A man is walking down the narrow riverside path that winds its way towards 
the spot where a ferry crosses to the other bank. It is a summer evening, 
after sunset. The traveler, Nikolas, is carrying a rucksack, and in his hand 
a pair of fishing rods. He wants to spend his holiday in solitude, which is 
why he has come to this remote region in search of peace. 

He arrives at the old inn and finds the door closed. The inn is lying in 
profound silence, as if all its occupants have gone to bed.  Nikolas rattles 
at the door, but it is well and truly locked. At this moment he sees a reaper 
walking along with his scythe over his shoulder. He looks at the man 
curiously as he walks down towards the ferry. He shouts after him:
		Hello, you there!
But the reaper, not hearing his cry, continues on his way. The landscape is 
bathed in a gray, dim twilight; every object has a tinge of unreality. 
Nikolas goes round to the back of the house. There he discovers a window in 
which a light can be seen. He comes nearer, knocks on the window pane and 
listens; but not a sound reaches him. Simultaneously the light goes out. 
Nikolas knocks again. Silence still. But now a window is opened quietly on 
the floor above, and a timid child's voice asks:
		Who's there?

Nikolas runs his eye up the facade of the house and discovers a little girl 
of thirteen with a gentle, frightened face. She says to him:
		I'll come down and open the door.
She gestures, indicating that he is to go to the front door. Then she 
carefully closes the window.

As Nikolas stands waiting, he glances down in the direction of the ferry. The 
ferryman - who has a white beard - boards the ferry-boat which begins 
crossing the river. He goes backwards and forwards, pulling laboriously at 
the iron chains which run rattling and squealing round the ungreased wheels.

Meanwhile the little girl has opened the door of the inn. She is a strange 
child. She looks rather small for her age and wears spectacles. Her eyes are 
moist, as if she has just been crying. When she talks to somebody she tilts 
her head backwards.

Nikolas enters, and the girl shuts the door behind him. He slips his rucksack 
from off his shoulders. As he is doing so a door opens a few inches and a 
face appears, staring inquisitively. The little girl gives a sign to Nikolas 
to follow her up the stair leading to the guest rooms. She lights a candle in 
a little enamel candlestick of the kind found in country districts, and hands 
him the candlestick.

On the floor above, the doors out onto the passage are standing open. The 
rooms are poorly furnished, the beds without bedclothes, the windows dirty, 
as if they have not been cleaned for a long time. The little girl conducts 
Nikolas to a spartanly furnished room. On a table he finds a candlestick with 
a half-used candle, beside which are lying another candle and a box of 
matches. He lights the candle. The girl, who has remained standing in the 
doorway, says with an inclination of the head:
		Good night, sir!
		Good night!
The girl disappears and shuts the door behind her. He glances round the room. 
Over the bed hangs one of those copperplate engravings, framed in glass, that 
are so common in the country. Nikolas looks at the engraving for a moment. It 
represents something like 'Death pays a call.' Then from a neighboring room 
he hears a woman sobbing. 

Close-up: Nikolas turning and listening. He opens the door a few inches. A 
man's voice is heard trying to calm the woman, but she is incapable of 
mastering her despair. She breaks out, in a voice choked with tears:
		Oh, why did he have to die - why should I have 
		to lose him ... why, why?
		Don't cry!
			(in despair)
		My little boy, my little boy!
The weeping eases off.
		Oh God, oh God!
We hear a door opening, followed by footsteps; then everything is quiet again. 
Nikolas, who had lifted the light to look at the engraving, puts it down, and 
after locking the door crosses to the window to pull down the blind. First, 
however, he looks out across the river, where he sees the reaper with the 
scythe sitting on the railing of the ferry-boat, while the ferryman continues 
his monotonous progress up and down like the ferryman on the river separating 
life and death. Then Nikolas draws down the blind. It is one of those blinds, 
often seen in the country, that have some painted motif: a temple, a forest 
or the like. He takes out his watch. The sound of the watch continues during 
the following shot, which shows the shadow of the house creeping slowly over 
the ground - a symbol of time passing.

A moment later we return to the room. Nikolas has been asleep for some time. 
Somewhere in the house a clock strikes eleven; then we hear the footsteps of 
somebody approaching and knocking on the door: two knocks - and again two 
knocks. In his deep sleep Nikolas seems to hear the knocking without taking 
it in fully. He reacts while still half asleep, turns his head towards the 
door and sees the handle slowly turning. Then the door is opened, inch by 
inch, as if by an invisible hand. A man enters the room, wearing a full-
length dressing-gown. Without a sound he approaches the bed and leans over 
		Are you asleep?
Almost unconsciously Nikolas opens his eyes and meets the stranger's 
enquiring gaze.
		Wake up!
Nikolas looks at him in astonishment and asks, almost in a whisper:
		Who are you!
The stranger, whose whole bearing and behavior indicate unease and 
nervousness, straightens up, crosses the room, pulls up the blind, and stands 
so that the moonlight falls on his face, which shows traces of recent 
suffering. He takes out a handkerchief and mops his brow with a nervous 
movement ... like a man dreading a catastrophe. Then he says:
Nikolas looks at him in growing amazement. The stranger continues to stand 
there, as if his thoughts are somewhere quite apart. Then he seems to 
remember where he is and why he has come. He again goes right up to the bed 
and leans over Nikolas. In broken syllables he stammers out the words:
		She mustn't die ... do you hear? ... She's 
		dying, she's dying!
The stranger speaks like a man in dire need, one who in his agony doesn't 
know where to turn for help. Suddenly - without transition he turns away and 
crosses to the door. There he stops, apparently absorbed in his own thoughts. 
Absently he raises a thumb to his lips, looks at it and licks it. Then he puts 
a hand in his dressing-gown pocket and takes out a parcel the size of a book. 
He puts the parcel down, takes his leave with a polite inclination of the 
head, and goes out. 

Nikolas sits half up in bed, tormented by doubt. Has he been dreaming? Has 
there really been anybody in his room? He lights a match and looks at his 
watch. It is five past eleven. Then he gets up, goes to the door and tries 
it; it is firmly locked. He looks at the blind; the blind is up. And on the 
table lies the parcel. Some words are written on it:

		To be opened after my death!
Nikolas is unable to go back to sleep. A dying man has called on him. He 
cannot ignore this call! He must go and look for the man who has asked for 
help. He starts putting his clothes on.

Outside, the shadow of the inn creeps further and further over the ground - 
time is passing.

Nikolas has crept stealthily down the stairs and stolen out of the door 
without waking the people in the inn. The moon is shining, so that everything 
is clearly visible. He takes a few steps, then stops irresolutely. Which way 
shall he go? It is, in truth, a hopeless task that he has undertaken, since 
this stranger has given him no information whatsoever. As he stands like this,
he suddenly catches sight of a shadow gliding down the white road. It is the 
shadow of a man - a man with a wooden leg - followed by the shadow of a dog. 
Nikolas stands stock-still for a moment, utterly bewildered. Yes, it quite  
definitely is a shadow - and only a shadow. There is no man or dog to 
be seen. The man's shadow stops, turns slowly and looks all round. With 
mounting astonishment Nikolas watches to see what will happen next. 

The man's shadow walks on and joins a group of other shadows engaged in 
digging a grave in the shadow of a tree. We see these shadows of grave 
diggers as they dig their shovels deep in the earth and throw up shadows of 
shovelfuls onto a heap of earth which likewise is a shadow. One of the 
shadows in the grave stops when the shadow of the man with the dog comes up 
to him. After a short conversation between the two men, the shadow of the man 
with the dog turns, takes a few paces in the direction whence he came, and 
beckons to somebody.
Nikolas looks in the same direction and sees a weird procession: two men's 
shadows, sharply outlined against the light road, walking slowly along, 
carrying a dead body. The limply hanging arms and dangling legs show clearly 
that it is a human body. The whole procession of shadows is utterly fantastic. 
Nikolas follows the happenings with the keenest attention; the shadow of the 
man with the dog gives an order; they start laying the body in the grave; 
then the shadow of the man with the dog moves away.

Nikolas has an impulse to follow this shadow. A voice inside him tells him 
that there must be some connection between the apparition in the room of the 
inn and this phenomenon of the shadows. He follows the shadow, which suddenly 
leaves the road and disappears through a door or opening in the wall of a 
factory. This factory is, strictly speaking, only the ruins of a factory 
which has been derelict for many years. Half of the window panes are broken, 
and those remaining are covered in dirt and cobwebs. The tumble-down factory 
looks dismal and fantastic in the moonlight and makes one think of a gigantic 

Nikolas enters the factory by the same opening through which the shadow 
disappeared. The room Nikolas enters is a small, bare, square room, full of 
rubble and stones, through which Nikolas carefully threads his way. There are 
two doors. Nikolas tries one, which leads into a room with no other exit; 
then he opens the other and comes into a room with another door. When Nikolas 
opens this latter door, he finds a steep staircase behind it. Nikolas treads 
gingerly on the stairs to see if they creak; then he goes up the stairs. When 
he reaches the top, he finds himself facing another door. Just as he is about 
to open this, he hears through the door footsteps echoing over the tiled 
floor. Nikolas stands rooted to the spot. The steps come nearer, and as they 
do so we see under the door a steadily increasing shaft of light. He can hear 
that they are the footsteps of a man. He watches the door as if hypnotized. 
The man on the other side has stopped; now the door handle moves, and a key 
is turned. Then the footsteps die away.

