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'Is this a time for dreaming?' Zteck's "They say he's dumb, and that he cold whisper rebuked. drinks blood.'

The president moved down the stairs a little ahead of the others, and Joseph and Igor brought up the rear.

'Ah, if I were like you and could speak so well!' said the herder. 'You would have been a wonderful herdsman. All the cattle would have come to you like children.' He gazed humbly into the pale face of the other.

Joseph smiled. 'Don't be afraid. Think how proud you'll be all your life. Everyone will talk about it.'

Igor appeared somewhat comforted by this assurance, but outside, at the foot of the platform steps, he said anxiously, 'Do you think they will give me the three cows they promised me?'


The great bell in the tower of the cathedral boomed three times and a cannon thundered from the palace steps. A hundred thousand faces turned toward a broad granite pedestal which rose a man's height above the crowd. Yesterday it had carried the bronze statue of an emperor. To-day it was empty except for a few chairs. As figures appeared on the platform the people surged forward impulsively. Then the president and Joseph advanced slowly, and the crowd burst into tumultuous shouting. Tears ran down hollow cheeks.

'Zteck, Zteck, Joseph, Zteck and Joseph, Joseph and Zteck!' The two names were shouted over and over.

The throng which had eddied round the edges of the square now pressed in to look. They were quicker, sharperfeatured, and a little less ragged than the mass of the peasants- the people of the city come out to look at their new masters.

"That's the leader!' shouted one to make himself heard above the noise.

'A hundred women would not content him,' replied a pale, disease-ravaged man whose head was bandaged.

Fierce looks appeared on the faces of some of those about them, and the two were hastily silent and presently slunk away to another part of the square.

Gradually the uproar and cheering changed to song, a strange melancholy wail that chilled the hearts of many listeners.

"Wolves,' said a one-armed man, drawing a moth-eaten fur collar closer round his neck.

But the singers seemed intoxicated and sang it over and over, swaying with shut eyes to its mournful rhythm.

Out of all the multitude only Zteck and Joseph appeared unmoved. Joseph gazed absently at the pieces of paper flying about above the square, and was conscious only of a sense of emptiness.

The moment that should have been a crowning one, when the mist lifted on the plain, revealing to the straggling half-starved army the sunlit towers of the city, had left him unstirred. From all about him there had risen shouts of hoarse exultation, while blue cracked lips parted in smiles, and rude jests flew back and forth. Joseph, gazing at the glittering icy beauty of the cathedral spires, had held his breath and waited for the inspiration that in a moment must flood his tired spirit. He had gazed and gazed, his soul in his eyes, while his body was being jostled and hurried, his arms grasped, and men were shouting excitedly to him, their eyes flashing wildly in their starved, sunken faces. But it had all been a confusion in which he had found no meaning.

That night at the camp where they slept, huddled in an open field, no fires to thaw the heavy, damp cold that crept up out of the ground and wrapped

them about like a garment, everyone had been talkative and quarrelsome. The men kept turning to look at him expectantly, and the baker's vagabond son, who had grown up in his village, leaned over and whispered, 'When the winning post is near, you should put spurs to the horse.' Joseph was ashamed and dropped his head, pretending to sleep, because he had nothing to say.

The same sense of emptiness paralyzed him now. He looked down at the multitude below him, at the packed, swaying bodies from which rose a smell as of sour hay. Soon they would stop singing, and he would have to speak to them.

The wind was cold and he shivered, drawing closer about his shoulders the rusty black shawl. March winds . . dry, cold winds . . . drying the land for sowing. This year at last they would sow, and there would be corn for all. Sowing . . . turning over the sticky black clods, each clod glazed to silver by the share. Then the seed, pale, so little, so potent for the life of men. He thought it strange that God should trust the life of His creatures to anything so small, so likely to be lost in the earth. It would rot if the soil were too wet, and wither if it were too dry, and grow feeble and stunted if the sun did not shine enough.

He thought of his own fields, the corner where his land sloped to the stream and the wheat grew lush and strong, the little stony patch where the rows thinned. Those acres that he could plough in a day had given him life, and his father, and his grandfather, and no one knew how many generations before that. In his mind the past sloped up, quiet, peaceful, unmenaced, till all things began at the throne of God, where He had smiled and given to each his little plot of land. Then into this untroubled, toil-filled

existence had come the war, tearing them up by the roots and flinging them to the four winds of heaven.

