Nature by Ivan Turgenev
I dreamed I had come into an immense underground temple with lofty arched
roof. It was filled with a sort of underground uniform light.
In the very middle of the temple sat a majestic woman in a flowing robe of
green colour. Her head propped on her hand, she seemed buried in deep
At once I was aware that this woman was Nature herself; and a thrill of
reverent awe sent an instantaneous shiver through my inmost soul.
I approached the sitting figure, and making a respectful bow, 'O common
Mother of us all!' I cried, 'of what is thy meditation? Is it of the
future destinies of man thou ponderest? or how he may attain the highest
possible perfection and happiness?'
The woman slowly turned upon me her dark menacing eyes. Her lips moved,
and I heard a ringing voice like the clang of iron.
'I am thinking how to give greater power to the leg-muscles of the flea,
that he may more easily escape from his enemies. The balance of attack and
defence is broken.... It must be restored.'
'What,' I faltered in reply, 'what is it thou art thinking upon? But are
not we, men, thy favourite children?'
The woman frowned slightly. 'All creatures are my children,' she
pronounced, 'and I care for them alike, and all alike I destroy.'
'But right ... reason ... justice ...' I faltered again.
'Those are men's words,' I heard the iron voice saying. 'I know not right
nor wrong.... Reason is no law for me—and what is justice?—I
have given thee life, I shall take it away and give to others, worms or
men ... I care not.... Do thou meanwhile look out for thyself, and hinder
I would have retorted ... but the earth uttered a hollow groan and
shuddered, and I awoke.