ItÂ was the month of January, 1516.
The night was dark and tempestuous; the thunder growled around; the lightning flashed at short intervals: and the wind swept furiously along in sudden and fitful gusts.
The streams of the great Black Forest of Germany babbled in playful melody no more, but rushed on with deafening din, mingling their torrent roar with the wild creaking of the huge oaks, the rustling of the firs, the howling of the affrighted wolves, and the hollow voices of the storm.
The dense black clouds were driving restlessly athwart the sky; and when the vivid lightning gleamed forth with rapid and eccentric glare, it seemed as if the dark jaws of some hideous monster, floating high above, opened to vomit flame.
And as the abrupt but furious gusts of wind swept through the forest, they raised strange echoesâ€”as if the impervious mazes of that mighty wood were the abode of hideous fiends and evil spirits, who responded in shrieks, moans, and lamentations to the fearful din of the tempest.
It was, indeed, an appalling night!
An old – old man sat in his cottage on the verge of the Black Forest.
He had numbered ninety years; his head was completely bald – his mouth was toothless – his long beard was white as snow, and his limbs were feeble and trembling.
from Wagner, The Wehr-Wolf by George W M Reynolds