Undine eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 120 pages of information about Undine.

“I then trotted off and left him, but he screamed after me; and on a sudden, with inconceivable quickness, he was close by my side.  I started my horse into a gallop.  He galloped on with me, though it seemed with great difficulty, and with a strange movement, half ludicrous and half horrible, forcing at the same time every limb and feature into distortion, he held up the gold piece and screamed at every leap, ‘Counterfeit! false! false coin! counterfeit!’ and such was the strange sound that issued from his hollow breast, you would have supposed that at every scream he must have tumbled upon the ground dead.  All this while his disgusting red tongue hung lolling from his mouth.

“I stopped bewildered, and asked, ’What do you mean by this screaming?  Take another piece of gold, take two, but leave me.’

“He then began again his hideous salutations of courtesy, and snarled out as before, ’Not gold, it shall not be gold, my young gentleman.  I have too much of that trash already, as I will show you in no time.’

“At that moment, and thought itself could not have been more instantaneous, I seemed to have acquired new powers of sight.  I could see through the solid green plain, as if it were green glass, and the smooth surface of the earth were round as a globe, and within it I saw crowds of goblins, who were pursuing their pastime and making themselves merry with silver and gold.  They were tumbling and rolling about, heads up and heads down; they pelted one another in sport with the precious metals, and with irritating malice blew gold-dust in one another’s eyes.  My odious companion ordered the others to reach him up a vast quantity of gold; this he showed to me with a laugh, and then flung it again ringing and chinking down the measureless abyss.

“After this contemptuous disregard of gold, he held up the piece I had given him, showing it to his brother goblins below, and they laughed immoderately at a coin so worthless, and hissed me.  At last, raising their fingers all smutched with ore, they pointed them at me in scorn; and wilder and wilder, and thicker and thicker, and madder and madder, the crowd were clambering up to where I sat gazing at these wonders.  Then terror seized me, as it had before seized my horse.  I drove my spurs into his sides, and how far he rushed with me through the forest, during this second of my wild heats, it is impossible to say.

“At last, when I had now come to a dead halt again, the cool of evening was around me.  I caught the gleam of a white footpath through the branches of the trees; and presuming it would lead me out of the forest toward the city, I was desirous of working my way into it.  But a face, perfectly white and indistinct, with features ever changing, kept thrusting itself out and peering at me between the leaves.  I tried to avoid it, but wherever I went, there too appeared the unearthly face.  I was maddened with rage at this interruption, and determined

Project Gutenberg
Undine from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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