The Quest of the Silver Fleece eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 317 pages of information about The Quest of the Silver Fleece.

Then of a sudden up from the darkness came music.  It was human music, but of a wildness and a weirdness that startled the boy as it fluttered and danced across the dull red waters of the swamp.  He hesitated, then impelled by some strange power, left the highway and slipped into the forest of the swamp, shrinking, yet following the song hungrily and half forgetting his fear.  A harsher, shriller note struck in as of many and ruder voices; but above it flew the first sweet music, birdlike, abandoned, and the boy crept closer.

The cabin crouched ragged and black at the edge of black waters.  An old chimney leaned drunkenly against it, raging with fire and smoke, while through the chinks winked red gleams of warmth and wild cheer.  With a revel of shouting and noise, the music suddenly ceased.  Hoarse staccato cries and peals of laughter shook the old hut, and as the boy stood there peering through the black trees, abruptly the door flew open and a flood of light illumined the wood.

Amid this mighty halo, as on clouds of flame, a girl was dancing.  She was black, and lithe, and tall, and willowy.  Her garments twined and flew around the delicate moulding of her dark, young, half-naked limbs.  A heavy mass of hair clung motionless to her wide forehead.  Her arms twirled and flickered, and body and soul seemed quivering and whirring in the poetry of her motion.

As she danced she sang.  He heard her voice as before, fluttering like a bird’s in the full sweetness of her utter music.  It was no tune nor melody, it was just formless, boundless music.  The boy forgot himself and all the world besides.  All his darkness was sudden light; dazzled he crept forward, bewildered, fascinated, until with one last wild whirl the elf-girl paused.  The crimson light fell full upon the warm and velvet bronze of her face—­her midnight eyes were aglow, her full purple lips apart, her half hid bosom panting, and all the music dead.  Involuntarily the boy gave a gasping cry and awoke to swamp and night and fire, while a white face, drawn, red-eyed, peered outward from some hidden throng within the cabin.

“Who’s that?” a harsh voice cried.

“Where?” “Who is it?” and pale crowding faces blurred the light.

The boy wheeled blindly and fled in terror stumbling through the swamp, hearing strange sounds and feeling stealthy creeping hands and arms and whispering voices.  On he toiled in mad haste, struggling toward the road and losing it until finally beneath the shadows of a mighty oak he sank exhausted.  There he lay a while trembling and at last drifted into dreamless sleep.

It was morning when he awoke and threw a startled glance upward to the twisted branches of the oak that bent above, sifting down sunshine on his brown face and close curled hair.  Slowly he remembered the loneliness, the fear and wild running through the dark.  He laughed in the bold courage of day and stretched himself.

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Project Gutenberg
The Quest of the Silver Fleece from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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