What is home?

Doctor Heinrich Raschdorf pondered this thought as he approached the Buchenhof many years later on a splendid early autumn afternoon.

He had changed. The soft face had a firm, manly expression. There was a sunny smile in his eyes, as you find it in those mature, steadfast people who have overcome themselves and life, the quiet smile that those who have learned a lot and are no longer so easily frightened with joy or sadness. He had become quiet, mature, and intelligent.

Today he was down in the village with a poor sick woman. When he got home he would order that some food be sent down to her, that was most necessary. It is good when one is a farmer and a doctor at the same time, because many a happy cure can be made.

[321]

Heinrich Raschdorf loved his new job, he had enough opportunities to practice it in the area. But at times he also had a little leisure to be a farmer as in the old days.

The young doctor stopped and looked into the village. He had no enemy down there. All friends, all admirers, all people who were happy when he spoke to them. Even young Riedel greeted him.

Heinrich was free from complacency when Goethe’s word came to mind:

“Must win fame
People will change their minds. ”
He just enjoyed the final victory after such long struggles.

A car came down a dirt road. Hannes sat on it and looked annoyed. He had leased the Kretscham and the fields that belonged to it since Heinrich moved back in as lord of the Buchenhof himself.

“Now, Hannes, are you going to the field?”

It growled.

“It wouldn’t be necessary at all! There are enough people outside, and when a bunch of guests come to the Kretscham, Mathias is alone to pour. This is not a real business. ”

“Yes, why are you going to the field when you are so needed in Kretscham?”

[322]

“Why?! Smart question! I’ll keep looking at my wife’s faces and listening to the hum! ”

“Aha! Your wife -”

There was a pause. Heinrich laughed softly to himself while Hannes’ expression darkened more and more.

“Yes my wife! She is quite good and capable, yes – but I ooh! And I don’t go to the bar; I’m just talking to guests. Well, and that has to be an innkeeper. Otherwise there is no operation. But she, always on the field, always on the field, she chases you. ”

“Tell me, Hannes, you’ve been complaining about a headache these days.”

“Yes, I still have them.”

“You, then exercise in the open air is very good for you.”

“Yeh!”

Hannes hit the horse’s whip on the back and drove quickly away.

The young doctor laughed after him. Hannes was still a good, funny guy. But no one could well claim that he was in charge of the regiment in his house. And maybe it didn’t hurt either. For all her energy, Lene was as in love with her husband as any woman. They did very well in their economy. Not long after that, Hannes would be able to buy the Kretscham. Then old Schräger’s dream of uniting the two beech farms was finally ruined. About man’s plans based on money[323] time passes, the greatest enemy of mammons, laughing.

A tall figure loomed in the distance. That was the creator. When his son Hannes took over the business, he moved to Kretscham with him. But after eight days he came back to the Buchenhof. He had gotten homesick. He could not get used to a new apartment, new utility rooms and least of all to new fields. And again he uttered the significant saying: “A old tomcat won’t go away from the farm” – and Schaffer stayed at the Buchenhof, where he had lived all his life. Sometimes he only went to Kretscham in the evenings and let his son “earn something”.

Then he saw with pride how Hannes played host and talked more than all of his guests put together. It was always most beautiful when Hannes talked about Breslau, about the wonderful time he had been a soldier and about his numerous other visits to the capital, since Heinrich had lived there with Lotte as a married student. And when the creator saw the son unfold his beautiful speech, his heart opened up, and he himself was quite silent about such talents.

The young doctor approached the Buchenhöfe. Hannes’ numerous offspring played in the street, and his own three-year-old son was there too. His only one! The boy ran to meet him cheering, and he lifted him tenderly on his arm.

Old Mathias looked through the Kretscham window. He was alternately now here, now where he needed it[324] has been. But his favorite of all was still Heinrich. Every year before the harvest, Mathias visited his Liese once with the Gray Sisters, and every Christmas he received a letter from her. And whether he was getting old himself, he was beyond any bitterness and satisfied with the way in which the fates around him had been fulfilled.

Now his good eyes shone when he saw Heinrich.

“I’m amal vice innkeeper again,” he smiled.

“Yes, I’ve already heard that you yelled Hannes out.”

“Not that! But it’s very good like that! If you sit here all day and all evening, don’t talk to yourself! Well, it won’t be outside long. Then I’ll come over to you. ”

“Fine, Mathias. Do not come too late!”

Frau Lotte appeared in the front door of the Buchenhof, and Heinrich went over with the boy and shook hands with his radiant young wife. A flock of migratory birds rushed overhead, far into the foreign.

“Do you see the birds? Now it will soon be winter. ”

“I’m looking forward to winter,” she said simply.

They understood each other. A friendly, dear house has colorful magic windows. Through them the world outside paints itself forever golden and beautiful, whether the rain is running or the sun is laughing; in autumn and winter the eye does not see anything cloudy through its magic panes.

[325]

He pulled her out into the courtyard by the hand. The house had been given a new coat of paint, and a plaque had been set into the wall above the door, still waiting for an inscription.

Heinrich pointed to the board and said:

“Do you know what I’m digging in there?”

She looked at him questioningly, and he looked seriously, but with deep love, into her beautiful eyes and said slowly and with that quiet solemnity with which one utters a hard-won wisdom:

» Home is peace! «

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