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The Forty-Seven Ronins part 3

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But the councilor went home, and was much troubled, and thought anxiously about what his prince had said. And as he reflected, it occurred to him that since Kotsuke no Suke had the reputation of being a miser he would certainly be open to a bribe, and that it was better to pay any sum, no matter how great, than that his lord and his house should be ruined.

So he collected all the money he could, and, giving it to his servant to carry, rode off in the night to Kotsuke no Suke`s palace, and said to his retainers: “My master, who is now in attendance upon the Imperial envoy, owes much thanks to my Lord Kotsuke no Suke, who has been at so great pains to teach him the proper ceremonies to be observed during the reception of the Imperial envoy.

This is but a shabby present which he has sent by me, but he hopes that his lordship will condescend to accept it, and commends himself to his lordship`s favor.” And, with these words, he produced a thousand ounces of silver for Kotsuke no Suke, and a hundred ounces to be distributed among his retainers.

When the latter saw the’money their eyes sparkled with pleasure, and they were profuse in their thanks; and, begging the councilor to wait a little, they went and told their master of the lordly present which had arrived with a polite message from Kamei Sama.

Carefully in all the different points

Kotsuke no Suke in eager delight sent for the councilor into an inner chamber, and after thanking him, promised on the morrow to instruct his master carefully in all the different points of etiquette.

So the councilor seeing the miser`s glee rejoiced at the success of his plan; and having taken his leave returned home in high spirits. But Kamei Sama, little thinking how his vassal had propitiated his enemy, lay brooding over his vengeance, and on the following morning at daybreak went to Court in solemn procession.

When Kotsuke no Suk£ met him his manner had completely changed, and nothing could exceed his courtesy. “You have come early to Court this morning, my Lord Kamei,” said he. “I cannot sufficiently admire your zeal. I shall have the honor to call your attention to several points of etiquette to-day.

I must beg your lordship to excuse my previous conduct, which must have seemed very rude; but I am naturally of a cross-grained disposition, so I pray you to forgive me.” And as he kept on humbling himself and making fair speeches, the heart of Kamei Sama was gradually softened, and he renounced his intention of killing him.’ Thus, by the cleverness of his councilor, was Kamei Sama, with all his house, saved from ruin.

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The Forty-Seven Ronins part 2

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The present version, translated by A. B. Mitford, is reprinted from The Fortnightly Review, London, 1870, by permission of Macmillan and Co., owners of the copyright, who include it in Mitford`s Tales of Old Japan.

The Forty-Seven Ronins

At the beginning of the Eighteenth Century there lived a daimio, called Asano Takumi no Kami, the Lord of the Castle of Ako, in the province of Harima. Now it happened that an Imperial ambassador from the Court of the Mikado, having been sent to the Shogun at Yedo, Takumi no Kami and another noble called Kamei Sama, were appointed to receive and feast the envoy; and a high official, named Kira Kotsuke no Suke, was named to teach them the proper ceremonies to be observed upon the occasion.

The two nobles were accordingly forced to go daily to the castle to listen to the instructions of Kotsuke no Suke. But this Kotsuke no Suke was a man greedy of money, and as he deemed that the presents which the two daimios, according to time-honored custom, had brought him in return for his instruction, were mean and unworthy, he conceived a great hatred against them, and took no pains in teaching them, but on the contrary rather sought to make laughing-stocks of them. Takumi no Kami, restrained by a stem sense of duty, bore his insults with patience, but Kamei Sama, who had less control over his temper, was violently incensed and determined to kill Kotsuke no Suke.

One night when his duties at the castle were ended, Kamei Sama returned to his own palace, and having summoned his councilors to a secret conference, said to them: “Kotsuke no Suke has insulted Takumi no Kami and myself during our service in attendance on the Imperial envoy.

This is against all decency, and I was minded to kill him on the spot; but I bethought me that if I did such a deed within the precincts of the castle, not only would my own life be forfeit, but my family and vassals would be ruined: so I stayed my hand. Still the life of such a wretch is a sorrow to the people, and to-morrow when I go to Court I will slay him: my mind is made up, and I will listen to no remonstrance.” And as he spoke his face became livid with rage.

Now one of Kamei Sama`s councilors was a man of great judgment, and when he saw from his lord`s manner that remonstrance would be useless, he said: “Your lordship`s words are law; your servant will make all preparations accordingly; and to-morrow, when your lord- ship goes to Court, if this Kotsuke no Suk6 should again be insolent, let him die the death.” And his lord was pleased at this speech, and waited with impatience for the day to break, that he might return to Court and kill his enemy.

