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The Gold Sickle; Or, Hena, The Virgin of The Isle of Sen. A Tale of Druid Gaul

The Gold Sickle; Or, Hena, The Virgin of The Isle of Sen. A Tale of Druid Gaul
Author: Sue Eugène
Title: The Gold Sickle; Or, Hena, The Virgin of The Isle of Sen. A Tale of Druid Gaul
Release Date: 2010-03-23
Type book: Text
Copyright Status: Public domain in the USA.
Date added: 26 March 2019
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The Project Gutenberg eBook, The Gold Sickle, by Eugne Sue, Translated byDaniel De Leon

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Title: The Gold Sickle

or Hena, The Virgin of The Isle of Sen. A Tale of Druid Gaul

Author: Eugne Sue

Release Date: March 23, 2010 [eBook #31752]

Language: English

Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1


E-text prepared by Chuck Greif
and the Project Gutenberg Online Distributed Proofreading Team
from scanned images of public domain material generously made available by
the Google Books Library Project

Note: Images of the original pages are available through the the Google Books Library Project. See http://books.google.com/books?vid=MCYnAAAAMAAJ&id


" " OR " "

Hena,   The   Virgin   of   The   Isle   of   Sen


A   Tale   of   Druid   Gaul


translated from the original french by


new york labor news company, 1904

Copyright, 1904, by the
New York Labor News Company


The Gold Sickle; or, Hena the Virgin of the Isle of Sen, is theinitial story of the series that Eugene Sue wrote under the collectivetitle of The Mysteries of the People; or, History of a ProletarianFamily Across the Ages.

The scheme of this great work of Sue's was stupendously ambitious—andthe author did not fall below the ideal that he pursued. His was thepurpose of producing a comprehensive "universal history," dating fromthe beginning of the present era down to his own days. But the historythat he proposed to sketch was not to be a work for closet study. It wasto be a companion in the stream of actual, every-day life and struggle,with an eye especially to the successive struggles of the successivelyruled with the successively ruling classes. In the execution of hisdesign, Sue conceived a plan that was as brilliant as it waspoetic—withal profoundly philosophic. One family, the descendants of aGallic chief named Joel, typifies the oppressed; one family, thedescendants of a Frankish chief and conqueror named Neroweg, typifiesthe oppressor; and across and adown the ages, the successive strugglesbetween oppressors and oppressed—the history of civilization—is thusrepresented in a majestic allegory. In the execution of this superb plana thread was necessary to connect the several epochs with one another,to preserve the continuity requisite for historic accuracy, and, aboveall, to give unity and point to the silent lesson taught by theunfolding drama. Sue solved the problem by an ingenious scheme—a seriesof stories, supposedly written from age to age, sometimes at shorter,other times at longer intervals, by the descendants of the ancestraltype of the oppressed, narrating their special experience and handingthe supplemented chronicle down to their successors from generation togeneration, always accompanied with some emblematic relic, thatconstitutes the first name of each story. The series, accordingly,though a work presented in the garb of "fiction," is the best universalhistory extant: Better than any work, avowedly on history, itgraphically traces the special features of class-rule as they havesucceeded one another from epoch to epoch, together with the specialcharacter of the struggle between the contending classes. The "Law,""Order," "Patriotism," "Religion," "Family," etc., etc., that eachsuccessive tyrant class, despite its change of form, fraudulently soughtrefuge in to justify its criminal existence whenever threatened; thevarying economic causes of the oppression of the toilers; the mistakesincurred by these in their struggles for redress; the varying fortunesof the conflict;—all these social dramas are therein reproduced in amajestic series of "novels" covering leading and successive episodes inthe history of the race—an inestimable gift, above all to our owngeneration, above all to the American working class, the short historyof whose country deprives it of historic back-ground.

It is not until the fifth story is reached—the period of the Frankishconquest of Gaul, 486 of the present era—that the two distinct streamsof the typical oppressed and typical oppressor meet. But the fourpreceding ones are necessary, and preparatory for the main drama, thatstarts with the fifth story and that, although carried down to therevolution of 1848 which overthrew Louis Philippe in France, reaches itsgrand climax in The Sword of Honor; or, The Foundation of the FrenchRepublic, that is, the French Revolution. These stories are nineteen innumber, and their chronological order is the following:

1.The Gold Sickle; or, Hena, the Virgin of the Isle of Sen;
2.The Brass Bell; or, The Chariot of Death;
3.The Iron Collar; or, Faustine and Syomara;
4.The Silver Cross; or, The Carpenter of Nazareth;
5.The Casque's Lark; or, Victoria, The Mother of the Fields;
6.The Poniard's Hilt; or, Karadeucq and Ronan;
7.The Branding Needle; or, The Monastery of Charolles;
8.The Abbatial Crosier; or, Bonaik and Septimine;
9.Carlovingian Coins; or, The Daughters of Charlemagne;
10.The Iron Arrow-Head; or, The Maid of the Buckler;
11.The Infant's Skull; or, The End of the World;
12.The Pilgrim's Shell; or, Fergan the Quarryman;
13.The Iron Pincers; or, Mylio and Karvel;
14.The Iron Trevet; or, Jocelyn the Champion;
15.The Executioner's Knife; or, Joan of Arc;
16.The Pocket Bible; or, Christian the Printer;
17.The Blacksmith's Hammer; or, The Peasant-Code;
18.The Sword of Honor; or, The Foundation of the French Republic;
19.The Galley-Slave's Ring; or, The Family of Lebrenn.

