The Tell-Tale Heart (Part 1) by Edgar Allan Poe (simplified)


TRUE! - nervous - very, very dreadfully nervous I had been and am; but why will you say that I am mad? The disease had sharpened my senses - not destroyed - not dulled them. Above all, my sense of hearing was sharp. I heard all things in heaven and on earth. I heard many things in hell. How, am I mad? Listen! and observe how calmly I can tell you the whole story.

It is impossible to say how the idea first entered my brain; but once conceived, it stayed with me day and night. There was no purpose. There was no passion. I loved the old man. He had never wronged me. He had never insulted me. I had no desire for his gold. I think it was his eye! yes, it was this! He had the eye of a vulture – a pale blue eye, with a film over it. Whenever it fell on me, my blood ran cold; and so by degrees - I made up my mind to take the life of the old man, and thus get rid of the eye forever.

Now this is the point. You fancy I’m mad. Madmen know nothing. But you should have seen me. You should have seen how wisely I proceeded - with what care - with what foresight I went to work! I was never kinder to the old man than during the whole week before I killed him. And every night, about midnight, I opened his door - oh so gently! And then, when I had made an opening wide enough for my head, I put in a dark lantern, all closed, closed, that no light shone out, and then I looked in. Oh, you would have laughed to see how cunningly I put my head in the room! I moved it slowly - very, very slowly, so that I would not disturb the old man's sleep. It took me an hour to place my whole head inside so that I could see him as he lay on his bed. Ha! would a madman have been so wise as this, And then, when my head was inside the room, I undid the lantern cautiously - oh, so cautiously - cautiously (for the hinges creaked) - I undid it just so much that a single thin ray fell on the vulture eye. And I did this for seven long nights - every night just at midnight - but I found the eye always closed; and so it was impossible to do the work; for it was not the old man who bothered me, but his Evil Eye. And every morning, I went boldly into his room, calling him by name in a friendly tone and asking how he had slept. So you see, he never knew that every night, just at twelve, I looked in on him while he slept.