- Project Runeberg -  The story of San Michele /

(1929) [MARC] Author: Axel Munthe - Tema: Medicine
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Full resolution (JPEG) - On this page / på denna sida - X. The Corpse-Conductor

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were to see me? Did you take me for a
grave-plunderer who had broken open your coffin to
rob you of the golden ikon on your breast? Did
you think it was I who brought you here? No,
it was not I. For all I know it was the Archfiend
himself in the shape of a drunken hunchback
who caused you to come here! For who but
Mephisto, the eternal jester, could have staged
the ghastly farce just enacted here? I thought
I heard his mocking laughter ringing through
their sacred chant, God forgive me, I was not
far from laughing myself when your coffin was
lowered into this grave. But what matters it
to you whose grave it is? You cannot read the
name on the marble cross, what matters it to
you what name it is? You cannot hear the
voices of the living overhead, what matters it
to you what tongue they speak? You are not
lying here amongst strangers, you are lying side
by side with your own kinsmen. So is the
Swedish boy who was laid to rest in the heart of
Russia while the buglers of your old regiment
were sounding the Last Post by your grave.
The kingdom of death has no borders, the grave
has no nationality. You are all one and the
same people now, you will soon even look exactly
the same. The same fate awaits you all wherever
you are laid to rest, to be forgotten and to moulder
into dust, for such is the law of life. Rest in
peace, the strife is ended.”

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