"Our family name is 'von Brandenburg-Schwedt' and we are descended from the Margrave Karl," said Stan proudly.
"But I thought we were Masurians!" cried Władysław. "Do you mean to say that we aren't Slavs at all?"
"We are a mixture, my son. We are Prussians, and Prussians are Germans, High and Low, Poles, Masurians, Kashubs, Schonzaks, Wends - yes, and we're even mixed with Dutch, Scottish, English, Lithuanians and French Hugenots. The old Prussians were a truly mixed race, and that, I believe, is where our strength lies. And especially the aristocracy - see, we even have Swedish relatives. Don't you think that is wonderful?"
But Władysław was having problems reconciling his Polishness with a name like von Brandenburg-Schwedt.
"Shall we revert to von Brandenburg-Schwedt?" he asked, in half panic.
"No, my son, we shall remain Królewiec. It's what you are that's important, not what your name is."
Pär Lagerborg butted in.
"This has indeed been a strange but delightful reunion, more so as we are all brothers and sisters in Christ."
"But how did you know who I was?" Stan asked the older man.
"From a photograph in our family ancestry. How the compilers of our genealogy got hold of it, I do not know, but you are the last in the family line from the Allenstein region that we know about."
He showed Stan a large red leather-bound volume and pointed to a page containing several pictures.
"Look, there's my grandfather and grandmother, and father!" said Stan excitedly as Władysław looked over his shoulder - "your great grandparents and grandfather."
He stared engrossed at the book.
"But these pictures are from the early 1930's. Look, they're standing in the Allensteiner Stadtpark Jakobsberg in front of the memorial to the plebiscite taken in 1920."
Władysław looked at the memorial which consisted of about a dozen square pillars joined at the top by a stone ring. There were coats of arms on each pillar with names underneath them.
"What does this mean, father?" asked Władysław, pointing at some German text.
"Wir bleiben deutsch" means 'We remain German'. You see, the victorious allies tried to detatch as much of eastern Germany from the Reich as they could to reward the newly independent Polish state - even though Poles had fought on both the German and Austrian sides - but the plebiscites went in Germany's favour, much to the Allies' surprise and the Poles' disappointment. The Masurians voted en masse to remain a part of Germany which amazed the Poles who assumed that fellow Slavs would want to join a Slavic nation. But they didn't. They considered themselves to be Prussians, and Prussia was a part of the German Reich, so they wanted to remain a part of the Reich.
"These crests are the coats of arms of the major towns that took place in the Plebiscite. There, you can see 'Johannisburg' on that pillar. You've been there, but today it's called Pisz!
Władysław had forgotten.
"So didn't any Poles living in East Prussia vote for Poland, father?" he asked.
"Not many. In Allenstein only about three hundred out of a total population of about eighteen thousand. You see ... how can I explain it to you?"
"You are what you are. States are artificial things. Our family transcends states. We are East Prussian Masurians, and our language and culture is Prussian - a culture that transcends German and Polish differences, and especially their hates. The Germans tried to destroy the Poles in the last war, and the Poles in their turn tried to destroy everything German out of the territories they sezied... "
"You despise the Poles, don't you, father?" said Władysław sadly.
"No, my boy, I do not despise Poles or Germans. I despise only unrighteousness. Two wrongs don't make a right, and what the Poles did after 1945 made them complicit in the German crimes. I am a Masurian - a Prussian, if you like - who has found his Saviour. I have joined a new nation that contains every race and nationality on earth - a nation that transcends petty nationalism.
"You know, our German ancestors used to sing a song when they marched out to war against the Russians, Austrians and Swedes in Fredrick the Great's time. It was called: Ich bin ja Herr in deiner Macht! meaning, "I am verily in your power, O Lord!"
Märta spoke for the first time: "Would you sing it for us, cousin Stan?"
And Stan did! And as he did, it was as though he was transported back across the centuries and was surrounded by the Prussian pipers and drummers as they marched off to battle against the superior manpower of the green-shirted Russians, magnificent and splendid marching in calm and silent order. The room became electric as Stan gave way to a passion that had no place in our time and yet which still could captivate the soul for its intense beauty and faith. The men that had once sung it knew that they might not return home and were committing their souls to the eternal care of their Lord.
Jenny was looking deeply into the face of this unusual man, the likes of which she had never seen before, and something was deeply stirred in her soul too. It was not the song Stan had sung, nor the unsual circumstances that had brought them together. No, it was as though destiny was playing her own melody and she suddenly became aware that her life, and this man's, were soon to be entwined.