The singing died away. A rough hand was groping for his-Igor's. He grasped it firmly and smiled at the trembling herder. The huge man stumbled to the front of the platform and stood there shaking like a tree. He opened his mouth to speak and no sound came. The faces of his comrades were strained and anxious. Then Joseph could see the blue eyes suddenly close tightly till the wrinkles spread round them like a fan, the massive head thrown back so that the flying hair, the bulging forehead, and childish upturned nose were all outlined against the sky, and a voice as melodious as bells rang out over the square. 'We having been called by God . . .' The words which he had himself written - how long ago? They sounded alien and strange now, and woke no answering chord as they had done when he wrote them.

He remembered the first time he had seen Igor, after a meeting in the little village of Matten, where the mountains seemed to lean down and crush the houses. The hollow-eyed, starving peasants had listened dully and gone away, and Joseph lingered by the old wooden cross, spent with fatigue, hunger, and an emotion that had evoked no response. Then the giant herder had risen up from the stone on which he had been squatting, and touched his sleeve and said, 'Is God really angry with us? You said that while He was angry nothing would go well with us. Is that why my cows all died?'

Joseph nodded his head wearily. 'But who cares now?' he asked. "They are so miserable they think things cannot be worse.'

He walked on, but Igor kept by his side. 'I will tell you something about

God,' he said mysteriously. 'He is not so strong as people think. I hear Him in the mountains sometimes crying for help like my cattle when they are lost. In the old days, when there were only a few people in the world, it was easy for Him to be king, but now there are so many and they are so strong that He cannot look after them all; they do wicked things.'

The herder's half-crazy fancy had found an echo in Joseph's brain, and he imagined sometimes that God was lying bound somewhere, and that he must find and free Him.

The thundering applause broke out again. Igor opened his eyes and smiled broadly on those below him. He stood there so long that they had to pull him back to his seat. In spite of the cold, sweat glistened on his brown forehead and he wiped it away with his hand. 'Now they will give me my three cows,' he said contentedly.

Joseph was chilled with sudden doubt. Was it true that everything would be well now? Could he go back to the low gray farmhouse, and to Lisa his wife-to long days in the to long days in the fields in summer, and long lamp-lit hours in winter when he carved endless toys, and she worked so swiftly at the lace on the pillow, and the old grandfather painted the little figures and set them on the shelf to dry? Would the lamplight make a golden circle on the ceiling, and the strings of onions cast fantastic shadows on the walls, and the child at Lisa's side chuckle in his wooden cradle?

Stephen rose and began to speak in his meticulous school-teacher's voice, announcing the programme of the new government: . . . To every man his own land without rent or taxes. Seed enough to keep you from starving at least . . . machinery . . . no more money to be squandered by the people of the city... supervised

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Joseph had had no hand in drawing up this programme. Some of it he did not even understand. That had been Zteck's work. He glanced at the president, sitting so still beside him, his hands on his thin knees, his pale blue eyes gazing steadily into the crowd below. What was Zteck thinking?

The age-old peasant distrust of the shopkeeper pricked him as he looked at the crooked features and mottled skin, and he thought of the proverb, "Trust a thief before a priest, but trust a shopkeeper not at all.'

None of their little group liked him, except perhaps Stephen, who wrote his few letters for him, and conferred with him often in secret.

Joseph's eyes followed Zteck's probing gaze and he too looked intently into the sea of upturned faces so hungrily eager, seeing scores whom he could call by name. There were Reuben and his foolish young wife, who had insisted on marching with them, and a man whom he had known in the trenches, another with whom he had stayed in the hill country to the easthundreds who had come because of his words as he hurried from village to village preaching the new, warming doctrine of revolution to those to whom peace had brought nothing but misery, starvation, and the daily acquaintance with death.

He thought of his own words when suddenly, while all the village was on its knees in the fields praying for rain, he had jumped to his feet and pushed aside the astonished priest and spoken, trembling with the sense of the revelation which had descended upon him:

'I have been thinking a long time and wondering why we are so miserable, and why we are all starving when we might be living as we used to-comfortably on our land. I know now it is

the war that made it all. I ran away from it. I did not know why, but I was afraid of it. I know now that we did a wrong thing to fight. God gave us the earth to care for. He is our Lord, and we must work for Him, but at the command of His enemies we marched away from the homes of our fathers, and wherever we went and wherever we fought we destroyed the soil and its fruits. That was wrong and God is angry with us. He has sent a curse upon the land.'

And then he had cried out in a voice so terrible that the priest had hidden his face. 'I say we must seize the sword of God and march against His enemies, who rule in His land, and overthrow them! We have been patient too long. We are a thousand to their hundred, and they melt away before us like frost before the sun. We will make God's law of peace our law, and God will be pleased. The curse will pass away. We shall return to our homes, and all things will prosper with us. I say take up the sword of God, lest it kill us all!'

