As he rushed along he could see the sky growing brighter, could hear the cocks beginning to crow but what held his eyes, what cursed him more, were the crimson peaks of the mountains and the welcome blackness of the valley below them.

On he rushed.

Weakend by the encounter just a short time ago. Who would have thought that such an old man could still be so vigorous! So determined!

A trick. Just a simple trick had allowed him to escape. Or had he? 

Still the sky brightened, still the sanctuary remained just within reach of his pale fingertips.

Another cock crowed, he couldn’t quicken his pace anymore although he tried.

And then he spied the cottage.

Dare he?

The Crimson peaks of the mountains tourmented him, hunger and thirst knawed at him. Drained him, weakend him. The sun was not long away. 

The cottage.

His choice was made when he spied her coming from the field, milk bucket in her hand. Fresh faced and rosey cheeked, bright and gay, so full of life.

So full of life.

The sun touched the snows on the mountains and the snows glittered cold and red.