The following is the prologue from Ida by Géza Gárdonyi. I’ve tried to make this as good a translation as I can, both stylistically and in terms of accuracy, so criticism is welcome and probably fully warranted.
We stand in the darkness sometimes, not knowing ourselves how we came to be there. We only gaze into each other’s eyes, fumble at each other, hesitate. And our hearts fall dumb.
“Where are we going?”
And the answer, we believe, is nowhere.
We only fumble. We step forward. We come to a standstill now and then, blindly. Perhaps a stone cliff hangs above our heads? Perhaps before our feet a wolf-pit or chasm gapes? Perhaps we set our foot upon a snake? Our hearts tremble, like aspen leaves.
But we must go, that we shall arrive—somewhere. So we step, we hesitate, onward and onwards. In the directionlessness. Blindly. Growing numb. Groping. At times our eyes flood with tears. At times anxiety crushes our hearts. We swoon.
“Where have I come to?!”
And we do not sense in the darkness, in the hesitancy, the dangers among us; Death shall not surprise us on the path; we do not perceive that an invisible, benevolent hand is in our hands. Guiding us.