With those words on his lips he had gone from village to village wherever they would listen. Here and there some had heeded and made plans, until before he knew it the movement had swept far beyond him and begun to multiply and increase of itself, and Zteck had created an army out of the starving and miserable people.


A low mutter of anger that ran over the crowd roused him for a moment to the present. Stephen was denouncing the crimes of the old rulers whom they had driven out. The mutter increased to a roar, ominous as the thunder of floods in snow-swollen streams.

And now they were here in the capital. It was all over. The king had fled.

Zteck was in the palace, Stephen was promising them good times, and tomorrow these people would begin to return to their homes. Surely his visions, and the words that seemed sometimes to spring from his lips as though another spoke them, meant more than this.

What, he thought suddenly, if this is only the beginning? Beyond the people stretched their fields, and beyond theirs others, all waiting, and somewhere God. And God had not spoken.

'And now, before you march to the halls where the feast is to be served, our great leader, whose voice has been the trumpet call which awakened us to consciousness of power, will speak to you.'

Stephen sat down at Zteck's side and bowed his head to the applause which was already punctuated by cries of 'Joseph, Joseph,' till the word became a thunderpeal.

'Nothing but a common peasant, and a deserter from the army!' shouted the man in the moth-eaten fur collar to his companion.

'He does n't look much,' remarked one woman to another as they stood on their toes and craned to see; and a young fellow on whose shoulders sat a wizened child gripped the little boy's legs tighter and cried, 'Wave your cap, Tito! There he is!'

'Hush, hush. He is going to speak.' Strong hands were pushing Joseph forward, for he had sat sunk in his chair so long that he might have forgotten what he was to do. Zteck frowned and pulled at his knuckles.

Joseph waited almost dreamily amid the tumult. The shouting seemed to lift him off his feet till he was floating high above the cathedral spires where he could see the whole land stretching away in infinite blue distances, and yet every village was as distinct as though

it were immediately under his eye, even to the little place in his roof which had been packed with moss to keep out the winter cold. He brooded over it, unmoving as the eagles he had sometimes seen in the mountains where they had fought for a time. He stood so long wrapped in his dream that a vague fear spread over the crowd, and it moved uneasily. The cheering died away till the flutter of the pigeons' wings could be heard in the air above their heads. And then a thing he seemed to have known dimly since as a child he had followed the harrow, dropping the seed into the furrows, blazed out in sudden splendor, and the earth was God - how else so inexhaustible, the giver of life since time began? And he was aware of a voice that cried from the earth, as Igor had said, like his cattle when they were lost in the mountains.

Someone in the crowd had begun to sob. Zteck half rose to his feet. Then Joseph threw back his head to speak.

A shot rang out, and Joseph cried once sharply and pitched forward into the crowd. Among the stone gardens on the cathedral a figure twisted a moment and fell headlong, and the frozen crowd suddenly woke to life. Hoarse screams filled the air; terrified shouts that the king and his soldiers had returned, that men with guns were hidden on all the roofs. The crowd stampeded into the streets and alleys that surrounded the square, crushing hundreds under their feet in frenzy to leave the place of death. They tore up street signs, doorposts, anything that would serve as a weapon.

There followed a night of such terror as the old city had never seen. Mobs broke into shops and houses, beating to death men whom they found hiding

there, stripping women of their clothing, looting and burning, and, when they thought of their dead leader, crying aloud like children.

When the dawn broke it was as though a storm had swept over the city. The streets were still patrolled by scattered bands of peasants, which dwindled as one and then another leaned for a moment's rest against a doorstep or shop front, and slid down to the pavement and slept where he lay.

In the palace Zteck awakened Stephen, who had fallen forward asleep on the ebony-and-ivory table. 'Get your paper and ink.'

As the schoolmaster moved toward the desk, he picked up from a chair Joseph's worn old cap with the torn ear-pieces, left where it had been tossed the day before. He held it up silently. Zteck smiled a little as he bent down to loosen his shoes. 'He is more use to us dead than alive.'

Suddenly from the hallway came the sound of running feet, and someone beat furiously on the door, shouting in a hoarse voice, "They're in here! I must find them! Let me in!'

Zteck had risen to his feet, his face paled, and his hand flew to his throat. The noise outside grew more confused, then ceased abruptly. The door opened and the round-headed guard looked in. He was breathing rapidly.

'Who will give me my three cows now? Where are . . .' The words reached them clearly from the marble corridor and were suddenly stifled.

The guard grinned. 'It is only Igor. He has gone quite mad. He's been down in the square all night calling his cows!'

The door closed, and Zteck drew a long breath. 'Why are we waiting?' he demanded impatiently.

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