januari 08, 2005

the ice breaks

The vicar had been out on the ice half the night with the farmers and their labourers, looking for Gille Folkesson, who had left the vicarage in anguish of mind. At last they had discovered that there was a hole in the weak ice where the river ran in; one man had very carefully crept towards is and found Gille's hat floating on the water. They needed to search no further; then they could walk back to land.

As they returned, still in the winter dark everyone talked about Gille, of course. They knew him well, and told each other stories of his deal with the water people. "Of course, those down there served him" said one man, stamping on the ice, "but now it's over the way these things always end. He fell into their clutches at last."

"He can't have been careful enough." someone said. "He must have drunk water from the lake."

Just as those words were spoken, another voice was heard, which started to tell a story. It was weak and shaky, the voice of an old, defeated man. At first they didn't realise whose it was: the men stopped still and wondered. No one old or weak had come out onto the ice with them.

Then they realised that it was the vicar speaking, and they clustered around him to hear his story. They couldn't clearly distinguish him in the dark, but they thought they saw a hunched and shivering man who could scarcely keep to his feet.

Never before had they seen a man so crushed. Most of them were young and carefree themselves, but they huddled around the broken man and wept like children as he told his story.
When he had finished the tale of what he had seen and heard that afternoon he walked up to the shore alone. The others followed him silently, at a distance, to be sure he managed to stagger home and did not collapse by the snowy roadside.

"He's finished", they whispered to each other. "He'll never climb into a pulpit again."

Posted by andrewb at januari 8, 2005 10:31 FM
As a big fan of Selma Lagerlof and folk stories (traditional tales) I can only encourage you to keep your good work mate. Cheers ;) Posted by: Manji at januari 16, 2005 05:08 EM