The Man-Wolf and Other Tales eBook

Emile Erckmann
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 186 pages of information about The Man-Wolf and Other Tales.

“Such is the end of the most ancient monument known of Merovingian architecture, of which Schlosser, the historian, says,” etc., etc.

THE QUEEN OF THE BEES.

“As you go from Motiers-Navers to Boudry, on your way to Neufchatel,” said the young professor of botany, “you follow a road between two walls of rocks of immense height; they reach a perpendicular elevation of five or six hundred feet, and are hung with wild plants, the mountain basil (thymus alpinus), ferus (polypodium), the whortleberry (vitis idoea), ground ivy, and other climbing plants producing a wonderful effect.

“The road winds along this defile; it rises, falls, turns, sometimes tolerably level, sometimes broken and abrupt, according to the thousand irregularities of the ground.  Grey rocks almost meet in an arch overhead, others stand wide apart, leaving the distant blue visible, and discovering sombre and melancholy-looking depths, and rows of firs as far as the eye could reach.

“The Reuss flows along the bottom, sometimes leaping along in waterfalls, then creeping through thickets, or steaming, foaming, and thundering over precipices, while the echoes prolong the tumult and roar of its torrents in one immense endless hum.  Since I left Tubingen the weather had continued fine; but when I reached the summit of this gigantic staircase, about two leagues distant from the little hamlet of Novisaigne, I suddenly noticed great grey clouds begin passing overhead, which soon filled up the defile entirely; this vapour was so dense that it soon penetrated my clothes as a heavy dew would have done.

“Although it was only two in the afternoon, the sky became clouded over as if darkness was coming on; and I foresaw a heavy storm was about to break over my head.

“I consequently began looking about for shelter, and I saw through one of those wide openings which afford you a perspective view of the Alps, about two or three hundred yards distant on the slope leading down to the lake, an ancient-looking grey chalet, moss-covered, with its small round windows and sloping roof loaded with large stones, its stairs outside the house, with a carved rail, and its basket-shaped balcony, on which the Swiss maidens generally hang their snowy linen and scarlet petticoats to dry.

“Precisely as I was looking down, a tall woman in a black cap was folding and collecting the linen which was blowing about in the wind.

“To the left of this building a very large apiary supported on beams, arranged like a balcony, formed a projection above the valley.

“You may easily believe that without the loss of a moment I set off bounding through the heather to seek for shelter from the coming storm, and well it was I lost no time, for I had hardly laid my hand on the handle of the door before the hurricane burst furiously overhead; every gust of wind seemed about to carry the cottage bodily away; but its foundations were strong, and the security of the good people within, by the warmth of their reception, completely reassured me about the probability of any accident.

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The Man-Wolf and Other Tales from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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