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The Lighthouse Keeper of Aspinwall – Poland
Polish literature begins a thousand years ago, but until towards the middle of the last century there is very little prose fiction, and probably no single short story of outstanding merit.

The history of Po- v land is so strikingly dramatic and her political vicissitudes so many and so varied that it is scarcely to be wondered at that the Poles failed to develop narrative fiction. One of the greatest Polish writers was Adam Mickiewicz (1798-1843), and though he wrote very little fiction he was largely instrumental in establishing a literary tradition.

With the novels of Mme. Orgaszo and Sienkiewicz Polish literature entered a new and very productive age. During the past two generations the short story has been assiduously developed by a dozen writers of exceptional talent. Prus and Szymanski, Orzeszkowa, Sienkiewicz and Zeromski have utilized the form for the expression of their deepest convictions. Among the later writers who have written short stories are Reymont, Kaden-Bandrowski, and Mme. Rygier-Nalkowska.
Henryk Sienkiewicz (1846—1916)
Sienkiewicz was born at Wola Okrzejska in Lithuania. He studied at the University of Warsaw, and began writing at a comparatively early age. When he was thirty he went to the United States. In 1884 he published his first successful novel, With Fire And Sword.

Quo Vadis came some years later. He was one of the most gifted of the Polish writers of stories, and The Lighthouse Keeper of Aspinwall is the best of his short tales.
The present version is reprinted from the volume Yanko the Musician, etc., translated by Jeremiah Curtin. Copyright, 1893, by Little, Brown & Co., of Boston, by whose permission it is used here.
The Lighthouse Keeper of Aspinwall
On a time it happened that the lighthouse keeper in Aspinwall, not far from Panama, disappeared without a trace. Since he disappeared during a storm, it was supposed that the ill-fated man went to the very edge of the small, rocky island on which the lighthouse stood, and was swept out by a wave.

This supposition seemed the more likely, as his boat was not found next day in its rocky niche. The place of lighthouse keeper had become vacant. It was necessary to fill this place at the earliest moment possible, since the lighthouse had no small significance for the local movement as well as for vessels going from New York to Panama.

The Lighthouse Keeper of Aspinwall part 13

He saw everything as it was; everything asked him, Dost remember. He remembers! he sees broad fields; between the fields, woods and villages. It is night now. At this hour his lantern usually fllummates...

The Lighthouse Keeper of Aspinwall part 12

Who shinest in Ostrobrama and preservest The castle town Novgrodek with its trusty people,As Thou didst give me back to health in childhood,When by my weeping mother placed beneath Thy care I raised my...

The Lighthouse Keeper of Aspinwall part 11

The society had sent him the books with thanks. The books came in the natural way; but at the first moment the old man could not seize those thoughts. Polish books in Aspinwall, on...

The Lighthouse Keeper of Aspinwall part 10

Whole weeks passed in this way, so that no one saw him and he saw no one. The only signs that the old man was living were the disappearance of the provisions left on...

The Lighthouse Keeper of Aspinwall part 9

Farther on, between Aspinwall and Panama, was a great forest over which every morning and evening hung a reddish haze of exhalations—a real tropical forest with its feet in stagnant water, interlaced with lianas...

The Lighthouse Keeper of Aspinwall part 8

From early morning a light eastern breeze brought a confused hum of human life, above which predominated the whistle of steamers. In the afternoon six o`clock came; the movements in the harbor began to...

The Lighthouse Keeper of Aspinwall part 7

If the infinity of the sea may call out thus, perhaps when a man is growing old, calls come to him, too, from another infinity Still darker and more deeply mysterious; and the more...

The Lighthouse Keeper of Aspinwall part 6

It is true that such modest happiness was his due; but he was so accustomed to disappointments that he thought of rest as people in general think of something which is beyond reach. He...

The Lighthouse Keeper of Aspinwall part 5

He believed that some mighty and vengeful hand was pursuing him everywhere, on all lands and waters. He did not like, however, to speak of this; only at times, when someone asked him whose...

The Lighthouse Keeper of Aspinwall part 4

He was in truth like a ship whose masts, ropes, and sails had been broken and rent by a tempest, and cast from the clouds to the bottom of the sea—a ship on which...