Mamsell Meta, the housekeeper in charge of the Senator's heathland farm where his family lives only in the summer, is preparing to spend a lonely Christmas because she will not go to the town which is under Danish occupation. Her friend, the schoolmaster, looks in, and she recalls for him her childhood and her love affair with Ehrenfried which came to nothing. Her life's savings were sacrificed to save her brother's business and the couple were too poor to marry. Ehrenfried had since died and left her his money; now her brother can also repay her. Her nephew, a trained agriculturist, comes to fetch her to the Senator's house where her brother is waiting for her to sign a contract for the purchase of the farm.
Am Kamin (trans. By the Fireside, 2009: In trans. Carsten the Trustee)
Sitting round the fire and enjoying hot, spiced wine, a company gathers for the telling of ghost stories, mostly supplied by 'Der alte Herr'. The stories avoid the spectacular and gruesome and therefore have an air of probability. The second session takes place on a warm day round the tea-urn.
Ehrhard is too poor to marry Angelika who has loved him since her childhood. After vain attempts to renounce her, Ehrhard takes up work in another town, leaving the field clear for a young doctor who has been courting her with Angelika's mother's approval; though she herself still has eyes only for Ehrhard. Within a year Ehrhard unexpectedly gets a post which would make marriage possible. He hastens to see Angelika only to hear from the servant that she had become engaged to the doctor, who, however, had died shortly before they were to be married. Ehrhard, however, feels unable to propose to the girl who had once broken faith with him.
One of Storm's five Chroniknovellen. The narrator is intrigued by the paintings, dated 1666, in the church of a school friend's father depicting a stern black bearded clergyman and a dead boy, said to have been drowned in the pool in the parsonage garden. The meaning of the cryptic letters CPAS is discussed. The letters AS are understood to mean 'aquis submersus', but 'culpa patris' only emerges when the narrator, now a man, chances on the manuscript memoirs of the painter, Johannes. On his return in 1661 to Holstein from Amsterdam, Johannes finds that his patron, Herr Gerhardus, has just died and hastens to paint him lying in state. The heir, Junker Wulf, commissions a portrait of his sister, Katharina, Johannes' childhood playmate. During the sittings the painter learns of her objections to her intended marriage to the profligate von der Risch which Wulf is forcing on her. Under cover of a visit to Hamburg to have the painting framed, he promises to carry a letter to Katharina's aunt to enlist her help in preventing it. On his return Johannes visits the village inn where he finds Wulf and von der Risch; both the worse for drink. By ill luck he has been seen at Preetz while visiting Katharina's aunt, and the two men struggle with him to get hold of the letter he is carrying. Wulf sets his fierce hounds on Johannes who only escapes them by climbing up the ivy in the castle tower where Katharina pulls him to safety into her room. The pair have already confessed their love for each other, and Katharina now gives herself to Johannes. The next day Wulf shoots him and, after weeks of being near to death, Johannes returns to Holland to earn and provide a home for Katharina. On his return she has disappeared. Some years later, Johannes is with his brother in a North Sea town when he is asked to paint the vicar of a neighbouring parish. He is the husband of Katharina, whom he married to give an honourable name to her child. When the village is deserted for a witch burning, Johannes seeks her out. While the couple make love, their child is drowned -- explaining the inscription CPAS (Drowned through his father's carelessness) and an imaginary study in which Johannes depicts the child in the arms of his grandfather, Herr Gerhardus. Storm's description of the church combines features of the Drelsdorf and Hattstedt churches; villages in the vicinity of Husum.
Auf dem Staatshof (trans. The Last Farmstead, 2009: In trans. Carsten the Trustee)
A symbolic tale of regional economic and social change. Marx's father is the lawyer for the van der Roden family and from childhood has played with Anne Lene who lives with her grandmother at the Staatshof, the last property remaining from their former wealth. On old Frau van der Roden's death, Anne Lene is brought up by Marx's parents. When Marx is still a medical student, Anne Lene becomes engaged to a snobbish Junker Court official who jilts her when the Staatshof, through changing economic circumstances, has to be sold and she is left penniless. While the new owner, an entrepreneur of the emerging middle class, and his friends makse merry at an impromptu party, Anne Lene and Marx wander through the garden. She meets her death by going through the rotten floor of a pavilion, a symbol of more prosperous former times, built out on piles over a swift stream. The setting is located at the Eiderstedter Staatshof estate just north of Friedrichstadt.
