The black hands and the white ones

Is it weird that I dreamed that night? I dreamed that our Island had changed into a big city and that city was Hamburg. The meadow was gone, and there were many low houses everywhere. Cows and goats walked freely in the streets and the streets were so crowded that walkers clashed. In the middle of them I saw my long-legged friend. He wore my father’s clothes and under his chin hung long brown hair, which I greatly admired. He spoke to himself and finally noticing me, he grabbed my hand and squeezed it hard as he said:

‘It’s late, my boy, come down.

I was very surprised by that “go down”, because how would I go down, standing in a street between so many people and animals?

“How to get down?” I asked.

Once again he shook my hand, shrugged and … I woke up. The city was gone, and so were the people and the animals, but there stood before me John, who was about to pull me out of my bed. It was the first time anyone had woken me. My parents always let me sleep until I woke up myself, no matter if it was early or late, and if I happened to stay in bed all day, my father wouldn’t even notice. I was very touched by the proof that John had been thinking of me so early in the morning.

– Hey! are you I asked, opening my eyes wide. – I dreamed that I was in Hamburg and that you had chin hair. – The sailor laughed out loud.

– Chin hair, and in Hamburg !? He said. – Oh no, I’m still on your Island …… What’s that? He said suddenly, pointing to my blanket under which something was moving.

“That’s Sam,” I said. At the same time my cat’s head appeared, and at once the whole beast, which, seeing a strange man to whom it was not accustomed, bent its back high and with a loud hiss announced its hostility. Then it jumped out of bed, onto the stairs leading to the roof, and disappeared through the unclosed opening. John laughed.

“There’s another one who’s afraid I’ll eat it,” he said. Japheth was not at all frightened. It greeted the sailor with a moving tail and licked his hands.

“Japheth is not afraid of me,” he said. The dog jumped out of bed, I followed its example and we went downstairs for breakfast. My father had scarcely put his cap on the thick layer of hair the second time I stood up. Japheth, guessing my intention, ran barking outside. I took the basket and waited until John got up to go with me to the dunes.

– Yes! – he said, we will look for eggs.

‘All right! Said the mother.

My father was silent and started reading a newspaper, as usual.

‘I’m going! I said.

‘Well, all right! Said my mother again, and we went out.

“Does your father never look for eggs?” Asked John.

“He? Oh, no, he reads a newspaper and then goes to the sea to see if barrels or crates or anything else have swum on the island.”

“Is that all he does?”

– No; he milks or goes to the meadow.

– What to do?

– To make hay or to catch moles.

At some distance Sim was grazing. The goat had not yet seen us, but hearing us speak, she turned and noticing a stranger, she looked at him with visible surprise, stood on her hind legs, made the strangest leaps, and bowing her head made a face as if she wished to attack my comrade. . John laughed.

‘Just come! He said to the goat. ‘Just come, we’ll be friends soon. Sim, however, did not seem to agree, for she did not come, but always looking at us, followed a great semicircle until she was after us, and following us a few paces, suddenly turned and walked quietly, as if the intruder had not touched her at all. .

Always chatting, the long-legged sailor continued on his way and I walked by his side listening intently to everything he told or said, for it was all very interesting to me, who had not yet heard anything interesting before the arrival of John. In the dunes we looked for eggs, but I was very surprised to find them alone, for no matter how hard John tried, he failed and found not one. With that, however, he did not lose his good humor.

“To-morrow I will find them all, and you none,” he said jokingly. Japheth searched as diligently as I did, and in an hour my basket was almost full. I have never collected more than one full basket in one day, for if too many eggs are taken away, the gulls will be too few on the Island or might be frightened away; I therefore had to be careful and not search with too much zeal.

“Let us rest for a moment,” said John, and he sat down. Of course I also sat down and Japheth immediately followed my example. We sat side by side with our new friend in the middle, and so, like three good comrades, we rested after a tiring walk through the soft sand. I told John about my silver coins I had collected and how I played with them during the long winter evenings.

– What will you buy with them later? He asked.

‘I never thought of that. What can I buy?

“It depends on the quantity,” he said, smiling at my naivete, and said.

– In “the City” you can buy clothes, a pocket watch or you can go to the theater with your money; you can travel by train and so on and so forth.

– How much money do I have to give to go to the theater?

