Short summary - Lokis - Prosper Mérimée

French literature summaries - 2021

Short summary - Lokis
Prosper Mérimée

Micro-narration: 19th century, Lithuanian province. The pastor stops at an estate belonging to a noble family. Its owners are a young man and his crazy mother. Local peasants believe that evil spirits have long settled in the master's house. They say that once a bear attacked a lady in the forest, and she gave birth to a son from the beast. Soon the pastor realizes that this is true: at night the young man turns into a bear.

The story is set in the summer of 1866 in the Zemaitje voivodeship in northwestern Lithuania. The narrator Wittembach, a professor of linguistics from Königsberg, is sent by the Society for the Printing and Distribution of the Bible to lead and oversee the publication of the Gospel of Matthew. The professor accepts with interest the kind invitation of the young Count Mihai Zhemiot to visit his castle Medintiltas. The castle's library, according to a linguist from the University of Dorpat, contains invaluable sources of the Gemaid dialect spoken by local peasants.

Everything happens as a colleague from Dorpat promised the professor. But Wittembach cannot devote himself to science entirely, since he is constantly distracted. Something strange is going on here. The old countess is pacified by three servants. Household doctor Froeber tells Wittembach what happened at the castle twenty-seven years ago. Soon after the wedding, the pregnant Countess went hunting, where she was attacked by a bear and dragged to her lair. Wittembach notices the strange behavior of the young count. At night, for example, he climbs a tree, which is opposite the window of the professor's room, and watches him with a fixed gaze.

Soon, Wittembach is invited to take a ride through the forest to the castle of Countess Dovigli. The bachelor count is looking for Yulka Ivinska, the countess's niece. The cheating girl calls herself a Lithuanian mermaid. Stories are told in the Countess's castle. The professor describes how he lived in the Uruguayan pampas. The Count listens with interest. Witttembach observes the Count's reaction to the animals he fears.

Once he and the count are placed in the same room. In his sleep, he snores so beastly loud that he wakes up from his own snoring. Back in Mediniltas, the professor talks with Froebe about the Count's sleep disorders. Everything is explained from a medical point of view: the countess's madness was passed on to her son.

In a conversation with Wittmebach, the count asks where the blood appeared under the skin of the flirty Yulka. After that, Wittembach leaves the castle, he receives an invitation to the wedding of Count Michal and Yulka Ivinskaya. Yulka, who now calls herself “The Muse of Lithuania”, adds a few lines to her “title” in the emaitic dialect.

Professor Wittembach continues to behave as usual. He accepts the invitation. At the wedding, an incident occurs: the groom's mother appears on the porch of the castle and shouts: “Bear! Kill him! Shoot! " She is taken away, and the guests are reassured. The second and final incident occurs the next morning. Julia is found torn to pieces. Michael disappears. He was not seen again.