The scene of the story is laid in Transylvania; the time is the close of the seventeenth century, and the incidents relate to the reign of Michel Apafi, whom the Turks raised to the throne, ending with the murder of Denis Banfi, the last of the powerful Transylvanian barons. The story which has more than simple basis of truth, is absorbingly interesting and displays all the virility of Jokai's powers, his genius of description, his keenness of characterization, his subtlety of humor and his consummate art in the progression of the novel from one apparent climax to another.
s the hero put spurs to his horse; the startled creature reared and plunged but the hard knees of his rider brought him under control.
"Follow me," he cried, and the brilliant company vanished in the thicket of the forest.
* * * * *
Let us arrive there before them. Let us hurry to the place where the stags take their noonday rest in the shady grove, where the turtles sun themselves and the herons bathe. What dwellings are these in groups of fives and sixes between the water and the wilderness--these huts built up on piles with round roofs clay-covered and bound with twigs? Who built this dam, and for what purpose, so that the water at the entrance of their dwellings should never fail? Here dwell the dear, industrious beavers whom Nature has taught the art of building. This is their colony. These thick beams they have hewn with their teeth. They have shaped all this,--they have dug down into the earth to build a dam, and year after year they keep this dam in repair. See, at this very momen