‘That depends; when I have a lot of money, I usually buy a ticket for a good seat, when I have little money, I am content with a lesser seat, but in reality all seats are equally good. I saw rich gentlemen and ladies who were bored in the best seats and at the same time I saw poor people in the worst seats, and they had a lot of fun. It follows that it all depends on circumstances.

– Do I have to pay a lot to travel by train to Hamburg?

“To Hamburg?” Ho ne; but tell me how many such coins you have.

“Three hundred and thirty-two.”

‘Well, with so much money you can travel by train even farther than Hamburg.

‘I’ve never seen a train.

‘Of course you never saw it.

– Is it fun to travel in a train?

‘That depends on the circumstances.

– Does that also depend on circumstances?

‘Yes, my boy; it all depends on circumstances.

‘I don’t understand.

‘You will understand later.

“Have you traveled by train many times?”

– If I have money, I travel just to get to the destination of my trip sooner, but in reality there is nothing more pleasant than walking.

“Then can’t you walk to Hamburg?”

‘I can, but it’s cheaper to get there by train.

I opened my eyes wide in surprise, as it was very confusing to me that walking cost money.

– Are you surprised about that?

‘Yes, I thought it cost nothing to walk.

‘I’ll explain. If you want to walk to Hamburg, you have to walk for many days and on the way you have to eat, and the nights you have to spend in a hotel, and that together costs a lot more money than one train ticket by which you travel to Hamburg in a few hours. .

“In a few hours?”

– Yes, because the train goes ten times faster than a pedestrian.

“Ten times?”

– Yes, a train goes by steam just like a steamer.

“Can you explain how steam can move ships and trains?”

‘I can’t.

‘All right! I said, imitating my mother’s usual saying, and I said further:

– Maybe I’ll experience that later?

John did not answer that question, but smiled for a moment and began to play with Japheth. I interrupted him saying:

‘You promised to tell me a story.

‘Yes, I promised.

“What will you tell me?”

“Let me think,” he said, and after thinking for a moment he said:

The black hands and white [1] .

A story for all children, but especially for the lazy. Once upon a time there was a little boy named Lazaroni, who, while he was asleep, felt himself being rocked by a strange buzz that filled the whole house. The next morning, as he was about to get up, this little boy found on the table by the bed a white loaf of bread, whiter than snow and tastier than the most delicious of all cakes. One day, seeing a beautiful wooden horse with one of his comrades, Lazaroni envied his friend’s property. In the evening, however, he thought no more of it, but in his sleep that strange buzzing of which I spoke was so strong that night that the little boy awoke. Then it seemed to him as if he saw two strange shadows moving forward in the darkness of the room. The little boy was frightened and hid under the blanket. The next morning Lazaroni found beside his bed by the side of the daily bread, a beautiful wooden horse, more beautiful than that of his comrade. How great was the little boy’s joy! He played all day with the horse, then it bored him and he wanted to own another toy. The mysterious buzzing of the next night was heard louder in the house, and the next morning, when young Lazaroni awoke, he found the new toy he had desired. Then his desire grew bigger and bigger, and every day the pampered one when young Lazaroni awoke he found the new toy he had wanted. Then his desire grew larger and larger, and every day the pampered when young Lazaroni awoke he found the new toy he had wanted. Then his desire grew bigger and bigger, and every day the pampered onea child wanted something completely new, which was always brought by the two strange shadows of the night. The little boy became a boy … a young man, but every day he expressed a new desire. Here it was a beautiful garment, here an expensive jewel or beautifully shaped furniture. Untiringly and obediently, the two mysterious shadows satisfied all of Lazaroni’s desires. Eventually this intrigued him, and he decided to investigate what were those shadows that had become his submissive slaves. So one night he sat in bed with a burning candle in his hand. Suddenly he was astonished to see that these nocturnal visitors were two giant hands, but so callous and black, and whose fingers seemed so rough that the young man seized with disgust the velvet cloak embroidered with gold which he had desired the day before, and which the slave hands brought him. Seeing though, how rich and beautiful that cloak is, he forgot the abomination which these black manches inspired in him, and desiring to know how far their enchantment might reach, he ordered them at once to bring the most beautiful necklace of gold, the most beautiful clasps of diamond , which they could find. The black hands disappeared for a moment, but soon returned with the desired objects, which were a thousand times more beautiful than anything Lazaroni could have imagined. He covered himself with these beautiful gifts and found them to be so beautiful that he must be ashamed of the room in which he lives. And he ordered the black hands to furnish a room worthy of him. The slaves obeyed, and a few seconds later the young man found himself in the middle of a vast hall supported by the most exquisite marble pillars, adorned with decoration of gold and jewels, and which harmonized pleasantly with some furniture, which the mysterious hands brought every minute. Curious and delighted, Lazaroni wanted to see where those strange hands had taken everything they had brought him. Then he saw them digging the ground with their vigilant fingers and thatthey pull the desired objects out of a deep groove. The miracle is very simple, said the young man, and amused himself, he ordered in order the most varied objects which his hands had pulled out of the ground, always with the same obedience. However, despite the ease with which those hands worked, it was clear that fatigue was pressing on them. They were covered in sweat and shivered. Besides, they grew blacker and blacker. – Devil! Said Lazaroni to himself, “it seems as if the enchantment of my slaves is running out.” I take advantage of them. ‘And he ordered them to build a castle for him. Obediently, the hands dug the ground again, but with much effort. However, they extracted so many stones from it that they were able to build a beautiful castle, a thousand times larger and more luxurious than all the castles in the vicinity. Lazaroni, seeing that the slaves became more and more feverish, worked them incessantly with more vigor. He surrounded the castle with a beautiful park, where the flowers, the rarest, competed for beauty with the most graceful fountains, the most elegant statues. Insatiable, Lazaroni always found an image of something more beautiful to build, when suddenly his hands tensed and fell motionless on the carpet of the living room. The young man realized that the slaves had lost their enchantment. ‘I did well to take advantage of them,’ he said, ‘but I hope those ugly hands don’t stay there! At that moment the rooster crowed and the mysterious hands grew smaller as the day approached; then, little by little, at the ends of the hands appeared the shape of a human body. At last the figure of a man appeared in the shadows, and when the dawn filled the hall of Lazaroni with pink rays, he saw with astonishment,

