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Complete Tales and Poems EDGAR ALLAN POE: COMPLETE TALES AND POEMS
Published by Maplewood Books
Published in 2013 by Maplewood Books with new Introduction, Film List, Reading List and Online
All rights reserved.
All works by Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849). Maplewood Books is not affiliated with any of the websites linked in the text. All links are for
editorial purposes only.
No part of this document may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or
otherwise, without prior written permission by the publisher.
To contact the publisher, please email [email protected] Table of Contents Copyright
Works of Edgar Allen Poe:
Narrative of A. Gordon Pym
Poe in Literature
Publisher's Note INTRODUCTION Once upon a midnight dreary, while you ponder weak and weary, take up this quaint and curious
volume of forgotten lore.
Included in Edgar Allan Poe: Complete Tales and Poems are over 100 short stories, poems and
essays by the incomparable Edgar Allan Poe. Each work has been elegantly formatted for ease of use
and enjoyment on your e-reader device.
Notable titles included:
The Fall of the House of Usher
The Masque of the Red Death
The Pit and the Pendulum
The Premature Burial
The Purloined Letter
The Tell-Tale Heart
The City in the Sea
A Dream Within a Dream
The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket—Poe's only complete novel
For a full list of titles, please see the table of contents.
Each book has an individual Table of Contents that is easily accessible from the main Table of
Contents and drop-down menus. You are never more than two clicks away from any chapter of any
Also included are special features for any Poe enthusiast, including:
A list of films and television series, both directly and indirectly inspired by the works of Edgar
A Reading Guide to fictional works that feature the historical Edgar Allan Poe as a character.
Links to free, full-length audio recordings of the major poems and short stories in this collection. Gather your courage and prepare to go on a journey with Edgar Allan Poe, fearing, doubting,
dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before.
Also from Maplewood Books:
Oz: The Complete Collection (Illustrated Edition)
Grimm's Fairy Tales: Over 200 classic fairy tales with Color Illustrations
Anne: The Green Gables Collection SHORT STORIES THE UNPARALLELED ADVENTURES OF
ONE HANS PFAAL
FOUR BEASTS IN ONE—
THE MURDERS IN THE RUE MORGUE
THE MYSTERY OF MARIE ROGET.
MS. FOUND IN A BOTTLE
THE OVAL PORTRAIT
THE PURLOINED LETTER
THE THOUSAND-AND-SECOND TALE
A DESCENT INTO THE MAELSTRÖM.
VON KEMPELEN AND HIS DISCOVERY
THE FACTS IN THE CASE OF M. VALDEMAR
THE BLACK CAT.
THE FALL OF THE HOUSE OF USHER
THE MASQUE OF THE RED DEATH.
THE CASK OF AMONTILLADO.
THE IMP OF THE PERVERSE
THE ISLAND OF THE FAY
THE PIT AND THE PENDULUM
THE PREMATURE BURIAL
THE DOMAIN OF ARNHEIM
THE TELL-TALE HEART.
A TALE OF THE RAGGED MOUNTAINS
KING PEST. THREE SUNDAYS IN A WEEK
THE DEVIL IN THE BELFRY
X-ING A PARAGRAPH
THE SYSTEM OF DOCTOR TARR AND
HOW TO WRITE A BLACKWOOD ARTICLE.
THE ANGEL OF THE ODD
THE DUC DE L'OMELETTE.
THE OBLONG BOX.
LOSS OF BREATH
THE MAN THAT WAS USED UP.
THE BUSINESS MAN
THE LANDSCAPE GARDEN
THE POWER OF WORDS
THE COLLOQUY OF MONOS AND UNA
THE CONVERSATION OF EIROS AND CHARMION
SHADOW—A PARABLE THE UNPARALLELED ADVENTURES OF ONE HANS PFAAL BY late accounts from Rotterdam, that city seems to be in a high state of philosophical excitement.
Indeed, phenomena have there occurred of a nature so completely unexpected—so entirely novel—so
utterly at variance with preconceived opinions—as to leave no doubt on my mind that long ere this all
Europe is in an uproar, all physics in a ferment, all reason and astronomy together by the ears.
