Month: June 2019

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Coastal Bulgaria Tours

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Discover Burgas

Coastal Bulgaria Tours Day 1

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This time we suggest that our coastal Bulgaria tours begin from Burgas instead of Sofia. (daily tour Sofia) The second biggest on the Bulgarian coast, after Varna, Burgas is a modern city where one can find traits of the mysterious middle Ages. All you need to do is visit the most remarkable places in the city.

Firstly, our tour starts with ‘St. Cyril and Methodius’ Cathedral – one of the most beautiful churches in Bulgaria.

Then, we will have the chance to learn about the traditional culture and way of life of old Burgas in the Ethnographic Museum.

Coastal Bulgaria tours and the Sea Garden of the city

Burgas’ largest and best-known public park, is rich in flowers, trees and sculptures. It is located along the city’s coast on Black Sea and it houses a casino, the ‘Marine Casino’, Also, a small zoo and an open-air theatre where the annual International Folklore Festival takes place. A nice walk there with a great Black Sea view will refresh us. And not only that but it will make us ready for a visit to the island of ‘St. Anastasia’. After that, the second half of the day we will spend right there – on the island, which is the most romantic place on the Burgas Bay. A small ship, from the Bridge in the Sea Garden, will take us there. (private Bosphorus tours)

Apart from the delicious authentic Burgas dishes, which we will definitely try, we will enjoy the history of the island as well. It is surely one of the places to visit in Bulgaria. It is veiled in mystery and many legends and stories can be heard about it. The island is the only one that has a church – ‘The Ascension’, which is part of the monastery that once existed there.

After the visit to the island, we will go back to the hotel.

Coastal Bulgaria Tours Day 2

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After breakfast we leave for the ancient town of Sozopol. Tourists, on their holidays to Bulgaria, come to Sozopol for the beauty of the sea and for its rich, ancient history. The town can be paradise not only for the ones who love ancient architecture, but also for those interested in the unique archaeological relics. Even if you are not, there is no other way but to get inspired by the antiquity and grandeur of this small town.

Sozopol is on the Black Sea coast, in the southern part of Burgas Bay. It is divided into two parts – Old and New Town between which is the Sea Garden. The Old Town is on the small Skamniy Peninsula which has connection, through artificial embankment and breakwater, with the island of St Cyricus. There the archaeologists found unique temples – one is from the archaic century while the other is from the elinistic.

Two other islands in coastal Bulgaria tours are waiting for us. These are the island of St Ivan (St John) and the small island of St Peter, which is next to it. Boats and a small ship from the harbour of Sozopol, will take us there. Tourist paths lead to the archaeological monument – ‘St John the Baptist’ Monastery.

Read the rest of the tour on link coastal Bulgaria tours.

Bulgarian Coast

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A small town with big ‘heart’ ready to welcome everybody, who love beauty, on their holidays to Bulgarian coast

Sozopol – a city with soul

A small town which attracts with its picturesque sunsets, the coziness of its small streets and the peaceful laps of waves… Sozopol is the oldest settlement on the Bulgarian coast. It is located in the south-east of Bulgaria, around 30 km south of Burgas, in a beautiful bay.

bulgarian coast

Tourists, on their private tours Bulgaria, come to Sozopol for the beauty of the sea, of the Bulgarian coast, and for Sozopol’s rich, ancient history. Antiquities crop up behind the narrow corners of the narrow ancient streets. Even if you’ve somehow gone the wrong direction, you shouldn’t be worried. You would, definitely find yourselves at some fascinating place.

Today’s Sozopol is still a place where life is busy. Especially in summer. There one can meet people who belong to the world of cinema, theatre and music…

A Bulgaria tour can take you to a place with rich history

Make sure your private tours Bulgaria take you to Sozopol – the city with soul. This is one of the best places to visit on Bulgarian coast.

The archaeological exploration of the site gives a proof of more than six thousand years of cultural tradition. The remains of primitive houses, ceramic pottery, stone and bronze tools serve as evidence of the busy everyday life of the local population.

bulgarian coast

Sozopol’s first name was Apollonia Pontica (that is ‘Apolonia on the Black Sea’). It got its name after and in honour of the God of Apollonius. This was a God of various functions but in ancient Apollonia, particularly, people respected him as a healer. Apollonia Pontica was founded in the year 610 BC as a Hellenic colony, a city-country. Today, people use this old name for the annually held Festival of Arts in Sozopol.

Follow the rest of the story on link Bulgarian coast.

Ancient Bulgaria tour

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On the steps of Ancient Bulgaria tour

Ancient Bulgaria Tour Day 1

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Ancient Bulgaria Tour starts – Sofia – Perperikon – Kardzhali, 290km 3:30 hours’ drive

We welcome you for your ancient Bulgaria tour in the city of Sofia. Then we leave for the town of Kardzhali. Kardzhali is a town in the Eastern Rhodopes and the area where the town is located now has been inhabited since Neolithic. When the Thracian tribes settled there they developed a highly advanced civilization. There are many stone castles and palaces that the Thracians built in the region. We will visit the most significant one of them, Perperikon. The medieval archaeological complex Perperikon is one of the most ancient monumental megalithic structures, entirely carved into the rocks. It is one of the most popular Bulgaria destinations. For thousands of years this place has been used by the people to worship their gods.

