Several experiments suggest the existence of narrow excited states in the nucleon below the \pi N threshold. Taking all information together a series of states emerges at masses of 940, 966, 985, 1003, m_4, 1044, m_6, 1094 MeV above the nucleon ground state at 940 MeV with m_4 and m_6 missing. A model based on the excitation of collective states of the quark condensate is proposed explaining these states as multiple production of a ``genuine'' Goldstone Boson with a mass of \approx 20 MeV. The model also accounts in a natural way for the non-observation of m_4 and m_6. It suggests an explanation of the mass gap problem of the hadronic spectrum and a confinement mechanism.