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The Man-Wolf and Other Tales   By:

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THE MAN WOLF

AND OTHER TALES

By Emile Erckmann and Alexandre Chatrian

1876

CONTENTS.

The Man Wolf:

CHAPTER I.

CHAPTER II.

CHAPTER III.

CHAPTER IV.

CHAPTER V.

CHAPTER VI.

CHAPTER VII.

CHAPTER VIII.

CHAPTER IX.

CHAPTER X.

CHAPTER XI.

CHAPTER XII.

CHAPTER XIII.

Myrtle:

CHAPTER I.

CHAPTER II.

Uncle Christian's Inheritance

The Bear Baiting

The Scapegoat

A Night In The Woods:

CHAPTER I.

CHAPTER II.

PRELIMINARY NOTE BY THE TRANSLATOR.

It has often been remarked, with perfect justice, that the eminent French writers, a translation of one of whose works is here attempted, are singularly faithful in their adherence to historic truth. Remove the thread of obvious fiction which is indispensable to make these admirable productions romances or tales, and what we have left is perfectly reliable history. It is this feature mainly which gives the indescribable charm to their historical tales a charm powerfully realised in the original, though less appreciable in an imperfect translation.

The same claim to perfect truthfulness in all essential points may be placed to the credit of the following "Roman Populaire," notwithstanding the startling supernatural element on which the story is founded. Erckmann Chatrian have not thought it right or necessary to depart in this case from their practice of abstaining from all prefaces or notes in every edition of their works. Yet perhaps the translator may be forgiven, and even condoned with thanks, if he ventures upon an explanation tending to show that the tale of Hugh the Wolf is not entirely founded upon superstition and the supernatural.

"Let his heart be changed from man's, and let a beast's heart be given unto him!" Such was the sentence pronounced and executed upon him of Babylon whose pride called for abasement from the Lord. Dr. Mead ( Medica Sacra , p. 59) observes that there was known among the ancients a mental disorder called lycanthropy, the victims of which fancied themselves wolves, and went about howling and attacking and tearing sheep and young children ( Aetius, Lib. Med . vi., Paul Ægineta , iii. 16). So, again, Virgil tells of the daughters of Prætus, who fancied themselves to be cows, and running wildly about the pastures, "implêrunt falsis mugitibus agros." Ecl. vi. 48. This horrible disease appears happily to have been a rare one, and recoveries from it have taken place, for it is not destructive of the sufferer's life. It has even been thoroughly cured after a lapse of many years.

Dr. Pusey ( Notes on Daniel , p. 425), in a disquisition of great fulness upon the disease of Nebuchadnezzar, refers to a communication which he received from Dr. Browne, a Commissioner of the Board of Lunacy for Scotland, in which he says, "My opinion is that in all mental powers or conditions the idea of personal identity is but rarely enfeebled, and that it is never extinguished. The ego and non ego may be confused; the ego, however, continues to preserve the personality. All the angels, devils, dukes, lords, kings, "gods many" that I have had under my care remained what they were before they became angels, dukes, etc., in a sense, and even nominally. I have seen a man declaring himself the Saviour or St. Paul sign himself James Thomson , and attend worship as regularly as if the notion of divinity had never entered into his head."

Esquirol, a very trustworthy writer, has a description of an extraordinary outbreak of lycanthropy in France (in the Jura, at Dole, and other places in Eastern France) in the 16th century.

"This terrible affliction began to manifest itself in France in the 15th century, and the name of ' loups garous ' has been given to the sufferers. These unhappy beings fly from the society of mankind and live in the woods, the cemeteries, or old ruins, prowling about the open country only by night, howling as they go. They let their beard and nails grow, and then seeing themselves armed with claws and covered with shaggy hair, they become confirmed in the belief that they are wolves... Continue reading book >>




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