Then we will proceed to Kardzhali where we will have lunch.

Check in into a hotel and stay in Kardzhali overnight.

Ancient Bulgaria Tour Day 2

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Kardzhali – Tatul – Armira Villa – Plovdiv, 320 km 5:10 hours’ drive

We will start the day with a visit to another Thracian megalithic monument near the village of Tatul. It is one of the most imposing monuments on the territory of Bulgaria.

Next stop in our Bulgaria holiday will be the ancient Roman Villa which is 2000 years old. It belonged to a Thracian aristocrat who received the status of a Roman citizen and he built a holiday residence. That was the most impressive and rich private villa of the time on Bulgarian lands. The name of the villa is Villa Armira.

The tour above or below has been copied from www.enmarbg.com. You can read the rest of the story on ancient Bulgaria tour.

The Silver Hilt part 6

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A soft, creeping noise could be heard, as the ladies, with their fingers on their lips, slipped away from behind the curtains.

“I have loved you for a long time,” said the Red Scoundrel in a melting tone.

Something seemed to choke the woman, but she told herself it was only imagination.

“I adore you.”

The woman could not take her eyes off his hand. And she pleaded:

“If you love me, let go the hilt of your sword.”

“Never,” shouted Scarlet in the heat of his passion, and drew his chair closer.

The Lady was trembling like a leaf in an evening breeze.

“You are beautiful!” howled the Scarlet Bone. “You are as beautiful as the morning star, and I tell you frankly I am going to make you my own love.”

His grip on the sword tightened.

“He’ will not let go of it.” thought the terrified woman. “He will not let go of it. I am lost.”

She made an attempt to stand up, but at that moment she felt the prickly hairs of a thin mustache on her lips. She wanted to scream, but the Count had already imprisoned her shoulders in his long, strong arms. Her beautiful head dropped like a flower, and she felt that the Scarlet Bone was holding her wilting head in the palm of his enormous hand. Kisses were beating heavily against her lips like hot rain.

“You are mine,” said the Count between two kisses, still tightly grasping his sword with his left hand.

“I am yours,” panted the Lady.

“What is the formula?” asked the Dark Blue Baron of the dying Maestro ten years later, for he had bought the scientist from the Scarlet Count for a hundred thousand gold pieces. He was a great lover of Women and had seen that for the past ten years the Scarlet Count had virtually made a harvest of beautiful women by the magic of the Silver Hilt. “What is the formula?”

Golden horseshoe nail

“By the Fires of Hell, there is no formula!” moaned the Maestro from his bed. “A silver hilt, a brass button, a tin spur, a golden horseshoe nail, it makes no difference. The man’s bearing must announce that he is sure of himself—that is the formula. There is no escape from one who is sure of himself. But you must believe in the silver hilt, because if you do not, the women will not believe in it either.

Now then: whether you believe in a silver hilt, a brass button, a tin spur, a golden horseshoe nail, your good manners, your beauty, your self-confidence or your discretion, it all amounts to the same thing. But now that I have told you this, O Dark Blue Baron, you will go to the women in vain with your silver hilt, because you will not believe in it any more. And the women will feel that you no longer believe in your own powers. And you will be defeated everywhere, O Dark Blue Ba…”

He could not finish the sentence, because the Dark Blue Baron struck him a blow on the head. He would have died anyway within the next ten minutes, but the Baron found it better to assist him in this manner.

So died Maestro Conrad Super polling erianus, the gray-haired swindler, with the truth on his lips.

The Silver Hilt part 5

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She lay resting on a large sofa when the Red Bone (that was what they called the Scarlet Count among themselves) entered the room. She rose and went to meet him, offering him a seat. The Lord sat down, on a footstool and, as was customary with knights, held his sword between his knees. The Lady, who until now had not dared to cast even a glance at the sword, looked at it shyly. She was taken aback by the sight. The sword, studded with diamonds and precious stones, ended at the hilt in a simple silver sheet. It had an uncanny faded look about it and gleamed in the dimness of the room with a ghostly light.

They could not see the thirty-three women peeping in from behind the heavy drapery and curtains. But these women agreed that the Count looked irresistibly powerful, though they always before considered him ridiculous.

“It’s fine weather,” said the Red Bone.

“Yes, very fine,” said the Lady, and was greatly relieved when she saw that the Count had not placed his hand on the hilt of the sword.

“Neither too warm nor too cold,” said the Count.

“Very pleasant, indeed,” said the Lady.

Company of a beautiful woman

“At noon it’s warm, but the nights are cool,” the Count went on, “but to-night the sunset is the most wonderful of all, more wonderful indeed if one spends the time in the company of a beautiful woman.”

And so saying, he placed his large red hand upon the silver hilt.

The Lady, who had been watching it with staring eyes, began to tremble a little. The heavy curtains began to move and a pleasant tremor passed through the veins of the women.