Auf der Universität (At
The dancing school for upper class children lacks one girl, so the Mayor's wife provides Lenore, the lower class daughter of her former cook and the small tailor Beauregard. Lenore's dancing partner is Philipp, the narrator of the tale. He admires her charm and graceful dancing, but the other girls treat her with disdainful snobbery. When the whole town is skating on the Mühlen pond, Philipp contrives to replace the boy who is giving Lenore a sledge ride. He arouses the jealousy of her friend, Christoph, a young cabinet-maker, who fights with Philipp. The boys, however, used to be schoolmates before Christoph was apprenticed to his father and they make up their quarrel. After a meeting at the fair, Lenore, conscious of the social barrier between herself and Philipp, avoids him. Years later they meet at a university town. Christoph is working there and now has real cause for jealousy, for Lenore, though she has an understanding with him, cannot resist the advances of the 'Raugraf', a dissolute student. She accepts rides on his horse and dances with him. Christoph goes away to help a sick uncle, and on a report that he is marrying his cousin, Lenore becomes hopelessly involved with the 'Raugraf'. When she learns that the report was false, it is too late, and Lenore drowns herself . The old Husum castle plays a part in the Novelle.
Beim Vetter Christian (At
Christian is Deputy Head of the Grammar School. His old nurse, Karoline, keeps house for him, but is getting old, so he engages as housekeeper Julie Hennefeder, the daughter of his uncle's former clerk. Karoline senses Christian's admiration for this pretty and competent girl and gets her mother to disclaim any ambition for so exalted a match for her daughter. This manoeuvre has the opposite of the intended effect, for it suggests to Christian that to marry Julie is exactly what he should do. This humorous and light-hearted tale ends with a grand wedding and Karoline is later completely subjugated by the charms of Julie's and Christian's child.
When the old sister of the cooper Daniel Basch goes into the poorhouse, he has the means to marry Line, the Harbour Master's daughter. She dies in childbirth, however, when their son Fritz is just six years old. Liked by all, the boy becomes a competent workman, and goes to America leaving his pet bullfinch with his father. A false report of his death and the theft of the bullfinch cause Daniel to attempt to drown himself but is eventually saved. Nearly dying of pneumonia, however, he is saved by the return of Fritz and the bullfinch. Fritz takes over the business and marries Magdalene, the daughter of his old teacher.
Carsten Curator (trans.Carsten the Trustee , 2009)
The Novelle owes its title to the numerous wardships entrusted to its main character. The one impulsive action of his life has been his marriage to the frivolous but attractive Juliane whose character is inherited by her son, Heinrich. She dies at his birth, and the boy is brought up by Carsten and his sister, Brigitte, together with Anna, an orphaned distant cousin who is as steady as Heinrich unstable. As a young man Heinrich is a constant drain on his father; losing one job after another either by imprudence or dishonesty. Anna, although she has once refused him, marries him to put her small fortune at his disposal to buy a business in a last desperate attempt to save him. At first Heinrich is prudent and honest, but drink and fickleness ruin him. In a terrible storm he comes to ask Carsten to save him from bankruptcy. When this is refused, Heinrich, the worse for drink, launches out in a small boat into the rising floods, is carried away by the swift water and drowned.
At the time of the Franco-Prussian War, a tale with autobiographical and local-historical elements critical of Prussian society and contemporary trends with allusions to a topsy-turvy world, to human beings' inability to see reality as it is and their tendency to distort it to suit their needs.
Der Herr Etatsrat (The
Sternow is a clever dyke administrator but a completely amoral man who spends his evenings drinking and in riotous student songs, attended by his factotum, Käfer. The Etatsrat's two children are utterly neglected. The son, Archimedes, is a good mathematician but kept at home to help his father, and, when Sternow at last relents and sends him to university it is too late: he works, but also drinks, hard, undermines his health and dies of a fever. Phia, the daughter, leads an utterly solitary life. Her one attempt to establish contact with her schoolmates is a dismal failure, when Sternow ruins her tea-party by his drunken civilities to the girls. The scheming Käfer takes advantage of the lonely girl who dies in giving birth to a dead child.