Nikolas, who has hardly dared to draw breath for fear of giving himself away, 
tries the door handle. To his surprise the door opens. The man, whose steps 
can no longer be heard, has evidently unlocked the door for an expected visit. 
Nikolas opens the door wide and goes in. He finds himself in a room resembling
a corridor. A little way along there is a door. Nikolas tiptoes up to it and 
opens it. The room into which it leads is empty. Nikolas is about to turn 
back into the corridor when he hears a door slam. He peeps out through the 
partly open door. There now enters, by the door through which he himself has 
passed a moment ago, an old woman of erect bearing, who holds her head high 
and proudly. She must be very old. Her skin is pale as wax, yellowish and 
drawn tight over her cheek-bones. Her movements are stiff and resolute; she 
supports herself on a stick, which strikes the tiles with sharp, regular 
clicks. The old woman is blind. Her eyes are covered with a film and have a 
dead look. Her lips are thin. Her whole face bears the stamp of cruelty.

The moonlight shines through the window, outlining its cruciform frame 
sharply on the floor or the wall. When the blind woman reaches the window, 
she opens it with her stick before continuing on her way, and the shadow of 
the cross disappears. She goes through the door behind which Nikolas has 
hidden, and he decides to follow her. Suddenly she stops, throws her head 
back and sniffs the air like a dog. Nikolas stops too. She turns abruptly and 
		Who's there?
Nikolas waits as quiet as a mouse. The blind woman is reassured and walks on. 
Nikolas follows. But at the first turn of the corridor she vanishes.

Nikolas stands speechless for a moment. Then another remarkable thing 
happens: a sound which has no connection with the preceding scene reaches his 
ear. It is the sound of music, and the tune being played has a dancing 
rhythm, faintly reminiscent of a slow mazurka. Nikolas listens for a second, 
then takes a few steps in the direction of the sound and turns into a 
corridor, at the end of which there is a door. When he opens this, it is as 
if the music, cooped up behind the closed door, now rushes at him like a wave 
falling back to its original level. The music seems to come from some 
apertures in the wall. They are like organ pipes; at all events the music 
swells from them as from an enormous organ. The same blind woman now appears 
in a corner of the room. She stops. She makes a sign with her stick, and the 
music stops.

From the opposite corner of the room a curious figure now comes towards her: 
a lame man as thin as a beanstalk. But in spite of his lameness he moves with 
great agility; he looks remarkably like a great wading bird. Involuntarily he 
uncovers his head and holds his hat in his hand while talking to the blind 
woman. She gives him a curt order and walks on, finally disappearing in the 
factory's labyrinth of passages and corridors.

The shadow of the man with the wooden leg sits down on a bench on which his 
real 'ego' is also sitting ... A man comes up to him. They whisper together. 
The new arrival is an unpleasant character with pig's eyes, a flat nose, a 
low forehead and sparse, stiff bristles. He has an underhung jaw and a 
powerful chin. There is something bestial about his appearance. The two men 
walk over to a window niche, where a man is lying asleep on the floor, 
huddled up like a dog. As the one-legged man wakes the sleeper with a kick 
from his wooden leg, the man with the pig's eyes pulls out his knife and 
tests the cutting edge with his thumb. The sleeper has sharp features and a 
hardened expression, as if his face has been carved in wood. As he gets up he 
scratches his unshaven cheek with a bent forefinger. Then all three disappear.

Nikolas catches sight of a little house, an old, deserted dwelling with 
windows which have been painted over white, and which in the moonlight 
resemble glass eyes.

He goes into the house and enters a corridor. There is a smell of mold. 
Everything is old, dirty and dilapidated. Dust and cobwebs in every corner. 
Perhaps inhabited, perhaps not, very little furniture. An old cupboard, a 
chair, an umbrella lacking its cover, a greasy hat on a hat rack. In the 
corridor there is a door with reinforced panes of glass; the corridor leads 
to a staircase descending to the gloomy depths of a cellar. There is a death-
like hush in the house.
		Is there anybody here?
asks Nikolas in a loud voice.
No answer. The silence seems even deeper after the sound of his own voice. 
Opposite the staircase a door is standing ajar. Nikolas opens it cautiously. 
The room he looks into is peculiar in the extreme. It is depressingly untidy 
and dirty. Collections of eggs, birds and mussel shells, distilling-flasks 
and glasses of all sizes, dusty and filthy, some spiders under glass cases, a 
doctor's scales with weights the color of verdigris, books, apothecary's 
glasses containing leeches and other crawling things. The skeleton of a 
child. A parrot on its perch. But not a single living human being.

Nikolas goes through a door into another room. As he does so he gets the 
feeling that there must have been people here quite recently. In the middle 
of the floor stands a black wooden coffin on two wooden trestles. On the 
floor wood shavings and bricks; on the window ledge a bowl of dirty water, 
soap, a brush and a comb; and, standing against the wall, a saw and other 
carpenter's tools. Nikolas goes through this room in turn. The house's 
inhospitable atmosphere is beginning to oppress him; he has the feeling that 
he is not alone, even if the room is empty. He walks on tiptoe, looks all 
round, and opens and closes the doors cautiously.

The third room is completely empty. Dust is lying so thick that it muffles 
the sound of his footsteps. Flakes of plaster are lying on the floor; they 
have peeled off from the wall and ceiling, on which there are rusty stains 
made by the rain dripping from the leaky roof. In the window there is a 
potted plant hanging, withered, from its stake. 

Facing him a door. This leads into a room with a tiled floor which makes the 
echo sound harsh and cold. Some large boxes bar his way. Then he suddenly 
thinks he sees, directly opposite, a long corridor opening out of a wall with 
no door in it.

When he reaches it, there is no entrance after all, but an uninterrupted 
wall, into which he has bumped; he lights a cigarette, by the light of which 
he sees that he is standing close up against a whitewashed wall which is 
split, cracked and full of mold. He turns round and discovers that he is now 
in an old laundry room. It has not been used since time immemorial. 
Everything is covered in dust. On the copper are standing some rusty bird-
cages and mousetraps. Old paraffin lamps are lying in a heap on the floor; 
but what astonishes Nikolas most is a collection of children's clogs standing 
neatly in rows. They are not quite as dusty as the other things in the old 
laundry room. 

For this reason he goes through the empty room and back to the spot where a 
door leads out to the staircase. There he stops, and now he hears - in the 
quivering stillness of the old house - hounds baying and a child weeping. 
Then a scream, a half-suppressed child's scream, as if a hand had closed over 
the mouth of the screamer. 

It comes from the cellar, but just as Nikolas is about to descend he hears 
steps on the staircase above. Somebody is coming down. He sees only this 
person's hand, as it fumbles its way slowly down the handrail. He can only 
guess at the owner of the hand. The hand continues to glide down, and 
Nikolas, summoning all his courage, says:
		Good evening!
But the hand only rises and gestures to him to be quiet. The person stops on 
the staircase. Not a sound. Then the hand resumes its downward gliding 
movement. Nikolas realizes that it is the hand of an old man. The figure 
continues down to the staircase landing, and Nikolas takes a few steps 
towards him. He sees that it is a slender, elderly man. His hair hangs in 
tangled wisps. He pokes his head forward in an attentive attitude. He is 
wearing spectacles, and his face is marked by unctuous servility, coupled 
with relentless malignity. He looks like a usurer. This man is Marc. At this 
moment everything about him indicates that he is listening.
But Marc interrupts him with a violent movement and bid him be quiet.
He continues to the staircase leading down to the cellar, descends two steps 
and leans over the handrail - we see his neck - and stands there for a long 
time listening, as he leans towards the depths. Then he comes back up to 
Nikolas, and his gaze is fixed and tense.
		Did you hear? 

		Yes, the child ...

But now Marc's bearing changes. He looks as if he has woken from the hypnotic 
state which his intense interest in the cellar has induced. He suddenly 
becomes aware that he is facing a stranger. His face clouds over with 

		The child!

		There's no child here.
		But ... the dogs...

During this exchange he has more or less pushed Nikolas before him to the 
front door, without ever actually touching him. But his intention is clear 

		There's no child here, and no dogs either.
			(opening the front door)
		Good night!
Marc has succeeded in getting rid of Nikolas, and without further comment he 
shuts the door.

Nikolas stands irresolutely for a moment outside the door, while he reflects 
on his visit to this extraordinary house. Then he sets off slowly down the 
road, until at a turn of the road he catches sight of the three disembodied 
shadows that took their orders in the factory from the blind woman. The group 
is recognizable by the man with the wooden leg. Nikolas follows the three 
shadows, feeling instinctively that they will lead him to the man who has 
asked him for help. 

In the house, meanwhile, Marc has turned back to the stairs. From the depths 
of the cellar he hears steps approaching and the sound of a stick striking 
the ground; with great servility he greets the blind woman as she comes up 
the stairs.

Marc follows her with exaggerated and ill-placed attentiveness. He opens for 
her the door into the consulting-room, and closes it behind her. The blind 
woman continues on her way without taking any notice of him. Her head is 
tilted back slightly, as is often done by blind people. She moves forward, 
cold and unbending. As she crosses the consulting-room, she is on the point 
of stumbling over a large box lying open on the floor. Marc kicks it 
hurriedly aside and draws up a chair for her at the table. She ignores him 
completely. When she sits down, he takes her stick and puts it carefully on 
the table. Marc stands motionless and expectant. Then she slowly takes a 
medicine bottle from her pocket. With her bony hand she holds it out to Marc. 
When he takes it she raises her face towards him for the first time. He looks 
at her; they appear to exchange a conspiratorial glance: an order is given 
and received.