“He placed his hand on it,” said those in. front to those standing behind.

“He placed his hand on it… he did indeed!” the whisper passed around.

The Lady of the Castle could not take her eyes off the hand resting upon the hilt. The Red Count was talking away foolishly, but the Lady paid no attention to what he said.

“Eh,” she said to herself, “the whole thing is a stupid superstition; why should I look at it at all?”

But as soon as she looked away, something constrained her to look back immediately. The Count drew his footstool nearer to her, grasping at the hilt with all his might. The lady grew frightened.

“Why are you afraid of me?” asked the Count with a smile. “I do not wish to hurt you On the contrary…”

“Perhaps it would be better,” whispered one of the women behind the curtain, “if we left them alone.”

The Silver Hilt part 4

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The Count opened his eyes wide. He was known as an admirer of feminine charms, but had never had any success with ladies of rank. His face was gleaming with joy.

“I have ground silver into dust,” continued the Maestro, “and boiled it in the juice of Asperula Odorato and then in the juice of the root of Azarum Europseum. These are the ingredients. But the chemical proportion that yields the magic is my own secret. Ecce…”

And he raised the lid of one of the pots. There were indeed bits of silver balls boiling in the juice of something that smelled horribly Btrange. He had cooked the whole mess the night before as a last chance.

“And—?”

“And of this silver dust I shall mold a thin sheet of silver plate; with that silver plate you will graciously cover the hilt of your sword and while you are courting the ladies keep your left hand on the hilt of the sword. There is no great lady, baroness, countess, duchess, or even queen, who will be able to resist the charm of this wizardry. With this sword you will have success with any lady in the world.”

“Hm,” said the Count, “may I have complete confidence?”

“Not the slightest chance of failure, sir.”

The silver hilt was ready that same night.

“I am gaining time,” said the Maestro to himself, and to save him- lelf the trouble of bending down, he lifted his beard up over his arm and stroked it musingly.

Maestro Conrad Superpollingerianus

The rumor soon spread throughout the district. In the neighborhood cantles and fortresses, the great ladies dressed in gold-embroidered gowns, whispered and exchanged meaning glances, and everywhere conversation centered on the silver-hilted sword of Count Scarlet. Not three days had passed before Maestro Conrad Superpollingerianus had received eighteen offers from various other lords, promising him lifelong positions, any amount of gold, together with board and lodging, if he would only communicate to them the secret of the chemical composition of the silver hilt. But the Scarlet Count bid more than any of them, and would not permit the Maestro to leave his castle.

On the fourth day he set out to conquer with his silver hilt. His first trip took him to the neighboring castle, whose lord was journeying in foreign lands. Only the beautiful Lady of the castle was at home, in company with her thirty-three ladies-in-waiting. For a long time, this had been the unsuccessful hunting-ground of the Scarlet Count, but now the women were waiting for him with a strange excitement and expectancy.

All thirty-three of them wanted to receive the Count, and they all insisted that they were not afraid of the silver hilt. But the Lady of the Castle dismissed them and she, the model of faithfulness and womanly virtue, received the Count alone.

The Silver Hilt part 3

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Thus wailed the Maestro, bending to the floor again and again to stroke his long whiskers.

Suddenly, in the midst of his distress, he heard footsteps in the corridor. In a moment the door opened, and in the middle of the diabolical kitchen stood Count Scarlet with threateningly puckered eyebrows. The Count was tall, lanky, freckled1, with close-cropped red hair, and a wicked bony face. His hands were as large as beefsteaks. His knees stuck out from his tightly fitting trousers like two bunions. He lifted his aristocratic, hairy red hand, and his tiny pig eyes grinned searchingly:

“Well, Maestro!”

The Maestro suddenly grew limp and tried to sit down on the air. He gulped a big dry gulp, turned the color of onyx and faintingly whispered, “Well, what does that ‘Well’ mean?”

“It means what it means,” said the Count coldly.

Deadly silence

It was a terrible moment. The seriousness of the situation was accentuated by the fact that the Count had deviated from his usual custom, in rising at such an early hour. It was evident that he was in earnest about his threat. Deadly silence reigned in the room. Only the strangesmelling concoction of herbs boiled impertinently in the stillness of the room.

“Count,” said the Maestro at last, “there is no gold.”

“Then give me your whiskers,” shouted the Count, and leaped toward the Maestro, who quickly threw his whiskers across his left shoulder so that they hung down over his back.

“Stop, sire!” he yelled in despair.

The Count was startled.

“What is it?”

“There is no gold,” moaned the Maestro, “but there is something better.”

“What?”

At this moment Maestro Super pollingerianus made an awful gulp, but this time it was no longer dry. His mouth watered at the thought of the fine lie that had just occurred to him. He felt that he was saved.

“What?” repeated the Count sternly.

“Something that is better than gold.”

“The philosopher’s stone?”

“No.”

“What then?”

“The happiness of eternal love!” said the Maestro, and gulped again.

The Count stroked his nose. This was a sign of scepticism.

