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:

“G

At the Well Part 7

On
the threshold, through the faint light of the early dawn, he noticed a human
figure.

“Who
are you, there?”

“It
is me, grandpa, Anoka! I want to die. Forgive me, if you can.’ Grandpa stopped,
swayed, and almost fell.

“My
child, it is sinful to talk like that. Look at my hair, not even the sheep’s
wool is whiter.”

Anoka
grasped the hem of his cloak which hung down from his shoulders, and kissed it.

“I
have sinned awfully. I destroyed the harmony of your home. For-give me, for
God’s sake!”

Nothing
easier than to make an old man cry. Tears rolled down his cheeks. He took her
head in both his hands and kissed her.

“Come
in.”

She
followed him into the room.

“Sit
down there.”

She
sat on a stool, and grandpa on the edge of the bed. 

“Shell
some of these beans.”

Remained silent

She did so. Grandpa looked at her with joy. Bo

At the Well Part 6

Slumber
over there. Do you want to be punished by God? She said to Petriya.

The
moon was overhead. Everything was so quiet. Anoka’s heart was breaking and
something was slowly dying within her.

She
couldn`t go on like this any longer, but what was to be done? Should she return
to her father—what could she tell him?—“Grandpa has ordered everybody to obey
my will.” No, she couldn’t say anything like this. And then, this terrible
night will also have its end, and soon the dawn will break and the sun will
shine on all God’s creatures But she, disgraceful person, what shall she do?
Could she be more furious than she is? To be quiet—but how? To surrender? No!

The
thoughts played a wild dance in her head, crossing, mingling and intermingling.      

She
felt very tired. Passions, love, hatred, hunger and thirst all disappeared. Her
eyelids were heavy like lead, and still they would not close. She felt so

At the Well Part 5

The
same evening all the men were sitting around the table, for it was supper time.
Radoyka was the only woman among them. The other women had their supper in the
kitchen. Two or three women were serving at the table.

It
was Anoka’s turn to serve.

Two
other women walked in and out with dishes and food. Anoka leaned against the
door and made faces.

Grandpa
gave her a terrific look. All were speechless. Radoyka felt all the blood
rushing to her head. Anoka did not even notice it!

After
supper everybody made a sign of the cross, waiting for grand-pa’s sign for
leaving the room.

Crust of bread

But the old man pushed aside a crust of bread, the spoon, the knife, and the wooden dish. He rested his head on his palm, looked around and fixed his eyes on Anoka.

She
was on pins and needles, dropped her arms, stretched her strong and beautiful
body, and moved to leave the room.

“Wait,
my daughter,” said

At the Well Part 4

Anoka’s
fury grew day by day and she invented all kinds of tricks with which to tease
the people in the house. She would chase the dogs into the kitchen, and would
allow them to eat up the meat in the pot. She would open the faucets of the
kegs in the cellar, so the wine would flow out. The bread in the oven always
burned if she was to watch it. On working days, for instance, she would put on
holiday attire. It became worse and worse. The women couldn’t stand it any
longer. Once, when it was Anoka’s turn to be the redara (housekeeper) she left
home and went to the fair. Then the sisters-in-law gathered secretly.

“I
don’t know, dear sisters, what great wrong we have committed that we should
have to suffer so much.”

“Neither
do I know.”

“That’s
a great punishment and a great misfortune.”

“God
alone can help us.”

“No,
it cannot go on like this any more.”

“Let
us talk to grandma, and she will tak