It appears that on the—— day of—— (I am not positive about the date), a vast crowd of people,
for purposes not specifically mentioned, were assembled in the great square of the Exchange in the
well-conditioned city of Rotterdam. The day was warm—unusually so for the season—there was
hardly a breath of air stirring; and the multitude were in no bad humor at being now and then
besprinkled with friendly showers of momentary duration, that fell from large white masses of cloud
which chequered in a fitful manner the blue vault of the firmament. Nevertheless, about noon, a slight
but remarkable agitation became apparent in the assembly: the clattering of ten thousand tongues
succeeded; and, in an instant afterward, ten thousand faces were upturned toward the heavens, ten
thousand pipes descended simultaneously from the corners of ten thousand mouths, and a shout, which
could be compared to nothing but the roaring of Niagara, resounded long, loudly, and furiously,
through all the environs of Rotterdam.
The origin of this hubbub soon became sufficiently evident. From behind the huge bulk of one of
those sharply-defined masses of cloud already mentioned, was seen slowly to emerge into an open
area of blue space, a queer, heterogeneous, but apparently solid substance, so oddly shaped, so
whimsically put together, as not to be in any manner comprehended, and never to be sufficiently
admired, by the host of sturdy burghers who stood open-mouthed below. What could it be? In the
name of all the vrows and devils in Rotterdam, what could it possibly portend? No one knew, no one
could imagine; no one—not even the burgomaster Mynheer Superbus Von Underduk—had the slightest
clew by which to unravel the mystery; so, as nothing more reasonable could be done, every one to a
man replaced his pipe carefully in the corner of his mouth, and cocking up his right eye towards the
phenomenon, puffed, paused, waddled about, and grunted significantly—then waddled back, grunted,
paused, and finally—puffed again.
In the meantime, however, lower and still lower toward the goodly city, came the object of so
much curiosity, and the cause of so much smoke. In a very few minutes it arrived near enough to be
accurately discerned. It appeared to be—yes! it was undoubtedly a species of balloon; but surely no
such balloon had ever been seen in Rotterdam before. For who, let me ask, ever heard of a balloon
manufactured entirely of dirty newspapers? No man in Holland certainly; yet here, under the very
noses of the people, or rather at some distance above their noses was the identical thing in question,
and composed, I have it on the best authority, of the precise material which no one had ever before
known to be used for a similar purpose. It was an egregious insult to the good sense of the burghers of
Rotterdam. As to the shape of the phenomenon, it was even still more reprehensible. Being little or
nothing better than a huge foolscap turned upside down. And this similitude was regarded as by no
means lessened when, upon nearer inspection, there was perceived a large tassel depending from its
apex, and, around the upper rim or base of the cone, a circle of little instruments, resembling sheepbells, which kept up a continual tinkling to the tune of Betty Martin. But still worse. Suspended by blue ribbons to the end of this fantastic machine, there hung, by way of car, an enormous drab beaver
hat, with a brim superlatively broad, and a hemispherical crown with a black band and a silver
buckle. It is, however, somewhat remarkable that many citizens of Rotterdam swore to having seen
the same hat repeatedly before; and indeed the whole assembly seemed to regard it with eyes of
familiarity; while the vrow Grettel Pfaall, upon sight of it, uttered an exclamation of joyful surprise,
and declared it to be the identical hat of her good man himself. Now this was a circumstance the more
to be observed, as Pfaall, with three companions, had actually disappeared from Rotterdam about
five years before, in a very sudden and unaccountable manner, and up to the date of this narrative all
attempts had failed of obtaining any intelligence concerning them whatsoever. To be sure, some bones
which were thought to be human, mixed up with a quantity of odd-looking rubbish, had been lately
discovered in a retired situation to the east of Rotterdam, and some people went so far as to imagine
that in this spot a foul murder had been committed, and that the sufferers were in all probability Hans
Pfaall and his associates. But to return.
