Novels Pre-intermediate

A Descent Into the Maelstrom by Edgar Allan Poe

Inspired by the Moskstraumen, it is couched as a story within a story, a tale told at the summit of a mountain climb. The story is told by an old man who reveals that he only appears old – “You suppose me a very old man,” he says, “but I am not. It took less than a single day to change these hairs from a jetty black to white, to weaken my limbs, and to unstring my nerves.” The narrator, convinced by the power of the whirlpools he sees in the ocean beyond, is then told of the “old” man’s fishing trip with his two brothers a few years ago.

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A Descent Into the Maelstrom by Edgar Allan Poe

I read about the Maelstrom in a book and I always wanted to see it. The Maelstrom appears in the sea near the coast of Norway.

In the northwest of that country there is a region called Nordland. And near the coast of Nordland, there is a group of islands called Lofoten. Two of the Lofoten Islands are called Moskoe and Vurrgh. Between Moskoe and Vurrgh, there is a narrow place where the sea turns and races in a great circle. This is the Maelstrom-a whirlpool.

In the Maelstrom, the sea rises up and then falls. As the sea falls, it turns in a circle. It turns faster and faster. It is the same as water going down into a huge pipe. The Maelstrom is very dangerous for boats and ships. It pulls them down into the sea. Many ships have sunk and many men have died in the dangerous water.

I wanted to see the great whirlpool, so I went to Norway. When I got to Nordland, I found a guide. I paid this man to show me the Maelstrom. He took me to the top of a cliff early one morning.

A Descent Into the Maelstrom by Edgar Allan Poe

“This is the best time to see the whirlpool,” he said.

We came to the edge of the cliff and looked down. The sea was more than a thousand feet below us.

I stepped back from the edge quickly. I felt ill and afraid. I wanted to sit down. The wind was blowing very strongly and the waves of the sea crashed against the rocks below us. I thought that I was going to fall over the edge of the cliff.

“We are on the side of a mountain called Helseggen the Cloudy,” said my guide. He reached out his hand and pointed across the sea toward a group of islands. “Look, those are the Lofoten. Can you see the two smallest islands? They are Moskoe and Vurrgh. No one lives there. Now listen and look at the sea between the islands.”

I looked at the two smallest islands. They were black rocks. No one could live on them. I listened and heard the sound of the wind. But then I heard another sound. It was a low sound. It sounded like hundreds of huge animals were calling and running together. I could hear the sound and I could feel the sound. I could feel the low sound in my body…

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