alters in a most effective manner. There is enough suggestion of the supernatural and the weird to interest the reader in this aspect of the old superstition, while the whole story is altered, by skillful handling, into a romance with a happy ending. You should give attention, then, to two points in your study of the plot: first, to tracing the old plot, the return of the ghostly lover; and, second, to study of the means by which Irving grafts his new plot upon this old foundation.

QUESTIONS AND TOPICS 1. Some qualities of Irving's style are well shown in this story. His humor, particularly in his description of persons, should be studied, and may be compared with character-description in other sketches you have read. For example, make a list of the words that show what the baron looked like. In the same way, list words and phrases that show what kind of man he was. What was your first thought about the identity of the stranger? Did you think, at any time, that it really was the ghost of the suitor? What sentence seemed to promise that the ghost would come back? In the account of the evening's festivities, note how the

melancholy of the stranger is made clear, progressively. What circumstances increase this feeling not only in the stranger but in the reader?

2. Study the mixture of weirdness and humor throughout the story. Draw up in parallel columns a set of phrases or catch-words that will make this balance plain to you.

3. Study the transitions from one part of the story to another. How many such sections are there? How does Irving pass from one to another? Draw up an outline of the plot so as to make these transitions clear, and tell the story briefly, following this outline.

4. Study the dénouement, or solution of the plot, carefully. Make a note of the steps in this solution. Does the element of surprise come in? At what point in the story did you first realize how it was to come out? Note any elements that helped to this conclusion, such as the stress on the obedient character of the heroine; the fact that she had never seen the man she was to marry; the opportunity the stranger had to woo her before revealing his identity. There are other similar elements scattered through the story. By studying them you will see how carefully a good short story is planned by the author.






mote past. They are just remnants An elephant is old on the day he is of a breed that once was great. born, say the natives of Burma, and Long and long ago, when the world no white man is ever quite sure just was very young indeed, when the what they mean. Perhaps they refer mountains were new, and before the to his pink, old-gentleman's skin and descent of the great glaciers taught his droll, fumbling, old-man ways and the meaning of cold, they were the his squeaking, treble voice. And may- rulers of the earth, but they have be they mean he is born with a wisdom been conquered in the struggle for

such as usually belongs only to age. existence. Their great cousins, the 10 And it is true that if any animal in the mastodon and the mammoth, are

world has had a chance to acquire completely gone, and their own tribe 30 knowledge it is the elephant, for his can now be numbered by thousands. breed are the oldest residents of this But because they have been so long old world.

upon the earth, because they have They are so old that they don't wealth of experience beyond all other seem to belong to the twentieth cen- creatures, they seem like venerable tury at all. Their long trunks, their sages in a world of children. They huge shapes, all seem part of the re- are like the last veterans of an old


war, who can remember scenes and It was not definitely discovered until 50 faces that all others have forgotten. the mahout came out of his hut with

Far in a remote section of British a lighted fagot for a first inspection. India, in a strange, wild province The mahout knew elephants from called Burma, Muztagh was born. head to tail, and he was very well And although he was born in captivity, acquainted with the three grades that the property of a mahout, in his first compose that breed. The least valuhour he heard the far-off call of the able of all are the Mierga—a light,

-a wild elephants in the jungle.

small-headed, thin-skinned, weak

, The Burmans, just like the other trunked, and unintelligent variety that people of India, always watch the first are often found in the best elephant 60 hour of a baby's life very closely. herds. They are often born of the most

a They know that always some incident noble parents, and they are as big a will occur that will point, as a weather- problem to elephant men as razorbacks vane points in the wind, to the baby's to hog-breeders. Then there is a secfuture. Often they have to call a ond variety, the Dwasala, that compose man versed in magic to interpret, but the great bulk of the herd-à good, sometimes the prophecy is quite self- substantial, strong, intelligent grade of

evident. No one knows whether or elephant. But the Kumiria is the best 20 not it works the same with baby ele- of all; and when one is born in a captive

a phants, but certainly this wild, far- herd it is a time for rejoicing. He is 70 carrying call, not to be imitated by the perfect elephant-heavy, symany living voice, did seem a token and metrical, trustworthy, and fearlessan omen in the life of Muztagh. And fitted for the pageantry of kings. it is a curious fact that the little baby The mahout hurried out to the lines, lifted his ears at the sound and rocked for now he knew that the baby was back and forth on his pillar legs. born. The mother's cries had ceased.