“Must I swallow this?” he asked. “Must I swallow this lie, too, as I have swallowed for a year and a half all the deceptions with which you have contrived to prolong your stay here, you shameless blot upon the heaven of science?”

To be undecided is half of believing, thought the Maestro and went on developing his lie with the greatest tranquillity.

“In the course of my experiments I have discovered the way to conquer the feminine heart.”

The Silver Hilt part 2

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The Maestro looked at this bit of gold and scratched his head. Count Scarlet had flown into a violent temper the night before. He was tired of having had him on his back for the past year and a half. The Maestro ate, drank and lived well, besides spending enormous sums for experiments, and he had not been able to make more than this tiny bit of gold. Once last year, the Count had determined to throw the Maestro out, when luckily the Maestro had succeeded in creating the gold.

It is true that he had been able to do so only by inserting the gold—which he had bought—into the lead which he was supposed to have transformed. But Count Scarlet, cunning rascal though he was, had not dis-covered this. With the weirdest and most impressive ceremonies, exactly a t the stroke of midnight, the Maestro put the stick of lead into the fire in the presence of the Count, and when they removed the jar from under the lead, the gold was discovered in the bottom of it.

And then the Maestro’s trouble began. The Count demanded more gold.

“Until now,” he said, “I believed that Superpollingerianus was the stupidest ox in the world. But now I am beginning to discover that he is not a fool, but an old scoundrel, who knows how to make gold but doesn’t want to. If by to-morrow morning there is not a considerable lump of gold in the furnace, I will defy the coming generations, who will certainly brand me as a scoundrel for having done it, and will tear your whiskers out, Maestro, and have you dragged to the top of the liighest tower of my castle and kicked off. Quod dixi, dixi.”

With that he turned on his heel, ate his supper, looked at his calendar to see in which of his villages there then was likely to be a little jus primes noctis, and spreading some scented pomade on his scanty red mustache, he rode out of the castle.

I repeat, this happened at night. At dawn the next day, the Maestro was still scratching his head.

Count Scarlet

“Alas,” sighed the Maestro, turning away from his strange-smelling concoction with disgust, “I cannot help myself. There can be no question about making gold, because I haven’t even a worn copper. All the money I’ve been able to get out of Count Scarlet, I have sent to my illegitimate child.

To think I have struggled through eighty-eight years of life by sheer deception, and now I cannot extricate myself from this predicament! That scoundrelly Scarlet will keep his promise. Only five years ago, for a similar offense, my honorable friend and colleague, Paphnucius Ratenowienis, was nailed to the gate of the castle by his ears, and made to look like a stray bat. Alas, how can I save myself?”

The Silver Hilt part 1

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Ferenc Molnar (1878-1952)

Molnar was born in 1878 in Budapest, the son, according to the translator of his plays, “of a Jewish medical practioner. He graduated from the Universities of Geneva and Budapest. His literary career was begun as a journalist at the age of eighteen.” Though Molnar is best known as a dramatist, he was the author of a few novels and several short stories. His is a cynical and worldly-wise philosophy, yet tempered always by a certain sentiment, which is perceptible in the bitter little fable printed in these pages. The Silver Hilt is in effect a parable, related with grace, humour, and a certain curious sentiment.

The translation of the story was made by Mr. Joseph Szebenyei for this volume, and appears here for the first time in English. Acknowledgment is hereby made to the author and translator for permission to use the MS.

The Silver Hilt

A Narrow ribbon of smoke wound its way lightly out of one of the many chimneys of the ancient feudal castle, and rose into the misty autumn dawn as the sun was just beginning to shine. Any well informed serf, noticing the smoke from the valley below, would have known that the cooks were not preparing breakfast for Count Scarlet, or as they called him in the Valley, the Red Scoundrel. In the castle of Count Scarlet the cooks were gentlemen, and never rose before seven in the morning. Any well-informed serf would know what the little ribbon of blue smoke meant.

It was Maestro Conrad Super- pollingerianus who rose so early. He was the Count’s professional alchemist. He had come from Wurzburg a year and a half before and had ever since been working at his alchemy without the least success. Indeed, Maestro Conrad was already awake and up. He was standing by his fire in a long black coat. Over the fire boiled mysterious and strange-smelling concoctions. The man’s long white beard reached to his knees, and whenever he wanted to stroke his beard (which was often) he had to bend down almost to the ground. Even then he could seldom reach the end of it.

He was surrounded by all sorts of mysterious instruments. On the walls hung mysterious charts showing the movements of the stars, and all the heavens were divided into those spheres by which one may read the whims of fate. Everywhere were ovens and smelting-furnaces built of brick, strong jars against which the fire of hell was futile, slabs of lead, shining quartz, enormous bellows which panted like the lungs of a fresh killed dragon, and in a comer on a richly carved stand, under a glass cover on a small velvet pillow, was one tiny bit of gold about half the size of a grain of rice.

The Legend of Pygmalion Part 6

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VI. The Melody of Grief

A pale dawn hovered. With the first gleams the sea awoke, stretching its golden scales. Across the heavens as purple as martyred flesh flew black arrows of birds. And a beam came to encircle like a collar the neck of Galatea.