Dismayed, he could not take his eyes off those hands still large, though they had lost their gigantic form, but which seemed blacker, more callous, andcoarser than before. The poor old man moved them with a sigh, and said: “Look, the magical power that turned them into two fairies, into two slaves of your desire, that magical power made them so tired that now my poor hands are almost dead.” They hang helplessly at the end of my arms that nothing can bring back their former fervor. But that doesn’t matter, I’m not sorry, and I’m very happy to see you so bright, so luxuriously beautiful – and almost weeping for joy, the old man was about to embrace his son …, but this one, seeing the black bald hands approaching he stepped back involuntarily, protecting his beautiful silk garment, and said to the old man: “Pay attention to your ugly hands, my father, you are going to defile me!” “It is true,” said he, with a sigh, and he withdrew;

The father turned happy, but the son continued: “Don’t touch the door like that, its color is so delicate, you could blacken it.” – The old man withdrew confused to his room, but when in the afternoon he saw the rich gentlemen who visited his son, the father was so happy for the prosperity of Lazaroni that he looked at him with delight, not noticing that the visitors looked at the strange hands of the good man with astonishment.

Lazaroni blushed with shame and whispered irritably to his father: “Hide your hands, then.” ‘The poor man obeyed, but tears rolled down his cheeks. Then he felt the look of the black hands become annoying to his son. He wiped the furniture, the tablecloth, and the door with a cloth, which the old man had carelessly touched with his rough hands. He looked at those hands with obedience as they approached his. Finally, one day the old man decided to retire to a cottage,which he owned far away in the country. And the son let him go, for now he could continue his life as a great lord, no longer needing to be ashamed of his father’s black hands. One night, he was sleeping soundly when he was awakened by a strange hum that reminded him of the one with which his youth had been rocked. But this noise was more gratifying. It was like the tinkling of gold coins dancing together wildly. Lazaroni paid no attention to this, but it seemed to him that every night a valuable object disappeared from his castle. Surprised, the young man did not sleep one night, but stalked and saw mysterious hands visiting him again. But these, instead of being black and rough, were wonderfully white, delicate and elegant. At these hands all the flowers in the park were plucked, and thorn-bushes grew in their place. The white hands worked with such charm that Lazaroni found the sight attractive. However, these mysterious visitors had entered the drawing-rooms, and seizing the furniture with an apathetic gesture, threw them out of the window, and all these precious objects were at once transformed into a rose vapor, which disappeared into the air. Lazaroni was so surprised that he did not even have the strength to drive away the ruining hands that deprived him of his jewels, of his rich clothes; which in the same way all melted into rose vapor. His castle flew away in a graceful cloud with the same rapidity, and suddenly Lazaroni, dressed in rags, lay on a miserable bed. At that moment the rooster crowed, announcing the dawn. The hands shrank, clung to a human body and the young man was horrified to see that it was his own hands that had caused this devastation. Then mad with grief and despair, he ran to his father’s apartment, and throwing himself at his feet, he apologized, and told him all that had happened. The good old man, whose weak hands were now wax-colored, blessed him, saying:

