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May 01 , 2009

Die Schwarze Spinne

The Black Spider


Die Schwarze Spinne is a religious allegory about morals and religious living in the mid-nineteenth century, written by Jeremias Gotthelf. This work is an interlinear translation of Gotthelf's Die Schwarze Spinne with introductions to both the author and the work itself. In a small Swiss community, a baptism is the backdrop for a village elder to tell the story of his family and their life and death struggle with the devil himself. The elder relates the story of a knight and his ill treatment of the farmers of the area. The knight's inhuman demands upon the peasants bring about unforeseen consequences, which lead to the decimation of the village and, ultimately, the knight's own death. The plague released through a pact with the devil, the black spider, haunts the village for hundreds of years and must be fought with religious piety, courage, and devotion to traditional values. It is when one forgets God and his commandments that the black spider is at its most deadly. A true tale of morality written by a pastor in 1842, The Black Spider serves as a warning to those who, according to Gotthelf, go against the will of God.

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