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

When Falcon waked, the first rays of the rising sun fell upon the bosom of the sea, as smooth now as a mirror. He was just about to set out on his accustomed work, when he saw something coming towards him from the distance. He soon recognized it as a boat. Within it sat a human figure; but what aroused his greatest astonishment was that the vessel came on without the aid of sail or oar, and its prow pointed for land without the person sitting in the boat paying any attention to the rudder, if there were one. The boat came nearer, and finally stopped near William’s boat. Its occupant proved to be a little dried-up old man, dressed in yellow linen, and wearing a red peaked night-cap. His eyes were closed, and he sat as motionless as a mummy. After vainly shouting at him and jarring the boat. Falcon was in the act of making a line fast to the boat to tow it off, when the little man opened his eyes, and began to bestir himself in such a manner as to fill even the bold fisherman’s mind with dread.

“Where am I?” asked he in Dutch, after a deep sigh. Falcon who had learned something of that language from the Dutch herring-fishermen, told him the name of the island, and inquired who he was and what errand brought him here.

“I have come to look for the Carmilhan.”

“The Carmilhan ? for Heaven’s sake, what is that?” cried the curious fisherman.

“I won’t give an answer to questions addressed to me in such a manner,” replied the little man.

“Well then,” shouted Falcon, “what is the Carmilhan ?”

“The Carmilhan is nothing now; but once it was a beautiful ship, carrying more gold than ever a vessel carried before.”

“Where was it wrecked, and when?”

“It was a hundred years ago; where, I do not know exactly. I come to search for the spot and recover the lost gold; if you will help me we will divide what we find.”

“With my whole heart; only tell me what I must do.”

“What you will have to do requires courage. You must go just before midnight to the wildest and loneliest region on the island, leading a cow, which you must slaughter there, and get some one to wrap you up in the cow’s fresh hide. Your companion must then lay you down and leave you alone, and before it strikes one o’clock you will know where the treasures of the Carmilhan lies.”

“It was in just such a way that old Engrol was destroyed, body and soul!” cried Falcon, with horror. “You are the evil one himself,” continued he as he rowed quickly away. “Go back to hell! I won’t have anything to do with you.”

The little man gnashed his teeth, and cursed him; but Falcon, who had seized both oars, was soon out of hearing, and on turning round a rocky promontory was out of sight as well.

But the discovery that the evil one was taking advantage of his avarice by seeking to ensnare him with gold, did not open the eyes of the blinded fisherman, but on the contrary he determined to make use of the information the little man had given him, without putting himself in the power of the evil one. So while he continued to fish for gold on the desolate coast, he neglected the prosperity offered by large schools of fish off other parts of the coast as well as all other expedients to which he had once turned his attention, and sank with his companion into deeper poverty from day to day, until the common necessaries of life began to fail them. But although this ruin might be wholly ascribed to Falcon’s obstinacy and cupidity, and the maintenance of both had fallen on Kaspar Strumpf alone, yet the latter never once reproached his companion, but on the other hand continued to display the same subjection to him, and the same confidence in his superior understanding, as at the time when everyone of his undertakings was successful. This circumstance increased Falcon’s sorrows not a little, but drove him into a still keener search for gold, hoping thereby soon to be able to indemnify his companion for so great forbearance. The word Carmilhan still haunted him in his sleep. In short, need, disappointed hopes, and avarice, drove him finally into a species of insanity, so that he really resolved to do that which the little man had advised–although knowing that, as the legend ran, he thereby gave himself up to the powers of darkness.