– Son, stop shouting, and let’s get this guy dug up, Ludvigs
said, lifting the till from the furrow. Pēteris tossed the reins
to Toņa and went to find a shovel.
It was less by shovel and more by hand that they worked
until sunset to unearth the body. It was a slender, tall
young man in a military coat and breeches. He had a
leather belt around his hips, a gaping rifle wound in his
stomach. A bronze star pinned to his chest. A soldier’s tunic
wrapped around his head. They were scared to check his
– A hero, Ludvigs said, and removed his hat in respect. All
their neighbours were peering over at them from a safe
distance. Only Toņa stood right next to the dead man,
referring to him in her mind as her hero.
The soldier had the most beautiful hands she had ever seen
on a man – delicate and with long fingers. His white, linen-
coloured hair was matted with red clay. She couldn’t see his
face, it was covered in dirt, but Toņa decided that even it
There had been terrible battles near Zvanki back in July.
Most likely, in their hurry to retreat, the Red Army had
buried their comrade in the shallow furrow, only to forget
about him later. Now the hero was wrapped in one of the
blankets knitted by Rasulīte, and he was buried under a
lovely young oak.