Translated Excerpt “From My Life: Poetry and Truth”
We drove past “All Hallows Gate” and soon left [the city of] Hanau behind us, when I reached the countryside which attracted my attention because it was new to me [or: unknown], even though it didn’t have anything pleasant to offer at this time of year.
Heavy rain damaged the trails, which were not in a good shape compared to months later, when we passed through that area again. Therefore, our trip wasn’t very pleasant nor fortunate. But it was because of this humid weather that I witnessed a natural phenomenon of probably very rare occurence. Never again have I seen anything similar nor have I heard of any others who have seen anything like it. It was night time when we drove up a slope between [the cities of] Hanau and Gelnhausen and, for it would soon be dark, we preferred to go up there by foot in order to not expose ourselves to the risks and hardships of this particular route. Suddenly, I saw – to the right of our trail – in a depression [or: in the distance] something resembling a miraculously lit amphitheatre. Countless blinking lights were visible in a funnel-shaped formation, aligned in a stepwise fashion, one over the other, gleaming so intensely that it dazzled the eyes.
But what was even more confusing was that they didn’t rest in place, but rather jumped up and down, down and up, into all directions. Most of them, however, were stationary and just flickering continuously. It was with great reluctance that I moved on [called back by the others], for it was my desire to investigate it more closely. Upon questioning, the Postilion didn’t know anything about any such appearance but remarked that there’s an old quarry close-by, the mean depression of which was filled with water. Whether or not this was a pandemonium of fen fires or a gathering of gleaming creatures shall not be my decision [or: judgement].