conceived that his mission to the Iroquois was accomplished, and he might announce his withdrawal to the skies. He then went down to the shore, and assumed his seat in his mystical canoe. Sweet music was heard in the air as he seated himself; and while the wondering multitude stood gazing at their beloved chief, he was silently wafted from sight, and they saw him no more. He passed to the Isle of the Blessed, inhabited by Owayneo [Footnote: A name for their Great Spirit in the dialect of the Iroquois.] and his manitos.

  And they said, "Farewell forever!"
  Said, "Farewell, O Hiawatha!"
  And the forests, dark and lonely,
  Moved through all their depths of darkness^
  Sighed, "Farewell, O Hiawatha!"
  And the waves upon the margin,
  Rising, rippling on the pebbles,
  Sobbed, "Farewell, O Hiawatha!"
  And the heron, the shuh-shu-gah,
  From her haunts among the fen-lands,
  Screamed, "Farewell, O Hiawatha!"
    Thus departed Hiawatha,
  Hiawatha the Beloved,
  In the glory of the sunset,
  In the purple mists of evening,
  To the regions of the home-wind,
  Of the northwest wind, Keewaydin,
  To the Islands of the Blessed,
  To the kingdom of Ponemah,
  To the land of the Hereafter.

[Footnote: "The Song of Hiawatha," by H. W. Longfellow.]



Old King Hrothgar built for himself a great palace, covered with gold, with benches all round outside, and a terrace leading up to it. It was bigger than any hall men had ever heard of, and there Hrothgar sat on his throne to share with men the good things God had given him. A band of brave knights gathered round him, all living together in peace and joy.

But there came a wicked monster, Grendel, out of the moors. He stole across the fens in the thick darkness, and touched the great iron bars of the door of the hall, which immediately sprang open. Then, with his eyes shooting out flame, he spied the knights sleeping after battle. With his steel finger nails the hideous fiend seized thirty of them in their sleep. He gave yells of joy, and sped as quick as lightning across the moors, to reach his home with his prey.

When the knights awoke, they raised a great cry of sorrow, whilst the aged King himself sat speechless with grief. None could do battle with the monster, he was too strong, too horrible for any one to conquer. For twelve long years Grendel warred against Hrothgar; like a dark shadow of death he prowled round about the hall, and lay in wait for his men on the misty moors. One thing he could not touch, and that was the King's sacred throne.

Now there lived in a far-off land a youngster called Beowulf, who had the strength of thirty men. He heard of the wicked deeds of Grendel, and the sorrow of the good King Hrothgar. So he had made ready a strong ship, and with fourteen friends set sail to visit Hrothgar, as he was in need of help. The good ship flew over the swelling ocean like a bird, till in due time the voyagers saw shining white cliffs before them. Then they knew their journey was at an end; they made fast their ship, grasped their weapons, and thanked God that they had had an easy voyage.

Now the coastguard spied them from a tower. He set off to the shore, riding on horseback, and brandishing a huge lance.

"Who are you," he cried, "bearing arms and openly landing here? I am bound to know from whence you come before you make a step forward. Listen to my plain words, and hasten to answer me." Beowulf made answer that they came as friends, to rid Hrothgar of his wicked enemy Grendel, and at that the coastguard led them on to guide them to the King's palace. Downhill they ran together, with a rushing sound of voices and armed tread, until they saw the hall shining like gold against the sky. The guard bade them go straight to it, then, wheeling round on his horse, he said, "It is time for me to go. May the Father of All keep you in safety. For myself, I must guard the coast."

The street was paved with stone, and Beowulf's men marched along, following it to the hall, their armour shining in the sun and clanging as they went. They reached the terrace, where they set down their broad shields. Then they seated themselves on the bench, while they stacked their spears together and made themselves known to the herald. Hrothgar speedily bade them welcome. They entered the great hall with measured tread, Beowulf leading the way. His armour shone like a golden net-work, and his look was high and noble, as he said, "Hail, O King! To fight against Grendel single-handed have I come. Grant me this, that I may have this task alone, I and my little band of men. I know that the terrible monster despises weapons, and therefore I shall bear neither sword, nor shield, nor buckler. Hand to hand I will fight the foe, and death shall come to whomsoever God wills. If death overtakes me, then will the monster carry away my body to the swamps, so care not for my body, but send my armour to my King. My fate is in God's hands."

Hrothgar loved the youth for his noble words, and bade him and his men sit down to the table and merrily share the feast, if they had a mind to do so. As they feasted, a minstrel sang with a clear voice. The Queen, in cloth of gold, moved down the hall and handed the jewelled cup of mead to the King and all the warriors, old and young. At the right moment, with gracious words, she brought it to Beowulf. Full of pride and high purpose, the youth drank from the splendid cup, and vowed that he would conquer the enemy or die.

When the sun sank in the west, all the guests arose. The King bade Beowulf guard the house, and watch for the foe. "Have courage," he said, "be watchful, resolve on success. Not a wish of yours shall be left unfulfilled, if you perform this mighty deed."

Then Beowulf lay down to rest in the hall, putting off from him his coat of mail, helmet, and sword.

Through the dim night Grendel came stealing. All slept in the darkness, all but one! The door sprang open at the first touch that the monster gave it. He trod quickly over the paved floor of the hall; his eyes gleamed as he saw a troop of kinsmen lying together asleep. He laughed as he reckoned on sucking the life of each one before day broke. He seized a sleeping warrior, and in a trice had crunched his bones. Then he stretched out his hand to seize Beowulf on his bed. Quickly did Beowulf grip his arm; he stood up full length and grappled with him with all his might, till his fingers cracked as though they would burst. Never had Grendel felt such a grip; he had a mind to go, but could not. He roared, and the hall resounded with his yells, as up and down he raged, with Beowulf holding him in a fast embrace. The benches were overturned, the timbers of the hall cracked, the beautiful hall was all but wrecked. Beowulf's men had seized their weapons and thought to hack Grendel on every side, but no blade could touch him. Still Beowulf held him by the arm; his shoulder cracked, and he fled, wounded to death, leaving hand, arm, and shoulder in Beowulf's grasp. Over the moors, into the darkness, he sped as best he might, and to Beowulf was the victory.

Then, in the morning, many a warrior came from far and near. Riding in troops, they tracked the monster's path, where he had fled stricken to death. In a dismal pool he had yielded up his life.

Racing their horses over the green turf, they reached again the paved street. The golden roof of the palace glittered in the sunlight. The King stood on the terrace and gave thanks to God. "I have had much woe," he said, "but this lad, through God's might, has done the deed that we, with all our wisdom, could not do. Now I will heartily love you, Beowulf, as if you were my son. You shall want for nothing in this world, and your fame shall live forever."

The palace was cleansed, the walls hung anew with cloth of gold, the whole place was made fair and straight, for only the roof had been left altogether unhurt after the fight.

A merry feast was held. The King brought forth out of his treasures a banner, helmet, and mail coat. These he gave to Beowolf; but more wonderful than all was a famous sword handed down to him through the ages. Then eight horses with golden cheekplates were brought within the court; one of them was saddled with King Hrothgar's own saddle, decorated with silver. Hrothgar gave all to Beowulf, bidding him enjoy them well. To each of Beowulf's men he gave rich gifts. The minstrels sang; the Queen, beautiful and gracious, bore the cup to the King and Beowulf. To Beowulf she, too, gave gifts: mantle and bracelets and collar of gold. "Use these gifts," she said, "and prosper well! As far as the sea rolls your name shall be known."

Great was the joy of all till evening came. Then the hall was cleared of benches and strewn with beds. Beowulf, like the King, had his own bower this night to sleep in. The nobles lay down in the hall, at their heads they set their shields and placed ready their helmets and their mail coats. Each slept, ready in an instant to do battle for his lord.

So they sank to rest, little dreaming what deep sorrow was to fall on them.

Hrothgar's men sank to rest, but death was to be the portion of one. Grendel the monster was dead, but Grendel's mother still lived. Furious at the death of her son, she crept to the great hall, and made her way in, clutched an earl, the King's dearest friend, and crushed him in his sleep. Great was the uproar, though the terror was less than when Grendel came. The knights leapt up, sword in hand; the witch hurried to escape, she wanted to get out with her life.

The aged King felt bitter grief when he heard that his dearest friend was slain. He sent for Beowulf, who, like the King, had had his own sleeping bower that night. The youth stood before Hrothgar and hoped that all was well.

"Do not ask if things go well," said the sorrowing King, "we have fresh grief this morning. My dearest friend and noblest knight is slain. Grendel you yourself destroyed through the strength given you by God, but another monster has come to avenge his death. I have heard the country folk say that there were two huge fiends to be seen stalking over the moors, one like a woman, as near as they could make out, the other had the form of a man, but was huger far. It was he they called Grendel. These two haunt a fearful spot, a land of untrodden bogs and windy cliffs. A waterfall plunges into the blackness below, and twisted trees with gnarled roots overhang it. An unearthly fire is seen gleaming there night after night. None can tell the depth of the stream. Even a stag, hunted to death, will face his foes on the bank rather than plunge into those waters. It is a fearful spot. You are our only help, dare you enter this horrible haunt?"

Quick was Beowulf's answer: "Sorrow not, O King! Rouse yourself quickly, and let us track the monster. Each of us must look for death, and he who has the chance should do mighty deeds before it comes. I promise you Grendel's kin shall not escape me, if she hide in the depths of the earth or of the ocean."

The King sprang up gladly, and Beowulf and his friends set out. They passed stony banks and narrow gullies, the haunts of goblins.

Suddenly they saw a clump of gloomy trees, overhanging a dreary pool. A shudder ran through them, for the pool was blood-red.

All sat down by the edge of the pool, while the horn sounded a cheerful blast. In the water were monstrous sea-snakes, and on jutting points of land were dragons and strange beasts: they tumbled away, full of rage, at the sound of the horn.

One of Beowulf's men took aim at a monster with his arrow, and pierced him through, so that he swam no more.

Beowulf was making ready for the fight. He covered his body with armour lest the fiend should clutch him. On his head was a white helmet, decorated with figures of boars worked in silver. No weapon could hurt it. His sword was a wonderful treasure, with an edge of iron; it had never failed any one who had needed it in battle.

"Be like a father to my men, if I perish," said Beowulf to Hrothgar, "and send the rich gifts you have given me to my King. He will see that I had good fortune while life lasted. Either I will win fame, or death shall take me."

He dashed away, plunging headlong into the pool. It took nearly the whole day before he reached the bottom, and while he was still on his way the water-witch met him. For a hundred years she had lived in those depths. She made a grab at him, and caught him in her talons, but his coat of mail saved him from her loathsome fingers. Still she clutched him tight, and bore him in her arms to the bottom of the lake; he had no power to use his weapons, though he had courage enough. Water-beasts swam after him and battered him with their tusks.

Then he saw that he was in a vast hall, where there was no water, but a strange, unearthly glow of firelight. At once the fight began, but the sword would not bite—it failed its master in his need; for the first time its fame broke down. Away Beowulf threw it in anger, trusting to the strength of his hands. He cared nothing for his own life, for he thought but of honour.

He seized the witch by the shoulder and swayed her so that she sank on the pavement. Quickly she recovered, and closed in on him; he staggered and fell, worn out. She sat on him, and drew her knife to take his life, but his good mail coat turned the point. He stood up again, and then truly God helped him, for he saw among the armour on the wall an old sword of huge size, the handiwork of giants. He seized it, and smote with all his might, so that the witch gave up her life.

His heart was full of gladness, and light, calm and beautiful as that of the sun, filled the hall. He scanned the vast chamber, and saw Grendel lying there dead. He cut off his head as a trophy for King Hrothgar, whose men the fiend had killed and devoured.

Now those men who were seated on the banks of the pool watching with Hrothgar saw that the water was tinged with blood. Then the old men spoke together of the brave Beowulf, saying they feared they would never see him again. The day was waning fast, so they and the King went homeward. Beowulf's men stayed on, sick at heart, gazing at the pool. They longed, but did not expect, to see their lord and master.

Under the depths, Beowulf was making his way to them. The magic sword melted in his hand, like snow in sunshine; only the hilt remained, so venomous was the fiend that had been slain therewith. He brought nothing more with him than the hilt and Grendel's head. Up he rose through the waters where the furious sea-beasts before had chased him. Now not one was to be seen; the depths were purified when the witch lost her life. So he came to land, bravely swimming, bearing his spoils. His men saw him, they thanked God, and ran to free him of his armour. They rejoiced to get sight of him, sound and whole.

Now they marched gladly through the highways to the town. It took four of them to carry Grendel's head. On they went, all fourteen, their captain glorious in their midst. They entered the great hall, startling the King and Queen, as they sat at meat, with the fearful sight of Grendel's head.

Beowulf handed the magic hilt to Hrothgar, who saw that it was the work of giants of old. He spake to Beowulf, while all held their peace, praised him for his courage, said that he would love him as his son, and bade him be a help to mankind, remembering not to glory in his own strength, for he held it from God, and death without more ado might subdue it altogether. "Many, many treasures," he said, "must pass from me to you to-morrow, but now rest and feast."

Gladly Beowulf sat down to the banquet, and well he liked the thought of the rest.

When day dawned, he bade the King farewell with noble words, promising to help him in time of need. Hrothgar with tears and embraces let him go, giving him fresh gifts of hoarded jewels. He wept, for he loved Beowulf well, and knew he would never see him any more.

The coastguard saw the gallant warriors coming, bade them welcome, and led them to their ship. The wind whistled in the sails, and a pleasant humming sound was heard as the good ship sped on her way. So Beowulf returned home, having done mighty deeds and gained great honour.

In due time Beowulf himself became King, and well he governed the land for fifty years. Then trouble came.

A slave, fleeing from his master, stumbled by an evil chance into the den of a dragon. There he saw a dazzling hoard of gold, guarded by the dragon for three hundred winters. The treasure tempted him, and he carried off a tankard of gold to give to his master, to make peace with him.

The dragon had been sleeping, now he awoke, and sniffed the scent of an enemy along the rock. He hunted diligently over the ground; he wanted to find the man who had done the mischief in his sleep. In his rage he swung around the treasure mound, dashing into it now and again to seek the jewelled tankard. He found it hard to wait until evening came, when he meant to avenge with fire the loss of his treasure.

Presently the sun sank, and the dragon had his will. He set forth, burning all the cheerful homes of men: his rage was felt far and wide. Before dawn he shot back again to his dark home, trusting in his mound and in his craft to defend himself.

Now Beowulf heard that his own home had been burnt to the ground. It was a great grief to him, almost making him break out in a rage against Providence. His breast heaved with anger.

He meant to rid his country of the plague, and to fight the dragon single handed. He would have thought it shame to seek him with a large band, he who, as a lad, had killed Grendel and his kin. As he armed for the fray, many thoughts filled his mind; he remembered the days of his youth and manhood. "I fought many wars in my youth," he said, "and now that I am aged, and the keeper of my people, I will yet again seek the enemy and do famously."

He bade his men await him on the mountain-side. They were to see which of the two would come alive out of the tussle.

There the aged King beheld where a rocky archway stood, with a stream of fire gushing from it; no one could stand there and not be scorched. He gave a great shout, and the dragon answered with a hot breath of flame. Beowulf, with drawn sword, stood well up to his shield, when the burning dragon, curved like an arch, came headlong upon him. The shield saved him but little; he swung up the sword to smite the horrible monster, but its edge did not bite. Sparks flew around him on every side; he saw that the end of his days had come.

His men crept away to the woods to save their lives. One, and one only,
Wiglaf by name, sped through the smoke and flame to help his lord.

"My Lord Beowulf!" he cried, "with all your might defend life, I will support you to the utmost."

The dragon came on in fury; in a trice the flames consumed Wiglaf's shield, but, nothing daunted, he stepped under the shelter of Beowulf's, as his own fell in ashes about him. The King remembered his strength of old, and he smote with his sword with such force that it stuck in the monster's head, while splinters flew all around. His hand was so strong that, as men used to say, he broke any sword in using it, and was none the worse for it.

Now, for the third time, the dragon rushed upon him, and seized him by the neck with his poisonous fangs. Wiglaf, with no thought for himself, rushed forward, though he was scorched with the flames, and smote the dragon lower down than Beowulf had done. With such effect the sword entered the dragon's body that from that moment the fire began to cease.

The King, recovering his senses, drew his knife and ended the monster's life. So these two together destroyed the enemy of the people. To Beowulf that was the greatest moment of his life, when he saw his work completed.

The wound that the dragon had given him began to burn and swell, for the poison had entered it. He knew that the tale of his days was told. As he rested on a stone by the mound, he pondered thoughtfully, looking on the cunning work of the dwarfs of old, the stone arches on their rocky pillars. Wiglaf, with tender care, unloosed his helmet and brought him water, Beowulf discoursing the while: "Now I would gladly have given my armour to my son, had God granted me one. I have ruled this people fifty years, and no King has dared attack them. I have held my own with justice, and no friend has lost his life through me. Though I am sick with deadly wounds, I have comfort in this. Now go quickly, beloved Wiglaf, show me the ancient wealth that I have won for my people, the gold and brilliant gems, that I may then contentedly give up my life."

Quickly did Wiglaf enter the mound at the bidding of his master. On every side he saw gold and jewels and choice vases, helmets and bracelets, and over head, a marvellous banner, all golden, gleaming with light, so that he could scan the surface of the floor and see the curious treasured hoards. He filled his lap full of golden cups and platters, and also took the brilliant banner.

He hastened to return with his spoils, wondering, with pain, if he should find his King still alive. He bore his treasures to him, laid them on the ground, and again sprinkled him with water. "I thank God," said the dying King, "that I have been permitted to win this treasure for my people; now they will have all that they need. But I cannot be any longer here. Bid my men make a lofty mound on the headland overlooking the sea, and there place my ashes. In time to come men shall call it Beowulf's Barrow, it shall tower aloft to guide sailors over the stormy seas."

The brave King took from his neck his golden collar, took his helmet and his coronet, and gave them to his true knight, Wiglaf. "Fate has swept all my kinsmen away," said he, "and now I must follow them."

That was his last word, as his soul departed from his bosom, to join the company of the just.

Of all Kings in the world, he was, said his men, the gentlest to his knights and the most desirous of honour.



There dwelt once in Southland a King named Altof, who was rich, powerful, and gentle. His Queen was named Gotthild, and they had a young son called Horn. The rain never rained, the sun never shone upon a fairer boy; his skin was like roses and lilies, and as clear as glass; and he was as brave as he was handsome. At fifteen years old his like was not to be seen in all the kingdoms around. He had a band of play-fellows, twelve boys of noble birth, but not one of them could throw the ball so high as Horn. Out of the twelve, two were his special companions, and one of them, Athulf, was the best of the company, while the other, Figold, was altogether the worst.

It came to pass one summer morning that good King Altof was riding on the sea-shore with only two attendants, and he looked out to sea and saw fifteen ships lying in the offing. It was the heathen Vikings who had come from Northland, bent on plundering Christian lands. When these saw the three Norsemen, they swarmed on to shore like a pack of wolves, all armed and full of battle fury. They slew the King and his knights, and made themselves masters of the whole land.

Queen Gotthild wept much for her lord, and more for her son, Childe Horn, who could not now ascend his father's throne. She clad herself in mourning garments, the meanest she could find, and went to dwell in a cave, where she prayed night and day for her son, that he might be preserved from the malice of his enemies, at whose mercy he and his comrades lay. At first they thought to have slain him, but one of their leaders was touched by his glorious beauty, and so he said to the boy, "Horn, you are a fair stripling and a bold, and when you come to years, you and your band here, you are like to prove too many for us, so I am going to put you all in a boat and let it drift out to sea—where may the gods preserve you, or else send you to the bottom; but, for all our sakes, you cannot remain here."

Then they led the boys down to the shore, placed them in a little skiff, and pushed it off from the land. All but Horn wrung their hands in fear. The waves rose high, and, as the boat was tossed up and down, the lads gave themselves up for lost, not knowing whither they were driven; but when the morning of the second day broke, Horn sprang up from where he sat in the forepart of the skiff, crying, "I hear the birds sing, and I see the grass growing green—we are at the land!" Then they sprang right gladly on shore, and Horn called after the boat as it floated away, "A good voyage to thee, little boat! May wind and wave speed thee back to Southland. Greet all who knew me, and chiefly the good Queen Gotthild, my mother. And tell the heathen King that some day he shall meet his death at my hand."

Then the boys went on till they came to a city, where reigned King Aylmer of Westland—whom God reward for his kindness to them. He asked them in mild words whence they came, "for in good sooth," said he, "never have I seen so well-favoured a company"; and Horn answered proudly, "We are of good Christian blood, and we come from Southland, which has just been raided by pagans, who slew many of our people, and sent us adrift in a boat, to be the sport of the winds and waves. For a day and a night we have been at sea without a rudder; and now we have been cast upon your coast, you may enslave or slay us, if but, it please thee, show us mercy."

Then the good King asked, "What is your name, my child?" and the boy answered. "Horn, at your pleasure, my Lord King; and if you need a servant, I will serve you well and truly."

"Childe Horn," said the King, "you bear a mighty name for one so young and tender.

  "Over hills and valleys oft the horn has rung,
  In the royal palace long the horn has hung.
  So shall thy name, O Hornchild, through every land resound,
  And the fame of thy wondrous beauty in all the West be found."

So Horn found great favour with the King, and he put him in charge of Athelbrus, the house-steward, that he might teach him all knightly duties, and he spared no pains with him, nor yet with his companions; but well trained as they all were, Horn was far ahead of them both in stature and noble bearing. Even a stranger looking at him could guess his lofty birth, and the splendour of his marvellous beauty lit up all the palace; while he won all hearts, from the meanest grooms to the greatest of the court ladies.

Now the fairest thing in that lordly court was the King's only daughter, Riminild. Her mother was dead, and she was well-beloved of her father, as only children are. Not a word had she ever ventured to speak to Horn when she saw him among the other knights at the great feasts, but day and night she bore his image in her heart. One night she dreamed that he entered her apartments (and she wondered much at his boldness), and in the morning she sent for Athelbrus, the house-steward, and bade him conduct Horn into her presence. But he went to Athulf, who was the pure minded and true one of Horn's two chosen companions, while Figold, the other, was a wolf in sheep's clothing, and said to him, "You shall go with me in Horn's stead to the Princess."

So he went, and she, not recognising him in the ill-lighted room, stretched out her hand to him, crying, "Oh, Horn, I have loved you long. Now plight me your troth."

But Athulf whispered to her, "Hold! I am not Horn. I am but his friend, Athulf, as unlike him as may well be. Horn's little finger is fairer than my whole body; and were he dead, or a thousand miles off, I would not play him false."

Then Riminild rose up in anger and glared upon the old steward, crying, "Athelbrus, you wicked man, out of my sight, or I shall hate you for evermore! All shame and ill befall you if you bring me not Childe Horn himself!"

"Lady and Princess," answered Athelbrus warily, "listen, and I will tell you why I brought Athulf. The King entrusted Horn to my care, and I dread his anger. Now be not angry with me, and I will fetch him forthwith."

Then he went away, but, instead of Horn, this time he called Figold, the deceiver, and said to him, "Come with me, instead of Horn, to the royal Princess. Do not betray yourself, lest we both suffer for it."

Willingly went the faithless one with him, but to Figold the maid held not out her hand—well she knew that he was false, and she drove him from her presence in rage and fury. Athelbrus feared her anger, and said to himself, "To make my peace with her I must now send her the true Horn." He found him in the hall presenting the wine cup to the King, and whispered to him, "Horn, you are wanted in the Princess's apartments"; and when Horn heard this his hand holding the full goblet so trembled that the wine ran over the edge. He went straight into the presence of the royal maiden, and as he knelt before her his beauty seemed to light up the room.

"Fair befall thee and thy maidens, O Lady!" said he. "The house-steward has sent me hither to ask thy will."

Then Riminild stood up, her cheeks red as the dawn, and told him of her love; and Horn took counsel with himself how he should answer her.

"May God in heaven bless him whom thou weddest, whoever he may be," he said. "I am but a foundling, and the King's servant to boot—it would be against all rule and custom were he to wed me with thee."

When Riminild heard this her heart died within her, and she fell fainting on the floor; but Horn lifted her up, and advised her to request her father that he might now receive knighthood. "An then," said he, "I will win you by my brave deeds."

When she heard that, she recovered herself and said, "Take my ring here to Master Athelbrus, and bid him from me ask the King to make you a knight."

So Horn went and told all to Athelbrus, who sought the King forthwith, and said, "To-morrow is a festival; I counsel thee to admit Horn to knighthood." And the King was pleased, and said, "Good! Horn is well worthy of it. I will create him a knight to-morrow, and he himself shall confer it on his twelve companions."

The next day the newly knighted one went to Riminild's bower, and told her that now he was her own true knight, and must go forth to do brave deeds in her name, and she said she would trust him evermore, and she gave him a gold ring with her name graven on it, which would preserve him from all evil. "Let this remind thee of me early and late," she said, "and thou canst never fall by treachery." And then they kissed each other, and she closed the door behind him, with tears.

The other knights were feasting and shouting in the King's hall, but Horn went to the stable, armed from head to foot. He stroked his coal-black steed, then sprang upon his back and rode off, his armour ringing as he went. Down to the seashore he galloped, singing joyously and praying God soon to send him the chance to do some deed of knightly daring, and there he met a band of pagen marauders, who had just landed from their pirate-ship. Horn asked them civilly what they wanted there, and one of the pagans answered insolently, "To conquer the land and slay all that dwell in it, as we did to King Altof, whose son now serves a foreign lord."

Horn, on hearing this, drew his sword and struck off the fellow's head; then he thought of his dead father and of his mother in her lonely cave; he looked on his ring and thought of Riminild, and dashed among the pirates, laying about him right and left, till, I warrant you, there were few of them left to tell the tale. "This," he cried, "is but the foretaste of what will be when I return to my own land and avenge my father's death!"

Then he rode back to the palace and told the King how he had slain the invaders, and "Here," he said, "is the head of the leader, to requite thee, O King, for granting me knighthood."

The next day the King went a-hunting in the forest, and the false Figold rode at his side, but Horn stayed at home. And Figold spoke to the King out of his wicked heart and said, "I warn thee, King Aylmer, Horn is plotting to dishonour thee—to rob thee of thy daughter and of thy kingdom to boot. He is even now plotting with her in her bower."

Then the King galloped home in a rage, and burst into Riminild's bower, and there, sure enough, he found Horn, as Figold had said. "Out of my land, base foundling!" he cried. "What have you to do with the young Queen here?"

And Horn departed without a word. He went to the stable, saddled his horse, then he girded on his sword and returned to the palace; he crossed the hall and entered Riminild's apartments for the last time. "Lady," he said, "I must go forth to strange lands for seven years; at the end of that time I will either return or send a messenger; but if I do neither, you may give yourself to another, nor wait longer for me. Now kiss me a long farewell."

Riminild promised to be true to him, and she took a gold ring from her finger, saying, "Wear this above the other which I gave you, or if you grow weary of them, fling them both away, and watch to see if its two stones change colour; for if I die, the one will turn pale, and if I am false, the other will turn red."

"Riminild," said Childe Horn, "I am yours for evermore! There is a pool of clear water under a tree in the garden—go there daily and look for my shadow in the water. If you see it not, know that I am unaltered; and if you see it, know that I no longer love thee."

Then they embraced and kissed each other, and Horn parted from her, and rode down to the coast, and took passage on a ship bound for Ireland. When he landed there, two of its King's sons met him, and took him to their father, good King Thurstan, before whom Horn bowed low, and the King bade him welcome, and praised his beauty, and asked his name.

"My name is Good Courage," said Horn boldly, and the King was well pleased.

Now, at Christmas, King Thurstan made a great feast, and in the midst of it one rushed in crying, "Guests, O King! We are besieged by five heathen chiefs, and one of them proclaims himself ready to fight any three of our knights single handed to-morrow at sunrise."

"That would be but a sorry Christmas service," said King Thurstan; "who can advise me how best to answer them?" Then Horn spoke up from his seat at the table, "If these pagans are ready to fight, one against three, what may not a Christian dare? I will adventure myself against them all, and one after another they shall go down before my good sword."

Heavy of heart was King Thurstan that night, and little did he sleep. But "Sir Good Courage" rose early and buckled on his armour. Then he went to the King and said, "Now, Sir King, come with me to the field, and I will show you in what coin to pay the demands of these heathen." So they rode on together in the twilight, till they came to the green meadow, where a giant was waiting for them. Horn greeted him with a blow that brought him to the ground at once, and ran another giant through the heart with his sword; and when their followers saw that their leaders were slain, they turned and fled back to the shore, but Horn tried to cut them off from their ships, and in the scrimmage the King's two sons fell. At this Horn was sore grieved, and he fell upon the pagans in fury, and slew them right and left, to avenge the King and himself.

Bitterly wept King Thurstan when his sons were brought home to him on their biers; there was great mourning for the young princes, who were buried with high honours in the vault under the church. Afterwards the King called his knights together and said to Horn, "Good Courage, but for you we were all dead men. I will make you my heir; you shall wed my daughter Swanhild, who is bright and beautiful as the sunshine, and shall reign here after me."

So Horn lived there for six years, always under the name of Good Courage, but he sent no messenger to Riminild, not wishing any man to know his secret, and consequently Riminild was in great sorrow on his account, not knowing whether he was true to her or not. Moreover, the King of a neighbouring country sought her hand in marriage, and her father now fixed a day for the wedding.

One morning, as Horn was riding to the forest, he saw a stranger standing in the wayside, who, on being questioned said, "I come from Westland, and I seek the Knight Sir Horn. Riminild the maiden is in sore heaviness of spirit, bewailing herself day and night, for on Sunday next she is to be married to a King."

Then was Horn's grief as great as that of Riminild. His eyes overflowed with tears. He looked at his ring with its colored stones; the one had not turned red, but it seemed to him that the other was turning pale. "Well knew my heart that you would keep your troth with me, Riminild," said he to himself, "and that never would that stone grow red; but this paling one bodes ill. And you doubtless have often looked in the garden pool for my shadow, and have seen naught there but your own lovely image. That shadow shall never come, O sweet love, Riminild, to prove to you that your love is false, but he himself shall come and drive all shadows away.

"And you, my trusty messenger," he said aloud, "go back to maid Riminild and tell her that she shall indeed wed a King next Sunday, for before the church bells ring for service I will be with her."

The Princess Riminild stood on the beach and looked out to sea, hoping to see Horn coming in his helmet and shield to deliver her; but none came, save her own messenger, who was washed up on the shore—drowned! And she wrung her hands in her anguish.

Horn had gone immediately to King Thurstan, and, after saluting him, told him his real name and his present trouble. "And now, O King," said he, "I pray you to reward me for all my services by helping me to get possession of Riminild. Your daughter, Swanhild, will I give to a man the best and faithfullest ever called to the ranks of knighthood."

Then said the King, "Horn, follow your own counsel"; then he sent for his knights, and many of them followed Horn, so that he had a thousand or more at his command. The wind favoured their course, and in a few hours the ships cast anchor on the shore of Westland. Horn left his forces in a wood while he went on to learn what was doing. Well did he know the way, and lightly did he leap over the stones. As he went he met a pilgrim, and asked him the latest news, who answered, "I come from a wedding feast—but the bride's true love is far away, and she only weeps. I could not stay to see her grief."

"May God help me!" said Horn: "but this is sorrowful news. Let us change garments, good pilgrim. I must go to the feast, and once there I vow. I will give them something by which to remember Horn!" He blackened his eyebrows, and took the pilgrim's hat and staff, and when he reached the gate of the palace, the porter was for turning him back, but Horn took him up and flung him over the bridge, and then went on to the hall where the feast was being held. He sat down among the lowest, on the beggar's bench, and glowered round from under his blackened eyebrows. At a distance he saw Riminild sitting like one in a dream; then she rose to pour out mead and wine for the knights and squires, and Horn cried out, "Fair Queen, if ye would have God's blessing, let the beggar's turn come next."

She set down the flagon of wine, and poured him out brown beer in a jug, saying: "There, drink that off at a draught, thou boldest of beggar men!" But he gave it to the beggars, his companions, saying "I am not come to drink jugs of beer, but goblets of wine. Fair Queen," he cried, "thou deemest me a beggar, but I am rather a fisherman, come to haul in my net, which I left seven years ago hanging from a fair hand here in Westland." Then was Riminild much troubled within herself, and she looked hard at Horn. She reached him the goblet and said, "Drink wine then, fisherman, and tell me who thou art."

He drank from the goblet, and then dropped into it the gold ring, and said, "Look, O Queen, at what thou findest in the goblet, and ask no more who I am." The Queen withdrew into her bower with her four maidens, and when she saw the gold ring that she had given to Horn, she was sore distressed, and cried out, "Childe Horn must be dead, for this is his ring."

She then sent one of her waiting-maids to command the stranger to her presence, and Horn, all unrecognised, appeared before her. "Tell me, honest pilgrim, where thou gottest this ring?" she asked him.

"I took it," said he, "from the finger of a man whom I found lying sick unto death in a wood. Loudly he was bewailing himself and the lady of his heart, one Riminild, who should at this time have wedded him." As he spoke he drew his cap down over his eyes, which were full of tears.

Then Riminild cried, "Break, heart, in my bosom! Horn is no more—he who hath already caused thee so many tender pangs." She threw herself on her couch and called for a knife, to kill the bridegroom and herself.

Her maidens shrieked with fear, but Horn flung his arms around her and pressed her to his heart. Then he cast away hat and staff, and wiped the brown stain from his face, and stood up before his love in his own fair countenance, asking, "Dear love, Riminild, know thou me not now? Away with your grief and kiss me—I am Horn!—Horn, your true lover and born slave."

She gazed into his eyes. At first she could not believe that it was he, but at last she could doubt no longer; she fell upon his neck, and in the sweet greetings that followed were two sick hearts made whole.

"Horn, you miscreant! how could you play me such a trick?"

"Have patience, sweet love, maid Riminild, and I will tell you all. Now let me go and finish my work, and when it is done I will come and rest at your side."

So he left her, and went back to the forest, and Riminild sent for Athulf, who met her with a doleful countenance. "Athulf!" she cried, "rejoice with me! Horn has come—I tell you Horn is here!"

"Alas!" said Athulf, "that cannot be. Who hath brought thee such an idle tale? Day and night have I stood here watching for him, but he came not, and much I fear me the noble Horn is dead."

"I tell you he is living," she said—"aye, and more alive than ever. Go to the forest and find him—he is there with all his faithful followers."

Athulf made haste to the forest, still unbelieving, but soon his heart bounded for joy, for there rode Horn in his shining armour at the head of his troops. Athulf rode to his side, and they returned together to the city, where Riminild was watching them from her turret. And Horn pointed to her and cried to his company, "Knights, yonder is my bride—help me to win her!"

Then was there a fierce storming of the gate—the shock of it shook Riminild's tower—and Horn and his heroes burst, all unheralded, into the King's hall. Fierce and furious was the bridal dance that followed; the tumult of it rose up to Riminild, and she prayed, "God preserve my lover in this wild confusion!"

Right merrily danced her dancer, and all unscathed he flashed through the hall, thanks to his true love and God's care. King Aylmer and the bridegroom confronted him and the younger, the bridegroom King, asked him what he sought there. "I seek my bride," said he, "and if you do not give her up to me I will have your life."

"Better thou should have the bride than that," said the other; "though I would sooner be torn in pieces than give thee either." And he defended himself bravely, but it availed him naught. Horn struck off his head from his shoulders, so that it bounded across the hall. Then cried Horn to the other guests, "The dance is over!" after which he proclaimed a truce, and, throwing himself down on a couch, spake thus to King Aylmer: "I was born in Southland, of a royal race. The pagan Vikings slew King Altof, my father, and put me out to sea with my twelve companions. You did train me for the order of knighthood, and I have dishonoured it by no unworthy deeds, though you did drive me from your kingdom, thinking I meant to disgrace you through your daughter. But that which you credited me with I never contemplated. Accept me then, O King, for your son-in-law. Yet will I not claim my bride till I have won back my kingdom of Southland. That will I accomplish quickly, with the help of my brave knights and such others as I pray you to lend me, leaving in pledge therefor the fairest jewel in my crown, until King Horn shall be able to place Queen Riminild beside him on his father's throne."

As he spoke Riminild entered, and Horn took her hand and led her to her father, and the young couple stood before the old King—a right royal pair. Then King Aylmer spoke jestingly, "Truly I once did chide a young knight in my wrath, but never King Horn, whom I now behold for the first time. Never would I have spoken roughly to King Horn, much less forbidden him to woo a Princess."

Then all the knights and lords came offering their good wishes to the happy pair; and the old house-steward, Athelbrus, would have bent the knee to his former pupil, but Horn took the old man in his arms and embraced him, thanking him for all the pains he had taken with his breeding.

Horn's twelve companions came also, and did him homage as their sovereign, and he rejoiced to see them all, but especially Athulf the brave and true. "Athulf," he told him, "thou hast helped me to win my bride here, now come with me to Southland and help me to make a home for her. And you, too, shall win a lady—I have already chosen her; her name is Swanhild, and she will look fair even beside Riminild." Then did Athulf rejoice, but Figold, the traitor, was ready to sink into the ground with shame and envy.

Then Horn returned to his ship, taking Athulf with him, but Figold he left behind. Truly it is ill knowing what to do with a traitor, whether you take him to the field or leave him at home.

On went the ship before a favouring wind; the voyage lasted but four days. Horn landed at midnight, and he and Athulf went inland together. On the way they came upon a noble looking knight asleep under his shield, upon which a cross was painted, and Horn cried to him, "Awake, and tell us what they are doing here. Thou seemest to be a Christian, I trow, else would I have hewn thee in pieces with my sword!"

The good knight sprang up aghast, and said, "Against my will I am serving the heathen who rule here. I am keeping a place ready for Horn, the best loved of all heroes. Long I have wondered why he does not bestir himself to return and fight for his own. God give him power so to do till he slay every one of these miscreants. They put him out to sea, a tender boy, with his twelve playmates, one of whom was my only son, Athulf. Dearly he loved Horn, and was beloved by him. Could I but see them both once more, I should feel that I could die in peace."

"Then rejoice," they told him, "for Horn and Athulf are here!"

Joyfully did the old man greet the youths; he embraced his son and bent the knee to Horn, and all three rejoiced together.

"Where is your company?" asked the old knight. "I suppose you two have come to explore the land. Well, your mother still lives, and if she knew you to be living would be beside herself with joy."

"Blessed be the day that I and my men landed here," said Horn. "We will catch these heathen dogs, or else tame them. We will speak to them in our own language."

Then Horn blew his horn, so that all on board the ship heard it and came on shore. As the young birds long for the dawn, so Horn longed for the fight that should free his country from her enemies. From morning to night the battle raged, till all the heathen, young and old, were slain, and young King Horn himself slew the pirate King. Then he went to church, with all his people, and an anthem was sung to the glory of God, and Horn gave thanks aloud for the restoration of his kingdom, after which he sought the place where his mother dwelt. How his heart wept for joy when he saw her! He placed a crown on her head, and arrayed her in rich robes, and brought her up to the palace. "Thou art glad to have thy child again," he said to her in the joy of his heart, "but I will make thee gladder still by bringing thee home a daughter, one who will please thee well." And he thought of his love, Riminild, with whom, however, things were just then going very much amiss.

For as son as Horn had departed, the treacherous Figold had collected a great army of workmen and made them build him a tower in the sea, which could only be reached when the tide was out. Now about this time Horn had a dream, in which he saw Riminild on board a ship at sea, which presently went to pieces, and she tried to swim ashore, steering with her lily-white hand, while Figold, the traitor, sought to stop her with the point of his sword. Then he awoke and cried, "Athulf, true friend, we must away across the sea. Unless we make all speed some evil will befall us." And in the midst of a storm they set sail.

In the meantime Figold had left his tower and appeared in the presence of King Aylmer. Cunningly, out of his false heart spoke the traitor, "King Aylmer, Horn has sent me word that he would have his bride handed over to my care. He has regained his crown and realm and would fain have her there to be his Queen."

"Very well," said the King, "let her go with thee."

But Riminild was much displeased at the thought of being put into the hands of Figold, whom in her soul she would not trust.

"Why comes not Horn for me himself?" she asked. "I know not the way to his kingdom either by land or by sea."

"But I know it," said Figold, "and I will soon bring thee thither, most beauteous queen." But his wicked smile made her uneasy at heart.

"If Horn could not come himself," she said, "why did he not send Athulf, his faithful friend?" But this question pleased the traitor so little that he gave her no answer.

Her father blessed her, and she set forth, wringing her white hands.