– My son, you can regain your lost property if you only want to dedicate your hands to the magical enchantment to which I have dedicated mine, and you will experience what means it can provide you. – – My father, I am prone to everything. What is the name of this magical resource? “The work,” replied the old man.

The young man understood; and his white hands began to dig the earth. At first he drew only black bread from it, but gradually his hands turned brown under the sunshine and his faded hands soon gave him white bread. He did not stop working diligently, became very rich and his father lived inexpressibly happy with him for many more years.

– What do you think of my story? John asked.

“Did it really happen?”

‘Yes and no.

‘I don’t understand.

‘You will understand later when you have lived among the people for a few years.

“Lazaroni had a good father,” I said.

“Yes, he had,” said the sailor; and I asked:

“Was that father better than mine?”

“You will experience that later,” he answered. I started to think that there are still a lot of things in the world that I should experience.

“What will you tell me now?” I asked, not thinking at all that one might be too curious or indiscreet; I did not know that discretion existed.

“I’ll tell you what really happened now,” he said.

‘Well, all right! I answered, and John began the story of:

Gauda’s carpenter’s wife.

Gauda is a very beautiful and clean town in the Netherlands. All its streets and alleys are carefully paved, and along each (with the exception of only one) flows a canal or branch of the rivers Gaue and Isel. Now listen! More than three hundred years ago, the bourgeoisie of Gauda was divided into two religious parties, which hated each other and fought incessantly for power.

It so happened that the Black party (I want to call it by that name) ruled. The mayor, the aldermen, the police, in a word, all the people who were paid by the town, belonged to the Black party, and they were called the Blacks. All the Whites (the opponents) were persecuted in a terrible way. They were driven out of town, or thrown into prison, or even killed without mercy. The terror was great in the unfortunate Gauda and the trade, the industry and so on failed as never before. The mayor, a very fanatical Black, dispersed soldiers and policemen through the town, arresting all dangerous opponents.

It so happened that one of those persecuted, an ardent White Man, escaped, and no matter how much he was searched, he could be found and arrested nowhere. The mayor was furious. He himself searched with helpers all the suspicious houses, but without a desired result. Assuming that the persecuted man was not in his own house, the angry mayor first searched the houses of his followers, but not finding him there, they went to the White Man’s house itself. The door was unlocked and the pursuers entered. Going up the stairs, they pushed open the living room door. The White man’s wife was sitting in her chair, and she was so terrified to see the angry mayor and his policemen that she almost fainted.

“Where is your husband?” Asked the angry man.

The woman wanted to answer, but could not; it seemed to her as if her tongue were sticking to her palate, and she made only a few incomprehensible sounds.

‘Answer at once! Exclaimed the mayor. – Your husband is hiding here, if we don’t find him, I’ll burn the whole house. – Saying this, he kicked so hard on the floor that the furniture began to dance.

As the woman continued to be silent, he ordered his companions to search. They did so, but without much success; the White Man could not be found. In the meantime the woman gradually regained consciousness, and when the mayor again asked her where she had hidden the “White Man,” she replied in a trembling voice:

‘Sir, look no further for him in this house, you have already searched from the cellar to the roof; where do you think I would hide him? ‘The mayor has ordered that the house be well guarded outside, for the cursed White Man must be inside, or he will return to it soon. The pursuers left the woman alone, they continued the search in the city, while one of them carefully guarded the house on the street.

