“I am Death,” he said, “and my touch kills.” He started to walk away.
“Where are you going?” she cried.
“I go everywhere I cannot stop to talk.”
“Oh, take me with you,” she said. “I was wed today, and now I am a widow. Make me your wife, and I will help you in your work, for I think you are a great physician, and I love you for what you have done, and I am the only one left here.”
“I take no one with me,” he said. “Trouble me no more.”
“Will you not come back even to visit me then?”she said.
And he looked at her, and he felt moved by her youth and her yearning and her look of madness, and he said, “Perhaps, if I have business this way, I will come when the brackent turns brown.” And he went away, and the young woman buried her husband, digging in the earth with his knife, and then she hid in the rocks again. That night, the wolves came, and next day the foxes, and then the eagles and the crows and then the mice, and death’s field was harvested.
So the seasons passed, and when the bracken was brown again, he came back to the battlefield. She had built herself a little house of the stones that had been thrown down from the fort, and she had thatched it with grasses and heather and tied the thatch down with ropes of twisted grass and put stones on it against the wind; and she had a small garden, and a patch of grain..