There is a seventeen-year-old girl living in our town. I think she is the most beautiful girl in Germany. She’s got long blonde hair and bright blue eyes. Her name is Grauben, and we are in love. We want to get married. That’s why I didn’t want to go with my uncle on his mysterious trip. But he couldn’t understand that.
«Are you in love with Grauben?»
«And you want to marry her?»
The professor was silent. He was a good man, but he could not understand love because his only interest was science. He forgot what I said and began to talk about our journey.
«Today is the 26th of May. We have one month to get to Sneffells. We’re going to take the train to Denmark, and then we’ll take a boat to Iceland. The whole trip is going to take twelve days, then we have to walk to the volcano.»
I could not listen to him anymore. My heart felt heavy. The professor needed an assistant and he did not want anyone else to know about this secret. But how could I leave my Grauben?
I went for a walk through the beautiful city of Hamburg. I walked along the Elbe river thinking of Grauben. I stopped for a moment to look at a fishing boat sailing on the calm water. Then I turned and, like magic, she was there. Grauben, my Grauben, stood twenty feet away, looking at the river.
«Grauben!» She looked like an angel.
We ran into each other’s arms and kissed. «Oh, Axel! I’m so excited!» She sounded very happy, but I couldn’t understand why. «Excited? Why are you excited, my love?»
«I was at your house. I heard about your journey. Isn’t it wonderful?»
For a moment, I felt sad. So, Grauben wanted me to go away from her!
«But, Grauben, we want to get married. I don’t know when I’m coming back.»
She looked at me lovingly and held my hand.
«It doesn’t matter. I’ll still wait for you. Don’t you understand? This is the kind of journey all great men must make. When you come back, you’re going to be famous like your uncle. Then, our life will be perfect together.»
«Do you really mean that?» She touched my face and smiled. «Of course I do.»
«Oh, Grauben, you are the most wonderful girl in the world!» Back at my uncle’s house, I felt excited. Then, I thought of something. Maybe this adventure was too dangerous. Maybe we wouldn’t come back. I ran into the library where my uncle was. «Uncle, is it possible that we won’t come back from this journey?» His answer didn’t make me feel any better. «There’s only one way to find out, Axel…»