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A Legend of the Dance part 4

When, now, the dances and songs and all the ceremonies had come to an end and the heavenly company sat down, Musa was taken to a table where the nine Muses were being served. They sat huddled together half scared, glancing about with their fiery black or dark blue eyes. The busy Martha, of the Gospels was caring for them in person.

She had on her finest kitchen apron and a tiny little smudge on her white chin and was pressing all manner of good things on the Muses in the friendliest possible way, but when Musa and Saint Cecilia and some other artistic women arrived and greeted the shy Pierians cheerfully, and joined their company, they began to thaw, grew confidential, and the feminine circle became quite pleasant and happy. Musa sat beside Terpsichore, and Cecilia between Polyhymnia and Euterpe, and all took one another`s hands.

Next came the little minstrel urchins and made up to the beautiful women with an eye to the bright fruit which shone on the ambrosi

A Legend of the Dance part 3

As this involuntary twitching would not forsake her, and often seduced her to a little skip before she was aware, she caused her tender feet to be fastened together by a light chain. Her relatives and friends marveled day and night at the transformation, rejoiced to possess such a saint, and guarded the hermitage under the trees as the apple of their eye. Many came for her counsel and intercession.

In particular, they used to bring young girls to her who were rather clumsy on their feet, for it was observed that everyone whom she touched at once became light and graceful in gait.
So she spent three years in her cell, but by the end of the third year Musa had become almost as thin and transparent as a summer cloud. She lay continually on her bed of moss, gazed wistfully into Heaven, and was convinced that she could already see the golden sandals of the blessed, dancing and gliding about through the azure.

At last one harsh autumn day the tidings spread that the

A Legend of the Dance part 2

Musa found no time to wonder at all this until the dance, which lasted a pretty long time, was over; for the merry gentleman seemed to enjoy himself as much as the maid, who felt as if she were dancing about in heaven. But when the music ceased and Musa stood there panting, she began to be frightened in good earnest, and looked in astonishment at the ancient, who was neither out of breath nor warm, and who now began to speak. He introduced himself as David, the Virgin Mary`s royal ancestor, and her ambassador. He asked if she would like to pass eternal bliss in an unending pleasure dance, compared with which the dance they had just finished could only be called a miserable crawl.

To this she promptly answered that she would like nothing better. Whereupon the blessed King David said again that in that case she had nothing more to do than to renounce all pleasure and all dancing for the rest of her days on earth and devote herself wholly to penance and spiritual exercises,

A Legend of the Dance part 1

Gottfried Keller (1819 – 1890)

Keller, one of the most distinguished writers of Switzerland, is claimed by the Germans because he wrote in their language. The son of a Swiss mechanic, he spent a dreamy and aimless youth. He lived a great part of his life in Zurich. It was not until after his death that he was recognized as one of the masters of German literature. Professor Thomas declares that his “books are on the whole the very best reading to be found in the whole range of Nineteenth Century

German fiction.” He wrote almost entirely of his beloved Switzerland. His Seven Legends (1872), in which A Legend of the Dance first appeared, is one of his most beautiful books.

The present version, translated by Martin Wyness, is reprinted, by permission of the publishers, from Seven Legends, Gowans & Gray, Glasgow, 1911.

A Legend of the Dance

According to Saint Gregory, Musa was the dancer among the saints. The child of good

The Triple Warning part 3

The youth shrugged his shoulders:

“How, Oin visible spirit, can I deny that all this that thou prophesiest will come to pass, since on earth one thing always follows from another, and often the most terrible events are caused by the most trivial things, and the most trivial events by the most terrible things?

And why should 1 believe this particular prophecy, since the other, threatening me with death should I mount these steps, has not come to pass?”

“lie who mounts those steps,” rang out the terrible voice, “must turn back and descend them, if he wishes to mix with mankind again.
I Issi thou pondered that?”

The youth stopped suddenly and for a moment it seemed as though he would take the safe path downwards, but fearing the impenetrable night that encircled him, he clearly perceived that for so hazardous an enterprise he would require the light of day, and in order to make sure that he would have all his wits at his command on

The Triple Warning part 2

Where upon came a great sound as of thunder from the mountain sides, and at the same time exceeding close at hand:

“Youth, thou arrest!” And the overpowering weight of the words felled the wanderer. He stretched himself out on the edge of rock as though he intended to rest there, and with an ironical curl of the lips he said half to himself:

“So it appears that I have committed murder without knowing it!” “Thy careless foot has crushed a worm,” the answer thundered back. And the youth answered with indifference:

“I see: neither a good nor an evil spirit spoke to me, but a spirit with a sense of humor. I was not aware that such hovered about among us mortals.”

And again the voice resounded in the fading twilight of the heights: “Art thou then no longer the same youth whose heart only this morning thrilled to the rhythmical beat of all the world? Is thy soul so dead that thou art untouched by the happiness and sorrow of even a

The Triple Warning part 1

Arthur Schnitzler (1862 – 1931)

Arthur Schnitzler, born in Vienna in 1862, was one of the most distinguished figures in Austrian literature, and a dramatist and fiction writer of international renown. His delicately written and finely conceived short stories are among the very best of their kind. The Triple Warning is a philosophical and metaphysical parable related in the author`s best and most brilliant style.

The present version is translated especially for this collection by Barrett H. Clark, from the volume Masks and Miracles.

The Triple Warning

In the morning mist, shot through with the blue of the heavens, a youth was making his way toward the beckoning mountains. His heart thrilled to the rhythmical beat of all the world. Without a care or Worry he went on for hours over the level country when, on reaching (lie edge of a forest, a voice rang out, sounding at once near at hand and far off, and very mysterious:


The Fury part 12

She laid the handkerchief in the basket, and also the cross, and closed the lid. But when he looked into her face, he started. Great heavy drops were rolling down her cheeks; she let them flow unheeded.
“Maria Santissima!” he cried. “Are you ill? You are trembling from head to foot!”

“It is nothing,” she said; “I must go home”; and with unsteady steps she was moving to the door, when suddenly she leaned her brow against the wall, and gave way to a fit of bitter sobbing. Before he could go to her she turned upon him suddenly, and fell upon his neck.

“I cannot bear it!” she cried, clinging to him as a dying thing to life—“I cannot bear it! I cannot let you speak so kindly, and bid me go, with all this on my conscience. Beat me! trample on me! curse me! Or if it can be that you love me still, after all I have done to you, take me and keep me, and do with me as you please; only do not send me away so!” She could say no more for sobbing.

The Fury part 11

She took his hand, that was not able to prevent her, and unbound the linen. When she saw the swelling, she shuddered, and gave a cry: “Jesus Maria!” “It is a little swollen,” he said; “it will be over in four and twenty hours.” “She shook her head. “It will certainly be a week before…Read More

The Fury part 10

It is only this confounded ready blood of mine, that always makes a thing look worse than it is.”

“Let me come and bind it up, comparello. Stop one moment; I will go and fetch the herbs, and come to you directly.”

“Never trouble yourself, compare. It has been dressed already; tomorrow morning it will be all over and forgotten. I have a healthy skin, that heals directly.”

“Addio!” said Laurella, turning to the path that goes winding up the cliffs. “Goodnight!” he answered, without looking at her; and then taking his oars and baskets from the boat, and climbing up the small stone stairs, he went into his own hut.

He was alone in his two little rooms, and began to pace them up and down. Cooler than upon the dead calm sea, the breeze blew fresh through the small unglazed windows, which could only be closed with wooden shutters. The solitude was soothing to him. He stooped before the little image of the Virgin, devoutly gazing upo