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The Forty-Seven Ronins part 1

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In the Eighth Century A.D. (712) the annals of the chief families of Japan were collected in a work known as the Kojiki, or Record of Ancient Matters. This constituted the first writing of note in Japanese, but it was not until the appearance eight years later of the volume called JVihongi, or Chronicles of Japan, that Japanese literature can be said to have begun.

The Kojiki was in the language of old Japan, while the Nihongi was in the classical Chinese, which superseded the Japanese and was in use until the Seventeenth Century. In the Eighteenth Century Motoori composed a work of forty-four volumes devoted to the elucidation of the Kojiki called Exposition of the Record of Ancient Matters. This has been declared by Chamberlain to be “perhaps the most admirable work of which Japanese erudition can boast.”

In the first part of the Eleventh Century Murasaki-no-Shikibu, a lady of the great Fujiwara family, composed the Genji Monogatari, the first Japanese novel, a prose epic of contemporary life. Except for some volumes of poetry, among which may be named Hundred Odes by a Hundred Poets in the Thirteenth Century, and Anthologies of the One- and-Twenty Reigns gathered between the Eleventh and the Fifteenth Centuries, which constitute the classics of Japanese poetry, the period was not very productive.

Kiokutei Bakin (1767—1848) and Shikitei Samba (1775—1822) are authors whose fame has reached Europe. Both have written delightful stories of modern Japanese life. These, however, are for the most part too long for consideration here.

Japanese literature is rich in folk-tales, some of which have been translated by Lafcadio Hearn—but on the whole these belong rather to the category of folk lore than to that of narrative fiction.
During the golden era which began in the Seventeenth and extended into the Eighteenth Century, the drama and the novel flourished, but the short story was evidently neglected by serious artists. The Forty- Seven Ronins, the most famous story of the period, was never intended as a story at all, but an episode from history.

It is only in recent years, after the close of the Russo-Japanese war, when Occidental customs and ideas began to influence the Empire, that Japan has contributed genuine short stories. Since then a whole literature has developed, an integral branch of the literature of the entire modem World.

The Forty-Seven Ronins (Anonymous: Early 18th Century)

This famous story is a relation of the most celebrated episode in the annals of modern Japan. It occurred in the year 1703, and within a few months had been used as the basis of a popular play. Before the middle of the century over fifty plays and operas and any number of tales and poems had been written round the vendetta. Practically nothing is known of the authorship of the stories, which form a contderable literature in themselves.

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The Human Telegraph part 2

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That evening the counselor was a caller at the home of Mr. Z —, whose entire life was passed in performing trifling services to such representatives of humanity as comprise Classes VII to III of the official hierarchy. In his desire to please, the counselor related to Mr. Z what the Countess had witnessed at the Orphanage and what she had heard from the representative of the religious sisterhood. He added his own contribution that—ah—yes—that—really, books ought to be provided for the orphans.

“Nothing is simpler!” cried Mr. Z. “To-morrow I am going to the office of the Courier and I`ll see to it that an announcement of the book needs of the Orphanage is published.”

The next day Mr. Z very excitedly rushed into the editorial rooms of the Courier, imploring in the name of all the saints that it print an appeal to the public to donate books to the orphans.

He arrived at an opportune moment, for the paper needed matter for a few sensation-stirring lines. The reporter sat down at once and prepared an article headed: “A handful of children—under public care— suffering for lack of books.—The little tots are full of yearning.—Remember their famished souls!”

Then, whistling in satisfaction, he left for dinner.

Few days later on a Sunday

A few days later on a Sunday, arriving with my friend, the physics professor, I encountered before the locked door of the editorial office a shabbily dressed man with hands as soiled as a chimney-sweep`s and beside him a pale, thin little girl, illy clad, carrying a bundle of old books.

“What do you wish, sir?”

The sooty man raised his cap and answered timidly: “We have brought a few books, sir, for those `famished` children that you wrote about.”

The emaciated little girl curtsied and flushed as much as incipient anaemia permitted her to.

I took the books from her arms and put them in charge of the office- boy.

“What is your name, sir?” I asked.

“But, sir, what do you wish it for?” he responded, in embarrassment.

“Why, we must, of course, print the name of the donor of the books.”

“Oh, that isn`t necessary, please, sir. I am only a poor man working in the hat-factory. It isn`t necessary.”

And he went away with his thin little daughter.

Maybe it was because the professor of physics stood beside me that the thought of telegraphing by a new system occurred to me. The main station was the Orphanage, the receiving station the workman in the hat-factory. When the first gave the signal, “Attention,” the second responded immediately. When one demanded, the other supplied. The rest of us were the telegraph poles.

