One Book To Rule Them All

shutterstock_253710055-largeIn a poll I posted to help us all get to know each other I asked the question:
If you could only ever read one book forever, what book would you choose?

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Now many of you did say you’d rather not live, and though I’m sure many others felt torn between that option and having to chose, they did choose. Thanks to my fellow blogger friend Aurora who reminded me to share these wonderful choices with all of you, I have compiled the following montage.


There can only be one, one book to rule them all!

Part One of Three:


The number one answer given un-specifically to edition 8 times (12 total)

The Bible

This version is the most read and highly reviewed.

 

 The longest compilation of short storiesNow that was very hard to find out… So instead I just picked 10 famous short story authors and then found the one with the longest compilation, and the winner was…

Earnest Hemingway: The Complete Short Stories


Anything by Philip Roth

Well that leaves it pretty open, so here is one of Philip Roths most well read and a best reviewed books.

Nemisis


A Larousse Dictionary

Smart choice 🙂 but didn’t specify which, as it turns out Spanish is the most popular one. Great way to learn a new language, or get smarter at your own.


Swan Song 

by Robert R. Mc Cammon

This book is one of five that got 2 or more votes, looks like I may need to read it 🙂


The Game of Life and How to Play it

by  Florence Scovel Shinn

Another smart choice.


Absalom Absalom

by William Faulkner

I’ve been wanting to read this book

 

$_58

 

The General – William Booth

I had to guess at this one a little but I found this book:

The Authoritative Life of General William Booth

 

Ship of Brides

by JoJo Moyes

 

 

The Lion The Witch and The Wardrobe

by C.S. Lewis

I would go for the complete Chronicles of Narnia set (I think that counts)

 

The Biggest fattest book I can get my hands on:
The World Record for longest novel is
“À la recherche du temps perdu” 3036 pages, but that’s in french, but it was not published in one volume so it wouldn’t technically count for this person choice. However this book was chosen in the poll say yay for Proust!

“Zettels Traum” is the longest recorded book every published in one edition 1536 pages… but it’s German so I gotta pick an English one as well.

“Sir Charles Grandison” 1647 The longest English one volume book.

 


The Many Adventures of Winnie The Pooh:
Tales & Poems

by A. A. Milne

A charming choice!

Don Quixote

by Miguel de Cervantes

One of five to get multiple votes.

 


Bellydance for Beginners

This is the all I could find, or the closest…

 

I’d continue to write my own books, so that I’d always have something new


War and Peace

by Leo Tolstoy

A great choice, a good way to insure I’d get through it 🙂

 

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A Prayer For Owen Meany

by John Irving

After reading about this book I am very interested in reading it myself 🙂

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Letters to a Young Poet

by  Rainer Maria Rilke

 

*
*
Deadly Messengers

by Susan May

 


The Art of Happiness

by Dalai Lama

Very wise choice, but I think Pharrell would be infinitely stuck in my head 😀

 

The Lord of The Rings

by J.R.R. Tolkien

This book got 3 votes, one of only 5 to get multiple votes.

I can certainly attest to why, these are phenomenal books!

I just LOVE all the variety!

Some make sense, some are strange, some are very intriguing…
What do you think of these choices?
Find out more tomorrow in Pt. 2

What would you choose?


A Flight of Fantasy

magic_ball_library_columns_castle_63093_602x339I love fantasy fiction, especially when it is a bit different and outside the box (as fantasy fiction goes anyway.) I love books that enchant and leave the mind twinkling with imagination and magic. That is the inspiration behind this article and I hope it will captivate even the skeptics.

Worthy Fantasy-Fiction reads in all their phantasmagorical splendor:

Neverwhere
by Neil Gaiman
Richard is an unassuming young businessman living in London, with a dull job and a pretty but demanding fiancee. One night he stumbles across a girl bleeding on the sidewalk. He stops to help her and the life he knows vanishes. He has become invisible, and inexplicably consigned to a London of shadows and darkness a city of monsters and saints, murderers and angels, that exists entirely in a subterranean labyrinth of sewer canals and abandoned subway stations. He’s fallen through cracks in reality and landed somewhere that is Neverwhere.

Rated 4.5 on amazon.com

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell
by Susanna Clarke
An epic tale of the two magicians who emerge to change Englands history. In the year 1806, in the midst of the Napoleonic Wars, most people believe magic to have long since disappeared from England — until the reclusive Mr Norrell reveals his powers and becomes a celebrity overnight. Another practising magician emerges: the young and daring Jonathan Strange. He becomes Norrell’s pupil and the two join forces in the war against France. But Strange is increasingly drawn to the wildest, most perilous forms of magic and soon he risks sacrificing everything.

