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For days on end, the waves beat evenly against the ship's planks. He combed his hair, bleached by salt and sun, with his hand. At the first attempt, bad weather had forced his return. At least, that is what the gentlemen of Bristol had written to the king. But everybody knew that the crew had refused to hold his westerly course. Their fathers before them had followed the Icelandic vessels, they said, to fish off the shores of the country he sought to discover. It lay further to the north, they claimed. He spoke to them about the heat, which could change colours and scents, and they called him the mad Venetian. (read more...)
The Heart of Darkness

Lying awake at night, my thoughts revolve around him, trying to remember his face as I saw it when he emerged from the shadows of the trees. I was aware for a while that he stood between the trunks watching me but I kept looking into the water of the spring. It was opaque, reflecting the branches of the hazel bush. Had I leaned forward further, I could have seen my face in it and my mother's face, too. The wisest of men would love me, she had promised, and his love would last forever. She said it in order to annoy my father, but I do not think he noticed, not sensing her jealousy engendered by his blind weakness for me. (read more...)
Tales of Books

Meek and disheartened, the alchemist sat in front of the blank sheet, flooded by memories -- how he had first seen her outline from the window of a brothel, how he had been pulled off his horse and pushed out of the church while she was kneeling before the altar without lifting her eyes from her folded hands. How she had finally summoned him to her, and he stood at less than arm's length from her as she bared her breast which had been eaten away by putrid boils: "Go and give your love to a worthier..." (read more...)