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The Human Telegraph part 1

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Boleslav Prus (Alexander Glowacki) (1847-1912)

Alexander Glowacki, known and loved among his people under the pen-name Prus, was born near Lublin in Poland, in 1847. His first novel was published in 1872, and from that time until his death in 1912, his literary activities were uninterrupted. He was a very prolific writer.

“He believed in humanity, in civilization, in the creative power of good and light. He demanded national self-education… he yearned for the training of the will of the people, to whom he proclaimed that each man must find in himself the source of strength and energy.” Prus`s short stories are especially characteristic of the man`s nature and art.

This story is translated—for the first time into English—by Sarka B. Hrbkova, by whose permission it is here printed.

The Human Telegraph

On her visit to the Orphanage recently the Countess X witnessed an extraordinary scene. She beheld four boys wrangling over a tom book and pounding each other promiscuously with right sturdy and effective fists.

“Why, children, children—what does this mean—you are fighting!” cried the lady, greatly shocked. “For that—not one of you will get a taste of gingerbread and, besides, you`ll have to go and kneel in the comer.”

“He took Robinson Crusoe away from me,” one boy ventured in extenuation of his offense.

“That`s a lie! He took it himself!” burst out another.

“See how you lie!” shrieked a third boy at him. “Why you yourself took Robinson away from me!”

The Sister in charge explained to the Countess that in spite of the most watchful supervision similar scenes occurred often, because the children loved to read and the Orphanage lacked books.

A spark of some strange sensation lighted up the heart of the Countess. But as thinking wearied her, she strove to forget it. Not until some days later, when she was a guest at the home of the Chief Counselor where one had to discuss religious and philanthropic subjects, did it occur to her to mention it. Then she related at length the incident at the Orphanage and the explanation given by the Sister in charge.

The counselor, listening attentively, also experienced an odd sensation, and being more adept in thinking, he suggested that it would be a good idea to send some books to the orphans. In fact, he recalled that in his bookcases or in his trunk he had a whole collection of volumes going to waste which in bygone years he had purchased for his own children. But then—it was too laborious a task for him to go rummaging around to gather up the books.

Read More about A Fickle Widow part 6

The Massacre of the Innocents part 8

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Roundthe churchyard a multitude gathered in front of a long low green farmhouse. Theproprietor wept bitterly as he stood in his door-way. He was a fat,jolly-looking man, and happened to arouse the compassion of a few soldiers whosat near the wall in the sunlight, patting a dog. The soldier who was takingoff his child made gestures as if to convey the meaning, “What can I do? I`mnot to blame!”

Onepeasant who was being pursued leaped into a boat near the stone bridge, and,with his wife and children, rowed quickly across that part of the pond that wasnot frozen. The Spaniards, who dared not follow, walked angrily among the reedsby the shore. They climbed into the willows along the bankside, trying to reachthe boat with their lances. Unable to do so, they continued to threaten thefugitives, who drifted out over the dark water.

Theorchard was still thronged with people: it was there, in the pres-ence of thewhite-bearded commanding officer, that most of the children were beingmurdered. The children who were over two and could just walk, stood togethereating bread and jam, staring in wide-eyed wonder at the massacre of theirhelpless playmates, or gathered round the village fool, who was playing hisflute.

Allat once there was a concerted movement in the village, and the peasants madeoff in the direction of the castle that stood on rising ground at the far endof the street. They had caught sight of their lord on the battlements, watchingthe massacre. Men and women, young and old, extended their hands toward him insupplication as he stood there in his velvet cloak and golden cap like a kingin Heaven.

 But he only raised his hands and shrugged hisshoulders to show that he was ownerless, while the people supplicated him ingrowing despair, neeling with heads bared in the snow, and crying piteously. Heturned slowly back into his tower. Their last hope had vanished.

Whenall the children had been killed, the weary soldiers wiped their swords on thegrass and ate their supper among the pear-trees, then mounting in pairs, theyrode out of Nazareth across the bridge over which they had come.

Thesetting sun turned the wood into a flaming mass, dyeing the vil-lage a bloodred. Utterly exhausted, the curd threw himself down in the snow before thechurch, his servant standing at his side. They both looked out into the streetand the orchard, which were filled with easants dressed in their Sundayclothes.

Beforethe entrances of many ouses were parents holding the bodies of children ontheir knees, still full of blank amazement, lamenting over their grievoustragedy. Others wept over their little ones where they had perished, by theside of a cask, under a wheelbarrow, or by the pond. Others again carried offtheir dead in silence. Some set to washing benches, chairs, tables, bloodyunderclothes, or picking up the cradles mat had been hurled into the street.