At this moment an explosion of laughter is heard from the parrot. Marc tears 
off his spectacles - which rest a little way down his nose - polishes them 
and gives the parrot a near-sighted, malicious and knowing look. Then he goes 
to a shelf on which he places the medicine bottle with the poison label.

We go from the sinister house to a neighboring castle. A shot of the road, 
where we see Nikolas on his way to the castle. 

The camera moves to a certain window on the ground floor of the castle, 
behind which we see a man getting up and taking a lamp. This is the man who, 
at the inn, visited Nikolas in a dream. We can call him Bernard. He leaves 
the room.
Bernard enters a room arranged as a sick-room. A woman is lying there in bed; 
it is his daughter, whose name is Léone. A nurse is looking after her. Léone 
is a woman of twenty-six. She is very pale, as if suffering from anemia. 
Bernard goes up to the bed. The nurse stands beside him and says:
		The wounds are nearly healed!
Bernard holds the lamp so that the light falls on Léone's throat. In the 
middle of her throat, where the jugular vein shows blue under the white skin, 
we see two small marks, reminiscent of those that appear after a cat- or rat-
bite. There have been two wounds, but they are now closing and healing. 
Bernard prepares to go. He turns in the door, because Léone has stirred. She 
moves her lips as if in a horrible dream, and her face takes on an expression 
of terror. She stammers out:
		The blood! ... The blood! ...
Then she seems to calm down. Bernard goes back to the bed. Léone opens her 
eyes, recognizes her father, gives him a feeble smile and takes his hand. 
Bernard looks at her with intensely serious eyes. It is evident that even if 
he does not know the cause of her condition, he has his suspicions about it. 
He takes a last look at his daughter and goes. In the door he turns to the 
		You mustn't lie down and go to sleep until the 
		doctor has been here!
The nurse promises not to do so. As he closes the door, Léone moves again. 
The nurse watches her closely.
Léone's sick-room. The nurse puts a chair by the bed.

Nikolas jumps up on the wall ringing the castle. When he appears on the wall, 
his body forms a ghostly silhouette against the night sky (to suggest the 
shadows he is pursuing).
The three shadows emerge from the shadow of the trees, steal across the 
moonlit courtyard and disappear into the deep shadows of the castle.
Bernard in the corridor, outside the door of his room. He still has the lamp 
in his hand. He goes into his room.
Enter Nikolas (from another direction than the three shadows we saw in an 
earlier shot). He finds himself under the room that Bernard has just entered. 
Through the lighted window he sees Bernard putting down his lamp and 
recognizes him as the man who visited him in his dreams. At the same moment 
he sees the three shadows going diagonally across the ceiling of the room; at 
that moment Bernard leaves the window and goes across to a bookshelf. Nikolas 
rushes to the main door of the castle. He rings vigorously at the door. The 
bell gives a feeble ring. The echo dies away, and everything is quiet again. 
Nikolas rings again. Now he hears behind the door an old person's shuffling 
steps. He tugs at the door and shouts:
		Open up ... open up quickly ... hurry!
The door remains closed, but inside he hears
		Who is it?
		For God's sake ... hurry .. . they're killing 
Then the door opens, but only a few inches. Through the chink we see old 
Joseph, a faithful manservant. He is wearing only trousers and a shirt, which 
is open at the neck. His braces are hanging down his back. He is carrying a 
lamp in his hand. The manservant wants to know more, but at this very moment 
a long-drawn-out scream is heard, hideous and horrifying. For a moment this 
scream seems to paralyze the two men. The manservant puts his hand to his 
mouth in order not to scream himself. Mechanically he opens the door wide. 
The two men rush into the house.
The nurse opens the door in terror. Her facial contortions show that the 
invalid has heard nothing, but that on the other hand she dare not leave her 
This adjoins Bernard's room. The manservant and Nikolas try to open the door 
into Bernard's room, but the body of the dying man is lying just behind the 
door, preventing them from opening it more than a few inches. The dying man's 
screams fill them with horror.
		The other door!
He gives Nikolas the lamp and hurries out to the other entrance to the room 
containing the dying man. When the manservant goes into the room, he finds 
his master slumped up against the door, with one hand still clutching the 
door handle convulsively, as if trying to escape the lethal weapon which has 
struck him just as he reached the door. His screams give way to gasps, and he 
has difficulty in breathing. Nikolas has put the lamp on the piece of 
furniture nearest the door. Now he comes up, and at a sign from the 
manservant makes the murdered man release his grip on the door handle. The 
dying man tries desperately to open his eyes and speak. Then it grows quiet, 
and in the silence only his labored breathing can be heard. Suddenly he gives 
a deep sigh, at the same time opening his eyes and looking frantically 
around. He looks up at Nikolas. An expression of surprise lights up his face 
for a moment. The manservant has intercepted this look and glances curiously 
at Nikolas. But the dying man's stare again becomes fixed and glassy. He 
Nikolas gets up; on a table he finds a tray with cups and a jug of linden 
tea. He pours out a little tea in a cup, which he lowers to the dying man. 
With a teaspoon he moistens the dying man's lips.

While Nikolas has been occupied with the tray, an old serving woman has 
arrived at the door connecting the death-room with the drawing-room. It is 
the housekeeper of the castle, the wife of the old manservant; they tell her 
to come in by the other door. She enters with the chamber-maid. The old 
housekeeper moves her hands incessantly under her motley apron.

On the staircase landing the nurse is still standing, terror-stricken, 
outside the open door of Léone's room, listening and staring out into the 
darkness. Then Gisèle appears, wearing an apron-like dress, the sleeves of 
which are gathered in a tight band round her wrists. A very simple and 
slightly old-fashioned dress, which can easily be turned into a kimono. She 
thinks the scream has come from the sick-room, and is surprised to find the 
nurse on the stairs.
		Wasn't it her?
		No, it's down there.
The nurse listens for sounds in Léone's room, while Gisèle runs down the 
Enter Gisèle. She stops dead by the door, paralyzed by the sight of her 
father lying on the point of death. She looks at the chamber-maid and the old 
housekeeper, who are clinging to each other, while the tears run down their 
cheeks. Beside herself, and with eyes dilated with terror, she goes to her 
father and kneels by his side. He understands that she is there. His face 
lights up for a moment, after which he closes his eyes again for a while, as 
if trying to draw breath for the few words he wants to say; but he has not 
sufficient strength left. He uses his last ounce of strength to draw a ring 
from his finger. He hands the ring to Gisèle, who recognizes it. It is a 
signet ring, the signet of which is formed like a tiny gold cross. She holds 
it in the hollow of her hand, while her eyes fill with tears. The dying man 
catches Gisèle's eye and, as it were, guides it over to Nikolas as if to say: 
'This man will protect you.' His gaze becomes vacant, without consciousness, 
fixed and glassy. His breathing comes in jerks. Nikolas tries to moisten his 
lips but the liquid runs down his chin and thence onto his breast. His teeth 
are firmly clenched, and the corners of his mouth are sagging. The brief 
death-struggle has begun. While we see the little group by the door, which 
has been joined by the old coachman, we hear the dying man's death-rattle. 
Tears run down the coachman's furrowed cheeks.
The nurse is still standing there. The death-rattle reaches her ears. She 
goes into Léone's room and shuts the door behind her.
Here the silence of death prevails. The group by the door follows with bated 
breath the last spasms of the death-struggle. Now the murdered lord of the 
castle is drawing his last gasp. The old housekeeper goes up to Gisèle, who 
is no longer weeping but merely stares uncomprehendingly at her father's 
lifeless body. The old housekeeper calls to her gently. Gisèle looks at her 
in surprise.
		Is he dead?
The old woman nods. Gisèle looks once more at her father's face, then bursts 
into tears and without offering any resistance lets herself be led across to 
the wall, where she collapses into a chair, throwing her arms round the old 
woman and clinging to her hand. She says nothing. She only weeps and weeps. 
The coachman goes out.
Nikolas and the manservant carry the dead man across to a sofa. While the 
manservant is still in the room, Nikolas goes up to Gisèle. He helps the maid 
to lead Gisèle away. The latter is led out unresisting. He takes her by the 
arm. She hides her face in her hands and weeps heart-rendingly. The 
manservant remains in the room. He walks round in a curiously restless way; 
he makes a number of unconscious movements with his hands, as if wanting to 
make somebody or other keep quiet.
The coachman crosses the courtyard, opens the door of the carriage entrance, 
and draws out a hunting carriage. He pulls it slowly and carefully, as if 
wanting to muffle the sound.
The old housekeeper has gone on ahead in order to light a lamp. Nikolas gets 
Gisèle to sit down. Her gaze is vacant, and the only sound that comes from 
her is a suppressed sobbing.

