I was standing on the crest of a sloping hill; in front of me lay
outspread, and motley of hue, the ripe rye, now like a golden, again
like a silvery sea.
But no surge was coursing across this sea; no sultry breeze was
blowing; a great thunder-storm was brewing.
Round about me the sun was still shining hotly and dimly; but in
the distance, beyond the rye, not too far away, a dark-blue
thunder-cloud lay in a heavy mass over one half of the horizon.
Everything was holding its breath ... everything was languishing
beneath the ominous gleam of the sun's last rays. Not a single bird
was to be seen or heard; even the sparrows had hidden themselves.
Only somewhere, close at hand, a solitary huge leaf of burdock was
whispering and flapping.
How strongly the wormwood on the border-strips smells! I
glanced at the blue mass ... and confusion ensued in my soul. "Well,
be quick, then, be quick!" I thought. "Flash out, ye golden serpent!
Rumble, ye thunder! Move on, advance, discharge thy water, thou evil
thunder-cloud; put an end to this painful torment!"
But the storm-cloud did not stir. As before, it continued to crush
the dumb earth ... and seemed merely to wax larger and darker.
And lo! through its bluish monotony there flashed something
smooth and even; precisely like a white handkerchief, or a snowball.
It was a white dove flying from the direction of the village.
It flew, and flew onward, always straight onward ... and vanished
behind the forest.
Several moments passed--the same cruel silence still reigned....
But behold! Now _two_ handkerchiefs are fluttering, _two_ snowballs
are floating back; it is _two_ white doves wending their way
homeward in even flight.
And now, at last, the storm has broken loose--and the fun begins!
I could hardly reach home.--The wind shrieked and darted about
like a mad thing; low-hanging rusty-hued clouds swirled onward, as
though rent in bits; everything whirled, got mixed up, lashed and
rocked with the slanting columns of the furious downpour; the
lightning flashes blinded with their fiery green hue; abrupt claps
of thunder were discharged like cannon; there was a smell of
But under the eaves, on the very edge of a garret window, side by
side sit the two white doves,--the one which flew after its
companion, and the one which it brought and, perhaps, saved.
Both have ruffled up their plumage, and each feels with its wing
the wing of its neighbour....
It is well with them! And it is well with me as I gaze at
them.... Although I am alone ... alone, as always.
 Strips of grass left as boundaries between
the tilled fields allotted to different peasants.