You can understand how happy the woman was when the mayor and his aides had left, especially since the mayor’s threat to set the house on fire had not been carried out. However, the White Man was in good shelter. So you must know that he was a carpenter, and that he had made such a good hiding-place in his house that it was impossible to find it. He built this refuge at a time when his followers, the Whites, ruled the town and he foresaw that the time might come when the opponents would be “masters” in the town.

I’m not telling you now where our White Man found himself, because if I said that, the interest in my story would become smaller. If you ever visit Gauda, ​​all the children on the street will be able to show you the house with the hiding place, because it still exists; in the woman’s memory one does not want to demolish or change the apartment. Even the green one a duck, which was seen carved on the facade of the house three hundred years ago, is still in the same place, and the bird is still looking in the same direction as before, not getting tired at all. But let me tell you more: On the evening of the day when the Blacks so terrified his wife in the “Duck House,” the carpenter sat quietly at the table in the presence of his wife, and they praised God for His help, for none of the Blacks could find him. even a trace, though two or three times the soldiers revisited and searched the whole house. When the “Duck House” was visited during the week without a good result for the Blacks, everyone assumed that the carpenter had fled out of town, and no soldiers or police disturbed the inhabitants of the Duck House.

Have you ever heard the proverb: Severe masters do not rule for long? – No? – Well, that’s a Dutch proverb and it’s good and beautiful, because it’s almost always true. Also in my story it is true, because when the Blacks had ruled for six months, their rule was overthrown and replaced by that of the Whites. You may say that this was a very strange time in which such horrors and critical things took place; you are right, but let us not forget that the people of the present age are wiser and not so hostile to one another as they were three hundred years ago.

But I will tell more. The Whites, in turn, held the reins of power, and began to pursue the Blacks, and everywhere the former masters escaped. The mayor also wanted to flee, as he found himself in great danger of being caught and hanged. He himself had executed many opponents before, and the Whites wanted revenge. It was difficult to escape, however, for the gates of the town were well guarded, and only through them could the town be left. Already at midnight the dismissedthe mayor had left his house, fearing that he would be sought there. Wrapped in a wide black cloak, he snuck through the streets to find out if he could see a refuge somewhere. As he was a tall man, he feared that his pursuers would soon recognize him, and he was not mistaken, for some soldiers, going with burning torches, caught sight of him at two o’clock at night, and at once began to run after him. The fugitive quickly hid in a street corner and noticed with a beating heart that the soldiers had passed by without seeing him. For a moment he was free again, but anticipating that he would return to search the adjoining streets, he turned his eyes everywhere, inquiring whether any good opportunity would present itself to hide. On one occasion he found himself at that moment in front of the Duckling, and not knowing what to do any more, he loudly dropped the knocker twice. He waited for one, two minutes, and just as the pursuers reappeared on the corner, the door opened, and the black figure of the former mayor slipped inside, closing the door quietly behind him. Up on the stairs stood a little woman. She thought she had opened it for her husband, who had not yet returned home, and seeing that black tall figure at the door at the bottom of the stairs, she let out a low cry, but when she regained consciousness she asked: “Who are you?” thought my husband ….

“Ma’am,” answered the former mayor, “for God’s sake, help me, they persecute me, and want to kill me.” – The woman recognized the voice of the former mayor and immediately she understood everything.

“Do you know who you are asking for help?” She said; – Do you know that … – The former mayor, going up the stairs, interrupted her:

‘No, madam,’ he said, ‘in my fear I accidentally knocked on this door, but whoever you are will help me if you are a Christian.

“Follow me,” answered the woman, “but quickly, as I hear the sound of footsteps in the street, it may be seen that you have entered my house.”

A minute later they were in the same room where a few months ago the mayor was looking for the carpenter, the husband of this woman, to whom he now asked for protection. The woman did not introduce herself, and without saying a word, she pushed the mirror away, pushed on a nail with her finger, and suddenly a hidden door opened; Then she said: “Get in there, but don’t make any noise, so that no one can hear you. I’ll take care of everything.”

The former mayor crawled into the shelter, the secret gate closed again, and the mirror was pushed into its usual place.

When the carpenter returned home at six o’clock, he told in detail that the cursed former mayor had been searched everywhere and all night, but that he could not be found anywhere.