Der Kleine Häwelmann (trans. Little Hans. In: Tales of Enchantment. Selected Fairy Tales by Theodor Storm, 2013. An Amazon eBook publication).
Die Regentrude (trans. The Rain Maiden. In: Tales of Enchantment. Selected Fairy Tales by Theodor Storm, 2013. An Amazon eBook publication).
The work of the Fire Goblin can be seen everywhere. Beneath a scorching sun the fields are parched, the crops withering and the animals dying. Somewhere under the earth the young goddess, the Rain Maiden, has fallen asleep, forgotten by the villagers who once paid annual homage to her in return for rain. But only she can defeat the Fire Goblin and release the clouds from their fortress prison to make it rain.
The rich meadow farmer, unaffected by such droughts, disbelieves such legends and hastily promises his elderly neighbour that his daughter, Maren, can marry her son, Andrew, if the Rain Maiden can make it rain within forty-eight hours. Responding to her father's promise, Maren sets off with Andrew to find the Rain Maiden on a journey that takes them down a hollowed tree into a strange underworld among arid landscapes of dried-up lakes, dry river beds, dying forests and withered gardens.
The Rain Maiden is eventually found asleep on the side of a rocky cliff, and after waking her with a magic spell, inadvertently revealed to Andrew by the Fire Goblin himself, Maren and she set out to release the rain clouds from their prison in a huge rock fortress surrounded by a deep cutting. The Fire Goblin tries to prevent Maren from reaching the fortress -- his spindly hand rising through the hot steaming mud to grab her -- but he fails as the Rain Maiden gives Maren the additional strength to overcome him.
The rain clouds are eventually released from a tall cave deep within the fortress and float up and out into the sky where they immediately shed their rain upon the land. A scream is heard from the Fire Goblin as he is quenched by the water, and as Maren and the Rain Maiden return to a waiting Andrew, the parched landscapes about them return to life; the lakes and rivers fill with water; the flowers bloom and life again stirs in the countryside. Maren and Andrew leave the Rain Maiden in the forest and return to their village in a boat where there are harvest celebrations and preparations made for the couple to marry.
Der Schimmelreiter (Trans.
The Dykemaster, 1996)
Die Söhne des Senators (The
The tale of a quarrel between the Jovers brothers over the possession, after their father's death, of a garden containing a charming rococo pavilion. The younger brother, Friedrich, is a stubborn bachelor and refuses to be on speaking terms with the elder, Christian Albrecht and his young wife. He expresses his resentment by erecting an abnormally high wall between their adjoining houses. In the end, Friedrich's real love for his brother prevails; he has the wall taken down and they share the garden amicably. Many scenes within the Novelle are located near the ancestral home of the Woldsens in Husum.
Draußen im Heidedorf (Trans.
The Village on the Moor, 2004)
Hinrich Fehse has been infatuated since boyhood with Margret Glansky. His farm needs capital and the village schoolmaster arranges a marriage for Hinrich with Ann-Marieken, a well-to-do farmer's daughter who is no beauty and some years older than Hinrich. He consents reluctantly to the marriage for the sake of his mother and the younger children. Margret is sent off to work in a town some distance away and all goes well until after the birth of a boy of whom Hinrich is proud and fond. On Margret's return her baleful attraction ruins Hinrich. He sells produce to buy finery for her and exchanges his good horses for poor ones to obtain money to elope with her. On her refusal he drowns himself in a bog.
Drüben am Markt (Across the
A contented elderly man, a doctor, enjoys a day's fishing and prefers the company of old seafarers in a cosy tavern to that of polite society. The tale, however, returns to his younger days when he sighed in vain for the mayor's daughter; a love affair related with some humour. The doctor accepted philosophically the girl's marriage to his friend the Justizrat, and remains on good terms with the couple. The old Husum castle plays a part in the Novelle.
