Famous Stories Every Child Should Know eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 279 pages of information about Famous Stories Every Child Should Know.

Meantime the two men set meat and wine before their guest, and when he had recruited his strength a little, he began his story; saying that the day before he had left his monastery, which was a good way off beyond the lake, intending to visit the bishop at his palace, and report to him the distress which these almost supernatural floods had caused the monks and their poor tenantry.  After going round a long way, to avoid these floods, he had been obliged toward evening to cross an arm of the overflowing lake, with the help of two honest sailors.  “But,” added he, “no sooner had our little vessel touched the waves, than we were wrapped in the tremendous storm, which is still raging over our heads now.  It looked as if the waters had only awaited our coming to give a loose to their fury.  The oars were soon dashed from the seamen’s hands, and we saw their broken fragments carried further and further from us by the waves.  We floated on the wave tops, helpless, driven by the furious tempest toward your shores, which we saw in the distance whenever the clouds parted for a moment.  The boat was tossed about still more wildly and giddily:  and whether it upset, or I fell out, I cannot tell.  I floated on, till a wave landed me at the foot of a tree, in this your island.”

“Ay, island indeed!” said the Fisherman.  “It was a promontory but a short time ago.  But, since the stream and our lake are gone raving mad together, everything about us is new and strange.”

The Priest continued:  “As I crept along the water-side in the dark, with a wild uproar around me, something caught my eye, and presently I descried a beaten pathway, which was soon lost in the shades; I spied the light in your cottage, and ventured to come hither; and I cannot sufficiently thank my heavenly Father, who has not only delivered me from the waters, but guided me to such kind souls.  I feel this blessing the more, as it is very likely I may never see any faces but yours again.”—­“How so?” asked the fisherman.  “Can you guess how long this fury of the elements may last?” replied the Priest.  “And I am an old man.  My stream of life may perhaps lose itself in the earth, before these floods subside.  And besides, it may be the foaming waters will divide you from the forest more and more, till you are unable to get across in your fishing boat; and the people of the mainland, full of their own concerns, would quite forget you in your retreat.”

Shuddering, and crossing herself, the Fisherman’s wife exclaimed, “God forbid!” But the old man smiled at her, and said, “What creatures we are.  That would make no difference, to you at least, my dear wife.  How many years is it since you have set foot within the forest?  And have you seen any face but Undine’s and mine?  Lately, indeed, we have had the good Knight and Priest besides.  But they would stay with us; so that if we are forgotten in this island, you will be the gainer.”

“So I see,” said the dame; “yet somehow, it is cheerless to feel ourselves quite cut off from the rest of the world, however seldom we had seen it before.”

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Famous Stories Every Child Should Know from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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