The Lonely Lake

(Der Einsame See)

Arnold Zimmermann

An English/German Dual Language Story of the Seasons in the North Country

Charming pen and ink drawings by the author



Arnold Zimmermann was not only the husband of master knitter Elizabeth Zimmermann, he was a wonderful teller of stories and lover of nature. His many children’s books delighted our own children years ago — it’s a warm pleasure to be able to offer them to a new generation of young people.

The Lonely Lake/Der Einsame See is much more than an interesting way to experience English and German together. It is a sensitive and engaging observation of the life that guides and animates Nature through all the seasons. With simple yet evocative prose, Zimmermann shares with us the events large and small as they occur among nature’s inhabitants and guests at the lonely lake. What he has accomplished in this gentle and warm telling is reminiscent of the Burgess Nature Stories, but there is something in Zimmermann’s tale that I have always missed in Burgess — a real sense for the Love that underlies all Life; a sense of the sheer Majesty of the natural world.

This is a book that would work equally well as a nature study or a German text — what a lovely way to integrate the two!

For those teaching German (or wanting to learn it!), I would place the prose at an ‘early intermediate’ level. Here’s a sample, first in English and then in German to help you judge for yourself:

Toward evening, which came early now, the storm abated. The dark clouds slid down the horizon and let the stars come out.

A Brightness appeared behind the steep hill in the North and spread upward, covering half the dome of the night sky. and now it condensed into green-golden curtains which silently folded and unfolded, sending strong beams of white light to the very top of the sky.

The northern lights were playing their silent, intricate ballet which is a a prelude to the dance of the little spirits of the North that sweeps over hills and woods and streams and lakes.

* * *

Gegen Abend, der jetzt frueh kam, liess der Sturm nach, die dunklen Wolken glitten ueber den Horizont hinunter und liessen die Sterne erscheinen.

Eine Helligkeit erschien hinter dem steilen Huegel im Norden und erstreckte sich aufwaerts ueber die Haelfte des naechtlichen Himmelsdomes.

Und nun verdichtete sich diese Helligkeit in gruen-goldene Vorhaenge die sich schweigend falteten und wieder entfalteten. Intensive Strahlenbuendel weissen Lichtes schossen bis zum Himmelsdach.

Die Nordlichter brachten ihr stummes, durchwobenes Ballet zur Schau, das Vorspiel zum Tanz der kleinen Geister des Nordens ist, der ueber Huegel und Wald und Fluss und See fegt.

Arnold Zimmerman is also the author of The Tale of Alain.

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