the hanging squares, malls, avenues, skyscrapers with wings of fire, the different levels with different colors, the uninspired conversation with the bird at the pass, and how I ate snow — and all these pictures were and were not themselves, as in dreams sometimes, they were both a reminder and an avoidance of the thing I dared not touch. Because, throughout, I had tried to find in myself an acceptance of what I could not accept. But that had been before, like a dream. Now, clearheaded and alert, awaiting the day, in air almost silver, in the presence of the slowly revealed mountain slopes, the gullies, the scree, which emerged from the night in silent confirmation of the reality of my return, for the first time I — alone but not a stranger to the Earth — now subject to her and her laws — for the first time I could, without protest, without regret, think of those setting out for the golden fleece of the stars…

The snow of the summit caught fire in gold and white, it stood above the purple shadows of the valley, stood powerful and eternal, and I, not closing my tear-filled eyes, got up slowly and began to walk across the stones, to the south, to my home.

Zakopane — Cracow, 1960


AVON BOOKS A division of The Hearst Corporation

959 Eighth Avenue

New York, New York 10019

Copyright © 1961 by Stanislaw Lem

English translation Copyright © 1980 by Stanislaw Lem

Published by arrangement with Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, Inc.

Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 79-3358

ISBN: 0-380-58578-2

All rights reserved, which includes the right to reproduce this book or

portions thereof in any form whatsoever except as provided by the

U. S. Copyright Law. For information address Harcourt Brace

Jovanovich, Inc., 757 Third Avenue, New York, New York 10017

First Bard Printing, May, 1982

Printed in the U.S.A.

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