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Title: Life and Death - And Other Legends and Stories
Author: Sienkiewicz, Henryk, 1846-1916
Language: English
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Life and Death

_And Other Legends and Stories_



THE WORKS OF HENRYK SIENKIEWICZ

TRANSLATED FROM THE ORIGINAL POLISH BY JEREMIAH CURTIN.


_The Zagloba Romances_

  WITH FIRE AND SWORD. 1 vol.
  THE DELUGE. 2 vols.
  PAN MICHAEL. 1 vol.


  QUO VADIS. 1 vol.
  THE KNIGHTS OF THE CROSS. 2 vols.
  CHILDREN OF THE SOIL. 1 vol.
  HANIA, AND OTHER STORIES. 1 vol.
  SIELANKA, AND OTHER STORIES. 1 vol.
  IN VAIN. 1 vol.
  LIFE AND DEATH AND OTHER LEGENDS AND STORIES. 1 vol.


  WITHOUT DOGMA. (Translated by Iza Young.) 1 vol.



[Illustration: HOUSE PRESENTED TO HENRYK SIENKIEWICZ BY THE POLES

Mr. Sienkiewicz and Mr. Curtin in the foreground]



  Life and Death

  _And Other Legends and Stories_


  By Henryk Sienkiewicz

  Author of "With Fire and Sword," "The Deluge,"
  "Pan Michael," "Quo Vadis," "Knights
  of the Cross," etc.


  _Translated from the Original Polish by_
  Jeremiah Curtin


  Boston
  Little, Brown, and Company
  1904



  _Copyright, 1897, 1899, 1900, 1904_,
  BY JEREMIAH CURTIN.

  _All rights reserved_


  THE UNIVERSITY PRESS
  CAMBRIDGE, U. S. A.



PREFACE


_"Is He the Dearest One?" was produced under the following circumstances:
About fourteen years ago there was a famine, or at least hunger, in
Silesia. Though that land is a German possession at present, it was once a
part of the Polish Commonwealth, and there are many un-Germanized Poles in
it yet._

_The mother in this sketch is Poland. Yasko, the most unfortunate of her
sons, is Silesia. Poor, ill-fated, he neglects his own language, forgets
his mother; but she does not forget him, as was shown on the occasion of
that hunger in Silesia. The Poles of Russian Poland collected one million
marks and sent them to Yasko._

_The ship "Purple" represents Poland and its career, and is a very brief
summary of the essence and meaning of Polish history. Like some of the
author's most beautiful short productions, it was written for a benevolent
object, all the money obtained for it being devoted to that object._

_All persons who have read "Charcoal Sketches," in Sienkiewicz's "Hania,"
will be interested to learn the origin of that striking production. It was
written mainly and finished in Los Angeles, Cal., as Sienkiewicz told me
in Switzerland six years ago, but it was begun at Anaheim Landing, as is
described in the sketch printed in this volume, "The Cranes." Besides
being begun at Anaheim Landing, the whole plan of "Charcoal Sketches" was
worked out there. "The Cranes" appeared in Lvov, or Lemburg, a few years
ago, in a paper which was published for one day only, and was made up of
contributions from Polish authors who gave these contributions for a
benevolent purpose. The Hindu legend, "Life and Death," to be read by
Sienkiewicz at Warsaw in January, is his latest work._

_JEREMIAH CURTIN._

  _Torbole, Lago di Garda, Austria,
      December 18, 1903._



CONTENTS


                                              _Page_

  LIFE AND DEATH: A HINDU LEGEND                   3

  IS HE THE DEAREST ONE?                          21

  A LEGEND OF THE SEA                             29

  THE CRANES                                      41

  THE JUDGMENT OF PETER AND PAUL ON OLYMPUS       55



LIFE AND DEATH _A HINDU LEGEND_


LIFE AND DEATH _A HINDU LEGEND_


I

LIFE AND DEATH


There were two regions lying side by side, as it were two immense plains,
with a clear river flowing between them.

At one point the banks of this river sloped gently to a shallow ford in
the shape of a pond with transparent, calm water.

Beneath the azure surface of this ford could be seen its golden bed, from
which grew stems of lotus; on those stems bloomed white and rose-colored
flowers above the mirror of water. Rainbow-hued insects and butterflies
circled around the flowers and among the palms of the shore, while higher
up in the sunny air birds gave out sounds like those of silver bells. This
pond was the passage from one region to the other.

The first region was called the Plain of Life, the second the Plain of
Death.

