Twenty-eighth Evening

“The ocean was calm,” said the Moon. “The water was as transparent as the clear air through which I sailed. Deep down beneath the surface of the waves I could see the strange plants which stretched up their long stalks like great forest trees, while the fishes played above the tops of them.

“High in the air flew a flock of wild swans. One of them, whose wings were exhausted, sank lower and lower, while its eyes followed the aerial caravan disappearing in the distance. It kept its wings spread wide, and sank as a soap bubble sinks in the still air, until at last it touched the surface of the water. Its head bent backwards between its wings, and it lay there motionless, like the white lotus flower on the peaceful lake.

“A breeze arose, fanning the quiet surface of the water, which gleamed and rippled until it curled up in large whitecapped waves. Then the swan raised its head, and the shiny water splashed, like blue fire, over its breast and back. The dawn of day touched the clouds with red. With new strength the swan arose and flew toward the rising sun, toward the bluish coast, the way the aerial caravan had gone before, but the swan flew alone, with longing in its breast. In loneliness it flew over the blue, the swelling waves.”



Original Danish title: “Otte og tyvende Aften” translated by Jean Hersholt.