Nikolas walks to and fro in this ante-chamber of death, deeply disturbed by 
the scene he has just witnessed. As he reaches the door, the old housekeeper 
is standing in front of him.
			(in a low voice)
		Couldn't you stay here ... until ...
Nikolas replies with a movement of his head, then continues to pace the 
The coachman leads a horse from the stable.
Nikolas stops in front of Gisèle's chair and looks compassionately at her. 
She is sitting as motionless as a stone. Only her lips are trembling, as if 
she is praying quietly. Suddenly she senses his presence. She looks up at him 
imploringly and says in a voice choked with tears:
		It's so dark here!
He takes out some matches and lights the lamps on an old piano, which is 
covered with a faded green silk cloth. The only sound is the monotonous tick-
tock of an old clock, which suggests the dull beating of an almost exhausted 
The coachman is hitching the horses.
Nikolas lights another lamp, and as he puts out the match he looks at Gisèle. 
She is sitting with her hands in her lap, rocking her head backwards and 
forwards. Her eyes are glazed. She is doing all she can to prevent herself 
from breaking down completely, but when the first tears trickle down her 
cheeks she breaks into sobs. She lifts her clenched hands to her eyes and 
weeps. Nikolas goes over to her. He knows that he can do absolutely nothing, 
however much he wants to quench her sorrow. He bends over her, as if wanting 
to speak the words of consolation that she needs, but before he can say 
anything she bursts out:
		How can anyone endure to live here?
Nikolas strokes her hair and goes to the window, from which he sees
The coachman is putting on his cloak; he sits up and drives the carriage out.
Gisèle jumps up at the sound of the carriage. In her anxious and overwrought 
condition she endows every sound with meaning. She goes to the window, looks 
out and asks:
		Where is he going?
		To fetch the police! 

answers Nikolas.
The sound of the carriage dies away, but Gisèle remains standing with her 
face pressed against the window pane. Nikolas goes to a lamp, by the light of 
which he takes out the sealed parcel that the stranger gave him in the inn, 
breaks the seal and finds a book. Nikolas tiptoes over to a chair, lifts it 
carefully, turns it towards the lamplight, and sits down without a sound. 
Sitting there, he begins to read the book from the beginning.
Léone is lying in bed. The nurse is sitting in the room with her sewing 
things. Suddenly she raises her eyes. A number of little furrows have 
appeared on Léone's forehead. Her breathing becomes irregular and labored. 
Her face is twisted, as if she is tormented by fear and uncertainty. She 
opens her eyes, and her gaze is fixed and distant, as if held by someone a 
long way away. She looks like a medium under hypnosis. She is visibly no 
longer master of her own will, or she is under the influence of a power 
stronger than her own. In spite of her weakened condition she raises herself 
on her elbow and shouts very loudly:
		Yes ... yes!
as if someone has called to her. The nurse has put aside her sewing things 
and is throwing off the blanket in which she has wrapped herself for the 
night. Outside the dog howls - penetrating, long-drawn-out howls. Léone 
raises herself still further until she is sitting on the edge of the bed.
		Yes ... I'm coming!
The nurse hurries over to her, but Léone, who moves just like somebody 
hypnotized, is on her way to the door. The nurse blocks her path by pushing a 
chair in front of her. The nurse stands before her and stares hard at her to 
catch her eye. The chair prevents Léone from advancing. The nurse tries 
gently to wake her, as one talks to a child crying in its sleep.
		You're dreaming ... you're dreaming!
Now a remarkable change comes over Léone; her tense expression relaxes. The 
hypnotic suggestion gradually seems to lose its hold on her, as if the other 
party has suddenly reconsidered and decided to wait for a better opportunity. 
She returns to her normal state of mind. She looks in surprise at the nurse, 
who leads her gently back to bed. Léone offers no resistance and even 
cooperates actively in getting into bed. The nurse sits down beside her.
		What were you dreaming about?
		A voice ...
		That spoke to you?
		That called ... commanded ...
		What did it say?
Léone makes no reply.

Her eyelids close again. To all appearances she is sleeping the deep, sound 
sleep of an over-tired child. The nurse watches her anxiously. This peaceful 
and apparently quite normal sleep inspires her with fear rather than 
confidence. She goes into the adjoining room to rinse some medicine bottles 
and the like. At almost the same moment Léone wakes up with a start. She 
listens intently for the previous distant call; without a word she hurriedly 
throws off the blanket and steals out - so quietly that the nurse suspects 
Gisèle at the window with her forehead pressed against the cold pane. Nikolas 
is sitting reading the book.

Gisèle suddenly raises her head and looks out in the park.
		Léone ...
Nikolas looks up.
		Look! ... Look! ... There, in the park!
Nikolas hurries over to the window. The next moment they rush out into the 
hall; here they are joined by the manservant and the nurse, who come down the 
stairs in great agitation.
		Take the lantern!
He points to the lantern which the coachman has left at the foot of the 
stairs. The manservant's wife, the old housekeeper, comes in with her 
husband's jacket. He hastily puts it on. Then they all hurry out to
By the time they are out there, Léone is nowhere to be seen. They begin a 
thorough search of the park, which looks ghostly with its moonlit sandstone 
statues. Some of the tree trunks are painted white. They look like skeletons, 
swaying backwards and forwards. Spiders' webs shine like silver. From time to 
time a bird flies off in alarm. We begin by following the manservant, as he 
makes his way through bushes and undergrowth with the lantern held high over 
his head like a luminous hour-glass. With his free hand he holds his jacket 
tightly round his neck. In the distance we hear Gisèle shouting anxiously:
		Léone! ... Léone!
We see the old housekeeper standing on the stairs and looking out into the 
park. Gisèle's cries can still be heard. Now we follow Nikolas and Gisèle, 
who are together. Suddenly Nikolas stops and calls to Gisèle. He points out a 
group at some distance from them. On a stone table covered with ivy a white 
figure is lying prostrate. Bending over her a dark shape can be dimly 
discerned - as far as can be judged, that of an old woman. The white figure 
is lying in such a way that its head hangs over the edge of the table, and 
the attitude of the dark figure suggests that its lips must be in contact 
with the prostrate woman's throat.
Nikolas and Gisèle, terror-stricken, make for the spot. Now the dark figure 
appears to notice them. Like a dog when it is disturbed, the figure turns its 
head irritably and stares at the newcomers with the dead eyes of a blind 
person. With a grimace resembling nothing so much as a snarl, it bends down 
again over Léone, but straightens up once more as if abandoning its plan, and 
just as it looks as if it will turn away and go it dissolves into thin air. 
Nikolas and Gisèle have reached the stone table. It is indeed Léone. Gisèle 
is already at her side. She looks in perplexity at Léone's thrown-back head. 
There is a gentle expression on Léone's lips, which are parted in a peaceful 
smile. Her hands are hanging down, white and limp. She looks in every respect 
as if she is dead. Nikolas puts his ear to her mouth to listen to her 
breathing ... which is very weak ... Gisèle cups Léone's face carefully in 
her hands and turns it towards her.
		Léone! Léone!
Léone slowly opens her eyes and looks for a long time in astonishment at 
Gisèle, who says in a disappointed, imploring voice:
		But it's me ... Gisèle!
Léone's eyelids close again. Only a narrow strip of white can be seen between 
the closed eyelids. Gisèle shows signs of wanting to call Léone back to 
		Don't wake her!
At the same moment the manservant comes up, and Nikolas takes the lantern 
from his hand, letting the light fall on Léone's face.
		Look ... blood! ...
And she points at Léone's throat. The manservant opens his eyes wide and 
leans forward to look. Then he takes Léone in his arms, as if she was a 
child, and carries her to the castle. At the entrance the housekeeper is 
waiting. The nurse brings her a shawl or blanket; the housekeeper runs to 
meet the group and wraps Léone in the blanket. The little procession is now 
approaching the house. Nikolas runs on ahead to open the double door. The 
nurse goes up to the sick-room, shuts the windows and arranges the bed. 
Meanwhile the manservant carries Léone up the stairs. Gisèle follows behind. 
Nikolas shuts the double door, goes into the drawing-room and continues his 
reading of the diary. His jaw is set in determination. A page of the book is 
The manservant has laid Léone on the bed and now goes out. The nurse settles 
Léone and discovers the wound in her throat; she takes a wad of cotton-wool, 
moistens it with a disinfectant rinse from a bottle, and dabs the liquid on 
the wound. Léone shudders convulsively, puts her hand on the wound and 
groans. The nurse goes out.
			(calling softly)
		Léone! ... Léone ...

Léone wakes up, but seems not to recognize Gisèle. She looks at her sister as 
if she has just woken from an evil and hideous dream. Then suddenly she seems 
to realize where she is. She shivers, puts her transparent hands to her face 
and weeps silently.
			(bending over her)
		Why are you crying?
Léone continues weeping for a little; then she says:
		I wish I was dead!
		No, no ... Léone!
 			(still weeping behind 
			her white hands)
		Yes, yes, yes ... I am lost ... I am sinking 
		deeper and deeper into the darkness ... I am 
		afraid ... I am afraid! ...