Of all the places in the great world, The jungle, dark and savage beyond only a few remain wherein a captive ever the power of man to tame, lay just 30 elephant hears the call of his wild beyond. He could feel its heavy air, brethren at birth. Muztagh's birth- its smells; its silence was an essence. 80

. place lies around the corner of the And as he stood, lifting the fagot high, Bay of Bengal, not far from the water- he heard the wild elephants trumpetshed of the Irrawaddy, almost north of ing from the hills. Java. It is strange and wild and dark He turned his head in amazement. beyond the power of words to tell. A Burman, and particularly one who There are great dark forests, unknown, chases the wild elephants in their slow-moving rivers, and jungles silent jungles, is intensely superstitious, and and dark and impenetrable.

for an instant it seemed to him that Little Muztagh weighed a flat two the wild trumpeting must have some hundred pounds at birth. But this secret meaning, it was so loud and 90 was not the queerest thing about him. triumphant and prolonged. It was Elephant babies, although usually greatly like the far-famed elephant weighing not more than one hundred salute ever one of the mysteries of

— and eighty, often touch two hundred. those most mysterious of animals, The queerest thing was a peculiarity that the great creatures utter at certhat probably was completely over- tain occasions and times. looked by his mother. If she saw it out “Are you saluting this little one?” of her dull eyes, she took no notice of it. he cried. "He is not wild






tusker like you. He is not a wild was born with the memory of jungle pig of the jungle. He is born in kingdoms, and the life in the elephant bonds, such as you will wear too, lines almost killed him with dullness. 50 after the next drive!”

There was never anything to do but They trumpeted again, as if in nurse of the strong elephant milk and scorn of his words. Their great roam about in the keddah or along the strength was given them to rule the lines. He had been bought the second jungle, not to haul logs and pull day of his life by Dugan Sahib, and

chains! The man turned back to the the great white heaven-born saw to it 10 lines and lifted higher his light. that he underwent none of the risks

Yes—the little elephant in the light- that are the happy fate of most baby glow was of the Kumiria. Never had elephants. His mother was not taken there been a more perfect calf. The on the elephant drives into the jungles, 60 light of greed sprang again in his eyes. so he never got a taste of this exciting And as he held the fagot nearer so sport. Mostly she was kept chained that the beams played in the elephant's in the lines, and every day Langur eyes and on his coat, the mahout sat Dass, the low-caste hillman in Dugan's down and was still, lest the gods ob- employ, grubbed grass for her in the

serve his good luck, and, being jealous, valleys. All night long, except the 20 turn it into evil.

regular four hours of sleep, he would The coat was not pinky dark, as is hear her grumble and rumble and usual in baby elephants. It was dis- mutter discontent that her little son tinctly light-colored-only a few de- shared with her. grees darker than white.

Muztagh's second year was little The man understood at once. In better. Of course he had reached the the elephants, as well as in all other age where he could eat such dainties as breeds, an albino is sometimes born. grass and young sugar cane, but these A perfectly white elephant, up to a things could not make up for the fun

few years ago, had never been seen, he was missing in the hills. He would 30 but on rare occasions elephants are stand long hours watching their purple

born with light-colored or clouded tops against the skies, and his little hides. Such creatures are bought at dark eyes would glow. He would see fabulous prices by the Malay and the storms break and flash above 80 Siamese princes, to whom a white them, behold the rains lash down elephant is the greatest treasure that through the jungles, and he was always a king can possess.

filled with strange longings and desires Muztagh was a long way from being that he was too young to understand an albino, yet a tendency in that di- or to follow. He would see the white

rection had bleached his hide. And haze steam up from the labyrinth 40 the man knew that on the morrow of wet vines, and he would tingle and

Dugan Sahib would pay him a life- scratch for the feel of its wetness on time's earnings for the little wabbly his skin. And often, when the myscalf, whose welcome had been the wild terious Burman night came down, it 90 cries of the tuskers in the jungle. seemed to him that he would go mad.

He would hear the wild tuskers trumII

peting in the jungles a very long way off, Little Muztagh, which means White and all the myriad noises of the mysMountain in an ancient tongue, did terious night, and at such times even not enjoy his babyhood at all. He his mother looked at him with wonder.

"Oh, little restless one,” Langur This was flat heresy from their 50 Dass would say, “thou and that old viewpoint. There is an old legend cow thy mother and I have one heart among the elephant-catchers to the between us. We know the burning- effect that at one time men were subwe understand, we three!"

ject to the elephants. It was true that Langur Dass un- Yet mostly the elephants that these derstood more of the ways of the men knew were patient and contented forest people than any other hillman in their bonds. Mostly they loved

in the encampment. But his caste their mahouts, gave their strong 10 was low, and he was drunken and backs willingly to toil, and were al

careless and lazy beyond words, and ways glad and ready to join in the 60 the hunters had mostly only scorn for chase after others of their breed. him. They called him Langur after a Only on certain nights of the year, graybearded breed of monkeys along when the tuskers called from the the slopes of the Himalayas, rather jungles, and the spirit of the wild was suspecting he was cursed with evil abroad, would their love of liberty spirits, for why should any sane man return to them. But to all this, little have such mad ideas as to the rights of Muztagh was distinctly an exception.

elephants? He never wanted to join Even though he had been born in 20 in the drives—which was a strange captivity, his desire for liberty was

thing indeed for a man raised in the with him just as constantly as his 70 hills. Perhaps he was afraid—but trunk or his ears.