Meanwhile, Horn, sailing from the south, was driven in shore by a storm, and he beheld Figold's high tower, and asked who had built such an ugly thing. He thought he heard a low murmuring as his ship flew past it before the wind, but knew not what it might be. Soon he saw the battlements of King Aylmer's palace rising in the distance; there Riminild should be, looking out for him, but all was bare and empty. It seemed to him as though a star were missing from heaven; and as he crossed the threshold the ill news was told him how Figold had carried off Riminild. Horn had no mind to linger with the King. "Come, Athulf, true friend," said he, "and help me to search for her." So they searched far and near, in vain, till at last Horn remembered that strange tower in the sea, and set sail for the lonely fortress where Figold had the fair princess in his evil keeping. "Now, my eleven companions, and you, too, Athulf," said he, "abide here while I go up alone with my horn. God hath shown me how to order this attempt."

He left his sword on the ship, and took only a fishing line with a long hook. Then round and round the tower he walked, and he blew a loud blast out into the raging storm, until a head appeared out of a hole in the wall of the tower—it was that wicked knave Figold's; and Horn cast his line, and hauled the writhing traitor clean out of the tower. He whirled round the sea wolf at the end of the line, and swung him over the water by the sheer force of his arm, so that he was cast over to Athulf in the ship; and sore afraid was the traitor when the true men on board seized him.

Then Horn took up his bugle once more and sounded it so loudly that at the first blast the door was uncovered; at the second he could enter the tower; the third was heard as he led Riminild forth. Lightly did he clasp her round the waist and swing her into his boat, and then pulled for the ship.

He brought Riminild on board his ship, and called to his band, "Ho there, my trusty eleven! Our voyage is ended, and we will now go merrily home. And you, Athulf, my chosen and tried friend, shall now have your guerdon; I will bring you to your bride Swanhild, and Riminild and I will be wedded at the same time—the same wedding feast shall serve us both.

"And Riminild, my sweet pearl, whom I have rescued from the deep, not all that I have suffered on your account grieves me like the perfidy this false one wrought on you, my loving heart. Through him the goodly tale of my twelve followers is broken; now when they gather round the table, one seat will ever be empty. Must it ever be that no dozen of men can be got together but one will prove a traitor?"

Then he bade them "Set the traitor in the boat and let it drift out to sea, as we poor children were made to do aforetime. Let the waves bear away treachery as once they bore innocence—our ship will make better speed; and as for him, let him drift till he find a land where no traitors are."



  My good blade carves the casques of men,
    My tough lance thrusteth sure,
  My strength is as the strength of ten,
    Because my heart is pure.
  The shattering trumpet shrilleth high,
    The hard brands shiver on the steel,
  The splinter'd spear-shafts crack and fly,
    The horse and rider reel:
  They reel, they roll in changing lists,
    And when the tide of combat stands,
  Perfume and flowers fall in showers,
    That lightly rain from ladies' hands.

  How sweet are looks that ladies bend
    On whom their favours fall!
  For them I battle till the end,
    To save from shame and thrall:
  But all my heart is drawn above,
    My knees are bow'd in crypt and shrine:
  I never felt the kiss of love,
    Nor maiden's hand in mine.
  More bounteous aspects on me beam,
    Me mightier transports move and thrill;
  So keep I fair thro' faith and prayer
    A virgin heart in work and will.

  When down the stormy crescent goes,
    A light before me swims,
  Between dark stems the forest glows,
    I hear a noise of hymns:
  Then by some secret shrine I ride;
    I hear a voice but none are there;
  The stalls are void, the doors are wide,
    The tapers burning fair.
  Fair gleams the snowy altar-cloth,
    The silver vessels sparkle clean,
  The shrill bell rings, the censer swings,
    And solemn chaunts resound between.

  Sometimes on lonely mountain-meres
    I find a magic bark;
  I leap on board: no helmsman steers:
    I float till all is dark.
  A gentle sound, an awful light!
    Three angels bear the Holy Grail:
  With folded feet, in stoles of white,
    On sleeping wings they sail.
  Ah, blessed vision! blood of God!
    My spirit beats her mortal bars,
  As down dark tides the glory slides,
    And star-like mingles with the stars.

  When on my goodly charger borne
    Thro' dreaming towns I go,
  The cock crows ere the Christmas morn,
    The streets are dumb with snow.
  The tempest crackles on the leads,
    And, ringing, spins from brand and mail;
  But o'er the dark a glory spreads,
    And gilds the driving hail.

  I leave the plain, I climb the height;
    No branchy thicket shelter yields;
  But blessed forms in whistling storms
    Fly o'er waste fens and windy fields.

  A maiden knight—to me is given
    Such hope, I know not fear;
  I yearn to breathe the airs of heaven
    That often meet me here.
  I muse on joy that will not cease,
    Pure spaces clothed in living beams,
  Pure lilies of eternal peace,
    Whose odors haunt my dreams;
  And, stricken by an angel's hand,
    This mortal armour that I wear,
  This weight and size, this heart and eyes,
    Are touch'd, are turn'd to finest air.

  The clouds are broken in the sky,
    And thro' the mountain-walls
  A rolling organ-harmony
    Swells up, and shakes and falls.
  Then move the trees, the copses nod,
    Wings flutter, voices hover clear:
  "O just and faithful knight of God!
    Ride on! the prize is near."
  So pass I hostel, hall, and grange;
    By bridge and ford, by park and pale,
  All-arm'd I ride, whate'er betide,
    Until I find the Holy Grail.



Give ear unto the combat of Sohrab against Rustem, though it be a tale replete with tears.

It came about that on a certain day Rustem arose from his couch, and his mind was filled with forebodings. He bethought him therefore to go out to the chase. So he saddled Rakush and made ready his quiver with arrows. Then he turned him unto the wilds that lie near Turan, even in the direction of the city of Samengan. And when he was come nigh unto it, he started a herd of asses and made sport among them till that he was weary of the hunt. Then he caught one and slew it and roasted it for his meal, and when he had eaten it and broken the bones for the marrow, he laid himself down to slumber, and Rakush cropped the pasture beside him.

Now while the hero was sleeping there passed by seven knights of Turan, and they beheld Rakush and coveted him. So they threw their cords at him to ensnare him. But Rakush, when he beheld their design, pawed the ground in anger, and fell upon them as he had fallen upon the lion. And of one man he bit off the head, and another he struck down under his hoofs, and he would have overcome them all, but they were too many. So they ensnared him and led him into the city, thinking in their hearts, "Verily a goodly capture have we made." But Rustem when he awoke from his slumbers was downcast and sore grieved when he saw not his steed, and he said unto himself:

"How can I stand against the Turks, and how can I traverse the desert alone?"

And his heart was full of trouble. Then he sought for the traces of the horse's hoofs, and followed them, and they led him even unto the gates of the city. Now when those within beheld Rustem, and that he came before them on foot, the King and the nobles came forth to greet him, and inquired of him how this was come about. Then Rustem told them how Rakush was vanished while he slumbered, and how he had followed his track even unto these gates. And he sware a great oath, and vowed that if his courser were not restored unto him many heads should quit their trunks. Then the King of Samengan, when he saw that Rustem was beside himself with anger, spoke words of soothing, and said that none of his people should do wrong unto the hero; and he begged him that he would enter into his house and abide with him until that search had been made, saying:

"Surely Rakush cannot be hid."

And Rustem was satisfied at these words, and cast suspicion from his spirit, and entered the house of the King, and feasted with him, and beguiled the hours with wine. And the King rejoiced in his guest, and encompassed him with sweet singers and all honour. And when the night was fallen the King himself led Rustem unto a couch perfumed with musk and roses, and he bade him slumber sweetly until the morning. And he declared to him yet again that all was well for him and for his steed.

Now when a portion of the night was spent, and the star of morning stood high in the arch of heaven, the door of Rustem's chamber was opened, and a murmur of soft voices came in from the threshold. And there stepped within a slave bearing a lamp perfumed with amber, and a woman whose beauty was veiled came after her. And as she moved musk was scattered from her robes. And the women came nigh unto the bed of the hero heavy with wine and slumber. And he was amazed when he saw them. And when he had roused him somewhat he spake and said:

"Who are thou, and what is thy name and thy desire, and what seekest thou from me in the dark night?"

Then the Peri-faced answered him, saying, "I am Tahmineh, the daughter of the King of Samengan, the race of the leopard and the lion, and none of the princes of this earth are worthy of my hand, neither hath any man seen me unveiled. But my heart is torn with anguish, and my spirit is tossed with desire, for I have heard of thy deeds of prowess, and how thou fearest neither Deev nor lion, neither leopard nor crocodile, and how thy hand is swift to strike, and how thou didst venture alone into Mazinderan, and how wild asses are devoured of thee, and how the earth groaneth under the tread of thy feet, and how men perish at thy blows, and how even the eagle dareth not swoop down upon her prey when she beholdeth thy sword. These things and more have they told unto me, and mine eyes have yearned to look upon thy face. And now hath God brought thee within the gates of my father, and I am come to say unto thee that I am thine if thou wilt hear me, and if thou wilt not, none other will I espouse. And consider, O Pehliva, how that love has obscured mine understanding and withdrawn me from the bosom of discretion, yet peradventure God will grant unto me a son like to thee for strength and valour, to whom shall be given the empire of the world. And if thou wilt listen unto me, I will lead forth before thee Rakush thy steed, and I will place under thy feet the land of Samengan."

Now while this moon of beauty was yet speaking, Rustem regarded her. And he saw that she was fair, and that wisdom abode in her mind; and when he heard of Rakush, his spirit was decided within him, and he held that this adventure could not end save gloriously. So he sent a Mubid unto the King and demanded the hand of Tahmineh from her father. And the King, when he heard the news, was rejoiced, and gave his daughter unto the Pehliva, and they concluded an alliance according to custom and the rites. And all men, young and old, within the house and city of the King were glad at this alliance, and called down blessings upon Rustem.

Now Rustem, when he was alone with the Peri-faced, took from his arm an onyx that was known unto all the world. And he gave it to her, and said:

"Cherish this jewel, and if Heaven cause thee to give birth unto a daughter, fasten it within her locks, and it will shield her from evil; but if it be granted unto thee to bring forth a son, fasten it upon his arm, that he may wear it like his father. And he shall be strong as Keriman, of stature like unto Saum the son of Neriman, and of grace of speech like unto Zal, my father."

The Peri-faced, when she had heard these words, was glad in his presence. But when the day was passed there came in unto them the King her father, and he told Rustem how that tidings of Rakush were come unto his ears, and how that the courser would shortly be within the gates. And Rustem, when he heard it, was filled with longing after his steed, and when he knew that he was come he hastened forth to caress him. And with his own hands he fastened the saddle, and gave thanks unto Ormuzd, who had restored his joy between his hands. Then he knew that the time to depart was come. And he opened his arms and took unto his heart Tahmineh the fair of face, and he bathed her cheek with his tears and covered her hair with kisses. Then he flung him upon Rakush, and the swift-footed bare him quickly from out of her sight. And Tahmineh was sorrowful exceedingly, and Rustem too was filled with thoughts as he turned him back unto Zaboulistan. And he pondered this adventure in his heart, but to no man did he speak of what he had seen or done.

Now when nine moons had run their course there was born unto Tahmineh a son in the likeness of his father, a babe whose mouth was filled with smiles, wherefore men called him Sohrab. And when he numbered but one month he was like unto a child of twelve, and when he numbered five years he was skilled in arms and all the arts of war, and when ten years were rolled above his head there was none in the land that could resist him in the games of strength. Then he came before his mother and spake words of daring. And he said:

"Since I am taller and stouter than my peers, teach unto me my race and lineage, and what I shall say when men ask me the name of my sire. But if thou refuse an answer unto my demands, I will strike thee out from the rolls of the living."

When Tahmineh beheld the ardour of her son, she smiled in her spirit because that his fire was like to that of his father. And she opened her mouth and said:

"Hear my words, O my son, and be glad in thine heart, neither give way in thy spirit to anger. For thou art the offspring of Rustem, thou art descended from the seed of Saum and Zal, and Neriman was thy forefather. And since God made the world it hath held none like unto Rustem, thy sire."

Then she showed to him a letter written by the Pehliva, and gave to him the gold and jewels Rustem had sent at his birth. And she spake and said:

"Cherish these gifts with gratitude, for it is thy father who hath sent them. Yet remember, O my son, that thou close thy lips concerning these things; for Turan groaneth under the hand of Afrasiyab, and he is foe unto Rustem the glorious. If, therefore, he should learn of thee, he would seek to destroy the son for hatred of the sire. Moreover, O my boy, if Rustem learned that thou wert become a mountain of valour, perchance he would demand thee at my hands, and the sorrow of thy loss would crush the heart of thy mother."

But Sohrab replied, "Nought can be hidden upon earth for aye. To all men are known the deeds of Rustem, and since my birth be thus noble, wherefore hast thou kept it dark from me so long? I will go forth with an army of brave Turks and lead them unto Iran, I will cast Kai Kaous from off his throne, I will give to Rustem the crown of the Kaianides, and together we will subdue the land of Turan, and Afrasiyab shall be slain by my hands. Then will I mount the throne in his stead. But thou shalt be called Queen of Iran, for since Rustem is my father and I am his son no other kings shall rule in this world, for to us alone behoveth it to wear the crowns of might. And I pant in longing after the battlefield, and I desire that the world should behold my prowess. But a horse is needful unto me, a steed tall and strong of power to bear me, for it beseemeth me not to go on foot before mine enemies."

Now Tahmineh, when she had heard the words of this boy, rejoiced in her soul at his courage. So she bade the guardians of the flocks lead out the horses before Sohrab her son. And they did as she had bidden, and Sohrab surveyed the steeds, and tested their strength like as his father had done before him of old, and he bowed them under his hand, and he could not be satisfied. And thus for many days did he seek a worthy steed. Then one came before him and told of a foal sprung from Rakush, the swift of foot. When Sohrab heard the tidings he smiled, and bade that the foal be led before him. And he tested it and found it to be strong. So he saddled it and sprang upon its back, and cried, saying:

"Now that I own a horse like thee, the world shall be made dark to many."

Then he made ready for war against Iran, and the nobles and warriors flocked around him. And when all was in order Sohrab came before his grandsire and craved his counsel and his aid to go forth into the land of Iran and seek out his father. And the King of Samengan, when he heard these wishes, deemed them to be just, and he opened the doors of his treasures without stint and gave unto Sohrab of his wealth, for he was filled with pleasure at this boy. And he invested Sohrab with all the honours of a King, and he bestowed on him all the marks of his good pleasure.

Meantime a certain man brought news unto Afrasiyab that Sohrab was making ready an army to fall upon Iran, and to cast Kai Kaous from off his throne. And he told Afrasiyab how the courage and valour of Sohrab exceeded words. And Afrasiyab, when he heard this, hid not his contentment, and he called before him Human and Barman, the doughty. Then he bade them gather together an army and join the ranks of Sohrab, and he confided to them his secret purpose, but he enjoined them tell no man thereof. For he said:

"Into our hands hath it been given to settle the course of the world. For it is known unto me that Sohrab is sprung from Rustem the Pehliva, but from Rustem must it be hidden who it is that goeth out against him, then peradventure he will perish by the hands of this young lion, and Iran, devoid of Rustem, will fall a prey into my hands. Then we will subdue Sohrab also, and all the world will be ours. But if it be written that Sohrab fall under the hand of Tehemten, then the grief he shall endure when he shall learn that he hath slain his son will bring him to the grave for sorrow."

So spake Afrasiyab in his guile, and when he had done unveiling his black heart he bade the warriors depart unto Samengan. And they bare with them gifts of great price to pour before the face of Sohrab. And they bare also a letter filled with soft words. And in the letter Afrasiyab lauded Sohrab for his resolve, and told him how that if Iran be subdued the world would henceforth know peace, for upon his own head should he place the crown of the Kaianides; and Turan, Iran, and Samengan should be as one land.

When Sohrab had read this letter, and saw the gifts and the aid sent out to him, he rejoiced aloud, for he deemed that now none could withstand his might. So he caused the cymbals of departure to be clashed, and the army made them ready to go forth. Then Sohrab led them into the land of Iran. And their track was marked by desolation and destruction, for they spared nothing that they passed. And they spread fire and dismay abroad, and they marched on unstayed until they came unto the White Castle, the fortress wherein Iran put its trust.

Now the guardian of the castle was named Hujir, and there lived with him Gustahem the grave, but he was grown old, and could aid no longer save with his counsels. And there abode also his daughter Gurdafrid, a warlike maid, firm in the saddle, and practised in the fight. Now when Hujir beheld from afar a dusky cloud of armed men he came forth to meet them. And Sohrab, when he saw him, drew his sword, and demanded his name, and bade him prepare to meet his end. And he taunted him with rashness that he was come forth thus unaided to stand against a lion. But Hujir answered Sohrab with taunts again, and vowed that he would sever his head from his trunk and send it for a trophy unto the Shah. Yet Sohrab only smiled when he heard these words, and he challenged Hujir to come near. And they met in combat, and wrestled sore one with another, and stalwart were their strokes and strong; but Sohrab overcame Hujir as though he were an infant, and he bound him and sent him captive unto Human.

But when those within the castle learned that their chief was bound they raised great lamentation, and their fears were sore. And Gurdafrid, too, when she learned it, was grieved, but she was ashamed also for the fate of Hujir. So she took forth burnished mail and clad herself therein, and she hid her tresses under a helmet of Roum, and she mounted a steed of battle and came forth before the walls like to a warrior. And she uttered a cry of thunder, and flung it amid the ranks of Turan, and she defied the champions to come forth to single combat. And none came, for they beheld her how she was strong, and they knew not that it was a woman, and they were afraid. But Sohrab, when he saw it, stepped forth and said:

"I will accept thy challenge, and a second prize will fall into my hands."

Then he girded himself and made ready for the fight. And the maid, when she saw he was ready, rained arrows upon him with art, and they fell quick like hail, and whizzed about his head; and Sohrab, when he saw it, could not defend himself, and was angry and ashamed. Then he covered his head with his shield and ran at the maid. But she, when she saw him approach, dropped her bow and couched a lance, and thrust at Sohrab with vigour, and shook him mightily, and it wanted little and she would have thrown him from his seat. And Sohrab was amazed, and his wrath knew no bounds. Then he ran at Gurdafrid with fury, and seized the reins of her steed, and caught her by the waist, and tore her armour, and threw her upon the ground. Yet ere he could raise his hand to strike her, she drew her sword and shivered his lance in twain, and leaped again upon her steed. And when she saw that the day was hers, she was weary of further combat, and she sped back unto the fortress. But Sohrab gave rein unto his horse, and followed after her in his great anger. And he caught her, and seized her, and tore the helmet off her head, for he desired to look upon the face of the man who could withstand the son of Rustem. And lo! when he had done so, there rolled forth from the helmet coils of dusky hue, and Sohrab beheld it was a woman that had overcome him in the fight. And he was confounded. But when he had found speech he said:

"If the daughters of Iran are like to thee, and go forth unto battle, none can stand against this land."

Then he took his cord and threw it about her, and bound her in its snare, saying:

"Seek not to escape me, O moon of beauty, for never hath prey like unto thee fallen between my hands."

Then Gurdafrid, full of wile, turned unto him her face that was unveiled, for she beheld no other means of safety, and she said unto him:

"O hero without flaw, is it well that thou shouldest seek to make me captive, and show me unto the army? For they have beheld our combat, and that I overcame thee, and surely now they will gibe when they learn that thy strength was withstood by a woman. Better would it beseem thee to hide this adventure, lest thy cheeks have cause to blush because of me. Therefore let us conclude a peace together. The castle shall be thine, and all it holds; follow after me then, and take possession of thine own."

Now Sohrab, when he had listened, was beguiled by her words and her beauty, and he said:

"Thou dost wisely to make peace with me, for verily these walls could not resist my might."

And he followed after her unto the heights of the castle, and he stood with her before its gates. And Gustahem, when he saw them, opened the portal, and Gurdafrid stepped within the threshold, but when Sohrab would have followed after her she shut the door upon him. Then Sohrab saw that she had befooled him, and his fury knew no bounds. But ere he was recovered from his surprise she came out upon the battlements and scoffed at him, and counselled him to go back whence he was come; for surely, since he could not stand against a woman, he would fall an easy prey before Rustem, when the Pehliva should have learned that robbers from Turan were broken into the land. And Sohrab was made yet madder for her words, and he departed from the walls in his wrath, and rode far in his anger, and spread terror in his path. And he vowed that he would yet bring the maid into subjection.

In the meantime Gustahem the aged called before him a scribe, and bade him write unto Kai Kaous all that was come about, and how an army was come forth from Turan, at whose head rode a chief that was a child in years, a lion in strength and stature. And he told how Hujir had been bound, and how the fortress was like to fall into the hands of the enemy; for there were none to defend it save only his daughter and himself and he craved the Shah to come to their aid.

Albeit when the day had followed yet again upon the night, Sohrab made ready his host to fall upon the castle. But when he came near thereto he found it was empty, and the doors thereof stood open, and no warriors appeared upon its walls. And he was surprised, for he knew not that in the darkness the inmates were fled by a passage that was hidden under the earth. And he searched the building for Gurdafrid, for his heart yearned after her in love and he cried aloud:

"Woe, woe is me that this moon is vanished behind the clouds!"

Now when Kai Kaous had gotten the writing of Gustahem, he was sore afflicted and much afraid, and he called about him his nobles and asked their counsels. And he said:

"Who shall stand against this Turk? For Gustahem doth liken him in power unto Rustem, and saith he resembleth the seed of Neriman."

Then the warriors cried with one accord, "Unto Rustem alone can we look in this danger!"

And Kai Kaous hearkened to their voice, and he called for a scribe and dictated unto him a letter. And he wrote unto his Pehliva, and invoked the blessings of Heaven upon his head, and he told him all that was come to pass, and how new dangers threatened Iran, and how to Rustem alone could he look for help in his trouble. And he recalled unto Tehemten all that he had done for him in the days that were gone by, and he entreated him once again to be his refuge. And he said:

"When thou shalt receive this letter, stay not to speak the word that hangeth upon thy lips; and if thou bearest roses in thy hands, stop not to smell them, but haste thee to help us in our need."

Then Kai Kaous sent forth Gew with this writing unto Zaboulistan, and bade him neither rest nor tarry until he should stand before the face of Rustem. And he said—

"When thou hast done my behest, turn thee again unto me; neither abide within the courts of the Pehliva, nor linger by the roadside."

And Gew did as the Shah commanded, and took neither food nor rest till he set foot within the gates of Rustem. And Rustem greeted him kindly, and asked him of his mission; and when he had read the writing of the Shah, he questioned Gew concerning Sohrab. For he said:

"I should not marvel if such an hero arose in Iran, but that a warrior of renown should come forth from amid the Turks, I cannot believe it. But thou sayest none knoweth whence cometh this knight. I have myself a son in Samengan, but he is yet an infant, and his mother writeth to me that he rejoiceth in the sports of his age, and though he be like to become a hero among men, his time is not yet come to lead forth an army. And that which thou sayest hath been done; surely it is not the work of a babe. But enter, I pray thee, into my house, and we will confer together concerning this adventure."

Then Rustem bade his cooks make ready a banquet, and he feasted Gew, and troubled his head with wine, and caused him to forget cares and time. But when morn was come Gew remembered the commands of the Shah that he tarry not, but return with all speed, and he spake thereof to Rustem, and prayed him to make known his resolve. But Rustem spake, saying:

"Disquiet not thyself, for death will surely fall upon these men of
Turan. Stay with me yet another day and rest, and water thy lips that
are parched. For though this Sohrab be a hero like to Saum and Zal and
Neriman, verily he shall fall by my hands."

And he made ready yet another banquet, and three days they caroused without ceasing. But on the fourth Gew uprose with resolve, and came before Rustem girt for departure. And he said:

"It behoveth me to return, O Pehliva, for I bethink me how Kai Kaous is a man hard and choleric, and the fear of Sohrab weigheth upon his heart, and his soul burneth with impatience, and he hath lost sleep, and hath hunger and thirst on this account. And he will be wroth against us if we delay yet longer to do his behest."

Then Rustem said, "Fear not, for none on earth dare be angered with me."

But he did as Gew desired, and made ready his army, and saddled Rakush, and set forth from Zaboulistan, and a great train followed after him.

Now when they came nigh unto the courts of the Shah, the nobles came forth to meet them, and do homage before Rustem. And when they were come in, Rustem gat him from Rakush and hastened into the presence of his lord. But Kai Kaous, when he beheld him, was angry, and spake not, and his brows were knit with fury; and when Rustem had done obeisance before him, he unlocked the doors of his mouth, and words of folly escaped his lips. And he said:

"Who is Rustem, that he defieth my power and disregardeth my commands? If I had a sword within my grasp I would spilt his head like to an orange. Seize him, I command, and hang him upon the nearest gallows, and let his name be never spoken in my presence."

When he heard these words Gew trembled in his heart, but he said, "Dost thou set forth thy hand against Rustem?"

And the Shah when he heard it was beside himself, and he cried with a loud voice that Gew be hanged together with the other; and he bade Tus lead them forth. And Tus would have led them out, for he hoped the anger of the Shah would be appeased; but Rustem broke from his grasp and stood before Kai Kaous, and all the nobles were filled with fear when they saw his anger. And he flung reproaches at Kai Kaous, and he recalled to him his follies, and the march into Mazinderan and Hamaveran, and his flight into Heaven; and he reminded him how that but for Rustem he would not now be seated upon the throne of light. And he bade him threaten Sohrab the Turk with his gallows, and he said:

"I am a free man and no slave, and am servant alone unto God; and without Rustem Kai Kaous is as nothing, And the world is subject unto me, and Rakush is my throne, and my sword is my seal, and my helmet my crown. And but for me, who called forth Kai Kobad, thine eyes had never looked upon this throne. And had I desired it I could have sat upon its seat. But now am I weary of thy follies, and I will turn me away from Iran, and when this Turk shall have put you under his yoke I shall not learn thereof."

Then he turned him and strode from out the presence-chamber. And he sprang upon Rakush, who waited without, and he was vanished from before their eyes ere yet the nobles had rallied from their astonishment. And they were downcast and oppressed with boding cares, and they held counsel among themselves what to do; for Rustem was their mainstay, and they knew that, bereft of his arm and counsel, they could not stand against this Turk. And they blamed Kai Kaous, and counted over the good deeds that Rustem had done for him, and they pondered and spake long. And in the end they resolved to send a messenger unto Kai Kaous, and they chose from their midst Gudarz the aged, and bade him stand before the Shah. And Gudarz did as they desired, and he spake long and without fear, and he counted over each deed that had been done by Rustem; and he reproached the Shah with his ingratitude, and he said how Rustem was the shepherd, and how the flock could not be led without its leader. And Kai Kaous heard him unto the end, and he knew that his words were the words of reason and truth, and he was ashamed of that which he had done, and confounded when he beheld his acts thus naked before him. And he humbled himself before Gudarz, and said:

"That which thou sayest, surely it is right."

And he entreated Gudarz to go forth and seek Rustem, and bid him forget the evil words of his Shah, and bring him back to the succor of Iran. And Gudarz hastened forth to do as Kai Kaous desired, and he told the nobles of his mission, and they joined themselves unto him, and all the chiefs of Iran went forth in quest of Rustem. And when they had found him, they prostrated themselves into the dust before him, and Gudarz told him of his mission, and he prayed him to remember that Kai Kaous was a man devoid of understanding, whose thoughts flowed over like to new wine that fermenteth. And he said:

"Though Rustem be angered against the King, yet hath the land of Iran done no wrong that it should perish at his hands. Yet, if Rustem save it not, surely it will fall under this Turk."

But Rustem said, "My patience hath an end, and I fear none but God. What is this Kai Kaous that he should anger me? and what am I that I have need of him? I have not deserved the evil words that he spake unto me, but now will I think of them no longer, but cast aside all thoughts of Iran."

When the nobles heard these words they grew pale, and fear took hold on their hearts. But Gudarz, full of wisdom, opened his mouth, and said:

"O Pehliva! the land, when it shall learn of this, will deem that Rustem is fled before the face of this Turk; and when men shall believe that Tehemten is afraid, they will cease to combat, and Iran will be downtrodden at his hands. Turn thee not, therefore, at this hour from thy allegiance to the Shah, and tarnish not thy glory by this retreat, neither suffer that the downfall of Iran rest upon thy head. Put from thee, therefore, the words that Kai Kaous spake in his empty anger, and lead us forth to battle against this Turk. For it must not be spoken that Rustem feared to fight a beardless boy."

And Rustem listened, and pondered these words in his heart, and knew that they were good. But he said:

"Fear hath never been known of me, neither hath Rustem shunned the din of arms, and I depart not because of Sohrab, but because that scorn and insult have been my recompense."

Yet when he had pondered a while longer, he saw that he must return unto the Shah. So he did that which he knew to be right, and he rode till he came unto the gates of Kai Kaous, and he strode with a proud step into his presence.

Now when the Shah beheld Rustem from afar, he stepped down from off his throne and came before Pehliva, and craved his pardon for that which was come about. And he said how he had been angered because Rustem had tarried in his coming, and how haste was his birthright, and how he had forgotten himself in his vexation. But now was his mouth filled with the dust of repentance. And Rustem said:

"The world is the Shah's, and it behoveth thee to do as beseemeth thee best with thy servants. And until old age shall my loins be girt in fealty unto thee. And may power and majesty be thine for ever!"

And Kai Kaous answered and said, "O my Pehliva, may thy days be blessed unto the end!"

Then he invited him to feast with him, and they drank wine till far into the night, and held counsel together how they should act; and slaves poured rich gifts before Rustem, and the nobles rejoiced, and all was well again within the gates of the King.

Then when the sun had risen and clothed the world with love, the clarions of war were sounded throughout the city, and men made them ready to go forth in enmity before the Turks. And the legions of Persia came forth at the behest of their Shah, and their countless thousands hid the earth under their feet, and the air was darkened by their spears. And when they were come unto the plains where stood the fortress of Hujir, they set up their tents as was their manner. So the watchman saw them from the battlements, and he set up a great cry. And Sohrab heard the cry, and questioned the man wherefore he shouted; and when he learned that the enemy were come, he rejoiced, and demanded a cup of wine, and drank to their destruction. Then he called forth Human and showed him the army, and bade him be of good cheer, for he said that he saw within its ranks no hero of mighty mace who could stand against himself. So he bade his warriors to a banquet of wine, and he said that they would feast until the time was come to meet their foes in battle. And they did as Sohrab said.

Now when night had thrown her mantle over the earth, Rustem came before the Shah and craved that he would suffer him to go forth beyond the camp that he might see what manner of man was this stripling. And Kai Kaous granted his request, and said that it was worthy a Pehliva of renown. Then Rustem went forth disguised in the garb of a Turk, and he entered the castle in secret, and he came within the chamber where Sohrab held his feast. Now when he had looked upon the boy he saw that he was like to a tall cypress of good sap, and that his arms were sinewy and strong like to the flanks of a camel, and that his stature was that of a hero. And he saw that round about him stood brave warriors. And slaves with golden bugles poured wine before them, and they were all glad, neither did they dream of sorrow. Then it came about that while Rustem regarded them, Zindeh changed his seat and came nigh unto the spot where Rustem was watching. Now Zindeh was brother unto Tahmineh, and she had sent him forth with her son that he might point out to him his father, whom he alone knew of all the army, and she did it that harm might not befall if the heroes should meet in battle. Now Zindeh, when he had changed his seat, thought that he espied a watcher, and he strode toward the place where Rustem was hid, and he came before him and said—

"Who art thou? Come forth into the light that I may behold thy face."

But ere he could speak further, Rustem had lifted up his hand and struck him, and laid him dead upon the ground.

Now Sohrab, when he saw that Zindeh was gone out, was disquieted, and he asked of his slaves wherefore the hero returned not unto the banquet. So they went forth to seek him, and when they had found him in his blood, they came and told Sohrab what they had seen. But Sohrab would not believe it; so he ran to the spot and bade them bring torches, and all the warriors and singing girls followed after him. Then when Sohrab saw that it was true he was sore grieved; but he suffered not that the banquet be ended, for he would not that the spirits of his men be damped with pity. So they went back yet again to the feast.

Meanwhile Rustem returned him to the camp, and as he would have entered the lines he encountered Gew, who went around to see that all was safe. And Gew, when he saw a tall man clad In the garb of a Turk, drew his sword and held himself ready for combat. But Rustem smiled and opened his mouth, and Gew knew his voice, and came to him and questioned him what he did without in the darkness. And Rustem told him. Then he went before Kai Kaous also and related what he had seen, and how no man like unto Sohrab was yet come forth from amid the Turks. And he likened him unto Saum, the son of Neriman.

Now when the morning was come, Sohrab put on his armour. Then he went unto a height whence he could look down over the camp of the Iranians. And he took with him Hujir, and spake to him, saying:

"Seek not to deceive me, nor swerve from the paths of truth. For if thou reply unto my questions with sincerity, I will loosen thy bonds and give thee treasures; but if thou deceive me, thou shalt languish till death in thy chains."

And Hujir said, "I will give answer unto thee according to my knowledge."

Then Sohrab said, "I am about to question thee concerning the nobles whose camps are spread beneath our feet, and thou shalt name unto me those whom I point out. Behold yon tent of gold brocade, adorned with skins of leopard, before whose doors stand an hundred elephants of war. Within its gates is a throne of turquoise, and over it floateth a standard of violet with a moon and sun worked in its centre. Tell unto me now whose is this pavilion that standeth thus in the midst of the whole camp?"

And Hujir replied, "It pertaineth unto the Shah of Iran."

Then Sohrab said, "I behold on its right hand yet another tent draped in the colours of mourning, and above it floateth a standard whereon is worked an elephant."

And Hujir said, "It is the tent of Tus, the son of Nuder, for he beareth an elephant as his ensign."

Then Sohrab said, "Whose is the camp in which stand many warriors clad in rich armour? A flag of gold with a lion worked upon it waveth along its field."

And Hujir said, "It belongeth unto Gudarz the brave. And those who stand about it are his sons, for eighty men of might are sprung from his loins."

Then Sohrab said, "To whom belongeth the tent draped with green tissues? Before its doors is planted the flag of Kawah. I see upon its throne a Pehliva, nobler of mien than all his fellows, whose head striketh the stars. And beside him standeth a steed tall as he, and his standard showeth a lion and a writhing dragon."

When Hujir heard this question he thought within himself, "If I tell unto this lion the signs whereby he may know Rustem the Pehliva, surely he will fall upon him and seek to destroy him. It will beseem me better, therefore, to keep silent, and to omit his name from the list of the heroes." So he said unto Sohrab:

"This is some ally who is come unto Kai Kaous from far Cathay, and his name is not known unto me."

And Sohrab when he heard it was downcast, and his heart was sad that he could nowhere discover Rustem; and though it seemed unto him that he beheld the marks whereby his mother said that he would know him, he could not credit the words of his eyes against the words of Hujir. Still he asked yet again the name of the warrior, and yet again Hujir denied it unto him, for it was written that that should come to pass which had been decreed. But Sohrab ceased not from his questionings. And he asked:

"Who dwelleth beneath the standard with the head of a wolf?"

And Hujir said, "It is Gew, the son of Gudarz, who dwelleth within that tent, and men call him Gew the valiant."

Then Sohrab said, "Whose is the seat over which are raised awnings and brocades of Roum, that glisten with gold in the sunlight?"

And Hujir said, "It is the throne of Fraburz, the son of the Shah."

Then Sohrab said, "It beseemeth the son of a Shah to surround himself with such splendour."

And he pointed unto a tent with trappings of yellow that was encircled by flags of many colours. And he questioned of its owner.

And Hujir said, "Guraz the lion-hearted is master therein."

Then Sohrab, when he could not learn the tent of his father, questioned Hujir concerning Rustem, and he asked yet a third time of the green tent. Yet Hujir ever replied that he knew not the name of its master. And when Sohrab pressed him concerning Rustem, he said that Rustem lingered in Zaboulistan, for it was the feast of roses. But Sohrab refused to give ear unto the thought that Kai Kaous should go forth to battle without the aid of Rustem, whose might none could match. So he said unto Hujir:

"And thou show not unto me the tents of Rustem, I will strike thy head from off thy shoulders, and the world shall fade before thine eyes. Choose, therefore, the truth or thy life."

And Hujir thought within himself, "Though five score men cannot withstand Rustem when he be roused to battle-fury, my mind misgiveth me that he may have found his equal in this boy. And, for that the stripling is younger, it might come about that he subdue the Pehliva. What recketh my life against the weal of Iran? I will therefore abandon me into his hands rather than show unto him the marks of Rustem the Pehliva. So he said:

"Why seekest thou to know Rustem the Pehliva? Surely thou wilt know him in battle, and he shall strike thee dumb, and quell thy pride of youth. Yet I will not show him unto thee."

When Sohrab heard these words he raised his sword and smote Hujir, and made an end of him with a great blow. Then he made himself ready for fight, and leaped upon his steed of battle, and he rode till he came unto the camp of the Iranians, and he broke down the barriers with his spear, and fear seized upon all men when they beheld his stalwart form and majesty of mien and action. Then Sohrab opened his mouth, and his voice of thunder was heard even unto the far ends of the camp. And he spake words of pride, and called forth the Shah to do battle with him, and he sware with a loud voice that the blood of Zindeh should be avenged. Now when Sohrab's voice had run throughout the camp, confusion spread within its borders, and none of those who stood about the throne would accept his challenge for the Shah. And with one accord they said that Rustem was their sole support, and that his sword alone could cause the sun to weep. And Tus sped him within the courts of Rustem. And Rustem said:

"The hardest tasks doth Kai Kaous ever lay upon me."

But the nobles would not suffer him to linger, neither to waste time in words, and they buckled upon him his armour, and they threw his leopard-skin about him, and they saddled Rakush, and made ready the hero for the strife. And they pushed him forth, and called after him:

"Haste, haste, for no common combat awaiteth thee, for verily Ahriman standeth before us."

Now when Rustem was come before Sohrab, and beheld the youth, brave and strong, with a breast like unto Saum, he said to him:

"Let us go apart from hence, and step forth from out the lines of the armies."

For there was a zone between the camps that none might pass. And Sohrab assented to the demand of Rustem, and they stepped out into it, and made them ready for single combat. But when Sohrab would have fallen upon him, the soul of Rustem melted with compassion, and he desired to save a boy thus fair and valiant. So he said unto him:

"O young man, the air is warm and soft, but the earth is cold. I have pity upon thee, and would not take from thee the boon of life. Yet if we combat together, surely thou wilt fall by my hands, for none have withstood my power, neither men nor Deevs nor dragons. Desist, therefore, from this enterprise, and quit the ranks of Turan, for Iran hath need of heroes like unto thee."

Now while Rustem spake thus, the heart of Sohrab went out to him. And he looked at him wistfully, and said:

"O hero, I am about to put unto thee a question, and I entreat of thee that thou reply to me according to the truth. Tell unto me thy name, that my heart may rejoice in thy words, for it seemeth unto me that thou art none other than Rustem, the son of Zal, the son of Saum, the son of Neriman,"

But Rustem replied, "Thou errest, I am not Rustem, neither am I sprung from the race of Neriman. Rustem is a Pehliva, but I, I am a slave, and own neither a crown nor a throne,"

These words spake Rustem that Sohrab might be afraid when he beheld his prowess, and deem that yet greater might was hidden in the camp of his enemy. But Sohrab when he heard these words was sad, and his hopes that were risen so high were shattered, and the day that had looked so bright was made dark unto his eyes. Then he made him ready for the combat, and they fought, until their spears were shivered and their swords hacked like unto saws. And when all their weapons were bent, they betook them into clubs, and they waged war with these until they were broken. Then they strove until their mail was torn and their horses spent with exhaustion, and even then they could not desist, but wrestled with one another with their hands till that the sweat and blood ran down from their bodies. And they contended until their throats were parched and their bodies weary, and to neither was given the victory. They stayed them a while to rest, and Rustem thought within his mind how all his days he had not coped with such a hero. And it seemed to him that his contest with the White Deev had been as nought to this.

Now when they had rested a while they fell to again, and they fought with arrows, but still none could surpass the other. Then Rustem strove to hurl Sohrab from his steed, but it availed him naught, and he could shake him no more than the mountain can be moved from its seat. So they betook themselves again unto clubs, and Sohrab aimed at Rustem with might and smote him, and Rustem reeled beneath the stroke, and bit his lips in agony. Then Sohrab vaunted his advantage, and bade Rustem go and measure him with his equals; for though his strength be great, he could not stand against a youth. So they went their ways, and Rustem fell upon the men of Turan, and spread confusion far and wide among their ranks; and Sohrab raged along the lines of Iran, and men and horses fell under his hands. And Rustem was sad in his soul, and he turned with sorrow into his camp. But when he saw the destruction Sohrab had wrought his anger was kindled, and he reproached the youth, and challenged him to come forth yet again to single combat. But because that the day was far spent they resolved to rest until the morrow.