Rated 4.2 on amazon.com

Book Bean: Dynamic Duo Mocha
Orange-Mocha-Recipe-1.jpgA magical mix of cinnamon and orange in a mocha that’s to die for! Step 1: start slowly heating 1/8 cup or 3 small squares of dark chocolate (temping in double boiler or in microwave.) Step 2: When melted move to stove-top and mix in 1-2 drops of orange extract (or use orange flavored chocolate) and cinnamon powder to taste, then slowly whisk in 4-5 oz of milk of choice till smooth. Step 3: make coffee preferably pull a shot of espresso. Once your chocolate is hot and frothy and your coffee is ready cup your chocolate and pour in your coffee. Top with marshmallows and garnish with orange zest and cinnamon.

Dracula
by Bram Stoker
“There he lay looking as if youth had been half-renewed, for the white hair and moustache were changed to dark iron-grey, the cheeks were fuller, and the white skin seemed ruby-red underneath; the mouth was redder than ever, for on the lips were gouts of fresh blood, which trickled from the corners of the mouth and ran over the chin and neck. Even the deep, burning eyes seemed set amongst the swollen flesh, for the lids and pouches underneath were bloated. It seemed as if the whole awful creature were simply gorged with blood; he lay like a filthy leech, exhausted with his repletion.”

Rated 4.4 on amazon.com

Dark Tower: The Gunslinger
by Stephen King
Roland of Gilead: The Last Gunslinger. He is a haunting figure, a loner on a spellbinding journey into good and evil. In his desolate world, which mirrors our own in frightening ways, Roland tracks The Man in Black, encounters an enticing woman named Alice, and begins a friendship with the boy from New York named Jake.
Inspired in part by the Robert Browning narrative poem, “Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came,” (appropriate don’t you thik 😉 ) The Gunslinger is “a compelling whirlpool of a story that draws one irretrievable to its center”

Rated 4.2 on amazon.com


Book Bean:
The King’s Tea
a9241d03_snickers-pousse-cafe-001_thumb.jpgPour 6 oz of black or spiced hot tea into a pousse cafe glass, using a spoon in glass to prevent cracking. Add 2oz’s amaretto almond liquor, but do not stir. Top with on oz chilled whipped cream. Garnish with nuts and chocolate flakes. Enjoy.

 

The Once and Future King & The Book of Merlyn
by T.H. White

51yf9TfEUML._SX308_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg The Once and Future King:
A masterful retelling of the saga of King Arthur is a fantasy classic as legendary as Excalibur and Camelot, and a poignant story of adventure, romance and magic that has enchants.

Rated 4.2 on amazon.com

The Book of Merlyn:
This magical account of King Arthur’s last night on earth. Even in addressing the profound issues of war and peace, The Book of Merlyn retains the life and sparkle for which White is known. The tale brings Arthur full circle.

Rated 4.1 on amazon.com

The Eye of The World: Book 1
by Robert Jordan
The Wheel of Time turns and Ages come and go, leaving memories that become legend. Legend fades to myth, and even myth is long forgotten when the Age that gave it birth returns again. In the Third Age, an Age of Prophecy, the World and Time themselves hang in the balance. What was, what will be, and what is, may yet fall under the Shadow.
When The Two Rivers is attacked by Trollocs (a savage tribe of half-men, half-beasts,) five villagers flee into a world they barely imagined, with new dangers waiting in the shadows and the light.

Rated 4.5 on amazon.com

The Night Circus
by Erin Morgenstern
The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Le Cirque des Rêves, and it is only open at night. But behind the scenes, a fierce competition is underway: a duel between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have trained since childhood expressly for this purpose by their mercurial instructors. Unbeknownst to them, this is a game in which only one can be left standing

Rated 4.4 on amazon.com

Book Bean: Tea & Cake Latte
4d0362963d474978c371f7bd88d94948Another magical dynamic duo, this time in respect to England it’s with tea! Start with  4 ounces of strong steeped black tea (brew 2 tea bags in 5 ounces of water.) Steam 8 oz of milk (or boil and put in a blender, to make hot and frothy.) Pour .5-1 oz Real vanilla bean syrup (if you’d like to make it yourself heres a link!) in to cup of choice. Add in white chocolate powder and/or flakes to taste. Next add the tea and stir. Last add the steamed milk. Sprinkle with white chocolate flakes and vanilla bean.

The Queen’s Poisoner
by Jeff Wheeler
King Severn Argentine’s fearsome reputation precedes him: usurper of the throne, killer of rightful heirs, ruthless punisher of traitors. Attempting to depose him, the Duke of Kiskaddon gambles…and loses. Now the duke must atone by handing over his young son, Owen, as the king’s hostage. And should his loyalty falter again, the boy will pay with his life. Seeking allies and eluding Severn’s spies, Owen learns to survive in the court of Kingfountain. When new evidence of his father’s betrayal threatens to seal his fate, Owen must win the vengeful king’s favor.

