“Look, the first star’s come out.” Antek had been clearing a small breathe-hole in the frost that iced up our one small window pane.
“The Watch Night star,” he said and scattered the traditional handful of straw over the log that we used as a table – we had no white cloth to put on top.
“Shepherds run to Bethlehem through the snow…” Antek tried to cheer us up with one of our beautiful Polish carols. I joined in, but Adam shook his head.
“It’s not safe!” he warned. “Those patrols are still out there. The slightest sound carries…”
“Adam’s right, it isn’t safe,” I told Antek. He stopped singing, too. “I suppose you’re right,” he agreed, “ and yet, the night’s so clear and frosty you can almost hear the stars sing.” He pulled on a tattered sheepskin coat and went outside.
He didn’t stay long. When he came in, stamping snow off his boots, we asked, “Well, did you hear the stars sing?”
“It was a hungry song,” Antek said, ruefully. “But I heard something else. Listen. Voices certainly carry.”
The tune was so, so familiar and so were the words. Stille Nacht, heilige Nacht… Silent night, holy night…
“They’re allowed to sing,” Adam said bitterly.