Pygmalion, wearied after that night, lay sleeping. Awakening, he rubbed his eyes that were freighted with visions, for this had doubtless been a nightmare. The statue was not his, his Galatea Victrix. The lips had lost their curve of a taut bow. With the human precision of pupils these eyes told the grief of living.

A maternal milk films and conquers these breasts; the hips have lost their softness; the fragile frame is bent toward Mother Earth. Instead of the statue of potent Beauty, all night long he has been sculpturing the very face of grief. His hands, formerly as exact as pupils, have deceived him, and now his eyes, too, must be deceiving him. No pain is comparable to that of the creator before whose piercing sight is unfolded the sterile perspective of an uninspired future.

Death is preferable, when consoling vanity does not come to suggest victorious to-morrows. He who has known the anguish of the perishable is no longer capable of eternal masterpieces. He was punished in his divinity for having adored the imperfect creatures of this world.

And he was like a man weeping over a ruin.

The Legend of Pygmalion Part 5

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V. Fever

And because on one dazzling morning the light revealed her de-formation, Pygmalion foresaw her inevitable fate. Without wakening her, when night came he took his chisel and struck her bosom a blow. There came the roar of the sea, unfailing and intermittent, liljp Fate herself. And in the gloom that is so favorable to the dreams of the poets, Pygmalion said: “Why art thou so cruel, O Beauty? It were better that I should be blind. Why does human ugliness so much offend me, and why dream if every dead dream becomes a corpse?”

His hands felt the cold body. He trembled as he divined the new miracle: Galatea was returning to the original marble. Her body was acquiring the firmness and the inert smoothness of the pure divine mat-ter. Her tresses grew fixed in salient lines like hard veins. And even a tear on her cheek had turned to stone.

Oh, wonder of the creative soul, emotion of death or of miracle! To remedy the imperfections of this ruined flesh his ancient frenzy returned. He groped in the dark for his chisel and hammer. All that night he chiseled. In the wondrous silence the blows of his hammer seemed like the throbs of a vast bosom. To this human matter conquered by grief—this shroud with which we come into the world—succeeded a flesh resistant to the centuries, indomitably firm, incorruptible and pure.

In this gloom and silence so favorable to perennial creation, Pygmalion felt his hands agitated by a quivering of wings. At moments they rose caressingly to form a shield upon each breast; he was yet too close to the image of the ardent woman for the statue not to appear still docile to the slavery of life and love. But after this loving interlude there resounded anew, as vehement as cries of victory, as wild as shouts of jubilation, thunderous and rhythmical, the blows of the hammer that were to resuscitate this marble life.

The Legend of Pygmalion Part 4

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IV. Weariness

Thought Pygmalion, not daring to say it in words: “O godly form, despite your divine origin, you shall die. Worm and rot, instead of the eternity that I have dreamed. To reveal to myself my godly powers, I subjected you to the law of death. But I’ll not be able to bear that you should die. Let me die instead, and let my flesh rot; but you must remain unchangeable, immune to time. Ah, why did I teach you love!”

With a nameless anguish he espied in his perfect companion each hollow and wrinkle. Then began sad days of terrible memory when love, having reached the summit, descends the hill with wings folded across her soft shoulders. But no, as in earthly passion, blindness prolonged his affection, save that in Pygmalion’s eyes, unfortunately, was the clairvoyance of the artist accustomed to notice in the skin of the marble as in the flesh, the coarse grain and the future crack. In the hue of dawn his artist’s nerves at times tingled to exasperation. He would surprise in the face of the sleeping woman that fatigue which changes all beauty. The delicate charm of her abandon still provoked kisses, even as does a sleeping child; but the breasts were losing their supple firmness, no longer pointing as before their desires to the skies.

In the corners of his studio Pygmalion meditated, weeping: “You have given me everything, and yet… You have revealed to me felicities the mere memory of which makes me swoon. But happiness, like grief, can weary us. Because I did not know that dreams, translated to earth, are corrupted, I wished to endow you with an inferior reality, that of life.

Ah, beautiful creations should remain eternal! And behold ine now, sad and loving, vacillating between an unholy crime, that I may not witness the misery of a perfection destined to-morrow to be sullied, and the most human, the deepest desire to let you live, though my dream be shattered, that I may not lose—O cowardice!—this daily commerce of happiness.”

Pygmalion joined his hands and wept. From the sea came those raucous accents that to great hearts are as cooings. His impatient hands trembled anew with the fever for new forms.

But for a few days the aridity of an unbounded fatigue followed upon this plenitude. Art seemed to him a new lie invented to satisfy the need of adoration. It was as servility and a superstition worthy of slaves.

If Galatea cried, his pity returned convulsively. And though she did not understand his words, he said to her in that low voice in which dreams are told or children are spoken to: “O my Galatea, do not weep. My reason for living is these creatures of marble. You, at least, have felt the possibility of eternal being.

But I, an earthly creature with divine promptings, do not resign myself to death. Though my cherished dreams float off on the wind, my finest enthusiasms shall have been for a fleeting moment part of eternity. At least let not the evidences of my madness die. A little of our wretched nature remains living in our eternal labors. My friend, my wife, tell me that you understand my grief.”

