The Great Return

Cover image for


Author: Arthur Machen
Published: 1915
Language: English
Wordcount: 15,101 / 49 pg
Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease: 73
LoC Category: PZ
Downloads: 897
Added to site: 2011.09.28 30819

One of Machen's more accomplished novels.

Show Excerpt

f High Mass had just been sung there, and--"

He cut me short, and there was a certain grave solemnity in his manner that struck me almost with awe.

"I know you are a railer," he said, and the phrase coming from this mild old gentleman astonished, me unutterably. "You are a railer and a bitter railer; I have read articles that you have written, and I know your contempt and your hatred for those you call Protestants in your derision; though your grandfather, the vicar of Caerleon-on-Usk, called himself Protestant and was proud of it, and your great-grand-uncle Hezekiah, ffeiriad coch yr Castletown--the Red Priest of Castletown--was a great man with the Methodists in his day, and the people flocked by their thousands when he administered the Sacrament. I was born and brought up in Glamorganshire, and old men have wept as they told me of the weeping and contrition that there was when the Red Priest broke the Bread and raised the Cup. But you are a railer, and see nothing but the outside and


Average Rating of 3.5 from 2 reviews: ****
Paulo Respighi

The story of miraculous events at a Welsh fishing village are eventually pieced together by a skeptical Londoner. It's a story that is slow to develop and different for Machen, in that it's not so much a ghost story as the account of the Arthurian legends of the Fisher King coming true in Wales.
A very upbeat story slathered with mysticism.

Henry L. Ratliff

(1915) Short story / Supernatural (Legend)

R: * * *
Plot bullets

  • A story is recounted to a man, of miraculous events in the town of Llantrisant.

  • This is a tale of miraculous healing and a general application of the golden-rule to all, by all.

  • The townspeople believe that \'The Three Fisherman\' of legend, have returned. The \'Rich Fisherman\' who in the old legend guards the holy mystery of the Graal.

  • They have brought with them, a time of prosperity, to the village. They were seen and their bell was heard for nine days and then no-more..

  • Was it a hoax or perhaps mass hysteria? Was it nothing but a pub-tale for strangers? Or was it the real enactment of the old legend foretold, \'The Great Return\'.

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