Author: Olive Schreiner

IV. in a Far-Off World.

There is a world in one of the far-off stars, and things do not happen here as they happen there.

In that world were a man and woman; they had one work, and they walked together side by side on many days, and were friends—and that is a thing that happens now and then in this world also.

But there was something in that star-world that there is not here. There was a thick wood: where the trees grew closest, and the stems were interlocked, and the summer sun never shone, there stood a shrine. In the day all was quiet, but at night, when the stars shone or the moon glinted on the tree-tops, and all was quiet below, if one crept here quite alone and knelt on the steps of the stone altar, and uncovering one’s breast, so wounded it that the blood fell down on the altar steps, then whatever he who knelt there wished for was granted him. And all this happens, as I said, because it is a far-off world, and things often happen there as they do not happen here.

Now, the man and woman walked together; and the woman wished well to the man. One night when the moon was shining so that the leaves of all the trees glinted, and the waves of the sea were silvery, the woman walked alone to the forest. It was dark there; the moonlight fell only in little flecks on the dead leaves under her feet, and the branches were knotted tight overhead. Farther in it got darker, not even a fleck of moonlight shone. Then she came to the shrine; she knelt down before it and prayed; there came no answer. Then she uncovered her breast; with a sharp twoedged stone that lay there she wounded it. The drops dripped slowly down on to the stone, and a voice cried, "What do you seek?"

She answered, "There is a man; I hold him nearer than anything. I would give him the best of all blessings."

The voice said, "What is it?"

The girl said, "I know not, but that which is most good for him I wish him to have."

The voice said, "Your prayer is answered; he shall have it."

Then she stood up. She covered her breast and held the garment tight upon it with her hand, and ran out of the forest, and the dead leaves fluttered under her feet. Out in the moonlight the soft air was blowing, and the sand glittered on the beach. She ran along the smooth shore, then suddenly she stood still. Out across the water there was something moving. She shaded her eyes and looked. It was a boat; it was sliding swiftly over the moonlit water out to sea. One stood upright in it; the face the moonlight did not show, but the figure she knew. It was passing swiftly; it seemed as if no one propelled it; the moonlight’s shimmer did not let her see clearly, and the boat was far from shore, but it seemed almost as if there was another figure sitting in the stern. Faster and faster it glided over the water away, away. She ran along the shore; she came no nearer it. The garment she had held closed fluttered open; she stretched out her arms, and the moonlight shone on her long loose hair.

Then a voice beside her whispered, "What is it?"

She cried, "With my blood I bought the best of all gifts for him. I have come to bring it him! He is going from me!"

The voice whispered softly, "Your prayer was answered. It has been given him."

She cried, "What is it?"

The voice answered, "It is that he might leave you."

The girl stood still.

Far out at sea the boat was lost to sight beyond the moonlight sheen.

The voice spoke softly, "Art thou contented?"

She said, "I am contented."

At her feet the waves broke in long ripples softly on the shore.


Related Resources

None available for this document.

Download Options

Title: Dreams

Select an option:

*Note: A download may not start for up to 60 seconds.

Email Options

Title: Dreams

Select an option:

Email addres:

*Note: It may take up to 60 seconds for for the email to be generated.

Chicago: Olive Schreiner, "IV. In a Far-Off World.," Dreams, ed. Macaulay, G. C. (George Campbell), 1852-1915 and trans. Evans, Sebastian in Dreams Original Sources, accessed March 27, 2023, http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=KS38VJXKCUUFCEY.

MLA: Schreiner, Olive. "IV. In a Far-Off World." Dreams, edited by Macaulay, G. C. (George Campbell), 1852-1915, and translated by Evans, Sebastian, in Dreams, Original Sources. 27 Mar. 2023. http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=KS38VJXKCUUFCEY.

Harvard: Schreiner, O, 'IV. In a Far-Off World.' in Dreams, ed. and trans. . cited in , Dreams. Original Sources, retrieved 27 March 2023, from http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=KS38VJXKCUUFCEY.