Lindenborg Pool

William Morris

General Description

Date: 1856
Genre: Short story


◦ Thorpe, Northern Mythology, vol. ii, pp 214-15.

Scholarly Commentary

Guest Editor: PC Fleming


In this story, Morris tells his own version of “The Sunken Mansion,” a Danish legend from Benjamin Thorpe’s Northern Mythology (1851). In the story as Thorpe tells it, the servants of a mansion trick a priest into giving the last rites to a pig by telling him it is their master, and covering it with bedclothes. As he is about to administer the sacrament, the pig snatches the bread from his hand. The priest flees the mansion, and when he turns to look back it has sunk into the lake.

In Morris’s story, the narrator imagines himself transformed into the thirteenth century priest, summoned to the mansion to deliver the last rites. The ghastly, sexless appearance of the servants, and the violence in the escape from the mansion, are Morris’s inventions.

The narrative structure here is unique among the tales in The Oxford and Cambridge Magazine, even besides this story being the only one based explicitly on a specific legend. The narrator is always conscious that he belongs in the nineteenth century, and distinguishes between “I, the priest” and “I, the author.”

Printing History

First printed in The Oxford and Cambridge Magazine , September, 1856.

Electronic Archive Edition: 1
Source File: Morris014.raw.xml