Rated 4.5 on amazon.com

Under Heaven
by Guy Gavriel Kay
It begins simply. Shen Tai, son of an illustrious general serving the Emperor of Kitai, has spent two years honoring the memory of his late father by burying the bones of the dead from both armies at the site of one of his father’s last great battles. In recognition of his labors and his filial piety, an unlikely source has sent him a dangerous gift: 250 Sardian horses.

Inspired by the glory and power of The Tang dynasty, Guy Gavriel Kay evokes the dazzling 8th-century China in a story of honor and power.

Rated 4.4 on amazon.com

Book Bean: Masala Chai
shutterstock_168107177Bring two cups of water to the boil. Add 3-4 tsp tea leaves, 1 chunk dried ginger, 3-4 crushed cardamom pods, 3 whole cloves, one piece of cinnamon, and 1-2 whole black peppers. Bring to boil again for about 15 seconds. Let stand for one minute. Warm milk in a pot. Filter the above tea into cups. Warm desired amount of milk in a pot. Filter the above tea into cups. Add warmed milk and sugar to taste. Garnish with Anise.

The Golem and The Jinni
by Helene Wecker
A chance meeting between mythical beings takes readers on an enchanting journey through cultures in turn-of-the-century New York.

Chava is a golem; creature made of clay, brought to life to by a disgraced rabbi who dabbles in dark Kabbalistic magic and dies at sea on the voyage from Poland. Chava is unmoored and adrift as the ship arrives in New York harbor in 1899.
Ahmad is a jinni; being of fire born in the ancient Syrian desert, trapped in an old copper flask, and released in NYC, though entirely free.

Rated 4.5 on amazon.com

That concludes the list but here are A few other notable fantasy reads:
            

I purposely left off selections that I have featured before,
I want to keep it interesting.
So for more of my fantasy picks and favorites click HERE
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and HERE
Narnia, The Count, The Hobbit, The Lord of the Ring, Potter etc. and a few other great titles are featured elsewhere as well.

What are your fantasy favorites?

Tsundoku Treasures

As I was at the Beach this weekend I of courses had to scope out the local hole in the wall bookshop. I found Bob’s Beach Books in Lincoln City, ORIMG_0026
It’s the sister store to Roberts Book Shop, the biggest books store on the Oregon Coast. Though I have not yet had a chance to visit that store, I was most intrigued by what I was told of it. I may just have to make a special trip back, solely to seek it out.
However, I did enjoy Bob’s, it was a perfectly quaint little books shops filled with new and used books; I loved the cozy Atmosphere and friendly staff. I (to no one’s surprised) picked up a couple of new books as well.

Here is what piqued my interest:

imagesThe Woman in the Dunes
By Kobo Abé
Translated by Dale Saunders

A book on which the highly acclaimed motion picture was based, is one of the most famous contemporary Japanese novels. It’s a story of a man held captive with a young woman at the bottom of a vast sand pit in a remote seaside village which is in constant danger from the advance of the windblown dunes. It strikingly combines the elements of a suspense story with those of modern existentialist novel.

“It was the quality of a great myth, told with the exactness of realistic fiction. It reveals a talent unconditioned by geography: it is a major achievement.”
~ Chad Walsh (Book Week)

The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland
In a Ship of Her Own Making
By Catherynne M. Valente
Illustrated by Ana Juan

Twelve-year-old September lives in Omaha, and used to have an ordinary life, until her father went to war and her mother went to work. One day, September is met at her kitchen window by a Green Wind (taking the form of a gentleman in a green jacket), who invites her on an adventure, she of course accepts!

What made me buy the book was first, that I loved the title and second, was this printed on the back…

The Signpost before her now was made of pale wind-bleached wood
and towered above her. On the easterly arm, someone had carved the
deep elegant letters:
TO LOSE YOUR WAY.
On the northerly arm, pointing up to the tops of the cliffs, it said:
TO LOSE YOUR LIFE.
On the southerly arm, pointing out to seas, it said:
TO LOSE YOUR MIND.
And on the westerly arm, pointing up to a little headland and a dwindling of the golden beach, it said:
TO LOSE YOUR HEART.

Well, I’m intrigued! Are you?

The Short List

An Abby Wright illustration of a women reading a book outside in the snowIt’s another iced-in day here in PDX, with a frozen landscape I dare not venture into. With all of these ice and snow days, I’ve had more time to read than usual. This got me thinking, short stories that are perfect for situations like this; You didn’t plan on having time to read, but now you do.

There are so many great short stories, but I thought I’d compile a go-to list of classics, that are universally great.

Here is my Short List:

 The Snow Queen
Hans Christian Anderson

Of course this wintry weather has me thinking of “The Snow Queen” but the whole HCA fairytale collection is a great thing to have on hand!

Rated 4.4 on amazon.com

 

 

Happy Prince & Other Stories
by Oscar Wilde

Includes stories that appeal to both child and adult with their themes of love, truth and sacrifice. The other stories are: The Selfish Giant, The Nightingale and the Rose, The Devoted Friend, and The Remarkable Rocket.