Then Rustem went before Kai Kaous and told him of this boy of valour, and he prayed unto Ormuzd that He would give him strength to vanquish his foe. Yet he made ready also his house lest he should fall in the fight, and he commanded that a tender message be borne unto Rudabeh, and he sent words of comfort unto Zal, his father. And Sohrab, too, in his camp lauded the might of Rustem, and he said how the battle had been sore, and how his mind had misgiven him of the issue. And he spake unto Human, saying:

"My mind is filled with thoughts of this aged man, mine adversary, for it would seem unto me that his stature is like unto mine, and that I behold about him the tokens that my mother recounted unto me. And my heart goeth out toward him, and I muse if it be Rustem, my father. For it behoveth me not to combat him. Wherefore, I beseech thee, tell unto me how this may be."

But Human answered and said, "Oft have I looked upon the face of Rustem in battle, and mine eyes have beheld his deeds of valour; but this man in no wise resembleth him, nor is his manner of wielding his club the same."

These things spake Human in his vileness, because that Afrasiyab had enjoined him to lead Sohrab into destruction. And Sohrab held his peace, but he was not wholly satisfied.

Now when the day had begun to lighten the sky and clear away the shadows, Rustem and Sohrab strode forth unto the midway spot that stretched between the armies. And Sohrab bare in his hands a mighty club, and the garb of battle was upon him; but his mouth was full of smiles, and he asked of Rustem how he had rested, and he said:

"Wherefore hast thou prepared thy heart for battle? Cast from thee, I beg, this mace and sword of vengeance, and let us doff our armour, and seat ourselves together in amity, and let wine soften our angry deeds. For it seemeth unto me that this conflict is impure. And if thou wilt listen to my desires, my heart shall speak to thee of love, and I will make the tears of shame spring up into thine eyes. And for this cause I ask thee yet again, tell me thy name, neither hide it any longer, for I behold that thou art of noble race. And it would seem unto me that thou art Rustem, the chosen one, the Lord of Zaboulistan, the son of Zal, the son of Saum the hero."

But Rustem answered, "O hero of tender age, we are not come forth to parley but to combat, and mine ears are sealed against thy words of lure. I am an old man, and thou art young, but we are girded for battle, and the Master of the world shall decide between us."

Then Sohrab said, "O man of many years, wherefore wilt thou not listen to the counsel of a stripling? I desired that thy soul should leave thee upon thy bed, but thou hast elected to perish in the combat. That which is ordained must be done, therefore let us make ready for the conflict."

So they made them ready, and when they had bound their steeds they fell upon each other, and the crash of their encounter was heard like thunder throughout the camps. And they measured their strength from the morning until the setting of the sun. And when the day was about to vanish, Sohrab seized upon Rustem by the girdle and threw him upon the ground, and kneeled upon him, and drew forth his sword from the scabbard, and would have severed his head from his trunk. Then Rustem knew that only wile could save him. So he opened his mouth and said:

"O young man, thou knowest not the customs of the combat. It is written in the laws of honour that he who overthroweth a brave man for the first time should not destroy him, but preserve him for fight a second time, then only is it given unto him to kill his adversary."

And Sohrab listened to Rustem's words of craft and stayed his hand, and he let the warrior go, and because that the day was ended he sought to fight no more, but turned him aside and chased the deer until the night was spent. Then came to him Human, and asked of the adventures of the day. And Sohrab told him how he had vanquished the tall man, and how he had granted him freedom. And Human reproached him with his folly, and said:

"Alas! young man, thou didst fall into a snare, for this is not the custom among the brave. And now perchance thou wilt yet fall under the hands of this warrior."

Sohrab was abashed when he heard the words of Human, but he said:

"Be not grieved, for in an hour we meet again in battle, and verily he will not stand a third time against my youthful strength."

Now while Sohrab was thus doing, Rustem was gone beside a running brook, and laved his limbs, and prayed to God in his distress. And he entreated of Ormuzd that He would grant him such strength that the victory must be his. And Ormuzd heard him, and gave to him such strength that the rock whereon Rustem stood gave way under his feet, because it had not power to bear him. Then Rustem saw it was too much, and he prayed yet again that part thereof be taken from him. And once more Ormuzd listened to his voice. Then when the time for combat was come, Rustem turned him to the meeting-place, and his heart was full of cares and his face of fears. But Sohrab came forth like a giant refreshed, and he ran at Rustem like to a mad elephant, and he cried with a voice of thunder:

"O thou who didst flee from battle, wherefore art thou come out once more against me? But I say unto thee, this time shall thy words of guile avail thee naught."

And Rustem, when he heard him, and looked upon him, was seized with misgiving, and he learned to know fear. So he prayed to Ormuzd that He would restore to him the power He had taken back. But he suffered not Sohrab to behold his fears, and they made them ready for the fight. And he closed upon Sohrab with all his new-found might, and shook him terribly, and though Sohrab returned his attacks with vigour, the hour of his overthrow was come. For Rustem took him by the girdle and hurled him unto the earth, and he broke his back like to a reed, and he drew forth his sword to sever his body. Then Sohrab knew it was the end, and he gave a great sigh, and writhed in his agony, and he said:

"That which is come about, it is my fault, and henceforward will my youth be a theme of derision among the people. But I sped not forth for empty glory, but I went out to seek my father; for my mother had told me by what tokens I should know him, and I perish for longing after him. And now have my pains been fruitless, for it hath not been given unto me to look upon his face. Yet I say unto thee, if thou shouldest become a fish that swimmeth in the depths of the ocean, if thou shouldest change into a star that is concealed in the farthest heaven, my father would draw thee forth from thy hiding-place, and avenge my death upon thee when he shall learn that the earth is become my bed. For my father is Rustem the Pehliva, and it shall be told unto him how that Sohrab his son perished in the quest after his face."

When Rustem heard these words his sword fell from out of his grasp, and he was shaken with dismay. And there broke from his heart a groan as of one whose heart was racked with anguish. And the earth became dark before his eyes, and he sank down lifeless beside his son. But when he had opened his eyes once more, he cried unto Sohrab in the agony of his spirit. And he said:

"Bearest thou about thee a token of Rustem, that I may know that the words which thou speakest are true? For I am Rustem the unhappy, and may my name be struck from the lists of men!"

When Sohrab heard these words his misery was boundless, and he cried:

"If thou art indeed my father, then hast thou stained thy sword in the life-blood of thy son. And thou didst it of thine obstinacy. For I sought to turn thee unto love, and I implored of thee thy name, for I thought to behold in thee the tokens recounted of my mother. But I appealed unto thy heart in vain, and now is the time gone by for meeting. Yet open, I beseech thee, mine armour and regard the jewel upon mine arm. For it is an onyx given unto me by my father, as a token whereby he should know me."

Then Rustem did as Sohrab bade him, and he opened his mail and saw the onyx; and when he had seen it he tore his clothes in his distress, and he covered his head with ashes. And the tears of penitence ran from his eyes, and he roared aloud in his sorrow. But Sohrab said:

"It is in vain, there is no remedy. Weep not, therefore, for doubtless it was written that this should be."

Now when the sun was set, and Rustem returned not to the camp, the nobles of Iran were afraid, and they went forth to seek him. And when they were gone but a little way they came upon Rakush, and when they saw that he was alone they raised a wailing, for they deemed that of a surety Rustem was perished. And they went and told Kai Kaous thereof, and he said:

"Let Tus go forth and see if this indeed be so, and if Rustem be truly fallen, let the drums call men unto battle that we may avenge him upon this Turk."

Now Sohrab, when he beheld afar off the men that were come out to seek
Rustem, turned to his father and said:

"I entreat of thee that thou do unto me an act of love. Let not the Shah fall upon the men of Turan, for they came not forth in enmity to him but to do my desire, and on my head alone resteth this expedition. Wherefore I desire not that they should perish when I can defend them no longer. As for me, I came like the thunder and I vanish like the wind, but perchance it is given unto us to meet again above."

Then Rustem promised to do the desires of Sohrab. And he went before the men of Iran, and when they beheld him yet alive they set up a great shout, but when they saw that his clothes were torn, and that he bare about him the marks of sorrow, they asked of him what was come to pass. Then he told them how he had caused a noble son to perish. And they were grieved for him, and joined in his wailing. Then he bade one among them to go forth into the camp of Turan, and deliver this message unto Human. And he sent word unto him, saying:

"The sword of vengeance must slumber in the scabbard. Thou art now leader of the host; return, therefore, whence thou camest, and depart across the river ere many days be fallen. As for me, I will fight no more, yet neither will I speak unto thee again, for thou didst hide from my son the tokens of his father, of thine iniquity thou didst lead him into this pit."

Then when he had thus spoken, Rustem turned him yet again to his son. And the nobles went with him, and they beheld Sohrab, and heard his groans of pain. And Rustem, when he saw the agony of the boy, was beside himself, and would have made an end of his own life, but the nobles suffered it not, and stayed his hand. Then Rustem remembered him that Kai Kaous had a balm mighty to heal. And he prayed Gudarz go before the Shah, and bear unto him a message of entreaty from Rustem his servant. And he said:

"O Shah, if ever I have done that which was good in thy sight, if ever my hand have been of avail unto thee, recall now my benefits in the hour of my need, and have pity upon my dire distress. Send unto me, I pray thee, of the balm that is among thy treasures, that my son may be healed by thy grace."

And Gudarz outstripped the whirlwind in his speed to bear unto the Shah this message. But the heart of Kai Kaous was hardened, and he remembered not the benefits he had received from Rustem, and he recalled only the proud words that he had spoken before him. And he was afraid lest the might of Sohrab be joined to that of his father, and that together they prove mightier than he, and turn upon him. So he shut his ear unto the cry of his Pehliva. And Gudarz bore back the answer of the Shah, and he said:

"The heart of Kai Kaous is flinty, and his evil nature is like to a bitter gourd that ceaseth never to bear fruit. Yet I counsel thee, go before him thyself, and see if peradventure thou soften this rock."

And Rustem in his grief did as Gudarz counselled, and turned to go before the Shah, but he was not come before him ere a messenger overtook him, and told unto him that Sohrab was departed from the world. Then Rustem set up a wailing such as the earth hath not heard the like of, and he heaped reproaches upon himself, and he could not cease from plaining the son that was fallen by his hands. And he cried continually:

"I that am old have killed my son. I that am strong have uprooted this mighty boy. I have torn the heart of my child, I have laid low the head of a Pehliva."

Then he made a great fire, and flung into it his tent of many colours, and his trappings of Roum, his saddle, and his leopard-skin, his armour well tried in battle, and all the appurtenances of his throne. And he stood by and looked on to see his pride laid in the dust. And he tore his flesh, and cried aloud:

"My heart is sick unto death."

Then he commanded that Sohrab be swathed in rich brocades of gold worthy his body. And when they had enfolded him, and Rustem learned that the Turanians had quitted the borders, he made ready his army to return unto Zaboulistan. And the nobles marched before the bier, and their heads were covered with ashes, and their garments were torn. And the drums of the war-elephants were shattered, and the cymbals broken, and the tails of the horses were shorn to the root, and all the signs of mourning were abroad.

Now Zal, when he saw the host returning thus in sorrow, marvelled what was come about; for he beheld Rustem at their head, wherefore he knew that the wailing was not for his son. And he came before Rustem and questioned him. And Rustem led him unto the bier and showed unto him the youth that was like in feature and in might unto Saum the son of Neriman, and he told him all that was come to pass, and how this was his son, who in years was but an infant, but a hero in battle. And Rudabeh too came out to behold the child, and she joined her lamentations unto theirs. Then they built for Sohrab a tomb like to a horse's hoof, and Rustem laid him therein in a chamber of gold perfumed with ambergris. And he covered him with brocades of gold. And when it was done, the house of Rustem grew like to a grave, and its courts were filled with the voice of sorrow. And no joy would enter into the heart of Rustem, and it was long before he held high his head.

Meantime the news spread even unto Turan, and there too did all men grieve and weep for the child of prowess that was fallen in his bloom. And the King of Samengan tore his vestments, but when his daughter learned it she was beside herself with affliction. And Tahmineh cried after her son, and bewailed the evil fate that had befallen him, and she heaped black earth upon her head, and tore her hair, and wrung her hands, and rolled on the ground in her agony. And her mouth was never weary of plaining. Then she caused the garments of Sohrab to be brought unto her, and his throne and his steed. And she regarded them, and stroked the courser and poured tears upon his hoofs, and she cherished the robes as though they yet contained her boy, and she pressed the head of the palfrey unto her breast, and she kissed the helmet that Sohrab had worn. Then with his sword she cut off the tail of his steed and set fire unto the house of Sohrab, and she gave his gold and jewels unto the poor. And when a year had thus rolled over her bitterness, the breath departed from out her body, and her spirit went forth after Sohrab her son.



One of the most picturesque myths of ancient days is that told by
Jacques de Voragine, in his "Legenda Aurea":

"The seven sleepers were natives of Ephesus. The Emperor Decius, who persecuted the Christians, having come to Ephesus, ordered the erection of temples in the city, that all might come and sacrifice before him; and he commanded that the Christians should be sought out and given their choice, either to worship the idols, or to die. So great was the consternation in the city, that the friend denounced his friend, the father his son, and the son his father.

"Now there were in Ephesus seven Christians, Maximian, Malchus, Marcian, Dionysius, John, Serapion, and Constantine by name. These refused to sacrifice to the idols, and remained in their houses praying and fasting. They were accused before Decius, and they confessed themselves to be Christians. However, the Emperor gave them a little time to consider what line they would adopt. They took advantage of this reprieve to dispense their goods among the poor, and they retired, all seven, to Mount Celion, where they determined to conceal themselves.

"One of their number, Malchus, in the disguise of a physician, went to the town to obtain victuals. Decius, who had been absent from Ephesus for a little while, returned, and gave orders for the seven to be sought. Malchus, having escaped from the town, fled, full of fear, to his comrades, and told them of the Emperor's fury. They were much alarmed; and Malchus handed them the loaves he had bought, bidding them eat, that, fortified by the food, they might have courage in the time of trial. They ate, and then, as they sat weeping and speaking to one another, by the will of God they fell asleep.

"The pagans sought everywhere, but could not find them, and Decius was greatly irritated at their escape. He had their parents brought before him, and threatened them with death if they did not reveal the place of concealment; but they could only answer that the seven young men had distributed their goods to the poor, and that they were quite ignorant as to their whereabouts.

"Decius, thinking it possible that they might be hiding in a cavern, blocked up the mouth with stones, that they might perish of hunger."

* * * * *

"Three hundred and sixty years passed, and in the thirtieth year of the reign of Theodosius, there broke forth a heresy denying the resurrection of the dead.

"Now, it happened that an Ephesian was building a stable on the side of Mount Celion, and finding a pile of stones handy, he took them for his edifice, and thus opened the mouth of the cave. Then the seven sleepers awoke, and it was to them as if they had slept but a single night. They began to ask Malchus what decision Decius had given concerning them.

"'He is going to hunt us down, so as to force us to sacrifice to the idols,' was his reply. 'God knows,' replied Maximian, 'we shall never do that.' Then exhorting his companions, he urged Malchus to go back to the town to buy some more bread, and at the same time to obtain fresh information. Malchus took five coins and left the cavern. On seeing the stones he was filled with astonishment; however, he went on toward the city; but what was his bewilderment, on approaching the gate, to see over it a cross! He went to another gate, and there he beheld the same sacred sign; and so he observed it over each gate of the city. He believed that he was suffering from the effects of a dream. Then he entered Ephesus, rubbing his eyes, and he walked to a baker's shop. He heard people using our Lord's name, and he was the more perplexed. 'Yesterday, no one dared pronounce the name of Jesus, and now it is on every one's lips. Wonderful! I can hardly believe myself to be in Ephesus.' He asked a passer-by the name of the city, and on being told that it was Ephesus, he was thunderstruck. Now he entered a baker's shop, and laid down his money. The baker, examining the coin, inquired whether he had found a treasure, and began to whisper to some others in the shop. The youth, thinking that he was discovered, and that they were about to conduct him to the emperor, implored them to let him alone, offering to leave loaves and money if he might only be suffered to escape. But the shop-men seizing him, said, 'Whoever you are, you have found a treasure; show us where it is, that we may share it with you, and then we will hide you.' Malchus was too frightened to answer. So they put a rope round his neck, and drew him through the streets into the marketplace. The news soon spread that the young man had discovered a great treasure, and there was presently a vast crowd about him. He stoutly protested his innocence. No one recognised him, and his eyes, ranging over the faces which surrounded him, could not see one which he had known, or which was in the slightest degree familiar to him.

"St. Martin, the bishop, and Antipater, the governor, having heard of the excitement, ordered the young man to be brought before them, along with the bakers.

"The bishop and the governor asked him where he had found the treasure, and he replied that he had found none, but that the few coins were from his own purse. He was next asked whence he came. He replied that he was a native of Ephesus, 'if this be Ephesus.'

"'Send for your relations—your parents, if they live here,' ordered the governor.

"'They live here certainly,' replied the youth; and he mentioned their names. No such names were known in the town. Then the governor exclaimed, 'How dare you say that this money belonged to your parents when it dates back three hundred and seventy-seven years, and is as old as the beginning of the reign of Decius, and it is utterly unlike our modern coinage? Do you think to impose on the old men and sages of Ephesus? Believe me, I shall make you suffer the severities of the law till you show where you made the discovery.'

"'I implore you,' cried Malchus, 'in the name of God, answer me a few questions, and then I will answer yours. Where is the Emperor Decius gone to?'

"The bishop answered,'My son, there is no emperor of that name; he who was thus called died long ago.'

"Malchus replied, 'All I hear perplexes me more and more. Follow me, and I will show you my comrades, fled with me into a cave of Mount Celion, only yesterday, to escape the cruelty of Decius. I will lead you to them.'

"The bishop turned to the governor. 'The hand of God is here,' he said. Then they followed, and a great crowd after them. And Malchus entered first into the cavern to his companions, and the bishop after him. And there they saw the martyrs seated in the cave, with their faces fresh and blooming as roses; so all fell down and glorified God. The bishop and the governor sent notice to Theodosius, and he hurried to Ephesus. All the inhabitants met him and conducted him to the cavern. As soon as the saints beheld the Emperor, their faces shone like the sun, and the Emperor gave thanks unto God, and embraced them, and said, 'I see you, as though I saw the Saviour restoring Lazarus.' Maximian replied, 'Believe us! for the faith's sake, God has resuscitated us before the great resurrection day, in order that you may believe firmly in the resurrection of the dead. For as the child is in its mother's womb living and not suffering, so have we lived without suffering, fast asleep.' And having thus spoken, they bowed their heads, and their souls returned to their Maker. The Emperor, rising, bent over them and embraced them weeping. He gave them orders for golden reliquaries to be made, but that night they appeared to him in a dream, and said that hitherto they had slept in the earth, and that in the earth they desired to sleep on till God should raise them again."



Of all the nobles of Britain none was so strong as Rohand, Earl of Warwick, Rockingham, and Oxford. He made just laws, and made them to be obeyed; nor king nor baron in the land could buy his favour with fine words or gold, or shield the wrong-doer from his punishment. Passing fair was Felice, his daughter, like some stately marble shaft of perfect mould; haughty was she as the great gerfalcon which spurns the earth and towers up into the noon to look the burning sun in the face. Wise masters, hoar with learning, came out from Toulouse to teach her the seven arts and sciences, until there was not her like for wisdom anywhere.

Earl Rohand had a favourite page, named Guy, son of his just and upright steward, Segard of Wallingford; a brave and fearless youth, of strong and well-knit frame, whom Heraud of Ardenne, his tutor, taught betimes to just with lance and sword, and how to hunt with hawk and hound by wood and river side.

It was the feast of Pentecost, when by old custom every maiden chose her love and every knight his leman. Guy, clad in a new silken dress, being made cup-bearer at the banquet table, saw for the first time the beautiful Felice, as, kneeling, he offered the golden ewer and basin and demask napkin to wash her finger-tips before the banquet. Thenceforward he became so love-stricken with her beauty that he heard not the music of the glee-men, saw neither games nor tourneys, but dured in a dream, like one crazed, all through the fourteen days festival. Knights and fair dames praised his handsome figure and well grown sinewy limbs; he heeded not—but once Felice gave him a courteous word as he offered her the wine-cup; he blushed and stammered and spilled the wine, and was rebuked for awkwardness.

The feast being over, Guy went away to his chamber, and there fell into a great love-sickness. Hopeless it seemed for a vassal to love one so far above him as his sovereign's daughter; so he gave himself up to despair, and his disease grew so sore that the most skilful leeches of Earl Rohand's court were unable to cure his complaint. In vain they let him of blood or gave him salve or potion. "There is no medicine of any avail," the leeches said. Guy murmured, "Felice: if one might find and bring Felice to me, I yet might live." "Felice?" the leeches said among themselves, and shook their heads, "It is not in the herbal. Felice? Felix? No, there is no plant of that name."

"No herb is Felice," sighing answered Guy, "but a flower—the fairest flower that grows."

"He is light-headed," they said. "The flower Felice? He seeks perchance the flower of happiness, growing in the garden of the blessed, away in Paradise. He is surely near his end."

"It is truly Paradise where Felice is," Guy answered,

"You hear? You see," the leeches whispered one to another. "Come, let us go; for we can be of no more good."

Night came, and being left alone Guy thought to rise up from his bed and drag himself into the presence of his mistress, there to die at her feet. So weak was he become, he scarce could stand, but fainted many times upon the way.

Now Felice had heard many whisperings how Guy was dying for love of her, since her handmaidens had compassion on the youth, and sought to turn her heart toward him; but Felice was in no mind to have a page for a lover. Howbeit on this very night she had a dream, wherein being straitly enjoined to entreat the youth with kindness as the only way to save a life which would hereafter be of great service to the world, she arose and came to a bower in the garden where Guy lay swooning on the floor. Felice would not stoop to help him, but her maids having restored him to his senses, Guy fell at her feet and poured out all his love before her. Never a word answered Felice, but stood calmly regarding him with haughty coldness. Then said one of her maids, "O lady! were I the richest king's daughter in the land, I could not turn away from love so strong and true." Felice rebuked her, saying, "Could not? Silly child, see that your soft heart do not prove your shame." So with a tingling cheek the maid withdrew abashed. Then said Felice to Guy, "Why kneel there weeping like a girl? Get up, and show if there is the making of a man in you. Hear what I have to say. The swan mates not with the swallow, and I will never wed beneath me. Prove that your love is not presumption. Show yourself my peer. For I could love a brave and valiant knight before whose spear men bowed as to a king, nor would I ask his parentage, prouder far to know that my children took their nobleness from a self-made nobleman. But a weeping, love-sick page! No! Go, fight and battle—show me something that you do that I can love. Meantime I look for such a lover, and I care not if his name be Guy the page."

Then Guy took heart and said, "Lady, I ask no better boon than to have you for witness of what love for you can do."

Felice answered, "Deeds, not words. Be strong and valiant. I will watch and I will wait."

Then Guy took leave of his mistress and in the course of a few days regained his health, to the surprise of all the court, but more especially of the leeches who had given him over for dead, and coming to Earl Rohand, entreated him to make him a knight. To this Earl Rohand having agreed, Guy was knighted at the next feast of Holy Trinity with a dubbing worthy a king's son; and they brought him rich armour, and a good sword and spear and shield, and a noble steed with costly trappings, together with rich silken cloaks and mantles fur-trimmed, and of great price. Then bidding farewell to Segard his father, Sir Guy left Warwick with Heraud his tutor, and Sir Thorold and Sir Urry for company, and having reached the nearest seaport, set sail for Normandy in search of adventures wherein to prove his valour.

They came to Rouen, and whilst they tarried at an inn a tournament was proclaimed in honour of the fair Blancheflor, daughter to Regnier, Emperor of Germany, and the prize was the hand of the Princess, a white horse, two white hounds, and a white falcon. So Sir Guy and his companions rode into the lists, where was a great company of proven knights and champions. Three days they tourneyed, but none could withstand Sir Guy's strong arm. He overthrew Otho Duke of Pavia, Sir Garie the Emperor's son, Regnier Duke of Sessoyne, the Duke of Lowayne, and many more, till not a man was left who dared encounter him; and being master of the field, he was adjudged the prize. The horse and hounds and falcon he sent by two messengers to Felice in England as trophies of his valour. Then he knelt before the beautiful Princess Blancheflor and said, "Lady, I battle in honour of my mistress, the peerless Felice, and am her servant," whereat the Emperor and his daughter, admiring his constancy, loaded him with rich presents and allowed him to depart.

Sir Guy then travelled through Spain, Lombardy, and Almayne, into far lands; and wheresoever a tournament was held, there he went and justed, coming out victor from them all; till the fame of his exploits spread over Christendom. So a year passed, and he returned to England unconquered, and renowned as the most valiant knight of his time. A while he sojourned in London with King Athelstan, who rejoiced to do him honour; then he came to Warwick, where he received from Earl Rohand a princely welcome. Then Sir Guy hastened to Felice.

"Fair mistress," said he, "have I now won your love? You have heard my deeds, how I have travelled all through Christendom, and have yet found no man stand against my spear. I have been faithful in my love, Felice, as well as strong in fight. I might have wedded with the best. King's daughters and princesses were prizes in the tournaments; but I had no mind for any prize but thee. Say, is it mine, sweet mistress?"

Then Felice kissed her knight and answered, "Right nobly have you won my love and worship, brave Sir Guy. You are more than my peer; you are become my sovereign; and my love pays willing homage to its lord. But for this same cause I will not wed you yet. I will not have men point at me and say, 'There is a woman who for selfish love's sake, wedded the knight of most renown in Christendom ere yet he did his bravest deeds-drew him from his level to her own-made him lay by his sword and spear for the slothful pleasures of a wedded life, and dwarfed a brave man down to a soft gentleman.' Nay, dear one, I can wait, and very proudly, knowing myself your chiefest prize. But seek not to possess the prize too soon, lest your strivings for renown, being aimless, should wax feeble. It is because I love you that I hold your fame far dearer than my love. Go rather forth again, travel through heathen lands, defend the weak against the strong; go, battle for the right, show yourself the matchless knight you are; and God and my love go with thee."

Then Sir Guy got him ready for his new quest. Earl Rohand tried to persuade him to remain at home, as likewise did his father Segard; and his mother, weeping, prayed him stay. She said, "Another year it may not fare so well with thee, my son. Leave well alone. Felice is cold and proud and cares not for thee, else she would not risk thy life again. What is it to her? If thou wert slain she would get another lover; we have no more sons."

Yet would not Sir Guy be turned from his purpose, but embarked with his companions, Sir Heraud, Sir Thorold, and Sir Urry, for Flanders. Thence he rode through Spain, Germany, and Lombardy, and bore away the prize at every tournament. But coming into Italy, he got a bad wound jousting at Beneventum, which greatly weakened him.

Duke Otho of Pavia, whom Sir Guy overthrew in his first tournament at Rouen, thought now to be avenged on him. So he set a chosen knight, Earl Lombard, with fifteen other knights to lie in ambush in a wood and slay Sir Guy; and as Sir Guy, with his three companions, came ambling slowly through the wood, he smarting and well-nigh faint with his wound, the men in ambush broke out from their concealment and called on him to yield. The danger made him forget his pain, and straightway he dressed his shield and spurred among them.

Sir Heraud, Sir Thorold, and Sir Urry killed the three first knights they rode against. Then Earl Lombard slew Sir Urry; and at the same time Hugo, nephew to Duke Otho, laid Sir Thorold dead at his horse's feet. Then only Sir Guy and Sir Heraud being left to fight, Sir Guy attacked Earl Lombard and smote him to the heart, whilst Sir Heraud chased Hugo, fleeing like a hound, and drove his spear throughout his body. Thus were Sir Urry and Sir Thorold avenged. But one of the felon knights, called Sir Gunter, smote Sir Heraud a mighty stroke when he was off his guard, and hewed his shield and coat of mail in pieces, and Sir Heraud fell to the earth covered with blood and lay as dead.

Thereupon Sir Guy's anger waxed furious at his master's death; and he spurred his horse so that fire rose from under its feet, and with one blow of his sword cleft Sir Gunter from his helmet to the pummel of his saddle. As for the other knights he slew them all except Sir Guichard, who fled on his swift steed to Pavia, and got back to Duke Otho.

Heavily Sir Guy grieved for the loss of his three friends, but most of all for his dear master Sir Heraud. He sought about the wood until he found a hermit. To him he gave a good steed, charging him to bury the bodies of Sir Urry and Sir Thorold. From Sir Heraud's body he would not part. Lifting the old knight to his arms, he laid him across his horse, and led the steed by the bridle-rein till they came to an abbey, where he left the body with the abbot, promising rich presents in return for giving it sumptuous burial with masses and chants. But Sir Guy departed and hid himself in a hermit's cave away from the malice of Duke Otho, until his wound should be healed.

Now there was in the abbey whither Heraud's body was taken, a monk well skilled in leech-craft, who knew the virtues of all manner of grasses and herbs. And this monk, finding by his craft that life still flickered in the body, nursed and tended it; and after a long while Sir Heraud was well enough to travel. Disguised as a palmer he came into Burgundy, and there, to his great joy, found Sir Guy, who had come thither meaning to take his way back to England. But they lingered still, till Heraud should grow stronger, and so it fell out that they came to St. Omers. There they heard how the Emperor Regnier had come up against Segwin, Duke of Lavayne, laid waste his land, and besieged him in his strong city Seysone, because he had slain Sadoc, the Emperor's cousin, in a tournament. But when Sir Guy learned that Sadoc had first provoked Duke Segwin, and brought his death upon himself, he determined to help Segwin against his sovereign the Emperor Regnier. He therefore gathered fifty knights together with Heraud, and coming secretly at night to the city of Seysone, was let in at a postern gate without the enemy being aware. In the morning after mass they made a sally against their foes, which numbered thirty thousand strong, and routed them, taking many noble prisoners. Three times the Emperor came against the Greeks, each time with a new army larger than before. Twice did Sir Guy vanquish the host, and drive them from the walls. The third time he took Sir Gaire, the Emperor's son, prisoner, and carried him into the city. Then the Emperor Regnier determined, since he could not take the place by assault, to beleaguer it, and starve the town into surrender. And it was so that, while his army was set down before the walls, the Emperor hunted alone in a wood hard by, and Sir Guy, meeting him there, gathered a branch of olive tree, and came bending to the Emperor, saying, "God save you, gentle sire. Duke Segwin sendeth me to make his peace with you. He will yield you all his lands and castles in burg and city, and hold them of you henceforth in vassalage, but he now would have your presence in the city to a feast." So the Emperor was forced to go with him into the city as a prisoner, albeit he was served with the humility due to a sovereign both by Sir Guy and Duke Segwin's knights. Sir Gaire and the other captive nobles came also and prayed for peace with Duke Segwin, for they had been so well treated that they felt nothing but the truest friendship for their captor. So it befell when the Emperor found himself feasting in the enemy's castle, surrounded by the flower of his own knights and nobles, and Duke Segwin and his band serving them humbly at table as though they had been servants in place of masters, he was touched by their generosity, and willingly agreed to a free and friendly peace. And this was celebrated by the Emperor giving Duke Segwin his niece to wife, whilst the Duke of Saxony wedded Duke Segwin's sister amid great rejoicings.

Now after this, learning that Ernis, Emperor of Greece, was besieged in Constantinople his capital by the Saracens, Sir Guy levied an army of a thousand knights and went to his assistance. Well pleased was Ernis at so timely a succor, and he promised to reward Sir Guy by making him heir to the throne and giving him the hand of his only daughter the beautiful Loret. Then Sir Guy led the army forth from the city against the Soudan and his host, and defeated them so badly that for some days they were unable to rally their men for another encounter.

In the meantime, one of Sir Guy's knights named Sir Morgadour fell in love with the Princess Loret, and being envious of Sir Guy's achievements as well as jealous of such a rival, he sought how to embroil him with the Emperor and compass his disgrace. Wherefore one day when the Emperor Ernis was gone a-rivering with his hawks, Sir Morgadour challenged Sir Guy to play a game of chess in the Princess Loret's chamber. They played there, Sir Guy not thinking of treachery. But by-and-by the Princess entered, and Sir Morgadour after greeting her took his leave quickly and came to the Emperor Ernis, telling him how Sir Guy was alone in the chamber with his daughter. Ernis, however, paid little heed to the tale, for he said: "Well, and what of it? Loret is his promised bride, and Sir Guy is a good true knight. Away with your tales!" But Sir Morgadour was not to be baffled, so he went to Sir Guy and said: "Behold how little trust is to be placed in a king! Here is the Emperor Ernis mad wroth to hear you were alone with the Princess Loret, and swears he will have your life." Then Sir Guy in great anger summoned his knights, and was going over to the Saracens, when, on his way, he met the Emperor, who told him of the malice of Sir Morgadour and all was made plain.

But now the Saracens coming anew against the city, Sir Guy went forth to meet them with many engines upon wheels which threw great stones quarried from a hill. Sir Guy and his army again defeated the Saracens, insomuch that a space of fifteen acres was covered so thick with dead that a man might not walk between, whilst the pile of slain around Sir Guy reached breast high. So the Soudan and his host withdrew to their camps.

Then Sir Morgadour bethought him of another wile. The Soudan had sworn to kill every Christian found in his camp, without regard to flag of truce or ambassage. So Sir Morgadour persuaded Ernis to send Sir Guy to the Soudan saying, that, since the war seemed likely to come to no speedy issue, it should be settled by single combat between two champions chosen from the Christian and the Saracen hosts. The counsel seemed good to Ernis, but yet he liked not to risk his son-in-law's life; wherefore he called his Parliament together and asked for some bold knight to go and bear this message. When all the others held their peace, Sir Guy demanded to be sent upon the business, neither could the prayers and entreaties of Ernis cause him to forego the enterprise. He clad himself in iron hose and a trusty hauberk, set a helm of steel, gold-circled, on his head, and having girt his sword about him, leapt on his steed without so much as touching stirrup, and rode up to the Soudan's pavilion. He well knew it from the rest, since on the top thereof flashed a great carbuncle stone.

There were feasting the Soudan, ten kings, and many barons, when Sir Guy walked into the pavilion and delivered his message with great roughness of speech. "Seize him and slay him!" cried the Soudan. But Sir Guy cut his way through his assailants and rushing on the Soudan cut off his head; and while he stooped to pick up the trophy with his left hand, with his right he slew six Saracens, then fought his passage past them all to the tent door, and leapt upon his horse. But the whole Saracen host being roused he never would have got back for all his bravery, but that Heraud within the city saw in a dream the danger he was in, and assembling the Greek army and Sir Guy's knights, came to his rescue and put the Saracens to flight. Then after the battle, Sir Guy came in triumph to Constantinople and laid the Soudan's head at the feet of the Emperor Ernis.

Ernis now, being at peace from his enemies, would take Sir Guy through his realms. On their way they saw a dragon fighting a lion, and the lion having much the worst of the combat, Sir Guy must needs go and fight the dragon. After a hard battle he laid the monster dead at his feet, and the lion came and licked the hands of his deliverer, and would in no wise depart from his side.

Soon afterward the Emperor Ernis gathered a great company of princes, dukes, earls, barons, bishops, abbots, and priors to the wedding feast, and in presence of them all he gave Sir Guy to be ruler over half the kingdom, and led forth the Princess Loret to be his bride.

But when Sir Guy saw the wedding-ring, his old love came to his mind, and he bethought him of Felice. "Alas!" he cried, "Felice the bright and beautiful, my heart misgives me of forgetting thee. None other maid shall ever have my love." Then he fell into a swoon and when he came to himself he pleaded sudden sickness. So the marriage was put off, to the great distress of Ernis and his daughter Loret, and Sir Guy gat him to an Inn. Heraud tended him there, and learned how it was for the sake of Felice that Guy renounced so fair a bride, dowered with so rich a kingdom. But after a fortnight, when he could no longer feign illness because of the watchfullness of the Emperor and the Princess after his health, he was forced to return to court, and delay his marriage from day to day by one excuse and another, until at length fortune delivered him from the strait. The lion which Sir Guy had tamed was used to roam about the palace, and grew so gentle that none feared him and none sought him harm. But Sir Morgadour, being sore vexed to think that all his plans against Sir Guy had failed, determined to wreak his spite upon the lion. He therefore watched until he found the lion asleep within an arbour, and then wounded him to death with his sword. The faithful beast dragged himself so far as Sir Guy's chamber, licked his master's hands, and fell dead at his feet. But a little maid which had espied Sir Morgadour told Sir Guy who had slain his lion. Then Sir Guy went forth in quest of Sir Morgadour, and fought with him and slew him. He had forgiven the wrongs against himself, since he outwitted them; but he was fain to avenge his faithful favourite. Now Sir Morgadour was steward to the German Emperor Regnier. So Sir Guy showed Ernis that if he remained longer at his court, Regnier would surely make war on Greece to avenge his steward's death. Wherefore with this excuse he took his departure and set sail with Heraud in the first ship he could find. They landed in Germany, and visited the Emperor Regnier without telling anything about his steward's death. Then they came to Lorraine.

As Sir Guy took his way alone through a forest, having sent his servants on to prepare a place for him at an inn, he heard the groaning of a man in pain, and turning his horse that way, found a knight sore wounded, and like to die. This knight was named Sir Thierry, and served the Duke of Lorraine. He told how he was riding through the wood with his lady, Osile, when fifteen armed men beset him, and forcibly carried off the lady to take her to Duke Otho of Pavia, his rival Then said Sir Guy, "I also have a score to settle with Otho, the felon duke." Then he took Sir Thierry's arms and armour, and went in pursuit of the ravishers whom he soon overtook, and having slain every one, he set the lady on his steed and returned to the place where he had left the wounded knight. But now Sir Thierry was gone; for four knights of Duke Otho's band had come and carried him off. So Sir Guy set down the lady, and started to find the four knights. Having fought and vanquished them, he set Sir Thierry on his horse and returned. But now Osile was gone. He searched for many hours to find her, but in vain. So as nightfall drew on he took Sir Thierry to the inn. There by good fortune they found the lady, Sir Guy's servants having met her in the wood and brought her with them to await his coming. A leech soon came and dressed Sir Thierry's wounds, and by the careful tending of Osile and Sir Guy, he got well Then Sir Guy and Sir Thierry swore brotherhood in arms.

Soon there came a messenger, saying that Duke Otho, hotly wroth at losing the fair Osile, had gone to lay waste the lands of Aubry, Sir Thierry's father; the Duke of Lorraine was likewise helping him. Thereupon Sir Guy equipped five hundred knights and came with Sir Thierry to the city of Gurmoise where Aubry dwelt. It was a well ramparted city, and after being beaten in two battles with Sir Guy, Duke Otho found, despite the larger numbers of his host, that he could not stand against the courage of the little army and the valour of its leader. Thinking therefore to gain Osile by treachery, he sent an archbishop to Aubry, offering peace and pledging himself to confirm the marriage of Sir Thierry and Osile, provided only that the lovers would go and kneel in homage to their sovereign Duke of Lorraine. Thereon Sir Thierry and his bride, together with Sir Guy and Sir Heraud, set out unarmed, and after wending a day's journey out of Gurmoise, they met the Duke of Lorraine, who embraced and kissed them in token of peace. But Otho coming forward as if to do the like, made a sign to a band of men whom he had in waiting to seize them. These quickly surrounded Sir Heraud and Sir Thierry and carried them off; but Sir Guy with only his fists slew many of his assailants, and broke away to where a countryman stood with a staff in his hand. Snatching this for a weapon, Sir Guy beat down the quickest of his pursuers, and made his escape. Duke Otho cast Sir Thierry into a deep dungeon in Pavia, and meanwhile gave Osile a respite of forty days wherein to consent to be his bride. But the Duke of Lorraine carried off Sir Heraud.

Weary and hungered, and vexed at the loss of his friends, Sir Guy came to a castle where he sought harbour for the night. Sir Amys of the Mountain, who dwelt there, welcomed him with a good will, and hearing his adventures, offered to raise an army of fifteen hundred men to help him against Duke Otho. But to this Sir Guy said nay, because it would take too long. So, after a day or two, having hit upon a plan, he disguised, himself by staining his face and darkening his hair and beard and eyebrows; and setting out alone, came to Duke Otho with a present of a war-horse of great price, and said, "You have in your keeping a dastard knight by name Sir Thierry, who has done me much despite, and I would fain be avenged upon him." Then Duke Otho, falling into the trap, appointed him jailor of Sir Thierry.