Stopping by Grief- Stricken

Manymothers sat bewailing their children under the trees, having recognized them bytheir woolen dresses. Those who had had no children wandered through thesquare, stopping by grief- stricken mothers, who sobbed and moaned. The men,who had stopped crying, doggedly pursued their strayed beasts to theaccompaniment of the barking of dogs; others silently set to work mending theirbroken windows and damaged roofs.

Asthe moon quietly rose through the tranquil sky, a sleepy silence fell upon thevillage, where at last the shadow of no living thing stirred.

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The Massacre of the Innocents part 7

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Onefamily, who had concealed themselves in the cellar of a large house, stood atthe gratings and wildly lamented, while the father desperately brandished hispitchfork through the grating. Outside, an old bald-headed fellow sat on amanure-heap, sobbing to himself. In the square a woman dressed in yellow hadfainted away, her weeping husband holding her up by the arms against apear-tree.

Anotherwoman, in red, clutched her little girl, whose hands had been cut off, andlifted the child`s arms to see whether she could move. Still another woman wasescaping toward the open country, the soldiers running after her among thehaystacks, which stood out in sharp relief against the snow-covered fields.

Beforethe Four Sons of Aymon confusion reigned. The peasants had made a barricadewhile the soldiers encircled the inn, unable to effect an entrance. They weretrying to climb up to the sign-board by means of the vines, when they caughtsight of a ladder behind the garden gate. Setting this against the wall, theyscaled it, one after another. But the landlord and his family threw down atthem tables and chairs, crockery and cradles from the window, upsetting ladderand soldiers together.

Two soldiers carried off

Ina wooden cottage at the outskirts of the village another group of soldiers cameupon an old woman washing her children in a tub before the open fire. She wasold and deaf, and did not hear them when they entered. Two soldiers carried offthe tub with the children in it, while the bewildered old woman set off inpursuit, carrying the clothes which she had been about to put on the infants.

Outin the village she saw traces of blood, swords in the orchard, smashed cradlesin the open streets, women praying and wringing their hands over their deadchildren, and began to scream and strike the soldiers who had to set down thetub in order to defend themselves. The curd hurried over to her, his handsstill folded over his chasuble, and entreated the Spaniards for mercy, in thepresence of the naked children screaming in the tub. Other soldiers came up,bound the distracted mother to a tree, and went off with the children.

Thebutcher, having hidden his baby girl, leaned against the front of his shop withapparent unconcern. A foot-soldier and one of the armed horsemen entered hishome and found the child in a copper pot. The butcher desperately seized aknife and rushed off in pursuit, but the soldiers disarmed him and suspendedhim by the hands from some hooks in the wall, where he kicked and wriggledamong his dead animals until evening.

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The Massacre of the Innocents part 6

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Therehad been a kermesse in this house: relatives had come to feast on waffles,hams, and custards. At the sound of the smashing of windows they crouchedtogether behind the table, still laden with jugs and dishes.

Thesoldiers went to the kitchen and after a savage fight in which many werewounded, they seized all the small boys and girls, and a little servant who hadbitten the thumb of one soldier, left the house and closed the door behind themto prevent their being followed.

Thosewho had no children cautiously came forth from their houses and followed thesoldiers at a distance. They could see them throw down their victims on theground before the old man, and cold-bloodedly massacre them with lances orswords.

Meanwhilemen and women crowded the windows of the blue farmhouse and the barn, cursingand raising their arms to heaven as they contemplated the pink, red, and whiteclothes of their motionless children on the ground among the trees. Then thesoldiers hanged the servant from the Half Moon Inn on the other side of thestreet. There was a long silence in the village.

Ithad now become a general massacre. Mothers escaped from their houses, trying toflee through vegetable and flower gardens out into the open country, butmounted soldiers pursued them and drove them back into the street. Peasants,with caps held tight between their hands, fell to their knees before thesoldiers who dragged off” their little ones, and dogs barked joyously amidthe disorder.

Thecurl, his hands raised heavenward, rushed back and forth from house to houseand out among the trees, praying in desperation like a martyr. The soldiers,trembling from the cold, whistled in their fingers as they moved about, orstood idly with their hands in their pockets, their swords under their arms, infront of houses that were being entered.

Market-Gardener`s Wife

Smallgroups in all directions, seeing the fear of the peasants, were entering thefarmhouses, and in every street similar scenes were enacted. Themarket-gardener`s wife, who lived in an old hut with pink tiles near thechurch, pursued with a chair two soldiers who were carrying off her children ina wheelbarrow. She was terribly sick when she saw her children die, and made tosit on a chair against a tree.

