Erik Johan Stagnelius

(14 October 1793 - 3 April 1823 / Gärdslösa / Oland / Sweden)

Nacken - Water Demon


The evening is festooned with golden clouds
the fairies dance in the meadow
and the leaf-crowned Nacken
plays his fiddle in the silvery brook.
Little boy in the brush on the bank
resting in the violet vapor
hears the noise from the chilly water
calls out in the still night.

"Poor old fellow, why do you play?
will it take the pain away?
you bring the woods and the fields to life
but you'll never be a child of God.

Paradise's moonlit nights
eden's flower-crowned plains
angels of the light on high--
never to be beheld by your eye."

Tears stream down the old man's face
down he dives into the rapids
the fiddle silences.
And the Nacken will never
play again in the silvery brook.

Submitted: Thursday, January 01, 2004

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