- “Moon-Bog, The“
- Short story (3,430 words); written shortly before March 10, 1921. First published in WT(June 1926); first collected in BWS;corrected text in DDenys Barry, who comes from America to reclaim an ancestral estate in Kilderry, Ireland, decides to empty the bog on his land: “For all his love of Ireland, America had not left him untouched, and he hated the beautiful wasted space where peat might be cut and land opened up.” The peasants refuse to assist him for fear of disturbing the spirits of the bog. Barry calls in outside workers and the project continues apace, even though the workers confess suffering from strange and troublesome dreams. One night the narrator, Barry’s friend, awakes and hears a piping in the distance: “wild, weird airs that made me think of some dance of fauns on distant Maenalus” (a curious nod to “The Tree”). Then he sees the laborers dancing as if under some form of hypnosis, along with “strange airy beings in white, half indeterminate in nature, but suggesting pale wistful naiads from the haunted fountains of the bog.” But the next morning the workers seem to remember nothing of the night’s events. The next night things reach a climax: the piping is heard again, and the narrator again sees the “white-clad bog-wraiths” drifting toward the deeper waters of the bog, followed by the mesmerised laborers. Then a shaft of moonlight appears, and “upward along that pallid path my fevered fancy pictured a thin shadow slowly writhing; a vague contorted shadow struggling as if drawn by unseen daemons.” It is Denys Barry, who is spirited off and never seen again.The story was written for a St. Patrick’s Day gathering of amateurs in Boston (although the meeting took place on March 10, a week before St. Patrick’s Day). The tale is one of the most conventionally supernatural in HPL’s oeuvre. It bears an accidental similarity of plot to Lord Dunsany’s novel The Curse of the Wise Woman (1933).
An H.P.Lovecraft encyclopedia. S.T. Joshi, David E. Schultz.