Summer 1955 • Vol. XVII No. 3 Fiction |


Below the village of Ravensburg, at the edge of the woods and facing the swampy bottom lands that spread to the river, old Mr. Birch had his cabin where he lived alone and did nothing, or almost nothing. People driving the highway on the other side of the river could look across and have a glimpse of him—a faded denim shirt, flowering white hair—sitting peaceably in a rocker on his porch, one end of which had sagged; and those people, if they were just passing through on their way from one city to another, would sometimes be reminded of the firm rural virtues, frugality and toil, upon which our civilization is reared. In a flash-—before even slowing down for the stop-signal which marks Ravensburg's one cross-roads—they would have a vision, touched by nostalgia, of the fine thing it was to live close to the soil, to be born, spend your days, and die old in a cabin beside a river. Ravensburg itself, an unenterprising and largely decaying little place, would perhaps change thei

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