Gisèle gives her a comforting pat on the arm. Léone takes her hands from her 
face. The nurse returns. Léone glances round the room, as if looking for 
		Where is ... ?
Gisèle hardly knows how to answer; she looks enquiringly at the nurse, who 

		Your father?
		The master ... is asleep!
Léone smiles, gives a sigh of contentment and closes her eyes. She sighs 
again with relief and lies peacefully for a moment with closed eyes.  Then a 
remarkable transformation occurs. A deathly pallor spreads across her face. 
Her breathing becomes more rapid. Her mouth opens. Her lips tighten. Then she 
opens her eyes. They are now hard, almost malevolent. Her face takes on an 
expression of lust when she sees Gisèle. The latter shrinks away 
uncomprehendingly, seized with fear and pain. The nurse gives her to 
understand that she had better go.
Nikolas is there with the old housekeeper, who with old-world courtesy brings 
him a cup of strong coffee. Just as she is handing Nikolas the cup, Gisèle 
comes in. With a distracted expression she shuts the door mechanically and 
goes and sits down. The old housekeeper puts the other cup down beside 
Gisèle, who is completely absorbed by her recent strange experience. The 
other two look at her enquiringly.
			(back in the present)
		I think Léone is dying!
The old housekeeper goes. Gisèle shakes her head like somebody trying to get 
to the bottom of an insoluble mystery. Nikolas takes the cup and puts it in 
her hand. Mechanically she takes a gulp and puts the cup down; then she gives 
a sudden start, as if she has heard a piercing death-scream. She sits for a 
moment with her mouth agape and her eyes wide open. Then she stands up, 
rushes to the window and looks out. She seems surprised at not seeing 
anything and turns towards Nikolas.
		Didn't you hear something?
Nikolas shakes his head, goes up to her and forces her to sit down on a 
chair; but she cannot refrain from turning towards the window.
		You're tired!
He glances at her and turns back to his cup of coffee, which he put down a 
moment ago. Now he puts it very carefully on the table. An oppressive silence 
has settled over the house.
		Oh, the silence!
She presses her extended fingers against her breast, as if trying to free it 
from the pressure of the silence.  Nikolas watches her for a little. Then he 
goes to the piano and begins to play. At the first touch she rises, goes 
slowly across the room and stands behind him. She stands there with her hands 
behind her back, until the music finishes. Then she says very quietly:
		Thank you!
A moment later she adds:
		I'll try to get a little sleep!
She takes a few steps, turns and says:
		You're not leaving us, I hope?
Nikolas rises and goes close up to her. She looks into his eyes like a 
trusting child. He gazes at her with infinite tenderness. Then he bends down 
and kisses her impulsively on the forehead. She gives him a smile of 
gratitude and goes into the adjoining room, where she lies down on the sofa 
and draws up a blanket over her. Nikolas stands gazing after her. A tear 
trickles from the corner of his eye down his cheek. From the other room he 
hears her voice:
		Play something more!
He turns back to the piano and plays the same tune again. Gisèle's eyelids 
close. She sleeps.

As the last notes die away, the old manservant enters the drawing-room. 
Nikolas hastily turns towards him and puts his finger to his lips as a 
warning not to make any noise. The manservant says quietly:
		The police are here.
Outside can be heard faintly the noise of a carriage rumbling over the 
cobbles in the courtyard. Nikolas leaves the room, together with the 
The two men emerge from the house and stand at the head of the steps. The 
carriage drives up the last few yards. The horse walks as if sunk in its own 
thoughts; then it stops abruptly. Joseph takes the lantern, which has been 
left on the steps, and slowly approaches the carriage. After a few paces he 
stops. Now he can see the whole carriage clearly and the coachman is alone.
		Are you alone?
No answer! He takes a few more steps and repeats his question:
		Are you alone?
Still no answer. Joseph turns to Nikolas, who in the meantime has come 
nearer. They look more closely at the coachman, who is sitting in a curious 
position with his legs stretched out stiffly against the dashboard of the 
carriage. He has the reins in his hand, but they are hanging loose. Joseph 
goes still nearer to the carriage and lifts the lantern. The coachman is 
sitting as if asleep. Nikolas clambers up behind the coachman's seat. Joseph 
hands him the lantern, which he holds in front of the coachman's face. He 
sees two staring, glassy eyes. Half-paralyzed with terror, Nikolas hands the 
lantern back to Joseph. In the hope that the coachman is merely asleep, 
Nikolas puts his hand on his shoulder to waken him. But at the first touch 
the coachman's head sinks on his breast, and his whole body slumps forward.

Meanwhile the manservant has placed the lantern on the ground, and as soon as 
Nikolas has got down from the carriage the manservant draws his attention to 
blood dripping from the floor of the carriage - drip! drip!

Both men stand for a moment as if hypnotized by this fearful new discovery. 
Then Nikolas hurries into the house. During all this the other servants have 
gathered round the carriage. They shudder at the sight of the dead coachman 
and stare at the horse, which - with a corpse at the reins - has found its 
way home unaided. Joseph gets up onto the carriage ...
Enter Nikolas. He shuts the door very quietly behind him as if afraid that by 
making the slightest noise he will bring about still worse misfortunes. He 
tiptoes to the piano and extinguishes the two lights on it. As he is doing 
this, he cocks an ear to listen for Gisèle's breathing; then he resumes his 
reading of the diary, a page of which is shown. As he reads we hear in the 
distance the sound of horses' hooves on the paving stones ... also the sound 
of the carriage being put away. Then silence reigns again around the old 
house. Nikolas listens out into the silence. Is he awake, or are all these 
fearful happenings merely a long, horrible nightmare? The heart of the old 
clock is still beating. After a moment a deep sigh is heard from a corner of 
the room. Nikolas looks in that direction. A cello is standing there. One of 
the strings has slipped, and as he looks at it another string breaks. Then 
silence again wraps its mantle round the room.

Nikolas begins reading again, but now the hideous, piercing screech of the 
doorbell is heard throughout the house. Nikolas puts down his book, goes to 
the window and looks out. There he sees a man, who turns his back on him. 
Joseph comes running from the stable buildings. Nikolas gathers that the 
stranger must be the doctor, for he and Joseph start discussing Léone's 
		How is she?
Joseph explains to him that things are going rather badly. The young lady has 
been found in the park. In answer to the doctor's exclamation of surprise 
Joseph explains that she has climbed out of a window.
		Was she alone, then?
		Yes, just for a moment.
Meanwhile the doctor has come in, followed by the manservant, who is carrying 
his bag for him.  When the doctor enters the ante-room, Nikolas opens the 
door. The stranger, who has hung up his hat, turns round. It is Marc, whom 
Nikolas met in the little house behind the factory. They look hard at each 
other for a moment.
		Good evening!
		Good evening!
answers the doctor, and it is he who eases the tension of the situation by 
saying to the manservant:
		Let's go try ... it's high time ...
The doctor hurries to get in front of the manservant. As soon as his back is 
turned, Nikolas goes up to the manservant and makes him understand that he is 
to go in to Gisèle. The manservant goes into the drawing-room. Nikolas runs 
up the stairs behind the doctor.
The doctor hurries in and goes straight to the bed. The nurse's face takes on 
an expression of fear. She is giving the patient camphor. Léone is paler than 
before. Her features are hard and sharp, her lips blue. It is painful to see 
her and hear her breathing. Beside herself, the nurse turns to the doctor and 
		It's going very badly!
		Her pulse?
		Very weak!
The doctor lifts the patient's eyelids, then examines her lips and gums. Next 
he takes Léone's wrist to feel her pulse. As he does so, he glances towards 
the door, where Nikolas is standing. An expression of surprise passes across 
the doctor's face; then he smiles the most fleeting of smiles. He lets go of 
Léone's hand and looks closely at her face. The nurse, who has been following 
his slightest movement, asks anxiously:
		Is she dying?
He takes a few steps away from the bed and seems to fall into deep thought 
then he says, as if talking to himself:
		Perhaps we could save her ...
Nikolas and the nurse follow him with their eyes. He speaks as if adding a 
link to the chain of thought he is forging for himself.
		Will you give her blood?
The question is addressed to Nikolas. He looks across at Léone. He feels 
certain the doctor is right, and if he does not immediately declare himself 
willing, it is because his feelings are divided between the obvious need to 
save Léone and his fear and uncertainty about this man. He looks at the 
nurse. Her anxiety has disappeared, and a gleam of confidence and hope shines 
in her eyes.

The doctor comes a step nearer and says, emphasizing each word:
		Immediately ... this very moment!
Nikolas makes no reply. He almost fails to notice the nurse, whose face 
reflects disappointment and sorrow. The doctor looks at him for a moment, 
then turns away and shrugs his shoulders.

Nikolas straightens up, takes off his coat, and rolls up one of his shirt 
sleeves. The nurse gets up with a happy smile and crosses to the table on 
which are bottles and instruments. The doctor, however, closes the door 
behind Nikolas, who has the feeling that he has let himself be caught in a 
Joseph goes to the door of the room where Gisèle is. His face shows surprise 
when he discovers Gisèle on the sofa; she is sitting motionless, with her 
legs drawn up under her and her head leaning back against the wall, staring 
fixedly at him with wide-open, startled eyes. As if talking to herself, she 
		Why does the doctor always come at night?
The manservant goes up to her in order to calm her.
By the time we return there, all the preparations for the blood transfusion 
are completed.
Joseph returns from the room where Gisèle is. He has evidently succeeded in 
calming her. He goes and sits in the chair where Nikolas sat. He rests his 
head in his hand. He sees the open diary and begins reading it.
The blood transfusion is now in progress. The only words are curt orders 
like: 'Now! - Quickly! - That's enough! - Give it to me! - Sit still!' etc.
Joseph is reading the diary, which arouses his interest more and more. It is 
as if he finds a connection between what he reads and the fearful events that 
have taken place around him. An extract from the diary is shown.
The blood transfusion continues. Marc has positioned himself outside the 
circle of light from the lamp, so that he can see Nikolas in bright light, 
while he himself sits in the dark. Nikolas watches Léone's face anxiously and 
closely during her struggle with death. Life slowly seems to return to her, 
and her breathing becomes more peaceful. She opens her eyes and looks at the 
people round her, but she is much too enfeebled to speak, and closes her eyes 
again. Marc keeps a close watch on Nikolas, who grows paler and paler. His 
eyes swivel slowly from Nikolas to the patient and back to Nikolas again.
Another fragment of the diary is shown [having to do with vampires].
The blood transfusion is completed. While Marc himself is looking after the 
patient, the nurse leads Nikolas into an adjoining room, where she makes him 
sit down and prepares his bandage. The doctor stands bending over Léone.
		Is he in a bad way?
			(as she bandages Nikolas)
		Yes, rather.
		Give him a tablet!
The nurse brings a tablet which she gives to Nikolas with a glass of water. 
He puts the glass down on a table near him. Then she covers him up, puts out 
the lamp and goes into the sick-room, the door of which is ajar, leaving a 
strip of light visible. Meanwhile the nurse has been moving about, putting 
Léone's room straight. The doctor looks at her for a moment; then he says:
		You can lie down now and sleep. I'll keep watch!
The nurse continues working with great zeal. The doctor now says to her in a 
cutting, almost hissing, tone:
		Did you hear what I said?
The nurse looks at him in astonishment and encounters a cold stare. She 
realizes that there is no use in protesting; it would be in vain. She puts 
aside what she has in her hands, and goes off. The doctor closes the door 
after her and looks round the room.