The supreme and all mighty Brahma had created both plains, and had
commanded the good Vishnu to rule in the Region of Life, while the wise
Siva was lord in the Region of Death.

"Do what ye understand to be best," said Brahma to the two rulers.

Hence in the region belonging to Vishnu life moved with all its activity.
The sun rose and set; day followed night, and night followed day; the sea
rose and fell; in the sky appeared clouds big with rain; the earth was
soon covered with forests, and crowded with beasts, birds, and people.

So that all living creatures might increase greatly and multiply, the
kindly god created Love, which he made to be Happiness also.

After this Brahma summoned Vishnu and said to him:

"Thou canst produce nothing better on earth, and since heaven is created
already by me, do thou rest and let those whom thou callest people weave
the thread of life for themselves unassisted."

Vishnu obeyed this command, and henceforward men ordered their own lives.
From their good thoughts came joy, from their evil ones, sorrow; and they
saw soon with wonder that life was not an unbroken rejoicing, but that
with the life thread which Brahma had mentioned they wove out two webs as
it were with two faces,--on one of these was a smile; there were tears in
the eyes of the other.

They went then to the throne of Vishnu and made complaint to him:

"O Lord! life is grievous through sorrow."

"Let Love give you happiness," said Vishnu in answer.

At these words they went away quieted, for Love indeed scattered their
sorrows, which, in view of the happiness given, seemed so insignificant as
to be undeserving of notice.

But Love is also the mighty mother of life, hence, though the region which
Vishnu ruled was enormous, it was soon insufficient for the myriads of
people; soon there was not fruit enough upon trees there, nor berries
enough upon bushes, nor honey enough from cliff bees.

Thereupon all the men who were wisest fell to cutting down forests for the
clearing of land, for the sowing of seed, for the winning of harvests.

Thus Labor appeared among people. Soon all had to turn to it, and labor
became not merely the basis of life, but life itself very nearly.

But from Labor came Toil, and Toil produced Weariness.

Great throngs of people appeared before Vishnu a second time.

"O Lord!" exclaimed they, stretching their hands to him, "toil has
weakened our bodies, weariness spreads through our bones, we are yearning
for rest, but Life drives us always to labor."

To this Vishnu answered:

"The great and all mighty Brahma has not allowed me to shape Life any
further, but I am free to make that which will cause it to halt, and rest
will come then to you."

And Vishnu made Sleep.

Men received this new gift with rejoicing, and very soon saw in it one of
the greatest boons given by the deity thus far. In sleep vanished care and
vexation, during sleep strength returned to the weary; sleep, like a
cherishing mother, wiped away tears of sorrow and surrounded the heads of
the slumbering with oblivion.

So people glorified sleep, and repeated:

"Be blessed, for thou art far better than life in our waking hours."

And they had one regret only, that it did not continue forever. After
sleep came awakening, and after awakening came labor with fresh toil and
weariness.

This thought began soon to torture all men so sorely, that for the third
time they stood before Vishnu.

"O Lord," said they, "thou hast given us a boon which, though great and
unspeakably precious, is incomplete as it now appears. Wilt thou grant us
that sleep be eternal?"

Vishnu wrinkled his brows then in anger at this their insistence, and
answered:

"I cannot give what ye ask of me, but go to the neighboring ford, and
beyond ye will find that for which ye are seeking."

The people heard the god's voice and went on in legions immediately. They
went to the ford, and, halting there, gazed at the shore lying opposite.

Beyond the clear, calm, and flower-bedecked surface stretched the Plain of
Death, or the Kingdom of Siva.

The sun never rose and never set in that region; there was no day and no
night there, but the whole plain was of a lily-colored, absolute
clearness. No shadow fell in that region, for clearness inhered there so
thoroughly that it seemed the real essence of Siva's dominions.

The region was not empty. As far as the eye could reach were seen heights
and valleys where beautiful trees stood in groups; on those trees rose
climbing plants, while ivy and grapevines were hanging from the cliff
sides.

But the cliffs and the tree trunks and the slender plant stems were almost
transparent, as if formed out of light grown material. The leaves of the
ivy had in them a delicate roseate light as of dawn. And all was in
marvellous rest, such as none on the Plain of Life had experienced; all
was as if sunk in serene meditation, as if dreaming and resting in
continuous slumber, unthreatened by waking.

In the clear air not the slightest breeze was discovered, not a flower was
seen moving, not a leaf showed a quiver.

The people who had come to the shore with loud conversation and clamor
grew silent at sight of those lily-colored, motionless spaces, and
whispered:

"What quiet! How everything rests there in clearness!"