The woman now had in her power the life of her former persecutor, and what do you think she did? …. Have you ever heard of the man who found his sleeping enemy on the edge of a high rock? My mother read to me about it when I was an eight-year-old boy, and I remember well that big tears rolled down her cheeks when she read the end of the story …., “and the man, without waking his enemy, pulled him away from that dangerous place and continued on his way. ”

The carpenter’s wife did not betray the fugitive whom God had entrusted to her care and protection. She acted as if nothing extraordinary had happened in her house. When her husband was at work outside the house, she carried food and drink to her prisoner until the time when no one else thought of him, until the time when the order had returned to the town of Gauda.

One evening she brought the former mayor out of hiding, and giving him clothes to make himself unknown to the townspeople and the gatekeeper, she spoke to him:

– Lord, the danger that has threatened you so far has passed completely, go with God, leave the city, no one will recognize and pay attention to you, be well!

The former mayor pulled a large purse from his pocket and presenting it to the woman, he said:

– Madam, you saved my life, take this purse with the contents as a reward for your noble conduct towards me, but tell me, how could you hide me so well that not even your husband found out?

The woman replied:

‘Lord, keep your money, you will need it yourself on the run; but I will tell you how I could have hidden you so well. That hiding place where you spent so many days I also used to hide my husband when you as mayor of Gauda were looking for him to hang. You have done us a great deal of harm, but as I strive to be a true Christian, I have forgiven you for reading in that holy book (she seized the dismayed ex-mayor’s hand and led him to a small shelf from which she took a religious book). ): “Forgive your enemies and love them!”

The pale ex-mayor, recognizing the carpenter’s wife, became even paler; his knees bent under his body and he was so moved that he could not answer. Shamefully he lowered his head and as the woman closed the hiding place and pushed the mirror into the usual place, he disappeared from the room and quietly left the Duckling.

John was silent and I reflected on the noble conduct of that woman.

– What are you thinking about? He finally asked.

‘About that carpenter’s wife.

“What do you think of her?”

‘Oh, she is as good as Lazaroni’s father.

“What do you think your mother would say if that mayor came to you to arrest your father?”

I thought again.

– No? He asked further. “What would she say?”

– Oh, she would say: All right! I answered, “because she always answers like that,” and without waiting for the sailor to answer, I went on:

“Will you tell me about Hamburg now?”

“Yes, but that will not be a fairy tale or a story,” and he told of that great city; that it is so old that it lies beside the broad rivers Elbe and Alster, that the harbor is so large and almost full of ships; that the city consists of two parts, one new, the other old; that before the city was a fortress, but that after a hundred years the walls had been removed, and that in their place are beautiful promenades, and so on. He told about the soldiers, about churches, about theaters and that he would feel happy to be in Hamburg again.

“I wish you would always stay here,” I said suddenly.


“My father always says that, too, or that you stay for at least a year.”

“Then why?”

‘Because you can tell so beautifully.

“Only for that?”

‘No, for everything ! I said. ‘I have been so alone on the Island so far, but I have not felt that; however, once you’re gone, I might get bored here.

– Cook your peas, my boy!

‘I’ll try, but why can’t I go with you to London, and then to Hamburg?’ ‘I almost cried.

The sailor looked at me and the same until a few days ago unfamiliar expressions of pity to me, which he felt for me, slipped once more on his face. He then patted me kindly on the shoulder and said again:

‘Cook them, my friend, and everything will be fine.

I did not answer, but got up to continue searching for eggs. Always telling and talking John helped me, but he found no eggs. My basket was almost full, and recently I found a new nest and bent down to take out the eggs. The sailor bowed to me; his legs were outstretched, they were so long that I could easily crawl under them, and I was amazed at such long legs when suddenly for an unexpected cause the sailor lost his balance and rolled before me on the sand. His boots quickly outlined a semicircle through the air and here my friend lay for a moment with an outstretched body on the sand. I was astonished, but fortunately the sailor got up at once and, laughing heartily, pointed his fist at something standing behind me. Turning, I saw Japheth. The goat had followed us and waiting for a good opportunity to show her hostility to my friend, she had with her horns pushed so hard against his buttocks that the surprised sailor was thrown a few steps forward. Seeing that didn’t hurt John much, I laughed too. The goat, however, was already some distance away, perhaps to attack her enemy once more, but seeing that he was cautious, she turned her tail to us and slowly walked away. We kept looking for eggs and while John was telling stories about “The Ugly Duckling”, about “The Nightingale” (it seemed to me that he was inexhaustible about fairy tales), time passed very quickly. The goat, however, was already some distance away, perhaps to attack her enemy once more, but seeing that he was cautious, she turned her tail to us and slowly walked away. We kept looking for eggs and while John was telling stories about “The Ugly Duckling”, about “The Nightingale” (it seemed to me that he was inexhaustible about fairy tales), time passed very quickly. The goat, however, was already some distance away, perhaps to attack her enemy once more, but seeing that he was cautious, she turned her tail to us and slowly walked away. We kept looking for eggs and while John was telling stories about “The Ugly Duckling”, about “The Nightingale” (it seemed to me that he was inexhaustible about fairy tales), time passed very quickly.

