The end of the story, under the rain


Antonín Kosík


This year it started to rain earlier than it usually does, for longer and much more heavily. Uncle Michal was pleased at first, dancing like crazy with his arms outstretched and shouting "look, water, water, water at last" for so long he ended up falling in it. Not even then did he stop jumping for joy. He was not alone. The foals rolled around frolicking in the earth and the calves watched them enviously. The rain however didn't stop in a week not even during the day. It was a tremendous downpour. The birds could not fly. After several days they became completely soaked, and would fall heavily to the ground, where they would try to swim rather clumsily, and if they opened their wings and tried to fly, water would drain off them as if it had come out of a holey drain pipe. They had stopped singing a while ago and would just watch the passersby in a reproaching way. They no longer said hello to uncle Michal. Not even a nod.
People walked around barefooted until Sunday, their laces became so sodden they could not tie them up, and different coloured bloodsuckers would get in between their toes. In the end they stopped changing, there were no more dry clothes to change into, and people walked around almost naked; water just poured off anything that was hung up to dry on a peg or line. There was so much coming from everything and everywhere, you could no longer tell what was rain or the result of it. People began to feel hungry, as all the food had firstly turned into a watery puree and then into a slowly discolouring cold and pasty lump until it had completely dissolved into water, upon which more and more drops of water would continue to fall from somewhere. At first there wasn't enough lollipops to go around, then their were none at all, as all the reserves had completely dissolved and the shopkeepers had to store them up until then in large bottles, however they had now turned into liquid. Now and then they would hopelessly sip out of them, but the liquid would not decrease, it would only somehow turn more whitish. Little by little people stopped sipping as there was nothing left to sip on. Not even the cleverest of them could think of a substitute for lollipops and they became more talkative in spite of the terrible rain. Their conversations were nearly always about the lollipops and only rarely would they discuss the fiesta of the rain, that not only did not turn out quite right this year, it just wasn't celebrated, as you couldn't light a single candle, or pick up the pink petals without these getting stuck to each other and forming a wet mass.
The priests who were obliged to drink some sort of non alcoholic beverage instead of a rather strong eau-de-vie, succumbed rapidly and began to blaspheme not only against the sainted Catholics, against the pagans as well, and then especially against the blessed Virgin Mary. That was too much even for the unbelieving locals, who in normal circumstances would have had them for lunch. Surprisingly though the rivers were still rather dry. Due to the question of the rain, ironically the rivers were said to run somewhere else in spite of the town being drenched in water. The water would disappear and no one would know where it had gone to, as the only place water wasn't falling from was the taps, which remained mouldy and dirty.
It is true that uncle Michal understood that his time had come, but at the same time he understood it was too late. Even the short speech he had quickly and painstakingly composed with a pen and a piece of maize splint, (he would hide it just in case he needed it in a fox leather) had quickly erased and not even Michal could read it. Although no one really knew the words, it was known he could read any text without getting stuck once and reciting the contents adequately.
Uncle Michal realized his moment had arrived too late, and at the same time understood it would have arrived too late even if it had happened ten, fifteen, twenty, fifty or even one hundred years before.





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