Long and effectually has the influence of the usurping class in theEnglish-speaking world succeeded in keeping this brilliant torch thatEugene Sue lighted, from casting its rays across the path of theEnglish-speaking peoples. Several English translations were attemptedbefore this, in England and this country, some fifty years ago. Theywere all fractional: they are all out of print now: most of them are notto be found even in public libraries of either England or America, not awrack being left to them, little more than a faint tradition. Only twoof the translations are not wholly obliterated. One of them waspublished by Trbner & Co. jointly with David Nutt, both of London, in1863; the other was published by Clark, 448 Broome street, New York, in1867. The former was anonymous, the translator's identity beingindicated only with the initials "K. R. H. M." It contains only eight ofthe nineteen stories of the original, and even these are avowedlyabridgments. The latter was translated by Mary L. Booth, and it brokeoff before well under way—extinguished as if snuffed off by a gale.Even these two luckier fragmentary translations, now surviving only ascurios in a few libraries, attest the vehemence and concertedness of theeffort to suppress this great gift of Sue's intellect to the human race.It will be thus no longer. The Mysteries of the People; or, History ofa Proletarian Family Across the Ages will henceforth enlighten theEnglish-speaking toiling masses as well.


New York, May 1, 1904.


Translator's Prefaceiii
Chapter 1.   The Guest1
Chapter 2.   A Gallic Homestead11
Chapter 3.   Armel and Julyan20
Chapter 4.   The Story of Albrege27
Chapter 5.   The Story of Syomara     33
Chapter 6.   The Story of Gaul39
Chapter 7.   "War! War! War!"45
Chapter 8.   "Farewell!"53
Chapter 9.   The Forest of Karnak66



He who writes this account is called Joel, the brenn[A] of the tribe ofKarnak; he is the son of Marik, who was the son of Kirio, the son ofTiras, the son of Gomer, the son of Vorr, the son of Glenan, the son ofErer, the son of Roderik chosen chief of the Gallic army that, now twohundred and seventy-seven years ago, levied tribute upon Rome.

[A] Gallic word for chief.

Joel (why should I not say so?) feared the gods, he was of a rightheart, a steady courage and a cheerful mind. He loved to laugh, to tellstories, and above all to hear them told, like the genuine Gaul that hewas.

At the time when Csar invaded Gaul (may his name be accursed!), Joellived two leagues from Alr, not far from the sea and the isle ofRoswallan, near the edge of the forest of Karnak, the most celebratedforest of Breton Gaul.

One evening towards nightfall—the evening before the anniversary of theday when Hena, his daughter, his well-beloved daughter was born untohim—it is now eighteen years ago—Joel and his eldest son Guilhern werereturning home in a chariot drawn by four of those fine little Bretonoxen whose horns are smaller than their ears. Joel and his son had beenlaying marl on their lands, as is usually done in the autumn, so thatthe lands may be in good condition for seed-time in the spring. Thechariot was slowly climbing up the hill of Craig'h at a place where thatmountainous road is narrowed between two rocks, and from where the seais seen at a distance, and still farther away the Isle of Sen—themysterious and sacred isle.

"Father," Guilhern said to Joel,"look down there below on the flank of the hill. There is a rider comingthis way. Despite the steepness of the descent, he has put his horse toa gallop."

"As sure as the good Elldud invented the plow, that man will break hisneck."

"Where can he be riding to in such a hurry? The sun is going down; thewind blows high and threatens a storm; and that road that leads to thedesert strand—"

"Son, that man is not of Breton Gaul. He wears a furred cap and a shaggycoat, and his tanned-skin hose are fastened with red bands."

"A short axe hangs at his right and he has a long knife in a sheath athis left."

"His large black horse does not seem to stumble in the descent.... Wherecan he be going in such a hurry?"

"Father, the man must have lost his way."

"Oh, my son, may Teutates hear you! We shall tender our hospitality tothe rider. His dress tells he is a stranger. What beautiful stories willhe not be able to tell us of his country and his travels!"

"May the divine Ogmi, whose words bind men in golden chains, bepropitious to us, father! It is long since any strange story-teller hassat at our hearth."

"Besides, we have had no news of what is going on elsewhere in Gaul."

"Unfortunately so!"

"Oh, my son, if I were all-powerful as Hesus, I would have a newstory-teller every evening at supper."

"I would send men traveling everywhere, and have them return and telltheir adventures."

"And if I had the power of Hesus, what wonderful adventures would I notprovide for my travelers so as to increase the interest in their storieson their return."

"Father, the rider is coming close to us!"

"Yes, he reins in because the road is here narrow, and we bar hispassage with our chariot. Come, Guilhern, the moment is favorable; thepassenger must have lost his way; let us offer him hospitality forto-night. We shall then keep him to-morrow, and perhaps several otherdays. We shall have done him a good turn, and he will give us the newsfrom Gaul and of the other countries that he has visited."

"Besides, it will be a great joy to my sister Hena who is to come hometo-morrow for the feast of her birthday."

"Oh, Guilhern, I never thought of the

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