The dungeon wherein Sir Thierry was prisoned was a pit of forty fathoms deep, and very soon Sir Guy spake from the pit's mouth bidding him be of good cheer, for he would certainly deliver him. But a false Lombard overheard these words, and thereby knowing that it was Sir Guy, ran off straightway to tell Duke Otho. Sir Guy followed quickly and sought to bribe the man with money to hold his peace, but without avail, for he would go into the palace where the Duke was, and opened his mouth to tell the tale. Then with one blow Sir Guy slew him at Duke Otho's feet. But Otho, very wroth, would have killed Sir Guy then and there, only that he averred that this was a certain traitor whom he found carrying food to the prisoner. Thus having appeased the Duke's anger, he gat away secretly to Osile, and bade her change her manner to Duke Otho, and make as though she was willing to have his love. The night before the day fixed for the wedding, Sir Guy let down a rope to Thierry in his pit, and having drawn him up, the two made all speed to the castle of Sir Amys. There, getting equipped with arms and armour, they leaped to horse on the morrow, and riding back to Pavia, met the wedding procession. Rushing into the midst Sir Guy slew Otho and Sir Thierry carried off Osile, whereupon they returned to Sir Amys with light hearts. And when the Duke of Lorraine had tidings of what had befallen Otho he had great fear of Sir Guy, and sent Sir Heraud back with costly gifts to make his peace. So Sir Thierry and Osile were wed, and a sumptuous banquet was held in their honour, with game, and hunting, and hawking, and justing, and singing of glee-men, more than can be told.

Now as Sir Guy went a-hunting one day, he rode away from his party to pursue a boar of great size. And this boar, being very nimble and fleet of foot, led him a long chase till he came into Flanders. And when he killed the boar he blew upon his horn the prize. Florentine, King of Flanders, hearing it in his palace, said, "Who is this that slays the tall game on my lands?" And he bade his son go forth and bring him in. The young prince coming with a haughty message to Sir Guy, the knight struck him with his hunting-horn, meaning no more than chastisement for his discourtesy. But by misadventure the prince fell dead at his feet. Thinking no more of the mishap, and knowing not who it was whom he had slain, Sir Guy rode on to the palace, and was received with good cheer at the King's table. But presently the prince's body being brought in, and Guy owning that he had done this deed, King Florentine took up an axe, and aimed a mighty blow at the slayer of his son. This Sir Guy quickly avoided, and when all arose to seize him, he smote them down on either hand, and fought his way through the hall till he reached his steed, whereon lightly leaping he hasted back to Sir Thierry.

Then after a short while he took leave of Sir Thierry, and came with Sir Heraud to England, to the court of King Athelstan at York. Scarce had he arrived there when tidings came that a great black and winged dragon was ravaging Northumberland, and had destroyed whole troops of men which went against him. Sir Guy at once armed himself in his best proven armour, and rode off in quest of the monster. He battled with the dragon from prime till undern, and on from undern until evensong, but for all the dragon was so strong and his hide so flinty Sir Guy overcame him, and thrust his sword down the dragon's throat, and having cut off his head brought it to King Athelstan. Then while all England rang with this great exploit, he took his journey to Wallingford to see his parents. But they were dead; so after grieving many days for them he gave his inheritance to Sir Heraud, and hasted to Felice at Warwick.

Proudly she welcomed her true knight, and listened to the story of his deeds. Then laughingly Sir Guy asked, should he go another quest before they two were wed?

"Nay, dear one," said Felice, "my heart misgives me I was wrong to peril your life so long for fame's sake and my pride in you. A great love-longing I have borne to have you home beside me. But now you shall go no more forth. My pride it was that made me wish you great and famous, and for that I bade you go; but now, beside your greatness and your fame, I am become so little and so unworthy that I grow jealous lest you seek a worthier mate. We will not part again, dear lord Sir Guy." Then he kissed her tenderly and said, "Felice, whatever of fame and renown I may have gained, I owe it all to you. It was won for you, and but for you it had not been—and so I lay it at your feet in loving homage, owning that I hold it all of you."

So they were wed amid the joy of all the town of Warwick; for the spousings were of right royal sort, and Earl Rohand held a great tournament, and kept open court to all Warwick, Rockingham, and Oxford for fourteen days.

Forty days they had been wed, when it happened that as Sir Guy lay by a window of his tower, looking out upon the landscape, he fell to musing on his life. He thought, "How many men I have slain, how many battles I have fought, how many lands I have taken and destroyed! All for a woman's love; and not one single deed done for my God!" Then he thought, "I will go a pilgrimage for the sake of the Holy Cross." And when Felice knew what he meditated she wept, and with many bitter tears besought him not to leave her. But he sighed and said, "Not yet one single deed for God above!" and held fast to his intent. So he clad himself in palmer's dress, and having taken a gold ring from his wife's hand and placed upon his own, he set out without any companion for the Holy Land.

But Felice fell into a great wan-hope at his departure, and grieved continually, neither would be comforted; for she said, "I have brought this on myself by sending him such perilous journeys heretofore, and now I cannot bear to part from him." But that she bore his child she would have taken her own life for very trouble of heart; only for that child's sake she was fain to live and mature it when it should be born.

Now after Sir Guy had made his toilsome pilgrimage to Jerusalem, and shrived him of his life, and done his prayers and penances about the holy places, he took his way to Antioch.

Beside a well he met a certain Earl Jonas, whose fifteen sons were held in prison till he should find a champion to deliver the Saracen Sir Triamour from the hands of a fierce and terrible Ethiopian giant named Amiraunt. So Sir Guy took arms again, and rode into the lists, and fought with Amiraunt and slew him; thus both Sir Triamour was delivered from his enemy, and the sons of Earl Jonas were restored to him. After this, Sir Guy travelled many years as a pilgrim of the Cross, till in his wanderings, chancing to come into Almayne, he there fell in with Sir Thierry, who, dressed in palmer's weeds, made sorry complaint. Sir Thierry told how a knight named Barnard inherited Pavia in the room of his cousin Duke Otho; and how Barnard, being at enmity with him because of the slaying of Duke Otho, had never rested from doing him mischief with his sovereign, until the Duke of Lorraine dispossessed him from his lands and brought him into poverty. Howbeit Sir Guy would not reveal himself, and Sir Thierry being faint and weary, laid his head upon Sir Guy's knees, and so great a heaviness came over him that he fell asleep. As he slept, Sir Guy, watching him, saw a small white weasel creep out from the mouth of the sleeping man, and run to a little rivulet that was hard by, going to and fro beside the bank, not seeming wistful how to get across. Then Sir Guy rose gently and laid his sword athwart the stream from bank to bank; so the weasel passed over the sword, as it had been a bridge, and having made his way to a hole at the foot of the hill on the other side, went in thereat. But presently the weasel came out, and crossing the stream in the same manner as before jumped into the sleeper's mouth again. Then Sir Thierry woke and told his dream. "I dreamed," said he, "that I came beside a mighty torrent which I knew not how to pass, until I found a bridge of shining steel, over which I went, and came into a cavern underground, and therein I found a palace full of gold and jewels. I pray thee, brother palmer, read to me this dream."

Then Sir Guy said that without doubt it betokened a fair treasure hid by a waterside, and with that showed him the hole under the hill whereat he had seen the weasel go in. There they digged and found the treasure, which was very great; yet Sir Guy would have no share therein, but took leave of Sir Thierry without ever making himself known, and came to Lorraine the duke that was Sir Thierry's sovereign.

Seeing a palmer the Duke of Lorraine asked tidings of his travels. "Sir," said the palmer, "men in all lands speak of Sir Thierry, and much do blame you for taking away his heritage at the bidding of so false a knight as Sir Barnard. And palmer though I be, I yet will prove Sir Barnard recreant and traitor upon his body, and thereto I cast down my glove." Then Sir Barnard took up the glove, and Sir Guy being furnished with armour and a sword and shield and spear, they did battle together. And in the end Sir Guy overcame and slew Sir Barnard, and demanded of the duke to restore Sir Thierry to his possessions, which being granted, he went in search of the banished man, and having found him in a church making his prayer, brought him straightway to the duke, and thus they were made friends. And when Sir Thierry found who his deliverer was he was exceeding glad and would willingly have divided all his inheritance with him. But Sir Guy would receive neither fee nor reward, and after he had abode some time with him at the court, he took his way to England.

Now Athelstan was besieged in Winchester by Anlaf King of Denmark, and could not come out of the city for the great host that was arrayed against him, whilst all the folk within the city walls were famishing for want of food and thought of nothing but surrender. Moreover King Anlaf had proclaimed a challenge, giving them seven days' grace wherein either to deliver up the city keys, or to find a champion who should fight against the great and terrible Danish giant Colbrand; and every day for seven days' the giant came before the walls and cried for a man to fight with him. But there was found no man so hardy to do battle with Colbrand. Then King Athelstan, as he walked to and fro in his city and saw the distress of his people, was suddenly aware of a light that shone about him very brightly, and he heard a voice which charged him to intrust his cause to the first poor palmer he should meet. Soon after he met a palmer in the city, and weening not that it was Sir Guy, kneeled humbly to him, in sure faith in the heavenly voice, and asked his help. "I am an old man," said the palmer, "with little strength except what Heaven might give me for a people's need beset by enemies. But yet for England's sake and with Heaven's help I will undertake this battle."

They then clothed him in the richest armour that the city could furnish, with a good hauberk of steel, and a helmet whose gold circle sparkled with precious stones, and on the top whereof stood a flower wrought of divers colours in rare gems. Gloves of mail he wore, and greaves upon his legs, and a shirt of ring-mail upon his body, with a quilted gambeson beneath: sharp was the sword, and richly carved the heavy spear he bare; his threefold shield was overlaid with gold. They led forth to him a swift steed; but before he mounted he went down upon his knees and meekly told his beads, praying God to succor him that day. And the two kings held a parley for an hour, Anlaf promising on his part that if his champion fell he would go back with all his host to Denmark and never more make war on Britain, whilst Athelstan agreed, if his knight were vanquished, to make Anlaf King of England, and henceforth to be his vassal and pay tribute both of gold and silver money.

Then Colbrand stode forth to the battle. So great was he of stature that no horse could bear him, nor indeed could any man make a cart wherein to carry him. He was armed with black armour of so great weight that a score of men could scarce bear up his hauberk only, and it took three to carry his helmet. He bare a great dart within his hand, and slung around his body were swords and battle-axes more than two hundred in number.

Sir Guy rode boldly at him, but his spear shivered into pieces against the giant's armour. Then Colbrand threw three darts. The first two passed wide, but the third crashed through Sir Guy's shield, and glided betwixt his arm and side, nor fell to ground till it had sped over a good acre of the field. Then a blow from the giant's sword just missed the knight, but lighting on his saddle at the back of him hewed horse and saddle clean in two; so Sir Guy was brought to ground. Yet lightly sprang he to his feet, and though seemingly but a child beside the monster man, he laid on hotly with his sword upon the giant's armour, until the sword brake in his hands. Then Colbrand called on him to yield, since he had no longer a weapon wherewith to fight. "Nay," answered Sir Guy, "but I will have one are of thine," and with that ran deftly to the giant's side and wrenched away a battle-axe wherewith he maintained the combat. Right well Sir Guy endured while Colbrand's mighty strokes shattered his armour all about him, until his shield being broke in pieces it seemed he could no longer make defence, and the Danes raised a great shout at their champion's triumph. Then Colbrand aimed a last stroke at the knight to lay him low, but Sir Guy lightly avoiding it, the giant's sword smote into the earth a foot or more, and before he could withdraw it or free his hand, Sir Guy hewed off the arm with his battle-axe; and since Colbrand's weight leaned on that arm, he fell to the ground. So Sir Guy cut off his head, and triumphed over the giant Colbrand, and the Danes withdrew to their own country.

Then without so much as telling who he was, Sir Guy doffed his armour and put on his palmer's weeds again, and secretly withdrawing himself from all the feasts and games they held in honour of him in the city of Winchester, passed out alone and took his journey toward Warwick on foot.

Many a year had gone since he had left his wife and home. The boy whom Felice had borne him, named Raynburn, he had never seen; nor, as it befell, did he ever see his son. For Raynburn in his childhood had been stolen away by Saracens and carried to a far heathen country, where King Aragus brought him up and made him first his page, then chamberlain, and as he grew to manhood, knighted him. And now he fought the battles of King Aragus with a strong arm like his father Guy's, neither could any endure against his spear. But all these years Felice had passed in prayer and charity, entertaining pilgrims and tired wayfarers, and comforting the sick and the distressed. And it was so that Sir Guy, all travel-worn and with his pilgrim's staff in hand, came to her house and craved an alms. She took him in and washed his feet and ministered to him, asking oftentimes if in his travels he had seen her lord Sir Guy. But when he watched her gentleness to the poor and to the children at her gate, he feared to break in upon her holy life, and so refrained himself before her and would not reveal himself, but with a heavy heart came out from the lady's door and gat him to a hermit's cell. There he abode in fasting and in penitence many weeks, till feeling his end draw near, he took the ring from his finger and sent it by a herdsman to Felice. "Where got you this token?" cried Felice, all trembling with her wonderment and fear. "From a poor beggar-man that lives in yonder cell," the herdsman answered. "From a beggar? Nay, but from a kingly man," said Felice, "for he is my husband, Guy of Warwick!" and gave the herdsman a hundred marks. Then she hasted and came to Sir Guy in his hermit's cell, and for a long space they wept in each other's arms and neither spake a word.

Weaker and fainter waxed Sir Guy. In a little while he died, and Felice closed his tired eyes. Fifteen weary days she lingered sore in grief, and then God's angel came and closed her own.



  God prosper long our noble king,
    Our lives and safeties all;
  A woeful hunting once there did
    In Chevy Chase befall.

  To drive the deer with hound and horn
    Earl Percy took the way;
  The child may rue that is unborn
    The hunting of that day.

  The stout earl of Northumberland
    A vow to God did make,
  His pleasure in the Scottish woods
    Three summer days to take—

  The chiefest harts in Chevy Chase
    To kill and bear away.
  These tidings to Earl Douglas came
    In Scotland where he lay;

  Who sent Earl Percy present word
    He would prevent his sport.
  The English earl not fearing that,
    Did to the woods resort.
  With fifteen hundred bowmen bold,
    All chosen men of might,
  Who knew full well in time of need
    To aim their shafts aright.

  The gallant greyhound swiftly ran
    To chase the fallow deer;
  On Monday they began to hunt
    Ere daylight did appear;

  And long before high noon they had
    A hundred fat bucks slain;
  Then having dined, the drovers went
    To rouse the deer again.

  The bowmen mustered on the hills,
    Well able to endure;
  Their backsides all with special care
    That day were guarded sure.

  The hounds ran swiftly through the woods,
    The nimble deer to take,
  That with their cries the hills and dales
    An echo shrill did make.

  Lord Percy to the quarry went
    To view the tender deer;
  Quoth he, "Earl Douglas promised once
    This day to meet me here."

  "But if I thought he would not come,
    No longer would I stay";
  With that a brave young gentleman
    Thus to the earl did say:

  "Lo, yonder doth Earl Douglas come,
    His men in armour bright;
  Full twenty hundred Scottish spears
    All marching in our sight;

  "All men of pleasant Teviotdale,
    Fast by the River Tweed."
  "O cease your sports," Earl Percy said,
    "And take your bows with speed;

  "And now with me, my countrymen,
    Your courage forth advance,
  For there was never champion yet,
    In Scotland or in France,

  "That ever did on horseback come,
    And if my hap it were,
  I durst encounter man for man
    With him to break a spear."

  Earl Douglas on his milk white steed,
    Most like a baron bold,
  Rode foremost of his company,
    Whose armour shone like gold.

  "Show me," said he, "whose men you be,
    That hunt so boldly here,
  That, without my consent, do chase
    And kill my fallow deer."

  The first man that did answer make,
    Was noble Percy he,
  Who said, "We list not to declare
    Nor show whose men we be:

  "Yet will we spend our dearest blood
    Thy chiefest harts to slay."
  Then Douglas swore a solemn oath,
    And thus in rage did say:

  "Ere thus I will out-braved be,
    One of us two shall die;
  I know thee well, an earl thou art—
    Lord Percy, so am I.

  "But trust me, Percy, pity it were,
    And great offence, to kill
  Any of these our guiltless men,
    For they have done none ill.

  "Let thou and I the battle try,
    And set our men aside."
  "Accurst be he," Earl Percy said,
    "By whom it is denied."

  Then stept a gallant squire forth—
    Witherington was his name—
  Who said, "I would not have it told
    To Henry, our king, for shame,

  "That e'er my captain fought on foot,
    And I stood looking on.
  You be two earls," quoth Witherington,
    "And I a squire alone;

  "I'll do the best that do I may,
    While I have power to stand;
  While I have power to wield my sword,
    I'll fight with heart and hand."

  Our English archers bent their bows—
    Their hearts were good and true;
  At the first flight of arrows sent,
    Full four score Scots they slew.

  To drive the deer with hound and horn,
    Douglas bade on the bent,
  Two captains moved with mickle might,
    Their spears to shivers went.

  They closed full fast on every side,
    No slackness there was found,
  But many a gallant gentleman
    Lay gasping on the ground.

  O Christ! it was great grief to see
    How each man chose his spear,
  And how the blood out of their breasts
    Did gush like water clear.

  At last these two stout earls did meet
    Like captains of great might;
  Like lions wode, they laid on lode;
    They made a cruel fight.

  They fought until they both did sweat,
    With swords of tempered steel,
  Till blood down their cheeks like rain
    They trickling down did feel.

  "O yield thee, Percy!" Douglas said,
    "And in faith I will thee bring
  Where thou shalt high advanced be
    By James, our Scottish king.

  "Thy ransom I will freely give,
    And this report of thee,
  Thou art the most courageous knight
    That ever I did see."

  "No, Douglas," quoth Earl Percy then,
     "Thy proffer I do scorn;
  I will not yield to any Scot
    That ever yet was born."

  With that there came an arrow keen,
    Out of an English bow,
  Which struck Earl Douglas on the breast
    A deep and deadly blow.

  Who never said more words than these:
    "Fight on, my merry men all!
  For why, my life is at an end,
    Lord Percy sees my fall."

  Then leaving life, Earl Percy took
    The dead man by the hand;
  Who said, "Earl Douglas, for thy life
   Would I had lost my land!

  "O Christ! my very heart doth bleed
    For sorrow for thy sake,
  For sure a more redoubted knight
    Mischance could never take."

  A knight amongst the Scots there was
    Which saw Earl Douglas die,
  Who straight in heart did vow revenge
    Upon the Lord Percy.

  Sir Hugh Montgomery was he called,
    Who, with a spear full bright,
  Well mounted on a gallant steed,
    Ran fiercely through the fight,

  And past the English archers all,
    Without all dread or fear,
  And through Earl Percy's body then
    He thrust his hateful spear.

  With such a vehement force and might
    His body he did gore,
  The staff ran through the other side
    A large cloth-yard, and more.

  Thus did both those nobles die,
    Whose courage none could stain;
  An English archer then perceived
    The noble earl was slain.

  He had a good bow in his hand
    Made of a trusty tree;
  An arrow of a cloth-yard long
    To the hard head haled he.

  Against Sir Hugh Montgomery
    His shaft full right he set;
  The gray-goose-wing that was thereon
    In his heart's blood was wet.

  This fight from break of day did last
    Till setting of the sun,
  For when they rang the evening-bell
    The battle scarce was done.

  With stout Earl Percy there was slain
    Sir John of Egerton,
  Sir Robert Harcliff and Sir William,
    Sir James, that bold baron.

  And with Sir George and Sir James,
    Both knights of good account,
  Good Sir Ralph Raby there was slain,
    Whose prowess did surmount.

  For Witherington needs must I wail
    As one in doleful dumps.
  For when his legs were smitten off,
    He fought upon his stumps.

  And with Earl Douglas there was slain
    Sir Hugh Montgomery,
  And Sir Charles Morrell, that from field
    One foot would never flee;

  Sir Roger Heuer of Harcliff, too,
    His sister's son was he;
  Sir David Lambwell, well esteemed,
    But saved he could not be.

  And the Lord Maxwell, in like case,
    With Douglas he did die;
  Of twenty hundred Scottish spears,
    Scarce fifty-five did fly.

  Of fifteen hundred Englishmen
    Went home but fifty-three;
  The rest in Chevy Chase were slain,
    Under the greenwood tree.

  Next day did many widows come
    Their husbands to bewail;
  They washed their wounds in brinish sears.
    But all would not prevail.

  Their bodies, bathed in purple blood,
    They bore with them away;
  They kissed them dead a thousand times
    Ere they were clad in clay.

  The news was brought to Edinburgh,
    Where Scotland's king did reign,
  That brave Earl Douglas suddenly
    Was with an arrow slain.

  "O heavy news!" King James can say,
    "Scotland may witness be
  I have not any captain more
    Of such account as he."

  Like tidings to King Henry came
    Within as short a space,
  That Percy of Northumberland
    Was slain at Chevy Chase.

  "Now God be with him!" said our king,
    "Since it will no better be;
  I trust I have within my realm
    Five hundred as good as he."

  "Yet shall not Scots nor Scotland say
    But I will vengeance take,
  And be revenged on them all
    For brave Earl Percy's sake."

  This vow the king did well perform
    After on Humble-down;
  In one day fifty knights were slain
    With lords of great renown.

  And of the rest, of small account,
    Did many hundreds die:
  Thus endeth the hunting in Chevy Chase
    Made by the Earl Percy.

  God save our king, and bless this land
    With plenty, joy, and peace,
  And grant henceforth that foul debate
    Twixt noble men may cease!



Now at the time when the Tuatha de Danaan chose a king for themselves after the battle of Tailltin, and Lir heard the kingship was given to Bodb Dearg, it did not please him, and he left the gathering without leave and with no word to any one; for he thought it was he himself had a right to be made king. But if he went away himself, Bodb was given the kingship none the less, for not one of the five begrudged it to him but only Lir. And it is what they determined, to follow after Lir, and to burn down his house, and to attack himself with spear and sword, on account of his not giving obedience to the king they had chosen. "We will not do that," said Bodb Dearg, "for that man would defend any place he is in; and besides that," he said, "I am none the less king over the Tuatha de Danaan, although he does not submit to me."

All went on like that for a good while, but at last a great misfortune came on Lir, for his wife died from him after a sickness of three nights. And that came very hard on Lir, and there was heaviness on his mind after her. And there was great talk of the death of that woman in her own time.

And the news of it was told all through Ireland, and it came to the house of Bodb, and the best of the Men of Dea were with him at that time. And Bodb said: "If Lir had a mind for it," he said, "my help and my friendship would be good for him now, since his wife is not living to him. For I have here with me the three young girls of the best shape, and the best appearance, and the best name in all Ireland, Aobh, Aoife, and Aihbhe, the three daughters of Oilell of Aran, my own three nurselings." The Men of Dea said then it was a good thought he had, and that what he said was true.

Messages and messengers were sent then from Bodb Dearg to the place Lir was, to say that if he had a mind to join with the Son of the Dagda and to acknowledge his lordship, he would give him a foster-child of his foster-children. And Lir thought well of the offer, and he set out on the morrow with fifty chariots from Sidhe Fionna-chaidh; and he went by every short way till he came to Bodb's dwelling-place at Loch Dearg, and there was a welcome before him there, and all the people were merry and pleasant before him, and he and his people got good attendance that night.

And the three daughters of Oilell of Aran were sitting on the one seat with Bodb Dearg's wife, the queen of the Tuatha de Danaan, that was their foster-mother. And Bodb said: "You may have your choice of the three young girls, Lir." "I cannot say," said Lir, "which one of them is my choice, but whichever of them is the eldest, she is the noblest, and it is better for me to take her." "If that is so," said Bodb, "it is Aobh is the eldest, and she will be given to you, if it is your wish." "It is my wish," he said. And he took Aobh for his wife that night, and he stopped there for a fortnight, and then he brought her away to his own house, till he would make a great wedding-feast.

And in the course of time Aobh brought forth two children, a daughter and a son, Fionnuala and Aodh their names were. And after a while she was brought to bed again, and this time she gave birth to two sons, and they called them Fiachra and Conn. And she herself died at their birth. And that weighed very heavy on Lir, and only for the way his mind was set on his four children he would have gone near to die of grief.

The news came to Bodb Dearg's place, and all the people gave out three loud, high cries, keening their nursling. And after they had keened her it is what Bodb Dearg said: "It is a fret to us our daughter to have died, for her own sake and for the sake of the good man we gave her to, for we are thankful for his friendship and his faithfulness. However," he said, "our friendship with one another will not be broken, for I will give him for a wife her sister Aoife."

When Lir heard that he came for the girl and married her, and brought her home to his house. And there was honour and affection with Aoife for her sister's children; and indeed no person at all could see those four children without giving them the heart's love.

And Bodb Dearg used often to be going to Lir's house for the sake of those children; and he used to bring them to his own place for a good length of time, and then he would let them go back to their own place again. And the Men of Dea were at that time using the Feast of Age in every hill of the Sidhe in turn; and when they came to Lir's hill those four children were their joy and delight for the beauty of their appearance; and it is where they used to sleep, in beds in sight of their father Lir. And he used to rise up at the break of every morning, and to lie down among his children.

But it is what came of all this, that a fire of jealousy was kindled in Aoife, and she got to have a dislike and a hatred of her sister's children.

Then she let on to have a sickness, that lasted through nearly the length of a year. And the end of that time she did a deed of jealousy and cruel treachery against the children of Lir.

And one day she got her chariot yoked, and she took the four children in it, and they went forward toward the house of Bodb Dearg; but Fionnuala had no mind to go with her, for she knew by her she had some plan for their death or their destruction, and she had seen in a dream that there was treachery against them in Aoife's mind. But all the same she was not able to escape from what was before her.

And when they were on their way Aoife said to her people: "Let you kill now," she said, "the four children of Lir, for whose sake their father has given up my love, and I will give you your own choice of a reward out of all the good things of the world." "We will not do that indeed," said they; "and it is a bad deed you have thought of, and harm will come to you out of it."

And when they would not do as she bade them, she took out a sword herself to put an end to the children with; but she being a woman and with no good courage, and with no great strength in her mind, she was not able to do it.

They went on then west to Loch Dairbhreach, the Lake of the Oaks, and the horses were stopped there. And Aoife bade the children of Lir to go out and bathe in the lake, and they did as she bade them. And as soon as Aoife saw them out in the lake she struck them with a Druid rod, and put on them the shape of four swans, white and beautiful. And it is what she said: "Out with you, children of the king, your luck is taken away from you forever; it is sorrowful the story will be to your friends it is with flocks of birds your cries will be heard for ever."

And Fionnuala said: "Witch, we know now what your name is, you have struck us down with no hope of relief; but although you put us from wave to wave, there are times when we will touch the land. We shall get help when we are seen; help, and all that is best for us; even though we have to sleep upon the lake, it is our minds will be going abroad early."

And then the four children of Lir turned toward Aoife, and this is what Fionnuala said: "It is a bad deed you have done, Aoife, and it is a bad fulfilling of friendship, you to destroy us without cause; and vengeance for it will come upon you, and you will fall in satisfaction for it, for your power for our destruction is not greater than the power of our friends to avenge it on you; and put some bounds now," she said, "to the time this enchantment is to stop on us." "I will do that," said Aoife, "and it is worse for you, you to have asked it of me. And the bounds I I set to your time are this, till the Woman from the South and the Man from the North will come together. And since you ask to hear it of me," she said, "no friends and no power that you have will be able to bring you out of these shapes you are in through the length of your lives, until you have been three hundred years on Loch Dairbhreach, and three hundred years on Sruth na Maoile between Ireland and Alban, and three hundred years at Irrus Domnann and Inis Gluaire; and these are to be your journeys from this out," she said.

But then repentance came on Aoife, and she said: "Since there is no other help for me to give you now, you may keep your own speech; and you will be singing sweet music in the Sidhe, that would put the men of the earth to sleep, and there will be no music in the world equal to it; and your own sense and your own nobility will stay with you, the way it will not weigh so heavy on you to be in the shape of birds. And go away out of my sight now, children of Lir," she said, "with your white faces, with your stammering Irish. It is a great curse on tender lads, they to be driven out on the rough wind. Nine hundred years to be on the water, it is a long time for any one to be in pain; it is I put this on you through treachery, it is best for you to do as I tell you now.

"Lir, that got victory with so many a good cast, his heart is a kernel of death in him now; the groaning of the great hero is a sickness to me, though it is I that have well earned his anger."

And then the horses were caught for Aoife, and the chariot yoked for her, and she went on to the palace of Bodb Dearg, and there was a welcome before her from the chief people of the place. And the son of the Dagda asked her why she did not bring the children of Lir with her. "I will tell you that," she said. "It is because Lir has no liking for you, and he will not trust you with his children, from fear you might keep them from him altogether."

"I wonder at that," said Bodb Dearg, "for those children are dearer to me than my own children." And he thought in his own mind it was deceit the woman was doing on him, and it is what he did, he sent messengers to the North to Sidhe Fionnachaidh. And Lir asked them what did they come for. "On the head of your children," said they. "Are they not gone to you along with Aoife?" he said. "They are not," said they; "and Aoife said it was yourself would not let them come."

It is downhearted and sorrowful Lir was at that news, for he understood well it was Aoife had destroyed or made an end of his children. And early in the morning of the morrow his horses were caught, and he set out on the road to the Southwest. And when he was as far as the shore of Loch Dairbhreach, the four children saw the horses coming toward them, and it is what Fionnuala said: "A welcome to the troop of horses I see coming near to the lake; the people they are bringing are strong, there is sadness on them; it is us they are following, it is for us they are looking; let us move over to the shore, Aodh, Fiachra, and comely Conn. Those that are coming can be no others in the world but only Lir and his household."

Then Lir came to the edge of the lake, and he took notice of the swans having the voice of living people, and he asked them why was it they had that voice.

"I will tell you that, Lir," said Fionnuala. "We are your own four children, that are after being destroyed by your wife, and by the sister of our own mother, through the dint of her jealousy." "Is there any way to put you into your own shapes again?" said Lir. "There is no way," said Fionnuala, "for all the men of the world could not help us till we have gone through our time, and that will not be," she said, "till the end of nine hundred years."

When Lir and his people heard that, they gave out three great heavy shouts of grief and sorrow and crying.

"Is there a mind with you," said Lir, "to come to us on the land, since you have not your own sense and your memory yet?" "We have not the power," said Fionnuala, "to live with any person at all from this time; but we have our own language, the Irish, and we have the power to sing sweet music, and it is enough to satisfy the whole race of men to be listening to that music. And let you stop here to-night," she said, "and we will be making music for you."

So Lir and his people stopped there listening to the music of the swans, and they slept there quietly that night. And Lir rose up early on the morning of the morrow and he made this complaint:

"It is time to go out from this place. I do not sleep though I am in my lying down. To be parted from my dear children, it is that is tormenting my heart.

"It is a bad net I put over you, bringing Aoife, daughter of Oilell of Aran, to the house. I would never have followed that advice if I had known what it would bring upon me.

"O Fionnuala, and comely Conn, O Aodh, O Fiachra of the beautiful arms; it is not ready I am to go away from you, from the border of the harbour where you are."

Then Lir went on to the palace of Bodb Dearg, and there was a welcome before him there; and he got a reproach from Bodb Dearg for not bringing his children along with him. "My grief!" said Lir. "It is not I that would not bring my children along with me; it was Aoife there beyond, your own foster-child and the sister of their mother, that put them in the shape of four white swans on Loch Dairbhreach, in the sight of the whole of the men of Ireland; but they have their sense with them yet, and their reason, and their voice, and their Irish."

Bodb Dearg gave a great start when he heard that, and he knew what Lir said was true, and he gave a very sharp reproach to Aoife, and he said: "This treachery will be worse for yourself in the end, Aoife, than to the children of Lir. And what shape would you yourself think worst of being in?" he said.

"I would think worst of being a witch of the air," she said. "It is into that shape I will put you now." said Bodb. And with that he struck her with a Druid wand, and she was turned into a witch of the air there and then, and she went away on the wind in that shape, and she is in it yet, and will be in it to the end of life and time.

As to Bodb Dearg and the Tuatha de Danaan they came to the shore of Loch Dairbhreach, and they made their camp there to be listening to the music of the swans.

And the Sons of the Gael used to be coming no less than the Men of Dea to hear them from every part of Ireland, for there never was any music or any delight, heard in Ireland to compare with that music of the swans. And they used to be telling stories, and to be talking with the men of Ireland every day, and with their teachers and their fellow-pupils and their friends. And every night they used to sing very sweet music of the Sidhe; and every one that heard that music would sleep sound and quiet whatever trouble or long sickness might be on him; for every one that heard the music of the birds, it is happy and contented he would be after it.

These two gatherings now of the Tuatha de Danaan and of the Sons of the Gael stopped there around Loch Dairbhreach through the length of three hundred years. And it is then Fionnuala said to her brothers: "Do you know," she said, "we have spent all we have to spend of our time here, but this one night only."

And there was great sorrow on the sons of Lir when they heard that, for they thought it the same as to be living people again, to be talking with their friends and their companions on Loch Dairbhreach, in comparison with going on the cold, fretful sea of the Maoil in the North.

And they came early on the morrow to speak with their father and with their foster-father, and they bade them farewell, and Fionnuala made this complaint:

"Farewell to you, Bodb Dearg, the man with whom all knowledge is in pledge. And farewell to our father along with you, Lir of the Hill of the White Field.

"The time is come, as I think, for us to part from you, O pleasant company; my grief it is not on a visit we are going to you.

"From this day out, O friends of our heart, our comrades, it is on the tormented course of the Maoil we will be, without the voice of any person near us.

"There hundred years there, and three hundred years in the bay of the men of Domnann, it is a pity for the four comely children of Lir, the salt waves of the sea to be their covering by night.

"O three brothers, with the ruddy faces gone from you, let them all leave the lake now, the great troop that loved us, it is sorrowful our parting is."

After that complaint they took to flight, lightly, airily, till they came to Sruth na Maoile between Ireland and Alban. And that was a grief to the men of Ireland, and they gave out an order no swan was to be killed from that out, whatever chance there might be of killing one, all through Ireland.

It was a bad dwelling-place for the children of Lir they to be on Sruth na Maoile. When they saw the wide coast about them, they were filled with cold and with sorrow, and they thought nothing of all they had gone through before, in comparison to what they were going through on that sea.

Now one night while they were there a great storm came on them, and it is what Fionnuala said: "My dear brothers," she said, "it is a pity for us not to be making ready for this night, for it is certain the storm will separate us from one another. And let us," she said, "settle on some place where we can meet afterward, if we are driven from one another in the night."

"Let us settle," said the others, "to meet one another at Carraig na
Ron, the Rock of the Seals, for we all have knowledge of it."

And when midnight came, the wind came on them with it, and the noise of the waves increased, and the lightning was flashing, and a rough storm came sweeping down; the way the children of Lir were scattered over the great sea, and the wideness of it set them astray, so that no one of them could know what way the others went. But after that storm a great quiet came on the sea, and Fionnuala was alone on Sruth na Maoile; and when she took notice that her brothers were wanting she was lamenting after them greatly, and she made this complaint:

"It is a pity for me to be alive in the state I am; it is frozen to my sides my wings are; it is little that the wind has not broken my heart in my body, with the loss of Aodh.

"To be three hundred years on Loch Dairbhreach without going into my own shape, it is worse to me the time I am on Sruth na Maoile.

"The three I loved, Och! the three I loved, that slept under the shelter of my feathers; till the dead come back to the living I will see them no more for ever.

"It is a pity I to stay after Fiachra, and after Aodh, and after comely Conn, and with no account of them; my grief I to be here to face every hardship this night."

She stopped all night there upon the Rock of the Seals until the rising of the sun, looking out over the sea on every side till at last she saw Conn coming to her, his feathers wet through and his head hanging, and her heart gave him a great welcome; and then Fiachra came wet and perished and worn out, and he could not say a word they could understand with the dint of the cold and the hardship he had gone through. And Fionnuala put him under her wings, and she said: "We would be well off now if Aodh would but come to us."

It was not long after that, they saw Aodh coming, his head dry and his feathers beautiful, and Fionnuala gave him a great welcome, and she put him in under the feathers of her breast, and Fiachra under her right wing and Conn under her left wing, the way she could put her feathers over them all. "And Och! my brothers," she said, "this was a bad night to us, and it is many of its like are before us from this out."

They stayed there a long time after that, suffering cold and misery on the Maoil, till at last a night came on them they had never known the like of before, for frost and snow and wind and cold. And they were crying and lamenting the hardship of their life, and the cold of the night and the greatness of the snow and the hardness of the wind. And after they had suffered cold to the end of a year, a worse night again came on them, in the middle of winter. And they were on Carraig na Ron, and the water froze about them, and as they rested on the rock, their feet and their wings and their feathers froze to the rock, the way they were not able to move from it. And they made such a hard struggle to get away, that they left the skin of their feet and their feathers and the tops of their wings on the rock after them.

"My grief, children of Lir," said Fionnuala, "it is bad our state is now, for we cannot bear the salt water to touch us, and there are bonds on us not to leave it; and if the salt water goes into our sores," she said, "we will get our death." And she made this complaint:

"It is keening we are to-night; without feathers to cover our bodies; it is cold the rough, uneven rocks are under our bare feet.

"It is bad our stepmother was to us the time she played enchantments on us, sending us out like swans upon the sea.

"Our washing place is on the ridge of the bay, in the foam of flying manes of the sea; our share of the ale feast is the salt water of the blue tide.

"One daughter and three sons; it is in the clefts of the rocks we are; it is on the hard rocks we are, it is a pity the way we are."

However, they came on to the course of the Maoil again, and the salt water was sharp and rough and bitter to them, but if it was itself, they were not able to avoid it or to get shelter from it. And they were there by the shore under that hardship till such time as their feathers grew again, and their wings, and till their sores were entirely healed. And then they used to go every day to the shore of Ireland or of Alhan, but they had to come back to Sruth na Maoile every night.

Now they came one day to the mouth of the Banna, to the north of Ireland, and they saw a troop of riders, beautiful, of the one colour, with well-trained pure white horses under them, and they travelling the road straight from the Southwest.

"Do you know who those riders are, sons of Lir?" said Fionnuala.

"We do not," they said; "but it is likely they might be some troop of the Sons of the Gael, or of the Tuatha de Danaan."

They moved over closer to the shore then, that they might know who they were, and when the riders saw them they came to meet them until they were able to hold talk together.

And the chief men among them were two sons of Bodb Dearg, Aodh Aithfhiosach, of the quick wits, and Fergus Fithchiollach, of the chess, and a third part of the Riders of the Sidhe along with them, and it was for the swans they had been looking for a long while before that, and when they came together they wished one another a kind and loving welcome.

And the children of Lir asked for news of all the men of Dea, and above all of Lir, and Bodb Dearg and their people.

"They are well, and they are in the one place together," said they, "in your father's house at Sidhe Fionnachaidh, using the Feast of Age pleasantly and happily, and with no uneasiness on them, only for being without yourselves, and without knowledge of what happened you from the day you left Loch Dairbhreach."

"That has not been the way with us," said Fionnuala, "for we have gone through great hardship and uneasiness and misery on the tides of the sea until this day."

And she made this complaint:

"There is delight to-night with the household of Lir! Plenty of ale with them and of wine, although it is in a cold dwelling-place this night are the four children of the King.

"It is without a spot our bedclothes are, our bodies covered over with curved feathers; but it is often we were dressed in purple, and we drinking pleasant mead.

"It is what our food is and our drink, the white sand and the bitter water of the sea; it is often we drank mead of hazel nuts from round four-lipped drinking cups.

"It is what our beds are, bare rocks out of the power of the waves; it is often there used to be spread out for us beds of the breast feathers of birds.

"Though it is our work now to be swimming through the frost and through the noise of the waves, it is often a company of the sons of kings were riding after us to the Hill of Bodb.

"It is what wasted my strength, to be going and coming over the current of the Maoil the way I never was used to, and never to be in the sunshine on the soft grass.

"Fiachra's bed and Conn's bed is to come under the cover of my wings on the sea. Aodh has his place under the feathers of my breast, the four of us side by side.

"The teaching of Manannan without deceit, the talk of Bodb Dearg on the pleasant ridge; the voice of Angus, his sweet kisses; it is by their side I used to be without grief."

After that the riders went on to Lir's house, and they told the chief men of the Tuatha de Danaan all the birds had gone through, and the state they were in. "We have no power over them," the chief men said, "but we are glad they are living yet, for they will get help in the end of time."

As to the children of Lir, they went back toward their old place in the Maoil, and they stopped there till the time they had to spend in it, was spent. And then Fionnuala said: "The time is come for us to leave this place. And it is to Irrus Domnann we must go now," she said, "after our three hundred years here. And indeed there will be no rest for us there, or any standing ground, or any shelter from the storms. But since it is time for us to go, let us set out on the cold wind, the way we will not go astray."

