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Observations placeholder

Engel, C - The indefatigable fiddler



Type of Spiritual Experience


A little bit of Christian miscellany added to the story, and the ‘dancing’ – spiritual experience was frowned on – and you couldn’t stop unless of course a priest put a stop to it

A description of the experience

Musical Myths and Facts: Volume II 1876 – C. Engel


The following strange event happened in the parish of Borne, two miles south of Ripen, in Denmark, and is still known to the people in all its details.

One Sunday evening, a company of young men and girls of the village had assembled in a farm-house, and were indulging in all kinds of frolic and flirting. After they had enjoyed their nonsense for some time they thought they should like to have a little dancing. In the midst of much noisy and useless debating how to procure a musician to play to them, one of the youths the wildest of the party cut the matter short by saying boastingly i " Now, my lads, leave that to me ! I will bring you a musician, even if it should be the devil himself !" With these words the wicked youth placed his cap knowingly on one side of his head, and marched out of the room.

He had not advanced many steps along the road when he met with an old beggarly-looking man, who carried a fiddle under his arm. The lad lost no time in striking a bargain with the man,, and triumphantly introduced him into the house.. In a few minutes all the young folks were wildly dancing up and down the room to the old crowder's fascinating music ; and soon the perspiration actually streamed down their faces. They now desired to stop for a moment to rest themselves a little. But this they found impossible so long as the old crowder continued playing ; and they could not induce him to leave off, however earnestly they implored him. It was really an awful affair !

Soon they would have been all dead from sheer exhaustion, had it not so happened, fortunately for them, that there resided in the lower part of the house an old deaf woman, the housekeeper of the farmer, who accidentally becoming aware of the desperate condition of the dancers, ran as fast as she could to fetch the parish priest. The holy man was already in bed, and it took some time to arouse him; and then he had to dress himself. But at last he was quite prepared; and when he arrived at the farm-house and saw the fearful scene, he at once took out of his pocket a little book, from which he read something in Latin or Hebrew.

Scarcely had he read a verse, when the indefatigable fiddler let his arm sink, and drawing himself gradually up until he stood merely on the tips of his toes, he suddenly vanished through the ceiling, leaving no traces behind. Some people say, however, that there was a sulphurous odour about the house shortly after this miraculous event.

The source of the experience


Concepts, symbols and science items



Science Items

Activities and commonsteps



Listening to sound and music


Listening to music