Othersoldiers climbed into the lime trees in front of a farmhouse painted the colorof lilacs, and made their way in by taking off the tiles. When they reappearedon the roof, the parents with extended arms followed them until the soldiersforced them back, finding it necessary finally to strike them over the headwith their swords before they could shake themselves free and return again tothe street below.

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The Massacre of the Innocents part 5

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Theparishioners inquired of him in undertones, “What does he say? What is he goingto do?” Others, seeing the curt: in the orchard, emerged cautiously from theirhuts, and women hastily came near and whispered in small groups amongthemselves, while the soldiers who had been besieging the inn, came out againwhen they saw the crowd assembling in the square.

Thenhe who held the innkeeper`s child by one leg, cut off its head with a stroke ofthe sword. The peasants saw the head fall, and the body bleeding on the ground.The mother gathered it to her arms, forgetting the head, and ran toward herhouse. On the way she stumbled against a tree, fell flat on the snow and lay ina faint, while the father struggled with two soldiers.

Horror to the accompaniment

Someof the younger peasants threw stones and wood at the Spaniards, but the horsemenrallied and lowered their lances, the women scattered in all directions, whilethe curd with his other parishioners, shrieked with horror to the accompanimentof the noises made by the sheep, geese, and dogs.

Asthe soldiers went off once more down the street, they were quiet again, waitingto see what would happen. A group went into the shop of the sacristan`ssisters, but came out again without touching the seven women, who were on theirknees praying within.

Thenthey entered the inn of the Hunchback of St. Nicholas. There too the door wasinstantly opened in the hope of placating them, but when they appeared again inthe midst of a great tumult, they carried three children in their arms, andwere surrounded by the Hunchback, his wife and daughters, who were begging formercy with clasped hands.

Whenthe soldiers came to their leader they laid the children down at the foot of anelm, all dressed in their Sunday clothes. One of them, who wore a yellow dress,got up and ran with unsteady feet toward the sheep. A soldier ran after it withhis naked sword. The child died with its face on the earth.

Theothers were killed near the tree. The peasants and the innkeeper`s daughterstook flight, screaming, and went back to their houses. Alone in the orchard,the curd fell to his knees and begged the Spaniards, in a piteous voice, witharms crossed over his breast, going from one to the other on his knees, whilethe father and mother of the murdered children, seated on the snow, weptbitterly as they bent over the lacerated bodies.

Asthe foot-soldiers went along the street they noticed a large blue farmhouse.They tried to break in the door, but this was of oak and studded with hugenails. They therefore took tubs which were frozen in a pond near the entrance,and used them to enter the house from the second story windows.

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The Massacre of the Innocents part 4

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Theymade their way toward the Golden Sun and knocked at the door. It was openedwith some hesitancy, and the Spaniards entered, warmed themselves before thefire, and demanded ale. They then left the inn, taking with them pots,pitchers, and bread for their companions, and the old man with the white beardwho stood waiting among his soldiers.

 As the street was still deserted, thecommanding officer sent off some horsemen behind the houses to guard thevillage on the side facing the open country, and ordered the footmen to bringto him all children two years old or under, as he intended to massacre them, inaccordance with what is written in the Gospel of St. Matthew.

Themen went first to the small inn of the Green Cabbage and the barber`s hut,which stood close to each other in the central part of the street. One of themopened the pigsty and a whole litter of pigs escaped and roamed about throughthe village. The innkeeper and the barber came out of their houses and humblyinquired of the soldiers what was wanted, but the Spaniards understood noFlemish, and entered the houses in search of the children.

Theinnkeeper had one who, dressed in its little shirt, was sitting on the dinnertable, crying. One of the soldiers took it in his arms and carried it off outunder the apple trees, while its parents followed weeping.

Stables of the barrel-maker

Thefoot-soldiers next threw open the stables of the barrel-maker, the blacksmith,and the cobbler, and cows, calves, asses, pigs, goats and sheep wandered hereand there over the square. When they broke the windows of the carpenter`shouse, a number of the wealthiest and oldest peasants of the parish gathered inthe street and advanced toward the Spaniards.

Theyrespectfully took off their caps and hats to the velvet-clad chief, asking himwhat he intended to do, but he too did not understand their language, and oneof them ran off to get the cur6. He was about to go to Benediction, and wasputting on his golden chasuble in the sacristy.

