A protagonist, a young man, who knows nothing, even a name, tells about his wanderings through foreign lands. It is only known that England was the starting point of his journey. Here he decided to return to his homeland, and a passenger on a ship went from London to Russia. And so, at the exit of the Thames, the wind changed its direction, and the ship was forced to wait for a fair wind near Grivzend.
The hero and the captain went ashore. They walked along the shore, when suddenly the hero noticed a young man with a guitar in his hand, all expressed his deep sorrow. He stared fixedly at the sea, then sat down and began to play the guitar song. It spoke of unhappy love, how people are hindered by lovers, and how nature protects them. About the island of Bornholm, where he wanted, but could not return. And about the girl Lila, the fate of which remained a mystery to him. The hero had already rushed to the young man to comfort him, but then the captain pulled the hero, saying that
the wind was blowing and it was time to advance. They returned to the ship, and the young man, putting down his guitar, followed them with a glance.
And so, the ship left the English coast and went out into the open sea. However, the sea sickness sharply skewed the protagonist, and he lay unconscious for six days, and only on the seventh came to his senses and climbed onto the deck. It was evening, sunset, the ship sailed forward on all sails. The captain said that they sailed the Swedish coast, Zund, and from the starboard side you can see the Danish island of Bornholm, where the ship will anchor with the onset of darkness. Then the hero remembers a song heard from a stranger. Is he destined to know the secret of the island?
Darkened, the ship dropped anchor off the coast of Bournolma. The protagonist asks the captain to go ashore, especially on the shore was a fishing village. After a long persuasion the captain let him go with a pair of sailors. They boarded the boats and set off towards the island.
The guests were greeted by fishermen, people with an open mind, though they were rude. Aliens from
the ship explained that they want to explore the island and spend the night. The fishermen turned out to be hospitable people, inviting a group of sailors. Arriving in the village, our hero parted with the sailors and went with the conductor, a 13-year-old boy, to study the island.
The rays of the setting sun illuminated the towers of the ancient castle. The conductor did not know whose castle it was and whether something was happening there, since no one was going there. The hero approaches the castle walls, surrounded by a moat. The boy-conductor was afraid to approach this place, asked to leave from there, but curiosity overpowered the hero. The night fell on the island. Suddenly, a voice interrupted the night silence, which echoed from the walls of the castle. Horror shook the boy. Soon the voice repeated: “Who is there?”. The young man replied that he was a guest from other lands, and was looking for an overnight stay. A few minutes later the bridge sank, the gate of the castle opened and a tall man dressed in black came out to meet the hero to lead the hero to the castle (the boy had already fled). The gates closed behind the hero and the bridge rose, cutting off the way to the retreat.
Through a thorny courtyard they walked to a large house, from the windows of which a ray of light broke through. Everything around looked deserted and long abandoned. After several halls, they found themselves in a small room, in which sat an elderly man. Giving the youth a sad look, he greeted the hero, and began to question him about the world, about recent events, about modern trends. He replied that science is now in high esteem, but still people suffer a lot of suffering and sorrows. Having learned that the interlocutor from Russia, the elder spoke about the common roots of their peoples, but they were divided by religion: the Russians adopted Christianity, while the islanders remained pagans. The Starets briefly told about the history of the northern peoples, striking the hero with his intelligence and knowledge, but then said goodbye to him and went to rest. The conductor took the hero to the bedroom, and without saying a word, he left.
The hero lay down and began to think about what had happened, remembered the stranger with the guitar and his secret. The dream was restless. The nightmare made him wake up. The hero went to the window to take a breath of fresh air, and saw there is a small door, leading, as it turned out, into the garden.
Along the alley, the hero walked to a sandy hill, in which he could see the entrance to the cave. In the cave he came across an iron door that was not locked. Inside the lamp burned, and in the corner of the room on the sheaves of hay a woman was sleeping, dressed in a black dress. The hero was amazed, for what kind of sins can one keep a person in prison, where the rays of the sun did not penetrate? Suddenly the woman woke up, and was surprised a lot by the stranger who came to her in prison. She approached the grate and looked at the hero silently. He asked if she needed help. After a moment’s hesitation, the woman asked him to tell the old man who had cursed her, about the sufferings, torments, which she had resigned without complaint. That she resigned herself to the idea of death with his name on her lips. Then the stranger left the grate and sat down, covering her face with her hands. After a while, she looked up, their eyes met.
The hero left the cave without closing the door, and fell asleep, settling under the canopy of oak. A couple of hours later he woke up from the sound of a voice telling him that the wanderer was in a cave. Before the young man there was a familiar guide, and next to him sat an old man on the bench. The hero stood up and went to him. The old man looked stern, but then, shaking hands, asked if the hero had seen the woman in that cave. He did not deny it, and said that he did not know her and how she deserved such punishment. And then the Elder told a sad and horrifying story at the same time, revealed to the hero the terrible secret of the Grevzend musician.
The heroes met the sailors behind the gate of the castle, with whom he went back to the ship. Finally, in the morning the ship could leave the island. A hero plunged into a deep thought, tears glistening in his eyes. He recognized Borgolme’s secret, but for the reader it remains hidden.