Rated 4.6 on amazon.com

 

The Magic Shop
H.G. Wells

Written in the year 1903, this book is one of the most popular novels of H. G. Wells, and has been translated into several other languages around the world. This book will take you back to the days when you believed in magic, maybe that’s still today.

Rated 4.3 on amazon.com

 

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow
by Washington Irving

The story is set in 1790 in the countryside around the Dutch settlement of Tarry Town (historical Tarrytown, New York), in a secluded glen called Sleepy Hollow. Sleepy Hollow is renowned for its ghosts and the haunting atmosphere that pervades the imaginations of its inhabitants and visitors

Rated 4.2 on amazon.com

Rip Van Winkle
by Washington Irving
Follow up Sleepy Hallow with the legendary enchantment of Rip Van Winkle in the Kaatskill Mountains; the gruesome end of Ichabod Crane, who met the headless horseman of Sleepy Hollow; the spectre bridegroom who turned out to be happily substantial; the pride of an English village and the come-uppance of the over-zealous Mountjoy – these witty, perceptive and captivating tales range from fantasy to romance.

Rated 4.3 on amazon.com

The Short Novels of
John Steinbeck

From the tale of commitment, loneliness and hope in Of Mice and Men, to the tough yet charming portrait of people on the margins of society in Cannery Row, to The Pearl’s examination of the fallacy of the American dream, Steinbeck stories of realism, that were imbued with energy and resilience.

Rated 4.5 on amazon.com

On the topic of Shorts, here is a mini drink that really packs a punch:

Book Bean: Café Bombón
bombon_miniA Cuban drink with roots to Valencia, Spain. 

Espresso served with sweetened condensed milk in a 1:1 ratio. Bombón means chocolate in Spanish. Sprinkle with cinnamon, nutmeg, or even cayenne for extra pop of flavor.

 

Grimm’s Complete Fairy Tales
The Brothers Grimm
They are the stories we’ve known since we were children. Rapunzel. Hansel and Gretel. Cinderella. Sleeping Beauty. But the works originally collected by the Brothers Grimm in the early 1800s are not necessarily the versions we heard before bedtime. They’re darker and often don’t end very happily—but they’re often far more interesting.

Rated 4.6 on amazon.com

 

Breakfast at Tiffany’s and Three Stories
Truman Capote
Holly Golightly knows that nothing bad can ever happen to you at Tiffany’s; her poignancy, wit, and naïveté continue to charm. This volume also includes three of Capote’s best-known stories, “House of Flowers,” “A Diamond Guitar,” and “A Christmas Memory,” which the Saturday Review called “one of the most moving stories in our language.”

Rated 4.4 on amazon.com

The Bazaar of Bad Dreams: Stories
Stephen King

He has dazzled an entire generation of readers with his genius as a prominent writer of short fiction. Now he once again assembles a generous array of unforgettable, tantalizing tales – including those that, until recently, have never been published in a book

Rated 4.3 on amazon.com



The Five People You Meet in Heaven
by Mitch Albom

This story follows the life and death of a maintenance man named Eddie. In a heroic attempt to save a little girl from being killed by an amusement park ride that is about to fall, Eddie is killed and sent to heaven, where he encounters five people who had a significant impact upon him while he was alive.

Rated 4.6 on amazon.com

The Tell-Tale Heart
by Edgar Allan Poe

A story first published in 1843.
It is told by an unnamed narrator who endeavors to convince the reader of his sanity, while describing a murder he committed.
Intrigued..? 😉

Rated 4.7 on amazon.com


To Build a Fire and Other Stories
by Jack London

If you need a good warming up after some of those chillers, here is a classic collection of some of Jack London’s most loved short stories. His writing is heart-warming and grounding, a great way to spend a few hours or days.

Rated 4.5 on amazon.com
images

What are some of your favorite short stories?

Easter Eve

The following is a short story written by Anton Chekhov  04/13/1886

Easter Eve
Anton Chekhov
(1860 – 1904)

I was standing on the bank of the River Goltva, waiting for the ferry-boat from the other side. At ordinary times the Goltva is a humble stream of moderate size, silent and pensive, gently glimmering from behind thick reeds; but now a regular lake lay stretched out before me. The waters of spring, running riot, had overflowed both banks and flooded both sides of the river for a long distance, submerging vegetable gardens, hayfields and marshes, so that it was no unusual thing to meet poplars and bushes sticking out above the surface of the water and looking in the darkness like grim solitary crags. 