One of Storm's five Chroniknovellen. The heiress of the manor Eekenhof marries Herr Hennicke, a younger man bitter because he has no estate. When she dies in childbirth, Hennicke never gets over his resentment against their son Detlev who grows up strong and handsome. For money's sake, Hennicke then marries Frau Benedikte, the unprepossessing owner of the neighbouring estate. His ultimate dislike for their two sons, Henno and Benno, is less than that for Detlev, but the one person for whom he has any real affection is his illegitimate daughter, Heilwig. She and Detlev, unaware of their blood relationship, fall in love. Detlev is unable to bear his father's cruelty to his tenants and, when Hennicke strikes him for defending them, he runs away from home. Years later he reappears as a successful merchant and learns that Heilwig is his sister. Hennicke comes to Eekenhof in the night to murder Detlev, but is deterred by the reproachful eyes of the portrait of his first wife, below which the brother and sister are sitting. Detlev again disappears and takes Heilwig with him, but Hennicke is now a broken man unable to enjoy the possession of Eekenhof .
Ein Bekenntnis (A Confession)
First published in: Westermann's Illustrierte Deutsche Monatshefte 63 (1887).
Dr Jebe 'confesses' the mercy killing of his wife, Elsi, to a former fellow-student. His love for her was intensified by a supernatural experience of his school days, for on their first meeting he saw her as a realisation of a phantom who had appeared to him at that time. After four years of marriage Elsi develops cancer; thought to be inoperable. Dr Jebe gives in to her entreaties to shorten her terrible sufferings. Immediately after Elsi's death, however, Dr Jebe reads in a medical journal of the discovery of a new operation which would probably have saved her. He regards himself as her murderer. In expiation he ends his life as a medical missionary.
Ein Doppelgänger (John Glückstadt) (A Double)
First published in: Deutsche Dichtung, vol. 1 (1887).
The narrator meets a head forester in an inn near Jena and is invited to stay with him and meet his wife, Christine, who is also a North German. It turns out that they come from the same town. As a child she was adopted by a clerical couple whose son is now her husband. The narrator is told by the forester that Christine's father was a man known as 'John Glückstadt' from the name of the prison where, as a very young man, he had served a five-year sentence for a robbery perpetrated out of mere bravado. He then realises why Christine thinks her father must have had a 'double', for she has a nebulous recollection of a violent man who ill-treated her mother, though her conscious memory of John Hansen is of a particularly loving father. John married Hanna, but in spite of his love for her and their child, the scorn of all for the jailbird, and his inability to earn more than a pittance because of this, so disturbed him that he took to beating his wife. One day he hit her and in falling she knocked her head against the stove and died. John never again gave way to anger, but centred his life on Christine and made her happy, although they were often near to starvation. He met his death on a pitch-black night by falling into a deep well, around which the tale revolves.
Eine Halligfahrt (Trans. Journey
to a Hallig, 1999)
A tale of an outing by a young boy with a girl and her mother to visit an old bachelor on the island where he leads a comfortable but lonely life escaping from the political changes on the mainland. The descriptions of island life, of Hallig Süderoog and the North Sea tidal flats (see map) with its legends, convey a detailed true-to-life picture of life and dangers in the region. The story recalls the legend of Rungholt, a small parish on the tidal flats that was submerged and swept away for its wickedness in the great flood of 1362 and whose church bells can still be heard beneath the waters.
Eine Malerarbeit (A Painting)
The hunchback painter Brunken is saved from despair, when the girl he admires cannot love him, by meeting Paul, a farmer's son, who has just attempted to drown himself because his father will not consent to his becoming an artist. Brunken sets up housekeeping with his sister, his niece and Paul, who proves to be so talented as a painter that he soon surpasses his teacher.
Ein Fest auf Haderslevhuus (A
Celebration at Haderslevhuus)
One of Storm's five Chroniknovellen. A dramatic tale set in the fourteenth century. Rolf Lembeck is married to Wulfhild, a young widow of whose voluptuous charms and demanding nature he soon tires. One evening, while leaning over the battlements of the garden of Haderslevhuus, he sees the fifteen-year-old Dagmar, the only child of the castellan to survive the Black Death in the region. It is love at first sight, and when Rolf later learns that Wulfhild hastened the death of her sick first husband by the use of poison, he hopes for a dissolution of his marriage. When Dagmar, however, learns the identity of Rolf and that he is a married man, she has a heart attack and dies some months later. Her father takes vengeance by inviting Rolf to his daughter's 'wedding', but on arrival at the castle he finds her on a catafalque, surrounded by mourners. He seizes the corpse and, after a chase, leaps with it to his death from the battlements.
