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Stories, Dreams and Allegories. Schreiner, Olive, 1855–1920.
page: 142


I SAT alone on the kopje side; at my feet were the purple fig‐blossoms, and the yellow dandelion flowers were closing for the night. The sun was almost sinking; above him in the west the clouds were beginning to form a band of gold. The cranes were already beginning to fly homeward in long straight lines. I leaned my head against the rock upon the kopje, and I think I slept.

Then it seemed that in the sky above me moved a great white figure, with wings outstretched.

And I called, “Who and what are you, great white Spirit?”

And the Spirit answered, “I am the Spirit of Freedom!”

And I cried, “What do you do here, in this sad land, where no freedom is?”

And he answered me, “I am watching my seeds a‐sowing.”

And I said, “What is there a‐sowing here? Our cornfields are down‐trodden; at day the flames from page: 143 burning farm‐houses rise into the sky, and at night the stars look down on homeless women and young children. Here the walls have ears; we look round to see if no man is following us to listen to the very beating of our hearts. What place is left for you here?”

And he said, “I have watched my seeds a‐sowing. At the foot of every scaffold which rises in town or village, on every spot in the barren veld where men with hands tied and eyes blindfolded are led out to meet death, as the ropes are drawn and the foreign bullets fly, I count the blood drops a‐falling; and I know that my seed is sown. I leave you now, and for a while you shall know me no more; but the day will come when I will return and gather in my harvest.”

And I cried, “Great Spirit, when shall that time be?”

But his wings were spread, and it seemed they covered all the sky as he passed.

And I cried, “Spirit, beware, lest even in the sky they shoot up at you and you be killed for ever in this strange sad land.”

But he cried as he fled from me, “I cannot die! ... Mors janua vitæ!”

And I started up. I saw no spirit, but the sun was sinking. The west was gold and crimson. The last line of cranes with their heads stretched forward page: 144 and their wings outspread were flying homeward. I heard their long, strange cry.

I glanced around me on the kopje, fearing one holding by English gold might have followed me. But the kopje was silent. As I passed back into the village, the barbed‐wire gates were not yet closed; only the dark‐skinned guards scowled at me as I passed them with their rifles at the gate, and armed white men jeered as I went by them; but not one of them knew that I had been speaking with their great enemy on the kopje!

Hanover October 25, 1901.