A story about the torments endured by a prisoner of the Spanish Inquisition
|Harry Clarke Illustration|
The story takes place during the Spanish Inquisition. At the beginning of the story an unnamed narrator is brought to trial before various sinister judges. Before him are seven tall white candles on a table, and, as they melt, his hopes of survival also diminish. He is condemned to death and finds himself in a pitch black compartment. At first the prisoner thinks that he is locked in a tomb, but he discovers that he is in a cell. The narrator discovers that the prison is slightly illuminated and that he is bound to a wooden board by ropes. He looks up in horror to see a painted picture of Father Time on the ceiling; hanging from the figure is a gigantic pendulum with a crescent razor measuring swinging slowly back and forth. The pendulum is sliding downwards and will eventually kill him. As the pendulum reaches a point inches above his heart, the prisoner breaks free of the ropes and watches as the pendulum is drawn back to the ceiling.
Written by Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849)
The Gift: A Christmas and New Year's Present for 1843