Konstantin Paustovsky: A Basket Of Fir Apples

Edward Grieg had been writing music for Dagni Pedersen for over a month. Winter came. The fog wrapped the town up from head to foot. Rusty ships kept coming from distant lands, dozing off by the wooden piers, quietly exhaling clouds of steam.

Soon the snow started. Grieg could see it from his window slanting and tangling in the treetops.
Obviously, by no means can music be expressed in words, however rich the vocabulary.
Grieg was writing about the profound joy of happiness and womanhood. As he was doing it, he saw a beautiful girl rushing toward him, her green eyes glowing, short-of-breath. She embraces him, pressing her hot cheek against his, old, grey and unshaved face. “Thank you!” she utters, clueless herself as to why she is thanking him.

“You are like the sun,” Grieg tells her. “Like a gentle breeze and a young morning. A white flower is blooming inside your heart, filling your entire being with the odor of spring. I’ve seen life. Whatever people may tell you about it; you never stop thinking of it as the most amazing and beautiful thing. I am an old man, but I gave my life, my work and my talent to the young. I gave it all down to the ground. This is why I might even be happier than you are, Dagni.

“You are the night of midnight sun, with its mysterious light. You are happiness. You are the shimmering dawn. The sound of your voice makes my heart shiver.
Everything you touch is blessed, so is everything around you. Blessed is all you touch and what touches you; what elates you and what makes you think.”

With this in mind, Grieg was incarnating it in his music. He had a feeling someone was eavesdropping on him. He even suspected who these intruders were: the bluecaps on the trees, lonely sailors wandering off from the port, the laundress from the house across the street, the cricket, the snow, falling from the dim heavy sky, and Cinderella in the clouted dress.

Translated by Ekaterina Shubnaya, RT


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