Prosaic lives take on an enigmatic and wider meaning in these three suberb talkes. They go beyond the everyday world to illuminate man's place in a strange and mysterious universe. The Black Spider, Jeremias Gotthelf: The Devil's revenge for being deceived is at the core of this masterly Swiss narrative. An intricate structure, sexual symbolism, and unerring characterization makes this a brilliant example of its genre. The Jews' Beech Tree, Annette von Droste-Hulshoff Based on an actual occurence, this dramatic tale of remorse and expiation anticipated aspects of a much later literary approach. Its author is Germany's geratest poetess. The Rider On The White House, Theodor Storm, With haunting ambience, this famous novella re-creates a legendary figure out of Storm's childhood. In his struggle against society, the protagonist, like some Shakespearean heroes, is destroyed by an excess of his own best qualities. Eathly existence, the authors of these stories attest, is but one aspect of a wider reality. These errie tales are indeed fascinating explorations of man's world.