So they set out in that way, and left Sruth na Maoile behind them, and went to the point of Irrus Domnann, and there they stopped, and it is a life of misery and a cold life they led there. And one time the sea froze about them that they could not move at all, and the brothers were lamenting, and Fionnuala was comforting them, for she knew there would help come to them in the end.

And they stayed at Irrus Domnann till the time they had to spend there was spent. And then Fionnuala said: "The time is come for us to go back to Sidhe Fionnachaidh, where our father is with his household and with all our own people."

"It pleases us well to hear that," they said.

So they set out flying through the air lightly till they came to Sidhe Fionnachaidh; and it is how they found the place, empty before them, and nothing in it but green hillocks and thickets of nettles, without a house, without a fire, without a hearthstone. And the four pressed close to one another then, and they gave out three sorrowful cries, and Fionnuala made this complaint:

"It is a wonder to me this place is, and it without a house, without a dwelling-place. To see it the way it is now, Ochonel it is bitterness to my heart.

"Without dogs, without hounds for hunting, without women, without great kings; we never knew it to be like this when our father was in it,

"Without horns, without cups, without drinking in the lighted house; without young men, without riders; the way it is to-night is a foretelling of sorrow.

"The people of the place to be as they are now, Ochone! it is grief to my heart! It is plain to my mind to-night the lord of the house is not living.

"Och, house where we used to see music and playing and the gathering of people! I think it is a great change to see it lonely the way it is to-night.

"The greatness of the hardships we have gone through going from one wave to another of the sea, we never heard of the like of them coming on any other person.

"It is seldom this place had its part with grass and bushes; the man is not living that would know us, it would be a wonder to him to see us here."

However, the children of Lir stopped that night in their father's place and their grandfather's, where they had been reared, and they were singing very sweet music of the Sidhe. And they rose up early on the morning of the morrow and went to Inis Gluarie, and all the birds of the country gathered near them on Loch na-n Ean, the Lake of the Birds. And they used to go out to feed every day to the far parts of the country, to Inis Geadh and to Accuill, the place Donn, son of Miled, and his people that were drowned were buried, and to all the western islands of Connacht, and they used to go back to Inis Gluaire every night.

It was about that time it happened them to meet with a young man of good race, and his name was Aibric; and he often took notice of the birds, and their singing was sweet to him and he loved them greatly, and they loved him. And it is this young man that told the whole story of all that had happened them, and put it in order.

And the story he told of what happened them in the end is this.

It was after the faith of Christ and blessed Patrick came into Ireland, that Saint Mochaomhog came to Inis Gluaire. And the first night he came to the island, the children of Lir heard the voice of his bell, ringing near them. And the brothers started up with fright when they heard it. "We do not know," they said, "what is that weak, unpleasing voice we hear."

"That is the voice of the bell of Mochaomhog," said Fionnuala; "and it is through that bell," she said, "you will be set free from pain and from misery."

They listened to that music of the bell till the matins were done, and then they began to sing the low, sweet music of the Sidhe.

And Mochaomhog was listening to them, and he prayed to God to show him who was singing that music, and it was showed to him that the children of Lir were singing it. And on the morning of the morrow he went forward to the Lake of the Birds, and he saw the swans before him on the lake, and he went down to them at the brink of the shore. "Are you the children of Lir?" he said.

"We are indeed," said they.

"I give thanks to God for that," said he, "for it is for your sakes I am come to this island beyond any other island, and let you come to land now," he said, "and give your trust to me, that you may do good deeds and part from your sins."

They came to the land after that, and they put trust in Mochaomhog, and he brought them to his own dwelling-place, and they used to be hearing Mass with him. And he got a good smith and bade him make chains of bright silver for them, and he put a chain between Aodh and Fionnuala, and a chain between Conn and Fachra, And the four of them were raising his heart and gladdening his mind, and no danger and no distress that was on the swans before put any trouble on them now.

Now the king of Connacht at that time was Lairgnen, son of Colman, son of Colman, son of Cobthach, and Deoch, daughter of Finghin, was his wife. And that was the coming together of the Man from the North and the Woman from the South, that Aoife had spoken of.

And the woman heard talk of the birds, and a great desire came on her to get them, and she bade Lairgnen to bring them to her, and he said he would ask them of Mochaomhog.

And she gave her word she would not stop another night with him unless he would bring them to her. And she set out from the house there and then. And Lairgnen sent messengers after her to bring her back, and they did not overtake her till she was at Cill Dun. She went back home with them then, and Lairgnen sent messengers to ask the birds of Mochaomhog, and he did not get them.

There was great anger on Lairgnen then, and he went himself to the place Mochaomhog was, and he asked was it true he had refused him the birds. "It is true indeed," said he. At that Lairgnen rose up, and he took hold of the swans, and pulled them off the altar, two birds in each hand, to bring them away to Deoch. But no sooner had he laid his hand on them than their bird skins fell off, and what was in their place was three lean, withered old men and a thin withered old woman, without blood or flesh.

And Lairgnen gave a great start at that, and he went out from the place. It is then Fionnuala said to Mochaomhog: "Come and baptise us now, for it is short till our death comes; and it is certain you do not think worse of parting with us than we do of parting with you. And make our grave afterward," she said, "and lay Conn on my right side and Fiachra on my left side, and Aodh before my face, between my two arms. And pray to the God of Heaven," she said, "that you may he able to baptise us."

The children of Lir were baptised then, and they died and were buried as Fionnuala had desired; Fiachra and Conn one at each side of her, and Aohd before her face. And a stone was put over them, and their names were written in Ogham, and they were keened there, and heaven was gained for their souls.

And that is the fate of the children of Lir.



  I have read, in some old marvellous tale
    Some legend strange and vague,
  That a midnight host of spectres pale
    Beleaguered the walls of Prague.

  Beside the Moldau's rushing stream.
    With the wan moon overhead,
  There stood, as in an awful dream,
    The army of the dead.

  White as a sea-fog, landward bound,
    The spectral camp was seen,
  And, with a sorrowful, deep sound,
   The river flowed between.

  No other voice nor sound was there,
    No drum, nor sentry's pace;
  The mist-like banners clasped the air,
    As clouds with clouds embrace.

  But, when the old cathedral bell
    Proclaimed the morning prayer,
  The white pavilions rose and fell
    On the alarmed air.

  Down the broad valley fast and far
    The troubled army fled;
  Up rose the glorious morning star,
    The ghastly host was dead.

  I have read, in the marvellous heart of man,
    That strange and mystic scroll,
  That an army of phantoms vast and wan
    Beleaguer the human soul.

  Encamped beside Life's rushing stream,
    In Fancy's misty light,
  Gigantic shapes and shadows gleam
    Portentous through the night.

  Upon its midnight battle-ground
    The spectral camp is seen,
  And, with a sorrowful, deep sound,
    Flows the River of Life between.

  No other voice, nor sound is there,
    In the army of the grave;
  No other challenge breaks the air,
    But the rushing of Life's wave.

  And, when the solemn and deep church-bell
    Entreats the soul to pray,
  The midnight phantoms feel the spell
    The shadows sweep away.

  Down the broad Vale of Tears afar
    The spectral camp is fled;
  Faith shineth as a morning star,
    Our ghastly fears are dead.



About the middle of the twelfth century, a rumour circulated through Europe that there reigned in Asia a powerful Christian Emperor, Presbyter Johannes. In a bloody fight he had broken the power of the Mussulmans, and was ready to come to the assistance of the Crusaders. Great was the exultation in Europe, for of late the news from the East had been gloomy and depressing, the power of the infidel had increased, overwhelming masses of men had been brought into the field against the chivalry of Christendom, and it was felt that the cross must yield before the odious crescent.

The news of the success of the Priest-King opened a door of hope to the desponding Christian world. Pope Alexander III. determined at once to effect a union with this mysterious personage, and on the 27th of September, 1177, wrote him a letter, which he intrusted to his physician, Philip, to deliver in person.

Philip started on his embassy, but never returned. The conquests of Tschengis-Khan again attracted the eyes of Christian Europe to the East. The Mongol hordes were rushing in upon the West with devastating ferocity; Russia, Poland, Hungary, and the Eastern provinces of Germany had succumbed, or suffered grievously; and the fears of other nations were roused lest they too should taste the misery of a Mongolian invasion. It was Gog and Magog come to slaughter, and the times of Antichrist were dawning. But the battle of Liegnitz stayed them in their onward career, and Europe was saved.

Pope Innocent IV. determined to convert these wild hordes of barbarians, and subject them to the cross of Christ; he therefore sent among them a number of Dominican and Franciscan missioners, and embassies of peace passed between the Pope, the King of France, and the Mogul Khan,

The result of these communications with the East was, that the travellers learned how false were the prevalent notions of a mighty Christian empire existing in Central Asia. Vulgar superstition or conviction is not, however, to be upset by evidence, and the locality of the monarchy was merely transferred by the people to Africa, and they fixed upon Abyssinia, with a show of truth, as the seat of the famous Priest-King. However, still some doubted. John de Piano Carpini and Marco Polo, though they acknowledged the existence of a Christian monarch in Abyssinia, yet stoutly maintained as well that Prester John of popular belief reigned in splendour somewhere in the dim Orient.

But before proceeding with the history of this strange fable, it will be well to extract the different accounts given of the Priest-King and his realm by early writers; and we shall then be better able to judge of the influence the myth obtained in Europe.

Otto of Freisingen is the first author to mention the monarchy of Prester John, with whom we are acquainted. Otto wrote a chronicle up to the date 1156, and he relates that in 1145 the Catholic Bishop of Cabala visited Europe to lay certain complaints before the Pope. He mentioned the fall of Edessa, and also "he stated that a few years ago a certain King and Priest called John, who lives on the farther side of Persia and Armenia, in the remote East, and who, with all his people, were Christians, though belonging to the Nestorian Church, had overcome the royal brothers Samiardi, kings of the Medes and Persians, and had captured Ecbatana, their capital and residence. The said kings had met with their Persian, Median, and Assyrian troops, and had fought for three consecutive days, each side having determined to die rather than take to flight. Prester John, for so they are wont to call him, at length routed the Persians, and after a bloody battle, remained victorious. After which victory the said John was hastening to the assistance of the Church at Jerusalem, but his host, on reaching the Tigris, was hindered from passing, through a deficiency in boats, and he directed his march North, since he had heard that the river was there covered with ice. In that place he had waited many years, expecting severe cold; but the winters having proved unpropitious, and the severity of the climate having carried off many soldiers, he had been forced to retreat to his own land. This king belongs to the family of the Magi, mentioned in the Gospel, and he rules over the very people formerly governed by the Magi; moreover, his fame and his wealth are so great, that he uses an emerald sceptre only.

"Excited by the example of his ancestors, who came to worship Christ in his cradle, he had proposed to go to Jerusalem, but had been impeded by the above-mentioned causes."

At the same time the story crops up in other quarters; so that we cannot look upon Otto as the inventor of the myth. The celebrated Maimonides alludes to it in a passage quoted by Joshua Lorki, a Jewish physician to Benedict XIII. Maimonides lived from 1135 to 1204. The passage is as follows: "It is evident both from the letters of Rambam (Maimonides), whose memory be blessed, and from the narration of merchants who have visited the ends of the earth, that at this time the root of our faith is to be found in the lands of Babel and Teman, where long ago Jerusalem was an exile; not reckoning those who live in the land of Paras and Madai, of the exiles of Schomrom, the number of which people is as the sand: of these some are still under the yoke of Paras, who is called the Great-Chief Sultan by the Arabs; others live in a place under the yoke of a strange people … governed by a Christian chief, Preste-Cuan by name. With him they have made a compact, and he with them; and this is a matter concerning which there can be no manner of doubt."

Benjamin of Tudela, another Jew, travelled in the East between the years 1159 and 1173, the last being the date of his death. He wrote an account of his travels, and gives in it some information with regard to a mythical Jew king, who reigned in the utmost splendour over a realm inhabited by Jews alone, situate somewhere in the midst of a desert of vast extent. About this period there appeared a document which produced intense excitement throughout Europe—a letter, yes! a letter from the mysterious personage himself to Manuel Comnenus, Errmeror of Constantinople (1143-1180). The exact date of this extraordinary epistle cannot be fixed with any certainty, but it certainly appeared before 1241, the date of the conclusion of the chronicle of Albericus Trium Fontium. This Albericus relates that in the year 1165 "Presbyter Johannes, the Indian king, sent his wonderful letter to various Christian princes, and especially to Manuel of Constantinople, and Frederic the Roman Emperor." Similar letters were sent to Alexander III, to Louis VII of France, and to the King of Portugal, which are alluded to in chronicles and romances, and which were indeed turned into rhyme, and sung all over Europe by minstrels and trouveres. The letter is as follows:

"John, Priest by the Almighty power of God and the Might of our Lord
Jesus Christ, King of Kings, and Lord of Lords, to his friend Emanuel,
Prince of Constantinople, greeting, wishing him health, prosperity, and
the continuance of Divine favour.

"Our Majesty has been informed that you hold our Excellency in love, and that the report of our greatness has reached you. Moreover, we have heard through our treasurer that you have been pleased to send to us some objects of art and interest, that our Exaltedness might be gratified thereby.

"Being human, I receive it in good part, and we have ordered our treasurer to send you some of our articles in return.

"Now we desire to be made certain that you hold the right faith, and in all things cleave to Jesus Christ, our Lord, for we have heard that your court regard you as a god, though we know that you are mortal, and subject to human infirmities….Should you desire to learn the greatness and excellency of our Exaltedness and of the land subject to our sceptre, then hear and believe: I, Presbyter Johannes, the Lord of Lords, surpass all under heaven in virtue, in riches, and in power; seventy-two kings pay us tribute….In the three Indies our Magnificence rules, and our land extends beyond India, where rests the body of the holy Apostle Thomas; it reaches toward the sunrise over the wastes, and it trends toward deserted Babylon near the tower of Babel. Seventy-two provinces, of which only a few are Christian, serve us. Each has its own king, but all are tributary to us.

"Our land is the home of elephants, dromedaries, camels, crocodiles, meta-collinarum, cametennus, ten-sevetes, wild asses, white and red lions, white bears, white merules, crickets, griffins, tigers, lamias, hyenas, wild horses, wild oxen and wild men, men with horns, one-eyed, men with eyes before and behind, centaurs, fauns, satyrs, pygmies, forty-ell-high giants, Cyclopses, and similar women; it is the home, too, of the phoenix, and of nearly all living animals. We have some people subject to us who feed on the flesh of men and of prematurely born animals, and who never fear death. When any of these people die, their friends and relations eat them ravenously, for they regard it as a main duty to munch human flesh. Their names are Gog and Magog, Anie, Agit, Azenach, Fommeperi, Befari, Conei-Samante, Agrimandri, Vintefolei, Casbei, Alanei. These and similar nations were shut in behind lofty mountains by Alexander the Great, toward the North. We lead them at our pleasure against our foes, and neither man nor beast is left undevoured, if our Majesty gives the requisite permission. And when all our foes are eaten, then we return with our hosts home again. These accursed fifteen nations will burst forth from the four quarters of the earth at the end of the world, in the times of Antichrist, and overrun all the abodes of the Saints as well as the great city Rome, which, by the way, we are prepared to give to our son who will be born, along with all Italy, Germany, the two Gauls, Britain and Scotland. We shall also give him Spain and all the land as far as the icy sea. The nations to which I have alluded, according to the words of the prophet, shall not stand in the judgment, on account of their offensive practices, but will be consumed to ashes by a fire which will fall on them from heaven.

"Our land streams with honey, and is overflowing with milk. In one region grows no poisonous herb, nor does a querulous frog ever quack in it; no scorpion exists, nor does the serpent glide amongst the grass, nor can any poisonous animals exist in it, or injure any one.

"Among the heathen, flows through a certain province the River Indus; encircling Paradise, it spreads its arms in manifold windings through the entire province. Here are found the emeralds, sapphires, carbuncles, topazes, chrysolites, onyxes, beryls, sardius, and other costly stones. Here grows the plant Assidos, which, when worn by any one, protects him from the evil spirit, forcing it to state its business and name; consequently the foul spirits keep out of the way there. In a certain land subject to us, all kinds of pepper is gathered, and is exchanged for corn and bread, leather and cloth….At the foot of Mount Olympus bubbles up a spring which changes its flavour hour by hour, night and day, and the spring is scarcely three days' journey from Paradise, out of which Adam was driven. If any one has tasted thrice of the fountain, from that day he will feel no fatigue, but will, as long as he lives, be as a man of thirty years. Here are found the small stones called Nudiosi, which, if borne about the body, prevent the sight from waxing feeble, and restore it where it is lost. The more the stone is looked at, the keener becomes the sight. In our territory is a certain waterless sea, consisting of tumbling billows of sand never at rest. None have crossed this sea; it lacks water altogether, yet fish are cast up upon the beach of various kinds, very tasty, and the like are nowhere else to be seen. Three days' journey from this sea are mountains from which rolls down a stony, waterless river, which opens into the sandy sea. As soon as the stream reaches the sea, its stones vanish in it, and are never seen again. As long as the river is in motion, it cannot be crossed; only four days a week is it possible to traverse it. Between the sandy sea and the said mountains, in a certain plain is a fountain of singular virtue, which purges Christians and would-be Christians from all transgressions. The water stands four inches high in a hollow stone shaped like a musselsheil. Two saintly old men watch by it, and ask the comers whether they are Christians, or are about to become Christians, then whether they desire healing with all their hearts. If they have answered well, they are bidden to lay aside their clothes, and to step into the mussel. If what they said be true, then the water begins to rise and gush over their heads; thrice does the water thus lift itself, and every one who has entered the mussel leaves it cured of every complaint.

"Near the wilderness trickles between barren mountains a subterranean rill, which can only by chance be reached, for only occasionally the earth gapes, and he who would descend must do it with precipitation, ere the earth closes again. All that is gathered under the ground there is gem and precious stone. The brook pours into another river, and the inhabitants of the neighbourhood obtain thence abundance of precious stones. Yet they never venture to sell them without having first offered them to us for our private use: should we decline them, they are at liberty to dispose of them to strangers. Boys there are trained to remain three or four days under water, diving after the stones.

"Beyond the stone river are the ten tribes of the Jews, which, though subject to their own kings, are, for all that, our slaves and tributary to our Majesty. In one of our lands, hight Zone, are worms called in our tongue Salamanders. These worms can only live in fire, and they build cocoons like silk-worms, which are unwound by the ladies of our palace, and spun into cloth and dresses, which are worn by our Exaltedness. These dresses, in order to be cleaned and washed, are cast into flames…. When we go to war, we have fourteen golden and bejewelled crosses borne before us instead of banners; each of these crosses is followed by 10,000 horsemen, and 100,000 foot soldiers fully armed, without reckoning those in charge of the luggage and provision.

"When we ride abroad plainly, we have a wooden, unadorned cross, without gold or gem about it, borne before us, in order that we may meditate on the sufferings of Our Lord Jesus Christ; also a golden bowl filled with earth, to remind us of that whence we sprung, and that to which we must return; but besides these there is borne a silver bowl full of gold, as a token to all that we are the Lord of Lords.

"All riches, such as are upon the world, our Magnificence possesses in superabundance. With us no one lies, for he who speaks a lie is thenceforth regarded as dead; he is no more thought of, or honoured by us. No vice is tolerated by us. Every year we undertake a pilgrimage, with retinue of war, to the body of the holy prophet Daniel, which is near the desolated site of Babylon. In our realm fishes are caught, the blood of which dyes purple. The Amazons and the Brahmins are subject to us. The palace in which our Super-eminency resides, is built after the pattern of the castle built by the Apostle Thomas for the Indian king Gundoforus. Ceilings, joists, and architrave are of Sethym wood, the roof of ebony, which can never catch fire. Over the gable of the palace are, at the extremities, two golden apples, in each of which are two carbuncles, so that the gold may shine by day, and the carbuncles by night. The greater gates of the palace are of sardius, with the horn of the horned snake inwrought, so that no one can bring poison within.

"The other portals are of ebony. The windows are of crystal; the tables are partly of gold, partly of amethyst, and the columns supporting the tables are partly of ivory, partly of amethyst. The court in which we watch the jousting is floored with onyx in order to increase the courage of the combatants. In the palace, at night, nothing is burned for light but wicks supplied with balsam….Before our palace stands a mirror, the ascent to which consists of five and twenty steps of porphyry and serpentine." After a description of the gems adorning this mirror, which is guarded night and day by three thousand armed men, he explains its use: "We look therein and behold all that is taking place in every province and region subject to our sceptre.

"Seven kings wait upon us monthly, in turn, with sixty-two dukes, two hundred and fifty-six counts and marquises: and twelve archbishops sit at table with us on our right, and twenty bishops on the left, besides the patriarch of St. Thomas, the Sarmatian Protopope, and the Archpope of Susa….Our lord high steward is a primate and king, our cup-bearer is an archbishop and king, our chamberlain a bishop and king, our marshal king and abbot."



The year 1228, "a certain Archbishop of Armenia the Greater came on a pilgrimage to England to see the relics of the saints, and visit the sacred places in the kingdom, as he had done in others; he also produced letters of recommendation from his Holiness the Pope, to the religious and the prelates of the churches, in which they were enjoined to receive and entertain him with due reverence and honour. On his arrival, he came to St. Albans, where he was received with all respect by the abbot and the monks; and at this place, being fatigued with his journey, he remained some days to rest himself and his followers, and a conversation took place between him and the inhabitants of the convent, by means of their interpreters, during which he made many inquiries relating to the religion and religious observances of this country, and told many strange things concerning the countries of the East. In the course of conversation he was asked whether he had ever seen or heard any thing of Joseph, a man of whom there was much talk in the world, who, when our Lord suffered, was present and spoke to Him, and who is still alive, in evidence of the Christian faith; in reply to which, a knight in his retinue, who was his interpreter, replied, speaking in French, 'My lord well knows that man, and a little before he took his way to the western countries, the said Joseph ate at the table of my lord the Archbishop of Armenia, and he has often seen and conversed with him.'

"He was then asked about what had passed between Christ and the said Joseph; to which he replied, 'At the time of the passion of Jesus Christ, He was seized by the Jews, and led into the hall of judgment before Pilate, the governor, that He might be judged by him on the accusation of the Jews; and Pilate, finding no fault for which he might sentence Him to death, said unto them, "Take Him and judge Him according to your law"; the shouts of the Jews, however, increasing, he, at their request, released unto them Barabbas, and delivered Jesus to them to be crucified. When, therefore, the Jews were dragging Jesus forth, and had reached the door, Cartaphilus, a porter of the hall in Pilate's service, as Jesus was going out of the door, impiously struck Him on the back with his hand, and said in mockery, "Go quicker, Jesus, go quicker; why do you loiter?" and Jesus, looking back on him with a severe countenance, said to him, "I am going, and you shall wait till I return." And according as our Lord said, this Cartaphilus is still awaiting His return. At the time of our Lord's suffering he was thirty years old, and when he attains the age of a hundred years, he always returns to the same age as he was when our Lord suffered. After Christ's death, when the Catholic faith gained ground, this Cartaphilus was baptised by Ananias (who also baptised the Apostle Paul), and was called Joseph. He dwells in one or other divisions of Armenia, and in divers Eastern countries, passing his time amongst the bishops and other prelates of the Church; he is a man of holy conversation, and religious; a man of few words, and very circumspect in his behaviour; for he does not speak at all unless when questioned by the bishops and religious; and then he relates the events of olden times, and speaks of things which occurred at the suffering and resurrection of our Lord, and of the witnesses of the resurrection, namely, of those who rose with Christ, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto men. He also tells of the creed of the Apostles, and of their separation and preaching. And all this he relates without smiling, or levity of conversation, as one who is well practised in sorrow and the fear of God, always looking forward with dread to the coming of Jesus Christ, lest at the Last Judgment he should find Him in anger whom, when on His way to death, he had provoked to just vengeance. Numbers came to him from different parts of the world, enjoying his society and conversation; and to them, if they are men of authority, he explains all doubts on the matters on which he is questioned. He refuses all gifts that are offered him, being content with slight food and clothing.'"

Much about the same date, Philip Mouskes, afterward Bishop of Tournay, wrote his rhymed chronicle (1242), which contains a similar account of the Jew, derived from the same Armenian prelate:

  "Adonques vint un arceveskes
  De ca mer, plains de bonnes teques
  Par samblant, et fut d'Armenie,"

and this man, having visited the shrine of "St. Tumas de Kantobire," and then having paid his devotions at "Monsigour St. Jake," he went on to Cologne to see the heads of the three kings. The version told in the Netherlands much resembled that related at St. Albans, only that the Jew, seeing the people dragging Christ to his death, exclaims:

  "Atendes moi! g'i vois,
  S'iert mis le faus profete en crois."


  "Le vrais Dieux se regarda,
  Et li a dit qu'e n'i tarda,
  Icist ne t'atenderont pas,
  Mais saces, tu m'atenderas."

We hear no more of the wandering Jew till the sixteenth century, when we hear first of him in a casual manner, as assisting a weaver, Kokot, at the royal palace in Bohemia (1505), to find a treasure which had been secreted by the great-grandfather of Kokot, sixty years before, at which time the Jew was present. He then had the appearance of being a man of seventy years.

Curiously enough, we next hear of him in the East, where he is confounded with the prophet Elijah. Early in the century he appeared to Fadhilah, under peculiar circumstances.

After the Arabs had captured the city of Elvan, Fadhilah, at the head of three hundred horsemen, pitched his tents, late in the evening, between two mountains. Fadhilah, having begun his evening prayer with a loud voice, heard the words "Allah akbar" (God is great) repeated distinctly, and each word of his prayer was followed in a similar manner. Fadhilah, not believing this to be the result of an echo, was much astonished, and cried out, "O thou! whether thou art of the angel ranks, or whether thou art of some other order of spirits, it is well; the power of God be with thee; but if thou art a man, then let mine eyes light upon thee, that I may rejoice in thy presence and society." Scarcely had he spoken these words, before an aged man, with bald head, stood before him, holding a staff In his hand, and much resembling a dervish in appearance. After having courteously saluted him, Fadhilah asked the old man who he was. Thereupon the stranger answered, "Bassi Hadhret Issa, I am here by command of the Lord Jesus, who has left me in this world, that I may live therein until he come a second time to earth. I wait for this Lord, who is the Fountain of Happiness, and in obedience to his command I dwell behind yon mountain." When Fadhilah heard these words, he asked when the Lord Jesus would appear; and the old man replied that his appearing would be at the end of the world, at the Last Judgment. But this only increased Fadhilah's curiosity, so that he inquired the signs of the approach of the end of all things, whereupon Zerib Bar Elia gave him an account of general, social, and moral dissolution, which would be the climax of this world's history.

In 1547 he was seen in Europe, if we are to believe the following narration:

"Paul von Eitzen, Doctor of the Holy Scriptures, and Bishop of Schleswig, [Footnote: Paul v. Eitzen was born January 25, 1522, at Hamburg; in 1562 he was appointed chief preacher for Schleswig, and died February 25, 1598.] related as true for some years past, that when he was young, having studied at Wittemberg, he returned home to his parents in Hamburg in the winter of the year 1547, and that on the following Sunday, in church, he observed a tall man, with his hair hanging over his shoulders, standing barefoot, during the sermon, over against the pulpit, listening with deepest attention to the discourse, and, whenever the name of Jesus was mentioned, bowing himself profoundly and humbly, with sighs and beating of the breast. He had no other clothing, in the bitter cold of the winter, except a pair of hose which were in tatters about his feet, and a coat with a girdle which reached to his feet; and his general appearance was that of a man of fifty years. And many people, some of high degree and title, have seen this same man in England, France, Italy, Hungary, Persia, Spain, Poland, Moscow, Lapland, Sweden, Denmark, Scotland, and other places.

"Every one wondered over the man. Now, after the sermon, the said Doctor inquired diligently where the stranger was to be found; and when he had sought him out, he inquired of him privately whence he came, and how long that winter he had been in the place. Thereupon he replied, modestly, that he was a Jew by birth, a native of Jerusalem, by name Aliasverus, by trade a shoemaker; he had been present at the crucifixion of Christ, and had lived ever since, travelling through various lands and cities, the which he substantiated by accounts he gave; he related also the circumstances of Christ's transference from Pilate to Herod, and the final crucifixion, together with other details not recorded in the Evangelists and historians; he gave accounts of the changes of government in many countries, especially of the East, through several centuries; and moreover he detailed the labours and deaths of the holy Apostles of Christ most circumstantially.

"Now when Doctor Paul v. Eitzen heard this with profound astonishment, on account of its incredible novelty, he inquired further, in order that he might obtain more accurate information. Then the man answered, that he had lived in Jerusalem at the time of the crucifixion of Christ, whom he had regarded as a deceiver of the people, and a heretic; he had seen Him with his own eyes, and had done his best, along with others, to bring this deceiver, as he regarded Him, to justice, and to have Him put out of the way. When the sentence had been pronounced by Pilate, Christ was about to be dragged past his house; then he ran home, and called together his household to have a look at Christ, and see what sort of a person He was.

"This having been done, he had his little child on his arm, and was standing in his doorway, to have a sight of the Lord Jesus Christ.

"As, then, Christ was led by, bowed under the weight of the heavy cross, He tried to rest a little, and stood still a moment; but the shoemaker, in zeal and rage, and for the sake of obtaining credit among the other Jews, drove the Lord Christ forward, and told Him to hasten on His way. Jesus, obeying, looked at him, and said, 'I shall stand and rest, but thou shalt go till the last day.' At these words the man set down the child; and, unable to remain where he was, he followed Christ, and saw how cruelly He was crucified, how He suffered, how He died. As soon as this had taken place, it came upon him suddenly that he could no more return to Jerusalem, nor see again his wife and child, but must go forth into foreign lands, one after another, like a mournful pilgrim. Now, when, years after, he returned to Jerusalem, he found it ruined and utterly razed, so that not one stone was left standing on another; and he could not recognise former localities.

"He believes that it is God's purpose, in thus driving him about in miserable life, and preserving him undying, to present him before the Jews at the end, as a living token, so that the godless and unbelieving may remember the death of Christ, and be turned to repentance. For his part he would well rejoice were God in heaven to release him from this vale of tears. After this conversation, Doctor Paul v. Eitzen, along with the rector of the school of Hamburg, who was well read in history, and a traveller, questioned him about events which had taken place in the East since the death of Christ, and he was able to give them much information on many ancient matters; so that it was impossible not to be convinced of the truth of his story, and to see that what seems impossible with men is, after all, possible with God.

"Since the Jew has had his life extended, he has become silent and reserved, and only answers direct questions. When invited to become any one's guest, he eats little, and drinks in great moderation; then hurries on, never remaining long in one place. When at Hamburg, Dantzig, and elsewhere, money has been offered him, he never took more than two shillings (fourpence, one farthing), and at once distributed it to the poor, as token that he needed no money, for God would provide for him, as he rued the sins he had committed in ignorance.

"During the period of his stay in Hamburg and Dantzig he was never seen to laugh. In whatever land he travelled he spoke its language, and when he spoke Saxon, it was like a native Saxon. Many people came from different places to Hamburg and Dantzig in order to see and hear this man, and were convinced that the providence of God was exercised in this individual in a very remarkable manner. He gladly listened to God's word, or heard it spoken of always with great gravity and compunction, and he ever reverenced with sighs the pronunciation of the name of God, or of Jesus Christ, and could not endure to hear curses; but whenever he heard any one swear by God's death or pains, he waxed indignant, and exclaimed, with vehemence and with sighs, 'Wretched man and miserable creature, thus to misuse the name of thy Lord and God, and His bitter sufferings and passion. Hadst thou seen, as I have, how heavy and bitter were the pangs and wounds of thy Lord, endured for thee and for me, thou wouldst rather undergo great pain thyself than thus take His sacred name in vain!'

"Such is the account given to me by Doctor Paul von Eitzen, with many circumstantial proofs, and corroborated by certain of my own old acquaintances who saw this same individual with their own eyes in Hamburg.

"In the year 1575 the Secretary Christopher Krause, and Master Jacob von Holstein, legates to the Court of Spain, and afterward sent into the Netherlands to pay the soldiers serving his Majesty in that country, related on their return home to Schleswig, and confirmed with solemn oaths, that they had come across the same mysterious individual at Madrid in Spain, in appearance, manner of life, habits, clothing, just the same as he had appeared in Hamburg. They said that they had spoken with him, and that many people of all classes had conversed with him, and found him to speak good Spanish. In the year 1599, in December, a reliable person wrote from Brunswick to Strasburg that the same mentioned strange person had been seen alive at Vienna in Austria, and that he had started for Poland and Dantzig; and that he purposed going on to Moscow. This Ahasverus was at Lubeck in 1601, also about the same date in Revel in Livonia, and in Cracow in Poland. In Moscow he was seen of many and spoken to by many.

"What thoughtful, God-fearing persons are to think of the said person, is at their option. God's works are wondrous and past finding out, and are manifested day by day, only to be revealed in full at the last great day of account.

  "Dated, Revel, August 1st, 1613.
  "D. W.
  "Chrysostomus Duduloeus,

* * * * *

In 1604 he seems to have appeared in Paris. Rudolph Botoreus says, under this date, "I fear lest I be accused of giving ear to old wives' fables, if I insert in these pages what is reported all over Europe of the Jew, coeval with the Saviour Christ; however, nothing is more common, and our popular histories have not scrupled to assert it. Following the lead of those who wrote our annals, I may say that he who appeared not in one century only, in Spain, Italy, and Germany, was also in this year seen and recognised as the same individual who had appeared in Hamburg, anno MDLXVI. The common people, bold in spreading reports, relate many things of him; and this I allude to, lest anything should be left unsaid."

J. C. Bulenger puts the date of the Hamburg visit earlier. "It was reported at this time that a Jew of the time of Christ was wandering without food and drink, having for a thousand and odd years been a vagabond and outcast, condemned by God to rove, because he, of that generation of vipers, was the first to cry out for the crucifixion of Christ and the release of Barabbas; and also because soon after, when Christ, panting under the burden of the rood, sought to rest before his workshop (he was a cobbler), the fellow ordered Him off with acerbity. Thereupon Christ replied, 'Because thou grudgest Me such a moment of rest, I shall enter into My rest, but thou shalt wander restless.' At once, frantic and agitated, he fled through the whole earth, and on the same account to this day he journeys through the world. It was this person who was seen in Hamburg in MDLXIV. Credat Judaeus Apella! I did not see him, or hear anything authentic concerning him, at that time when I was in Paris."

A curious little book, written against the quackery of Paracelsus, by Leonard Doldius, a Nurnberg physician, and translated into Latin and augmented, by Andreas Libavius, doctor and physician of Rotenburg, alludes to the same story, and gives the Jew a new name nowhere else met with. After having referred to a report that Paracelsus was not dead, but was seated alive, asleep or napping, in his sepulchre at Strasburg, preserved from death by some of his specifics, Labavius declares that he would sooner believe in the old man, the Jew, Ahasverus, wandering over the world, called by some Buttadaeus, and otherwise, again, by others.

He is said to have appeared in Naumburg, but the date is not given; he was noticed in church, listening to the sermon. After the service he was questioned, and he related his story. On this occasion he received presents from the burgers. In 1633 he was again in Hamburg. In the year 1640, two citizens, living in the Gerberstrasse, in Brussels, were walking in the Sonian wood, when they encountered an aged man, whose clothes were in tatters and of an antiquated appearance. They invited him to go with them to a house of refreshment, and he went with them, but would not seat himself, remaining on foot to drink. When he came before the doors with the two burgers, he told them a great deal; but they were mostly stories of events which had happened many hundred years before. Hence the burgers gathered that their companion was Isaac Laquedem, the Jew who had refused to permit our Blessed Lord to rest for a moment at his door-step, and they left him full of terror. In 1642 he is reported to have visited Leipzig. On the 22d July, 1721, he appeared at the gates of the city of Munich. About the end of the seventeenth century or the beginning of the eighteenth, an impostor, calling himself the Wandering Jew, attracted attention in England, and was listened to by the ignorant, and despised by the educated. He, however, managed to thrust himself into the notice of the nobility, who, half in jest, half in curiosity, questioned him, and paid him as they might a juggler. He declared that he had been an officer of the Sanhedrim, and that he had struck Christ as he left the judgment hall of Pilate. He remembered all the Apostles, and described their personal appearance, their clothes, and their peculiarities. He spoke many languages, claimed the power of healing the sick and asserted that he had travelled nearly all over the world. Those who heard him were perplexed by his familiarity with foreign tongues and places. Oxford and Cambridge sent professors to question him, and to discover the imposition, if any. An English nobleman conversed with him in Arabic. The mysterious stranger told his questioner in that language that historical works were not to be relied upon. And on being asked his opinion of Mahomet, he replied that he had been acquainted with the father of the prophet, and that he dwelt at Ormuz. As for Mahomet, he believed him to have been a man of intelligence; once when he heard the prophet deny that Christ was crucified, he answered abruptly by telling him he was a witness to the truth of that event. He related also that he was in Rome when Nero set it on fire; he had known Saladin, Tamerlane, Bajazeth, Eterlane, and could give minute details of the history of the Crusades.

Whether this wandering Jew was found out in London or not, we cannot tell, but he shortly after appeared in Denmark, thence travelled into Sweden, and vanished.



  Robert of Sicily, brother of Pope Urbane
  And Valmond, Emperor of Allemaine,
  Apparelled in magnificent attire,
  With retinue of many a knight and squire,
  On St. John's eve, at vespers, proudly sat
  And heard the priests chant the Magnificat.
  And as he listened, o'er and o'er again
  Repeated, like a burden or refrain,
  He caught the words, "Deposuit potentes
  De sede, et exaltavit humiles
  And slowly lifting up his kingly head
  He to a learned clerk beside him said,
  "What mean these words?" The clerk made answer meet,
  "He has put down the mighty from their seat,
  And has exalted them of low degree."
  Thereat King Robert muttered scornfully,
  "'T is well that such seditious words are sung
  Only by priests and in the Latin tongue;
  For unto priests and people be it known,
  There is no power can push me from my throne!"
  And leaning back, he yawned and fell asleep,
  Lulled by the chant monotonous and deep.
  When he awoke, it was already night;
  The church was empty, and there was no light,

  Save where the lamps, that glimmered few and faint,
  Lighted a little space before some saint.
  He started from his seat and gazed around,
  But saw no living thing and heard no sound.
  He groped toward the door, but it was locked;
  He cried aloud, and listened, and knocked,
  And uttered awful threatenings and complaints,
  And imprecations upon men and saints.
  The sounds reechoed from the roof and walls
  As if dead priests were laughing in their stalls.

  At length the sexton, hearing from without
  The tumult of the knocking and the shout,
  And thinking thieves were in the house or prayer,
  Came with his lantern, asking, "Who is there?"
  Half choked with rage, King Robert fiercely said,
  "Open:'tis I, the King! Art thou afraid?"
  The frightened sexton, muttering, with a curse,
  "This is some drunken vagabond, or worse!"
  Turned the great key and flung the portal wide;
  A man rushed by him at a single stride,
  Haggard, half naked, without hat or cloak,
  Who neither turned, nor looked at him, nor spoke,
  But leaped into the blackness of the night,
  And vanished like a spectre from his sight.

  Robert of Sicily, brother of Pope Urbane
  And Valmond, Emperor of Allemaine,
  Despoiled of his magnificent attire,
  Bareheaded, breathless, and besprent with mire,
  With sense of wrong and outrage desperate,
  Strode on and thundered at the palace gate;

  Rushed through the courtyard, thrusting in his rage
  To right and left each seneschal and page,
  And hurried up the broad and sounding stair,
  His white face ghastly in the torches' glare.
  From hall to hall he passed with breathless speed;
  Voices and cries he heard, but did not heed,
  Until at last he reached the banquet-room,
  Blazing with light, and breathing with perfume.

  There on the dais sat another king,
  Wearing his robes, his crown, his signet-ring,
  King Robert's self in features, form, and height,
  But all transfigured with angelic light!
  It was an Angel; and his presence there
  With a divine effulgence rilled the air,
  An exaltation, piercing the disguise,
  Though none the hidden Angel recognised.

  A moment speechless, motionless, amazed,
  The throneless monarch on the Angel gazed,
  Who met his look of anger and surprise
  With the divine compassion of his eyes;
  Then said, "Who art thou? and why com'st thou here?"
  To which King Robert answered with a sneer,
  "I am the King, and come to claim my own
  From an impostor, who usurps my throne!"
  And suddenly, at these audacious words,
  Up sprang the angry guests, and drew their swords;
  The Angel answered, with unruffled brow,
  "Nay, not the King, but the King's Jester, thou

  Henceforth shalt wear the bells and scalloped cape,
  And for thy counsellor shalt lead an ape;
  Thou shalt obey my servants when they call,
  And wait upon my henchmen in the hall!"

