The German Classics of the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries, Volume 05 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 489 pages of information about The German Classics of the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries, Volume 05.
Hence we have also no souls; the element moves us and is often obedient to us while we live, though it scatters us to dust when we die; and we are merry, without having aught to grieve us—­merry as the nightingales and little gold-fishes and other pretty children of nature.  But all beings aspire to be higher than they are.  Thus my father, who is a powerful water-prince in the Mediterranean Sea, desired that his only daughter should become possessed of a soul, even though she must then endure many of the sufferings of those thus endowed.  Such as we, however, can obtain a soul only by the closest union of love with one of your human race.  I am now possessed of a soul, and my soul I owe you, my inexpressibly beloved one, and it will ever thank you if you do not make my whole life miserable.  For what is to become of me if you avoid and reject me?  Still I would not retain you by deceit.  And if you mean to reject me do so now, and return alone to the shore.  I will dive into this brook, which is my uncle; and here in the forest, far removed from other friends, he passes his strange and solitary life.  He is, however, powerful, and is esteemed and beloved by many great streams; and as he brought me hither to the fisherman, a light-hearted, laughing child, he will take me back again to my parents, a loving, suffering, and soul-endowed woman.”

She was about to say still more, but Huldbrand embraced her with the most heartfelt emotion and love, and bore her back again to the shore.  It was not till he reached it that he swore, amid tears and kisses, never to forsake his sweet wife, calling himself more happy than the Greek sculptor Pygmalion, whose beautiful statue received life from Venus and became his loved one.  In endearing confidence Undine walked back to the cottage, leaning on his arm, and feeling now for the first time with all her heart how little she ought to regret the forsaken crystal palaces of her mysterious father.

CHAPTER XIII

How they lived at Castle Ringstetten

The writer of this story, both because it moves his own heart and because he wishes it to move that of others, begs you, dear reader, to pardon him if he now briefly passes over a considerable space of time, only cursorily mentioning the events that marked it.  He knows well that he might portray according to the rules of art, step by step, how Huldbrand’s heart began to turn from Undine to Bertalda; how Bertalda more and more responded with ardent love to the young knight, and how they both looked upon the poor wife as a mysterious being rather to be feared than pitied; how Undine wept, and how her tears stung the knight’s heart with remorse without awakening his former love, so that though he at times was kind and endearing to her, a cold shudder would soon draw him from her and he would turn to his fellow-mortal, Bertalda.  All this the writer knows might be fully detailed, and perhaps ought to have been so; but such a task

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The German Classics of the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries, Volume 05 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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