The peasants cried, “The Spaniards are in the orchard!” Terror stricken, he ran to the church door, followed by the choir-boys carrying their censers and candles. From the door he could see the cattle and other animals set loose from their stables wandering over the grass and snow, the Spanish horsemen, the foot-soldiers before the doors of the houses, horses tied to trees all along the street, and men and women supplicating the soldier who carried the child still clad in its shirt.

He hastened into the churchyard, the peasants turning anxiously toward him, their priest, who arrived like a god covered with gold, out there among the pear-trees. They pressed close about him as he stood facing the white-bearded man. He spoke both in Flemish and Latin, but the officer slowly shrugged his shoulders to show that he failed to understand.

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The Massacre of the Innocents part 3

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Thesisters of the dead woman and various other relatives got into the cart, andthe curt: as well, for he was old and very fat and could walk only with thegreatest difficulty. They drove off into the wood, and in silence reached thewide open fields, where they saw the dead soldiers, stripped naked, and thehorses lying on their backs on the shining ice among the trees.

Theywent on toward the farm, which was still burning in the midst of the openfields.

Whenthey reached the orchard of the burning house, they stopped short before thegarden gate and looked upon the terrible tragedy. Korneliz` wife hung, naked,from the branches of a huge chestnut. He himself climbed up a ladder into thebranches of the tree, below which his nine little girls awaited their mother onthe lawn. Korneliz made his way through the arching boughs overhead when all atonce, outlined against the bright snow, he caught sight of the crowd beneath,looking up at him.

Golden Sun

Weeping,he signed to them to come to his help, and they came into the garden, and thesacristan, the Red Dwarf, the innkeepers of the Blue Lion and the Golden Sun,the curd carrying a lantern, and several other peasants, climbed into thesnow-covered chestnut to cut down the body of the hanged woman. The women tookthe body into their arms at the foot of the tree, as those other women oncereceived Our Lord Jesus Christ.

Shewas buried on the following day, and for the next week nothing unusual occurredin Nazareth, but the next Sunday famished wolves ran through the village afterHigh Mass, and the snow fell until noon. Then the sun came out and shone brightin the sky, and the peasants went home to dinner as usual, and dressed forBenediction.

Atthis time there was no one out on the square, for it was bitter cold. Only dogsand chickens wandered here and there among the trees, and sheep nibbled at thetriangular spot of grass, and the curd`s maid swept the snow in the garden.

Thena troop of armed men crossed the stone bridge at the far end of the village,and pulled up at the orchard. A few peasants came out of their houses, buthurried back terror-stricken when they saw that the horsemen were Spaniards,and went to their windows to watch what was going to happen.

Therewere thirty horsemen, in armor. They gathered round an old man with a whitebeard. Each horseman carried with him a foot-soldier dressed in yellow or red.These dismounted and ran about over the snow to warm themselves, while a numberof armored soldiers also dismounted.

Read More about A Fickle Widow part 7

The Massacre of the Innocents part 2

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Afterdeliberating a long while in the churchyard, they decided to hide in the woodwhich the Spaniards were to come through, attack them if they were not toonumerous, and recover Petrus Krayer`s cattle and any booty they might havetaken at the farm.

Themen armed themselves with forks and spades while the women remained with thecur£ by the church. Looking for a favorable place for an ambuscade, the menreached a hilly spot near a mill at the edge of the wood, where they could seethe fire glowing against the stars of night. They took up their position undersome enormous oaks by the side of an ice-covered pond.

Ashepherd, who was called the Red Dwarf, mounted to the top of the hill in orderto warn the miller, who had already stopped his mill when he saw flames on thehorizon. But he allowed the peasant to enter, and the two went to a window tolook out over the countryside.

Dwarf went down

Themoon shone down brightly upon the conflagration, and the men could see a longprocession of people wending their way across the snow. After they had donewatching, the Dwarf went down again to the others waiting in the wood.

Theycould soon distinguish in the distance four riders behind a herd of cattlebrowsing over the fields. As they stood, clad in their blue breeches and redmantles, looking about by the pond`s edge under trees made luminous by theheavy snowfall, the sacristan showed them a box-hedge, and behind this theycrouched.

TheSpaniards, driving before them flocks and cattle, made their way over the ice,and when the sheep came to the hedge and began nibbling at the greenery,Korneliz broke through, the others following him into the moonlight, armed withtheir forks. There was then a great massacre in the presence of the huddledsheep and cows, that looked on frightened at the terrible slaughter under thelight of the moon.

Whenthey had killed the men and their horses, Korneliz went out into the fieldstoward the blazing farm, while the others stripped the dead. Then they allreturned to the village with the flocks and cattle. The women, who were lookingout toward the dense wood from behind the churchyard walls, saw them coming outfrom among the trees and in company with the cur£ ran to meet them. They allreturned dancing amid laughing children and barking dogs.

