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

But he found poverty instead of wealth; for he earned nothing now himself, and Kaspar’s sleepy efforts would not support them both. In the search for the larger mass of gold, not only the nugget was used up, but the entire property of the two men as well. But as Strumpf had formerly received the largest part of his living by Falcon’s efforts, taking it all as a matter of course, so now he looked on the profitless undertaking of his friend silently and without a murmur; and it was just this meek forbearance on the part of his friend that spurred Falcon on to continue his restless search for wealth. But what made him still more active in his search was, that as often as he laid down to rest and closed his eyes in sleep, a word was sounded in his ear that he seemed to have heard very plainly, and that always appeared to be the same word, and yet he could never recall it. To be sure, he did not see what connection this circumstance, singular as it was, might have with his present purpose; but upon a spirit like William Falcon’s everything made an impression, and even this mysterious whisper helped to strengthen his belief that great good luck was in store for him, which he expected to find only in a heap of gold.

One day he was surprised by a storm on the shore in the same place where he had found the nugget, and he was forced to take refuge from its fury in a cave near by. This cave, which the inhabitants called the cave of Steenfoll, consists of a long underground passage opening on the sea, with two entrances, and permitting a free passage of the waves that were continually foaming through them with a loud roar. This cave could be entered only from one place–through a fissure from above, that was but seldom approached except by venturesome boys, as in addition to the natural dangers of the spot, the cavern was reported to be haunted. Falcon let himself down through this opening with some difficulty, for about twelve feet, and took a seat on a projecting piece of rock beneath an overhanging ledge, where, with the roaring waves beneath his feet and the raging storm above his head, he fell into his usual train of thought about the wrecked ship and what kind of a ship it might have been; for in spite of all his inquiries, he could not obtain any information of a vessel having been wrecked on this spot, even from the oldest inhabitants. How long he sat thus he did not know himself; but when he finally awoke from his reveries, he found that the storm was over, and he was about to clamber up again, when a voice from out of the depths pronounced the word ” Car-milhan ” very distinctly. He climbed up to the top again, and looked down into the abyss once more in great terror. “Great Heavens!” exclaimed he, “that is the word that disturbs my sleep! What does it mean?” ” Carmilhan! ” was the sighing response that came once more from the cave; and he fled to his hut like a frightened deer.

Falcon was no coward; his fright was more from surprise than fear; and, more than this, the greed for gold was too powerful in him to allow of his being easily driven from his dangerous path. Once, as he was fishing with his scoop for treasure by moonlight, opposite the cave of Steenfoll, his scoop caught on something. He pulled with all his strength, but the mass was immovable. In the meantime the wind had risen, dark clouds overcast the sky, the boat rocked and threatened to turn over; but Falcon did not lose his presence of mind; he pulled and pulled at his scoop until the resistance ceased, and as he felt no weight he concluded that his rope had broken. But just as the clouds were about to obscure the moon’s light, a round, black mass appeared on the surface of the water, and the word that haunted him, ” Carmilhan,” was spoken. He made a quick effort to seize the object; but as soon as he stretched out his arm it disappeared in the darkness, and the coming storm forced him to seek protection under the rocks near by. Here, overcome by exhaustion, he fell asleep, only to be tormented in dreams by an unbridled imagination, and to suffer anew the pangs experienced in his waking hours, caused by his restless search for wealth.