There is nothing I can do. I have been buried in a vault with my dead wife. I lean against her coffin. There are four candles burning on the table beside her, four loaves of bread, and four bottles of wine. When the provisions run out, I will die.
I have always known what to do. I knew what to do in the midst of battle when the men were dying around me and our leader succumbed. They had started to run, and I cried, “We will not let our fatherland be ruined!” We pressed on and overcame the enemy.
Now there is no enemy to overcome. There is just my beautiful wife, who made me vow that if she were to die before me, I would be buried with her.
I do have a decision to make. How will I die? Slowly, by eating a bit of bread every day? Or quickly, by eating and drinking everything, all at once…?
The Buried Soldier-King in The Three Snake-Leaves, Grimms. Illustration by H.J. Ford.