The balloon (for such no doubt it was) had now descended to within a hundred feet of the earth,
allowing the crowd below a sufficiently distinct view of the person of its occupant. This was in truth
a very droll little somebody. He could not have been more than two feet in height; but this altitude,
little as it was, would have been sufficient to destroy his equilibrium, and tilt him over the edge of his
tiny car, but for the intervention of a circular rim reaching as high as the breast, and rigged on to the
cords of the balloon. The body of the little man was more than proportionately broad, giving to his
entire figure a rotundity highly absurd. His feet, of course, could not be seen at all, although a horny
substance of suspicious nature was occasionally protruded through a rent in the bottom of the car, or
to speak more properly, in the top of the hat. His hands were enormously large. His hair was
extremely gray, and collected in a cue behind. His nose was prodigiously long, crooked, and
inflammatory; his eyes full, brilliant, and acute; his chin and cheeks, although wrinkled with age, were
broad, puffy, and double; but of ears of any kind or character there was not a semblance to be
discovered upon any portion of his head. This odd little gentleman was dressed in a loose surtout of
sky-blue satin, with tight breeches to match, fastened with silver buckles at the knees. His vest was of
some bright yellow material; a white taffety cap was set jauntily on one side of his head; and, to
complete his equipment, a blood-red silk handkerchief enveloped his throat, and fell down, in a
dainty manner, upon his bosom, in a fantastic bow-knot of super-eminent dimensions.
Having descended, as I said before, to about one hundred feet from the surface of the earth, the
little old gentleman was suddenly seized with a fit of trepidation, and appeared disinclined to make
any nearer approach to terra firma. Throwing out, therefore, a quantity of sand from a canvas bag,
which, he lifted with great difficulty, he became stationary in an instant. He then proceeded, in a
hurried and agitated manner, to extract from a side-pocket in his surtout a large morocco pocket-book.
This he poised suspiciously in his hand, then eyed it with an air of extreme surprise, and was
evidently astonished at its weight. He at length opened it, and drawing there from a huge letter sealed
with red sealing-wax and tied carefully with red tape, let it fall precisely at the feet of the
burgomaster, Superbus Von Underduk. His Excellency stooped to take it up. But the aeronaut, still
greatly discomposed, and having apparently no farther business to detain him in Rotterdam, began at
this moment to make busy preparations for departure; and it being necessary to discharge a portion of
ballast to enable him to reascend, the half dozen bags which he threw out, one after another, without
taking the trouble to empty their contents, tumbled, every one of them, most unfortunately upon the
back of the burgomaster, and rolled him over and over no less than one-and-twenty times, in the face
of every man in Rotterdam. It is not to be supposed, however, that the great Underduk suffered this impertinence on the part of the little old man to pass off with impunity. It is said, on the contrary, that
during each and every one of his one-and twenty circumvolutions he emitted no less than one-andtwenty distinct and furious whiffs from his pipe, to which he held fast the whole time with all his
might, and to which he intends holding fast until the day of his death.
In the meantime the balloon arose like a lark, and, soaring far away above the city, at length
drifted quietly behind a cloud similar to that from which it had so oddly emerged, and was thus lost
forever to the wondering eyes of the good citizens of Rotterdam. All attention was now directed to the
letter, the descent of which, and the consequences attending thereupon, had proved so fatally
subversive of both person and personal dignity to his Excellency, the illustrious Burgomaster
Mynheer Superbus Von Underduk. That functionary, however, had not failed, during his
circumgyratory movements, to bestow a thought upon the important subject of securing the packet in
question, which was seen, upon inspection, to have fallen into the most proper hands, being actually
addressed to himself and Professor Rub-a-dub, in their official capacities of President and VicePresident of the Rotterdam College of Astronomy. It was accordingly opened by those dignitaries
upon the spot, and found to contain the following extraordinary, and indeed very serious,
To their Excellencies Von Underduk and Rub-a-dub, President and Vice-President of the States'
College of Astronomers, in the city of Rotterdam.
"Your Excellencies may perhaps be able to remember an humble artizan, by name Hans Pfaall,
and by occupation a mender of bellows, who, with three others, disappeared from Rotterdam, about
five years ago, in a manner which must have been considered by all parties at once sudden, and
extremely unaccountable. If, however, it so please your Excellencies, I, the writer of this
communication, am the identical Hans Pfaall himself. It is well known to most of my fellow citizens,
that for the period of forty years I continued to occupy the little square brick building, at the head of
the alley called Sauerkraut, in which I resided at the time of my disappearance. My ancestors have
also resided therein time out of mind—they, as well as myself, steadily following the respectable and
indeed lucrative profession of mending of bellows. For, to speak the truth, until of late years, that the
heads of all the people have been set agog with politics, no better business than my own could an
honest citizen of Rotterdam either desire or deserve. Credit was good, employment was never
wanting, and on all hands there was no lack of either money or good-will. But, as I was saying, we
soon began to feel the effects of liberty and long speeches, and radicalism, and all that sort of thing.
