The old fiddler
A true story
Everywhere he carried it around with him,
and never he was seen without it,
that old violin box,
and never any violin was seen with him,
so it was doubted that the case contained a violin.
‘The Violin Man’ became a legend
for the invisible violin
and the most visible case, that never left his side,
which he would never open on request.
Of course it roused a universal curiosity.
Was there a violin or not
in that so jealously protected case?
One day in a small café,
that old man was sitting there with his old violin case
as there was a small group of school-girls entering.
They saw the old man and, of course,
immediately started to discuss the problem
of the secret of what that old violin case contained.
One girl, not more than fifteen, said,
“Why don’t we just go up and ask him?”
No one would, so she did.
She went up to him and asked:
“Is that a violin you have?”
The old man answered: “Can you doubt it?”,
opened up the case and took his violin out from there
and started tenderly to play
old Vienna waltzes, evergreens and sentimental melodies,
until there entered other people, grown-ups,
growing soon into an audience.
Then he felt abashed and locked his violin up again,
was overcome with shyness, rose and left.
After he had gone, a doubtful grown-up asked the nearest girl,
who happened to be just the girl
who had achieved the wonder of releasing the old fiddler’s secret:
“Was there actually a violin in the old beggar’s case?”
The girl said: “No, sir, there was nothing in that case
except his soul. We saw it, but you didn’t,
so he left.”