Ein grünes Blatt (A Green
A patriotic allegory rather than a Novelle, The hero, Gabriel, stands for all the young men fighting for Schleswig-Holstein's independence, and Regine, the girl he meets when walking through the heath, typifies hearth, home and country.
Ein stiller Musikant (A
Christian Valentin has neither the nerve nor the ambition to match his musical ability and remains an obscure music teacher, but finds fulfilment in teaching Marie, the daughter of the love of his youth. Years later the narrator of the tale goes to a concert at which Marie, now a famous singer, sings the verses written and set to music by Valentin. The Novelle uses the verses written and set to music by Storm's son, Karl (1853--1899), and in many ways is a true prophecy of Karl's future musical career.
'Es waren zwei Königskinder' ('There were
two King's children')
Title of one of the folk-songs often sung by the music students in the story. It relates the love affair of the student, Marx, which ends in his death.
Hans und Heinz Kirch (Trans.
Hans and Heinz Kirch, 1999).
Hans Kirch, a self-made man, is the owner of a ship and a coal and corn business in Heiligenhafen, a small coastal town on the Baltic coast. His ambition for his son Heinz exceeds his love for the boy and makes him act too sternly, rousing a stubbornness common to them both. For the father a pew in the church's Shipmasters' Gallery (Schifferstuhl) and its attendant status is the height of ambition, but such is not for the son. Heinz leaves on a voyage, after which his father learns of his intimate friendship with Wieb, the child of a disreputable mother. He believes it to undermine his personal standing in the community. When at last a letter comes from Heinz, it is un-stamped, and Hans refuses to pay the postage. Heinz returns after some twenty years, still only a deck hand. He is so changed that the rumour is spread that the man is not Heinz at all but a boy from the orphanage who has also gone to sea. Even his father and sister are in doubt as to his true identity. Wieb, now married to a drunken innkeeper, is the only one who recognises him immediately, even before seeing the ring she once gave him as a keepsake. Rejected again by his father, Heinz returns to sea never to return. His father has a vision of his son drowning in a storm. Wieb, after the death of her husband, comforts the last years of a saddened Hans Kirch.
Im Brauer-hause (In the
A tale of how superstition brings about the ruin of a small brewer. By ill luck a deposit of yeast in the spigot of a cask takes the form of a thumb, and the rumour is spread that the pious but superstitious workman Lorenz has taken the thumb of a murderer and put it there, according to a popular belief, to increase the takings. However much scientific tests confirm otherwise, the firm is ruined.
Immensee (Trans. Immensee,
The childhood companionship of Reinhardt and Elizabeth comes to an end when Reinhardt goes away to university. Their mutual love grows during Reinhardt's absence, and Elizabeth at first rejects the advances of a new suitor, Reinhardt's friend Erich. In the end she yields to her mother's persuasion and marries Erich, who offers them both financial security at his estate 'Immensee'. This background to the marriage is underlined by the song sung by Elizabeth, 'Meine Mutter hat's gewollt' (My mother had wanted it so), when Reinhardt, who has himself remained unmarried, visits Immensee some years later. The symbol of unattainable love is a water lily on the lake, forever out of Reinhardt's reach. The story ends in sadness; none of the principal characters achieves happiness.
Im Nachbarhause links (The Neighbour's House
on the Left; 1875)
A study of the eccentric and miserly Frau Jansen, with flashbacks to her childhood and young womanhood, showing that the repulsive old lady was always a miser.
Im Saal (In the Drawing
A family is assembled in the drawing-room for a christening, and the baby's great-grandmother tells how the room was still a garden when she was an eight-year-old girl. The room was built for her wedding. Her reminiscences of happenings there, and in the garden, sketch the history of her own life and that of the family.
The story treats the theme of the old times and the new and considers which elements of the past deserve to be preserved. The story stresses that the room - a familiar Vormärz symbol - will not be radically redesigned: it will be restored to its original state. The grandson identifies with the joie de vivre, warmth, humour, and elegance of his grandmother and her generation, rejecting both the authoritarian behaviour of her father and the earnestness of her children - the generation of Storm's parents. On the other hand, there will be no return to the hierarchical society of the grandmother's youth.