The weather seemed to me magnificent. It was dark, yet I could see the trees, the water and the people. . . . The world was lighted by the stars, which were scattered thickly all over the sky. I don't remember ever seeing so many stars. Literally one could not have put a finger in between them. There were some as big as a goose's egg, others tiny as hempseed. . . . They had come out for the festival procession, every one of them, little and big, washed, renewed and joyful, and everyone of them was softly twinkling its beams. The sky was reflected in the water; the stars were bathing in its dark depths and trembling with the quivering eddies. The air was warm and still. . . . Here and there, far away on the further bank in the impenetrable darkness, several bright red lights were gleaming. . . . 

A couple of paces from me I saw the dark silhouette of a peasant in a high hat, with a thick knotted stick in his hand. 

"How long the ferry-boat is in coming!" I said. 

"It is time it was here," the silhouette answered. 

"You are waiting for the ferry-boat, too?" 

"No I am not," yawned the peasant-- "I am waiting for the illumination. I should have gone, but to tell you the truth, I haven't the five kopecks for the ferry." 

"I'll give you the five kopecks." 

"No; I humbly thank you. . . . With that five kopecks put up a candle for me over there in the monastery. . . . That will be more interesting, and I will stand here. What can it mean, no ferry-boat, as though it had sunk in the water!" 

The peasant went up to the water's edge, took the rope in his hands, and shouted; "Ieronim! Ieron--im!" 

As though in answer to his shout, the slow peal of a great bell floated across from the further bank. The note was deep and low, as from the thickest string of a double bass; it seemed as though the darkness itself had hoarsely uttered it. At once there was the sound of a cannon shot. It rolled away in the darkness and ended somewhere in the far distance behind me. The peasant took off his hat and crossed himself. 

'"Christ is risen," he said. 

Before the vibrations of the first peal of the bell had time to die away in the air a second sounded, after it at once a third, and the darkness was filled with an unbroken quivering clamour. Near the red lights fresh lights flashed, and all began moving together and twinkling restlessly. 

"Ieron--im!" we heard a hollow prolonged shout. 

"They are shouting from the other bank," said the peasant, "so there is no ferry there either. Our Ieronim has gone to sleep." 

The lights and the velvety chimes of the bell drew one towards them. . . . I was already beginning to lose patience and grow anxious, but behold at last, staring into the dark distance, I saw the outline of something very much like a gibbet. It was the long-expected ferry. It moved towards us with such deliberation that if it had not been that its lines grew gradually more definite, one might have supposed that it was standing still or moving to the other bank. 

"Make haste! Ieronim!" shouted my peasant. "The gentleman's tired of waiting!" 

The ferry crawled to the bank, gave a lurch and stopped with a creak. A tall man in a monk's cassock and a conical cap stood on it, holding the rope. 

"Why have you been so long?" I asked jumping upon the ferry. 

"Forgive me, for Christ's sake," Ieronim answered gently. "Is there no one else?" 

"No one. . . ." 

Ieronim took hold of the rope in both hands, bent himself to the figure of a mark of interrogation, and gasped. The ferry-boat creaked and gave a lurch. The outline of the peasant in the high hat began slowly retreating from me -- so the ferry was moving off. Ieronim soon drew himself up and began working with one hand only. We were silent, gazing towards the bank to which we were floating. There the illumination for which the peasant was waiting had begun. At the water's edge barrels of tar were flaring like huge camp fires. Their reflections, crimson as the rising moon, crept to meet us in long broad streaks. The burning barrels lighted up their own smoke and the long shadows of men flitting about the fire; but further to one side and behind them from where the velvety chime floated there was still the same unbroken black gloom. All at once, cleaving the darkness, a rocket zigzagged in a golden ribbon up the sky; it described an arc and, as though broken to pieces against the sky, was scattered crackling into sparks. There was a roar from the bank like a far-away hurrah. 

"How beautiful!" I said. 

"Beautiful beyond words!" sighed Ieronim. "Such a night, sir! Another time one would pay no attention to the fireworks, but to-day one rejoices in every vanity. Where do you come from?" 

I told him where I came from. 

"To be sure . . . a joyful day to-day. . . ." Ieronim went on in a weak sighing tenor like the voice of a convalescent. "The sky is rejoicing and the earth and what is under the earth. All the creatures are keeping holiday. Only tell me kind sir, why, even in the time of great rejoicing, a man cannot forget his sorrows?" 

I fancied that this unexpected question was to draw me into one of those endless religious conversations which bored and idle monks are so fond of. I was not disposed to talk much, and so I only asked: 

"What sorrows have you, father?" 

"As a rule only the same as all men, kind sir, but to-day a special sorrow has happened in the monastery: at mass, during the reading of the Bible, the monk and deacon Nikolay died." 

"Well, it's God's will!" I said, falling into the monastic tone. "We must all die. To my mind, you ought to rejoice indeed. . . . They say if anyone dies at Easter he goes straight to the kingdom of heaven." 

"That's true." 

We sank into silence. The figure of the peasant in the high hat melted into the lines of the bank. The tar barrels were flaring up more and more. 

