When, now, the dances and songs and all the ceremonies had come to an end and the heavenly company sat down, Musa was taken to a table where the nine Muses were being served. They sat huddled together half scared, glancing about with their fiery black or dark blue eyes. The busy Martha, of the Gospels was caring for them in person.
She had on her finest kitchen apron and a tiny little smudge on her white chin and was pressing all manner of good things on the Muses in the friendliest possible way, but when Musa and Saint Cecilia and some other artistic women arrived and greeted the shy Pierians cheerfully, and joined their company, they began to thaw, grew confidential, and the feminine circle became quite pleasant and happy. Musa sat beside Terpsichore, and Cecilia between Polyhymnia and Euterpe, and all took one another’s hands.
Next came the little minstrel urchins and made up to the beautiful women with an eye to the bright fruit which shone on the ambrosi
As this involuntary twitching would not forsake her, and often seduced her to a little skip before she was aware, she caused her tender feet to be fastened together by a light chain. Her relatives and friends marveled day and night at the transformation, rejoiced to possess such a saint, and guarded the hermitage under the trees as the apple of their eye. Many came for her counsel and intercession.
In particular, they used to bring young girls to her who were rather clumsy on their feet, for it was observed that everyone whom she touched at once became light and graceful in gait.
So she spent three years in her cell, but by the end of the third year Musa had become almost as thin and transparent as a summer cloud. She lay continually on her bed of moss, gazed wistfully into Heaven, and was convinced that she could already see the golden sandals of the blessed, dancing and gliding about through the azure.
At last one harsh autumn day the tidings spread that the
Gottfried Keller (1819 – 1890)
Keller, one of the most distinguished writers of Switzerland, is claimed by the Germans because he wrote in their language. The son of a Swiss mechanic, he spent a dreamy and aimless youth. He lived a great part of his life in Zurich. It was not until after his death that he was recognized as one of the masters of German literature. Professor Thomas declares that his “books are on the whole the very best reading to be found in the whole range of Nineteenth Century
German fiction.” He wrote almost entirely of his beloved Switzerland. His Seven Legends (1872), in which A Legend of the Dance first appeared, is one of his most beautiful books.
The present version, translated by Martin Wyness, is reprinted, by permission of the publishers, from Seven Legends, Gowans & Gray, Glasgow, 1911.
A Legend of the Dance
According to Saint Gregory, Musa was the dancer among the saints. The child of good