  Deaf to King Robert's threats and cries and prayers,
  They thrust him from the hall and down the stairs;
  A group of tittering pages ran before,
  And as they opened wide the folding-door,
  His heart failed, for he heard, with strange alarms,
  The boisterous laughter of the men-at-arms,
  And all the vaulted chamber roar and ring
  With the mock plaudits of "Long live the King!"

  Next morning, waking with the day's first beam,
  He said within himself, "It was a dream!"
  But the straw rustled as he turned his head,
  There were the cap and bells beside his bed,
  Around him rose the bare, discolored walls,
  Close by, the steeds were champing in their stalls,
  And in the corner, a revolting shape,
  Shivering and chattering sat the wretched ape.
  It was no dream; the world he loved so much
  Had turned to dust and ashes at his touch!

  Days came and went; and now returned again
  To Sicily the old Saturnian reign;
  Under the Angel's governance benign
  The happy island danced with corn and wine,
  And deep within the mountain's burning breast
  Enceladus, the giant, was at rest.

  Meanwhile King Robert yielded to his fate,
  Sullen and silent and disconsolate.
  Dressed in the motley garb that Jesters wear,
  With look bewildered and a vacant stare,

  Close shaven above the ears, as monks are shorn,
  By courtiers mocked, by pages laughed to scorn,
  His only friend the ape, his only food
  What others left—he still was unsubdued.
  And when the Angel met him on his way,
  And half in earnest, half in jest, would say,
  Sternly, though tenderly, that he might feel
  The velvet scabbard held a sword of steel,
  "Art thou the King?" the passion of his woe
  Burst from him in resistless overflow
  And, lifting high his forehead he, would fling
  The haughty answer back, "I am, I am the King!"

  Almost three years were ended; when there came
  Ambassadors of great repute and name
  From Valmond, Emperor of Allemaine,
  Unto King Robert, saying that Pope Urbane
  By letter summoned them forthwith to come
  On Holy Thursday to his city of Rome.
  The Angel with great joy received his guests,
  And gave them presents of embroidered vests,
  And velvet mantles with rich ermine lined,
  And rings and jewels of the rarest kind.
  Then he departed with them o'er the sea
  Into the lovely land of Italy,
  Whose loveliness was more resplendent made
  By the mere passing of that cavalcade,

  With plumes, and cloaks, and housings, and the stir
  Of jewelled bridle and of golden spur.
  And lo! among the menials, in mock state,
  Upon a piebald steed, with shambling gait,
  His cloak of fox-tails flapping in the wind,
  The solemn ape demurely perched behind,
  King Robert rode, making huge merriment
  In all the country towns through which they went.

  The Pope received them with great pomp and blare
  Of bannered trumpets, on Saint Peter's square,
  Giving his benediction and embrace,
  Fervent, and full of apostolic grace.
  While with congratulations and with prayers
  He entertained the Angel unawares,
  Robert, the Jester, bursting through the crowd,
  Into their presence rushed, and cried aloud,
  "I am the King! Look, and behold in me
  Robert, your brother, King of Sicily!
  This man, who wears my semblance to your eyes,
  Is an impostor in a king's disguise.
  Do you not know me? does no voice within
  Answer my cry, and say we are akin?"
  The Pope in silence, but with troubled mien,
  Gazed at the Angel's countenance serene;
  The Emperor, laughing, said, "It is strange sport
  To keep a madman for thy Fool at court!"
  And the poor, baffled Jester in disgrace
  Was hustled back among the populace.
  In solemn state the Holy Week went by,
  And Easter Sunday gleamed upon the sky;
  The presence of the Angel, with its light,
  Before the sun rose, made the city bright,

  And with new fervour filled the hearts of men,
  Who felt that Christ indeed had risen again.
  Even the Jester, on his bed of straw,
  With haggard eyes the unwonted splendour saw,
  He felt within a power unfelt before,
  And, kneeling humbly on his chamber-floor,
  He heard the rushing garments of the Lord
  Sweep through the silent air, ascending heavenward.

  And now the visit ending, and once more
  Valmond returning to the Danube's shore,
  Homeward the Angel journeyed, and again
  The land was made resplendent with his train,
  Flashing along the towns of Italy
  Unto Salerno, and from thence by sea.
  And when once more within Palermo's wall,
  And, seated on the throne in his great hall,
  He heard the Angelus from convent towers,
  As if the better world conversed with ours,
  He beckoned to King Robert to draw nigher,
  And with a gesture bade the rest retire;
  And when they were alone, the Angel said,
  "Art thou the King?" Then, bowing down his head,
  King Robert crossed both hands upon his breast,
  And meekly answered him: "Thou knowest best!
  My sins as scarlet are; let me go hence,
  And in some cloister's school of penitence,
  Across those stones, that pave the way to heaven,
  Walk barefoot, till my guilty soul be shriven!"

  The Angel smiled, and from his radiant face
  A holy light illumined all the place,
  And through the open window, loud and clear,
  They heard the monks chant in the chapel near,
  Above the stir and tumult of the street:
  "He has put down the mighty from their seat,
  And has exalted them of low degree!"
  And through the chant a second melody
  Rose like the throbbing of a single string:
  "I am an Angel, and thou art the King!"

  King Robert, who was standing near the throne,
  Lifted his eyes, and lo! he was alone!
  But all apparelled as in days of old,
  With ermined mantle and with cloth of gold;
  And when his courtiers came, they found him there
  Kneeling upon the floor, absorbed in silent prayer.


  And then the blue-eyed Norseman told
  A Saga of the days of old.
  "There is," said he, "a wondrous book
  Of Legends in the old Norse tongue,
  Of the dead kings of Norroway—
  Legends that once were told or sung
  In many a smoky fireside nook
  Of Iceland, in the ancient day,
  By wandering Saga-man or Scald;
  'Heimskringla' is the volume called;
  And he who looks may find therein
  The story that I now begin."

  And in each pause the story made
  Upon his violin he played,
  As an appropriate interlude,
  Fragments of old Norwegian tunes
  That bound in one the separate runes,
  And held the mind in perfect mood,
  Entwining and encircling all
  The strange and antiquated rhymes
  With melodies of olden times;
  As over some half-ruined wall,
  Disjointed and about to fall,
  Fresh woodbines climb and interlace,
  And keep the loosened stones in place.



In that time in which the portion of Tuscany called Casentino was not yet subject to the Florentines, but was ruled by its own counts, in the lands of Poppi, an important place in that valley through which runs the river Arno, and not far from its source, a son was born to a certain good man named Paolo, to whom he gave the name of Torello, and whom, when a suitable age, he not only taught to fear God, and to lead a Christian life, but sent to school, that he might learn the first principles of letters—which he soon did—and to avoid evil companions and imitate the good. The young Torello, being accustomed to this life, and his father dying, for some time proceeded from good to better.

But that not pleasing our common enemy, who always goes about seeking whom he may devour, he so tempted Torello—God permitting it, for future and greater good—that he abandoned a virtuous life, and gave himself to the pursuit of the pleasures of the world; so that instead of being praised for his blameless and religious life, he was censured by all, and had become the very opposite of what he had at first been.

But the blessed Lord—who had never abandoned him, though He had left him to wander, in order to permit him to become a true mirror of penitence—called him to himself in this manner; as he was one day wandering and seeking amusement with his idle companions, a cock that was on a perch outside a window suddenly fell, and alighted on his shoulder, and crowed three times, and then flew back to the perch. Torello, calling to mind how the Apostle Peter had in a similar manner been made to gee his guilt, awaked from his sleep of vice and sin in a state of wonder and fear; and thinking that this could have happened only by divine Providence, and to show him that he was in the power of the devil, left his companions instantly, and in penitence and tears sought the Abbot of Poppi, of the order of Vallombrosa; and commending himself to his prayers, threw himself at his feet, humbly begging for the robe of a mendicant friar, since he desired to serve God in the humblest manner. The abbot wondered much, knowing by common report Torello to be a youth of most incorrect life, to see him thus kneeling in contrition before him, and endeavoured, together with the monks, to persuade him to take their habit of St. John Gualberto. But at last, seeing he had no heart for it, and remained constant to his first request, he at last granted it; and he became a poor brother, and almost a desert hermit, for having received the benediction of the abbot, without communicating with either his family or friends, he left that country and took his way toward the most desert and savage places of the mountains, wandering among them for eight days, and passing the night wherever it chanced to overtake him. But having at last come to a great rock, near a place called Avellanato, he remained there, adopting it for a cell eight days more, weeping for his sins, praying, and imploring God to pardon him; living all this time on three small loaves, which he had brought with him, and on wild herbs like the animals; and being much pleased with the place, he determined to make a cell under that great rock, and there spend all the days of this life, serving God with fasts, vigils, discipline, and prayers, and bitterly lamenting his past sins and evil life.

Having taken this resolution, he went to his own country to put his affairs in order; and all his relatives and friends came about him, praying him with much earnestness, if he sought to serve God, to leave this life of a wild beast and join some order, living like other monks. But all was of no avail; and selling all his goods, he gave the price to the poor, reserving to himself only a small sum of money to build a cell. And he returned to his solitude with a mason, who made for him a miserable cell under that same rock; and he bought near it enough land for a small garden, and there established himself, practising the most severe austerities.

Having now spoken of the penitence and life of the Beato Torello, we must make mention of the great gifts and grace which he received from God during his life, and which were often granted to him in behalf of those who commended themselves to him in faith and devotion.

A poor woman of Poppi, who had only one son, three years old, going to the spring to wash her clothes, took him with her; and he having strayed from her a little way while she was washing, a savage wolf seized him and carried him away, and the poor woman's shrieks could be heard almost at Poppi, while she could do nothing but commend the child to God. While the wolf was escaping with his prey between his teeth, he came, as it pleased God—who thus began to make known the reward of his service—to the cell of the Beato Torello; who, when he saw this, instantly ordered the wolf, in God's name, to lay the child on the ground, safe and sound; which command the wolf no sooner heard than he came to him immediately, and laid the child at his feet. And after he had, with evident humility, received the directions of the holy father, that neither he, nor any of the wolves his companions, should do any harm to any person of that country, he departed, and returned to the forest; and the servant of God took the half-dead child into his cell, where he made a prayer to the Lord, and he was immediately healed of the wounds the wolf's teeth had made in his throat. And when his mother came seeking him with great lamentation and sorrow, he graciously restored him to her alive and well, but with the command that while he lived she should never reveal this miracle.

Carlo, Count of Poppi, being very fond of the Beato Torello, sent him by his steward, one evening in Carnival, a basket full of provisions, praying the good father to accept it for love of him. The steward also carried him many other gifts, which some good ladies, knowing where he was going, took the opportunity to send by his hand.

Having arrived at the cell, he presented them all to the padre, who thanked him much, and returned him the empty baskets; when he took occasion to enquire, how he, being alone, could possibly eat so much in one evening. And Torello, seeing that the steward thought him a great eater, answered: "I am not alone, as you suppose; my companion will come from the woods before long, who has a great appetite, and he will help me." And the steward, hearing this, hid himself in the wood not far from the hermitage, to see who this could be who the padre said had such a fine appetite. He had not waited long when he saw a great wolf go straight to the door of the saint's cell, who opened it for him, and fed him until he had devoured everything that the steward had brought; and he then began to caress the saint, as a faithful and affectionate dog would his master; and this he continued to do until Torello gave him permission to go, and reminded him that neither he, nor any of his companions, should do any harm to the people of that place until they were at such a distance as to be out of hearing of the bell of the monastery, which the wolf promised to do and obey, by bowing his head. The servant, having seen and heard this, returned home, and related it to the count and the others, to their great amazement.

There was a lady of Bologna, named Vittoriana, who made a pilgrimage to the holy place in Vernia, where the glorious St. Francis received the stigmata; and there her two children fell ill with a violent and dangerous fever; and being, in consequence, much distressed and afflicted, she consulted with some ladies from Poppi, whose devotion had also brought them to the same place, who advised her to take her children, as soon as possible, to the blessed Torello, and commend them to him, that by means of his prayers God would restore their health. And going to him, she commended them to him with faith and tears and hope beyond the power of words to describe. And truly it was not in vain; for the holy man, who was most pitiful, kneeled down and prayed to the Lord for her and her children as only the true servants of God pray; and having so done, he took some water from the spring of which he usually drank and gave it to the children, and they were entirely cured and delivered from that fever. And what is more, the water of that fountain is to this day called the fountain of St. Torello, and is a sovereign remedy against every kind of fever to those who drink of it, as experience has testified and still testifies.

But at last, in the year of our salvation twelve hundred and eighty-two, the saint having reached the eightieth year of his life, and spent them all in the service of God—many of his good works being unknown—an angel brought him this message: "Rejoice, Torello, for the time is come when thou shalt receive the crown of glory thou hast so long desired, and the reward in paradise of ail thy labour in the service of God; for thirty days from this time, on the sixteenth of March, thou shalt be delivered from the prison of this world."

The blessed Torello, having heard this, continued all his devout exercises until the end, which approaching, he went to the abbot and confessed his sins for the last time, and received the holy communion from his hands; and they embraced each other, and he returned to his hermitage. And he took leave of one of his disciples, named Pietro, and exhorted him to persevere in God's service; and having with many affectionate prayers recommended his country and the people of it to the blessing of God, praying especially that it should not be ravaged by wolves, he departed in peace.

And all the people of the parishes around, hearing of his death, hastened to the hermitage; and all desiring that his holy body should repose in their church, a great controversy arose, and much scandal would have ensued, had not the Abbot of Poppi passed into the midst of them and convinced them it was the will of God it should be laid in his monastery; to which they all finally agreed. And a wonderful and miraculous event occurred; for while they were all standing around the holy body, a wolf came in with a little pig in his mouth, and passing through them without fear, placed it at the foot of the bier, and went away.



  I know not whence it rises,
    This thought so full of woe:
  But a tale of the times departed
    Haunts me—and will not go.

  The air is cool, and it darkens,
    And calmly flows the Rhine;
  The mountain peaks are sparkling
    In the sunny evening-shine.

  And yonder sits a maiden,
    The fairest of the fair;
  With gold is her garment glittering,
    And she combs her golden hair.

  With a golden comb she combs it,
    And a wild song singeth she,
  That melts the heart with a wondrous
    And powerful melody.

  The boatman feels his bosom
    With a nameless longing move;
  He sees not the gulfs before him,
    His gaze is fixed above.

  Till over boat and boatman
    The Rhine's deep waters run;
  And this with her magic singing
    The Lorelei hath done!



  So all day long the noise of battle roll'd
  Among the mountains by the winter sea.
  Until King Arthur's Table, man by man,
  Had fall'n in Lyonnesse about their Lord,
  King Arthur. Then, because his wound was deep,
  The bold Sir Bedivere uplifted him,
  And bore him to a chapel nigh the field,
  A broken chancel with a broken cross.
  That stood on a dark strait of barren land:
  On one side lay the Ocean, and on one
  Lay a great water, and the moon was full.

  Then spake King Arthur to Sir Bedivere:
  "The sequel of to-day unsolders all
  The goodliest fellowship of famous knights
  Whereof this world holds record. Such a sleep
  They sleep—the men I loved. I think that we
  Shall never more, at any future time,
  Delight our souls with talk of knightly deeds,
  Walking about the gardens and the halls
  Of Camelot, as in the days that were.
  I perish by this people which I made—
  Tho' Merlin sware that I should come again
  To rule once more; but, let what will be, be,
  I am so deeply smitten thro' the helm
  That without help I cannot last till morn.

  Thou therefore take my brand Excalibur,
  Which was my pride: for thou rememberest how
  In those old days, one summer noon, an arm
  Rose up from out the bosom of the lake,
  Clothed in white samite, mystic, wonderful,
  Holding the sword—and how I row'd across
  And took it, and have worn it, like a king;
  And, wheresoever I am sung or told
  In aftertime, this also shall be known:
  But now delay not: take Excalibur,
  And fling him far into the middle mere:
  Watch what thou seest and lightly bring me word."
  To him replied the bold Sir Bedivere:
  "It is not meet, Sir King, to leave thee thus,
  Aidless, alone, and smitten thro' the helm—
  A little thing may harm a wounded man;
  Yet I thy hest will all perform at full,
  Watch what I see, and lightly bring thee word."
  So saying, from the ruin'd shrine he stept,
  And in the moon athwart the place of tombs,
  Where lay the mighty bones of ancient men,
  Old knights, and over them the sea-wind sang
  Shrill, chill, with flakes of foam. He, stepping down
  By zigzag paths, and juts of pointed rock,
  Came on the shining levels of the lake.
  There drew he forth the brand Excalibur,
  And o'er him, drawing it, the winter moon,
  Brightening the skirts of a long cloud, ran forth
  And sparkled keen with frost against the hilt:
  For all the haft twinkled with diamond sparks,
  Myriads of topaz-lights, and jacinth-work
  Of subtlest jewellery. He gazed so long
  That both his eyes were dazzled, as he stood,

  This way and that dividing the swift mind,
  In act to throw: but at the last it seem'd
  Better to leave Excalibur conceal'd
  There in the many-knotted water flags,
  That whistled stiff and dry about the marge.
  So strode he back slow to the wounded King.
  Then spake King Arthur to Sir Bedivere:
  "Hast thou perform'd my mission which I gave?
  What is it thou hast seen? or what hast heard?"
  And answer made the bold Sir Bedivere:
  "I heard the ripple washing in the reeds,
  And the wild water lapping on the crag."
  To whom replied King Arthur, faint and pale:
  "Thou hast betray'd thy nature and thy name,
  Not rendering true answer, as beseem'd
  Thy fealty, nor like a noble knight:
  For surer sign had followed either hand,
  Or voice, or else a motion of the mere.
  This is a shameful thing for men to lie.
  Yet now, I charge thee, quickly go again,
  As thou art lief and dear, and do the thing
  I bade thee, watch, and lightly bring me word."
  Then went Sir Bedivere the second time
  Across the ridge, and paced beside the mere,
  Counting the dewy pebbles, fix'd in thought;
  But when he saw the wonder of the hilt,
  How curiously and strangely chased, he smote
  His palms together, and he cried aloud:
  "And if indeed I cast the brand away,
  Surely a precious thing, one worthy note,
  Should thus be lost forever from the earth,
  Which might have pleased the eyes of many men.
  What good should follow this, if this were done?

  What harm, undone? Deep harm to disobey,
  Seeing obedience is the bond of rule.
  Were it well to obey then, if a king demand
  An act unprofitable, against himself?
  The King is sick, and knows not what he does.
  What record, or what relic of my lord
  Should be to aftertime, but empty breath
  And rumours of a doubt? but were this kept,
  Stored in some treasure-house of mighty kings,
  Some one might show it at a joust of arms,
  Saying, 'King Arthur's sword, Excalibur,
  Wrought by the lonely maiden of the Lake.
  Nine years she wrought it, sitting in the deeps
  Upon the hidden bases of the hills.'
  So might some old man speak in the aftertime
  To all the people, winning reverence.
  But now much honour and much fame were lost."
  So spake he, clouded with his own conceit,
  And hid Excalibur the second time,
  And so strode back slow to the wounded King.
  Then spoke King Arthur, breathing heavily:
  "What is it thou hast seen? or what hast heard?"
  And answer made the bold Sir Bedivere:
  "I heard the water lapping on the crag,
  And the long ripple washing in the reeds."
  To whom replied King Arthur, much in wrath:
  "Ah, miserable and unkind, untrue,
  Unknightly, traitor-hearted! Woe is me!
  Authority forgets a dying king,
  Laid widow'd of the power in his eye
  That bow'd the will. I see thee what thou art,
  For thou, the latest-left of all my knights,
  In whom should meet the offices of all,

  Thou wouldst betray me for the precious hilt;
  Either from lust of gold, or like a girl
  Valuing the giddy pleasure of the eyes.
  Yet, for a man may fail in duty twice,
  And the third time may prosper, get thee hence:
  But, if thou spare to fling Excalibur,
  I will arise and slay thee with my hands."
  Then quickly rose Sir Bedivere, and ran,
  And, leaping down the ridges lightly, plunged
  Among the bulrush beds, and clutch'd the sword,
  And strongly wheel'd and threw it. The great brand
  Made lightings in the splendour of the moon,
  And flashing round and round, and whirl'd in an arch,
  Shot like a streamer of the northern morn,
  Seen where the moving isles of winter shock
  By night with noises of the Northern Sea.
  So flashed and fell the brand Excalibur:
  But ere he dipt the surface, rose an arm
  Clothed in white samite, mystic, wonderful,
  And caught him by the hilt, and brandish'd him
  Three times, and drew him under in the mere.
  And lightly went the other to the King.
  Then spoke King Arthur, drawing thicker breath:
  "Now see I by thine eyes that this is done.
  Speak out: what is it thou hast heard, or seen?"
  And answer made the bold Sir Bedivere:
  "Sir King, I closed mine eyelids, lest the gems
  Should blind my purpose, for I never saw,
  Nor shall see, here or elsewhere, till I die,
  Not tho' I live three lives of mortal men,
  So great a miracle as yonder hilt.
  Then with both hands I flung him, wheeling him;
  But when I look'd again, beheld an arm,

  Clothed in white samite, mystic, wonderful.
  That caught him by the hilt, and brandished him
  Three times, and drew him under In the mere."
  And answer made King Arthur, breathing hard:
  "My end draws nigh;'tis time that I were gone.
  Make broad thy shoulders to receive my weight,
  And bear me to the margin; yet I fear
  My wound hath taken cold, and I shall die."
  So saying, from the pavement he half rose,
  Slowly, with pain, reclining on his arm,
  And looking wistfully with wide blue eyes
  As in a picture. Him Sir Bedivere
  Remorsefully regarded thro' his tears,
  And would have spoken, but he found not word;
  Then took with care, and kneeling on one knee,
  O'er both his shoulders drew the languid hands,
  And rising bore him thro' the place of tombs.
  But, as he walk'd, King Arthur panted hard,
  Like one that feels a nightmare on his bed
  When all the house is mute. So sigh'd the King,
  Muttering and murmuring at his ear, "Quick, quick!
  I fear it is too late, and I shall die."
  But the other swiftly strode from ridge to ridge,
  Clothed with his breath, and looking, as he walk'd,
  Larger than human on the frozen hills.
  He heard the deep behind him, and a cry
  Before. His own thought drove him like a goad.
  Dry clashed his harness in the icy caves
  And barren chasms, and all to left and right
  The bare black cliff clang'd round him, as he based
  His feet on juts of slippery crag that rang
  Sharp-smitten with the dint of armed heels—
  And on a sudden, lo! the level lake,

  And the long glories of the winter moon.
  Then saw they how there hove a dusky barge,
  Dark as a funeral scarf from stern to stern,
  Beneath them; and descending they were ware
  That all the decks were dense with stately forms,
  Black-stoled, black-hooded, like a dream—by these
  Three Queens with crowns of gold: and from them rose
  A cry that shiver'd to the tingling stars,
  And, as it were one voice, an agony
  Of lamentation, like a wind that shrills
  All night in a waste land, where no one comes
  Or hath come, since the making of the world.
  Then murmur'd Arthur, "Place me in the barge."
  So to the barge they came. There those three Queens
  Put forth their hands, and took the King, and wept.
  But she, that rose the tallest of them all
  And fairest, laid his head upon her lap,
  And loosed the shatter'd casque, and chafed his hands,
  And call'd him by his name, complaining loud,
  And dropping bitter tears against a brow
  Striped with dark blood: for all his face was white
  And colourless, and like the withered moon
  Smote by the fresh beam of the springing east;
  And all his greaves and cuisses dash'd with drops
  Of onset; and the light and lustrous curls—
  That made his forehead like a rising sun
  High from the dias-throne—were parch'd with dust;
  Or, clotted into points and hanging loose,
  Mix'd with the knightly growth that fringed his lips.
  So like a shatter'd column lay the King;
  Not like that Arthur who, with lance in rest,
  From spur to plume a star of tournament,
  Shot thro' the lists of Camelot, and charged

  Before the eyes of ladles and of kings,
  Then loudly cried the bold Sir Bedivere:
  "Ah! my Lord Arthur, whither shall I go?
  Where shall I hide my forehead and my eyes?
  For now I see the true old times are dead,
  When every morning brought a noble chance,
  And every chance brought out a noble knight.
  Such times have been not since the light that led
  The holy Elders with the gift of myrrh.
  But now the whole Round Table is dissolved
  Which was an image of the mighty world,
  And, I the last, go forth companionless,
  And the days darken round me, and the years,
  Among new men, strange faces, other minds."
  And slowly answered Arthur from the barge:
  "The old order changeth, yielding place to new,
  And God fulfils himself in many ways,
  Lest one good custom should corrupt the world.
  Comfort thyself: what comfort is in me?
  I have lived my life, and that which I have done
  May He within himself make pure! but thou,
  If thou shouldst never see my face again,
  Pray for my soul. More things are wrought by prayer
  Than this world dreams of. Wherefore, let thy voice
  Rise like a fountain for me night and day.
  For what are men better than sheep or goats
  That nourish a blind life within the brain,
  If, knowing God, they lift not hands of prayer
  Both for themselves and those who call them friend?
  For so the whole round earth is every way
  Bound by gold chains about the feet of God.
  But now farewell. I am going a long way
  With these thou seest-if indeed I go

  (For all my mind is clouded with a doubt)
  To the island-valley of Avilion;
  Where falls not hail, or rain, or any snow,
  Nor ever wind blows loudly; but it lies
  Deep-meadow'd, happy, fair with orchard lawns
  And bowery hollows crown'd with summer sea.
  Where I will heal me of my grievous wound."
  So said he, and the barge with oar and sail
  Moved from the brink, like some full-breasted swan
  That, fluting a wild carol ere her death,
  Ruffles her pure cold plume, and takes the flood
  With swarthy webs. Long stood Sir Bedivere
  Revolving many memories, till the hull
  Look'd one black dot against the verge of dawn,
  And on the mere the wailing died away.
  But when that moan had past for evermore,
  The stillness of the dead world's winter dawn
  Amazed him, and he groan'd, "The King is gone."
  And therewithal came on him the weird rhyme,
  "From the great deep to the great deep he goes"

  Whereat he slowly turn'd and slowly clomb
  The last hard footstep of that iron crag;
  Thence mark'd the black hull moving yet, and cried,
  "He passes to be King among the dead,
  And after healing of his grievous wound
  He comes again; but—if he come no more—
  O me, be yon dark Queens in yon black boat,
  Who shriek'd and wail'd, the three whereat we gazed
  On that high day, when, clothed with living light,
  They stood before his throne in silence, friends
  Of Arthur, who should help him at his need?"

  Then from the dawn it seem'd there came, but faint
  As from beyond the limit of the world,
  Like the last echo born of a great cry,
  Sounds, as if some fair city were one voice
  Around a king returning from his wars.

  Thereat once more he moved about, and clomb
  Ev'n to the highest he could climb, and saw,
  Straining his eyes beneath an arch of hand,
  Or thought he saw, the speck that bare the King,
  Down that long water opening on the deep
  Somewhere far off, pass on and on, and go
  From less to less and vanish into light.
  And the new sun rose bringing the new year.



The following tale was found among the papers of the late Diedrich Knickerbocker, an old gentleman of New York, who was very curious in the Dutch history of the province, and the manners of the descendants from its primitive settlers. His historical researches, however, did not lie so much among books as among men; for the former are lamentably scanty on his favourite topics; whereas he found the old burghers, and still more their wives, rich in that legendary lore so invaluable to true history. Whenever, therefore, he happened upon a genuine Dutch family, snugly shut up in its low-roofed farmhouse under a spreading sycamore, he looked upon it as a little clasped volume of black-letter, and studied it with the zeal of a book worm.

The result of all these researches was a history of the province during the reign of the Dutch governors, which he published some years since. There have been various opinions as to the literary character of his work, and, to tell the truth, it is not a whit better than it should be. Its chief merit is its scrupulous accuracy, which indeed was a little questioned on its first appearance, but has since been completely established; and it is now admitted into all historical collections, as a book of unquestionable authority.

The old gentleman died shortly after the publication of his work, and now that he is dead and gone, it cannot do much harm to his memory to say that his time might have been much better employed in weightier labours. He, however, was apt to ride his hobby his own way; and though it did now and then kick up the dust a little in the eyes of his neighbours, and grieve the spirit of some friends, for whom he felt the truest deference and affection; yet his errors and follies are remembered "more in sorrow than in anger," and it begins to be suspected that he never intended to injure or offend. But however his memory may be appreciated by critics, it is still held dear by many folk, whose good opinion is worth having; particularly by certain biscuit-bakers, who have gone so far as to imprint his likeness on their new-year cakes; and have thus given him a chance for immortality, almost equal to the being stamped on a Waterloo Medal, or a Queen Anne's farthing.

Whoever has made a voyage up the Hudson must remember the Kaatskill Mountains. They are a dismembered branch of the great Appalachian family, and are seen away to the west of the river, swelling up to a noble height, and lording it over the surrounding country. Every change of season, every change of weather, indeed, every hour of the day, produces some change in the magical hues and shapes of these mountains, and they are regarded by all the good wives, far and near, as perfect barometers. When the weather is fair and settled, they are clothed in blue and purple, and print their bold outlines on the clear evening sky; but sometimes when the rest of the landscape is cloudless they will gather a hood of gray vapours about their summits, which, in the last rays of the setting sun, will glow and light up like a crown of glory.

At the foot of these fairy mountains, the voyager may have descried the light smoke curling up from a village, whose shingle-roofs gleam among the trees, just where the blue tints of the upland melt away into the fresh green of the nearer landscape. It is a little village of great antiquity, having been founded by some of the Dutch colonists in the early time of the province, just about the beginning of the government of the good Peter Stuyvesant (may he rest in peace!) and there were some of the houses of the original settlers standing within a few years, built of small yellow bricks brought from Holland, having latticed windows and gable fronts, surmounted with weathercocks.

In that same village, and in one of these very houses (which, to tell the precise truth, was sadly time-worn and weather-beaten), there lived many years since, while the country was yet a province of Great Britain, a simple, good-natured fellow, of the name of Rip Van Winkle. He was a descendant of the Van Winkles who figured so gallantly in the chivalrous days of Peter Stuyvesant, and accompanied him to the siege of Fort Christina. He inherited, however, but little of the martial character of his ancestors. I have observed that he was a simple, good-natured man; he was, moreover, a kind neighbour, and an obedient hen-pecked husband. Indeed, to the latter circumstance might be owing that meekness of spirit which gained him such universal popularity; for those men are most apt to be obsequious and conciliating abroad, who are under the discipline of shrews at home. Their tempers, doubtless, are rendered pliant and malleable in the fiery furnace of domestic tribulation; and a curtain lecture is worth all the sermons in the world for teaching the virtues of patience and long-suffering. A termagant wife may, therefore, in some respects be considered a tolerable blessing, and if so, Rip Van Winkle was thrice blessed.

Certain it is, that he was a great favourite among all the good wives of the village, who, as usual with the amiable sex, took his part in all family squabbles; and never failed, whenever they talked those matters over in their evening gossipings, to lay all the blame on Dame Van Winkle. The children of the village, too, would shout with joy whenever he approached. He assisted at their sports, made their playthings, taught them to fly kites and shoot marbles, and told them long stories of ghosts, witches, and Indians. Whenever he went dodging about the village, he was surrounded by a troop of them, hanging on his skirts, clambering on his back, and playing a thousand tricks on him, with impunity; and not a dog would bark at him throughout the neighbourhood.

The great error in Rip's composition was an insuperable aversion to all kinds of profitable labour. It could not be from the want of assiduity or perseverance; for he would sit on a wet rock, with a rod as long and heavy as a Tartar's lance, and fish all day without a murmur, even though he should not be encouraged by a single nibble. He would carry a fowling-piece on his shoulder for hours together, trudging through woods and swamps, and up hill and down dale, to shoot a few squirrels or wild pigeons. He would never refuse to assist a neighbour, even in the roughest toil, and was a foremost man at all country frolics for husking Indian corn, or building stone-fences; the women of the village, too, used to employ him to run their errands, and to do such little odd jobs as their less obliging husband^ would not do for them. In a word, Rip was ready to attend to anybody's business but his own; but as to doing family duty, and keeping his farm in order, he found it impossible.

In fact, he declared it was of no use to work on his farm; it was the most pestilent little piece of ground in the whole country; everything about it went wrong, and would go wrong, in spite of him. His fences were continually falling to pieces; his cow would either go astray or get among the cabbages; weeds were sure to grow quicker in his fields than any where else; the rain always made a point of setting in just as he had some out-door work to do; so that though his patrimonial estate had dwindled away under his management, acre by acre, until there was little more left than a mere patch of Indian corn and potatoes, yet it was the worst-conditioned farm in the neighbourhood.

His children, too, were as ragged and wild as if they belonged to nobody. His son Rip, an urchin begotten in his own likeness, promised to inherit the habits, with the old clothes of his father. He was generally seen trooping like a colt at his mother's heels, equipped in a pair of his father's cast-off galligaskins, which he had much ado to hold up with one hand, as a fine lady does her train in bad weather.

Rip Van Winkle, however, was one of those happy mortals, of foolish, well-oiled dispositions, who take the world easy, eat white bread or brown, whichever can be got with least thought or trouble, and would rather starve on a penny than work for a pound. If left to himself; he would have whistled life away in perfect contentment; but his wife kept continually dinning in his ears about his idleness, his carelessness, and the ruin he was bringing on his family. Morning, noon, and night her tongue was incessantly going, and everything he said or did was sure to produce a torrent of household eloquence. Rip had but one way of replying to all lectures of the kind, and that, by frequent use, had grown into a habit. He shrugged his shoulders, shook his head, cast up his eyes, but said nothing. This, however, always provoked a fresh volley from his wife; so that he was fain to draw off his forces, and take to the outside of the house—the only side which, in truth, belongs to a henpecked husband.

Rip's sole domestic adherent was his dog Wolf, who was as much henpecked as his master; for Dame Van Winkle regarded them as companions in idleness, and even looked upon Wolf with an evil eye, as the cause of his master's going so often astray. True it is, in all points of spirit befitting an honourable dog, he was as courageous an animal as ever scoured the woods—but what courage can withstand the ever-during and all-besetting terrors of a woman's tongue? The moment Wolf entered the house his crest fell, his tail drooped to the ground, or curled between his legs, he sneaked about with a gallows air, casting many a sidelong glance at Dame Van Winkle, and at the least flourish of a broomstick or ladle he would fly to the door with yelping precipitation.

Times grew worse and worse with Rip Van Winkle as years of matrimony rolled on; a tart temper never mellows with age, and a sharp tongue is the only edged tool that grows keener with constant use. For a long while he used to console himself, when driven from home, by frequenting a kind of perpetual club of the sages, philosophers, and other idle personages of the village; which held its sessions on a bench before a small inn, designated by a rubicund portrait of His Majesty George the Third. Here they used to sit in the shade through a long lazy summer's day, talking listlessly over village gossip, or telling endless, sleepy stories about nothing. But it would have been worth any statesman's money to have heard the profound discussions that sometimes took place, when by chance an old newspaper fell into their hands from some passing traveller. How solemnly they would listen to the contents, as drawled out by Derrick Van Bummel, the school-master, a dapper learned little man, who was not to be daunted by the most gigantic word in the dictionary; and how sagely they would deliberate upon public events some months after they had taken place.

The opinions of this junto were completely controlled by Nicholas Vedder, a patriarch of the village, and landlord of the inn, at the door of which he took his seat from morning till night, just moving sufficiently to avoid the sun and keep in the shade of a large tree; so that the neighbours could tell the hour by his movements as accurately as by a sun-dial. It is true he was rarely heard to speak, but smoked his pipe incessantly. His adherents however (for every great man has his adherents), perfectly understood him, and knew how to gather his opinions. When anything that was read or related displeased him, he was observed to smoke his pipe vehemently, and to send forth short, frequent and angry puffs; but when pleased, he would inhale the smoke slowly and tranquilly, and emit it in light and placid clouds; and sometimes, taking the pipe from his mouth, and letting the fragrant vapour curl about his nose, would gravely nod his head in token of perfect approbation.

From even this stronghold the unlucky Rip was at length routed by his termagant wife, who would suddenly break in upon the tranquillity of the assemblage and call the members all to naught; nor was that august personage, Nicholas Vedder himself, sacred from the daring tongue of this terrible virago, who charged him outright with encouraging her husband in habits of idleness.

Poor Rip was at last reduced almost to despair; and his only alternative, to escape from the labour of the farm and clamour of his wife, was to take gun in hand and stroll away into the woods. Here he would sometimes seat himself at the foot of a tree, and share the contents of his wallet with Wolf, with whom he sympathised as a fellow-sufferer in persecution. "Poor Wolf," he would say, "thy mistress leads thee a dog's life of it; but never mind, my lad, whilst I live thou shalt never want a friend to stand by thee!" Wolf would wag his tail, look wistfully in his master's face, and if dogs can feel pity I verily believe he reciprocated the sentiment with all his heart.

In a long ramble of the kind on a fine autumnal day, Rip had unconsciously scrambled to one of the highest parts of the Kaatskill Mountains. He was after his favourite sport squirrel shooting, and the still solitudes had echoed and reechoed with the reports of his gun. Panting and fatigued, he threw himself, late in the afternoon, on a green knoll, covered with mountain herbage, that crowned the brow of a precipice. From an opening between the trees he could overlook all the lower country for many a mile of rich woodland. He saw at a distance the lordly Hudson, far, far below him, moving on its silent but majestic course, with the reflection of a purple cloud, or the sail of a lagging bark, here and there sleeping on its glassy bosom, and at last losing itself in the blue highlands.

On the other side he looked down into a deep mountain glen, wild, lonely, and shagged, the bottom filled with fragments from the impending cliffs, and scarcely lighted by the reflected rays of the setting sun. For some time Rip lay musing on this scene; evening was gradually advancing; the mountains began to throw their long blue shadows over the valleys; he saw that it would be dark long before he could reach the village, and he heaved a heavy sigh when he thought of encountering the terrors of Dame Van Winkle.

As he was about to descend, he heard a voice from a distance, hallooing, "Rip Van Winkle! Rip Van Winkle!" He looked round, but could see nothing but a crow winging its solitary flight across the mountain. He thought his fancy must have deceived him, and turned again to descend, when he heard the same cry ring through the still evening air: "Rip Van Winkle! Rip Van Winkle!"—at the same time Wolf bristled up his back, and giving a low growl, skulked to his master's side, looking fearfully down into the glen. Rip now felt a vague apprehension stealing over him; he looked anxiously in the same direction, and perceived a strange figure slowly toiling up the rocks, and bending under the weight of something he carried on his back. He was surprised to see any human being in this lonely and unfrequented place; but supposing it to be some one of the neighbourhood in need of his assistance, he hastened down to yield it.

On nearer approach he was still more surprised at the singularity of the stranger's appearance. He was a short, square-built old fellow, with thick bushy hair, and a grizzled beard. His dress was of the antique Dutch fashion: a cloth jerkin strapped round the waist, several pair of breeches, the outer one of ample volume, decorated with rows of buttons down the sides, and bunches at the knees. He bore on his shoulder a stout keg, that seemed full of liquor, and made signs for Rip to approach and assist him with the load. Though rather shy and distrustful of this new acquaintance, Rip complied with his usual alacrity; and mutually relieving one another, they clambered up a narrow gully, apparently the dry bed of a mountain torrent. As they ascended, Rip every now and then heard long rolling peals like distant thunder, that seemed to issue out of a deep ravine, or rather cleft, between lofty rocks, toward which their rugged path conducted. He paused for a moment, but supposing it to be the muttering of one of those transient thunder-showers which often take place in mountain heights, he proceeded. Passing through the ravine, they came to a hollow, like a small amphitheatre, surrounded by perpendicular precipices, over the brinks of which impending trees shot their branches, so that you only caught glimpses of the azure sky and the bright evening cloud. During the whole time Rip and his companion had laboured on in silence; for though the former marvelled greatly what could be the object of carrying a keg of liquor up this wild mountain, yet there was something strange and incomprehensible about the unknown, that inspired awe and checked familiarity.

On entering the amphitheatre, new objects of wonder presented themselves. On a level spot in the centre was a company of odd-looking personages playing at nine-pins. They were dressed in a quaint outlandish fashion; some wore short doublets, others jerkins, with long knives in their belts, and most of them had enormous breeches of similar style with that of the guide's. Their visages, too, were peculiar; one had a large beard, broad face, and small piggish eyes; the face of another seemed to consist entirely of nose, and was surmounted by a white sugar-loaf hat, set off with a little red cock's tail. They all had beards, of various shapes and colours. There was one who seemed to be the commander. He was a stout old gentleman, with a weather-beaten countenance; he wore a laced doublet, broad belt and hanger, high-crowned hat and feather, red stockings, and high-heeled shoes, with roses in them. The whole group reminded Rip of the figures in an old Flemish painting in the parlour of Dominie Van Shaick, the village parson, which had been brought over from Holland at the time of the settlement.