"The Holy Scripture points clearly to the vanity of sorrow and so does reflection," said Ieronim, breaking the silence, "but why does the heart grieve and refuse to listen to reason? Why does one want to weep bitterly?" 

Ieronim shrugged his shoulders, turned to me and said quickly: 

"If I died, or anyone else, it would not be worth notice perhaps; but, you see, Nikolay is dead! No one else but Nikolay! Indeed, it's hard to believe that he is no more! I stand here on my ferry-boat and every minute I keep fancying that he will lift up his voice from the bank. He always used to come to the bank and call to me that I might not be afraid on the ferry. He used to get up from his bed at night on purpose for that. He was a kind soul. My God! how kindly and gracious! Many a mother is not so good to her child as Nikolay was to me! Lord, save his soul!" 

Ieronim took hold of the rope, but turned to me again at once. 

"And such a lofty intelligence, your honour," he said in a vibrating voice. "Such a sweet and harmonious tongue! Just as they will sing immediately at early matins: 'Oh lovely! oh sweet is Thy Voice!' Besides all other human qualities, he had, too, an extraordinary gift!" 

"What gift?" I asked. 

The monk scrutinized me, and as though he had convinced himself that he could trust me with a secret, he laughed good-humouredly. 

"He had a gift for writing hymns of praise," he said. "It was a marvel, sir; you couldn't call it anything else! You would be amazed if I tell you about it. Our Father Archimandrite comes from Moscow, the Father Sub-Prior studied at the Kazan academy, we have wise monks and elders, but, would you believe it, no one could write them; while Nikolay, a simple monk, a deacon, had not studied anywhere, and had not even any outer appearance of it, but he wrote them! A marvel! A real marvel!" Ieronim clasped his hands and, completely forgetting the rope, went on eagerly: 

"The Father Sub-Prior has great difficulty in composing sermons; when he wrote the history of the monastery he worried all the brotherhood and drove a dozen times to town, while Nikolay wrote canticles! Hymns of praise! That's a very different thing from a sermon or a history!" 

"Is it difficult to write them?" I asked. 

"There's great difficulty!" Ieronim wagged his head. "You can do nothing by wisdom and holiness if God has not given you the gift. The monks who don't understand argue that you only need to know the life of the saint for whom you are writing the hymn, and to make it harmonize with the other hymns of praise. But that's a mistake, sir. Of course, anyone who writes canticles must know the life of the saint to perfection, to the least trivial detail. To be sure, one must make them harmonize with the other canticles and know where to begin and what to write about. To give you an instance, the first response begins everywhere with 'the chosen' or 'the elect.' . . . The first line must always begin with the 'angel.' In the canticle of praise to Jesus the Most Sweet, if you are interested in the subject, it begins like this: 'Of angels Creator and Lord of all powers!' In the canticle to the Holy Mother of God: 'Of angels the foremost sent down from on high,' to Nikolay, the Wonder-worker -- 'An angel in semblance, though in substance a man,' and so on. Everywhere you begin with the angel. Of course, it would be impossible without making them harmonize, but the lives of the saints and conformity with the others is not what matters; what matters is the beauty and sweetness of it. Everything must be harmonious, brief and complete. There must be in every line softness, graciousness and tenderness; not one word should be harsh or rough or unsuitable. It must be written so that the worshipper may rejoice at heart and weep, while his mind is stirred and he is thrown into a tremor. In the canticle to the Holy Mother are the words: 'Rejoice, O Thou too high for human thought to reach! Rejoice, O Thou too deep for angels' eyes to fathom!' In another place in the same canticle: 'Rejoice, O tree that bearest the fair fruit of light that is the food of the faithful! Rejoice, O tree of gracious spreading shade, under which there is shelter for multitudes!' " 

Ieronim hid his face in his hands, as though frightened at something or overcome with shame, and shook his head. 

"Tree that bearest the fair fruit of light . . . tree of gracious spreading shade. . . ." he muttered. "To think that a man should find words like those! Such a power is a gift from God! For brevity he packs many thoughts into one phrase, and how smooth and complete it all is! 'Light-radiating torch to all that be . . .' comes in the canticle to Jesus the Most Sweet. 'Light-radiating!' There is no such word in conversation or in books, but you see he invented it, he found it in his mind! Apart from the smoothness and grandeur of language, sir, every line must be beautified in every way, there must be flowers and lightning and wind and sun and all the objects of the visible world. And every exclamation ought to be put so as to be smooth and easy for the ear. 'Rejoice, thou flower of heavenly growth!' comes in the hymn to Nikolay the Wonder-worker. It's not simply 'heavenly flower,' but 'flower of heavenly growth.' It's smoother so and sweet to the ear. That was just as Nikolay wrote it! Exactly like that! I can't tell you how he used to write!" 

"Well, in that case it is a pity he is dead," I said; "but let us get on, father. or we shall be late." 

