A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court
Restoration Of The Fountain
Saturday noon I went to the well and looked on a while. Merlin was still burning smoke-
powders, and pawing the air, and muttering gibberish as hard as ever, but looking pretty
down-hearted, for of course he had not started even a perspiration in that well yet. Finally
"How does the thing promise by this time, partner?"
"Behold, I am even now busied with trial of the powerfulest enchantment known to the
princes of the occult arts in the lands of the East; an it fail me, naught can avail. Peace,
until I finish."
He raised a smoke this time that darkened all the region, and must have made matters
uncomfortable for the hermits, for the wind was their way, and it rolled down over their
dens in a dense and billowy fog. He poured out volumes of speech to match, and
contorted his body and sawed the air with his hands in a most extraordinary way. At the
end of twenty minutes he dropped down panting, and about exhausted. Now arrived the
abbot and several hundred monks and nuns, and behind them a multitude of pilgrims and
a couple of acres of foundlings, all drawn by the prodigious smoke, and all in a grand
state of excitement. The abbot inquired anxiously for results. Merlin said:
"If any labor of mortal might break the spell that binds these waters, this which I have but
just essayed had done it. It has failed; whereby I do now know that that which I had
feared is a truth established; the sign of this failure is, that the most potent spirit known to
the magicians of the East, and whose name none may utter and live, has laid his spell
upon this well. The mortal does not breathe, nor ever will, who can penetrate the secret of
that spell, and without that secret none can break it. The water will flow no more forever,
good Father. I have done what man could. Suffer me to go."
Of course this threw the abbot into a good deal of a consternation. He turned to me with
the signs of it in his face, and said:
"Ye have heard him. Is it true?"
"Part of it is."
"Not all, then, not all! What part is true?"
"That that spirit with the Russian name has put his spell upon the well."
"God's wownds, then are we ruined!"