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Word Count: 1,536
Coleridge introduces his tale by describing an old gray-headed sailor who approaches three young men headed for a wedding celebration and compels one of them the grooms next-of-kin to hear his story O Wedding-Guest this sent both been Alone on a wide wide sea So lonely twas that God himself Scarce seemed there to be At first the intrusion is resented but the story is remarkable indeed and the listener - who of course represents you the reader - soon falls captive to the building suspense responding at first with fear and then with horror as the tale unfolds There was little apprehension among the ships crew as they sailed clear of the harbor bound for the open sea Several days out however a storm arose and the vessel was driven before the wind in a constant southerly direction headed toward the South Pole As it entered the land of ice and of fearful sounds where no living thing was to be seen a feeling of foreboding came over the helpless inmates and so it was with great relief that the crew eventually greeted the sight of an albatross - a huge seabird - flying through the fog toward them As if it had been a Christian soul the Ancient Mariner tells his listener We hailed it in Gods name Everyone took this as a good omen and the bird followed the ship faithfully as it returned northward Then one day weary of the birds incessant and now unnerving presence the Mariner shot the albatross with his crossbow - and brought the curse down upon them all The south wind continued to propel them northward but somehow the old sailor realized he had done a hellish thing retribution would soon follow in the form of loneliness and spiritual anguish like that of Adam when he fell from Gods grace The crew at first berated their mate
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