The White Wolf of the Hartz Mountains
by Frederick Marryat
Or scroll to the bottom to Older Entries for Pts One – Eight
“I remained some time by his side before he recovered. ‘Where am I?’ said he, ‘what has happened? Oh! —yes, yes! I recollect now. Heaven forgive me!’
“He rose and we walked up to the grave; what again was our astonishment and horror to find that, instead of the dead body of my mother-in-law, as we expected, there was lying over the remains of my poor sister, a large white she-wolf.
“‘The white wolf!’ exclaimed my father, ‘the white wolf which decoyed me into the forest —I see it all now —I have dealt with the spirits of the Hartz Mountains.’
“For some time my father remained in silence and deep thought. He then carefully lifted up the body of my sister, replaced it in the grave, an covered it over as before, having struck the head of the dead animal with the heel of his boot, and raving like a madman. He walked back to the cottage, shut the door, and threw himself on the bed; I did the same, for I was in a stupor of amazement.
“Early in the morning we were both roused by a loud knocking at the door, and in rushed the hunter Wilfred.
“‘My daughter —man —my daughter! —where is my daughter?’ cried he in a rage.
“‘Where the wretch, the fiend, should be, I trust,’ replied my father, starting up, and displaying equal choler; ‘where she should be —in hell! Leave this cottage, or you may fare worse.’
“‘Ha —ha!’ replied the hunter, ‘would you harm a potent spirit of the Hartz Mountains. Poor mortal, who must needs wed a werewolf.’
“‘Out, demon! I defy thee and thy power.’
“‘Yet shall you feel it; remember your oath —your solemn oath —never to raise your hand against her to harm her.’
“‘I made no compact with evil spirits.’
“‘You did, and if you failed in your vow, you were to meet the vengeance of the spirits. Your children were to perish by the vulture, the wolf—’
“‘Out, out, demon!’
“‘And their bones blanch in the wilderness. Ha! —ha!’
“My father, frantic with rage, seized his axe, and raised it over Wilfred’s head to strike.
“‘All this I swear,’ continued the huntsman, mockingly.
“The axe descended; but it passed through the form of the hunter, and my father lost his balance, and tell heavily on the floor.
“‘Mortal!’ said the hunter, striding over my father’s body, ‘we have power over those only who have committed murder. You have been guilty of a double murder: you shall pay the penalty attached to your marriage vow. Two of your children are gone, the third is yet to follow —and follow them he will, for your oath is registered. Go —it were kindness to kill thee —your punishment is, that you live!’
“With these words the spirit disappeared. My father rose from the floor, embraced me tenderly, and knelt down in prayer.
“The next morning he quitted the cottage for ever. He took me with him, and bent his steps to Holland, where we safely arrived. He had some little money with him; but he had not been many days in Amsterdam before he was seized with a brain fever, and died raving mad. I was put into the asylum, and afterwards was sent to sea before the mast. You now know all my history. The question is, whether I am to pay the penalty of my father’s oath? I am myself perfectly convinced that, in some way or another, I shall.”