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NEW: The Just Man




There was a bad, sharp wind blowing through the woodlands, he howled wildly furious around every housetop. Full of anger he drove every creature half frozen into warm shelter. For taking cover they crawled under warming foliage or straw. The first snowflakes of the year fell slow-moving and they attempted to mollify the furious wind.

But the wild icewind scattered the little innocent flakes and howled spitefully his sounds. Thereupon the flakes fell en masse down from the dark vault and the cold wind enjoyed it to whip them around now all the more furious. With zeal the snowflakes tried to slide down in gentle dance, but the wind was full of anger. Incandescence inflamed his passions and no one could escape him.

He threw the flakes around with huge icecold hands and blew his sharpness at full tilt down to earth. Greedily he blew sharp puffs and everything that´s not standing firmly on the ground got swirled up and off.

That evening was star-bright and the emerging frost started to move into the land. Father Frost entered his retreat at silent steps and cloaked everything in his frosty veil, so that onto every surface there were lying a white glittering coat of ice and it was freezing its beneath instantly.

Nothing was spared from him.
The icecold winter took up his quaters.
He shoved aside with his cold hard hand the autumn that would warn the summer against the coming winter for long as well as to prepare him for it.
Now a severe snowstorm was governing and no creature dared to set a foot onto the street, if it hasn´t to.

Except the many homeless, whose fate now laid in the icecold hands of the winter and he doubtlessly would suck the life out from their chest one after another and would let them become solidified.

The bright light of the street lamps refracted in all of the many straying snowflakes and caused reflected sparkling light onto the more and more increasing snow cover lying on the streets, roofs and bushes.

The remaining leaves of the trees laid around withered and brown, now covered with white, hither and tither and they illustrated, that life was gone and now the death was dawning. In the new year, life would come back again in all its glory and bloom and it will bring along the fresh and gentle fragrance of the blooming flowers.

Unless this, the death would govern in its icecold coat and it will cause its anthem along with the wild sharp whistling of the frosty wind to herald the start of the new regency, so that all creatures would get to know this lore and may revere the new ruler. A frosty coldness whistled around every cabin and was greedily seeking admittance.

If she did not find one, she tried to do it with little grooves or gaps in the masonry to make herself felt.

Would it be cold, one begann to freeze, so she knew that she was noticed and she wrapped her arms around this person even tighter.

In one of these cabins there was a just man sitting, and he was reading a book. He was sitting there in his large library  in front of his warm fireplace and was burying himself in a book with refreshing heart. Full of passion he was soaking every single word of the reading in and he was so lost in this other world, that he did not noticed as with greedy heart the cold found admittance in his cabin through a hatch, slowly starting to embrace him hard.

It seemed, as if all the many books in the shelves would embrace and protect this just man with their lines like a warm blanket made of written words.

Deeper and deeper was the cold digging into the flesh of this just. His body started to shiver and shudder badly and the cold already began to sneer. She added still more coldness to this man, yet he did not stir at all.

The cold was wondering and embraced him tighter and tighter. But it couldn´t be helped. Then the cold was frightened at the sight of his heart, which was beating warmly and blissfully in the chest of the man, and let up on him. This heart was that full of kindness, warmth and love, that the cold couln´t achieve anything.
„Hello“, quoth the heart to the cold there. „How are you, my daughter?“
It smiled.

The cold was frightened and was only staring at that heart, which still smiled kindly at the cold being pure and fine and without any prejudice.
It did not know anything bad, everything evil was foreign to it.

The heart looked at the cold expectanly. But the cold didn´t want to respond to it. Everything nice and good was foreign to her.

She turned away without a word and faded away. The heart was only smiling good-naturedly and left it at that. In fact, it did not often hit society!

The just man did not notice anything of these things by seeming to lost in his world of books. What a book has to say to him, what it wants him to let him know, the just man listened to it like no other. He could gave himself hour after hour to a book, being indulged all over in it and being lost in it.

Just like listening to a good friend he was listening carefully to the many words of the book and he was learning every single word almost greedily that a book could whisper to him with such an abandon, that he nearly lost his heart on it.

The just man – the book whisperer – didn´t step outside the house very often, being overfond of spending his time in his library with all his beloved friends, and listening carefully to their tales about foreign countries, cultures and adventures.

On the contrary, if one meets the just man in the street sometime, so this encounter was never in vain: Every person he met in passing, he gave a note to take with them with a saying or a good thought written on it.

They were wondering first, but by unfolding this note and finding a good and encouraging sentence on it, so they became overwhelmed with joy and they found this man as good and caring.

And when they were asking for advice or help, they never asked in vain.
Not even if he was once again sitting there with a book and wanted to do something good to himself.
He liked to help.
Always.
Day and night.

When they were knocking on his door, they never knocked in vain. His big, good heart was endless, his love and helpfulness immeasurable. He was living alone and his gender was neutral. When he just had his books, he was the happiest man on earth. And as long as his heart was pure, he found himself and the world being good.

Especially in the evening – when it started to dawn outside –, the just man was again sitting in his large library onto his big red wing chair in front of the crackling fireplace, and was listening eagerly to the wise words of one of his many eloquently friends, who took him into distant countries to distant cultures and into unknown and new adventures  every evening.

Many women were really keen on this just man, but he did not see them. Many men requested his company, but he did not see them. That was not even once meant as an offense, since he always was helping in other respects, where needed. But for all that, these people simply were no books. Otherwise the just man would have not hesitated for one second to get their company.