"Oh, yes, there is rest and unbroken repose in that region."

So some, namely, those who were weariest, said after a silence:

"Let us find the sleep which is surely unbroken."

And they entered the water. The rainbow-hued surface opened straightway
before them, as if wishing to lighten the passage. Those who remained on
the shore began now to call after them, but no man turned his head, and
all hurried forward with willingness and lightly, attracted more and more
by the charm of that wonderful region.

The throng which gazed from the shore of Life at them noted this also:
that as they moved forward their bodies grew gradually less heavy,
becoming transparent and purer, more radiant, and as it were blending with
that absolute clearness which filled the whole Plain of Death, Siva's
kingdom.

And when they had passed and disposed themselves amid flowers and at trees
or the bases of cliffs, to repose there, their eyes were closed, but their
faces had on them not only an expression of ineffable peace, but also of
happiness such as Love itself on the Plain of Life had never given.

Seeing this, those who had halted behind said one to another:

"The region belonging to Siva is sweeter and better."

And they began to pass to that shore in increasing numbers. There went in
solemn procession old men, and men in ripe years, and husbands and wives,
and mothers who led little children, and maidens, and youths, and then
thousands and millions of people pushed on toward that Calm Passage, till
at last the Plain of Life was depopulated almost entirely.

Then Vishnu, whose task it was to keep life from extinction, was
frightened because of the advice which he had given in his anger, and not
knowing what to do else hastened quickly to Brahma.

"Save Life, O Creator!" said he. "Behold, thou hast made the inheritance
of Death now so beautiful, so serene, and so blissful that all men are
leaving my kingdom."

"Have none remained with thee there?" inquired Brahma.

"Only one youth and one maiden, who are in love beyond measure; they
renounce endless bliss rather than close their eyes and gaze on each other
no longer."

"What dost thou wish, then?"

"Make the region of Death less delightful, less happy; if not, even those
two when their springtime of love shall be ended will leave me and follow
the others."

Brahma thought for a moment and answered:

"No! Oh no! I will not decrease beauty and happiness in the region of
Death, but I will do something for Life in its own realm. Henceforward
people will not pass to the other shore willingly, they must be forced to
it."

When he had said this he made a thick veil out of darkness which no one
could see through, and next he created two terrible beings, one of these
he named Fear and the other one Pain. He commanded them then to hang that
black veil at the Passage.

Thereafter Vishnu's kingdom was as crowded with life as it had been, for
though the region of Death was as calm, as serene, and as blissful as
ever, people dreaded the Passage.


[Illustration: SMALL CHAPEL ON THE SIENKIEWICZ ESTATE]



IS HE THE DEAREST ONE?


II

IS HE THE DEAREST ONE?


In the distance a dark strip of pine wood was visible. In front of the
wood was a meadow, and amid fields of grain stood a cottage covered with a
straw roof and with moss. Birch trees hung their tresses above it. On a
fir tree stood a stork on its nest, and in a cherry garden were dark
beehives.

Through an open gate a wanderer walked into the yard and said to the
mistress of the cottage, who was standing on its threshold:

"Peace to this quiet house, to those trees, to the grain, to the whole
place, and to thee, mother!"

The woman greeted him kindly, and added:

"I will bring bread and milk to thee, wayfarer; but sit down the while and
rest, for it is clear that thou art coming back from a long journey."

"I have wandered like that stork, and like a swallow; I come from afar, I
bring news from thy children."

Her whole soul rushed to the eyes of that mother, and she asked the
wayfarer straightway:

"Dost thou know of my Yasko?"

"Dost thou love that son most that thou askest first about him? Well, one
son of thine is in forests, he works with his axe, he spreads his net in
lakes; another herds horses in the steppe, he sings plaintive songs and
looks at the stars; the third son climbs mountains, passes over naked
rocks and high pastures, spends the night with sheep and shouts at the
eagles. All bend down before thy knees and send thee greeting."

"But Yasko?" asked the mother with an anxious face.

"I keep sad news for the last. Life is going ill with Yasko: the field
does not give its fruit to him, poverty and hunger torment the man, his
days and months pass in suffering. Amid strangers and misery he has even
forgotten thy language; forget him, since he has no thought for thee."

When he had finished, the woman took the man's hand, led him to her pantry
in the cottage, and, seizing a loaf from the shelf, she said:

"Give this bread, O wayfarer, to Yasko!"

Then she untied a small kerchief, took a bright silver coin from it, and
with trembling voice added:

"I am not rich, but this too is for Yasko."

