Kafka, from “The Hunter Gracchus.”
“…And you have no part in the other world?” asked the Burgomaster, knitting his brow.
“I am forever,” replied the Hunter, “on the great stair that leads up to it. On that infinitely wide and spacious stair I clamber about, sometimes up, sometimes down, sometimes on the right, sometimes on the left, always in motion. The Hunter has been turned into a butterfly. Do not laugh.”
“I am not laughing,” said the Burgomaster in self-defense….”And now do you think of staying here in Riva with us?”
“I think not,” said the Hunter with a smile, and, to excuse himself, he laid his hand on the Burgomaster’s knee. “I am here, more than that I do not know, further than that I cannot go. My ship has no rudder, and it is driven by the wind that blows in the undermost regions of death.”
Franz Kafka, “The Hunter Gracchus,” translated by Willa and Edwin Muir, in Franz Kafka: The Complete Stories, edited by Nahum N. Glatzer (New York: Shocken Books, 1978), 230.