The last few days during his presence I felt like a completely different boy. Suddenly the desire to find out everything that happens in the world and especially in Hamburg awoke in me. I wanted to get acquainted with all the things outside the island, completely foreign to me so far. Undoubtedly in that “world” I would be happy, because in my imagination all people there must be like John; they would smile at me and act completely differently from my parents, who let me just do it, but who didn’t realize that in the end I couldn’t be content with my monotonous life.

With anguish I waited for the last day of the month when my friend would leave to never return. I counted the days I had never done before. Every morning I rejoiced, for a new day came to pass with someone who could understand me and who wanted everything I wanted, who in a word completely agreed with me, and every evening I was sad that a day had passed, because every day of that month was to me like a part of a treasure that was gradually lost to me. And what would remain after I had lost that treasure? Only loneliness, monotony and boredom. I had a clear feeling that. My animals, especially the dog, could play with me as before, but it was indeed dumb and would not be able to remove the mysterious oppression that had suddenly seized my heart when I thought of the coming month.

At night I could not sleep peacefully. Many times I sat down in my bed and looking into the dim light around me, I began to cry. If only I could cook my peas, but, alas! I was not a philosopher like John; besides, they would be too hard, they would press and hurt me and no one would come to take them off my shoes. When day broke, my grief was gone, for I could once again walk and play in the dunes with John; there we jumped, ran, there he told stories and I had fun; but day after day passed without return, and at last the last came. At midnight, unable to sleep, I got up and quietly went down the stairs to the stable where he slept.

I listened …. In the room my father snored softly like a mysterious hidden saw, except that everything was silent. In a corner of the stable lay the straw bed on which the sailor rested. The moonlight penetrated through the open door and I could make out the sleeper. I approached and crouched at his bed. He slept quietly and only with difficulty could I hear his regular breathing. I felt his hand lying on the blanket, and he woke up. I couldn’t see if he opened his eyes, but I could see him moving.

“What is it?” He said, as if in a dream.

‘It’s me.

“Are you, my boy? What is the matter with thee? Why dost thou not sleep?”

“I can’t … because you’re leaving tomorrow.” ‘And I began to cry.

‘Calm down! He said softly, “don’t cry, everything will be fine.”

“Oh, no, you’re leaving.”

‘But I can come back.


‘I don’t know; that will depend on circumstances.

“Oh, you will not return. Why can’t I go with you and become a sailor like you?”

‘You are too young. Stay quiet here, you really won’t be alone because your parents will stay.

‘But they don’t love me at all; … they may not even be my parents.

‘Shut up, boy, don’t say such nonsense.

‘You thought so yourself.

– Yes, but I was wrong. They told me you were their son, you were born here. They are simple quiet people and don’t know how to tell and play with you like I did; you have to understand that.

‘You say that to calm me down, but they don’t love me at all; my dog ​​loves me more.

‘They are good to you, after all.

– They never hit, don’t even blame me. They always let me do what I just want, but something secretly tells me that they don’t love me, and that I don’t love them at all; I love my dog ​​more. I didn’t feel that before, but after you came to the Island, I love only you and you love me mutually, that’s what I feel; in spite of that you want to leave and I will be completely abandoned … ‘I cried again.

‘If only I hadn’t come! He said with a sigh, and after a while he said, “I made you unhappy.”

“Don’t say it! I’m glad you came.”

– Well, if that’s the case, everything will be fine. You will soon get used to your fate … Go to your bed now and sleep.

‘I want to lie with you this last night.

– Good! He said, making room for me. Just lie down next to me and sleep.

I grabbed his hand and lying on his side, I fell asleep.