Above the mountains rose the sun, shining in limpid majesty down into a welcoming but narrow valley, where it woke to joyous life creatures that had been create to take pleasure in the sunshine of their days. From the forest’s gilded edge the blackbird trilled its aubade while the amorous quail intoned monotonous minnelieder from amid the flowers sparkling in the dew-bespangled grass, and high above the dark firs, lusty crows danced nutial roundelays or else cawed tender lullabies above the thorny little beds of their unfledged chicks.
Halfway down this sunny slope, Nature had placed a dell filled with fertile, sheltered farmland, and there, stately and gleaming, stood a beautiful farmhouse framed by a splendid orchard in which a few tall apple trees were still resplendent with the season’s last blossoms; half the succulent hay watered from the well behind the house was still unharvested, the other half had already found its way to the stables. All about the house lay a Sunday gleam such as cannot be produced with just a few strokes of the broom applied of a Saturday evening between day and night; such gleaming splendor bears witness to a precious inheritance–inborn purity-that like fmaily honor must be upheld day after day, for a single unguarded moment can besmirch it ofr generations with stains as indelible as bloodstains, which are impervious to whitewash.
—Jeremias Gotthelf, translated by Susan Bernofsky