- The man who had once conquered all of Europe and proclaimed
himself its Emperor now lay dying in exile on the Isle of Elba.
- On that day, May 5, 1821, his physician, Dr. Arnott,
recalled what his patient had told him just a few weeks earlier: "Our
hour is marked, and no one can claim a moment of life beyond what fate
- What was it that made Napoleon such an ardent believer
in prophecy and fate?
- Some have said that more than anything in his star-crossed
life, it was his acquisition of Livres de Prophetics, a book which had
been written by Philippe-Dieu-donne-Noel Olivarius, a doctor, surgeon,
and astrologer, more than 262 years before the brilliant military genius's
rise to power.
- Shortly before the ceremony of coronation which would
crown him and Josephine as Emperor and Empress of France, Napoleon gave
his wife a copy of the old book and bade her read the prophecies contained
therein, which, he told her, certain men had said pertained to him.
- Josephine was at once startled and puzzled by what she
read, and when she turned to her husband, she found him laughing a bit
too loudly in false bravado. On that day, December 2, 1804, it was a bit
premature to test the prophecy, but in years to come, Napoleon would no
longer laugh at the words of Noel Olivarius.
- Here is the way Napoleon might have read the prophecy
during one of those lonely days during his banishment on St. Helena.
- "Italy will see a supernatural being arise from
kindred stock. This man will come, in his youth, out of the sea."
[Napoleon was a Corsican of common parentage. Traditionally he has been
depicted as diminutive and given such titles as the "Little Corporal."
In actuality, he was about 5' 6", which was the average height of
the French soldier at that time. His penchant for surrounding himself with
a personal guard of exceptionally tall officers created the lasting illusion
that Napoleon Bonaparte himself was shorter than average.]
- "He will adopt the language and the manners of the
Celto-Gauls." [He claimed France as his homeland].
- "While still young, and in spite of untold obstacles,
he will have a brilliant career and will become a great commander. Years
of arduous toil and struggle will follow. He will be constantly at war
.... He will give laws to the Germans, end the chaos in Gaul, and finally
be made king. Thereupon, he will assume the title of emperor." [Napoleon
rose to power quickly when he was a very young officer. He established
the Confederation of the Rhine, abolished the German Empire, and made himself
Emperor of Europe].
- "He will do great things for his realm, construct
magnificent buildings, ports, canals, waterworks. He alone will accomplish
as much as all the Romans. He will have two wives and one son." [This
was fulfilled in all ways].
- "In his wars, his campaigns will lead him where
the 55th parallel of latitude intersects with the 55th meridian. There
his enemies will set fire to a great city. He will enter it with his soldiers
and again leave the ruins. His men will have neither bread nor water. They
will perish in the bitter cold." [Napoleon's ill-fated invasion of
Russia was climaxed with the Russians burning Moscow, rather than allowing
the French to occupy it, and was terminated with Napoleon's disastrous
retreat through the vicious Russian winter].
- "Finally this great man, deserted and betrayed by
his friends, will be driven into his own capital by a great European army."
[Napoleon found a grand coalition, which had been formed by his enemies,
awaiting him upon his return to France. While France rocked with internal
strife, allied armies invaded the country and entered Paris on March 31,
- "Banished to an island not far from his native land,
he will remain there with his followers for 11 months, after which he will
again disembark on Gaulo-Celtic soil." [When he attempted to resist
the allied army, Napoleon found that he had been deserted. He was forced
to abdicate and took refuge on Elba, a small island off Italy's west coast.
On March 1, 1815, eleven months after his abdication, Napoleon landed at
Cannes, France and led a new army against the European coalition.]
- "Driven out by a European triple alliance in three
and one-half months, he will be compelled to surrender his throne to the
former king." [Exactly three and one-half months after he had begun
to regroup his forces--June 15, I815--Napoleon was defeated at Waterloo.
He was thereafter decreed a "habitual disturber of the peace of Europe"
and banished to the island of St. Helena.].
- In Napoleon's memoirs, the military genius also mentions
his encounters with a famous entity known as "the little red man,"
a ghost who became well known as a harbinger of tragedy in France. According
to legend, the entity appeared to some of the nation's most notable personalities
for over 260 years. Its habitat seemed primarily to be the Louvre and the
Tuileries in Paris.
- Catherine de Medici is said to have been the first person
to have confronted the apparition. It was in 1564, during the construction
of the Tuileries, that the lady came face to face with a gnome-like creature
dressed completely in scarlet. It soon became apparent to the haughty Catherine
that her unannounced companion was not a man of flesh and blood, and she
interpreted the visitation as an omen of bad luck.
