…Fine whitish gravel was rustling jejunely underfoot. Twisting a good deal the path was winding up the mountain. Those early hours the air was still fresh and thin. It was easy to walk. Kurt's mood had been incredibly good right from the very morning. It was not understood why. Maybe, it was simply due to the spring. Probably, it was just because it was good enough to have woken up that quite early, to have seen the blue sky, clouds, the sun rising over the distant ultramarine hills, to have heard birds, the hardly resounding engine's scream of a train which was going through the valley, dad's and mom's muffled voices in the kitchen, the kid sister's drowsy wheeze nearby, to have felt the garden's coolness behind the half-opened window. And it meant – everything was alright, and one more day was beginning, and life was an eximious thing.

…Kurt was ascending higher and higher. Somewhere quite far below there was then their town with its white houses under red tile roofs, with the carillon of the recently repaired Kirche, with either express trains or freights burdened with various cryptic cargoes ones hurtling past the small station several times a day. Thus the great outness with noise and brattle reminded of itself serving much more as a foil to their town's even tenor of life. Kurt had already gone high enough to see the whole dale stretched almost strictly from North to South and rock-bound from both sides by two chains of forest-covered barrows. For the time being, for Kurt that heugh had been his whole world. While the outworld where all those trains would bounce into and where they would hurry away, was still apparitional and unreal. But up to quite a recent time everything had changed. Then Kurt was quite clear in his own mind how his country was actually big: from the leaden North Sea to the shining Alpine aiguilles, with the mighty Rhine in the West and benign plains in the East. He knew how many enemies his beloved country had, and what maliciously knavish tricks they would intrigue to keep it always underfoot. It had better for them if that country had never existed at all. And that was why Kurt felt proud and happy that his abject and ruined land was recovering and girding up its loins at last: plants and factories were being planted, blistering roads were being built, convenient sensible inhabitation for all labour people were being carried up,– for the people united by the great idea of creating the renewed, powerful and healthy state cleared of all and everybody that had got and was getting in its way to the new future. That future was depictured by Kurt as effectually organized in the correspondence with the new order's, progress' and righteousness' principles.

…Kurt was thinking in that way ascending higher and higher along the narrow path. In a successive curve in the road, having come up to the very edge he swept his eyes over the whole valley blurred by the lavender expanses, and he understood why it had been so good in that sunny spring morning – because that admirable morrow would come not only to their small burg in that cosy dale, but to all his big mighty country: then a miner in Silesia would be excited at that fresh morning, the same with a steelmaker in Essen, a docker in Hamburg, a roadmender near Dresden and a peasant in Bavaria – a great many of men and women, lads and lasses, in short – all, all citizens of his native country. While his town, so small somewhere far below, and Kurt himself – are just small parts of that re-building body.

…One more thing Kurt did know – over the Eastern chain of hills, behind the dark firry forest, in the same tiny bourg there lived Gerda. And that was what would make the world abiding finally. It was getting quite good.

Igor Savchenko
Villa Waldberta, Feldafing (Munich)
Ŕpril, 2000

Russian-English translation: Andrey Bursau, Minsk