In the back of my mind I’ve had story of an english picnic in the italian countryside that is disturbed by the presence of the “great god Pan.” Its haunted me since my adolescence, but I’ve never been able to track it down. During this last trip an Sicily driving through Chestnut and Ash groves high above the sea and watching the wind whip across the golden grass I couldn’t stop thinking about the story where the composed group is hit by a sudden panic which sends them running through the woods (I believe it might be the literary pre-cursor to “picnic at hanging rock.”) At one moment I thought maybe it was by Nathaniel Hawthorne at another that the title may be some variation on “an afternoon of a faun.”
The last night in my hotel as I contemplated this painting of a woman being amorously pursued by a goat (a totally ok Sicilian Hotel painting I guess) I remembered the title. I was able to read “The Story of a Panic” by E.M. Forster in my room that evening and understood even more why it had stuck with me since my childhood. The story can be read at the link below.