The Rich blackberry picker by Godfried Bomans
A long long time ago there lived in a forest an old blackberry picker. His mother and father had been dead for so long that he had forgotten that they were burried at the foot of a birchtree. He didnt even remember why there was an old crooked wooden cross there. But he didnt feel comfortable close to it so he would walk in a big circle around it.
Apart from him there was nobody living in the forest so the blackberry picker thought he was alone in the world. That thought didnt bother him at all, he would sing the happiest songs all the time! Except at night because then he would have to sleep. But you could not imagine a happier person! “see,”he would say “those silver pearls and diamonds on the leaves and the flowers! Just for me! I am so rich!” as he saw the dew in the morning. And when he walked through the forest he would say: “what a beautifull high ceilings and large colomns! And all of that for just one man! I troel am rich!” But at night he was the happiest, he would sit under a laurel oak close to his home and listen to a far away voice that would sing until his eyes filled with tears. “Beautifull!,”he would call out, “thank you, thank you, thank you, unknown singer! What a lovely sound, I am so sorry I am alone in this world”
But he was not! One night a traveler walked through the forest and came upon the house of the blackberry picker. He opened the door and smiled at the blackberry picker. “Friend,” he said, “some food and a bed would be very nice. Because I am hungry and sleepy! Can you hear me?” But the blackberry picker just sat on his chair and stared! “Come on,” said the traveler, “here is a piece of gold. Maybe that will help you speek.” The blackberry picker stood up from his chair “creature,”he said with difficulty,”I dont need your gold. That is not why I was silent. Please can I touch you?” “sure,”said the traveler. And the blackberry picker started to squeeze and poke the traveler. And then he shouted: “just like me! I am not alone!” “Off cause not” said the traveler, “dont be so silly! Why did you not want my gold?”
The blackberry picker told the traveler about his diamonds and pearls that he saw every morning. The traveler said he had to leave immediatly to tell the mayor of this wealth! The blackberry picker was very happy that he would be able to share his riches at last!
The next day all the people from the village and the mayor followed the traveller into the forest to where the blackberry picker lived. “We came to see the diamonds and pearls and the high ceilings and beuatifull comlomns!” said the mayor. “Oh how nice!” said the blackberry picker, “we shall see them in the morning!” “why not now?” asked the mayor. The blackberry picker told everybody that it was too late, but tommorow morning he would show them. The next morning the fields and trees and flowers were shining and glistening with the dew. The berrypicker looked expectantly at his visitors. “You are so lucky!”, he spoke softely. “What did he say?” asked the mayor. The blackberry picker repeated himself and told the mayor that there were unusually many that morning. The mayor got very angry. He screamed at the top of his lungs that they had been lied to and cheated. “But I told you like it is”, said the blackberry picker. The mayor demanded that the villager kill the blackberry picker. And so that night the nightingale was singing his song for nobody. Just one branch higher then the blackberry picker was hanging.