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The Cave Of Steenfoll (a Scottish Legend)
by [?]

On one of Scotland’s rocky islands, there dwelt many years ago, two fishermen, who lived in complete harmony. Both were unmarried; neither of them had any relatives living; and their common labor, although differently directed, sufficed to support them both. They were of about the same age, but in person and disposition they resembled each other as little as do an eagle and a sea-calf.

Kaspar Strumpf was a short, stout man, with a broad, fat, full-moon face, and good-natured, laughing eyes, to which sorrow and care appeared to be strangers. He was not only fat, but sleepy and lazy as well; and therefore the house work, cooking and baking, and repairing of nets for the capture of fish for their own table and for the market, devolved on him, as well as a large part of the cultivation of the small field attached to their cabin. Quite the opposite was his companion–tall and lank, with Roman nose and keen eyes; he was known as the most industrious and luckiest fisherman, the most daring cliff-climber after birds and down, the hardest field worker, on the whole island. Besides all this, he was considered the keenest trader on the Kirkwall market; but as his wares were good, and his transactions above reproach, every one dealt willingly with him. Thus William Falcon and Kaspar Strumpf–with whom the former, avaricious as he was, freely divided his hardly-earned gains–not only made a good living, but were in a fair way of acquiring a certain degree of wealth. But a competence would not satisfy Falcon’s covetous soul; he wanted to be rich, extremely rich, and as he had already found out that riches accumulate but slowly in the usual course of industry, he at last settled into the conviction that he should have to attain his riches through some extraordinary stroke of fortune. When this idea had once taken possession of his mind, there was no room left for any thing else, and he began to talk this shadowy windfall over with Kaspar Strumpf, as though it had already come to pass. Kaspar, who received everything that Falcon said as scripture, repeated all this to his neighbors: and so the report was spread abroad that William Falcon had either sold his soul to the evil one, or had at least received an offer for it from the prince of the infernal regions.

At first, these reports caused much amusement to Falcon; but gradually he began to entertain the notion that a spirit might sometime reveal a treasure to him, and he no longer contradicted his acquaintances when they twitted him on the subject. He continued his usual occupations, but with far less zeal than before, and often consumed a great part of the time, that he had formerly passed in fishing or other useful avocations, in idle search for some kind of an adventure by which he should suddenly become rich. To still further complete this unfortunate tendency of his mind, it happened that as he was standing one day on the lonely sea-shore, looking out on the restless sea as if he were expecting his good fortune would come from thence, a large wave rolled a yellow ball to his feet amongst a mass of moss and loosened stone–a ball of gold!

Falcon stood as if bewitched. His hopes, then, had not been unsubstantial dreams; the sea had given him gold, beautiful shining gold, the fragment probably of a heavy bar of gold which the sea had rolled on its bottom into the size and shape of a musket ball. And now it was clear to his mind that somewhere on this coast there must have been a treasure ship wrecked, and that he had been selected as the chosen one to raise this buried treasure from the sea. From this time forth, this search for treasure became the passion of his life. He strove to conceal the golden nugget even from his friend, so that others might not discover his purpose. He neglected everything else, and spent his days and nights on this coast, not casting his net for fishes, but throwing out a scoop, that he had specially prepared for the purpose, for gold.