“Go down and cull of the fruits. There is none that is poisonous. The trees will offer them to you of their own accord, without sufferance either to their leaves or their branches, for they are inexhaustible.”
The poet was filled with joy in being able to obey his parents. When he had returned from the orchard and submerged the bottles of wine in the water, he saw his old dog. It too had died before him, and it came gently running toward him, wagging its tail. It licked his hands, and he patted it. Beside it were all the animals he had loved best while on earth: a little red cat, two little gray cats, two little white cats, a bullfinch, and two goldfish.
Then he saw that the table was set and about it were seated the Bon Dieu, his father and mother, and a lovely young girl whom he had loved here-below on earth. She had followed him to heaven even though she was not dead.
He saw that the Garden of Paradise was none other than that of his own birthplace here on earth, in the high reaches of the Pyrenees, all filled with lilies and pomegranates and cabbages.
The Bon Dieu had laid his hat and stick on the ground. He was garbed like the poor on the great highways, those who have only a morsel of bread in their wallet, and whom the magistrates arrest at the town gates, and throw into prison, since they know not how to write their name. His beard and hair were white like the great light of day, and his eyes profound and black like the night. He spoke, and his voice was very soft:
“Let the angels come and minister unto us, for to serve is their happiness.”
Then from all corners of the heavenly orchard legions were seen to hasten. They were the faithful servitors who here on earth had loved the poet and his family. Old Jean was there, he who was drowned while saving a little boy, old Marie who had fallen dead under a sunstroke, and lame Pierre was there and Jeanne and still another Jeanne.
Then the poet rose to do them honor, and said unto them:
“Sit down in my place, it is meet that you should be near God.”
And God smiled because he knew in advance what their answer would be.
“Our happiness is service. This puts us close to God. Do you not serve your father and mother? Do they not serve Him who serves us?”
And suddenly he saw that the table had grown larger and that new guests were seated about it. They were the father and mother of his mother and father, and the generations that had gone before them.
Evening fell. The older of the people slumbered. Love held the poet and his sweetheart. But God to whom they had done honor, took up his way again like the poor on the great highways, those who have only a morsel of bread in their wallet, and whom the magistrates arrest at the town gates, and throw into prison, since they know not how to write their name.