"Woman!" said the wayfarer now with astonishment, "thou hast many sons,
but thou sendest gifts to only one of them. Dost thou love him more than
the others? Is he the dearest one?"

She raised her great sad eyes, filled with tears, and answered:

"My blessing is for them all, but my gifts are to Yasko, for I am a
mother, and he is my poorest son."



A LEGEND OF THE SEA


III

A LEGEND OF THE SEA


There was a ship named "The Purple," so strong and so great that she
feared neither winds nor waves, even when they were raging most terribly.

"The Purple" swept on, with every sail set, she rose upon each swelling
wave and crushed with her conquering prow hidden rocks on which other
ships foundered. She moved ever forward with sails which were gleaming in
sunlight, and moved with such swiftness that foam roared at her sides and
stretched out behind in a broad, endless road-streak.

"That is a glorious craft," cried out crews on all other ships; "a man
might think that she sails just to punish the ocean."

From time to time they called out to the crew of "The Purple":

"Hei, men, to what port are ye sailing?"

"To that port to which wind blows," said the men on "The Purple."

"Have a care, there are rocks ahead! There are whirlpools!"

In reply to this warning came back a song as loud as the wind was:

"Let us sail on, let us sail ever joyously."

Men on "The Purple" were gladsome. The crew, confiding in the strength of
their ship and the size of it, jeered at all perils. On other ships stern
discipline ruled, but on "The Purple" each man did what seemed good to
him.

Life on that ship was one ceaseless holiday. The storms which she had
passed, the rocks which she had crushed, increased the crew's confidence.
"There are no reefs, there are no winds to wreck this ship," roared the
sailors. "Let a hurricane shiver the ocean, 'The Purple' will always sail
forward."

And "The Purple" sailed; she was proud, she was splendid.

Whole years passed--she was to all seeming invincible, she helped other
ships and took in on her deck drowning passengers.

Blind faith increased every day in the breasts of the crew on "The
Purple." They grew slothful in good fortune and forgot their own art, they
forgot how to navigate. "Our 'Purple' will sail herself," said they. "Why
toil, why watch the ship, why pull at rudder, masts, sails, and ropes? Why
live by hard work and the sweat of our brows, when our ship is divine,
indestructible? Let us sail on, let us sail joyously."

And they sailed for a very long period. At last, after years, the crew
became utterly effeminate, they forgot every duty, and no man of them
knew that that ship was decaying. Bitter water had weakened the spars, the
strong rigging had loosened, waves without number had shattered the
gunwales, dry rot was at work in the mainmast, the sails had grown weak
through exposure.

The voice of sound sense was heard now despite every madness:

"Be careful!" cried some of the sailors.

"Never mind! We will sail with the current," cried out the majority. But
once such a storm came that to that hour its like had not been on the
water. The wind whirled ocean and clouds into one hellish chaos. Pillars
of water rose up and flew then with roars at "The Purple"; they were
raging and bellowing dreadfully. They fell on the ship, they drove her
down to the bottom, they hurled her up to the clouds, then cast her down
again. The weak rigging snapped, and now a quick cry of despair was heard
on the deck of that vessel.

"'The Purple' is sinking!"

"The Purple" was really sinking, while the crew, unaccustomed to work and
to navigate, knew not how to save her.

But when the first moment of terror had passed, rage boiled up in their
hearts, for those mariners still loved that ship of theirs.

All sprang up speedily, some rushed to fire cannon-balls at the winds and
foaming water, others seized what each man could find near him and flogged
that sea which was drowning "The Purple."

Great was that fight of despair against the elements. But the waves had
more strength than the mariners. The guns filled with water and then they
were silent. Gigantic whirls seized struggling sailors and swept them out
into watery chaos.

The crew decreased every minute, but they struggled on yet. Covered with
water, half-blinded, concealed by a mountain of foam, they fought till
they dropped in the battle.

Strength left them, but after brief rest they sprang again to the
struggle.

At last their hands fell. They felt that death was approaching. Dull
despair seized them. Those sailors looked at one another as if demented.

Now those same voices which had warned previously of danger were raised
again, and more powerfully, so powerfully this time that the roar of the
waves could not drown them.

Those voices said:

"O blind men! How can ye cannonade wind, or flog waves? Mend your vessel!
Go to the hold. Work there. The ship 'Purple' is afloat yet."

At these words those mariners, half-dead already, recovered, all rushed to
the hold and began then to work in it. And they worked from morning till
night in the sweat of their brows and with effort, seeking thus to
retrieve their past sloth and their blindness.



