The Fatal Forget-me-not (North American Folk Tale)

Three miles out from the Nahant shore, Massachusetts, rises Egg Rock, a dome of granite topped by a light-house. In the last century the forget-me-nots that grew in a little marsh at its summit were much esteemed, for it was reported that if a girl should receive one of these little flowers from her lover the two would be faithful to each other through all their married life. It was before a temporary separation that a certain young couple strolled together on the Nahant cliffs. The man was to sail for Italy next day, to urge parental consent to their union. As he looked dreamily into the sea the legend of the forget-me-not came into his mind, and in a playful tone he offered to gather a bunch as a memento. Unthinkingly the girl consented. He ran down the cliff to his boat, pushed out, and headed toward the rock, but a fisherman shouted that a gale was rising and the tide was coming in; indeed, the horizon was whitening and the rote was growing plain.

Alice had heard the cry of warning and would have called him back, but she was forsaken by the power of speech, and watched, with pale face and straining eyes, the boat beating smartly across the surges. It was seen to reach Egg Rock, and after a lapse came dancing toward the shore again; but the tide, was now swirling in rapidly, the waves were running high, and the wind freshened as the sun sank. At times the boat was out of sight in the hollowed water, and as it neared Nahant it became unmanageable. Apparently it had filled with water and the tiller-rope had broken. Nothing could be done by the spectators who had gathered on the rocks, except to shout directions that were futile, even if they could be heard. At last the boat was lifted by a breaker and hurled against a mass of granite at the very feet of the man”s mistress. When the body was recovered next day, a bunch of forget-me-not was clasped in the rigid hand.

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