An old pilot of the sea who had been driven by tempests "he knew not wither" returns to Lisbon to tell of a wonderful lost island that his ship had been driven to by a storm. Survivors of a shipwreck many years ago had thrived there and built seven wonderful cities. Upon leaving however, the sailor meets another storm and could not say where this mysterious island lay. The public immediately names this island, the "The Island of the Seven Cities." and there was much talk of its wealth.
Ambrose Bierce's short stories are generally held to be among the best of the 19th century. He wrote realistically of the terrible things he had seen in the war in such stories as An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge ( also available from Audible ) and Chickamauga. In Chickamauga, he gives a vivid description, through the eyes of a child, of the aftermath of a Civil War battle. The reason for the child's unusual reaction to the scene is revealed in a startling conclusion.
In The Premature Burial, the first-person unnamed narrator describes his struggle with "attacks of the singular disorder which physicians have agreed to term catalepsy," a condition where he randomly falls into a death-like trance. This leads to his fear of being buried alive ("The true wretchedness," he says, is "to be buried while alive."). He awakens one morning to find his worst fears realized!
The Oblong Box which was first published in 1844 concerns a sea voyage and a mysterious boxtaken aboard the ship. "It was about six feet in length by two and a half in breadth." The owner of the box begins acting very strangly and refuses to say what is in the box. As the ship passes Cape Hatteras, it is caught in a hurricane and the terrible truth aboutthe box is finally revealed. A vintage Poe story.