The evening sun which was slowly dipping into the horizon with a bell-tolling sequence was shining on the remote heights of snow that enclosed the valley like eternal clouds. Range upon range of craggy, steep, grey rocks, bright ice and smooth pastures were gradually blending with the enveloping snow.
Dotted here and there on the mountain side, each tiny dot a home, were lonely, wooden cottages, so dwarfed by the towering heights that they appeared too small for toys. Among these cottages in the clustered village was a small shop of an old man that sold home-made clothes. Its location in the village, and the same old stock of clothes worn by rusted, expressionless mannequins did not attract many people. But the old man was content with what he had and sat outside his shop the whole day. One of his joys was to listen to the nearby stream roaring away among the trees and tumbling over the broken rocks, but today, the profoundest of silence reigned around him. Sitting on his chair with a calm and quiet repose with his legs folded upon each other, and with a deep frown, one could not help but associate him with of the old mannequins in the glass. Not only was his hair long and ragged, but his face was burnt dark by the sun. He was grayer, the lines in his face and forehead were deeper, and he had every appearance of having wandered through all varieties of weather. A tear glistens in his eye and trickles down his cheeks. He wipes the tears off his sleeves of his shirt and sobs with great heaves of his chest. 'The die is cast--all is over', says the old man aloud. 'Oh Sophie. How i adored her, i was not merely over head and ears in love with her, but i was saturated through and through her. The mere passing of her before me with her lovely perfume reaching my nostrils, made me blush and poisoned me with her charm. She was my guiding star in the night, the light in my darkness and the evening wind on my brow. Sometimes, i wished that a fire would burst in her room, that the assembled crowd would stand appalled, that i, dashing through them with a ladder, might put it against her window, save her in my arms, go back for something she had left behind, and perish in the flames. Or, that i would float around her like a wandering zephyr my whole life.
Life without Sophie's love was not a thing to have on any terms. I couldn't bear it, and i would not have bore it. But she was not mine--she was never to be mine again. She might have been mine but that was past.'
The incessant throbbing in his temples broke his reverie and he stood up and walked to and fro indefatigably before his shop. People eyed him suspiciously but he paid no heed to them.
'Why am i musing over the past? Because what i reaped, i had sown. She was taken from me and revenge was not my forte.'
In the quiet air there was a sound of distant singing--Shepherd voices, but as the evening cloud floated along the mountain side, he could almost have believed it came from there and was some heavenly music. A tear rolled down his cheeks as he watched the sun go down in the fading twilight.