Ieronim started and ran to the rope; they were beginning to peal all the bells. Probably the procession was already going on near the monastery, for all the dark space behind the tar barrels was now dotted with moving lights. 

"Did Nikolay print his hymns?" I asked Ieronim. 

"How could he print them?" he sighed. "And indeed, it would be strange to print them. What would be the object? No one in the monastery takes any interest in them. They don't like them. They knew Nikolay wrote them, but they let it pass unnoticed. No one esteems new writings nowadays, sir!" 

"Were they prejudiced against him?" 

"Yes, indeed. If Nikolay had been an elder perhaps the brethren would have been interested, but he wasn't forty, you know. There were some who laughed and even thought his writing a sin." 

"What did he write them for?" 

"Chiefly for his own comfort. Of all the brotherhood, I was the only one who read his hymns. I used to go to him in secret, that no one else might know of it, and he was glad that I took an interest in them. He would embrace me, stroke my head, speak to me in caressing words as to a little child. He would shut his cell, make me sit down beside him, and begin to read. . . ." 

Ieronim left the rope and came up to me. 

"We were dear friends in a way," he whispered, looking at me with shining eyes. 'Where he went I would go. If I were not there he would miss me. And he cared more for me than for anyone, and all because I used to weep over his hymns. It makes me sad to remember. Now I feel just like an orphan or a widow. You know, in our monastery they are all good people, kind and pious, but . . . there is no one with softness and refinement, they are just like peasants. They all speak loudly, and tramp heavily when they walk; they are noisy, they clear their throats, but Nikolay always talked softly, caressingly, and if he noticed that anyone was asleep or praying he would slip by like a fly or a gnat. His face was tender, compassionate. . . ." 

Ieronim heaved a deep sigh and took hold of the rope again. We were by now approaching the bank. We floated straight out of the darkness and stillness of the river into an enchanted realm, full of stifling smoke, crackling lights and uproar. By now one could distinctly see people moving near the tar barrels. The flickering of the lights gave a strange, almost fantastic, expression to their figures and red faces. From time to time one caught among the heads and faces a glimpse of a horse's head motionless as though cast in copper. 

"They'll begin singing the Easter hymn directly, . . ." said Ieronim, "and Nikolay is gone; there is no one to appreciate it. . . . There was nothing written dearer to him than that hymn. He used to take in every word! You'll be there, sir, so notice what is sung; it takes your breath away!" 

"Won't you be in church, then?" 

"I can't; . . . I have to work the ferry. . . ." 

"But won't they relieve you?" 

"I don't know. . . . I ought to have been relieved at eight; but, as you see, they don't come!. . . And I must own I should have liked to be in the church. . . ." 

"Are you a monk?" 

"Yes . . . that is, I am a lay-brother." 

The ferry ran into the bank and stopped. I thrust a five-kopeck piece into Ieronim's hand for taking me across and jumped on land. Immediately a cart with a boy and a sleeping woman in it drove creaking onto the ferry. Ieronim, with a faint glow from the lights on his figure, pressed on the rope, bent down to it, and started the ferry back. . . . 

I took a few steps through mud, but a little farther walked on a soft freshly trodden path. This path led to the dark monastery gates, that looked like a cavern through a cloud of smoke, through a disorderly crowd of people, unharnessed horses, carts and chaises. All this crowd was rattling, snorting, laughing, and the crimson light and wavering shadows from the smoke flickered over it all. . . . A perfect chaos! And in this hubbub the people yet found room to load a little cannon and to sell cakes. There was no less commotion on the other side of the wall in the monastery precincts, but there was more regard for decorum and order. Here there was a smell of juniper and incense. They talked loudly, but there was no sound of laughter or snorting. Near the tombstones and crosses people pressed close to one another with Easter cakes and bundles in their arms. Apparently many had come from a long distance for their cakes to be blessed and now were exhausted. Young lay brothers, making a metallic sound with their boots, ran busily along the iron slabs that paved the way from the monastery gates to the church door. They were busy and shouting on the belfry, too. 

"What a restless night!" I thought. "How nice!" 

One was tempted to see the same unrest and sleeplessness in all nature, from the night darkness to the iron slabs, the crosses on the tombs and the trees under which the people were moving to and fro. But nowhere was the excitement and restlessness so marked as in the church. An unceasing struggle was going on in the entrance between the inflowing stream and the outflowing stream. Some were going in, others going out and soon coming back again to stand still for a little and begin moving again. People were scurrying from place to place, lounging about as though they were looking for something. The stream flowed from the entrance all round the church, disturbing even the front rows, where persons of weight and dignity were standing. There could be no thought of concentrated prayer. There were no prayers at all, but a sort of continuous, childishly irresponsible joy, seeking a pretext to break out and vent itself in some movement, even in senseless jostling and shoving. 