What seemed particularly odd to Rip was, that though these folks were evidently amusing themselves, yet they maintained the gravest faces, the most mysterious silence, and were, withal, the most melancholy party of pleasure he had ever witnessed. Nothing interrupted the stillness of the scene but the noise of the balls, which, whenever they were rolled, echoed along the mountains like rumbling peals of thunder.

As Rip and his companion approached them, they suddenly desisted from their play, and stared at him with such fixed, statue-like gaze, and such strange, uncouth, lack-lustre countenances that his heart turned within him, and his knees smote together. His companion now emptied the contents of the keg into large flagons, and made signs to him to wait upon the company. He obeyed with fear and trembling; they quaffed the liquor in profound silence, and then returned to their game.

By degrees Rip's awe and apprehension subsided. He even ventured, when no eye was fixed upon him, to taste the beverage, which he found had much of the flavour of excellent Hollands. He was naturally a thirsty soul, and was soon tempted to repeat the draught. One taste provoked another; and he reiterated his visits to the flagon so often that at length his senses were overpowered, his eyes swam in his head, his head gradually declined, and he fell into a deep sleep.

On waking, he found himself on the green knoll whence he had first seen the old man of the glen. He rubbed his eyes—it was a bright, sunny morning. The birds were hopping and twittering among the bushes, and the eagle was wheeling aloft, and breasting the pure mountain breeze. "Surely," thought Rip, "I have not slept here all night." He recalled the occurrences before he fell asleep. The strange man with a keg of liquor—the mountain ravine—the wild retreat among the rocks—the woe-begone party at nine-pins—the flagon—"Oh! that flagon! that wicked flagon!" thought Rip—"what excuse shall I make to Dame Van Winkle?"

He looked round for his gun, but in place of the clean, well-oiled fowling-piece, he found an old firelock lying by him, the barrel incrusted with rust, the lock falling off, and the stock worm-eaten. He now suspected that the grave roisters of the mountain had put a trick upon him, and, having dosed him with liquor, had robbed him of his gun. Wolf, too, had disappeared, but he might have strayed away after a squirrel or partridge. He whistled after him, and shouted his name, but all in vain; the echoes repeated his whistle and shout, but no dog was to be seen.

He determined to revisit the scene of the last evening's gambol, and if he met with any of the party, to demand his dog and gun. As he rose to walk, he found himself stiff in the joints, and wanting in his usual activity. "These mountain beds do not agree with me," thought Rip, "and if this frolic should lay me up with a fit of the rheumatism, I shall have a blessed time with Dame Van Winkle." With some difficulty he got down into the glen; he found the gully up which he and his companion had ascended the preceding evening; but to his astonishment a mountain stream was now foaming down it, leaping from rock to rock and filling the glen with babbling murmurs. He, however, made shift to scramble up its sides, working his toilsome way through thickets of birch, sassafras, and witch-hazel, and sometimes tripped up or entangled by the wild grapevines that twisted their coils or tendrils from tree to tree, and spread a kind of network in his path.

At length he reached to where the ravine had opened through the cliffs to the amphitheatre; but no traces of such opening remained. The rocks presented a high, impenetrable wall, over which the torrent come tumbling in a sheet of feathery foam, and fell into a broad, deep basin, black from the shadows of the surrounding forest. Here, then, poor Rip was brought to a stand. He again called and whistled after his dog; he was only answered by the cawing of a flock of idle crows, sporting high in air about a dry tree that overhung a sunny precipice; and who, secure in their elevation, seemed to look down and scoff at the poor man's perplexities. What was to be done? the morning was passing away, and Rip felt famished for want of his breakfast. He grieved to give up his dog and gun; he dreaded to meet his wife; but it would not do to starve among the mountains. He shook his head, shouldered the rusty firelock, and, with a heart full of trouble and anxiety, turned his steps homeward.

As he approached the village he met a number of people, but none whom he knew, which somewhat surprised him, for he had thought himself acquainted with every one in the country round. Their dress, too, was of a different fashion from that to which he was accustomed. They all stared at him with equal marks of surprise, and whenever they cast their eyes upon him, invariably stroked their chins. The constant recurrence of this gesture induced Rip, involuntarily, to do the same, when, to his astonishment, he found his beard had grown a foot long!

He had now entered the skirts of the village. A troop of strange children ran at his heels, hooting after him, and pointing at his gray beard. The dogs, too, not one of which he recognised for an old acquaintance, barked at him as he passed. The very village was altered; it was larger and more populous. There were rows of houses which he had never seen before, and those which had been his familiar haunts had disappeared. Strange names were over the doors—strange faces at the windows—everything was strange. His mind now misgave him; he began to doubt whether both he and the world around him were not bewitched. Surely this was his native village, which he had left but the day before. There stood the Kaatskill Mountains—there ran the silver Hudson at a distance—there was every hill and dale precisely as it had always been—Rip was sorely perplexed—"That flagon last night," thought he, "has addled my poor head sadly!"

It was with some difficulty that he found the way to his own house, which he approached with silent awe, expecting every moment to hear the shrill voice of Dame Van Winkle. He found the house gone to decay—the roof fallen in, the windows shattered, and the doors off the hinges. A half-starved dog that looked like Wolf was skulking about it. Rip called him by name, but the cur snarled, showed his teeth, and passed on. This was an unkind cut indeed—"My very dog," sighed poor Rip, "has forgotten me!"

He entered the house, which, to tell the truth, Dame Van Winkle had always kept in neat order. It was empty, forlorn, and apparently abandoned. This desolateness overcame all his connubial fears—he called loudly for his wife and children—the lonely chambers rang for a moment with his voice, and then again all was silence.

He now hurried forth, and hastened to his old resort, the village inn—but it, too, was gone. A large, rickety wooden building stood in its place, with great gaping windows, some of them broken and mended with old hats and petticoats, and over the door was painted, "The Union Hotel, by Jonathan Doolittle." Instead of the great tree that used to shelter the quiet little Dutch inn of yore, there now was reared a tall naked pole, with something on the top that looked like a red night-cap, and from it was fluttering a flag, on which was a singular assemblage of stars and stripes—all this was strange and incomprehensible. He recognised on the sign, however, the ruby face of King George, under which he had smoked so many a peaceful pipe; but even this was singularly metamorphosed. The red coat was changed for one of blue and buff, a sword was held in the hand instead of a sceptre, the head was decorated with a cocked hat, and underneath was painted in large characters, GENERAL WASHINGTON.

There was, as usual, a crowd of folk about the door, but none that Rip recollected. The very character of the people seemed changed. There was a busy, bustling, disputatious tone about it, instead of the accustomed phlegm and drowsy tranquillity. He looked in vain for the sage Nicholas Vedder, with his broad face, double chin, and fair long pipe, uttering clouds of tobacco-smoke instead of idle speeches; or Van Bummel, the school-master, doling forth the contents of an ancient newspaper. In place of these, a lean, bilious-looking fellow, with his pockets full of handbills, was haranguing vehemently about rights of citizens—elections—members of Congress—liberty—Bunker's Hill—heroes of seventy-six—and other words, which were a perfect Babylonish jargon to the bewildered Van Winkle.

The appearance of Rip, with his long grizzled beard, his rusty fowling-piece, his uncouth dress, and an army of women and children at his heels, soon attracted the attention of the tavern-politicians. They crowded round him, eying him from head to foot with great curiosity. The orator bustled up to him, and, drawing him partly aside, inquired "on which side he voted?" Rip started in vacant stupidity. Another short but busy little fellow pulled him by the arm, and, rising on tiptoe, inquired in his ear, "Whether he was Federal or Democrat?" Rip was equally at a loss to comprehend the question; when a knowing, self-important old gentleman, in a sharp cocked hat, made his way through the crowd, putting them to the right and left with his elbows as he passed, and planting himself before Van Winkle, with one arm akimbo, the other resting on his cane, his keen eyes and sharp hat penetrating, as it were, into his very soul, demanded in an austere tone, "what brought him to the election with a gun on his shoulder, and a mob at his heels, and whether he meant to breed a riot in the village?"—"Alas! gentlemen," cried Rip, somewhat dismayed, "I am a poor quiet man, a native of the place, and a loyal subject of the king, God bless him!"

Here a general shout burst from the bystanders—"A tory! a tory! a spy! a refugee! hustle him! away with him!" It was with great difficulty that the self-important man in the cocked hat restored order; and having assumed a tenfold austerity of brow, demanded again of the unknown culprit what he came there for, and whom he was seeking? The poor man humbly assured him that he meant no harm, but merely came there in search of some of his neighbours, who used to keep about the tavern.

"Well—who are they?—name them."

Rip bethought himself a moment, and inquired, "Where's Nicholas Vedder?"

There was a silence for a little while, when an old man replied, in a thin, piping voice: "Nicholas Vedder! why, he is dead and gone these eighteen years! There was a wooden tombstone in the church yard that used to tell all about him, but that's rotten and gone too."

"Where's Brom Butcher?"

"Oh, he went off to the army in the beginning of the war; some say he was killed at the storming of Stony Point—others say he was drowned in a squall at the foot of Antony's Nose. I don't know—he never came back again."

"Where's Van Bummel, the school-master?"

"He went off to the wars too, was a great militia general, and is now in

Rip's heart died away at hearing of these sad changes in his home and friends, and finding himself thus alone in the world. Every answer puzzled him too, by treating of such enormous lapses of time, and of matters which he could not understand: war—Congress—Stony Point; he had no courage to ask after any more friends, but cried out in dispair, "Does nobody here know Rip Van Winkle?"

"Oh, Rip Van Winkle!" exclaimed two or three, "Oh, to be sure! that's
Rip Van Winkle yonder, leaning against the tree."

Rip looked, and beheld a precise counterpart of himself, as he went up the mountain: apparently as lazy, and certainly as ragged. The poor fellow was now completely confounded. He doubted his own identity, and whether he was himself or another man. In the midst of his bewilderment, the man in the cocked hat demanded who he was, and what was his name?

"God knows," exclaimed he, at his wit's end; "I'm not myself—I'm somebody else—that's me yonder—no—that's somebody else got into my shoes—I was myself last night, but fell asleep on the mountain, and they've changed my gun, and everything's changed, and I'm changed, and I can't tell what's my name, or who I am!"

The bystanders began now to look at each other, nod, wink significantly, and tap their fingers against their foreheads. There was a whisper, also, about securing the gun, and keeping the old fellow from doing mischief, at the very suggestion of which the self-important man in the cocked hat retired with some precipitation. At this critical moment a fresh, comely women pressed through the throng to get a peep at the gray-bearded man. She had a chubby child in her arms, which, frightened at his looks, began to cry. "Hush, Rip," cried she, "hush, you little fool; the old man won't hurt you." The name of the child, the air of the mother, the tone of her voice, all awakened a train of recollections in his mind. "What is your name, my good woman?" asked he.

"Judith Gardenier."

"And your father's name?"

"Ah, poor man, Rip Van Winkle was his name, but it's twenty years since he went away from home with his gun, and never has been heard of since,—his dog came home without him; but whether he shot himself, or was carried away by the Indians, nobody can tell. I was then but a little girl."

Rip had but one question more to ask; and he put it with a faltering voice:

"Where's your mother?"

"Oh, she too had died but a short time since; she broke a blood-vessel in a fit of passion at a New England peddler."

There was a drop of comfort at least, in this intelligence. The honest man could contain himself no longer. He caught his daughter and her child in his arms. "I am your father!" cried he—"Young Rip Van Winkle once—old Rip Van Winkle now! Does nobody know poor Rip Van Winkle?"

All stood amazed, until an old woman, tottering out from among the crowd, put her hand to her brow, and peering under it in his face for a moment, exclaimed, "Sure enough it is Rip Van Winkle—it is himself! Welcome home again, old neighbour—Why, where have you been these twenty long years?"

Rip's story was soon told, for the whole twenty years had been to him but as one night. The neighbours stared when they heard it; some were seen to wink at each other, and put their tongues in their cheeks; and the self-important man in the cocked hat, who, when the alarm was over, had returned to the field, screwed down the corners of his mouth, and shook his head—upon which there was a general shaking of the head throughout the assemblage.

It was determined, however, to take the opinion of old Peter Vanderdonk, who was seen slowly advancing up the road. He was a descendant of the historian of the that name, who wrote one of the earliest accounts of the province. Peter was the most ancient inhabitant of the village, and well versed in all the wonderful events and traditions of the neighbourhood. He recollected Rip at once, and corroborated his story in the most satisfactory manner. He assured the company that it was a fact, handed down from his ancestor the historian, that the Kaatskill Mountains had always been haunted by strange beings. That it was affirmed that the great Hendrick Hudson, the first discoverer of the river and country, kept a kind of vigil there every twenty years, with his crew of the Half-moon; being permitted in this way to revisit the scenes of his enterprise, and keep a guardian eye upon the river and the great city called by his name. That his father had once seen them in their old Dutch dresses playing at nine-pins in a hollow of the mountain; and that he himself had heard, one summer afternoon, the sound of their balls like distant peals of thunder.

To make a long story short, the company broke up, and returned to the more important concerns of the election. Rip's daughter took him home to live with her; she had a snug well-furnished house, and a stout cheery farmer for a husband, whom Rip recollected for one of the urchins that used to climb upon his back. As to Rip's son and heir, who was the ditto of himself, seen leaning against the tree, he was employed to work on the farm; but evinced an hereditary disposition to attend to anything else but his business.

Rip now resumed his old walks and habits; he soon found many of his former cronies, though all rather the worse for the wear and tear of time; and preferred making friends among the rising generation, with whom he soon grew into great favour.

Having nothing to do at home, and being arrived at that happy age when a man can be idle with impunity, he took his place once more on the bench at the inn door, and was reverenced as one of the patriarchs of the village, and a chronicle of the old times "before the war." It was some time before he could get into the regular track of gossip, or could be made to comprehend the strange events that had taken place during his torpor. How that there had been a revolutionary war—that the country had thrown off the yoke of old England—and that, instead of being a subject of his Majesty George the Third, he was now a free citizen of the United States. Rip, in fact, was no politician; the changes of states and empires made but little impression on him; but there was one species of despotism under which he had long groaned, and that was—petticoat government. Happily that was at an end; he had got his neck out of the yoke of matrimony, and could go in and out whenever he pleased, without dreading the tyranny of Dame Van Winkle. Whenever her name was mentioned, however, he shook his head, shrugged his shoulders, and cast up his eyes, which might pass either for an expression of resignation to his fate, or joy at his deliverance.

He used to tell his story to every stranger that arrived at Mr. Doolittle's hotel. He was observed, at first, to vary on some points every time he told it, which was, doubtless, owing to his having so recently awaked. It at last settled down precisely to the tale I have related, and not a man, woman, or child in the neighbourhood but knew it by heart. Some always pretended to doubt the reality of it, and insisted that Rip had been out of his head, and that this was one point on which he always remained flighty. The old Dutch inhabitants, however, almost universally gave it full credit. Even to this day they never hear a thunder-storm of a summer afternoon about the Kaatskill, but they say Hendrick Hudson and his crew are at their game of nine-pins; and it is a common wish of all henpecked husbands in the neighbourhood, when life hangs heavy on their hands, that they might have a quieting draught out of Rip Van Wrinkle's flagon.



There was once a time when New England groaned under the actual pressure of heavier wrongs than those threatened ones which brought on the Revolution. James II, the bigoted successor of Charles the Voluptuous, had annulled the charters of all the colonies, and sent a harsh and unprincipled soldier to take away our liberites and endanger our religion. The administration of Sir Edmund Andros lacked scarcely a single characteristic of tyranny: a Governor and Council, holding office from the King, and wholly independent of the country; laws made and taxes levied without concurrence of the people immediate or by their representatives; the rights of private citizens violated, and the titles of all landed property declared void; the voice of complaint stifled by restrictions on the press; and, finally, disaffection overawed by the first band of mercenary troops that ever marched on our free soil. For two years our ancestors were kept in sullen submission by that filial love which had invariably secured their allegiance to the mother country, whether its head chanced to be a Parliament, Protector, or Popish Monarch. Till these evil times, however, such allegiance had been merely nominal, and the colonists had ruled themselves, enjoying far more freedom than is even yet the privilege of the native subjects of Great Britain.

At length a rumour reached our shores that the Prince of Orange had ventured on an enterprise, the success of which would be the triumph of civil and religious rights and the salvation of New England. It was but a doubtful whisper; it might be false, or the attempt might fail; and, in either case, the man that stirred against King Tames would lose his head. Still the intelligence produced a marked effect. The people smiled mysteriously in the streets, and threw bold glances at their oppressors; while far and wide there was a subdued and silent agitation, as if the slightest signal would rouse the whole land from its sluggish despondency. Aware of their danger, the rulers resolved to avert it by an imposing display of strength, and perhaps to confirm their despotism by yet harsher measures. One afternoon in April, 1689, Sir Edmund Andros and his favourite councillors, being warm with wine, assembled the red-coats of the Governor's Guard, and made their appearance in the streets of Boston. The sun was near setting when the march commenced.

The roll of the drum at that unquiet crisis seemed to go through the streets, less as the martial music of the soldiers, than as a muster-call to the inhabitants themselves. A multitude, by various avenues, assembled in King Street, which was destined to be the scene, nearly a century afterward, of another encounter between the troops of Britain, and a people struggling against her tyranny. Though more than sixty years had elapsed since the pilgrims came, this crowd of their descendants still showed the strong and sombre features of their character perhaps more strikingly in such a stern emergency than on happier occasions. There were the sober garb, the general severity of mien, the gloomy but undismayed expression, the scriptural forms of speech, and the confidence in Heaven's blessing on a righteous cause, which would have marked a band of the original Puritans, when threatened by some peril of the wilderness. Indeed, it was not yet time for the old spirit to be extinct; since there were men in the street that day who had worshipped there beneath the trees, before a house was reared to the God for whom they had become exiles. Old soldiers of the Parliament were here, too, smiling grimly at the thought that their aged arms might strike another blow against the house of Stuart. Here, also, were the veterans of King Philip's war, who had burned villages and slaughtered young and old, with pious fierceness, while the godly souls throughout the land were helping them with prayer. Several ministers were scattered among the crowd, which, unlike all other mobs, regarded them with such reverence, as if there were sanctity in their very garments. These holy men exerted their influence to quiet the people, but not to disperse them. Meantime, the purpose of the Governor, in disturbing the peace of the town at a period when the slightest commotion might throw the country into a ferment, was almost the universal subject of inquiry, and variously explained.

"Satan will strike his master-stroke presently," cried some, "because he knoweth that his time is short. All our godly pastors are to be dragged to prison! We shall see them at a Smithfield fire in King Street!"

Hereupon the people of each parish gathered closer round their minister, who looked calmly upward and assumed a more apostolic dignity, as well befitted a candidate for the highest honour of his profession, the crown of martyrdom. It was actually fancied, at that period, that New England might have a John Rogers of her own to take the place of that worthy in the Primer.

"The Pope of Rome has given orders for a new St. Bartholomew!" cried others. "We are to be massacred, man and male child!"

Neither was this rumour wholly discredited, although the wiser class believed the Governor's object somewhat less atrocious. His predecessor under the old charter, Bradstreet, a venerable companion of the first settlers, was known to be in town. There were grounds for conjecturing, that Sir Edmund Andros intended at once to strike terror by a parade of military force, and to confound the opposite faction by possessing himself of their chief.

"Stand firm for the old charter Governor!" shouted the crowd, seizing upon the idea. "The good old Governor Bradstreet!"

While this cry was at the loudest, the people were surprised by the well-known figure of Governor Bradstreet himself, a patriarch of nearly ninety, who appeared on the elevated steps of a door, and, with characteristic mildness, besought them to submit to the constituted authorities.

"My children," concluded this venerable person, "do nothing rashly. Cry not aloud, but pray for the welfare of New England, and expect patiently what the Lord will do in this matter!"

The event was soon to be decided. All this time, the roll of the drum had been approaching through Cornhill, louder and deeper, till with reverberations from house to house, and the regular tramp of martial footsteps, it burst into the street. A double rank of soldiers made their appearance, occupying the whole breadth of the passage, with shouldered matchlocks, and matches burning, so as to present a row of fires in the dusk. Their steady march was like the progress of a machine, that would roll irresistibly over everything in its way. Next, moving slowly, with a confused clatter of hoofs on the pavement, rode a party of mounted gentlemen, the central figure being Sir Edmund Andros, elderly, but erect and soldier-like. Those around him were his favourite councillors, and the bitterest foes of New England. At his right hand rode Edward Randolph, our arch-enemy, that "blasted wretch," as Cotton Mather calls him, who achieved the downfall of our ancient government, and was followed with a sensible curse through life and to his grave. On the other side was Bullivant, scattering jests and mockery as he rode along. Dudley came behind, with a downcast look, dreading, as well he might, to meet the indignant gaze of the people, who beheld him, their only countryman by birth, among the oppressors of his native land. The captain of a frigate in the harbour, and two or three civil officers under the Crown, were also there. But the figure which most attracted the public eye, and stirred up the deepest feeling, was the Episcopal clergyman of King's Chapel, riding haughtily among the magistrates in his priestly vestments, the fitting representative of prelacy and persecution, the union of church and state, and all those abominations which had driven the Puritans to the wilderness. Another guard of soldiers, in double rank, brought up the rear.

The whole scene was a picture of the condition of New England, and its moral, the deformity of any government that does not grow out of the nature of things and the character of the people. On one side the religious multitude, with their sad visages and dark attire, and on the other, the group of despotic rulers, with the high churchman in the midst, and here and there a crucifix at their bosoms, all magnificently clad, flushed with wine, proud of unjust authority, and scoffing at the universal groan. And the mercenary soldiers, waiting but the word to deluge the street with blood, showed the only means by which obedience could be secured.

"O Lord of Hosts," cried a voice among the crowd, "provide a Champion for thy people!"

This ejaculation was loudly uttered, and served as a herald's cry, to introduce a remarkable personage. The crowd had rolled back, and were now huddled together nearly at the extremity of the street, while the soldiers had advanced no more than a third of its length. The intervening space was empty—a paved solitude, between lofty edifices, which threw almost a twilight shadow over it. Suddenly, there was seen the figure of an ancient man, who seemed to have emerged from among the people, and was walking by himself along the centre of the street, to confront the armed band. He wore the old Puritan dress, a dark cloak and a steeple-crowned hat, in the fashion of at least fifty years before, with a heavy sword upon his thigh, but a staff in his hand to assist the tremulous gait of age.

When at some distance from the multitude, the old man turned slowly round, displaying a face of antique majesty, rendered doubly venerable by the hoary beard that descended on his breast. He made a gesture at once of encouragement and warning, then turned again, and resumed his way.

"Who is this gray patriarch?" asked the young men of their sires.

"Who is this venerable brother?" asked the old men among themselves.

But none could make reply. The fathers of the people, those of four-score years and upwards, were disturbed, deeming it strange that they should forget one of such evident authority, whom they must have known in their early days, the associate of Winthrop, and all the old councillors, giving laws, and making prayers, and leading them against the savage. The elderly men ought to have remembered him, too, with locks as gray in their youth, as their own were now. And the young! How could he have passed so utterly from their memories—that hoary sire, the relic of long-departed times, whose awful benediction had surely been bestowed on their uncovered heads, in childhood?

"Whence did he come? What is his purpose? Who can this old man be?" whispered the wondering crowd.

Meanwhile, the venerable stranger, staff in hand, was pursuing his solitary walk along the centre of the street. As he drew near the advancing soldiers, and as the roll of their drum came full upon his ear, the old man raised himself to a loftier mien, while the decrepitude of age seemed to fall from his shoulders, leaving him in gray but unbroken dignity. Now, he marched onward with a warrior's step, keeping time to the military music. Thus the aged form advanced on one side, and the whole parade of soldiers and magistrates on the other, till, when scarcely twenty yards remained between, the old man grasped his staff by the middle, and held it before him like a leader's truncheon.

"Stand!" cried he.

The eye, the face, and attitude of command; the solemn, yet warlike peal of that voice, fit either to rule a host in the battle-field or be raised to God in prayer, were irresistible. At the old man's word and outstretched arm, the roll of the drum was hushed at once, and the advancing line stood still. A tremulous enthusiasm seized upon the multitude. That stately form, combining the leader and the saint, so gray, so dimly seen, in such an ancient garb, could only belong to some old champion of the righteous cause, whom the oppressor's drum had summoned from his grave. They raised a shout of awe and exultation, and looked for the deliverance of New England.

The Governor, and the gentlemen of his party, perceiving themselves brought to an unexpected stand, rode hastily forward, as if they would have pressed their snorting and affrighted horses right against the hoary apparition. He, however, blenched not a step, but glancing his severe eye round the group, which half encompassed him, at last bent it sternly on Sir Edmund Andros. One would have thought that the dark old man was chief ruler there, and that the Governor and Council, with soldiers at their back, representing the whole power and authority of the Crown, had no alternative but obedience.

"What does this old fellow here?" cried Edward Randolph, fiercely. "On, Sir Edmund! Bid the soldiers forward, and give the dotard the same choice that you give all his countrymen—to stand aside or be trampled on!"

"Nay, nay, let us show respect to the good grandsire," said Bullivant, laughing. "See you not, he is some old round-headed dignitary, who hath lain asleep these thirty years, and knows nothing of the change of times? Doubtless, he thinks to put us down with a proclamation in Old Noll's name!"

"Are you mad, old man?" demanded Sir Edmund Andros, in loud and harsh tones. "How dare you stay the march of King James's Governor?"

"I have stayed the march of a King himself, ere now," replied the gray figure, with stern composure, "I am here, Sir Governor, because the cry of an oppressed people hath disturbed me in my secret place; and beseeching this favour earnestly of the Lord, it was vouchsafed me to appear once again on earth, in the good old cause of his saints. And what speak ye of James? There is no longer a Popish tyrant on the throne of England, and by to-morrow noon, his name shall be a byword in this very street, where ye would make it a word of terror. Back, thou that wast a Governor, back! With this night thy power is ended—to-morrow, the prison!—back, lest I foretell the scaffold!"

The people had been drawing nearer and nearer, and drinking in the words of their champion, who spoke in accents long disused, like one unaccustomed to converse, except with the dead of many years ago. But his voice stirred their souls. They confronted the soldiers, not wholly without arms, and ready to convert the very stones of the street into deadly weapons. Sir Edmund Andros looked at the old man; then he cast his hard and cruel eye over the multitude, and beheld them burning with that lurid wrath, so difficult to kindle or to quench; and again he fixed his gaze on the aged form, which stood obscurely in an open space, where neither friend nor foe had thrust himself. What were his thoughts, he uttered no word which might discover. But whether the oppressor were averawed by the Gray Champion's look, or perceived his peril in the threatening attitude of the people, it is certain that he gave back, and ordered his soldiers to commence a slow and guarded retreat. Before another sunset, the Governor, and all that rode so proudly with him, were prisoners, and long ere it was known that James had abdicated, King William was proclaimed throughout New England.

But where was the Gray Champion? Some reported that, when the troops had gone from King Street, and the people were thronging tumultuously in their rear, Bradstreet, the aged Governor, was seen to embrace a form more aged than his own. Others soberly affirmed, that while they marvelled at the venerable grandeur of his aspect, the old man had faded from their eyes, melting slowly into the hues of twilight, till, where he stood, there was an empty space. But all agreed that the hoary shape was gone. The men of that generation watched for his reappearance, in sunshine and in twilight, but never saw him more, nor knew when his funeral passed, nor where his gravestone was.

And who was the Gray Champion? Perhaps his name might be found in the records of that stern Court of Justice, which passed a sentence, too mighty for the age, but glorious in all after-times, for its humbling lesson to the monarch and its high example to the subject. I have heard, that whenever the descendants of the Puritans are to show the spirit of their sires, the old man appears again. When eighty years had passed, he walked once more in King Street. Five years later, in the twilight of an April morning, he stood on the green, beside the meeting-house, at Lexington, where now the obelisk of granite, with a slab of slate inlaid, commemorates the first fallen of the Revolution. And when our fathers were toiling at the breastwork on Bunker's Hill, all through that night the old warrior walked his rounds. Long, long may it be, ere he comes again! His hour is one of darkness, and adversity, and peril. But should domestic tyranny oppress us, or the invader's step pollute our soil, still may the Gray Champion come, for he is the type of New England's hereditary spirit; and his shadowy march, on the eve of danger, must ever be the pledge, that New England's sons will vindicate their ancestry.



IN THE bosom of one of those spacious coves which indent the eastern shore of the Hudson, at that broad expansion of the river denominated by the ancient Dutch navigators the Tappan Zee, and where they always prudently shortened sail and implored the protection of St. Nicholas when they crossed, there lies a small market town or rural port, which by some is called Greensburgh, but which is more generally and properly known by the name of Tarry Town. This name was given, we are told, in former days, by the good housewives of the adjacent country, from the inveterate propensity of their husbands to linger about the village tavern on market days. Be that as it may, I do not vouch for the fact, but merely advert to it, for the sake of being precise and authentic. Not far from this village, perhaps about two miles, there is a little valley or rather lap of land among high hills, which is one of the quietest places in the whole world. A small brook glides through it, with just murmur enough to lull one to repose; and the occasional whistle of a quail or tapping of a woodpecker is almost the only sound that ever breaks in upon the uniform tranquillity.

I recollect that, when a stripling, my first exploit in squirrel-shooting was in a grove of tall walnut trees that shades one side of the valley. I had wandered into it at noontime, when all nature is peculiarly quiet, and was startled by the roar of my own gun, as it broke the Sabbath stillness around and was prolonged and reverberated by the angry echoes. If ever I should wish for a retreat whither I might steal from the world and its distractions, and dream quietly away the remnant of a troubled life, I know of none more promising than this little valley.

From the listless repose of the place, and the peculiar character of its inhabitants, who are descendants from the original Dutch settlers, this sequestered glen has long been known by the name of Sleepy Hollow, and its rustic lads are called the Sleepy Hollow Boys throughout all the neighbouring country. A drowsy, dreamy influence seems to hang over the land, and to pervade the very atmosphere. Some say that the place was bewitched by a High German doctor, during the early days of the settlement; others, that an old Indian chief, the prophet or wizard of his tribe, held his powwows there before the country was discovered by Master Hendrick Hudson. Certain it is, the place still continues under the sway of some witching power, that holds a spell over the minds of the good people, causing them to walk in a continual reverie. They are given to all kinds of marvellous beliefs; are subject to trances and visions, and frequently see strange sights, and hear music and voices in the air. The whole neighbourhood abounds with local tales, haunted spots, and twilight superstitions; stars shoot and meteors glare oftener across the valley than in any other part of the country, and the nightmare, with her whole ninefold, seems to make it the favourite scene of her gambols.

The dominant spirit, however, that haunts this enchanted region, and seems to be commander-in-chief of all the powers of the air, is the apparition of a figure on horseback, without a head. It is said by some to be the ghost of a Hessian trooper, whose head had been carried away by a cannon-ball, in some nameless battle during the Revolutionary War, and who is ever and anon seen by the country folk hurrying along in the gloom of night, as if on the wings of the wind. His haunts are not confined to the valley, but extend at times to the adjacent roads, and especially to the vicinity of a church at no great distance. Indeed, certain of the most authentic historians of those parts, who have been careful in collecting and collating the floating facts concerning this spectre, allege that the body of the trooper having been buried in the churchyard, the ghost rides forth to the scene of battle in nightly quest of his head, and that the rushing speed with which he sometimes passes along the Hollow, like a midnight blast, is owing to his being belated, and in a hurry to get back to the churchyard before daybreak.

Such is the general purport of this legendary superstition, which has furnished materials for many a wild story in that region of shadows; and the spectre is known at all the country firesides, by the name of the Headless Horseman of Sleepy Hollow.

It is remarkable that the visionary propensity I have mentioned is not confined to the native inhabitants of the valley, but is unconsciously imbibed by every one who resides there for a time. However wide awake they may have been before they entered that sleepy region, they are sure, in a little time, to inhale the witching influence of the air, and begin to grow imaginative, to dream dreams, and see apparitions.

I mention this peaceful spot with all possible laud; for it is in such little retired Dutch valleys, found here and there embosomed in the great state of New York, that population, manners, and customs remain fixed, while the great torrent of migration and improvement, which is making such incessant changes in other parts of this restless country, sweeps by them unobserved. They are like those little nooks of still water, which border a rapid stream, where we may see the straw and bubble riding quietly at anchor, or slowly revolving in their mimic harbour, undisturbed by the brush of the passing current. Though many years have elapsed since I trod the drowsy shades of Sleepy Hollow, yet I question whether I should not still find the same trees and the same families vegetating in its sheltered bosom.

In this by-place of nature there abode, in a remote period of American history, that is to say, some thirty years since, a worthy wight of the name of Ichabod Crane, who sojourned, or, as he expressed it, "tarried," in Sleepy Hollow, for the purpose of instructing the children of the vicinity. He was a native of Connecticut, a state which supplies the Union with pioneers for the mind as well as for the forest, and sends forth yearly its legions of frontier woodmen and country schoolmasters. The cognomen of Crane was not inapplicable to his person. He was tall, but exceedingly lank, with narrow shoulders, long arms and legs, hands that dangled a mile out of his sleeves, feet that might have served for shovels, and his whole frame most loosely hung together. His head was small, and flat at top, with huge ears, large green glassy eyes, and a long snipe nose, so that it looked like a weathercock perched upon his spindle neck to tell which way the wind blew. To see him striding along the profile of a hill on a windy day, with his clothes bagging and fluttering about him, one might have mistaken him for the genius of famine descending upon the earth, or some scarecrow eloped from a cornfield.

His schoolhouse was a low building of one large room, rudely constructed of logs; the windows partly glazed, and partly patched with leaves of old copybooks. It was most ingeniously secured at vacant hours, by a withe twisted in the handle of the door, and stakes set against the window shutters; so that though a thief might get in with perfect ease, he would find some embarrassment in getting out—an idea most probably borrowed by the architect, Yost Van Houten, from the mystery of an eelpot. The schoolhouse stood in a rather lonely but pleasant situation, just at the foot of a woody hill, with a brook running close by, and a formidable birch tree growing at one end of it. From hence the low murmur of his pupils' voices, conning over their lessons, might be heard in a drowsy summer's day, like the hum of a beehive; interrupted now and then by the authoritative voice of the master, in the tone of menace or command; or, peradventure, by the appalling sound of the birch, as he urged some tardy loiterer along the flowery path of knowledge. Truth to say, he was a conscientious man, and ever bore in mind the golden maxim, "Spare the rod and spoil the child." Ichabod Crane's scholars certainly were not spoiled.

I would not have it imagined, however, that he was one of those cruel potentates of the school who joy in the smart of their subjects; on the contrary, he administered justice with discrimination rather than severity; taking the burden off the backs of the weak, and laying it on those of the strong. Your mere puny stripling, that winced at the least flourish of the rod, was passed by with indulgence; but the claims of justice were satisfied by inflicting a double portion on some little tough, wrong-headed, broad-skirted Dutch urchin, who sulked and swelled and grew dogged and sullen beneath the birch. All this he called "doing his duty by their parents"; and he never inflicted a chastisement without following it by the assurance, so consolatory to the smarting urchin, that "he would remember it and thank him for it the longest day he had to live."

When school hours were over, he was even the companion and playmate of the larger boys; and on holiday afternoons would convoy some of the smaller ones home, who happened to have pretty sisters, or good housewives for mothers, noted for the comforts of the cupboard. Indeed, it behooved him to keep on good terms with his pupils. The revenue arising from his school was small, and would have been scarcely sufficient to furnish him with daily bread, for he was a huge feeder, and, though lank, had the dilating powers of an anaconda; but to help out his maintenance, he was, according to country custom in those parts, boarded and lodged at the houses of the farmers whose children he instructed. With these he lived successively a week at a time, thus going the rounds of the neighbourhood, with all his worldly effects tied up in a cotton handkerchief.

That all this might not be too onerous on the purses of his rustic patrons, who are apt to consider the costs of schooling a grievous burden, and schoolmasters as mere drones, he had various ways of rendering himself both useful and agreeable. He assisted the farmers occasionally in the lighter labours of their farms, helped to make hay, mended the fences, took the horses to water, drove the cows from pasture, and cut wood for the winter fire. He laid aside, too, all the dominant dignity and absolute sway with which he lorded it in his little empire, the school, and became wonderfully gentle and ingratiating. He found favour in the eyes of the mothers by petting the children, particularly the youngest; and like the lion bold, which whilom so magnanimously the lamb did hold, he would sit with a child on one knee, and rock a cradle with his foot for whole hours together.

In addition to his other vocations, he was the singing-master of the neighbourhood, and picked up many bright shillings by instructing the young folks in psalmody. It was a matter of no little vanity to him on Sundays, to take his station in front of the church gallery, with a band of chosen singers; where, in his own mind, he completely carried away the palm from the parson. Certain it is, his voice resounded far above all the rest of the congregation; and there are peculiar quavers still to be heard in that church, and which may even be heard half a mile off, quite to the opposite side of the mill-pond, on a still Sunday morning, which are said to be legitimately descended from the nose of Ichabod Crane. Thus, by divers little makeshifts, in that ingenious way which is commonly denominated "by hook and by crook," the worthy pedagogue got on tolerably enough, and was thought, by all who understood nothing of the labour of headwork, to have a wonderfully easy life of it.

The schoolmaster is generally a man of some importance in the female circle of a rural neighbourhood; being considered a kind of idle, gentlemanlike personage, of vastly superior taste and accomplishments to the rough country swains, and, indeed, inferior in learning only to the parson. His appearance, therefore, is apt to occasion some little stir at the tea-table of a farmhouse, and the addition of a supernumerary dish of cakes or sweetmeats, or, peradventure, the parade of a silver teapot. Our man of letters, therefore, was peculiarly happy in the smiles of all the country damsels. How he would figure among them in the churchyard, between services on Sundays! gathering grapes for them from the wild vines that overran the surrounding trees; reciting for their amusement all the epitaphs on the tombstones; or sauntering, with a whole bevy of them, along the banks of the adjacent mill-pond; while the more bashful country bumpkins hung sheepishly back, envying his superior elegance and address.

From his half itinerant life, also, he was a kind of travelling gazette, carrying the whole budget of local gossip from house to house, so that his appearance was always greeted with satisfaction. He was, moreover, esteemed by the women as a man of great erudition, for he had read several books quite through, and was a perfect master of Cotton Mather's "History of New England Witchcraft," in which, by the way, he most firmly and potently believed.

He was, in fact, an odd mixture of small shrewdness and simple credulity. His appetite for the marvellous, and his powers of digesting it, were equally extraordinary; and both had been increased by his residence in this spellbound region. No tale was too gross or monstrous for his capacious swallow. It was often his delight, after his school was dismissed in the afternoon, to stretch himself on the rich bed of clover bordering the little brook that whimpered by his schoolhouse, and there con over old Mather's direful tales, until the gathering dusk of evening made the printed page a mere mist before his eyes. Then, as he wended his way by swamp and stream and awful woodland, to the farmhouse where he happened to be quartered, every sound of nature, at that witching hour, fluttered his excited imagination—the moan of the whip-poor-will from the hillside, the boding cry of the tree toad, that harbinger of storm, the dreary hooting of the screech owl, to the sudden rustling in the thicket of birds frightened from their roost. The fireflies, too, which sparkled most vividly in the darkest places, now and then startled him, as one of uncommon brightness would stream across his path; and if, by chance, a huge blockhead of a beetle came winging his blundering flight against him, the poor varlet was ready to give up the ghost, with the idea that he was struck with a witch's token. His only resource on such occasions, either to drown thought or drive away evil spirits, was to sing psalm tunes; and the good people of Sleepy Hollow, as they sat by their doors of an evening, were often filled with awe at hearing his nasal melody, "in linked sweetness long drawn out," floating from the distant hill, or along the dusky road.

Another of his sources of fearful pleasure was to pass long winter evenings with the old Dutch wives, as they sat spinning by the fire, with a row of apples roasting and spluttering along the hearth, and listen to their marvellous tales of ghosts and goblins, and haunted fields, and haunted brooks, and haunted bridges, and haunted houses, and particularly of the headless horseman, or Galloping Hessian of the Hollow, as they sometimes called him. He would delight them equally by his anecdotes of witchcraft, and of the direful omens and portentous sights and sounds in the air, which prevailed in the earlier times of Connecticut; and would frighten them woefully with speculations upon comets and shooting stars; and with the alarming fact that the world did absolutely turn round, and that they were half the time topsy-turvy!

