Only Yesterday

By S. Y. Agnon; Barbara Harshav | Go to book overview

CHAPTER FIFTEEN
Peace

1

Isaac didn't go to Abu Hassan because he was eager to return to Jerusalem, and he didn't return to Jerusalem because he found an apartment for free here, for Sweet Foot was going with Shakhnai the surveyor or with Goldman the engineer or with neither one nor the other, but was fleeing from his ex-wife and from the upholsterer who was wooing her to marry her. He gave Isaac his hut to live in. Isaac was glad to stay in Jaffa, for living there is pleasurable, and he was glad he had chanced to get an apartment for free.

Deserts of sand stretch from the hut to the great sea, and a broad sky is stretched over them and over the hut, and a sprout blossoms from the sand, and sometimes a bird comes down from the sky and settles on the blossom. That bird isn't one of those birds that Isaac saw on the ship on the sea. But the same wonderment he felt for the birds he saw on the ship on the sea, he felt for that bird.

Isaac stands in the doorway of his hut and compares his voice to the voice of the bird. But the bird doesn't pay any heed to him, for he isn't directing his song at a creature like him, but at the mate he desires. At that moment, another bird comes flying in, and now they spread their wings and fly among the blue waves between the sky and the land, sometimes with one another and sometimes against one another, and they come back to where they started. And it is a great joy in the world that two creatures who longed for one another mated in one place and you stand there and are glad, too. Peace and tranquility all around him and peace in his heart.

And since there is peace and tranquility here and there isn't a person here, sometimes a person comes here to be alone with him-

-457-

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