But the sweetly unknowing one could only weep. In a brief space her eyes had lost their clearness of rare and luminous stones; her breasts were no longer clusters tipped with the pink grape; wasted was the line of the hips.

She was journeying to her ruin, pale and austere as the statue of Fate. Through need of sharpening her agony, she recalled the olden shining hours of vows and kisses, as if a wasted face could rouse in her beloved the selfsame worship that her inviolate beauty had won. Daily, between one who aspired to self-perfection and his conquered, abandoned companion, the separation increased.

Pygmalion would not deceive her with creatures of flesh, but with new dreams.

Galatea compared herself with those pure sisters of the atelier, envying the immutable virtue of the stone that knows neither grief nor age. After these human lusts she began to feel the selfsame yearning of the gods: self-annihilation.

But, wretched creature that she was, she could not die at her wish.

The Legend of Pygmalion Part 3

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III. The Initiation

Pygmalion became her master and her guide. This manner of teaching filled him with a confused intoxication, like to that of one who models the cherished image in wax. And, as the features of human beauty are adumbrated in the hazy sketch, so in this ingenuous child appeared—with a more than terrestrial charm—the first restlessness of womanhood.

No longer did she wander among the slabs of the atelier; nor did she lie upon the marble blocks, so crude and full of possibilities, into which her body seemed ready to merge and thus suddenly return to its primal element. Perhaps some dim memory induced in her a preference for the nearness of this pure material. Standing, she assumed always the attitude of a goddess. And when she reclined in meditation, she became the supple form that advances in the procession of the Panathenaea.

Aureoled thus in pure, resplendent white, at every hour before the astonished artist she repeated the miracle of a dream come true. From the depths of his soul there rose to Pygmalion’s lips thanks with no definite goal, fervor for that blind Fate which had been so kindly.

Art, his sculpture, did not appear to him, as in past hours of ennui, the sterile labors of a solitary fanatic, but the glorious replacement of the unknown God, for he, like God, could create in living flesh. What mattered mortal sleeplessness while waiting for the inspiration tha t never came, the untranscribable madness of night and the cold disillusionment of the morrow, which daily dies, the grievous solitude of him who dreams because every aspiring ecstasy is a punishment! To create, to feel one’s hands strong as claws for molding all the clay in the world, to be for a moment God after having so many times been wretched and powerless!

The urgency of tears wrinkled his features. In his veins began the prostration of one about to pray. On his knees now, he twined his arms around her strong legs,” which were almost virile like those of the hermaphrodite. Intoxicating as the perfumes of the nocturnal woods, as those wines that madden thirst, there breathed from her youth a feline aroma. It was the odor that sent the centaurs galloping with their voracious nostrils opened wide.

Thought Pygmalion: “Why is a kiss not enough? Why, from our double nature of horse and man rises the harshness of possession? Lust, thou art blended even with the highest purity!”

And on one voluptuous evening, Galatea, with her clear pupils dilated, learned the wonder and the terror of being a woman. For that avid lover, woman, or all womankind incarnate in a single insuperable body, there were madnesses of possession, cries, sighs, languorous tendernesses until dawn, fatigue resembling death, divine deaths from which one does not wish to rise. Before the changing spectacle of that sea were repeated the childish stammerings, the interrupted vows that lovers in all times have invented to lull and deceive the brevity of love.

The waves, with their unceasing restlessness, gave them an image of life’s inconstancy. But they did not understand its lesson.

The Legend of Pygmalion Part 2

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II. The Miracle

Evening descended upon these virginal forms. But the white mass resisted the shadows, and when the walls were draped in mourning, these bodies still shed light. The very gloom lent them grace and the illusion of nakedness. At this hour Pygmalion could feel them throb with a life that was different from the changeless existence of marble. Twilight tinged their limbs with its ruddy flame and on their breasts the setting sun traced a lingering hand.

That evening the zephyrs pulsed with voluptuousness. From the near-by sea where Venus ruled in her naked chastity, came an enervating languor. First Pygmalion kissed her naked feet, nestling his feverish head against her nubile thighs. Then, with a brusque movement, he arose on the pedestal and sealed her speechless lips with the human compact of a kiss. It was the first kiss of love. He lowered his eyes in shame. Suddenly, however, they grew wide with amazement and thrilling terror before the miracle: the statue had come to life and was stirring. A blush of blood rose to its cheeks. A tremor of life rippled down from its neck to its rosy feet. Slowly, slowly, with rhythmic pauses, the breasts began to rise. And the terrified lashes fluttered before the light.

Now he no longer doubted. His hands became as tender as a gardener’s. At their touch, the marble lost all weight and hardness. The tresses became as black as if the night had been kneaded into them, but the eyes acquired the luminosity of the sea.

She did not speak; she smiled with an expression of astonishment upon her radiant face. Like a child in a cradle she stretched out a hand to touch Pygmalion’s hair. As she parted the dark locks, she laughed. It was a clear laughter. He spoke a few words, and for the first time her smooth forehead wrinkled in an effort to understand.