THE CRANES


IV

THE CRANES


Homesickness (nostalgia) tortures mainly people who for various reasons
are utterly unable to return to their own country, but even those for whom
return is merely a question of will power feel its attacks sometimes. The
cause may be anything: a sunrise or a sunset which calls to mind a dawn or
an evening at home, some note of a foreign song in which the rhythm of
one's own country is heard, some group of trees which call to mind
remotely the native village--anything suffices!

At such moments an immense, irresistible sadness seizes hold on the heart,
and immediately a feeling comes to a man that he is, as it were, a leaf
torn away from a distant but beloved tree. And in such moments the man is
forced to return, or, if he has imagination, he is driven to create.

Once--a good many years back--I was sojourning on the shore of the Pacific
Ocean in a place called Anaheim Landing. My society was made up of some
sailor fishermen, Norwegians for the greater part, and a German, who gave
food to those fishermen and lodged them. Their days were passed on the
water; every evening they amused themselves with poker, a game at cards
which years ago was common in all the dramshops of America, long before
fashionable ladies in Europe began to play it. I was quite alone, and my
time passed in wandering with a gun over the open plain or along the shore
of the Pacific. I visited the sandbanks which a small river made as with a
broad mouth it entered the ocean; I waded in the shallow waters of this
river, noted its unknown fishes, its shells, and looked at the great
sea-lions which sunned themselves on a number of rocks at the river mouth.
Opposite was a small sandy island swarming with mews, pelicans, and
albatrosses; a real and populous bird commonwealth, filled with cries and
uproar.

At times, when the day was calm, and when amid silence the surface of the
water took on a tinge almost violet, changing into gold, I sat in a boat
and rowed toward the little island, on which pelicans, unused to the sight
of man, looked at me less with fear than astonishment, as if wishing to
ask, "What sort of seal is this that we have not seen till to-day?"
Frequently I looked from that bank at sunsets which were simply
marvellous; they changed the whole horizon into one sea, gleaming with
gold, fire, and opal, which, passing into a brilliant purple, faded
gradually until the moon shone on the amethyst background of the heavens,
and the wonderful semi-tropical night had embraced the earth and the sky.
The empty land, the endlessness of the ocean, and the excess of light
disposed me somewhat toward mysticism. I became pantheistic, and had the
feeling that everything surrounding me formed a certain single great soul
which appears as the ocean, the sky, the plain, or diminishes into such
small living existences as birds, fish, shells, or broom on the ocean
shore. At times I thought also that those sand-hills and empty banks might
be inhabited by invisible beings like the ancient Greek fauns, nymphs, or
naiads. A man does not believe in such things when he turns to his own
reason; but involuntarily he admits that they are possible when he lives
only with Nature and in perfect seclusion. Life changes then, as it were,
into a drowsiness in which visions are more powerful than thought. As for
me, I was conscious only of that boundless calm which surrounded me, and I
felt that it was pleasant to be in it. At times I thought of future
"letters about my journey"; at times, too, I, as a young man, thought also
of "her," the unknown whom I should meet and love some time. In that
relaxation of thought, and on that empty, clear ocean shore, amid those
uncompleted ideas, undescribed desires, in that half dream, in
semi-consciousness, I was happier than ever in life before. But on a
certain evening I sat long on the little island and returned to the shore
after nightfall. The flowing tide brought me in--I scarcely had need to
lift an oar then. In other regions the flow of the tide is tempestuous,
but in that land of eternal good weather waves touch the sand shore with
gentleness; the ocean does not strike land with an outburst. Such silence
surrounded me that a quarter of a mile from the shore line I could have
heard the conversation of men. But that shore was unoccupied. I heard only
the squeak of the oars on my boat and the low plash of water moved by
them.

Just then, from above, certain piercing cries reached me. I raised my
head, but on the dark background of the sky I could discern nothing. When
the cries were heard a second time, directly above, I recognized in them
the voices of cranes.

Evidently a whole flock of cranes was flying somewhere above my head
toward the island of Santa Catalina. But I remembered that I had heard
cries like those more than once, when as a boy I journeyed from school for
vacation--and straightway a mighty homesickness seized hold of me. I
returned to the little room which I had hired in the cabin of the German,
but could not sleep. Pictures of my country passed then before my mind:
now a pine forest, now broad fields with pear trees on the boundaries,
now pleasant cottages, now village churches, now white mansions surrounded
by dense orchards. I yearned for such scenes all that night.


