chosen and the beloved, who was a dawn unto his own day, had waited twelve
years in the city of Orphalese for his ship that was to return and bear him
back to the isle of his birth. And in the twelfth year, on the seventh day
of Ielool, the month of reaping, he climbed the hill without the city walls
and looked seaward; and he beheld his ship coming with the mist....
there came out of the sanctuary a woman whose name was Almitra. And she was
a seeress. And he looked upon her with exceeding tenderness, for it was she
who had first sought and believed in him when he had been but a day in their
city. And she hailed him, saying:
Prophet of God, in quest of the uttermost, long have you searched the
distances for your ship. And now your ship has come, and you must needs go.
Deep is your longing for the land of your greater desires; and our love
would not bind you nor our needs hold you.
Yet this we ask ere you leave us, that you speak to us and give us of
your truth. And we will give it unto our children, and they unto their
children, and it shall not perish. In your aloneness you have watched with
our days, and in your wakefulness you have listened to the weeping and the
laughter of our sleep. Now therefore disclose us to ourselves, and tell us
all that has been shown you of that which is between birth and death.
And he answered, People of Orphalese, of what
can I speak save of that which is even now moving within your souls?....
And now it was evening. And Almitra the seeress said, Blessed be this day
and this place and your spirit that has spoken. And he answered, Was it I
who spoke? Was I not also a listener?....
And when all the people were dispersed she stood alone upon the sea-wall,
remembering in her heart his saying, "A little while, a moment of rest upon
the wind, and another woman shall bear me."*
Gibran, The Prophet, Knopf, New York (1923).