A Journey to the Interior of the Earth
The Runic Writing Exercises The Professor
"Undoubtedly it is Runic," said the Professor, bending his brows; "but there is a secret in
it, and I mean to discover the key."
A violent gesture finished the sentence.
"Sit there," he added, holding out his fist towards the table. "Sit there, and write."
I was seated in a trice.
"Now I will dictate to you every letter of our alphabet which corresponds with each of
these Icelandic characters. We will see what that will give us. But, by St. Michael, if you
should dare to deceive me--"
The dictation commenced. I did my best. Every letter was given me one after the other,
with the following remarkable result:
mm.rnlls esrevel seecIde sgtssmf vnteief niedrke kt,samn atrateS saodrrn
emtnaeI nvaect rrilSa Atsaar .nvcrc ieaabs ccrmi eevtVl frAntv dt,iac oseibo
[Redactor: In the original version the initial letter is an 'm' with a superscore over it. It is
my supposition that this is the translator's way of writing 'mm' and I have replaced it
accordingly, since our typography does not allow such a character.]
When this work was ended my uncle tore the paper from me and examined it attentively
for a long time.
"What does it all mean?" he kept repeating mechanically.
Upon my honour I could not have enlightened him. Besides he did not ask me, and he
went on talking to himself.
"This is what is called a cryptogram, or cipher," he said, "in which letters are purposely
thrown in confusion, which if properly arranged would reveal their sense. Only think that
under this jargon there may lie concealed the clue to some great discovery!"
As for me, I was of opinion that there was nothing at all, in it; though, of course, I took
care not to say so.
Then the Professor took the book and the parchment, and diligently compared them