But if there was a pleasure in all this, while snugly cuddling in the chimney corner of a chamber that was all of a ruddy glow from the crackling wood fire, and where, of course, no spectre dared to show its face, it was dearly purchased by the terrors of his subsequent walk homewards. What fearful shapes and shadows beset his path, amidst the dim and ghastly glare of a snowy night! With what wistful look did he eye every trembling ray of light streaming across the waste fields from some distant window! How often was he appalled by some shrub covered with snow, which, like a sheeted spectre, beset his very path! How often did he shrink with curdling awe at the sound of his own steps on the frosty crust beneath his feet; and dread to look over his shoulder, lest he should behold some uncouth being tramping close behind him! and how often was he thrown into complete dismay by some rushing blast, howling among the trees, in the idea that it was the Galloping Hessian on one of his nightly scourings!

All these, however, were mere terrors of the night, phantoms of the mind that walk in darkness; and though he had seen many spectres in his time, and been more than once beset by Satan in divers shapes, in his lonely perambulations, yet daylight put an end to all these evils; and he would have passed a pleasant life of it, in despite of the Devil and all his works, if his path had not been crossed by a being that causes more perplexity to mortal man than ghosts, goblins, and the whole race of witches put together, and that was—a woman.

Among the musical disciples who assembled, one evening in each week, to receive his instructions in psalmody, was Katrina Van Tassel, the daughter and only child of a substantial Dutch farmer. She was a blooming lass of fresh eighteen; plump as a partridge; ripe and melting and rosy-cheeked as one of her father's peaches, and universally famed, not merely for her beauty, but her vast expectations. She was withal a little or a coquette, as might be perceived even in her dress, which was a mixture of ancient and modern fashions, as most suited to set off her charms. She wore the ornaments of pure yellow gold, which her great-great-grandmother had brought over from Saardam; the tempting stomacher of the olden time, and withal a provokingly short petticoat, to display the prettiest foot and ankle in the country round.

Ichabod Crane had a soft and foolish heart toward the sex; and it is not to be wondered at, that so tempting a morsel soon found favour in his eyes, more especially after he had visited her in her paternal mansion. Old Baltus Van Tassel was a perfect picture of a thriving, contented, liberal hearted farmer. He seldom, it is true, sent either his eyes or his thoughts beyond the boundaries of his own farm; but within those everything was snug, happy and well-conditioned. He was satisfied with his wealth, but not proud of it; and piqued himself upon the hearty abundance, rather than the style in which he lived. His stronghold was situated on the banks of the Hudson, in one of those green, sheltered, fertile nooks in which the Dutch farmers are so fond of nestling. A great elm tree spread its broad branches over it, at the foot of which bubbled up a spring of the softest and sweetest water, in a little well formed of a barrel; and then stole sparkling away through the grass, to a neighbouring brook, that babbled along among alders and dwarf willows. Hard by the farmhouse was a vast barn, that might have served for a church; every window and crevice of which seemed bursting forth with the treasures of the farm; the flail was busily resounding within it from morning to night; swallows and martins skimmed twittering about the eaves; and rows of pigeons, some with one eye turned up, as if watching the weather, some with their heads under their wings or buried in their bosoms, and others swelling, and cooing, and bowing about their dames, were enjoying the sunshine on the roof. Sleek unwieldy porkers were grunting in the repose and abundance of their pens, from whence sallied forth, now and then, troops of sucking pigs, as if to snuff the air. A stately squadron of snowy geese were riding in an adjoining pond, convoying whole fleets of ducks; regiments of turkeys were gobbling through the farmyard, and Guinea fowls fretting about it, like ill-tempered housewives, with their peevish, discontented cry. Before the barn door strutted the gallant cock, that pattern of a husband, a warrior and a fine gentleman, clapping his burnished wings and crowing in the pride and gladness of his heart—sometimes tearing up the earth with his feet, and then generously calling his ever-hungry family of wives and children to enjoy the rich morsel which he had discovered.

The pedagogue's mouth watered as he looked upon this sumptuous promise of luxurious winter fare. In his devouring mind's eye, he pictured to himself every roasting-pig running about with a pudding in his belly, and an apple in his mouth; the pigeons were snugly put to bed in a comfortable pie, and tucked in with a coverlet of crust; the geese were swimming in their own gravy; and the ducks pairing cosily in dishes, like snug married couples, with a decent competency of onion sauce. In the porkers he saw carved out the future sleek side of bacon, and juicy relishing ham; not a turkey but he beheld daintily trussed up, with its gizzard under its wing, and, peradventure, a necklace of savoury sausages; and even bright chanticleer himself lay sprawling on his back, in a side dish, with uplifted claws, as if craving that quarter which his chivalrous spirit disdained to ask while living.

As the enraptured Ichabod fancied all this, and as he rolled his great green eyes over the fat meadow lands, the rich fields of wheat, of rye, of buckwheat, and Indian corn, and the orchards burdened with ruddy fruit, which surrounded the warm tenement of Van Tassel, his heart yearned after the damsel who was to inherit these domains, and his imagination expanded with the idea, how they might be readily turned into cash, and the money invested in immense tracts of wild land, and shingle palaces in the wilderness. Nay, his busy fancy already realised his hopes, and presented to him the blooming Katrina, with a whole family of children, mounted on the top of a wagon loaded with household trumpery, with pots and kettles dangling beneath; and he beheld himself bestriding a pacing mare, with a colt at her heels, setting out for Kentucky, Tennessee—or the Lord knows where!

When he entered the house, the conquest of his heart was complete. It was one, of those spacious farmhouses, with high ridged but lowly sloping roofs, built in the style handed down from the first Dutch settlers; the low projecting eaves forming a piazza along the front, capable of being closed up in bad weather. Under this were hung flails, harness, various utensils of husbandry, and nets for fishing in the neighbouring river. Benches were built along the sides for summer use; and a great spinning-wheel at one end, and a churn at the other, showed the various uses to which this important porch might be devoted. From this piazza the wondering Ichabod entered the hall, which formed the centre of the mansion, and the place of usual residence. Here rows of resplendent pewter, ranged on a long dresser, dazzled his eyes. In one corner stood a huge bag of wool, ready to be spun; in another, a quantity of linsey-woolsey just from the loom; ears of Indian corn, and strings of dried apples and peaches, hung in gay festoons along the walls, mingled with the gaud of red peppers; and a door left ajar gave him a peep into the best parlour, where the claw footed chairs and dark mahogany tables shone like mirrors; andirons, with their accompanying shovel and tongs, glistened from their covert of asparagus tops; mock-oranges and conch-shells decorated the mantle-piece; strings of various coloured birds' eggs were suspended above it; a great ostrich egg was hung from the centre of the room, and a corner cupboard, knowingly left open, displayed immense treasures of old silver and well mended china.

From the moment Ichabod laid his eyes upon these regions of delight, the peace of his mind was at an end, and his only study was how to gain the affections of the peerless daughter of Van Tassel. In this enterprise, however, he had more real difficulties than generally fell to the lot of a knight-errant of yore, who seldom had anything but giants, enchanters, fiery dragons, and such like easily conquered adversaries, to contend with, and had to make his way merely through gates of iron and brass, and walls of adamant to the castle keep, where the lady of his heart was confined; all which he achieved as easily as a man would carve his way to the centre of a Christmas pie; and then the lady gave him her hand as a matter of course. Ichabod, on the contrary, had to win his way to the heart of a country coquette, beset with a labyrinth of whims and caprices, which were forever presenting new difficulties and impediments; and he had to encounter a host of fearful adversaries of real flesh and blood, the numerous rustic admirers, who beset every portal to her heart, keeping a watchful and angry eye upon each other, but ready to fly out in the common cause against any new competitor.

Among these, the most formidable was a burly, roaring, roystering blade, of the name of Abraham, or, according to the Dutch abbreviation, Brom Van Brunt, the hero of the country round, which rang with his feats of strength and hardihood. He was broad-shouldered and double-jointed, with short curly black hair, and a bluff but not unpleasant countenance, having a mingled air of fun and arrogance. From his Herculean frame and great powers of limb, he had received the nickname of Brom Bones, by which he was universally known. He was famed for great knowledge and skill in horsemanship, being as dexterous on horseback as a Tartar. He was foremost at all races and cock-fights; and, with the ascendancy which bodily strength always acquires in rustic life, was the umpire in all disputes, setting his hat on one side, and giving his decisions with an air and tone that admitted of no gainsay or appeal. He was always ready for either a fight or a frolic; but had more mischief than ill-will in his composition; and with all his overbearing roughness, there was a strong clash of waggish good humour at bottom. He had three or four boon companions, who regarded him as their model, and at the head of whom he scoured the country, attending every scene of feud or merriment for miles round. In cold weather he was distinguished by a fur cap, surmounted with a flaunting fox's tail; and when the folks at a country gathering descried this well-known crest at a distance, whisking about among a squad of hard riders, they always stood by for a squall. Sometimes his crew would be heard dashing along past the farmhouses at midnight, with whoop and halloo, like a troop of Don Cossacks; and the old dames, startled out of their sleep, would listen for a moment till the hurry-scurry had clattered by, and then exclaim, "Ay, there goes Brom Bones and his gang!" The neighbours looked upon him with a mixture of awe, admiration, and good-will; and, when any madcap prank or rustic brawl occurred in the vicinity, always shook their heads, and warranted Brom Bones was at the bottom of it.

This rantipole hero had for some time singled out the blooming Katrina for the object of his uncouth gallantries, and though his amorous toyings were something like the gentle caresses and endearments of a bear, yet it was whispered that she did not altogether discourage his hopes. Certain it is, his advances were signals for rival candidates to retire, who felt no inclination to cross a lion in his amours; insomuch, that when his horse was seen tied to Van Tassel's paling, on a Sunday night, a sure sign that his master was courting, or, as it is termed, "sparking," within, all other suitors passed by in despair, and carried the war into other quarters.

Such was the formidable rival with whom Ichabod Crane had to contend, and, considering all things, a stouter man than he would have shrunk from the competition, and a wiser man would have despaired. He had, however, a happy mixture of pliability and perseverance in his nature; he was in form and spirit like a supple-jack—yielding, but tough; though he bent, he never broke; and though he bowed beneath the slightest pressure, yet, the moment it was away—jerk!—he was as erect, and carried his head as high as ever.

To have taken the field openly against his rival would have been madness; for he was not a man to be thwarted in his amours, any more than that stormy lover, Achilles. Ichabod, therefore, made his advances in a quiet and gently insinuating manner. Under cover of his character of singing-master, he made frequent visits at the farmhouse; not that he had anything to apprehend from the meddlesome interference of parents, which is so often a stumbling block in the path of lovers. Balt Van Tassel was an easy, indulgent soul; he loved his daughter better even than his pipe, and, like a reasonable man and an excellent father, let her have her way in everything. His notable little wife, too, had enough to do to attend to her housekeeping and manage her poultry; for, as she sagely observed, ducks and geese are foolish things, and must be looked after, but girls can take care of themselves. Thus, while the busy dame bustled about the house, or plied her spinning-wheel at one end of the piazza, honest Balt would sit smoking his evening pipe at the other, watching the achievements of a little wooden warrior, who, armed with a sword in each hand, was most valiantly fighting the wind on the pinnacle of the barn. In the meantime, Ichabod would carry on his suit with the daughter by the side of the spring under the great elm, or sauntering along in the twilight, that hour so favourable to the lover's eloquence.

I profess not to know how women's hearts are wooed and won. To me they have always been matters of riddle and admiration. Some seem to have but one vulnerable point, or door of access; while others have a thousand avenues, and may be captured in a thousand different ways. It is a great triumph of skill to gain the former, but a still greater proof of generalship to maintain possession of the latter, for a man must battle for his fortress at every door and window. He who wins a thousand common hearts is therefore entitled to some renown; but he who keeps undisputed sway over the heart of a coquette is indeed a hero. Certain it is, this was not the case with the redoubtable Brom Bones; and from the moment Ichabod Crane made his advances, the interests of the former evidently declined: his horse was no longer seen tied to the palings on Sunday nights, and a deadly feud gradually arose between him and the preceptor of Sleepy Hollow.

Brom, who had a degree of rough chivalry in his nature, would fain have carried matters to open warfare and have settled their pretensions to the lady, according to the mode of those most concise and simple reasoners, the knights-errant of yore—by single combat; but Ichabod was too conscious of the superior might of his adversary to enter the lists against him; he had overheard a boast of Bones, that he would "double the schoolmaster up, and lay him on a shelf of his own schoolhouse"; and he was too wary to give him an opportunity. There was something extremely provoking in this obstinately pacific system; it left Brom no alternative but to draw upon the funds of rustic waggery in his disposition, and to play off boorish practical jokes upon his rival. Ichabod became the object of whimsical persecution to Bones and his gang of rough riders. They harried his hitherto peaceful domains, smoked out his singing-school by stopping up the chimney, broke into the schoolhouse at night, in spite of its formidable fastenings of withe and window stakes, and turned everything topsy-turvy, so that the poor schoolmaster began to think all the witches in the country held their meetings there. But what was still more annoying, Brom took all opportunities of turning him into ridicule in presence of his mistress, and had a scoundrel dog whom he taught to whine in the most ludicrous manner, and introduced as a rival of Ichabod's, to instruct her in psalmody.

In this way matters went on for some time, without producing any material effect on the relative situations of the contending powers. On a fine autumnal afternoon, Ichabod, in pensive mood, sat enthroned on the lofty stool from whence he usually watched all the concerns of his little literary realm. In his hand he swayed a ferule, that sceptre of despotic power; the birch of justice reposed on three nails behind the throne, a constant terror to evil doers; while on the desk before him might be seen sundry contraband articles and prohibited weapons detected upon the persons of idle urchins, such as half-munched apples, popguns, whirligigs, fly-cages, and whole legions of rampant little paper game-cocks. Apparently there had been some appalling act of justice recently inflicted, for his scholars were all busily intent upon their books, or slyly whispering behind them with one eye kept upon the master; and a kind of buzzing stillness reigned throughout the schoolroom. It was suddenly interrupted by the appearance of a negro in tow-cloth jacket and trousers, a round-crowned fragment of a hat, like the cap of Mercury, and mounted on the back of a ragged, wild, half-broken colt, which he managed with a rope by way of halter. He came clattering up to the school door with an invitation to Ichabod to attend a merry-making or "quilting-frolic," to be held that evening at Mynheer Van Tassel's; and having delivered his message with that air of importance and effort at fine language which a negro is apt to display on petty embassies of the kind, he dashed over the brook, and was seen scampering away up the Hollow, full of the importance and hurry of his mission.

All was now bustle and hubbub in the late quiet schoolroom. The scholars were hurried through their lessons without stopping at trifles; those who were nimble skipped over half with impunity, and those who were tardy had a smart application now and then in the rear, to quicken their speed or help them over a tall word. Books were flung aside without being put away on the shelves, inkstands were overturned, benches thrown down, and the whole school was turned loose an hour before the usual time, bursting forth like a legion of young imps, yelping and racketing about the green in joy at their early emancipation.

The gallant Ichabod now spent at least an extra half hour at his toilet, brushing and furbishing up his best, and indeed only suit of rusty black, and arranging his locks by a bit of broken looking-glass that hung up in the schoolhouse. That he might make his appearance before his mistress in the true style of a cavalier, he borrowed a horse from the farmer with whom he was domiciliated, a choleric old Dutchman of the name of Hans Van Ripper, and, thus gallantly mounted, issued forth like a knight-errant in quest of adventures. But it is meet I should, in the true spirit of romantic story, give some account of the looks and equipments of my hero and his steed. The animal he bestrode was a broken down plow-horse, that had outlived almost everything but its viciousness. He was gaunt and shagged, with a ewe neck, and a head like a hammer; his rusty mane and tail were tangled and knotted with burs; one eye had lost its pupil, and was glaring and spectral, but the other had the gleam of a genuine devil in it. Still he must have had fire and mettle in his day, if we may judge from the name he bore of Gunpowder. He had, in fact, been a favourite steed of his master's, the choleric Van Ripper, who was a furious rider, and had infused, very probably, some of his own spirit into the animal; for, old and broken down as he looked, there was more of the lurking devil in him than in any young filly in the country.

Ichabod was a suitable figure for such a steed. He rode with short stirrups, which brought his knees nearly up to the pommel of the saddle; his sharp elbows stuck out like grasshoppers'; he carried his whip perpendicularly in his hand, like a sceptre, and as his horse jogged on, the motion of his arms was not unlike the flapping of a pair of wings. A small wool hat rested on the top of his nose, for so his scanty strip of forehead might be called, and the skirts of his black coat fluttered out almost to the horse's tail. Such was the appearance of Ichabod and his steed as they shambled out of the gate of Hans Van Ripper, and it was altogether such an apparition as is seldom to be met with in broad daylight.

It was, as I have said, a fine autumnal day; the sky was clear and serene, and nature wore that rich and golden livery which we always associate with the idea of abundance. The forests had put on their sober brown and yellow, while some trees of the tenderer kind had been nipped by the frosts into brilliant dyes of orange, purple, and scarlet. Streaming files of wild ducks began to make their appearance high in the air; the bark of the squirrel might be heard from the groves of beech and hickory nuts, and the pensive whistle of the quail at intervals from the neighbouring stubble field.

The small birds were taking their farewell banquets. In the fullness of their revelry, they fluttered, chirping and frolicking from bush to bush, and tree to tree, capricious from the very profusion and variety around them. There was the honest cockrobin, the favourite game of stripling sportsmen, with its loud querulous note; and the twittering blackbirds flying in sable clouds; and the golden-winged woodpecker, with his crimson crest, his broad black gorget, and splendid plumage; and the cedar-bird, with its red-tipt wings and yellow-tipt tail and its little monteiro cap of feathers; and the blue jay, that noisy coxcomb, in his gay light blue coat and white underclothes, screaming and chattering, nodding and bobbing and bowing, and pretending to be on good terms with every songster of the grove.

As Ichabod jogged slowly on his way, his eye, ever open to every symptom of culinary abundance, ranged with delight over the treasures of jolly autumn. On all sides he beheld vast store of apples: some hanging in oppressive opulence on the trees; some gathered into baskets and barrels for the market; others heaped up in rich piles for the cider-press. Farther on he beheld great fields of Indian corn, with its golden ears peeping from their leafy coverts, and holding out the promise of cakes and hasty-pudding; and the yellow pumpkins lying beneath them, turning up their fair round bellies to the sun, and giving ample prospects of the most luxurious of pies; and anon he passed the fragrant buckwheat fields breathing the odour of the beehive, and as he beheld them, soft anticipations stole over his mind of dainty slap-jacks, well buttered, and garnished with honey or treacle, by the delicate little dimpled hand of Katrina Van Tassel.

Thus feeding his mind with many sweet thoughts and "sugared suppositions," he journeyed along the sides of a range of hills which look out upon some of the goodliest scenes of the mighty Hudson. The sun gradually wheeled his broad disk down in the west. The wide bosom of the Tappen Zee lay motionless and glassy, excepting that here and there a gentle undulation waved and prolonged the blue shadow of the distant mountain. A few amber clouds floated in the sky, without a breath of air to move them. The horizon was of a fine golden tint, changing gradually into a pure apple green, and from that into the deep blue of the mid-heaven. A slanting ray lingered on the woody crests of the precipices that overhung some parts of the river, giving greater depth to the dark gray and purple of the rocky sides. A sloop was loitering in the distance, dropping slowly down with the tide, her sail hanging uselessly against the mast; and as the reflection of the sky gleamed along the still water, it seemed as if the vessel was suspended in the air.

It was toward evening that Ichabod arrived at the castle of the Heer Van Tassel, which he found thronged with the pride and flower of the adjacent country. Old farmers, a spare leathern-faced race, in homespun coats and breeches, blue stockings, huge shoes, and magnificent pewter buckles. Their brisk, withered little dames, in close crimped caps, long waisted short-gowns, homespun petticoats, with scissors and pincushions, and gay calico pockets hanging on the outside. Buxom lasses, almost as antiquated as their mothers, excepting where a straw hat, a fine ribbon, or perhaps a white frock, gave symptoms of city innovation. The sons, in short square skirted coats, with rows of stupendous brass buttons, and their hair generally queued in the fashion of the times, especially if they could procure an eelskin for the purpose, it being esteemed throughout the country as a potent nourisher and strengthener of the hair.

Brom Bones, however, was the hero of the scene, having come to the gathering on his favourite steed Daredevil, a creature, like himself, full of mettle and mischief, and which no one but himself could manage. He was, in fact, noted for preferring vicious animals, given to all kinds of tricks which kept the rider in constant risk of his neck, for he held a tractable, well broken horse as unworthy of a lad of spirit.

Fain would I pause to dwell upon the world of charms that burst upon the enraptured gaze of my hero, as he entered the state parlour of Van Tassel's mansion. Not those of the bevy of buxom lasses, with their luxurious display of red and white; but the ample charms of a genuine Dutch country tea-table, in the sumptuous time of autumn. Such heaped-up platters of cakes of various and almost indescribable kinds, known only to experienced Dutch housewives! There was the doughty doughnut, the tender olykoek, and the crisp and crumbling cruller; sweet cakes and short cakes, ginger cakes and honey cakes, and the whole family of cakes. And then there were apple pies, and peach pies, and pumpkin pies; besides slices of ham and smoked beef: and moreover delectable dishes of preserved plums, and peaches, and pears, and quinces; not to mention broiled shad and roasted chickens; together with bowls of milk and cream, all mingled higgledy-piggledy, pretty much as I have enumerated them, with the motherly teapot sending up its clouds of vapour from the midst—Heaven bless the mark! I want breath and time to discuss this banquet as it deserves, and am too eager to get on with my story. Happily, Ichabod Crane was not in so great a hurry as his historian, but did ample justice to every dainty.

He was a kind and thankful creature, whose heart dilated in proportion as his skin was filled with good cheer, and whose spirits rose with eating, as some men's do with drink. He could not help, too, rolling his large eyes round him as he ate, and chuckling with the possibility that he might one day be lord of all this scene of almost unimaginable luxury and splendour. Then he, thought, how soon he'd turn his back upon the old school-house; snap his fingers in the face of Hans Van Ripper, and every other niggardly patron, and kick any itinerant pedagogue out of doors that should dare to call him comrade!

Old Baltus Van Tassel moved about among his guests with a face dilated with content and good humour, round and jolly as the harvest moon. His hospitable attentions were brief, but expressive, being confined to a shake of the hand, a slap on the shoulder, a loud laugh and a pressing invitation to "fall to, and help themselves."

And now the sound of the music from the common room, or hall, summoned to the dance. The musician was an old gray-headed negro, who had been the itinerant orchestra of the neighbourhood for more than half a century. His instrument was as old and battered as himself. The greater part of the time he scraped on two or three strings, accompanying every movement of the bow with a motion of the head; bowing almost to the ground, and stamping with his foot whenever a fresh couple were to start.

Ichabod prided himself upon his dancing as much as upon his vocal powers. Not a limb, not a fibre about him was idle; and to have seen his loosely hung frame in full motion, and clattering about the room, you would have thought St. Vitus himself, that blessed patron of the dance, was figuring before you in person. He was the admiration of all the negroes; who, having gathered, of all ages and sizes, from the farm and the neighbourhood, stood forming a pyramid of shining black faces at every door and window; gazing with delight at the scene; rolling their white eye-balls, and showing grinning rows of ivory from ear to ear. How could the flogger of urchins be otherwise than animated and joyous? the lady of his heart was his partner in the dance, and smiling graciously in reply to all his amorous oglings; while Brom Bones, sorely smitten with love and jealousy, sat brooding by himself in one corner.

When the dance was at an end, Ichabod was attracted to a knot of the sager folks, who, with Old Van Tassel, sat smoking at one end of the piazza, gossiping over former times, and drawing out long stories about the war.

This neighbourhood, at the time of which I am speaking, was one of those highly favoured places which abound with chronicle and great men. The British and American line had run near it during the war; it had, therefore, been the scene of marauding, and infested with refugees, cow-boys, and all kinds of border chivalry. Just sufficient time had elapsed to enable each story-teller to dress up his tale with a little becoming fiction, and, in the indistinctness of his recollection, to make himself the hero of every exploit.

There was the story of Doffue Martling, a large blue-bearded Dutchman, who had nearly taken a British frigate with an old iron nine-pounder from a mud breast work, only that his gun burst at the sixth discharge. And there was an old gentleman who shall be nameless, being too rich a mynheer to be lightly mentioned, who, in the battle of White Plains, being an excellent master of defence, parried a musket-ball with a small-sword, insomuch that he absolutely felt it whiz round the blade, and glance off at the hilt; in proof of which he was ready at any time to show the sword, with the hilt a little bent. There were several more that had been equally great in the field, not one of whom but was persuaded that he had a considerable hand in bringing the war to a happy termination.

But all these were nothing to the tales of ghosts and apparitions that succeeded. The neighbourhood is rich in legendary treasures of the kind. Local tales and superstitions thrive best in these sheltered, long-settled retreats; but are trampled under foot by the shifting throng that forms the population of most of our country places. Besides, there is no encouragement for ghosts in most of our villages, for they have scarcely had time to finish their first nap and turn themselves in their graves, before their surviving friends have travelled away from the neighbourhood; so that when they turn out at night to walk their rounds, they have no acquaintance left to call upon. This is perhaps the reason why we so seldom hear of ghosts except in our long established Dutch communities.

The immediate cause, however, of the prevalence of supernatural stories in these parts, was doubtless owing to the vicinity of Sleepy Hollow. There was a contagion in the very air that blew from that haunted region; it breathed forth an atmosphere of dreams and fancies infecting all the land. Several of the Sleepy Hollow people were present at Van Tassel's, and, as usual, were doling out their wild and wonderful legends. Many dismal tales were told about funeral trains, and mourning cries and wailings heard and seen about the great tree where the unfortunate Major Andre was taken, and which stood in the neighbourhood. Some mention was made also of the woman in white, that haunted the dark glen at Raven Rock, and was often heard to shriek on winter nights before a storm, having perished there in the snow. The chief part of the stories, however, turned upon the favourite spectre of Sleepy Hollow, the Headless Horseman, who had been heard several times of late, patrolling the country; and, it was said, tethered his horse nightly among the graves in the churchyard.

The sequestered situation of the church seems always to have made it a favourite haunt of troubled spirits. It stands on a knoll, surrounded by locust trees and lofty elms from among which its decent, whitewashed walls shine modestly forth, like Christian purity beaming through the shades of retirement. A gentle slope descends from it to a silver sheet of water, bordered by high trees, between which, peeps may be caught at the blue hills of the Hudson. To look upon its grass-grown yard, where the sunbeams seem to sleep so quietly, one would think that there at least the dead might rest in peace. On one side of the church extends a wide woody dell, along which raves a large brook among broken rocks and trunks of fallen trees. Over a deep black part of the stream, not far from the church, was formerly thrown a wooden bridge; the road that led to it, and the bridge itself, were thickly shaded by overhanging trees, which cast a gloom about it, even in the daytime; but occasioned a fearful darkness at night. Such was one of the favourite haunts of the Headless Horseman, and the place where he was most frequently encountered. The tale was told of old Brouwer, a most heretical disbeliever in ghosts, how he met the Horseman returning from his foray into Sleepy Hollow, and was obliged to get up behind him; how they galloped over bush and brake, over hill and swamp, until they reached the bridge; when the Horseman suddenly turned into a skeleton, threw old Brouwer into the brook, and sprang away over the tree-tops with a clap of thunder.

This story was immediately matched by a thrice marvellous adventure of Brom Bones, who made light of the Galloping Hessian as an arrant jockey. He affirmed that on returning one night from the neighbouring village of Sing Sing, he had been overtaken by this midnight trooper; that the had offered to race with him for a bowl of punch, and should have won it too, for Daredevil beat the goblin horse all hollow, but just as they came to the church bridge, the Hessian bolted, and vanished in a flash of fire.

All these tales, told in that drowsy undertone with which men talk in the dark, the countenances of the listeners only now and then receiving a casual gleam from the glare of a pipe, sank deep in the mind of Ichabod. He repaid them in kind with large extracts from his invaluable author, Cotton Mather, and added many marvellous events that had taken place in his native state of Connecticut, and fearful sights which he had seen in his nightly walks about Sleepy Hollow.

The revel now gradually broke up. The old farmers gathered together their families in their wagons, and were heard for some time rattling along the hollow roads, and over the distant hills. Some of the damsels mounted on pillions behind their favourite swains, and their light-hearted laughter, mingling with the clatter of hoofs, echoed along the silent woodlands, sounding fainter and fainter, until they gradually died away—and the late scene of noise and frolic was all silent and deserted. Ichabod only lingered behind, according to the custom of country lovers, to have a tete-a-tete with the heiress; fully convinced that he was now on the high road to success. What passed at this interview I will not pretend to say, for in fact I do not know. Something, however, I fear me, must have gone wrong, for he certainly sallied forth, after no very great interval, with an air quite desolate and chapfallen. Oh, these women! these women! Could that girl have been playing off any of her coquettish tricks? Was her encouragement of the poor pedagogue all a mere sham to secure her conquest of his rival? Heaven only knows, not I! Let it suffice to say, Ichabod stole forth with the air of one who had been sacking a henroost, rather than a fair lady's heart. Without looking to the right or left to notice the scene of rural wealth, on which he had so often gloated, he went straight to the stable, and with several hearty cuffs and kicks roused his steed most uncourteously from the comfortable quarters in which he was soundly sleeping, dreaming of mountains of corn and oats, and whole valleys of timothy and clover.

It was the very witching time of night that Ichabod, heavy-hearted and crest-fallen, pursued his travels homewards, along the sides of the lofty hills which rise above Tarry Town, and which he had traversed so cheerily in the afternoon. The hour was as dismal as himself. Far below him the Tappen Zee spread its dusky and indistinct waste of waters, with here and there the tall mast of a sloop, riding quietly at anchor under the land. In the dead hush of midnight, he could even hear the barking of the watchdog from the opposite shore of the Hudson; but it was so vague and faint as only to give an idea of his distance from this faithful companion of man. Now and then, too, the long-drawn crowing of a cock, accidentally awakened, would sound far, far off, from some farmhouse away among the hills—but it was like a dreaming sound in his ear. No signs of life occurred near him, but occasionally the melancholy chirp of a cricket, or perhaps the guttural twang of a bull-frog from a neighbouring marsh, as if sleeping uncomfortably and turning suddenly in his bed.

All the stories of ghosts and goblins that he had heard in the afternoon now came crowding upon his recollection. The night grew darker and darker; the stars seemed to sink deeper in the sky, and driving clouds occasionally hid them from his sight. He had never felt so lonely and dismal. He was, moreover, approaching the very place where many of the scenes of the ghost stories had been laid. In the centre of the road stood an enormous tulip-tree, which towered like a giant above all the other trees of the neighbourhood, and formed a kind of landmark. Its limbs were gnarled and fantastic, large enough to form trunks for ordinary trees, twisting down almost to the earth, and rising again into the air. It was connected with the tragical story of the unfortunate Andre, who had been taken prisoner hard by, and was universally known by the name of Major Andre's tree. The common people regarded it with a mixture of respect and superstition, partly out of sympathy for the fate of its ill-starred namesake, and partly from the tales of strange sights, and doleful lamentations, told concerning it.

As Ichabod approached this fearful tree, he began to whistle; he thought his whistle was answered; it was but a blast sweeping sharply through the dry branches. As he approached a little nearer, he thought he saw something white, hanging in the midst of the tree: he paused, and ceased whistling; but, on looking more narrowly, perceived that it was a place where the tree had been scathed by lightning, and the white wood laid bare. Suddenly he heard a groan—his teeth chattered, and his knees smote against the saddle: it was but the rubbing of one huge bough upon another, as they were swayed about by the breeze. He passed the tree in safety, but new perils lay before him.

About two hundred yards from the tree, a small brook crossed the road, and ran into a marshy and thickly-wooded glen, known by the name of Wiley's Swamp. A few rough logs, laid side by side, served for a bridge over this stream. On that side of the road where the brook entered the wood, a group of oaks and chestnuts, matted thick with wild grape-vines, threw a cavernous gloom over it. To pass this bridge was the severest trial. It was at this identical spot that the unfortunate Andre was captured, and under the covert of those chestnuts and vines were the sturdy yeomen concealed who surprised him. This has ever since been considered a haunted stream, and fearful are the feelings of the schoolboy who has to pass it alone after dark.

As he approached the stream, his heart began to thump; he summoned up, however, all his resolution, gave his horse half a score of kicks in the ribs, and attempted to dash briskly across the bridge; but instead of starting forward, the perverse old animal made a lateral movement, and ran broadside against the fence. Ichabod, whose fears increased with the delay, jerked the reins on the other side, and kicked lustily with the contrary foot: it was all in vain; his steed started, it is true, but it was only to plunge to the opposite side of the road into a thicket of brambles and alder-bushes. The schoolmaster now bestowed both whip and heel upon the starveling ribs of old Gunpowder, who dashed forward, snuffling and snorting, but came to a stand just by the bridge, with a suddenness that had nearly sent his rider sprawling over his head. Just at this moment a plashy tramp by the side of the bridge caught the sensitive ear of Ichabod. In the dark shadow of the grove, on the margin of the brook, he beheld something huge, misshapen, and towering. It stirred not, but seemed gathered up in the gloom, like some gigantic monster ready to spring upon the traveller.

The hair of the affrighted pedagogue rose upon his head with terror. What was to be done? To turn and fly was now too late; and besides, what chance was there of escaping ghost or goblin, if such it was, which could ride upon the wings of the wind? Summoning up, therefore, a show of courage, he demanded in stammering accents, "Who are you?" He received no reply. He repeated his demand in a still more agitated voice. Still there was no answer. Once more he cudgelled the sides of the inflexible Gunpowder, and, shutting his eyes, broke forth with involuntary fervour into a psalm tune. Just then the shadowy object of alarm put itself in motion, and with a scramble and a bound stood at once in the middle of the road. Though the night was dark and dismal, yet the form of the unknown might now in some degree be ascertained. He appeared to be a horseman of large dimensions, and mounted on a black horse of powerful frame. He made no offer of molestation or sociability, but kept aloof on one side of the road, jogging along on the blind side of old Gunpowder, who had now got over his fright and waywardness.

Ichabod, who had no relish for this strange midnight companion, and bethought himself of the adventure of Brom Bones with the Galloping Hessian, now quickened his steed in hopes of leaving him behind. The stranger, however, quickened his horse to an equal pace. Ichabod pulled up, and fell into a walk, thinking to lag behind—the other did the same. His heart began to sink within him; he endeavoured to resume his psalm tune, but his parched tongue clove to the roof of his mouth, and he could not utter a stave. There was something in the moody and dogged silence of this pertinacious companion that was mysterious and appalling. It was soon fearfully accounted for. On mounting a rising ground, which brought the figure of his fellow-traveller in relief against the sky, gigantic in height, and muffled in a cloak, Ichabod was horror-struck on perceiving that he was headless! but his horror was still more increased on observing that the head, which should have rested on his shoulders, was carried before him on the pommel of his saddle! His terror rose to desperation; he rained a shower of kicks and blows upon Gunpowder, hoping by a sudden movement to give his companion the slip; but the spectre started full jump with him. Away, then, they dashed through thick and thin; stones flying and sparks flashing at every bound. Ichabod's flimsy garments fluttered in the air, as he stretched his long lank body away over his horse's head, in the eagerness of his flight.

They had now reached the road which turns off to Sleepy Hollow; but Gunpowder, who seemed possessed with a demon, instead of keeping up it, made an opposite turn, and plunged headlong down hill to the left. This road leads through a sandy hollow, shaded by trees for about a quarter of a mile, where it crosses the bridge famous in goblin story; and just beyond swells the green knoll on which stands the whitewashed church.

As yet the panic of the steed had given his unskilful rider an apparent advantage in the chase; but just as he had got half way through the hollow, the girths of the saddle gave way, and he felt it slipping from under him. He seized it by the pommel, and endeavoured to hold it firm, but in vain; and had just time to save himself by clasping old Gunpowder round the neck, when the saddle fell to the earth, and he heard it trampled under foot by his pursuer. For a moment the terror of Hans Van Ripper's wrath passed across his mind—for it was his Sunday saddle; but this was no time for petty fears; the goblin was hard on his haunches; and (unskilful rider that he was!) he had much ado to maintain his seat; sometimes slipping on one side, sometimes on another, and sometimes jolted on the high ridge of his horse's backbone, with a violence that he verily feared would cleave him asunder.

An opening in the trees now cheered him with the hopes that the church bridge was at hand. The wavering reflection of a silver star in the bosom of the brook told him that he was not mistaken. He saw the walls of the church dimly glaring under the trees beyond. He recollected the place where Brom Bones's ghostly competitor had disappeared. "If I can but reach that bridge," thought Ichabod, "I am safe." Just then he heard the black steed panting and blowing close behind him; he even fancied that he felt his hot breath. Another convulsive kick in the ribs, and old Gunpowder sprang upon the bridge; he thundered over the resounding planks; he gained the opposite side; and now Ichabod cast a look behind to see if his pursuer should vanish, according to rule, in a flash of fire and brimstone. Just then he saw the goblin rising in his stirrups, and in the very act of hurling his head at him. Ichabod endeavoured to dodge the horrible missile, but too late. It encountered his cranium with a tremendous crash—he was tumbled headlong into the dust, and Gunpowder, the black steed, and the goblin rider, passed by like a whirlwind.

The next morning the old horse was found without his saddle, and with the bridle under his feet, soberly cropping the grass at his master's gate. Ichabod did not make his appearance at breakfast; dinner-hour came, but no Ichabod. The boys assembled at the schoolhouse, and strolled idly about the banks of the brook; but no schoolmaster. Hans Van Ripper now began to feel some uneasiness about the fate of poor Ichabod, and his saddle. An inquiry was set on foot, and after diligent investigation they came upon his traces. In one part of the road leading to the church was found the saddle trampled in the dirt; the tracks of horses' hoofs deeply dented in the road, and evidently at furious speed, were traced to the bridge, beyond which, on the dank of a broad part of the brook, where the water ran deep and black, was found the hat of the unfortunate Ichabod, and close beside it a shattered pumpkin.

The brook was searched, but the body of the schoolmaster was not to be discovered. Hans Van Ripper, as executor of his estate, examined the bundle which contained all his worldly effects. They consisted of two shirts and a half; two stocks for the neck; a pair or two of worsted stockings; an old pair of corduroy small-clothes; a rusty razor; a book of psalm tunes full of dog's-ears; and a broken pitch-pipe. As to the books and furniture of the schoolhouse, they belonged to the community, excepting Cotton Mather's History of Witchcraft, a New England Almanac, and a book of dreams and fortune-telling; in which last was a sheet of foolscap much scribbled and blotted in several fruitless attempts to make a copy of verses in honour of the heiress of Van Tassel. These magic books and the poetic scrawl were forthwith consigned to the flames by Hans Van Ripper; who, from that time forward, determined to send his children no more to school; observing that he never knew any good come of this same reading and writing. Whatever money the schoolmaster possessed, and he had received his quarter's pay but a day or two before, he must have had about his person at the time of his disappearance.

The mysterious event caused much speculation at the church on the following Sunday. Knots of gazers and gossips were collected in the churchyard, at the bridge, and at the spot where the hat and pumpkin had been found. The stories of Brouwer, of Bones, and a whole budget of others were called to mind; and when they had diligently considered them all, and compared them with the symptoms of the present case, they shook their heads, and came to the conclusion that Ichabod had been carried off by the Galloping Hessian. As he was a bachelor, and in nobody's debt, nobody troubled his head any more about him; the school was removed to a different quarter of the Hollow, and another pedagogue reigned in his stead.

It is true, an old farmer, who had been down to New York on a visit several years after, and from whom this account of the ghostly adventure was received, brought home the intelligence that Ichabod Crane was still alive; that he had left the neighbourhood partly through fear of the goblin and Hans Van Ripper, and partly in mortification at having been suddenly dismissed by the heiress; that he had changed his quarters to a distant part of the country; had kept school and studied law at the same time; had been admitted to the bar; turned politician; electioneered; written for the newspapers; and finally had been made a justice of the ten pound court. Brom Bones, too, who, shortly after his rival's disappearance conducted the blooming Katrina in triumph to the altar, was observed to look exceedingly knowing whenever the story of Ichabod was related, and always burst into a hearty laugh at the mention of the pumpkin; which led some to suspect that he knew more about the matter than he chose to tell.

The old country wives, however, who are the best judges of these matters, maintain to this day that Ichabod was spirited away by supernatural means; and it is a favourite story often told about the neighbourhood round the winter evening fire. The bridge became more than ever an object of superstitious awe; and that may be the reason why the road has been altered of late years, so as to approach the church by the border of the mill-pond. The schoolhouse being deserted soon fell to decay, and was reported to be haunted by the ghost of the unfortunate pedagogue; and the plough-boy, loitering homeward of a still summer evening, has often fancied his voice at a distance, chanting a melancholy psalm tune among the tranquil solitudes of Sleepy Hollow.