The Little City

by Lord Dunsany

I WAS IN the pre-destined 11:08 from Goraghwood to Drogheda, when
I suddenly saw the city. It was a little city in a valley, and only seemed
to have a little smoke, and the sun caught the smoke and turned it
golden, so that it looked like an old Italian picture where angels walk
in the foreground and the rest is a blaze of gold. And beyond, as one
could tell by the lie of land although one could not see through the
golden smoke, I knew that there lay the paths of the roving ships.

All round there lay a patchwork of small fields all over the slopes of
the hills, and the snow had come upon them tentatively, but already
the birds of the waste had moved to the sheltered places for every
omen boded more to fall. Far away some little hills blazed like an
aureate bulwark broken off by age and fallen from the earthward
rampart of Paradise. And aloof and dark the mountains stared
unconcernedly seawards.

And when I saw those grey and watchful mountains sitting where
they sat while the cities of the civilization of Araby and Asia arose
like crocuses, and like crocuses fell, I wondered for how long there
would be smoke in the valley and little fields on the hills.

* * *

Source: Fifty-One Tales

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