Extract from Michael Mitchell's translation

Gustav Meyrink's The White Dominican

Mutschelknaus and the old woman are nodding ecstatically, the words to them are glad tidings promising the fulfilment of their longing; but to me they are the prophecy of a terrible time to come.

Just as, before, I saw the head of the Medusa in the eyes of the phantom, so now I can hear its voice from the lips of the man with long hair, both of them disguised behind the mask of sublimity. It is the forked tongue of a viper from the realm of darkness that is speaking. It talks of the Saviour and means the Devil. It says, ‘The ravenous beasts will once more eat grass.’ By the grass it means the innocent, the unsuspecting, the great mass of people, and by the ravenous beasts it means the demons of despair.

The dreadful thing about the prophecy is – and I can feel it – that it will come to pass. But the most dreadful is that it is a mixture of truth and fiendish cunning. The empty masks of the dead will arise, but not the ones we long for, not the departed for whom those left on earth shed their tears! They will come dancing to the living, but it will not be the dawn of the millenium, it will be a carnival of Hell, a fiendish rejoicing in expectation of the cock-crow of a never-ending, gruesome, cosmic Ash Wednesday!