Im Schloß (In the castle)
A complex tale set in Husum castle of a love affair between a tutor and an aristocratic young lady; the surrounding prejudice and social injustice. A work severely critical of the attitudes and values of the aristocracy of the day. In few other tales of Storm's are there so many fully worked out studies of real people. The work was severely censored by the editor of the Gartenlaube on its first appearance.
Im Sonnenschein (In the Sunlight)
Set initially in the eighteenth century, this tale depicts a scene in the garden between Fränzchen and her admirer, Konstantin, a young officer. Sixty years later Fränzchen's sister-in-law is telling her grandson the story of his great-aunt and her early death after her father forbade her marriage to Konstantin. While looking at her portrait a workman, who is repairing the family vault, brings at that moment the very medallion Fränzchen was wearing for the painting; it contains a lock of Konstantin's black hair. The medallion is returned to Fränzchen's coffin.
In St. Jürgen (trans. The Swallows of St. George's, 2009: In trans. Carsten the Trustee)
The narrator visits Agnes Hansen, once his grandmother's companion, in the almshouse in Husum where she is ending her days; the Gasthaus zum Ritter St Jürgen. She tells him the story of her youth, when her father's bankruptcy swallowed up the small patrimony of his ward, Harre Jensen, thus preventing his marriage to Agnes. The tale is enlarged when some years later the narrator shares a carriage with an old man who turns out to be Harre Jensen. The latter worked for a piano manufacturer in south Germany who, before his early death, had extracted a promise from Harre to stay on and save his business which was in a bad way. For years he had struggled to keep it going, and when at last it prospered, the children of his former employer begged him to marry their mother who persuades him to go north to see Agnes. On arriving at the almshouse, however, he is too late; Agnes had died peacefully some hours before. The old church of St Mary's (St Marienkirche), Husum, and the Gasthaus appears prominently in the Novelle.
John Riew', a retired captain in the Merchant Service, tells the tragic story of his friend, Rick Geyers who, after a promising start, died an alcoholic with the captain regarding himself partly responsible for the additional downfall of his friend's daughter, Anna. When she was a child he would habitually force her to take a sip of his tot of rum. As a young woman she therefore developed a taste for wine. An unscrupulous nobleman plied her with this until she gave way to him and found herself pregnant. After the birth of her son she drowned herself. The captain has brought the boy up himself and had the satisfaction of seeing him turn out well, free of the vices of his mother and grandfather.
A sketch of Storm's boyhood friend Lena Wies (1797--1869), the step-daughter of a local baker, Wies, of Husum. Her former name was Magdalena Jürgens. Storm tells of her great influence on him in his boyhood and the pleasure he took in her story-telling. Many tales within his Novellen in one way or another derive from her.
Marthe und ihre Uhr (Marthe
and her Clock)
A tale of the austere life of a dutiful daughter who uncomplainingly sacrifices herself to care for her parents. After their deaths she creates for herself a surrogate world inhabited by fictional characters, and satisfies her need to be useful by looking after lodgers, one of whom, a student, is the narrator of the story. Incapable of friendship and lacking contacts outside the house, she projects her needs for human company and conversation on to articles of furniture, especially an old Dutch clock with its insistent tick which comes to represent a father-figure. The text suggests that her father prevented her from articulating her own deepest needs. Instead of joining family Christmas celebrations, Marthe stays in the lonely house and relives two past Christmases. It is not until the narrator returns from his very different Christmas that she is rescued from her frozen immobility. He moves on to new people and places while she remains entombed in the house, with her clock and her memories.
Pole Poppenspäler (Trans.
Paul the Puppeteer, 2004)
Pole Poppenspäler is the nickname given to the cabinet-maker Paul Paulsen, because of his childhood enthusiasm for Herr Tendler's travelling puppet theatre and his friendship with the latter's daughter, Lisei. In later life Paul comes across Lisei in great distress while he is working as a journeyman in a town in central Germany; her father has been imprisoned on a false accusation of theft. Paul's local influence succeeds in freeing Herr Tendler and shortly afterwards he marries Lisei, taking both her and her father to his north German home, Husum. Herr Tendler is able to help Paul in his workshop for he is a wood-carver of great skill, as demonstrated by his former creation of the puppet 'Kasperle' which plays a leading part throughout the tale. His desire, however, to continue to produce puppet plays is strong, but his first attempt in the town hall is ruined by rowdy local youths. He retires deeply hurt and dies a saddened man shortly thereafter.
