A Tale of the Ragged Mountains (Poe)

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A Tale of the Ragged Mountains
Summary of the Short Story
Microsummary: A man experienced a vivid vision of an Indian city and a historical event, only to discover that his adventure was strangely connected to a past acquaintance of his doctor.

In the fall of 1827, near Charlottesville, Virginia, a young man named Augustus Bedloe met a doctor named Templeton.

Augustus Bedloe — narrator; young gentleman with peculiar appearance; sensitive, excitable, and imaginative.
Dr. Templeton — elderly physician; experienced in mesmerism; knowledgeable, enthusiastic.

Bedloe was a peculiar individual, with an unusual appearance and mysterious background. "I soon, however, grew accustomed to it, and my uneasiness wore off," the narrator says about Bedloe's peculiar appearance and mannerisms. Dr. Templeton, who had become a believer in the theories of Mesmer, treated Bedloe's neuralgic attacks with magnetic remedies. Over time, the two developed a strong rapport, and Bedloe became highly susceptible to the doctor's magnetic influence.

One day, Bedloe went for a walk in the Ragged Mountains and did not return until late at night. He recounted a strange tale of entering a gorge and finding himself in an Eastern-looking city, where he became involved in a violent conflict. "I found myself at the foot of a high mountain, and looking down into a vast plain, through which wound a majestic river," Bedloe describes his vivid vision of the Indian city and the surrounding landscape. He was struck by a poisoned arrow and died, only to be revived by a sudden shock and return to his original self.

Dr. Templeton revealed that the city Bedloe described was Benares, India, and the events he experienced were part of the insurrection of Cheyte Sing in 1780. The doctor had been present during these events and had recently written about them in his notebook. A week after this conversation, Bedloe died from a venomous leech that had been accidentally applied to his temple during a medical treatment. "The poisonous sangsue of Charlottesville may always be distinguished from the medicinal leech by its blackness, and especially by its writhing or vermicular motions," a newspaper article explains the difference between the poisonous sangsue and the medicinal leech. The editor of the local newspaper mistakenly spelled Bedloe's name as "Bedlo," which, when reversed, spelled "Oldeb," the name of Dr. Templeton's deceased friend who had been present during the events in India.