She was lulled in a tender stupor, for doubtless life is more fatiguing than motionless eternity. Delirious, as if after infinite labors he were about to lose his greatest work, Pygmalion watched for signs of life. In her repose, Galatea, with her arms crossed over her bosom, her lips supine and on her face such a sleeping abandon, evoked not the proud image of a marble goddess but that of sad flesh seeking the shelter of love. By divine consent she had been fashioned, not of common clay, but of pure marble. And, as in the hours of creation, so he too felt divine.

All that night he kept vigil over this tender life. At the first glimmer of daybreak his amazement was repeated. All trace of marmorean life had disappeared in Galatea. Perhaps in her flesh there remained the polished softness where caresses glide. But in her lips and in her arms, in the hair that cascaded over her shoulders, there were an earthly grace and frailty. Only in her eyes without pupils there floated the vagueness of an Olympian remembrance.

She did not speak because she had been eternal. Doubtless, with the light there entered into her mind a confused perception of earthly things. Her soul was like those Hindu blocks of ivory whereon one may sculpture alike the goatish visage of the satyr and the face of Pallas Athena.

The Legend of Pygmalion Part 1

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Peru

Ventura Garcia-Calderon (1890—1956)

Ventura Garcia-Calderon, born at Lima of an old Peruvian family, was one of the most distinguished critics and literary historians of South America. He was also a fastidious writer of verse. His short stories are clearly the work of a poet, and are characterized by an extreme deli-cacy of style and treatment.

The legend of Pygmalion is translated by Isaac Goldberg especially for this collection and included by his permission. It has never before appeared in English.

The Legend of Pygmalion

I. The Artist

When Pygmalion had finished that statue, he smiled. The enchanted smile of children discovering the world! Truly it was perfect, unsurpassable. Just as the ancient sculptors of idols venerated the deity created by themselves, so would he gladly have fallen to his knees in adoration. About him, on rough pedestals or on the ground, close by, farther off, on shelves or on the window seats, a marble populace rigid in attitudes of grace and abandon. All the dreams of a now declining youth lay there as in a living quarry. This was why, out of a maternal modesty, he forbade access to his atelier…What could others be seeking in this abode? Only curiosity or the desire to carp could bring them. And here he had bared his soul.

There were blocks as vague as chrysalides of thought; in others, only the hinted outlines of a hip. There the chisel had traced coarse furrows; as if Pygmalion, in the grip of the creative demon, had cracked the marble with heavy blows, in his eagerness to impart to this inert matter the living gesture. And successive sketches of a work, from the confused embryo to the perfect image, revealed sadly the painful task of conception.

But amid all these sister images, amid this white populace united by the kinship of a selfsame fever and a selfsame pain, none could equal in victorious rapture the virgin Galatea, bending her light head over the mirror of her hand, the better to admire its graceful negligence. Pygmalion had informed her with the evanescent and legendary delicacy of Psyche.

The imagination added short wings to the lightness of the feet; the softness of the stomach recalled the vases of the school of Athens; the arms formed such a glorious chain that, joining to embrace a favorite, they could hold him fast till death.

Pygmalion gazed at his palms, still white with dust, doubting that he had completed this marvel with hands that were destined to die. It was possible, then, for the human artificer to wrest from the gods the secret of beauty. Without self-deception, with that clairvoyance of the hours of loftiest judgment, he knew that this time, by a miracle, he had fashioned the eternal masterpiece. Ah, how he remembered his failures before the uncompleted marbles, when his idea lingered and, face to face with the truncated form, he felt his hands so clumsy and his mind so dull! This was an agony that no death relieved. Bitter tears, towering rages, almost an iconoclastic fury, at the disproportion between his petty accomplishment and the cherished ideal.

A Fickle Widow part 8

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“Many thanks, madam,” said Chwang, “for your deep conside- ation. But may I ask why you are dressed in such gay clothing.” “When I went to open your coffin, I had, as I say, a secret presentiment of my good fortune, and I dared not receive you back to life in mourning attire.”

“Oh,” replied her husband, “but there is one other circumstance which I should like to have explained. Why was not my coffin placed in the saloon, but tossed into a ruined barn?”

To this question Lady T’ien’s woman’s wit failed to supply an answer. Chwang looked at the cups and wine which formed the relics of the marriage feast, but made no other remark thereon, except to tell his wife to warm him some wine. This she did, employing all her most engaging wiles to win a smile from her husband; but he steadily rejected her advances, and presently, pointing with his finger over her shoulder, he said, “Look at those two men behind you.”

Chwang’s other self

She turned with an instinctive knowledge that she would see the Prince and his servant in Ihe courtyard, and so she did. Horrified at the sight, she turned her eyes toward her husband, but he was not there. Again looking towards the courtyard she found that the prince and his servant had now disappeared, and that Chwang was once more at her side. Perceiving then the true state of the case, that the Prince and his servant were but Chwang’s other self, which he by his magical power was able to project into separate existences, she saw that all attempts at concealment were vain; and taking her girdle from her waist, she tied it to a beam and hung herself on the spot.

