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Algernon Blackwood's Shorter Supernatural Fiction (2 vols.)

Terrys Texas Rangers

The Last Crusaders

The Defeat of the U-Boats

Sup Richard Middleton

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The Campaigns of Alexander

Sabre and Foil Fighting

The Fourth Leonaur Book of Ghost and Horror Stories

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Gronow of the Guards

Plumer of Messines

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The Collected Supernatural and Weird Fiction of Washington Irving: Volume 1

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The Collected Supernatural and Weird Fiction of Washington Irving: Volume 1
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Author(s): Washington Irving
Date Published: 2010/10
Page Count: 452
Softcover ISBN-13: 978-0-85706-400-4
Hardcover ISBN-13: 978-0-85706-399-1

Two volumes of the strange and ghostly by one of the earliest great American authors

Those who know anything of American literature know that Washington Irving was one of its earliest and most influential giants. Born less than a decade after the birth of the nation, it is clear through many of his writings that he embodied the very spirit of his nationality, age and place. He was a prolific author, a craftsman of fiction and non-fiction alike and his works of history are enduring classics. Whilst Irving is a true American writer his subject matter is by no means provincial. He travelled widely and his works inspired by his time in Spain have left for posterity a fine legacy—most especially in the collection that is 'Tales from the Alhambra.' Irving actually lived within the walls of the spectacular Moorish fortress of Granada and the experience inspired wonderful fiction and travelogue of the highest order. Irving was firmly established as an author of influence by the first quarter of the nineteenth century and he encouraged other American writers of his time, such as Hawthorne, Longfellow, Poe and Melville, towards their own success. Regardless of his huge written canon, Irving was fated, in keeping with many authors, to be best remembered for some of his shortest work, for it is in the typically early American tales—'The Legend of Sleepy Hollow' and 'Rip van Winkle'—that his fame principally abides. Also, in keeping with many authors who wrote over a range of subjects, Irving had a taste for the bizarre and supernatural, as evidenced of course by his terrifying headless Hessian horseman! This two volume Leonaur collection of Irving's forays into the bizarre and other-worldly provides the reader with a cornucopia of strange stories set in a variety of times and settings, all guaranteed to provoke a chill or smile and sometimes both at once. The books are available in soft cover or hard back with dust jacket for collectors. This volume includes Irving's bizarre practical joke and irreverent 'history' of the early years of the City of New York, Knickerbocker's ‘A History of New York,' as well as propelling Irving to greater fame this bizarre account created history of its own and the term, 'Knickerbocker' has endured as a term for many things to do with New York, from its people to towering ice cream desserts! Accompanying it here readers will find nine shorter pieces including, 'Guests from Gibbet Island,' 'Governor Manaco and the Soldier,' 'Legend of the Moor's Legacy' and others.

“O wise one,” exclaimed the king eagerly, “make me such a garden and ask any reward even to the half of my kingdom.”<br>
“Alas,” replied the other, “you know I am an old man and a philosopher, and easily satisfied. All the reward I ask is the first beast of burden with its load, which shall enter the gates of the garden.”<br>
The king gladly agreed and the Arab began his work. On the top of the hill just above his underground hall, he had a great gateway built. There was an outer porch with a lofty arch, and within was a portal secured by massive gates. On the top stone of the portal, the Arab, with his own hand, made the figure of a huge key, and on the top stone of the outer arch, which was loftier than that of the portal, he carved a gigantic hand. Over these he repeated many sentences in an unknown tongue.<br>
When this gateway was finished, he shut himself up for two days in his hall, engaged in secret incantations. The third day he went to the summit of the hill, and passed the whole day there. At a late hour he came down and appeared before the king.<br>
“My work is finished,” said he. “On the summit of the hill stands one of the most wonderful palaces that ever the head of man devised, or the heart of man desired. It contains beautiful halls, galleries, gardens, cool fountains, and fragrant baths. The whole mountain is like paradise. Like the garden of Irem, it is hidden from the sight of mortals, except those who know the secret of the talismans.”<br>
“Enough!” cried Aben Habuz joyfully. “Tomorrow morning with the first light we will take possession.”<br>
Scarcely had the rays of the sun begun to play about the mountains when Aben Habuz mounted his steed, and with a few of his attendants ascended a steep and narrow road leading up the hill. Beside him on a white palfrey rode the princess. Her whole dress sparkled with jewels, and round her neck was suspended her silver lyre. The Arab, who never mounted a steed of any kind, walked beside the king carrying his staff.<br>
Aben Habuz looked to see the towers of the palace, the terraces and gardens, but as yet nothing of the kind was to be seen.<br>
“That is the mystery of the place,” said the Arab; “nothing can be discerned until you have passed the spell-bound gateway.”<br>
As they drew near, Ibrahim paused, and pointed out the hand and key carved upon the portal of the arch.<br>
“These,” said he, “are the talismans which guard the entrance to this paradise. Until the hand shall reach down and seize the key no evil can prevail against the lord of this mountain.”<br>
While the king was gazing in silent wonder at these signs, the palfrey of the princess went on and bore her in at the portal, to the very centre of the barbican.<br>
“Behold,” cried the astrologer, “my promised reward: the first animal with its burden that should enter the gateway.”<br>
The king smiled at first, not thinking the old man in earnest, but when he found that he was, his gray beard trembled with indignation.<br>
“You know the meaning of my promise,” said he sternly, “the first beast of burden, with its load, that should enter this portal. Take the strongest mule in my stables, load it with the most precious things of my treasury, and it is yours, but dare not to think that I shall give you the princess.”<br>
“What need I of wealth?” cried the Arab scornfully. “The princess is mine by right. Your word is pledged. I claim her as my own.”<br>
The princess looked down haughtily from her palfrey, as she listened to this dispute between two gray heads.
“Base son of the desert,” cried the king, “you may be master of many arts, but know me for your master, and do not try to juggle with your king.”<br>
“My master!” echoed the Arab, “my king indeed! Farewell, Aben Habuz, reign over your petty kingdom! As for me, I shall laugh at you in my retirement.” <br>
And saying this, he seized the bridle of the palfrey on which the princess was seated, smote the earth with his staff, and sank with her through the centre of the barbican. The earth closed and no trace remained of the opening.
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