(A Satire against " Kommandatur ")
An old charcoal-seller,
Cutting wood and burning charcoal in the forests of the Southern Mountain.
His face, stained with dust and ashes, has turned to the colour of smoke.
The hair on his temples is streaked with gray: his ten fingers are black.
The money he gets by selling charcoal, how far does it go?
It is just enough to clothe his limbs and put food in his mouth.
Although, alas, the coat on his back is a coat without lining,
He hopes for the coming of cold weather, to send up the price of coal!
Last night, outside the city, — a whole foot of snow;
At dawn he drives the charcoal wagon along the frozen ruts.
Oxen, — weary; man, — hungry: the sun, already high;
Outside the Gate, to the south of the Market, at last they stop in the mud.
Suddenly, a pair of prancing horsemen. Who can it be coming?
A public official in a yellow coat and a boy in a white shirt.
In their hands they hold a written warrant: on their tongues — the words of an order ;
They turn back the wagon and curse the oxen, leading them off to the north.
A whole wagon of charcoal^
More than a thousand catties!
If officials choose to take it away, the woodman may not complain.
Half a piece of red silk and a single yard of damask,
The Courtiers have tied to the oxen's collar, as the price of a wagon of coal !