[Illustration: A VIEW OF THE HOUSE FROM THE POND ON THE SIENKIEWICZ
ESTATE]


I went out next morning, as usual, to the sand-banks. I felt that the
ocean and the sky, and the sand mounds on the shore, and the plains, and
the cliffs on which seals were basking in the sunlight, were things to me
absolutely foreign, things with which I had nothing in common, as they had
nothing in common with me.

Only yesterday I had wandered about in that neighborhood and had judged
that my pulse was beating in answer to the pulse of that immense
universe; to-day I put to myself this question: What have I to do here;
why do I not go back to my birthplace? The feeling of harmony and
sweetness in life had vanished, leaving nothing behind it. Time, which
before had seemed so quiet and soothing, which was measured by the ebb and
flow of the ocean, now seemed unendurably tedious. I began to think of my
own land, of that which had remained in it, and that which had changed
with time's passage.

America and my journey ceased altogether to interest me, and immediately
there swarmed in my head a throng of visions ever denser and denser,
composed wholly of memories. I could not tear myself free from them,
though they brought no delight to me. On the contrary, there was in those
memories much sadness, and even suffering, which rose from comparing our
sleepy and helpless country life with the bustling activity of America.
But the more our life seemed to me helpless and sleepy, the more it
mastered my soul, the dearer it grew to me, and the more I longed for it.
During succeeding days the visions grew still more definite, and at last
imagination began to develop, to arrange, to bring clearness and order
into one artistic plan. I began to create my own world.

A week later, on a certain night when the Norwegians went out on the
ocean, I sat down in my little room and from under my pen flowed the
following words: "In Barania Glova, in the chancellery of the village
mayor, it was as calm as in time of sowing poppy seed."

And thus, because cranes flew over the shore of the Pacific, I composed
"Charcoal Sketches."



THE JUDGMENT OF PETER AND PAUL ON OLYMPUS


V

THE JUDGMENT OF PETER AND PAUL ON OLYMPUS

A POEM IN PROSE


It was a night of spring, calm, silvery, and fragrant with dewy jasmine.
The full moon was sailing above Olympus, and on the glittering, snowy
summit of the mountain it shone with a clear, pensive, greenish light.
Farther down in the Vale of Tempe was a dark thicket of thorn-bushes,
shaken by the songs of nightingales--by entreaties, by complaints, by
calls, by allurements, by languor, by sighs. These sounds flowed like the
music of flutes, filling the night; they fell like a pouring rain, and
rushed on like rivers. At moments they ceased; then such silence followed
that one might almost hear the snow thawing on the heights under the warm
breath of May. It was an ambrosial night.

On that night came Peter and Paul, and sat on the highest grassmound of
the slope to pass judgment on the gods of antiquity. The heads of the
Apostles were encircled by halos, which illuminated their gray hair, stern
brows, and severe eyes. Below, in the deep shade of beeches, stood the
assembly of gods, abandoned and in dread, awaiting their sentence.

Peter motioned with his hand, and at the sign Zeus stepped forth first
from the assembly and approached the Apostles. The Cloud-Compeller was
still mighty, and as huge as if cut out of marble by Phidias, but weakened
and gloomy. His old eagle dragged along at his feet with broken wing, and
the blue thunderbolt, grown reddish in places from rust, and partly
quenched, seemed to be slipping from the stiffening right hand of the
former father of gods and men. But when he stood before the Apostles the
feeling of ancient supremacy filled his broad breast. He raised his head
haughtily, and fixed on the face of the aged fisherman of Galilee his
proud and glittering eyes, which were as angry and as terrible as
lightnings.

Olympus, accustomed to tremble before its ruler, shook to its foundations.
The beeches quivered with fear, the song of the nightingales ceased, and
the moon sailing above the snows grew as white as the linen web of
Arachne. The eagle screamed through his crooked beak for the last time,
and the lightning, as if animated by its ancient force, flashed and began
to roar terribly at the feet of its master; it reared, hissed, snapped,
and raised its three-cornered, flaming forehead, like a serpent ready to
stab with poisonous fang. But Peter pressed the fiery bolts with his foot
and crushed them to the earth. Turning then to the Cloud-Compeller, he
pronounced this sentence: "Thou art cursed and condemned through all
eternity." At once Zeus was extinguished. Growing pale in the twinkle of
an eye, he whispered, with blackening lips, "[Greek: Anagkê]"
("Necessity"), and vanished through the earth.

