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THE PIANIST AND THE TWO SISTERS

It was during, or at the end of the World War. A young Austrian pianist arrived on a Greek island. He was handsome, and alone. He was talented.

The two sisters belonged to the island’s aristocracy. Among their numerous properties, they prefered one they had called “happiness”. It was situated on top of a hill in the middle of a pine forest.

The property was extensive and isolated.The house itself, of modest dimensions, was located at the entrance to the estate.     

An avenue of very old trees led to a chapel that the sisters had had built, but never consecrated. Having met the young Austrian boy, the sisters installed his piano in the chapel. They both fell mady in love with him and invited him to live with them in “happiness”. At night, the young man would play in the chapel as the sisters listened, enchanted.

Eventually, he decided to marry one of the sisters. The other sister agreed, but within herself she was torn apart by jealousy. And so the odd ménage-à-trois went on with its ups and downs for a few years.

One fine day, the pianist died. It was rumoured that the second sister, who had never married, had poisoned him. She and the widow laid out the pianist’s body on his bed and never touched him again. They did not declare his death and it was a delivery man or the postman who was alerted by the frightful smell of the rotten body and who informed the police. They burst into the villa and, despite the two sisters’ protests, had the pianist buried.

A number of my friends knew the sisters. They were invited to take tea with them.The sisters would bring out a magnificent silver tea service. They woud take a large, liveried teapot and pour the tea into their guests’ cups… except that there was no tea. The teapot was empty.

One day, one of the two sisters – the old maid or the widow – passed away. The surviving sister laid her out on her bed and refused to bury her. The same thing as before happened. A delivery man, horrified by the stink of rotten flesh, told the police, who once again buried the deceased. The surviving sister did not survive for very long afterwards, and followed her sister to the grave.

Since then, “happiness” has been abandoned.

I climbed over the wall and visited the property a good few years ago. I had the impression the sisters had just left, perhaps the day before. There were cups and dirty plates, open books and cupboards filled with clothes. I walked around and explored. Even with the sunshine and the blue sky, and the magnificent Mediterranean in the distance, I have rarely experienced a more sinister atmosphere.

A large part of the pine forest was destroyed in a fire.The house was damaged and fell into ruin, although the unconsecrated chapel still stands. The islanders refuse to approach the property once known as “happiness”, particularly at night… For on some nights one can hear piano music coming from the chapel… music played with true talent by invisible, ghostly hands…


by Prince Michael of Greece