In the adjoining room Nikolas has dozed off. He feels very weak. In this 
weakened condition he feels as if he is fainting, which is curious, because 
at one and the same time he is both fully conscious and far away. Suddenly he 
wakes from his doze and stares, open-mouthed, at his bandaged arm. The blood 
can be seen seeping through the bandage. The wound is throbbing.
		Doctor, doctor!
From the next room can be heard the doctor's cold, biting voice:
		What is it?
		The wound is bleeding!
		Go to sleep!
Nikolas lets his arm fall into the same position as before, dangling over the 
arm of the chair. In his semi-conscious state he hears the doctor's voice, 
which has taken on quite a different tone; he whispers seductively and 
reassuringly, as if trying to convince a child and overcome its resistance by 
means of gentleness - or as one talks to somebody one wants to hypnotize. In 
his drowsy condition Nikolas hears only a few isolated words of this 
monologue, which in its entirety sounds something like this:
		You are suffering ... you are tired ... come 
		with me ... we shall become one ... bodies, 
		souls, blood ... there is only one way of 
		escaping from your suffering and finding peace 
		... follow me ... you will not be freed until 
		you have taken your own life ... come ... I am 
		waiting for you ...
Then everything is quiet. In the silence Nikolas hears a sound: drip, drip! 
He leans forward and looks down. On the floor he sees the lantern - which 
Joseph was carrying when the coachman arrived, apparently dead. The sound of 
dripping comes from somewhere near the lantern ... and now he sees what it 
is: blood running from his wound down onto his fingers and thence to the 
floor, where a regular pool has already formed. With an expression of 
bewilderment he looks towards the door into the sick-room and calls:
Again the doctor answers in an ice-cold, hissing voice:
		What is it now?
		I'm losing my blood!
		You're losing your blood?
			(slowly and emphatically)
		Nonsense! ... It's here! ... Your blood ...
Nikolas sits there for a moment - uncomprehending and irresolute then he 
leans forward and looks down. The sound of dripping has ceased, the pool of 
blood and the lantern have disappeared. When he lifts his hand he sees that 
it is completely white, and that the bandage is in order. With a weary smile 
he settles himself comfortably in the easy chair. He both sees and does not 
see the light behind the door of the sick-room moving away and disappearing.
Here the old manservant is sitting, completely absorbed in the diary. 
Suddenly he raises his head, as if he has heard a sound. He starts to his 
feet, with an overwhelming sense of dread and foreboding. He is filled with a 
presentiment of some horror or other. He goes to the window and sees on the 
paving stones the shadow of a window on the first floor. There is a light 
behind the window and the light is moving. He goes cautiously into the hall. 
When he has climbed a few steps of the staircase he can see Marc in the 
window. In his hand he is holding a lamp which he moves backwards and 
forwards several times. The manservant stands there motionless and with bated 
breath ... 

A remarkable change is taking place in Nikolas. His lips open. His breathing 
becomes more rapid. He is apparently in the throes of a sort of paroxysm, as 
if some stranger's will is trying to gain control over him.

Now Nikolas wakes with a start, filled with terror, depression, anxiety and 
despondency. He looks up. The manservant is standing at his side with the 
glass of water that the nurse brought for him earlier, when he was on the 
point of fainting. At the same moment he realizes what has happened: it was 
his own blood that spoke to him in his dream, which is therefore nothing but 
a horrible mirror-image of what has occurred at Léone's bedside. He pushes 
the glass of water away, and makes his way past the manservant to the sick-
room, which is almost completely dark, being lit only by a single small 
nightlight. He tears the door open.

On entering, he sees Marc coming from the door leading out to the stairs. 
When he sees Nikolas, Marc's expression becomes hard and malevolent, and he 
increases his pace. Nikolas, however, reaches the bed first. He turns ice-
cold with horror at the sight of Léone. She is lying there almost lifeless. 
She is whiter even than the bed-linen covering her. Her face is heavy with 
sleep and relaxed, as if from the caress of a gentle hand. The little 
medicine bottle with the poison label, which we recognize from earlier 
scenes, is held in her hand, and with her last remaining strength she is 
trying to raise it to her mouth. At the very moment when the bottle touches 
her lips, Nikolas succeeds in snatching it from her. He throws it into a 
corner of the room, where it smashes. Then he hurries to Léone, and uses his 
handkerchief to wipe a drop of poison from her lips.

Somewhere in the house a crash is heard, as if somebody has slammed the main 
door violently to, then another crash, but less violent than before. The 
manservant seizes Nikolas involuntarily by the arm.
		Stay here!
And he hurries out of the room. From the staircase landing he sees a light at 
the foot of the stairs. The light is whirling round. The shadow of the 
handrail flickers nervously on the wall. Nikolas is seized by a new fear: he 
is uneasy about Gisèle and hurries down. The nurse, who has been woken by the 
noise, darts into Léone's room. Nikolas rushes through the drawing-room into 
Gisèle's room. She is not there. He listens for her breathing, but not a 
sound reaches him. He lights a match. Her bed is empty. The blanket has been 
thrown back. He hurriedly searches the adjoining rooms, which are lying in 
darkness behind closed shutters, and returns to the hall.

From the moment he set off down the stairs, a penetrating, continuous howling 
has been audible outside. He goes to the door, under which at the same moment 
a white paper appears. He picks it up and reads the inscription: 'Dust thou 
art, unto dust thou shalt return.' He opens the door just quickly enough to 
see the shadow of the man with the wooden leg moving off the white paving 
stones of the courtyard and disappearing into the shadows of the trees. 
Nikolas hurries off in the same direction.
The nurse stands leaning over Léone. It is evident that the patient's 
strength is ebbing away. The nurse and the manservant are aware that 
everything will soon be over. Léone realizes it herself. She moans, sobs and 
wails. The nurse consoles her as best she can. As for the manservant, he 
appears to be maturing in his mind some great project or other. Léone, who 
has great difficulty in getting the words out, says:
		I am damned ... oh God, oh my God!
The manservant's mouth is twitching, which shows clearly that he is faced 
with an important decision, and he gives a deep sigh, like a man who knows 
that he is playing with life and death. Then he calls the nurse over to the 
door and says:
		She must not die now ... you must keep her 
		alive until morning comes ...
The nurse nods. Then the manservant goes. On the threshold he stops.
		God help me!
He makes the sign of the cross and goes. The nurse returns to Léone's bed. 
She puts her hands up to her face, presses her fingers hard against her eyes 
and sobs quietly.
Nikolas is running in the direction of the factory.
The manservant comes pushing a wheelbarrow and stops in front of a tool-shed, 
from which by the light of a lantern he takes a pick-axe and a shovel; he 
puts these in the wheelbarrow. He is just about to go when he realizes that 
he has forgotten something. He goes back into the shed and takes a long 
crowbar and a wooden mallet. These objects likewise he puts in the 
wheelbarrow, fastens the lantern on the handle of the wheelbarrow, and sets 
Nikolas enters at a run and suddenly falls headlong.
The manservant pushes his wheelbarrow along the wall. He makes for the 
churchyard gate.
Nikolas is lying on the spot where he fell. Suddenly his body divides in two. 
One part (his 'ego') remains lying unconscious, while the other (his dream) 
gets up with evident difficulty. He slowly comes to and looks round in 
amazement. Not far off he notices an object on the ground. It is Gisèle's 
ring - the ring with the cross which her father gave her. He picks it up and 
examines it carefully, as if Gisèle has sent him a message by means of the 
ring; he looks round in the hope of finding a clue which direction to go in 
order to find her again. Then he discovers some footsteps in the sandy earth, 
looking as if they have just been made before his very eyes by a pair of 
invisible feet - Gisèle's feet. He gets up and follows these footsteps. They 
lead him to
He goes in at the door, which opens easily, and finds himself in a dark yard 
at the back of the house. He gropes his way forward in the shadow of the 
house, until he finds a door without a handle. He opens this in turn. He now 
finds himself in the old laundry room, which he recognizes from his previous 
visit. From here he knows the way into the house and goes straight to the 
door at the other end of the laundry room. He enters the empty room adjoining 
it. Here everything is as he last saw it. His own footsteps are clearly 
visible in the dust on the floor; nobody has been here. He listens. Not a 
sound in the house. He looks for the door into the room where the coffin 
stood before. It is locked. So something has happened since his last visit. 
He tries hard to open the door, but in vain.

