The Heavenly Music
Richard von Volkmann-Leander
Back in the Golden Age when angels played with the peasant children on the sand hills, the
gates of heaven stood wide open and the golden reflection from heaven fell down to earth
like rain. From earth people looked up into the open sky and saw the saints up there going
for walks between the stars, and people would send greetings up to them, and the saints
would send theirs down to them. But what was best was the beautiful music that could be
heard coming down from heaven. God himself had written the music and a thousand angels
played it on their violins, trumpets and drums. And when they would start to play the earth
became quiet. The wind stopped blowing and the oceans and rivers stood still. And the
people would nod to one another and quietly reach out their hands to one another. And
while they listened their delight was so overwhelming that it would be impossible for a poor
human being to describe it.—

That is how it was back then; but it did not last for long. Because one day the Good Lord
ordered the gates of heaven to be closed and he said to the angels: "Stop playing your
music, for I am sad!" And the angels became sad, too, and they sat down on a cloud with
their sheets of music and cut them into little pieces with their golden scissors and let them
flutter down to earth. The wind caught and blew them like snowflakes over the hills and
valleys and spread them in all directions. And every living soul on earth snatched a piece,
here a big one, there a small one, and they hid them away and cherished them; for on them
the heavenly music was written that had sounded so beautiful. But within a short time they
began to argue and fight because each of them thought he had caught the best piece; and
in the end every person maintained that his piece was the genuine heavenly music and what
belonged to someone else was nothing but deception and illusion. He who wanted to be
clever— and there were many — put a big curlicue on the front and back of his piece of
paper and thought he had something special. One of them sounded an A and the other
sang a G; someone played in a major key, someone else in a major. No one could
understand the other. In short, it sounded like music would in a madhouse.— And so it has
remained right up until now!—

When the Day of Judgment comes and the stars fall to earth and the sun plunges into the
sea and when people are pushing at the gates of heaven when they are about to be opened
like children at Christmas Eve— then the Good Lord will have his angels collect all the pieces
of his heavenly musical score, the big ones and the small, and even the tiny pieces on which
there is but a single note. The angels will put the pieces together and then the gates will
open and the heavenly music will once again be heard, just as beautiful as it used to be.
Then every human being will stand there listening, astonished and ashamed, and say to one
another: "You had that piece! I had that one! But now it sounds so beautiful and so
different, now that everything is together and in the right place!"—

Yes, yes! That is the way it will be. Of that you can be sure.—
Reveries at French Firesides