Translation:The High Mountains/71

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The High Mountains  (1918)  by Zacharias Papantoniou, translated from Greek by Wikisource
At the monastery
At the monastery

At the high monastery of Saint-Elie, the monks stand in front of the door to the courtyard, and look into the distance. The plain and hills spread out downwards and further on the river Roumelle glistens like silver. From time to time a monk raises his right hand and points in the distance.

Since they entered the monastery, they always stand at this hour on the same promontory. From there they contemplate the places that are green in winter and light in summer. And in this way they console themselves seeing no-one. For exactly fifty-eight years has Abbot Joseph looked out from this promontory...

“There's someone coming”, said a monk and pointed to some people coming up the slope towards Saint-Elie.

It's the children accompanied by Mr Stephan. They are coming to the monastery to pay their respects, as they had wanted to do for a long time.

The Abbot was overjoyed when they arrived and said they had come for mass.

“Make yourselves comfortable here in the priory”, he told them.

First of all they went into the church to pray. It was very old, about four hundred years' old. They lit a candle, prayed and then they went up to the Abbot.

—What's the news from the outside world? asked the father.

—We've come from the desert, father, replied Mr Stephan.

And he explained to him, as well as to the monks who had joined them, the children's journey in the mountains. The monks, who rarely saw people, listened attentively to the children's stories, as if they were listening to a good novel: the ascension of the Moor's rock and Phanis getting lost.

—There you are, for a short while, you too were a hermit, like us, said father Daniel to Phanis pinching his cheek.

The monk from the storeroom brought a tray with biscuits and cold water. And when the children were refreshed, they went out to visit the monastery. They strolled in the garden where the monks dig and cultivate. They went over to a fig tree and picked sweet figs. They saw from afar the walnut trees and oaks, they also saw the cypress trees planted a hundred years ago that guard the monastery.