Death, graveyard, cross
The stork had given her shelter to the day of her death. I sang at her funeral," said the Wind, "as I had sung at her father's; I know where his grave is, and her grave, but no one else knows.
Now there are new times, changed times. The old highway is lost in the fields, old cemeteries have been made into new roads, and soon the steam engine, with its row of cars, will come to rush over the forgotten graves of unknown ancestors. Whew, whew, whew! On, on!
On the highroad in the forest there stood a lonely farmhouse; the road passed right through its courtyard.
All the windows were open to the warm sun; within the house there was bustling life, but out in the yard, under an arbor of blooming lilacs, there rested an open coffin. The dead man had been carried to it, and this morning he was to be buried. There was no one to stand by the coffin and look down in sorrow at the dead, no one to shed a tear over him.
A white cloth covered his face, and under his head lay a great thick book, its leaves formed of whole sheets of gray paper. And between each leaf there lay withered flowers, kept close and hidden, so that the book was really a complete herbarium, gathered in many different places. His request had been that the book be buried with him, for each flower had formed a chapter of his life.
(...) he begged that the book be laid in the coffin with him, so there it is. In a little while we'll nail the lid down, and then he will have his sweet rest in the grave."
We lifted up the cloth; there was a peaceful look on the face of the dead man; a ray of sunshine flickered across it. A swallow darted swiftly into the arbor and wheeled rapidly, twittering above the dead man's head.
(...) Here is a foreign hothouse plant, far too tender for the gardens of the North; its fresh odor seems to cling to it still. The daughter of a noble house gave it to him out of her own garden.
Gently the blooming lilac bends its fresh and fragrant clusters over the dead man's head; the swallow darts by again – "Quivit! Quivit!" Now the men come with nails and hammer; the lid is laid over the dead, who rests his head silently on the silent book.
Hidden – forgotten!