- That was of course a nonsense prayer: how could I rage against what doesn't
exist? But it helped me. A shackle fell from me. I felt grown-up. I sensed
my own strength and a hard joy. The joy of the godless. The arrogance of the
godless. The cold pride of the free person. Call it a demonic joy, an evil
joy. You are right. None could overcome this demon except the son of
So you see, there is something to the story about demons. A Jewess whose
love for her people turns into hate against him who she accuses of having
broken the contract. A Jewess who becomes ill from hate and love. Love and
hate: these were the two sides of the same coin. My eyes saw only one. I
decided to side with the opposition groups. I would find them most easily in
Galilee. There the fronts were clearest. Farther to the south, in Judea, in
the capital of everything, they were mixed. There were too many there who
made deals with the Romans: priests, feudal masters, businessmen. All kinds
of profiteers who liked things as they were: let things stay as they are, we
are the silent winners.
In Galilee they were poor and rebellious as ever. So I went there.
A day's journey later I came to the Kineret Sea. It lay quiet between the
hills on this side and the desert mountains on the other. A moon-night. Far
out a few fishing boats. Now and then a fish sprang up and, plunging back,
described a round trace of silver. Sometimes a rustle in the reeds. It was
beautiful. It was peace and home. I sat there for a long time, completely
one with the breath of the landscape that was my home.
Suddenly a wind sprang up, from one moment to the other, south-wind, a storm
in an almost clear sky, a ferocious storm, without warning. And the boats
out there, the wind against them. The fishermen's wives gathered on the
shore, the old, the children. The boats danced and sprang and couldn't come
in because of the waves, and they couldn't be helped, no boat came through
the sharp breakers.
As suddenly as the storm sprang up, so suddenly did it subside. Nothing.
Stillness. The sea was mirror smooth and the boats came in undamaged and
with full nets. Cries of joy and tears and embraces.
A man stepped out of one of the boats, paid no attention to the ships, fish
or fishermen, but waded to shore, pulled his cloak closely around him and
walked away, alone and very solitary. One whom no one was waiting for. One
without a family. Who was he?
Frank Thomas Smith