His likeness remained in no one’s memory, in Nothing! Finished no one’s heart. A shadow! the In loneliness he lived, and in loneliness he died. Had it not been for infernal human racket someone or other might have heard the sound of Bontsha’s bones cracking under the weight of his burdens; someone might have glanced around and seen that Bontsha was also a human being, he had two frightened eyes and a silent trembling mouth; someone might have noticed how, even when he bore no actual load upon his back, he still walked with his head bowed down to earth, as though while living he was already searching for his grave. him When Bontsha was brought to the hospital ten people were waiting for to die and leave them narrow little cot; when he was brought the hospital to the morgue twenty were waiting to occupy his pall; when was taken out of the morgue forty were waiting to lie where he would lie forever. Who knows how many are now waiting to snatch from him that bit of earth? In silence he was born, in silence he lived, in silence he died–and in an even vaster silence he was put into the ground Ah, but in the it was not so! No! In Paradise the death Bontsha was an overwhelming event. The great trumpet of the Messiah through the seven heavens: Bontsha the Silent is dead! most exalted angels, with the most imposing wings, hurried, flew, to tell on another, “Do you know who has died? Bontshal Bontsha the Silentl And the new, the young little angels with brilliant eyes, with golden wings and silver shoes, ran to greet Bontsha, laughing in their The sound of their wings, the sound of their shoes, as they ran to meet him and the bubbling of their laughter, filled all Paradise with jubilation, a Himself knew that Bontsha the Silent was at last here. In the great gateway to heaven Abraham, our father, stretched out his arms in welcome and benediction, “Peace be with you!” And on his old face a deep sweet smile appeared What, exactly, was going on up there in Paradise? There, in Paradise, two angels came bearing a golden throne for Bontsha to sit upon, and for his head a golden crown with glittering jewels. “But why the throne, the crown, already?” two important saints asked”He hasn’t even been tried before the heavenly court of justice to which each new arrival must submit,” Their voices were touched with envy What’s going on here, anyway? And the angels answered the two important saints that, yes, Bontsha’s trial hadn’t started yet, but it would only be a formality, even the prosecutor wouldn’t dare open his mouth. Why, the whole thing wouldn’t take five minutes!