For the short story reader. Updated every Monday.

The Short Form

“St. Cecilia or The Power of Music”

Heinrich Von Kleist


After a few days during which they had listened to the preacher's tales of the remarkable events in the Netherlands, it happened that the nuns of the convent of St Cecilia, which at that time stood just outside the gates of Aachen, were due to celebrate the Feast of Corpus Christi; and in consequence the four brothers, inflamed by misguided enthusiasm, youth, and the example of the Dutch Protestants, decided to provide this city, too, with the spectacle of an iconoclastic riot. The preacher, who had already more than once been the ringleader in similar enterprises, took steps on the previous evening to collect together a number of young men devoted to the new doctrine, students and the sons of merchants, and they spent the night in the inn wining and dining and cursing popery; then, when day dawned over the city's battlements, they provided themselves with axes and all kinds of instruments of destruction in order to set about their wanton task.

We read it in The Marquise of O & Other Stories.

Originally published in Berliner Abendblätter.