Poseidon of the dark curls next stood before the Apostles, with night in
his eyes, and in his hand the blunted trident. To him then spoke Peter:

"It is not thou who wilt rouse the billows. It is not thou who wilt lead
the storm-tossed ships to a quiet haven, but she who is called the 'Star
of the Sea.'"

When Poseidon heard this he screamed, as if pierced with sudden pain, and
turned into vanishing mist.

Next rose Apollo, the Silver-bowed, with a hollow lute in his hand, and
walked toward the holy men. Behind him moved slowly the nine Muses,
looking like nine white pillars. Terror-stricken, they stood before the
judgment-seat, as if petrified, breathless, and without hope; but the
radiant Apollo turned to Paul, and, in a voice which resembled wondrous
music, said:

"Slay me not! Protect me, lord; for shouldst thou slay me, thou wouldst
have to restore me to life again. I am the blossom of the soul of
humanity; I am its gladness; I am light; I am the yearning for God. Thou
knowest best that the song of earth will not reach heaven if thou break
its wings. Hence I implore thee, O saint, not to smite down Song."

A moment of silence came. Peter raised his eyes toward the stars. Paul
placed his hands on his sword-hilt, rested his forehead on them, and for a
time fell into deep thought. At last he rose, made the sign of the cross
calmly above the radiant head of the god, and said:

"Let Song live!"

Apollo sat down with his lute at the feet of the Apostle. The night became
clearer, the jasmine gave out a stronger perfume, the glad fountains
sounded, the Muses gathered together like a flock of white swans, and,
with voices still quivering from fear, began to sing in low tones
marvellous words never heard on the heights of Olympus till that hour:

  To thy protection we flee, holy Mother of God.
  We come with our prayers; deign thou not to reject us,
  But be pleased to preserve us from every evil,
  O thou, our Lady!

Thus they sang on the heather, raising their eyes like pious nuns with
heads covered with white.

Other gods came now. Bacchus and his chorus dashed past, wild,
unrestrained, crowned with ivy and grapevine, and bearing the cithara and
the thyrsus. They rushed on madly, with shouts of despair, and fell into
the bottomless pit.

Then before the Apostles stood a lofty, proud, sarcastic divinity, who,
without waiting for question or sentence, spoke first. On her lips was a
smile of derision.

"I am Pallas Athene. I do not beg life of you. I am an illusion, nothing
more. Odysseus honored and obeyed me only when he had become senile.
Telemachus listened to me only till hair covered his chin. Ye cannot take
immortality from me, and I declare that I have been a shadow, that I am a
shadow now, and shall remain a shadow forever."

At last her turn came to the most beautiful, the most honored goddess. As
she approached, sweet, marvellous, tearful, the heart under her snow-white
breast beat like the heart in a bird, and her lips quivered like those of
a child that fears cruel punishment. She fell at their feet, and,
stretching forth her divine arms, cried in fear and humility:

"I am sinful, I deserve blame, but I am Joy. Have mercy, forgive; I am the
one happiness of mankind." Then sobbing and fear took away her voice.

But Peter looked at the goddess with compassion, and placed his aged palm
on her golden hair, while Paul, bending toward a cluster of white
field-lilies, broke off one blossom, and touching her with it, said:

"Joy, be henceforth like this flower, and live thou for mankind."

Then came dawn--the divine dawn that looked out from beyond a depression
between two peaks. The nightingales stopped singing, and immediately
finches, linnets, and wrens began to draw their sleepy little heads from
under their moistened wings, shaking the dew from their feathers, and
repeating in low voices, "_Svit! svit!_" ("Light! light!").

The earth awoke, smiled, and was delighted, because Song and Joy had not
been taken from it.



_THE ZAGLOBA ROMANCES by Henryk Sienkiewicz. Translated from the Polish by
Jeremiah Curtin._


WITH FIRE AND SWORD

An Historical Novel of Poland and Russia. Illustrated. Crown 8vo. $1.50.

The first of the famous trilogy of historical romances of Poland, Russia,
and Sweden. Their publication has been received as an event in literature.
Charles Dudley Warner, in _Harper's Magazine_, affirms that the Polish
author has in Zagloba _given a new creation to literature_.

_A capital story._ The only modern romance with which it can be compared
for fire, sprightliness, rapidity of action, swift changes, and absorbing
interest is "The Three Musketeers" of Dumas.--_New York Tribune._


THE DELUGE

An Historical Novel of Poland, Sweden, and Russia. A Sequel to "With Fire
and Sword." With map. 2 vols. Crown 8vo. $3.00.