Posthuma is a light tale of the love affair between a student and a girl of humble origin. It is only after her death that the student is ashamed of the way he treated her, when his demands had been merely physical. Now, in retrospect, he feels real love for her.
So called because the hero, Franz, and the heroine, Maria, re-enact the tale of Cupid and Psyche, when he rescues her from a foolhardy attempt to swim on a stormy day and carries her, naked and unconscious, to land. The young man is a sculptor and, inspired by incipient love for the beautiful girl, creates a successful work: 'The Rescue of Psyche'. Maria meets Franz at the moment when she is horrified to recognise herself as the model for the work and thereby exposed to public gaze in an exhibition, but love at first sight and an engagement overcome her fears.
Renate (Trans. Renate, 2004)
One of Storm's five Chroniknovellen. Josias goes into the church at Husum to listen to the organ and, wearied by a long walk, falls asleep. On waking he sees a great black dog and takes refuge on a statue of St George. When he can hold on no longer, he is rescued by a pretty, dark-haired little girl whom he takes at first to be an angel. Years later, when his father is vicar of Schwabstedt, a village south of Husum, he meets her again and discovers that she is Renate, a peasant's daughter. Josias and Renate fall in love but their marriage is frustrated by the superstitious villagers, encouraged by the historical witch-hunter Herr Petrus Goldschmidt. Even Josias's comparatively moderate father, Christian, and Josias himself, are affected by the popular belief that father and daughter are in league with the Evil One. Christian on his deathbed extracts an oath from Josias not to marry Renate. After Josias succeeds his father as vicar, he rescues Renate when villagers try to see whether 'the witch' will sink or swim. Josias is a broken man and moves to another living. Only when in old age does he see Renate in a true light and recognise her as the 'angel' of his boyhood and not as one possessed by the devil. His last months are cheered by visits from her as she rides to him across the moor on her horse. The old church of St Mary's (St Marienkirche), Husum, appears prominently in the Novelle.
First published in: Deutsche Rundschau 35 (1883).
Rudolf von Schlitz's 'silence' to his young wife, Anna, about the breakdown which has sent him into a mental institution brings him to the verge of yet another attack when he is also harassed by the heavy demands put on him as forester in charge of a large estate. A similar case among his workmen makes him think that he is incurably ill, and he considers taking his life. The act of unburdening himself in a parting letter to Anna gives him sudden relief from his morbid condition and, when Anna comes rushing to the woods in search of him, he recovers; both marriage and job are saved.
Späte Rosen (Late Roses)
Rudolf tells an old friend, not seen for years, the story of his marriage. In the beginning he only wished affection from his wife and rest from the tiring demands of his business. But this attitude turned to love when she was already on the verge of middle age, and was awakened by his reading of Gottfried von Straßburg's Tristan und Isold and the birthday gift of a portrait of his wife as a young girl.
Unter dem Tannenbaum (Beneath
the Christmas Tree)
The story of three Christmases: one from the narrator's childhood; the second when he was courting his wife; and the third which the couple and their son celebrated in exile in a town where no fir trees grew. None of them is happy to be without a Christmas tree, so are delighted when a man comes in from the snow bringing a fir tree, and its decorations, from a client of the narrator who successfully negotiated the possession of the wood where the tree has grown.
Veronika, a Catholic, is married to the Protestant Justizrat Franz, who is several years older than she. He is a busy man and often leaves his wife in the company of his attractive young cousin, Rudolf. Veronika, however, realises that his attentions could be dangerous and avoids his company as much as possible. She goes to confession to get absolution for her straying affections. At the very door of the confessional she turns back and goes to tell her husband, instead of the priest, of the temptations, now overcome, which she experienced and which threatened their marriage.
The Latin name for 'pansy', popularly called in German 'Stiefmütterchen', or 'little stepmother'. The tale of the marriage of Ines to the widower Rudolf, and the difficulties she encounters in entering into his life and that of his daughter, Nesi, both of which seem rooted in the life they both shared with his first wife. It is only after the birth of Ines' own child that she becomes fully integrated with Rudolf and Nesi.
