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A story of the tell tale heart

Transcript of radio broadcast: Here is Shep O'Neal with the story. Nervous -- very, very nervous I had been and am! But why will you say that I am mad? The disease had sharpened my senses -- not destroyed them. Above all was the sense of hearing. I heard all things in the heaven and in the earth. I heard many things in the underworld. How, then, am I mad? Observe how healthily -- how calmly I can tell you the whole story.

I loved the old man. He had never wronged me. He had never given me insult. For his gold I had no desire. I think it was his eye! Yes, it was this! He had the eye of a bird, a vulture -- a pale blue eye, with a film over it. Whenever it fell on me, my blood ran cold; and so -- very slowly -- I made up my mind to take the life of the old man, and free myself of the eye forever.

Now this is the point. You think that I am mad. But you should have seen me. You should have seen how wisely and carefully I went to work! And every night, late at night, I turned the lock of his door and opened it a story of the tell tale heart oh, so gently!

And then, when I had made an opening big enough for my head, I put in a dark lantern, all closed that no light shone out, and then I stuck in my head.

Short Story: 'The Tell-Tale Heart' by Edgar Allan Poe

I moved it slowly, very slowly, so that I might not interfere with the old man's sleep. And then, when my head was well in the room, I undid the lantern just so much that a single thin ray of light fell upon the vulture eye.

And this I did for seven long nights -- but I found the eye always closed; and so it was impossible to do the work; for it was not the old man who was a problem for me, but his Evil Eye.

  1. Then three policemen come. Why would they not be gone?
  2. If still you think me mad, you will think so no longer when I describe the wise precautions I took for the concealment of the body.
  3. The old man was dead. On the eighth night, I was more than usually careful in opening the door.
  4. Many a night, late at night, when all the world slept, it has welled up from deep within my own chest.
  5. The narrator has an idea that he can't shake.

On the eighth night, I was more than usually careful in opening the door. I had my head in and was about to open the lantern, when my finger slid on a piece of metal and made a noise. The old man sat up in bed, crying out "Who's there? I did not move a muscle for a whole hour. During that time, I did not hear him lie down.

The Tell-Tale Heart

He was still sitting up in the bed listening -- just as I have done, night after night. Then I heard a noise, and I knew it was the sound of human terror. It was the low sound that arises from the bottom of the soul. I knew the sound well. Many a night, late at night, when all the world slept, it has welled up from deep within my own chest.

I say I knew it well. I knew what the old man felt, and felt sorry for him, although I laughed to myself. I knew that he had been lying awake ever since the first noise, when he had turned in the bed.

His fears had been ever since growing upon him. When I had waited a long time, without hearing him lie down, I decided to open a little -- a very, very little -- crack in the lantern.

So I opened it.

You cannot imagine how carefully, carefully. Finally, a single ray of light shot from out and fell full upon the vulture eye. It was open -- wide, wide open -- and I grew angry as I looked at it.

I saw it clearly -- all a dull blue, with a horrible veil over it that chilled my bones; but I could see nothing else of the old man's face or person.

For I had directed the light exactly upon the damned spot. Now, there came to my ears a low, dull, quick sound, such as a watch makes when inside a piece of cotton. I knew that sound well, too. It was the beating of the old man's heart. It increased my anger.

  1. I then replaced the boards so cleverly, so cunningly, that no human eye --not even his --could have detected any thing wrong. There was no movement.
  2. The narrator says he screamed while sleeping, and claims that the old man is out of town. Each night the narrator opens the man's door and puts in a lantern the kind they don't make anymore, with panels that can be adjusted to release more or less light.
  3. Now this is the point.

But even yet I kept still. I held the lantern motionless. I attempted to keep the ray of light upon the eye.

But the beating of the heart increased. It grew quicker and quicker, and louder and louder every second.

  • Uh Oh There was a problem with your submission;
  • The ringing became more distinct;
  • I could bear those smiles no longer!
  • Now you may think that I drew back --but no.

The old man's terror must have been extreme! The beating grew louder, I say, louder every moment! And now at the dead hour of the night, in the horrible silence of that old house, so strange a noise as this excited me to uncontrollable terror.

Yet, for some minutes longer I stood still.

By Edgar Allan Poe

But the beating grew louder, louder! I thought the heart must burst. And now a new fear seized me -- the sound would be heard by a neighbor! The old man's hour had come! With a loud shout, I threw open the lantern and burst into the room. He cried once -- once only. Without delay, I forced him to the floor, and pulled the heavy bed over him.

I then smiled, to find the action so far done. But, for many minutes, the heart beat on with a quiet sound. This, however, did not concern me; it would not be heard through the wall. At length, it stopped. The old man was dead. I removed the bed and examined the body. I placed my hand over his heart and held it there many minutes.

There was no movement.

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He was stone dead. His eye would trouble me no more. I worked quickly, but in silence. First of all, I took apart the body.

I cut off the head and the arms and the legs. I then took up three pieces of wood from the flooring, and placed his body parts under the room. I then replaced the wooden boards so well that no human eye -- not even his -- could have seen anything wrong.

  • And now a new anxiety seized me --the sound would be heard by a neighbour!
  • He had the eye of a bird, a vulture -- a pale blue eye, with a film over it;
  • You think that I am mad.

There was nothing to wash out -- no mark of any kind -- no blood whatever. I had been too smart for that. A tub had caught all -- ha! When I had made an end of these labors, it was four o'clock in the morning. As a clock sounded the hour, there came a noise at the street door. I went down to open it with a light heart -- for what had I now to fear? A cry had been heard by a neighbor during the night; suspicion of a crime had been aroused; information had been given at the police office, and the officers had been sent to search the building.

I smiled -- for what had I to fear? The cry, I said, was my own in a dream. The old man, I said, was not in the country. I took my visitors all over the house.

I told them to search -- search well. I led them, at length, to his room. I brought chairs there, and told them to rest. I placed my own seat upon the very place under which lay the body of the victim. The officers were satisfied.