He must and shall continue! From the staircase landing he discovers that the 
door into the consulting-room is open. The moon throws a white beam on the 
Is there someone in there? He steals along on tiptoe, holding on to the 
handrail, and reaches a point from which he can see most of the room. Inch by 
inch his view of the room increases, but there is nobody to be seen. On the 
other hand a large box or something of the kind is standing in the middle of 
the floor. It is covered by a white cloth. He goes into the room. The door 
into the adjoining room is open. It was there that he saw the coffin before - 
and this must be the coffin - surely it must be the coffin under the white 
cloth. He goes up to it. The cloth is draped over somebody lying in the open 
coffin. The lid is leaning up against the wall. Merciful God! Gisèle! What 
has happened? Has he come too late! He looks again at the lid of the coffin 
standing by the wall. Something is painted on it in large capital letters. He 
reads: 'Dust thou art, unto dust thou shalt return.'

So these words were intended for her, not for him. He must make certain; he 
goes back to the coffin and carefully draws aside the cloth covering the 
corpse's face. But it is not Gisèle that he sees. It is his own face, rigid 
and open-eyed; his own head that rests wax-pale on the shavings in the black 
coffin. In bewilderment he bends over his own corpse. How can this be! What 
can it mean? Tentatively he puts out a hand in the direction of the dead face 
in order to make sure, but his courage fails and he pulls away his hand. He 
gets up and stands there motionless, paralyzed, petrified. Cold shivers run 
down his spine. 

Then we hear a key turning in a lock and a door opening and closing. Next we 
hear footsteps and the sound of a stick striking the ground at intervals. The 
sound at once disappears down to the cellar. He rushes to the staircase 
landing. There is the door. It is a door with reinforced glass panes. The 
glass is murky and dusty, but sufficiently transparent for him to see that 
there is somebody in the room, somebody who has been dumped, hands tied 
together, on a large iron bed with no bedclothes. It is Gisèle! The door is 
locked and he is just about to look for something with which to break it open 
when he hears somebody unlocking the main door. Through the murky little pane 
at the top of the door he can see enough to ascertain that it is Marc coming. 
There is nothing for it but to return to the consulting-room, and from here 
he sees Marc approaching the door between him and Gisèle - he is just putting 
the key in the lock - when we again hear footsteps of somebody with a wooden 
leg or a stick. The footsteps come down the stairs. Marc abandons his plan 
and slips the key back in its hiding-place, which is evidently unknown to the 
new arrival.

The man with the wooden leg comes limping down the stairs. Under his arm he 
is carrying a small tool box. The two men meet and together make for the 
consulting-room, from which Nikolas has followed everything through the half-
open door. Now he is obliged to retreat further. He has access only to the 
room where the coffin stood before. 

Marc and the man with the wooden leg now stand beside the coffin. 

Nikolas has hidden behind the door of the next room, and as he stands there 
he discovers an open trap-door leading down to the cellar. Standing right 
beside the trap-door and peeping through the crack of the door, he is able to 
follow what the two men are up to. 

Marc finds the stump of a cigar on the edge of his writing-desk. He looks 
questioningly at the other: has he any matches? The other shakes the box to 
show that it is not empty. Marc lights the cigar. The man with the wooden leg 
searches for his screwdriver. Obviously it must be with the other tools in 
the room where Nikolas is. The man goes into this room and makes straight for 
the wall opposite the door. To avoid being seen as the man returns past him, 
Nikolas descends the ladder to the cellar, and when he is alone in the room 
again he is able to stick his head up and see something of what is happening 
beside the coffin.

There the man is engaged in putting the lid on Nikolas's coffin. Marc stands 
there, enveloped in tobacco smoke, rocking backwards and forwards on his 
heels. He has stuck his thumbs in the armholes of his waistcoat, and his 
watchful, malevolent gaze flits rapidly across the coffin and the dead body.

The lid of the coffin has a square pane of glass just over the dead man's 

From down in the coffin Nikolas sees the lid dropped into position over him. 
He hears the dull blows, first of a hand, then of a hammer, before the lid 
slips into the groove. He sees alternately something of Marc and of the man 
at work. Both of them peer down at him. Marc is in high spirits, whereas the 
other man's face reflects only the craftsman taking care that nothing goes 
Now Nikolas hears, as he lies in the coffin, the lid being screwed down, 
hears the cutting and screeching noises of the screws, as one by one they 
bore into the wood. It is impossible to imagine a death sentence having a 
more paralyzing effect than this sound. At intervals he sees through the 
glass the elbow of the arm turning the screw. He hears the men's footsteps on 
the floor; then everything is quiet. Now we hear the sound of the blind 
woman's footsteps and her stick. She is in the room, standing by the coffin. 
One hand holds a candle over the glass, the other lights it with a match, and 
now the blind woman's bony hand grasps the light. She bends her hideous face 
over the glass in the gleam of the candle. Her blind eyes are unable to see 
the dead man, but he can see her: she is taking her last leave of him. 
Nikolas sees Marc moistening two fingers with his tongue and putting out the 
light. The blind woman's footsteps die away from the room, and now various 
men can be seen coming and stationing themselves on either side of the 

The coffin is to be carried through the adjoining room, where at this moment 
Nikolas is hiding under the trap-door. To clear the way the man with the 
wooden leg goes over to the trap-door. With his wooden leg he kicks away the 
wooden block holding the trap-door open, and the trap-door closes over 
Nikolas. The man gives the door a push so that it comes directly over the 
trap-door, which in consequence cannot be opened.

Through the square of glass in his coffin Nikolas sees his surroundings 
change, and realizes that he is being carried out. Ceilings, damp patches, 
door frames, cobwebs and more door frames pass rhythmically over his field of 
vision. Then open sky and branches; he is being carried out of the house, 
round the church, out of the village, away across the fields.

Marc remains standing in the doorway. He throws away the butt of his cigar 
and searches in his pocket for his pipe, before going back into the room, 
from the window of which he takes a last look at the coffin.
Nikolas (his 'ego') is lying on the ground, as when we last saw him. He 
begins to return to consciousness. The dream he has just had enters his semi-
consciousness. He opens his eyes a fraction, as if drowned in sleep, and sees 
the procession from his dream - at first making straight for him, but 
presently turning away. He turns to watch it, and discovers that he is lying 
on the ground outside the churchyard. The funeral procession is making for 
the churchyard.

Suddenly he is awake - and the dream disappears; the strange procession 
literally vanishes into empty air. He asks himself whether the whole of this 
dream may not be a message from Gisèle, and if so what she is trying to tell 
him. He gets up and goes to
and looks in. There he sees the old manservant, who is pushing away a large 
flat stone from over a grave. The coffin in the grave is revealed. It is an 
old, rotten coffin. The manservant now throws away his shovel, and uses his 
pick-axe to try and get the lid off. Nikolas has caught up with him. The two 
men exchange meaningful nods. Then Nikolas jumps down in the grave to help 
the manservant.
The dying Léone wakes up with a start. Her great eyes stare up at the 
ceiling, and her face expresses unspeakable and speechless astonishment. The 
nurse bends over her and asks:
		What is it you can see?
Léone answers, almost ecstatically:
		Now death is coming for me ... I shall not 
		suffer any more!
Nikolas and the manservant have succeeded in getting the lid off the coffin. 
They look with horror at the sight that meets their eyes. In the coffin is 
lying the old blind woman. Her face is completely untouched, as if she is 
still alive. She is preternaturally pale and sallow. Neither her breathing 
nor her heartbeat can be heard. Nikolas looks at her by the light of the 
Léone looks like somebody waiting and listening. The nurse again bends over 
her and asks:
		What do you hear?

Léone grips the nurse's hand and answers:
		My father ... is calling for me! ...
Her face still has the same expectant, startled expression.
The manservant gives the crowbar to Nikolas and himself takes the mallet. 
Nikolas lifts the crowbar and directs the point at the blind woman's heart. 
He raises and lowers the crowbar several times in order to take careful aim. 
Then he lifts it and, turning his face away, plunges it with all his strength 
into her heart. Nikolas signals to the manservant, who comes up and hammers 
the crowbar further and further in with the mallet. They both look very 
serious. Blow after blow echoes around. As soon as the crowbar is hammered 
home the two men break off from their work and take a step back. They stare 
down at the grave in consternation. The blind woman's body has disappeared, 
and in the place where she lay there is now only a bare white skeleton.
Léone as before. The tension and suffering seem to have gone from her face. 
Staring straight ahead, she whispers as if in a trance:
		Now I feel strong ... my soul is free!
The gravestone is being pushed back into place. In this shot we see only the 
coffin, the gravestone and the manservant's hands at work.
There is a fire in the grate. Marc is lighting another cigar. The man with 
the wooden leg brings him a cup of coffee. Marc brushes some ash from his 
trousers and takes a gulp of coffee. Suddenly he raises his head and looks 
towards the window. The man with the wooden leg observes his movements and 
goes up to him. They both look at the window, where a face now comes into 
view. It is Bernard, the man who was murdered at the castle earlier in the 
night under such mysterious circumstances. The face moves and looks in 
anxiously, while Bernard's hands protect his eyes against the moonlight. The 
two men in the room are seized with terror. Marc bends forward, and hastily 
puts out the light, at the same time signaling to the man with the wooden leg 
to put out the fire in the grate. The latter pours water over the fire, which 
gives out a hissing cloud of steam.
		Go and see the door is properly shut!
The man with the wooden leg goes, leaving the door of the room open, but it 
bangs behind him, as if blown by a draught. Above the door is a large window. 
Marc recalls the man with the wooden leg, as if regretting his order. The man 
turns back hurriedly, but finds the door closed. In surprise he steps back a 
pace, and through the window above the door he sees a flickering light moving 
to and fro in the room. In his bewilderment he remains rooted to the spot. 
Then he hears a sound resembling that of a mother crooning a gentle lullaby 
over her child, or of a doctor trying to reassure his patient during an 
operation. At the same time one senses beneath the ingratiating and 
affectionate tone something threatening, hard and almost ironic - a threat of 
revenge. Then we hear Marc's voice:
		Oh! Oh! Oh!
On the dirty white pane the shadow of the parrot can be seen in silhouette 
rocking to and fro, while the silence is suddenly shattered by the parrot's 
mocking, teasing laughter. The strangely soporific, monotonous voice now 
begins speaking again; then there is a piercing cry of terror, so frightful 
and horrifying that the man with the wooden leg rushes in utter panic to the 
door, tugs at it, hammers on it and throws himself against it with all his 
strength. Meanwhile scream upon scream resounds, each more frenzied and hair-
raising than the last. 