The same unaccustomed movement is striking in the Easter service itself. The altar gates are flung wide open, thick clouds of incense float in the air near the candelabra; wherever one looks there are lights, the gleam and splutter of candles. . . . There is no reading; restless and lighthearted singing goes on to the end without ceasing. After each hymn the clergy change their vestments and come out to burn the incense, which is repeated every ten minutes. 

I had no sooner taken a place, when a wave rushed from in front and forced me back. A tall thick-set deacon walked before me with a long red candle; the grey-headed archimandrite in his golden mitre hurried after him with the censer. When they had vanished from sight the crowd squeezed me back to my former position. But ten minutes had not passed before a new wave burst on me, and again the deacon appeared. This time he was followed by the Father Sub-Prior, the man who, as Ieronim had told me, was writing the history of the monastery. 

As I mingled with the crowd and caught the infection of the universal joyful excitement, I felt unbearably sore on Ieronim's account. Why did they not send someone to relieve him? Why could not someone of less feeling and less susceptibility go on the ferry? 'Lift up thine eyes, O Sion, and look around,' they sang in the choir, 'for thy children have come to thee as to a beacon of divine light from north and south, and from east and from the sea. . . .' 

I looked at the faces; they all had a lively expression of triumph, but not one was listening to what was being sung and taking it in, and not one was 'holding his breath.' Why was not Ieronim released? I could fancy Ieronim standing meekly somewhere by the wall, bending forward and hungrily drinking in the beauty of the holy phrase. All this that glided by the ears of the people standing by me he would have eagerly drunk in with his delicately sensitive soul, and would have been spell-bound to ecstasy, to holding his breath, and there would not have been a man happier than he in all the church. Now he was plying to and fro over the dark river and grieving for his dead friend and brother. 

The wave surged back. A stout smiling monk, playing with his rosary and looking round behind him, squeezed sideways by me, making way for a lady in a hat and velvet cloak. A monastery servant hurried after the lady, holding a chair over our heads. 

I came out of the church. I wanted to have a look at the dead Nikolay, the unknown canticle writer. I walked about the monastery wall, where there was a row of cells, peeped into several windows, and, seeing nothing, came back again. I do not regret now that I did not see Nikolay; God knows, perhaps if I had seen him I should have lost the picture my imagination paints for me now. I imagine the lovable poetical figure solitary and not understood, who went out at nights to call to Ieronim over the water, and filled his hymns with flowers, stars and sunbeams, as a pale timid man with soft mild melancholy features. His eyes must have shone, not only with intelligence, but with kindly tenderness and that hardly restrained childlike enthusiasm which I could hear in Ieronim's voice when he quoted to me passages from the hymns. 

When we came out of church after mass it was no longer night. The morning was beginning. The stars had gone out and the sky was a morose greyish blue. The iron slabs, the tombstones and the buds on the trees were covered with dew There was a sharp freshness in the air. Outside the precincts I did not find the same animated scene as I had beheld in the night. Horses and men looked exhausted, drowsy, scarcely moved, while nothing was left of the tar barrels but heaps of black ash. When anyone is exhausted and sleepy he fancies that nature, too, is in the same condition. It seemed to me that the trees and the young grass were asleep. It seemed as though even the bells were not pealing so loudly and gaily as at night. The restlessness was over, and of the excitement nothing was left but a pleasant weariness, a longing for sleep and warmth. 

Now I could see both banks of the river; a faint mist hovered over it in shifting masses. There was a harsh cold breath from the water. When I jumped on to the ferry, a chaise and some two dozen men and women were standing on it already. The rope, wet and as I fancied drowsy, stretched far away across the broad river and in places disappeared in the white mist. 

"Christ is risen! Is there no one else?" asked a soft voice. 

I recognized the voice of Ieronim. There was no darkness now to hinder me from seeing the monk. He was a tall narrow-shouldered man of five-and-thirty, with large rounded features, with half-closed listless-looking eyes and an unkempt wedge-shaped beard. He had an extraordinarily sad and exhausted look. 

"They have not relieved you yet?" I asked in surprise. 

"Me?" he answered, turning to me his chilled and dewy face with a smile. "There is no one to take my place now till morning. They'll all be going to the Father Archimandrite's to break the fast directly." 

With the help of a little peasant in a hat of reddish fur that looked like the little wooden tubs in which honey is sold, he threw his weight on the rope; they gasped simultaneously, and the ferry started. 

We floated across, disturbing on the way the lazily rising mist. Everyone was silent. Ieronim worked mechanically with one hand. He slowly passed his mild lustreless eyes over us; then his glance rested on the rosy face of a young merchant's wife with black eyebrows, who was standing on the ferry beside me silently shrinking from the mist that wrapped her about. He did not take his eyes off her face all the way. 

There was little that was masculine in that prolonged gaze. It seemed to me that Ieronim was looking in the woman's face for the soft and tender features of his dead friend.