Chapter 17 Dance With The Devil By Gunther Schwab Written in 1963.
NIGHT WAS LONG; IT SMELT OF DUST, BURNING AND
There was a deathly silence everywhere.
star was to be seen.
had stretched out his finger to the artificial world, and with all its
skyscrapers, its machines,
its advertising hoardings, it had sunk into ruin, as though it were a scattered
handful of sand.
Rolande opened her eyes, she saw above her the calm light of a great star.
raised herself and her body hurt her. She pushed the hair from her forehead;
violent sobbing seemed to come from the very depths of her soul and shook her
very slowly, the memory of what had happened came back to her.
looked about. T
east was already bright and showed the contours of heaps of rubble and of
pillars of smoke.
girl tried to get up but cold and pain seemed to paralyse her.
a cry she sank back. "Sten," she cried. "Sten ! "
was no answer. It was only then that she called out:
Harding ! Mr. Groot!" And again, "Sten ! "
she raised herself and felt herself all over.
dress hung in rags about her. At her breast she felt the little sack with the
holy grains of corn,
suddenly it seemed as though a comforting power reached out from them to
she began to pick her way between the ruins.
dim light of the day just enabled her to see what was before her.
her foot trod on something soft. With a cry of fear, she collapsed.
open-eyed, the dead man looked into the world.
limbs had been shattered.
closed his eyes.
she went on; she had to find Sten.
few paces farther lay Groot, half buried.
too was dead.
did not stay with him.
! " she cried. "Sten ! "
and stumbling, she staggered through the lunar landscape of the devastated
her call was as the sobbing of a lost soul.
eastern sky grew red; so this tortured and insulted star still turned !
was still a sun ! Oh, the sun !
she found him. He lay on his face, with his arms out-stretched, and did not
Weeping, Rolande threw herself upon him and
turned him over.
face was bloody and still.
felt his limbs, which seemed to be unharmed, put her ear to his breast and was
filled with joy.
heart was still beating.
made feverish haste to help him.
stroked back the hair and wiped the dust from his face.
all her strength she managed to raise him and drag him a little way to a heap
of rubble beside
there was a little space of soft earth.
! " she cried, and kissed him again and again.
he opened his eyes, saw Rolande. He started to smile, then fainted again.
remained lying beside him, pressed close, so that they warmed one another.
was exhausted and soon fell asleep.
they awoke the sun was in the sky.
are the others?" asked Sten.
! " he cried suddenly. "Look ! "
the middle of the ruined landscape stood a tree, laden with blossom.
went near to it, astonished by the miracle.
It was an apple tree, and they smelt its
buzzed round it and went from flower to flower.
is it possible," whispered Sten, "that in the midst of all this ruin,
this tree survives?
the apple tree there was a nesting-box made of wood.
twittered in it and the older ones flew up and down with food in their beaks.
alone knew where they had found it.
animals and plants the Devil has no power," said Rolande.
have not been guilty of sin."
! But the nesting box? That was made by man."
the work of man serves life, God allows it to remain."
went away. They buried Harding and Groot, and piled rubble above them.
they wandered on, and the sun shone down upon them.
a living soul was to be seen.
sky grew blue; isolated birds flew off into the unknown;
huge ruins of the town covered the earth for many miles.
hungry and thirsty, Rolande and Sten returned in the evening to the blossoming
the earth had remained undamaged. It might have been a garden.
loose soil piled up about their feet. Not far away, water trickled from a
alive, Rolande, so we must believe that we're meant to live.
must give ourselves wholly over into God's hands and gladly accept what He
it life or death."
girl drew out from her dress the little sack with the wheaten grain.
yellow-gold corn ran into the palm of her hand.
ancient song came into her mind, a song that the peasants of a forgotten age
sung when they sowed. Softly, hesitatingly, she tried to sing it.
the words and melody came back to her, and her voice sounded deep and clear.
watched her, admiration in his eyes.
his hands he dug, and the girl put grain after grain into the warm, breathing,
was the seed of a new age.
she covered the grains with earth.
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