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Shofar FTP Archive File: people/f/frank.anne/diary/fear



Title   : Fear
Author  : Anne Frank
Date    : March 25, 1944
English Translation by: Michel Mok
---------------------------------

                Fear

   It was a terrible time through which I was living. The war raged about
   us, and nobody knew whether or not he would be alive the next hour. My
   parents, brothers, sisters, and I made our home in the city, but we
   expected that we either would be evacuated or have to escape in some
   other way. By day the sound of cannon and rifle shots was almost
   continuous, and the nights were mysteriously filled with sparks and
   sudden explosions that seemed to come from some unknown depth.
   
   I cannot describe it; I don't remember that tumult quite clearly, but
   I do know that all day long I was in the grip of fear. My parents
   tried everything to calm me, but it didn't help. I felt nothing,
   nothing but fear; I could neither eat nor sleep-- fear clawed at my
   mind and body and shook me. That lasted for about a week; then came an
   evening and a night which I recall as though it had been yesterday.
   
   At half past eight, when the shooting had somewhat died down, I lay in
   a sort of half doze on a sofa. Suddenly all of us were startled by two
   violent explosions. As though stuck with knives, we all jumped up and
   ran into the hall. Even Mother, usually so calm, looked pale. The
   explosions repeated themselves at pretty regular intervals. Then: a
   tremendous crash, the noise of much breaking glass, and an
   earsplitting chorus of yelling and screaming. I put on what heavy
   clothes I could find in a hurry, threw some things into a rucksack,
   and ran. I ran as fast as I could, ran on and on to get away from the
   fiercely burning mass about me. Everywhere shouting people darted to
   and fro; the street was alight with a fearsome red glow.
   
   I didn't think of my parents or of my brothers and sisters. I had
   thoughts only for myself and knew that I must rush, rush, rush! I
   didn't feel any fatigue; my fear was too strong. I didn't know that I
   had lost my rucksack. All I felt and knew was that I had to run. I
   couldn't possibly say how long I ran on with the image of the burning
   houses, the desperate people and their distorted faces before me. Then
   I sensed that it had got more quiet. I looked around and, as if waking
   up from a night- mare, I say that there was nothing or no one behind
   me. No fire, no bombs, no people. I looked a little more closely and
   found that I stood in a meadow. Above me the stars glistened and the
   moon shone; it was brilliant weather, crisp but not cold.
   
   I didn't hear a sound. Exhausted, I sat down on the grass, then spread
   the blanket I had been carrying on my arm, and stretched out on it.
   
   I looked up into the sky and realized that I was no longer afraid; on
   the contrary, I felt very peaceful inside. The funny thing was that I
   didn't think of my family, nor yearn for them; I yearned only for
   rest, and it wasn't long before I fell asleep there in the grass,
   under the sky.
   
   When I woke up the sun was just rising. I immediately knew where I
   was; in the daylight I recognized the houses at the outskirts of our
   city. I rubbed my eyes and had a good look around. There was no one to
   be seen; the dandelions and the clover-leaves in the grass were my
   only company. Lying back on the blanket for awhile, I mused about what
   to do next. But my thoughts wandered off from the subject and returned
   to the wonderful feeling of the night before, when I sat in the grass
   and was no longer afraid.
   
   Later I found my parents, and together we moved to another town. Now
   that the war is over, I know why my fear disappeared under the wide,
   wide heavens. When I was alone with nature, I realized -- realized
   without actually knowing it -- that fear is a sickness for which there
   is only one remedy. Anyone who is as afraid, as I was then, should
   look at nature and see that God is much closer than most people think.
   
   Since that time I have never been afraid again, no matter how many
   bombs fell near me.
   
    
     _________________________________________________________________ 
   
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