Despite that the just man were rarely going outside, he had a good reputation. People liked him. The rare cases, in which he set his foot onto the trottoir were always filled with graciousness, kindness and kind words.
Pure sympathy were streaming towards him. Not just because he was a wealthy man and didn´t hold down a job, but also because his visage was shining with such a sympathy, that one had to like him as soon as one caught sight of him.

The just man was possessing a large set of books. His library was crammed full of books of every description from the floor up to the roof. He was mad about reading. Not just did he loved tales, no, he once in a while liked to read non-fiction stories or biographies.

Notwithstanding many a biography was similar to a tale – but a true tale. Nothing bad, immoral, indecent, dissolute or lowbrow was allowed to be in the house of the just man. He was a man of the highest moral and he cultivated his virtues. His mind was only getting something sublime and elevated for nourishment. It did not know of anything rotten.

The just man ensured with caution that only everything good got into his heart and his mind, and he was contemplating about this and that philosophically before he went to bed every evening.

He was a man of less words, but of many thoughts. Would he actually give tongue to all of his thoughts, his mouth never came to rest. Even at night time he kept himself from sleeping with profound thoughts, and his mind always remained astute and alert.

Day in, day out the just man was in cheerful disposition, because his heart was beating jolly in his chest. How else was it to be then? The heart knew only everything lovely, all the cruelties of the world out there were foreign to that little heart. It did not even sense, that there was another world existing. On top of that, a world of being evil! However, one day, its master – the just man – received a letter.

He opened it and all at once something stabbed through his body. It was a horrible pain, which the heart had never felt before. It could barely breathe, it gasped for breath.

Big burning tears were running down the face of the just man and so they were smudging the ink of the letter. He had to sit down and put one hand on his heart.

„O good God“, it was breaking out of him full of pain. „O God!“ For the heart all of that was foreign. What was going on here? What did this portend? 

The just man blew his nose with a handkerchief and wiped off his tears from his face after an awful passion of tears. His eyes were red, wet and puffy. For many years, the just man hadn´t wept yet. „No, no, no“, the just man was whispering repeatedly. „No, no no.“

The pain, the little just heart was feeling, didn´t eased off. It was stabbing deeper and deeper, more and more burning through its body. A glowing sword was forging ahead through the good heart and this was shaking it so much, that the heart was thinking, it couldn´t go on beating no longer.

For all one is worth, the heart tried to go on beating, to keep its master and itself alive, and to go on transporting blood through his body, even if the pain was getting worse and worse. The heart had to control itself not to scream. It was stumbling wildly and it hoped, that the pain would disappear.  

Suddenly, the just man fell down on his knees in his book-filled library and was weeping and moaning and he complained sorrowfully. The heart couln´t go on any longer. Now it also was screaming.

A burning twinge shot through the heart and was filled with it entirely. The little heart got into a panic. It didn´t know, how long it was able to beat, when the pain have it still standing. When it will be extinguished.

The just man fisted severely on the wooden floor and wasn´t able to stop his lacrimal lake. He couldn´t stop.

Not until a good half-hour has passed, the just man was able to find any peace of mind slowly, and no tear was there any longer - only stunned emptiness. The just man was raising dead slow and in the aftermath of a short stagger he sat down into his big wing chair and was watching the blazing fire in the fireplace.

He was still holding the letter of bringing ill luck in his hand – now totally rumpled and tear-stained. Being weary and weak because of all the tears he cried, the just man soon fell asleep softly, and his heart – his weary little heart – was able to find any peace of mind slowly, but kept the burning sword in its body, which was contained in the letter.

 

 

* * *

 



A

 few days after, the just man was standing in front of his mirror of the boudoir and stared at himself with red puffy eyes. He looked down at himself – black.
His entire suit was completely black.
An absolute darkness.

His heart – once being refreshed – was now only a painful and stunned machine in his chest. It had very much sorrow, and since that terrible day, the letter arrived at the just man, it only was looking out of dull eyes.

It didn´t feel less like committing suicide, just to stop pumping. To stop forwarding blood. Just standing still and extinguishing.
The just man sighed.

Anew, one little teardrop absconded out of one eye and was hurried running down the cheek, where she first paused and probably was considering, if she really is ought to jump. Shortly afterwards she jumped down and was falling safely onto the suit of the just man.

But he didn´t care. Now he didn´t care about anything. He had lost his dearest, he could still call his own on earth. In a hurry, one´s life was able to end. No soul was safe from the icecold hands of the death, no one was able to escape them.

They are snatching after one full of greed and are grasping full of passion, to carry the soul into another world, which is foreign to the earthy one. No fleshly one is ever able to get there, except through death.

Life has to be completed here to continue it elsewhere in another way and in another sphere. This was life. No one ever could escape from it. Who started existing had to continue it.

There was no choice existing, no one had ever been asked about it. At least no one was aware of it. The just man looked at his watch and wiped the tears off his face. He blew his nose.

Outside the snow was fluttering silently and it laid its soft fingers onto the shoulder of every sad child, man or woman, to whisper comfort to them.

Without ado the icecold monarch covered his people with white glance and thus he was stealing into the hearts of his subjects, who were fooled by snow and ice and thereby dominated by them.

The just man took his walking stick, hat, coat and scarf shakily and left the house. No one he ran across, dared to look at the just man or even to approach him. The tidings of the tragic occasions went around fast and one had great compassion with this kind-hearted, merciful, at all times ready to help just man.

+++ Extract end +++

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Published in Germany as Die Reise des moralischen Herzens by tredition 2016
Original text copyright © tredition 2016
English translation copyright © The Translation Smithy (TTS) 2018

www.the-translation-smithy.de.tl || www.thetranslationsmithy.page.tl

     

 

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