Asthey made merry under the pear-trees, where the Dwarf had hung lanterns as fora kermesse, they asked the cur£ what ought to be done next. They decided tosend a cart for the body of the woman who had been hanged and her nine littlegirls, and bring them all back to the village.

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The Massacre of the Innocents part 1

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Maurice Maeterlinck (1862-1949)

MauriceMaeterlinck was born at Ghent in 1862. He studied for the law, but left forParis after a short career as a lawyer. In Paris he became acquainted withseveral writers who exercised considerable influence over him. Maeterlinck`schief contributions to contemporary literature are his plays and his essays.

TheMassacre of the Innocents was the earliest published work of this writer. Itappeared in 1886 in a small magazine. It is a skilfully constructed tale, inwhich the background and details are strikingly similar to the early paintingsof the Flemish school.

Thetranslation, by Barrett H. Clark, was made especially for this collection.Originally reprinted by permission of the author.

The Massacre of the Innocents

OnFriday the 26th of December about supper time, a little shepherd came intoNazareth crying terribly.

Somepeasants who were drinking ale at the Blue Lion threw open the shutters to lookinto the village orchard, and saw the lad running across the snow. Theyrecognized him as Korneliz` son, and shouted at him from the window: “What`sthe matter? Go to bed, you!”

Butthe boy answered in a voice of terror, telling them that the Spaniards hadcome, having already set fire to the farm, hanged his mother from a chestnutbough, and bound his nine little sisters to the trunk of a large tree.

Thepeasants quickly came forth from the inn, surrounded the boy and plied him withquestions. He went on to tell them that the soldiers were clad in steel armorand mounted on horse-back, that they had seized the cattle of his uncle, PetrusKrayer, and would soon enter the wood with the sheep and cattle.

Theyall ran to the Golden Sun, where Korneliz and his brother- in-law were drinkingale, while the innkeeper hastened out into the village to spread the news ofthe approach of the Spaniards.

There was great excitement in Nazareth. Women threw open windows and peasants ran forth from their houses carrying lights which they extinguished as soon as they came to the orchard, where it was bright as midday, because of the snow and the full moon. They gathered round Korneliz and Krayer in the public square before the inn. Many had brought pitchforks and rakes. They took counsel, speaking in tones of terror, out under the trees.

As they were uncertain what to do, one of them ran to fetch the curd, who owned the farm that was worked by Korneliz. He came forth from his house with the keys of the church, in company with the sacristan, while all the others followed him to the churchyard, where he proclaimed from the top of the tower that he could see nothing, either across the fields or in the wood, but that there were red clouds in the direction of his farm. Over all the rest of the horizon the sky was blue and filled with stars.

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Cross Forest mystical Bulgaria Destination

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Krastova Gora (the Cross Forest), one of many mystical Bulgaria destinations

Bulgaria Destinations Day 1

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First day of your customized tours Bulgaria . Firstly, we will travel to one of Bulgaria destinations, Panagyurishte, where we will go sightseeing.

Sofia – 95 km, 1,30 hours (Sofia tour guide)
Plovdiv – 80 km, 1 hours
Burgas – 315 km, 4 hours
Varna – 437 km, 5  hours

Bulgaria Destinations Day 2

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After breakfast we will make a city tour around Panagyurishte. It is a small, picturesque town in the Sredna Gora Mountain. Panagyurishte is an important place for Bulgaria as it was part of the April Uprising in 1876. It is also the birthplace of the teacher known as Rayna Knyaginya. The brave Bulgarian who sewed the flag for the Uprising. Nowadays her house is a museum.

The story has been taken from www.enmarbg.com. Whole story can be read on link Bulgaria destinations.

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Bulgarian Monasteries

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Customized Tours Bulgaria Day 1

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Let your customized tours Bulgaria start. On that first day of tours Bulgaria we travel to the Rila Monastery. It is not far from the capital of Bulgaria, Sofia, which is 120 km away. (private guided Sofia tours)

As soon as we reach the monastery, we check in into a hotel in the region, dinner and overnight.

Customized Tours Bulgaria Day 2

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After breakfast we will visit the Rila Monastery. It’s a unity of spirituality, culture and nature. It is a National Museum and a National Historical reserve. The Rila Monastery is also in the List of World Cultural Heritage of UNESCO.

It`s one of the symbols of Bulgaria and also a very popular Bulgaria tourist destination for customized tours Bulgaria. There we will see the church of the Nativity of the Virgin, the grave of Tzar Boris III as well as the Tower of Hrelyo and the Rila Monastery History Museum.