So soon as life was extinct Chwang put his frail wife into the coffin from which he had lately emerged, and setting fire to his house, burnt it with its contents to ashes. The only things saved from the flames were the “Sutra of Reason and of Virtue,” and “The Classic of Nan-hwa,” which were found by some neighbors, and carefully treasured.

As to Chwang, it is said that he set out on a journey towards the West. What his ultimate destination was is not known, but one thing is certain, and that is, that he remained a widower for the rest of his life.

A Fickle Widow part 7

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The Lady T’ien, frantic with grief, embraced him, rubbed his chest, and when these remedies failed to revive him, called in his old servant.

“Has your master ever had any fits like this before?” she hurriedly inquired.

“Often,” replied the man, “and no medicine ever alleviates his sufferings; in fact, there is only one thing that does.’”

“Oh, what is that?” asked the lady.

“The brains of a man, boiled in wine,” answered the servant. “In Tsoo, when he has these attacks, the king, his father, beheads a malefactor and takes his brain to form the decoction; but how is it possible here to obtain such a remedy?”

“Will the brains of a man who has died a natural death do?” asked the lady.

“Yes, if forty-nine days have not elapsed since the death.”

“My former husband’s would do then. He has only been dead twenty days. Nothing will be easier than to open the coffin and take them out.”

“But would you be willing to do it?”

“I and the Prince are now husband and wife. A wife with her body serves her husband, and should I refuse to do this for him out of regard for a corpse, which is fast becoming dust?”

Stroke the plank

So saying, she told the servant to look after his master, and seizing a hatchet, went straight to the hut to which the corpse had been removed. Having arranged the light conveniently, she tucked up her sleeves, clenched her teeth, and with both hands brought down the hatchet on the coffin-lid. Blow after blow fell upon the wood, and at the thirty-first stroke the plank yielded, and the head of the coffin was forced open. Panting with her exertions, she cast a glance on the corpse preparatory to her further grim office, when, to her inexpressible horror, Chwang sighed twice, opened his eyes, and sat up. With a piercing shriek she shrank backwards, and dropped the hatchet from her palsied hands.

“My dear wife,” said the philosopher, “help me to rise.”

Afraid to do anything else but obey, she assisted him out of the coffin and offered him support, while he led the way, lamp in hand, to her chamber. Remembering the sight that would there meet his eyes, the wretched woman trembled as they approached the door. What was her relief, however, to find that the Prince and his servant had disappeared. Taking advantage of this circumstance, she assumed every woman’s wile, and in softest accents, said, “Ever since your death you have been in my thoughts day and night. Just now, hearing a noise in your coffin, and remembering how, in the tales of old, souls are said to return to their bodies, the hope occurred to me that it might be so in your case, and I took a hatchet to open your coffin. Thank Heaven and Earth my licity is complete; you are once more by my side.”

A Fickle Widow part 6

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“First,” answered the man, “my master says that the presence of the coffin in the saloon makes it difficult to conduct marriage festivities in accordance with usage; secondly, that the illustrious Chwang having so deeply loved his wife, and that affection having been so tenderly returned by her in recognition of his great qualities, he fears that a second husband would probalply not be held entitled to a like share of affection; and thirdly, that not having brought his luggage, he has neither the money nor the clothes necessary to play the part of a bridegroom.”

“These circumstances need form no obstacle to our marriage,” replied the lady. “As to the first objection, I can easily have the coffin removed into a shed at the back of the house; then as to the second, though my husband was a great Taoist authority, he was not by any means a very moral man. After his first wife’s death he married a second, whom he divorced, and just before his own decease, he flirted outrageously with a widow whom he found fanning her husband’s grave on the hill yonder.

Doubt the quality

Why, then, should your master, young, handsome, and a prince, doubt the quality of my affection? Then as to the third objection, your master need not trouble himself about the expenses connected with our marriage; I will provide them. At this moment I have twenty taels of silver in my room, and these I will readily give him to provide himself clothes withal. Go back, then, and tell the Prince what I say, and remind that there is no time like the present, and that there could be no more felicitous evening for our marriage than that of to-day.”

Carrying the twenty taels of silver in his hand, the servant returned to his master, and presently brought back word to the lady that the Prince was convinced by her arguments, and ready for the ceremony.

On receipt of this joyful news, Lady T’ien exchanged her mourning for wedding garments, painted her cheeks, reddened her lips, and ordered some villagers to carry Chwang’s coffin into a hut at the back of the house, and to prepare for the wedding. She herself arranged the lights and candles in the hall, and when the time arrived stood ready to receive the Prince, who presently entered, wearing the insignia of his official rank, and dressed in a gayly embroidered tunic.

Bright as a polished gem and a gold setting, the two stood beneath the nuptial torch, radiant with beauty and love. At the conclusion of the ceremony, with every demonstration of affection, the Prince led his bride by the hand into the nuptial chamber. Suddenly, as they were about to retire to rest, the Prince was seized with violent convulsions. His face became distorted, his eyebrows stood on end, and he fell to the ground, beating his breast with his hands.