I have been reading a story by Robert Bloch - The feast in the Abbey. I just cannot see how the "rune" can be correct in the following:

As I thus mused there fell upon my ears the sounds of sonorous chanting that swelled symphonically from somewhere far below. Its measured cadence rose and fell solemnly as if it were borne from a distance incredible to human ears. It was subtly disturbing; I could distinguish neither words nor phrases that I knew, but the potent rhythm bewildered me. It welled, a malefic rune, fraught with insidious, strange suggestion.

Should not "tune" make sense? However, all references I found read truly "rune", but again all could be using the same, corrupted OCR...

Thanks a lot

1 Answer 1


Rune is correct. It is used in a figurative sense - a flowing stream


3. A flow of water; a stream, a watercourse. English regional (chiefly south-western) in later use. Cf. rean n., rhine n.3

OE Aldhelm Glosses (Brussels 1650) in L. Goossens Old Eng. Glosses of MS Brussels, Royal Libr. 1650 (1974) 186 Perpes aquęductuum decursus : singal renes [read rene] wætertige.

1849 W. A. Williamson Local Etymol. 96 Rune, a watercourse, a channel, from the Teut. rhennen, to run, flow.

It is a very old and rare word.

(You can hear it spoken at about 6:49 in ""The Feast in the Abbey" by Robert Bloch / A HorrorBabble Production"" at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eAf2-99Y0II

  • Thanks a lot, I was not able to find this meaning, much appreciated!
    – John V
    Aug 20, 2020 at 10:23
  • But in that case, how does "malefic" fit the context?
    – Rosie F
    Aug 20, 2020 at 13:50
  • ? In it's literal meaning.
    – Greybeard
    Aug 20, 2020 at 16:15
  • @RosieF - "literary - causing harm or destruction, especially by supernatural means." Aug 20, 2020 at 16:54
  • In it's literal meaning - is that a Greybeard's apostrophe? Aug 20, 2020 at 20:14

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