The piper

„I’s gone!“ sighed the Rat, sinking back in his seat again. „So beautiful and strange and new! Since it was to end so soon, I almost wish I had never heard it. For it has roused a longing in me that is pain, and nothing seems worth while but just to hear that sound once more and go on listening to it for ever. No!

There it is again!“ he cried, alert once more. Entranced, he was silent for a long space, spellbound.

„Now it passes on and I begin to lose it,“ he said presently. „O, Mole! the beauty of it! The merry bubble and joy, the thin, clear happy call of the distant piping! Such music I never dreamed of, and the call in it is stronger even than the music is sweet! Row on, Mole, row! For the music and the call must be for us.“ The Mole, greatly wondering, obeyed. „I hear nothing myself,“ he said, „but the wind playing in the reeds and rushes and osiers.“

The Rat never answered, if indeed he heard. Rapt, transported, trembling, he was possessed in all his senses by this new divine thing that caught up his helpless soul and swung and dandled it, a powerless but happy infant in a strong sustaining grasp.

In silence Mole rowed steadily, and soon they came to a point where the river divided, a long backwater branching off to one side. With a slight movement of his head Rat, who had long dropped the rudder-lines, directed the rower to take the backwater. The creeping tide of light gained and gained, and now they could see the colour of the flowers that gemmed the water’s edge.

„Clearer and nearer still,“ cried the Rat joyously.

„Now you must surely hear it! Ah – at last – I see you do!“

Breathless and transfixed the Mole stopped rowing as the liquid run of that glad piping broke on him like a wave, caught him up, and possessed him utterly. He saw the tears on his comrade’s cheeks, and bowed his head and understood. For a space they hung there, brushed by the purple loosestrife that fringed the bank; then the clear imperious summons that marched hand-in-hand with the intoxicating melody imposed its will on Mole, and mechanically he bent to his oars again. And the light grew steadily stronger, but no birds sang as they were wont to do at the approach of dawn; and but for the heavenly music all was marvellously still.

On either side of them, as they glided onwards, the rich meadow-grass seemed that morning of a freshness and a greenness unsurpassable. Never had they noticed the roses so vivid, the willowherb so riotous, the meadow-sweet so odorous and pervading. Then the murmur of the approaching weir began to hold the air, and they felt a consciousness that they were nearing the end, whatever it might be, that surely awaited their expedition.

Kenneth Grahame: The wind in the willows – 1908

always wanting you to do something

„The bank is so crowded nowadays that many people are moving away altogether. O no, it isn’t what it used to be, at all. Otters, kingfishers, dabchicks, moorhens, all of them about all day long and always wanting you to do something – as if a fellow had no business of his own to attend to!“

Kenneth Grahame: The wind in the willows – 1908

Saatgänse schweigen im Flug.

Kraniche oder Gänse?
Beide fliegen gerne in Keilformation oder schrägen Linien.

Die hier sind Kraniche

Kraniche trompeten.
haben lange Beine, die über den Körper hinausragen
Flügel wie Bretter mit langen schwarzen Federn an den Enden.

Graugänse schnattern und quäken
segeln fast nie sondern schlagen häufig mit den Flügeln
Flügel abgeschrägt


… und überall war schönes Wetter. Es regnete selten in diesem Sommer. Solch ein trockener Sommer ist geeignet, alle Menschen, die Geld haben, in gute Laune zu bringen.

Joseph Roth
© 1978 Verlag Allert de Lange Amsterdam
und Verlag Kiepenheuer & Witsch Köln
Schutzumschlag und Einband Hannes Jähn
Gesamtherstellung Becker Graphischer Betrieb Kevelaer
ISBN 3 462 01263 0

Es wollten manche Männer behaupten

Mehr aus Caxtons Vorrede (1485)

Worauf ich antwortete, es wollten manche Männer behaupten, daß es keinen solchen Arthur gegeben hätte, und daß all solche Bücher, wie sie von ihm gemacht werden, erdichtet und Fabeln wären, weil etliche Chroniken seiner keine Erwähnung tun und weder seiner noch seiner Ritter im geringsten gedenken.


Im duftenden Abendrot

Mehr aus Caxtons Vorrede (1485)

Besagte edle Herren forderten mich dringend auf, die Geschichte des besagten edlen Königs und Eroberers König Arthur und seiner Ritter, mit der Geschichte des heiligen Grals, und vom Tod und Ende besagten Arthurs zu drucken; sie brachten vor, daß ich seine Geschichten und edlen Taten eher drucken sollte als die Gottfrieds von Bouillon oder irgendeines von den anderen acht, in Anbetracht, daß er ein Mann wäre, der in diesem Reiche geboren und König und Kaiser desselbigen war, und daß es im Französischen mannigfache und viele edle Bände von seinen und desgleichen seiner Ritter Taten gäbe.