Legend Of The Two Discreet Statues by Washington Irving, 1832
The magic trick:
Washington Irving probably pilfered most of this story from the culture he absorbed during his travels in Spain – just as Lope makes his fortune thanks to the ancient Moorish treasure he finds in the tale.
So – appropriated magic tricks today. Just so we’re clear.
Anyhow, it’s a story with relentless plot.
It’s not enough to start with a mysterious ancient relic. It’s not enough to move on to a storytelling session detailing myths of buried treasure and treacherous curses. It’s not enough to send a 12-year-old girl into the night so she can explore the treacherously cursed abyss. And on and on and on and on. The story wants to entertain you from the start, and it never really lets up.
And that’s quite a trick on Irving’s part.
The sight of the talisman called up all the favorite superstitions about the Moors. The dance was neglected, and they sat in groups on the ground, telling old legendary tales handed down from their ancestors. Some of their stories turned upon the wonders of the very mountain upon which they were seated, which is a famous hobgoblin region. One ancient crone gave a long account of the subterranean palace in the bowels of that mountain where Boabdil and all his Moslem court are said to remain enchanted.
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