Suddenly it is as if an invisible hand seizes the man with the wooden leg and 
hurls him against the wall opposite the door. The light over the door moves 
again. The door is opened violently. Marc comes out with every sign of 
consternation depicted in his face. A sudden gleam of light illumines the 
room. The parrot, terrified, takes to flight. Marc hurries through the house, 
rushes out and flees without pausing for a single moment.

But the man with the wooden leg lies motionless on the spot where he was 
thrown to the ground. His hands grip the handrail convulsively. His face is 
white, his look bewildered, and his under-jaw hangs down. His eyes are open 
and have a fixed, vacant expression, as if still seeing the fearful events of 
the night.
The manservant has tidied up the grave and is now putting back the tombstone, 
on which can be read the following curious inscription: Here lies Marguerite 
Chopin, born 4 February 1809, died 13 June 1867. Then a catalogue of her 
We see Nikolas's hand inserting the key in the door guarding Gisèle. He finds 
it behind the piece of furniture where it is hidden, and inserts it in the 
lock. The shot is taken in such a way that the spectator is uncertain whether 
the hand is real or not.
Marc is running at full speed like a man pursued. He keeps turning round, as 
if expecting to see his pursuer at every moment.
Gisèle is lying on her bed, leaning against the wall, with her legs drawn up 
under her. Her hands are tied behind her back. Nikolas's hands appear on the 
screen attempting to loosen her bonds. When the knot refuses to yield, he 
uses his teeth. Both the hands and Nikolas's profile are taken as in the 
previous shot, i.e., in such a way that the spectator is uncertain whether 
they are real or not.
Marc is running away like a man who has lost his reason. Where he is running 
there is no road or path.
Léone is at the point of death. She is quite calm. An angelic beauty suffuses 
her face. She smiles. Then she slowly closes her eyes. She gives a deep sigh, 
like a child just before it falls asleep. She has expired. A hand lays a 
little gold crucifix on her closed lips.
Marc has run right across the fields, still pursued by his invisible pursuer. 
Suddenly he is enveloped in mist. It is like steam rising from the earth. The 
mist gives everything a ghostly appearance. Marc is seized with terror. He 
does not know where he is. He can neither see nor hear. He is so confused and 
agitated that he does not know which way to take. He runs first in one 
direction, then in another, tries to retrace his steps, but is unable to see 
them because of the mist. He runs in a more and more random manner. He stops 
for a moment. Then he sees, a short distance away, a light, which seems to 
come from a lantern, and the faint outlines of a gray shadow, which might be 
the shadow of a man. He calls, but instead of answering the shadow merely 
moves away from him. He runs in pursuit of it; but in spite of all his 
exertions the distance between them remains the same. Speechless with terror, 
he pursues his frenzied course with his hands spread out in front of him, as 
if trying to scatter the mist.

Out of the mist there suddenly looms up a great, dense shadow - the shadow of 
a house which the doctor recognizes: it must be the mill beside the river. 
The doctor decides to try and hide in the mill. He will be safe there. 
Listening intently, he opens the door and ventures in, step by step. He 
passes the room containing the great mill-wheel, which sets the rest of the 
mill's machinery in motion. At the moment the mill-wheel is completely at 
rest. So the doctor continues past it, on into the mill's interior, where the 
white walls look as if they have been seared by a white-hot fire. Absolute 
stillness reigns everywhere. The doctor arrives at the little square room 
where the sacks are filled with the finely ground flour. He enters the room 
and peers around. The ceiling of this little room consists of a sieve, which 
can be made to oscillate backwards and forwards, and through which the newly 
ground flour must pass before it can fall into the open sacks. 

The doctor is about to leave this room when the grated door behind him bangs 
shut. At the same time the mill-wheel starts turning as if set in motion by 
an invisible hand. The grinding rhythm of the mill-wheel is transmitted to 
the many other wheels in the mill and blends with them into a dismal, 
monotonous drone, which penetrates to the marrow and strikes the doctor as 
ominous. He becomes still more uneasy on realizing that the sieve above his 
head is beginning to oscillate backwards and forwards, shaking one load of 
flour after another over him with clockwork regularity. Suddenly he sees 
through the sieve the shadow of the old manservant Joseph, to whom he calls, 
holding his hand over his eyes to protect them. But Joseph remains silent and 
ignores the doctor, who is caught in his trap. In his frustration the doctor 
tugs at the grated door, but all in vain. 

The flour drifts down and down. It is already up to the doctor's knees, and 
he is almost completely out of breath. He is seized with ungovernable rage, 
and with clenched fists he threatens the silent and invisible pursuers who 
are incarcerating him in this white terror. He stares straight ahead, as if 
hoping to penetrate the flour dust's white darkness with his gaze. The flour 
rises higher and higher in the cage with its many gratings, and has now 
reached the doctor's chest. He writhes and struggles desperately, with his 
one free hand he digs like a madman. All without result. The flour has 
powdered his hair and eyebrows completely white. He shouts - is silent for a 
moment - shouts again - but nobody answers. His fate is inexorable. He weeps 
and screams for help. The flour is up to his face, he closes his mouth and 
presses his lips together. The flour reaches his mouth. His head slowly 
disappears. His last expression is a malevolent grimace. A reflection of 
light gleams in one of his glasses. When it too is extinguished.
Cross-cutting with the scenes described above recording Marc's death are 
scenes showing Nikolas and Gisèle on their way down to the river. When they 
reach the bank, they find it veiled in a white mist so thick as almost to 
blot out the opposite bank. A boat is lying right at their feet. They jump 
down in it, and Nikolas seizes the oars and starts rowing. When he has taken 
a few pulls out into the river, the mist grows thicker; but he continues to 
row. Now they cannot even see the bank they have just left. Gisèle stares 
anxiously around, and Nikolas rests on the oars to get his bearings. But they 
see that they are completely enveloped in mist. They are somewhat uneasy and 
confused. Nikolas puts his hands up to his mouth as a megaphone and calls:
No answer.

Nikolas calls again, and Gisèle joins in:

Far away a man's voice can be heard answering:

Nikolas stands up and shouts:
		We're completely lost!
After a short pause he adds: 

		Where are we?

The voice from the other bank: 

		This way!
		Thank you.
He sits down again and begins to row. He rows in silence for a moment without 
getting any closer to the bank. Gisèle is kneeling in the bow keeping a look-
out. The mist is now so thick that Nikolas can only distinguish her as a dark 
shadow. She says:

		Do you think it's that way?
He rests on the oars, and the boat drifts with the gentle current. An eddy 
catches it, and it starts spinning round and round. Nikolas shouts:
The reply comes from a completely different direction from what he had 
expected, and is much further away than the first time.
Nikolas and Gisèle shout together: Hullo!
		... This way!
		Where are you?
			(very distinctly, 
			a word at a time)
		Wait ... we ... will ... light ... a ... fire!
Nikolas stays where he is, but backs water so as not to be carried further 
away by the current. On the bank we see the ferryman, whom we recognize from 
the opening of the film; he is signaling to a number of small boys to collect 
straw and wood for a bonfire. Presently a strong flame shoots up, but the 
light from the fire, instead of piercing the blanket of mist, seems able only 
to make it shine like a white wall.
In the boat Nikolas and Gisèle keep their eyes fixed on the place where they 
think the bank must be. Nikolas shouts impatiently:
		Can you see there?
		What did you say?
		Can you see the fire?
The ferryman stands and ponders for a moment. Then he goes to the bonfire 
himself to throw a bit more straw on it, saying to the boys:
		Sing, children!
The boys exchange slightly embarrassed glances; then one of them begins to 
sing, and the others join in. A number of women, who have arrived on the 
scene, also join in the singing. The verse which they sing is:

		Hark, an angel bears its light 
		Through the gates of heaven. 
		By God's angel's beams so bright 
		All the black nocturnal shades are driven.
During the singing the boat has come close in to the bank. For the two people 
in the boat the singing sounds curiously muffled, even if they can hear it 
distinctly. Then it ceases. The ferryman hears the oars on the water. Nikolas 
and Gisèle now see the fire and the ferryman, who is walking along the bank, 
following the rhythmical sound of the oars and the creaking of the rowlocks. 
Now the boat pulls into the bank, and the ferryman wades out into the water 
in order to catch hold of the prow and pull the boat ashore.

Nikolas and Gisèle jump ashore. When they reach the top of the bank, the mist 
melts away. The path leads them into a little cluster of birches. The sun 
breaks through the clouds. They have left the night and the shadows behind 
them. In front of them are mountain ranges and light. They still hear, as if 
proclaimed by heavenly bells:
		Hark, an angel bears its light ...

Screenplay by Carl Dreyer