“It was immediately agreed that I should stay the night; the next village was more than a day’s journey from here.
“The shepherd, who did not smoke, fetched a small sack and poured a pile of acorns on the table. He set about examining them carefully, separating the good from the bad. I smoked my pipe. I offered to help him. But he said this was already his business.
“This man spread peace around him. The next morning, I asked him if I could rest with him for the rest of the day. He drove his flock out of the stable and led them to pasture. Before leaving, he soaked the sack with the carefully selected and counted acorns in a bucket of water. I noticed that instead of a stick, he took an iron bar as thick as his thumb and about a metre and a half long.”
“When he had arrived where he wanted to go, he began to drive his iron rod into the ground. So he made a hole and put an acorn in it, then he closed it again. He planted oak trees. I asked him if the land belonged to him. No, he replied. (…) I must have been very persistent in my questioning for him to reply. For three years he has planted trees in this solitude. He had already planted 100,000. Of the 100,000, 20,000 had been planted. Of these 20,000, he reckoned that he would lose half of them due to rodents or circumstances that could not be foreseen in the plans of Providence. So there remained 10,000 that sprang up where there had been nothing before.”
“So the 1910 oak trees were ten years old and higher than me and him. This spectacle was impressive, I was literally speechless, and because he didn’t talk either, we spent the whole day walking around the forest in silence. He measured in three sections eleven kilometers in length and three kilometers in the greatest width. When you remembered that all this came from the hands and heart of this man, without any technical means, it occurred to you that people in other areas could be as creative as God, not only in destruction.”