Marvellous in its grand descriptions.--_Chicago Inter-Ocean._

Has the humor of a Cervantes and the grim vigor of Defoe.--_Boston
Gazette._


PAN MICHAEL

An Historical Novel of Poland, Russia, and the Ukraine. A Sequel to "With
Fire and Sword" and "The Deluge." Crown 8vo. $1.50.


The interest of the trilogy, both historical and romantic, is splendidly
sustained.--_The Dial_, Chicago.


QUO VADIS

A Narrative of the Time of Nero. By HENRYK SIENKIEWICZ. Translated from
the Polish by JEREMIAH CURTIN. Illustrated. Crown 8vo. $1.50.

One of the greatest books of our day.--_The Bookman._

The book is like a grand historical pageant.--_Literary World._

Of intense interest to the whole Christian civilization.--_Chicago
Tribune._

Interest never wanes; and the story is carried through its many phases of
conflict and terror to a climax that enthralls.--_Chicago Record._

As a study of the introduction of the gospel of love into the pagan world
typified by Rome, it is marvellously fine.--_Chicago Interior._

The picture here given of life in Rome under the last of the Cæsars is one
of unparalleled power and vividness.--_Boston Home Journal._

One of the most remarkable books of the decade. It burns upon the brain
the struggles and triumphs of the early church.--_Boston Daily
Advertiser._

It will become recognized by virtue of its own merits as the one heroic
monument built by the modern novelist above the ruins of decadent Rome,
and in honor of the blessed martyrs of the early Church.--_Brooklyn
Eagle._

Our debt to Sienkiewicz is not less than our debt to his translator and
friend, Jeremiah Curtin. The diversity of the language, the rapid flow of
thought, the picturesque imagery of the descriptions are all his.--_Boston
Transcript._


THE KNIGHTS OF THE CROSS

An Historical Romance of Poland and Germany. By HENRYK SIENKIEWICZ.
Translated from the Polish by JEREMIAH CURTIN. Illustrated. 2 vols. Crown
8vo. $2.00.

The greatest work Sienkiewicz has given us.--_Buffalo Express._

It seems superior even to "Quo Vadis" in strength and realism.--_The
Churchman._

The construction of the story is beyond praise. It is difficult to
conceive of any one who will not pick the book up with
eagerness.--_Chicago Evening Post._

There are some scenes in the book that for power and excitement remind one
of the great encounter between Ursus and the bull in "Quo
Vadis."--_Minneapolis Tribune._

Vivid, dramatic, and vigorous.... His imaginative power, his command of
language, and the picturesque scenes he sets combine to fascinate the
reader.--_Philadelphia Bulletin._

A book that holds your almost breathless attention as in a vise from the
very beginning, for in it love and strife, the most thrilling of all
worldly subjects, are described masterfully.--_The Boston Journal._

Another remarkable book. His descriptions are tremendously effective; one
can almost hear the sound of the carnage; to the mind's eye the scene of
battle is unfolded by a master artist.--_The Hartford Courant._

Thrillingly dramatic, full of strange local color and very faithful to its
period, besides having that sense of the mysterious and weird that throbs
in the Polish blood and infects alike their music and literature.--_The
St. Paul Globe._



_OTHER NOVELS AND ROMANCES by Henryk Sienkiewicz. Translated from the
Polish by Jeremiah Curtin._


CHILDREN OF THE SOIL

Crown 8vo. $1.50.

It must be reckoned among the finer fictions of our time, and shows its
author to be almost as great a master in the field of the domestic novel
as he had previously been shown to be in that of imaginative historical
romances.--_The Dial_, Chicago.


HANIA, AND OTHER STORIES

With portrait. Crown 8vo. $1.50.

At the highest level of the author's genius.--_The Outlook._


SIELANKA, A FOREST PICTURE

And Other Stories. With frontispiece. Crown 8vo. $1.50.

They exhibit the masterly genius of Sienkiewicz even better than his
longer romances. They abound in fine character-drawings and beautiful
descriptions.--_Chicago Inter-Ocean._


LIFE AND DEATH AND OTHER LEGENDS AND STORIES

Illustrated. 16mo. Decorated cloth, $1.00.


WITHOUT DOGMA

A Novel of Modern Poland. (Translated from the Polish by Iza Young.) Crown
8vo. $1.50.

A human document read in the light of a great imagination.--_Boston
Beacon._


LITTLE, BROWN, & COMPANY, PUBLISHERS

BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS



Transcriber's Notes:

Passages in italics are indicated by _italics_.

The original text includes Greek characters. For this text version these
letters have been replaced with transliterations.





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