This happened when no train crossed the Hortobágy, when throughout the Alföld there was not a railway, and the water of the Hortobágy had not been regulated. The two-wheeled mill clattered gaily in the little river, and the otter lived happily among the reeds.
At the first streak of dawn, a horseman came riding across the flat Zám puszta, which lies on the far side of the Hortobágy River (taking Debreczin as the centre of the world). Whence did he come? Whither was he going? Impossible to guess. The puszta has no pathway, grass grows over hoof-print and cart track. Up to the endless horizon there is nothing but grass, not a tree, a well pole, or a hut to break the majestic green plain. The horse went its way instinctively. Its rider dozing, nodded in the saddle, first on one side, then the other, but never let slip his foot from the stirrup.