Press enter after choosing selection

The Lorelei

The Lorelei image
Parent Issue
Public Domain
OCR Text

In a quaint old house, in a room tbat was large and bare, with curious nooks and corners, with windows deep and dark curtained, and a yawning cavetnous flreplace, I sat and pondered. The fire was burned out, save a pile of glowing coala, which threw a fitful glare throngh the shadows oí the room up to the browu raf ters overhead. Without the wind shrieked and howled aud whistled, the shutters clattered and the bail beat upon the window panes. The fire gleams ceased. The wind shrieked louder and the spirit of fearentered into and took possession of me. Oh, for light ! Starting in a frenzy, I raked some coals together, and seizing an old violin that lay in a corner I threw it on the coals in hope of light sufficient to dispel the gloom for a few moinents at least. There was a crackling, and there went up a blue flame, and at that instant there carne a quick, stinging blow on mj temple - a blow like the shock from an electric battery - and I feil to the floor, insensible. When ruy mind came back to me, the room was filled with darkness so intense Icould disoern nothing. I looked toward the fire. Written in letters of flame upon the backwall of black, in letters that flickered and grew pale and then bright, now with a blue light and now with a red, I saw this strange story that I try to teil to you : Of old there was a race of women who were lithe and tall and fair. Their eyes were like stars and their hair like strands of gold, or a veil covering them belów the knees. This was when Jove reigned in Olympus and the gods and goddesses paid homage to him thera Now these women were slaves to the goddesses, but when they sang, Jove left his throne and all the gods wept and thought of nanght save these - the Lorelei. Then the goddesses were sore displeased, and their hearts were bitter with jealousy, so that they pleaded with Jove and finally prevailed upon him to cast the Lorelei out of Olympus and to drown them in the sea. So the Lorelei were hurled into the waters. But as they sank they cried aloud, and the sweetness of their voices pierced Neptune's heart, so it was filled wiila compassion, and he sent envoys to guide them through the waters and into the cavernous palaces under the sea - the palaces whose walls were of silver gled with gold, whose light was the glimmer from diamonds, whose floors were of pearls, and raany gerus were in the sands around. The Lorelei sang to thank kind Neptune, and the monsters of the deep drew near and ceased to move, but stood by the entrances to the caverns and were spelibound by the musio. The Lorelei maidens were happy. They danced and sang the livelong day, and the queen of Lorelei led them. The ■water was warm, and its surface glitter - ed and sparkled and flashed, and the Lorelei chased each other and sang for very gladness. There was a ship on the sea, and when the breeze reached it laden with music - the music of the Lorelei 's voices - the sailors were charmed, so that the helmsman stood as one dead, and the captain was silent, bnt reached forth his hands. The winds and waves bore the ship on, and the voices of the Lorelei sonnded more plainly than before. The ship was without guidance. It strncknponthe rocks and sank. Bnt the men were as dead men before it went down, for their ears were filled and their pulses were stopped by the songs of the sirens. The waters closed over the ship and her crew, and after many days the bones of the sailors were cast upon the sands of the shore, and the Bummer snns and winter rains bleached them. Other ships came. The crews heard and perished, and the shore was strewn with bones, even as the sands. The Lorelei mourned and sang to warn men away. Bnt the voices were so sweet men came ever toward them to their destruction. The Lorelei were accused by mankind, so that the queen of the Lorelei came no more through the waters, but wandered in and out through the coral groves in the depths of the sea. Shipa ceased to be lost and the bones npon the seahore were covered with moss and the grass and flowers grew near to the water's edge. Now, back from the ehore was a forest, mighty and old. The trunks of the trees were like great columns and the branches formed arches overhead ; the leaves were the canopy and the whole seemed like a great cathedral. The gronnd was soft with the fallen leaves, and. in this forest the suu never shone save when the winds came softly and gently through the boughs, lifted tbe I leaves flutteringly and let a sunbeam through, which feil aslant upon the gronnd. In the heart of this forest was a castle. The castle was old, dark and grim, and the lord of the castle had been wandering in foreign lands for many years. A new year had come and was half gone when the lord came home. The air was soft an-i. warm and filled with the song of birds and the hnm of insects. The