Von heut und ehedem (Past
The reminiscences of Storm himself and his family history. As the title implies, they range from the days when he was writing to the eighteenth century when his grandmother was a young girl. The old church of St Mary's, Husum, appears prominently in the Novelle.
Von Jenseit des Meeres (From
Across the Seas)
Jenni, the daughter of a German merchant and his West Indian mistress, is sent by her father to be educated in Germany. Before going to school she spends some time with Alfred and his parents. Jenni and Alfred enjoy wild games together and become firm friends. They do not meet again until Alfred is a successful young architect and Jenni an enchantingly pretty girl. When both are staying on the estate of Alfred's brother, whose wife was once a school friend of Jenni's, their childhood friendship soon turns to love, but Jenni, conscious of her illegitimacy and half-caste origins, has scruples about marrying Alfred. Without telling anyone what she is doing, she sets out to visit her mother overseas. On arriving at the island of her birth, Jenni is sadly disillusioned, for she finds the mother whom she had remembered as a beautiful young woman to be quite lacking in culture and taste, though fond and proud of Jenni. She is thankful when Alfred follows her and brings her back to Germany as his wife. Jenni is also ready to be reconciled with her father against whom she has always borne a grudge for separating her from her mother.
Richard, saddened by years as a political prisoner for his liberal views and by the unfaithfulness of his wife, lives withdrawn from the world. He has taken Waldwinkel, a remote house in the woods, to pursue his botanical studies. Chancing to visit an old friend, a judge, when the latter is judging the case of a man who is convicted of indecent behaviour to his ward, Franziska, Richard is so struck with her that he engages her to help his old housekeeper and to make sketches of his botanical specimens. He falls in love with Franziska and feels able, with her at his side, to face the world again and take up a professorship. However, just before the day fixed for their wedding, Franziska elopes with a young forester.
Wenn die Äpfel reif sind (When
the Apples Ripen)
A humorous tale of a lovers' moonlight meeting interrupted by a boy stealing apples.
Zur Chronik von Grieshuus (The Grieshuus Chronicle)
One of Storm's five Chroniknovellen. In the seventeenth century the owner of Grieshuus has twin sons. The elder twin, Hinrich, will inherit the estate and already shows himself fit in every respect for this position. Detlev, the younger, becomes a legal official attached to the Court. Hinrich falls in love with Barbe, the charming and intelligent daughter of the 'Kornschreiber'. When he insists on marrying her, his Junker father leaves the estate to Detlev. After the death of the old Junker, Hinrich and Barbe are living on a farm, but the former asserts his right to the estate by taking possession of the family pew, causing Detlev and his fiancée to retreat from the church. Barbe dies after giving birth to a premature daughter. Her confinement is brought on by the shock of a letter from Detlev, opened by her in Hinrich's absence, maintaining that her marriage was not valid because her father had the status of a serf and permission should first have been obtained from the lord of the manor. Hinrich meets Detlev at night on the heath, fights and kills him, then disappears. Years later, after the death of Henriette (Barbe's and Hinrich's daughter), her widower, a Swedish Colonel, and her son, Rolf, come to live at Grieshuus. A mysterious 'Wildmeister' arrives to rid the estate of wolves. Rolf later joins the Swedish army and is killed in a skirmish with the Russians not far from Grieshuus. It turns out that the 'Wildmeister' had set out on Falada, Rolf's spirited horse, to warn him of the impending attack, but was thrown and killed at the very spot where Detlev died. The riderless horse found Rolf and by distracting his attention at a critical moment caused his death. The 'Wildmeister's' identity is revealed as being Hinrich, and grandfather and grandson are buried together with all fitting honour.
Zur 'Wald- und Wasserfreude' (The 'Joy of the Woods and Water')
The name of an inn at Schwabstedt, a village south of Husum, bought by a Herr Zippel who sets out to make it successful. Katti, his daughter, together with Sträkelstrakel, a self-taught violinist, are made to play in the restaurant. She also plays the guitar given her by a schoolboy, Wulf Fedders, who used to lodge with them in the village. After obtaining his doctorate in Law, Wulf wants a quiet place to spend the summer and takes a room at the inn. Katti's childhood admiration for him now turns love. But in despair, because he now regards her as socially unequal and intends to marry a girl of higher standing, Katti runs away with a troupe of strolling players.