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In Midsummer Days, and Other Tales   By: (1849-1912)

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First Page:

IN MIDSUMMER DAYS

AND OTHER TALES.

By August Strindberg

Translated By Ellie Schleussner

CONTENTS

IN MIDSUMMER DAYS THE BIG GRAVEL SIFTER THE SLUGGARD THE PILOT'S TROUBLES PHOTOGRAPHER AND PHILOSOPHER HALF A SHEET OF FOOLSCAP CONQUERING HERO AND FOOL WHAT THE TREE SWALLOW SANG IN THE BUCKTHORN TREE THE MYSTERY OF THE TOBACCO SHED THE STORY OF THE ST. GOTTHARD THE STORY OF JUBAL WHO HAD NO "I" THE GOLDEN HELMETS IN THE ALLEBERG LITTLE BLUEWING FINDS THE GOLDPOWDER

IN MIDSUMMER DAYS

In Midsummer days when in the countries of the North the earth is a bride, when the ground is full of gladness, when the brooks are still running, the flowers in the meadows still untouched by the scythe, and all the birds singing, a dove flew out of the wood and sat down before the cottage in which the ninety year old granny lay in her bed.

The old woman had been bedridden for twenty years, but she could see through her window everything that happened in the farmyard which was managed by her two sons. But she saw the world and the people in her own peculiar manner, for time and the weather had painted her window panes with all the colours of the rainbow; she need but turn her head a little and things appeared successively red, yellow, green, blue, and violet. If she happened to look out on a cold winter's day when the trees were covered with hoar frost and the white foliage looked as if it were made of silver, she had but to turn her head a little on the pillow, and all the trees were green; it was summer time, the ploughed fields were yellow, and the sky looked blue even if a moment before it had been ever so grey. And therefore the old granny imagined that she could work magic, and was never bored.

But the magical window panes possessed another quality; they bulged a little and consequently they magnified or reduced every object which came into their field of vision. Whenever, therefore, her grown up son came home in a bad temper and scolded everybody, granny had but to wish him to be a good little boy again, and straightway she saw him quite small. Or, when she watched her grandchildren playing in the yard, and thought of their future one, two, three she changed her position ever so slightly, and they became grown up men and women, as tall as giants.

All during the summer the window stood open, for then the window panes could not show her anything so beautiful as the reality. And now, on Midsummer Eve, the most beautiful time of all the year, she lay there and looked at the meadows and towards the wood, where the dove was singing its song. It sang most beautifully of the Lord Jesus, and the joy and splendour of the Kingdom of Heaven, where all are welcome who are weary and heavy laden.

The old woman listened to the song for a little while, and then she laid that she was much obliged, but that Heaven could be no more beautiful than the earth itself, and she wanted nothing better.

Thereupon the dove flew away over the meadow into the mountain glen, where the farmer stood digging a well. He stood in a deep hole which he had dug, three yards below the surface; it was just as if he were standing in his grave.

The dove settled on a fir tree and sung of the joy of Heaven, quite convinced that the man in the hole, who could see neither sky, nor sea, nor meadow, must be longing for Heaven.

"No," said the farmer, "I must first dig a well; otherwise my summer guest will have no water, and the unhappy little mother will take her child and go and live elsewhere."

The dove flew down to the strand, when the farmer's brother was busy hauling in the fishing nets; it sat among the rushes and began to sing.

"No," said the farmer's brother, "I must provide food for my family, otherwise my children will cry with hunger. Later on! Later on, I tell you! Let's live first and die afterwards."

And the dove flew to the pretty cottage, where the unhappy little mother had taken rooms for the summer... Continue reading book >>




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