sunbeams came down on the old castle, glanaing off on the blooming roses on the castle walls and falling through the Windows on marble forms and crystal fountains. The lord of the castle was brave and strong and calm and drew all men toward him. It was morning. The lord left his castle and wandered throngh the forest, bis arrnsfolded upon his breast and bis face raised to watch the pule snnbearns conae flickering tbrongb the trees. Each footf all crnshed perfume frorn the ground - the odors of moist earth, of fallen leaves, violets and spicy fennel. There carne a slighc opening in the tree tops, a golden shaft of Bunlight came down, and seerningly borne upon it carne a strain of melody so sweet the lord stopped and gazed upward through the trees, thinking it tho voice of angels. But the air brought again and again the sound of sweet voices, and they came always from the sea. The air was filled, and the echoes seemed other voices answering. The I thorns pierced his feet, but he did not fee! theru. He reached the edge of the forest, where the grass was soft like velvet and green down to tho water 's sdge. The ocean lay calru and clear as a sheet of glass as far as the eye could reach, save only uear the shore was a great white rock, and upon it stood the queen of the Lorelei. Sbe was ciad in a single robe of pale green, combing her golden hairand singing to her ruaidens, who held carnival in the waters around her. They glided and glanced hither and thither throngh the waters, under one wave, borne back on another, and the flash of gold was in the water, or the gleam of an arm or a shell tinted face. The sun shone full upon it all, and the waves gave back the reflection in shiminer and gleam. The lord Btood still in ecstasy, then moved forward. Each mnrrnur and quiver and cali of the Lorelei's voice drewhim on; each echo, answer and trill enraptured, bewildered and enthralled him. He moved to the water 's edge, then stood as a man turned to stone until the Lorelei saw his image in the water, and turned and saw him standing. Then tbe queen of the Lorelei flung her arms abovo her head and dashed beneath the waters, and the waves beat in music on the shore. The lord stood still. Then the queen of the Lorelei came back to look on him for very wonder, Eor never before had man stopped to look on her, but had hastened throuh the water toward her to his death. The lord saw her face in the water, reached Eorth hiS arms, then turned and went to bis castle. The shadows were dark, the clouds wept, and the wind sighed the livelong night. With the morning the son came and the lord went again to the seashore. The queen of the Lorelei came forth and sang, and came nearer the shore than the day before. The lord again i reached forth hi3 arms, and she came so near her ïeet shone white upon the sand. Then she turned and fled down, affrighted, through the water. The lord came jet another day, and the sun shone brighter, but tbe shadows were purple, and there was muttering of thnnder from behind graat, white, gold capped clouds. The lord stood back from the shore ; the queen of the Lorelei sang mora sweetly and drew still more near to him. Tbe lord reached forth his arms, and the queen stepped one pearly 'oot from out the water on the seashore. The lord sprang forward, caught her in lis arms, and bore her through the forest to the castle. The Lorelei maidens 'ollowed in affright, wandering in and out among the trees. The ocean waslashed into a white foam, and great waves chased one another with sullen roar upon the beach. The sky grew Dlack and the wind howled through the :ree tops, while tbeir trunks writhed ike serpents. The wind came swifter and mightier. The trnnks of the trees were twisted and the ground npiurned along the seashore, and the vrhitened bones laid bare. The black sky parted and Jovehurled a thunderbolt. The forest was leveled and the castle riven asunder - not one stone remaining npon another. The bodies of the lord of the castle and the queen of the Lorelei, aud also ihe Lorelei inaidens were destroyed - jut above all the sound of the tempest could be heard the voices of thé Lorelei, 'or they were immortal. Then Jove made violins of the wood of the forest, and imprisoned thereiu the voices of the Lorelei, eince their bodies were destroyed. # Here the Jetters on the back wall ceased to flicker. I saw forms around me and anxious faces, and was told there had been a thnnderstorm, and I sbocked by lightning. When the violin was wanted, and I told the story that came froin its ashes, I was laughed at and told "the imagination plays us wonderfnl tricks. " But that it was not imagination I know, and when I hear a violin shriek as it does in the hands of the nnskilled, I know that the Lorelei soul imprisoned withia is being ten - and cries in paiu, and when the sennds are inelodious I kuow the instrument has found a loving master and the soul


Ann Arbor Argus
Old News