- Scarlet was an appropriate color for the ghost to wear,
for Catherine had already begun to stir up trouble between the Roman Catholics
and the Protestants in France, and it was she who induced the king to order
the terrible St. Bartholomew's Day massacre of the Huguenots.
- The little red man appeared to Henry IV just before the
monarch was assassinated by an insane schoolteacher in 1610.
- In 1792, startled chambermaids discovered the scarlet-clad
gnome in the bed of Louis XVI at the time that the threatened king was
making a futile attempt to escape machinations of the French revolutionaries.
- A few months later, guards claimed to have seen the little
red ghost in the prison where Louis and Marie Antoinette awaited their
turn at the chopping block of the guillotine in 1793.
- The Red Man first appeared to Napoleon in 1798 during
the military leader's Egyptian campaign. The entity is said to have materialized
for Napoleon and to have made a bargain with the ambitious officer.
- According to the terms of the contract, Napoleon was
to enjoy victory and triumph on the battlefields of Europe for a decade.
The strange visitor said that he had advised the rulers of France in the
past and declared that he had now come to give counsel to Napoleon.
- The mysterious ghostly adviser told the military genius
that he had been at his side since he was but a schoolboy. "I know
you better than you know yourself," the spirit chided him.
- The Red Man told Napoleon that his orders to the French
fleet had not been obeyed. Even though the Egyptian campaign had begun
on a note of triumph after the bloody battle of the Pyramids, the ghost
told him, the enterprise would fail and Napoleon would return to France
to find her closed in by England, Russia, Turkey, and an allied Europe.
- True to the Red Man's prediction, the Egyptian campaign
failed. In 1809, after the Battle of Wagram, Napoleon made his headquarters
at Schonbrunn where, one lonely midnight, he again received his mysterious
- Napoleon had conducted ten years of successful campaigning,
and he asked for a five-year extension of his contract with the Red Man.
The ghost granted his request with the admonition that the greedy conqueror
should not launch a campaign that would take him on Russian soil. Napoleon
ignored the warning and met with a disaster which proved to be more significant
than the physical defeat which came at Waterloo.
- The Red Man made his third and final appearance on the
morning of January 1, 1814, shortly before the Emperor was forced to abdicate.
The red gnome appeared first to Counsellor of State Mole and demanded that
he be allowed to see the Emperor on matters of urgent importance. Mole
had been given strict orders that the Emperor was not to be disturbed,
but when he went with the message that the Red Man was there, the mysterious
stranger was granted immediate entrance.
- It is said that Napoleon beseeched the Red Man for time
to complete the execution of certain proposals, but the prophetic messenger
gave him only three months to achieve a general peace or it would be all
over for him. In a futile effort to gain more time, Napoleon desperately
tried to launch a new eastern campaign. Such a move left Paris to fall
into the hands of the Allies; and on April 1, three months after the Red
Man's final visit to the Emperor, Talleyrand and the Senate called for
- As Napoleon spent those last brooding days staring forlornly
out to sea, he had valid reasons for believing that a book written 262
years before his rise to glory had accurately foretold his fate.
- According to some accounts, as he lay on his death-bed
at St. Helena he was heard to call out during the night, "Steingel,
- Since the battle of Marengo in 1800, Napoleon had been
haunted by a premonition that one of his seasoned artillery officers had
received in a dream. Steingel, a rugged campaigner had been so convinced
that the next day's battle would be his last that he had his will drawn
up and asked Napoleon to be its executor.
- "Last night I dreamed I leaped forward on my horse
at a decisive moment in the battle," Steingel told him. "I found
myself facing a gigantic armored Croat. I advanced and hit him with my
sword. The blade glanced off his armor.
- "Then the armor and the uniform fell off the Croat
and I saw Death with its sickle before me. He gave a great mocking laugh,
raised his sickle, and struck me down."
- After the day's fighting had ended, Napoleon was notified
that Steingel had been slain on the battlefield. With a demand that became
an obsession, Napoleon ordered an investigation of the circumstances under
which one of his favorite officers had died.
- From eyewitness accounts, Napoleon learned that Steingel
had jumped forward on his horse to attack and had been blocked by a gigantic
Croat. One look at his opponent, and Steingel had cried out, "That
is him!" and had sat on his horse as if paralyzed.
- The Croat charged and Steingel struck him with his sword.
The weapon bounced off the armor of the giant, who thrust Steingel a death
- The eerie accuracy of Steingel's premonition was but
another dark bead which Napoleon mentally added to a string of circumstances
which, in his analysis, led him to conclude that one's life is preordained.
As he had declared to Dr. Arnott, "Our hour is marked and no one can
claim a moment of life beyond what fate has predestined."