People who were formerly, the very best customers in the world, had now not a moment of time to
think of us at all. They had, so they said, as much as they could do to read about the revolutions, and
keep up with the march of intellect and the spirit of the age. If a fire wanted fanning, it could readily
be fanned with a newspaper, and as the government grew weaker, I have no doubt that leather and
iron acquired durability in proportion, for, in a very short time, there was not a pair of bellows in all
Rotterdam that ever stood in need of a stitch or required the assistance of a hammer. This was a state
of things not to be endured. I soon grew as poor as a rat, and, having a wife and children to provide
for, my burdens at length became intolerable, and I spent hour after hour in reflecting upon the most
convenient method of putting an end to my life. Duns, in the meantime, left me little leisure for
contemplation. My house was literally besieged from morning till night, so that I began to rave, and
foam, and fret like a caged tiger against the bars of his enclosure. There were three fellows in
particular who worried me beyond endurance, keeping watch continually about my door, and
threatening me with the law. Upon these three I internally vowed the bitterest revenge, if ever I should
be so happy as to get them within my clutches; and I believe nothing in the world but the pleasure of this anticipation prevented me from putting my plan of suicide into immediate execution, by blowing
my brains out with a blunderbuss. I thought it best, however, to dissemble my wrath, and to treat them
with promises and fair words, until, by some good turn of fate, an opportunity of vengeance should be
"One day, having given my creditors the slip, and feeling more than usually dejected, I continued
for a long time to wander about the most obscure streets without object whatever, until at length I
chanced to stumble against the corner of a bookseller's stall. Seeing a chair close at hand, for the use
of customers, I threw myself doggedly into it, and, hardly knowing why, opened the pages of the first
volume which came within my reach. It proved to be a small pamphlet treatise on Speculative
Astronomy, written either by Professor Encke of Berlin or by a Frenchman of somewhat similar name.
I had some little tincture of information on matters of this nature, and soon became more and more
absorbed in the contents of the book, reading it actually through twice before I awoke to a
recollection of what was passing around me. By this time it began to grow dark, and I directed my
steps toward home. But the treatise had made an indelible impression on my mind, and, as I sauntered
along the dusky streets, I revolved carefully over in my memory the wild and sometimes unintelligible
reasonings of the writer. There are some particular passages which affected my imagination in a
powerful and extraordinary manner. The longer I meditated upon these the more intense grew the
interest which had been excited within me. The limited nature of my education in general, and more
especially my ignorance on subjects connected with natural philosophy, so far from rendering me
diffident of my own ability to comprehend what I had read, or inducing me to mistrust the many vague
notions which had arisen in consequence, merely served as a farther stimulus to imagination; and I
was vain enough, or perhaps reasonable enough, to doubt whether those crude ideas which, arising in
ill-regulated minds, have all the appearance, may not often in effect possess all the force, the reality,
and other inherent properties, of instinct or intuition; whether, to proceed a step farther, profundity
itself might not, in matters of a purely speculative nature, be detected as a legitimate source of falsity
and error. In other words, I believed, and still do believe, that truth, is frequently of its own essence,
superficial, and that, in many cases, the depth lies more in the abysses where we seek her, than in the
actual situations wherein she may be found. Nature herself seemed to afford me corroboration of
these ideas. In the contemplation of the heavenly bodies it struck me forcibly that I could not
distinguish a star with nearly as much precision, when I gazed on it with earnest, direct and
undeviating attention, as when I suffered my eye only to glance in its vicinity alone. I was not, of
course, at that time aware that this apparent paradox was occasioned by the center of the visual area
being less susceptible of feeble impressions of light than the exterior portions of the retina. This
knowledge, and some of another kind, came afterwards in the course of an eventful five years, during
which I have dropped the prejudices of my former humble situation in life, and forgotten the bellowsmender in far different occupations. But at the epoch of which I speak, the analogy which a casual
observation of a star offered to the conclusions I had already drawn, struck me with the force of
positive conformation, and I then finally made up my mind to the course which I afterwards pursued.
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