. yet they could remember a certain He had no love for the mahout that day in the bamboo thickets, when a rode his mother. He took little ingreat wild buffalo had charged their terest in the little brown boys and camp, and Langur Dass acted as if fear girls that played before his stall. were something he had never heard He would stand and look over their of and knew nothing whatever about. heads into the wild, dark heart of the

One day they asked him about it. jungle that no man can ever quite 30 “Tell us, Langur Dass," they asked, understand. And being only a beast,

mocking the ragged, dejected-looking he did not know anything about the so creature, “if thy name speaks truth, caste and prejudices of the men he saw, thou art brother to many monkey- but he did know that one of them, folk, and who knows the jungle better the low-caste Langur Dass, ragged than thou or they? None but the and dirty and despised, wakened a monkey-folk and thou canst talk with responsive chord in his lonely heart. my lord the elephant. Hai! We They would have long talks tohave seen thee do it, Langur Dass. gether, that is, Langur would talk

How is it that when we go hunting, and Muztagh would mumble. “Little 40 thou art afraid to come?"

calf, little fat one,” the man would say, Langur looked at them out of his "can great rocks stop a tree from 90 dull eyes, and evaded their question growing? Shall iron shackles stop a just as long as he could. "Have you prince from being king? Muztaghforgotten the tales you heard on your jewel among jewels! Thy heart speaks mothers' breasts?” he asked at last. through those sleepless eyes of thine! “Elephants are of the jungle. You Have patience-what thou knowest, are of the cooking-pots and thatch! who shall take away from thee?” How should such folk as ye are under- But most of the mahouts and stand?"

catchers noticed the rapidity with


which the little Muztagh acquired savage tusker, alone in the jungle —— 50 weight and strength. He outweighed, apart from the herd. Solitariness at the age of three, any calf of his doesn't improve their dispositions, season in the encampment by a full and they were generally expelled from two hundred pounds. And of course a herd for ill-temper to begin with. three in an elephant is no older than “Woe to the fool prince who buys three in a human child. He was still this one!" said the graybeard catchers. just a baby, even if he did have the “There is murder in his eyes." wild tuskers' love of liberty.

But Langur Dass would only look “Shalt thou never lie the day long in wise when he heard these remarks. the cool mud, little one? Never see He knew elephants. The gleam in the 60 a storm break on the hills? Nor feel dark eyes of Muztagh was not viciousa warm rain dripping through the ness, but simply inheritance, a love branches? Or are these matters part of the wide wild spaces that left no of thee that none may steal?” Langur room for ordinary friendships. Dass would ask him, contented to But calf-love and mother-love bind wait a very long time for his answer. other animals as well as men, and “I think already that thou knowest possibly he might have perfectly ful

how the tiger steals away at thy shrill filled the plans Dugan had made for 20 note; how thickets feel that crash him but for a mistake the sahib made beneath thy hurrying weight. A little in the little calf's ninth year.

70 I think thou knowest how the madness He sold Muztagh's mother to an comes with the changing seasons. elephant-breeder from a distant provHow knowest thou these things? Not ince. Little Muztagh saw her march as I know them, who have seen-nay, away between two tuskers-down the but as a king knows conquering; it's long elephant trail into the valley and in thy blood! Is a bundle of sugar the shadow. cane tribute enough for thee, Kumiria? "Watch the little one closely to

Shall purple trappings please thee? night,” Dugan Sahib said to his 30 Shall some fat rajah of the plains mahout. So when they had led him

make a beast of burden of thee? An- back and forth along the lines, they 80 swer, lord of mighty memories!" saw that the ends of his ropes were

And Mustagh answered in his own pegged down tightly. They were way, without sound or emphasis, but horsehair ropes, far beyond the giving his love to Langur Dass, a love strength of any normal nine-yearas large as the big elephant heart from old elephant to break. Then they which it had sprung. No other man went to the huts and to their women could even win his friendship. The and left him to shift restlessly from

smell of the jungle was on Langur foot to foot and think. 40 Dass. The mahouts and hunters Probably he would have been satis

smelled more or less of civilization fied with thinking, for Muztagh did 90 and were convinced for their part that not know his strength, and thought the disposition of the little light- he was securely tied. The incident colored elephant was beyond redemp- that upset the mahout's plans was tion.

simply that the wild elephants trum"He is a born rogue,” was their peted again from the hills. verdict, and they meant by that, a Muztagh heard the sound, long particular kind of elephant, sometimes drawn and strange from the silence a young male, more often an old and of the jungle. He grew motionless.


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