I read this story in a horror anthology I bought in the neighborhood drugstore when I was about twelve years old. I never forgot it. Over the years I tried to find copies of the story to no avail. I had heard it was excerpted form a novel called The Phantom Ship, but I never found that either. There was an image that remembered from this story that had gotten into my YA werewolf novel, Rosewolf. I thought I might find this story online and I did. At Project Gutenberg, of course. The story is not quite as I remembered it, the image that haunted me most is not in this story after all. Funny thing , that. But it is a fine werewolf story, so i thought I would serialize it on the blog —with pictures. It is a bit obscure, but maybe not as hard to find as it used to be. I hope you enjoy it.
The White Wolf of the Hartz Mountains
FREDERICK MARRYAT — 1792-1848
Scarcely had the soldiers performed their task, and thrown down their shovels, when they commenced an altercation. It appeared that this money was to be again the cause of slaughter and bloodshed. Philip and Krantz determined to sail immediately in one of the peroquas, and leave them to settle their disputes as they pleased. He asked permission of the soldiers to take from the provisions and water, of which there was ample supply, a larger proportion than was their share; stating, that he and Krantz had a long voyage and would require it, and pointing out to them that there were plenty of cocoa-nuts for their support. The soldiers, who thought of nothing but their newly-acquired wealth, allowed him to do as he pleased; and, having hastily collected as many cocoa-nuts as they could, to add to their stock of provisions, before noon, Philip and Krantz had embarked and made sail in the peroqua, leaving the soldiers with their knives again drawn, and so busy in their angry altercation as to be heedless of their departure.
“There will be the same scene over again, I expect,” observed Krantz, as the vessel parted swiftly from the shore.
“I have little doubt of it; observe, even now they are at blows and stabs.”
“If I were to name that spot, it should be the ‘Accursed Isle .'”
“Would not any other be the same, with so much to inflame the passions of men?”
“Assuredly: what a curse is gold!”
“And what a blessing!” replied Krantz. “I am sorry Pedro is left with them.”
“It is their destiny,” replied Philip; “so let’s think no more of them. Now what do you propose? With this vessel, small as she is, we may sail over these seas in safety, and we have, I imagine, provisions sufficient for more than a month.”
“My idea is, to run into the track of the vessels going to the westward, and obtain a passage to Goa.”
“And if we do not meet with any, we can, at all events, proceed up the Straits, as far as Pulo Penang without risk. There we may safely remain until a vessel passes.”
“I agree with you; it is our best, nay our only, place; unless, indeed, we were to proceed to Cochin, where junks are always leaving for Goa.”
“But that would be out of our way, and the junks cannot well pass us in the Straits, without their being seen by us.”
They had no difficulty in steering their course; the islands by day, and the clear stars by night, were their compass. It is true that they did not follow the more direct track, but they followed the more secure, working up the smooth waters, and gaining to the northward more than to the west. Many times they were chased by the Malay proas which infested the islands, but the swiftness of their little peroqua was their security; indeed, the chase was, generally speaking, abandoned as soon as the smallness of the vessel was made out by the pirates, who expected that little or no booty was to be gained.
That Amine and Philip’s mission was the constant theme of their discourse, may easily be imagined. One morning, as they were sailing between the isles, with less wind than usual, Philip observed:
“Krantz, you said that there were events in your own life, or connected with it, which would corroborate the mysterious tale I confided to you. Will you now tell me to what you referred?”
“Certainly,” replied Krantz; “I’ve often thought of doing so, but one circumstance or another has hitherto prevented me; this is, however, a fitting opportunity. Prepare, therefore, to listen to a strange story, quite as strange, perhaps, as your own:—
“I take it for granted, that you have heard people speak of the Hartz Mountains,” observed Krantz.
To be continued….
Painting of Chinese Junks by Tony Wong