Follows lunch after which the smallest town in Bulgaria, Melnik and its Pyramids are awaiting you. Surely, let`s not forget the wine produced there. When we are there, we will relax from the journey with wine trying in Villa Melnik Winery. Check in the hotel in Melnik, dinner and overnight.

Customized Tours Bulgaria Day 3

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Breakfast and a short city tour around Melnik. It includes a visit to the Kordopulov`s House which is supposed to be the biggest residential building on the Balkan Peninsula from the Revival Period. Also a visit to the Museum in the town. Another monastery is awaiting us – this is the Rozhen Monastery, built in 1890, with fine frescoes and amazing wood carvings.

The story has been taken from www.enmarbg.com. Whole story can be read on link customized tours Bulgaria.

Read More about The Forty-Seven Ronins part 1

Bulgaria Vacations

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Khans, Tzars, Orpheus, Spartacus, Thracians, Levski, Botev … All of them start with capital `B` for Bulgaria. These are also the places that you can see on your Bulgaria vacations.

Bulgaria is the Thracians – great warriors and horsemen that were feared and outsiders respected them. It is also the country of accomplished artists and farmers who grew wealthy from trading jewelry, copper and gold. Their fierce weaponry is in archaeological museums around the country. Anyone who likes to see it, can do it there. Many tombs, discovered mainly in central Bulgaria – the region of Kazanlak and Shipka, reveal the Thracians` rituals, their beliefs. A gold mask and a bronze head of a Thracian King have been found there.

Interesting Bulgaria

Places to see and things to do on Bulgaria vacations are waiting you to discover them. These are Rila Mountain that gave home to the Rila Monastery, the magnificent holy cloister, unity of spirituality, culture and nature. Then Rupite – a source of energy. Also the medieval archaeological complex Perperikon – the ancient monumental megalithic structures. Certainly the `Kukeri` Festival – costumed men who perform rituals intending to scare the evil away and to announce the coming of spring. Another one is Nestinarstvo – a fire ritual that barefoot men and women (nestinari) perform on zharava (smouldering embers)… Visit Bulgaria and experience these places and take more mystical Bulgaria tours!

Bulgaria vacations in the sea of events, Golden times

Bulgaria Vacations

Yes, good foundations had been laid. Time for the invaders and conquerors. First the Greeks, followed by the Scythians. Then the Romans, Byzantines and the Turks. (Istanbul guided tours) Nobody had ever spared Bulgaria. All of them left their indelible marks on the lands of that country. For us, the successors, to see, learn and know our Bulgaria travel experience.

The above text has been copied from www.enmarbg.com. ; For the rest of the story you can visit link Bulgaria Vacations.

Read More about The Massacre of the Innocents part 7

Bulgaria trips

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Since antiquity different tribes and peoples have inhabited the territory of Bulgaria. The country`s many ancient settlements and burial mounds are a proof of that. Present-day Bulgaria was also a cradle of some of the earliest civilizations in Europe. Evidence of that is the oldest gold ornament people have ever discovered. It was unearthed in the Chalcolithic necropolis near Varna. Certainly these are all also available to be visit in your Bulgaria trips.

From the age of Ancient Thrace we have inherited valuable cultural monuments, including tombs such as the Kazanlak tomb, the Aleksandrovska tomb, and the Sveshtarska tomb. We have also inherited treasures (the Panagyursko, Rogozensko, and Valchitransko treasures, among others). Last but not least are the sanctuaries and temples that remind us of times long gone. The holy places at Perperikon, Starosel, Kozi Gramadi, Begliktash, and elsewhere.

For more information visit Bulgaria Travel

Let us arrange your Bulgaria trips

Although Bulgaria is a small country it offers many places to see and many things to do while on Bulgaria vacations. These range from the “Kukeri” Festivals to monasteries, from coastal resorts to golf resorts. Let’s not forget the rose fields and Rose Festival, as well as the `UFO` building and so on. Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria, with its Sofia sightseeing tour that reveals the secrets of this ancient place. Then Plovdiv, the second biggest town. Or Varna – the sea capital of Bulgaria. Or the smallest Bulgarian town, Melnik. Almost every place in Bulgaria has its own festival or celebration. Some of them are very popular, others people celebrate in the villages or towns only. Plan your Bulgaria trips and check with us for any festival to come.

The whole text can be seen on link Bulgaria trips.

Read More about The Massacre of the Innocents part 5

Mystical Bulgaria Tours

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Bulgaria is one of the best places you can visit and really enjoy. It`s a small country but profoundly rich in history and amazing nature. This is due to the many miracles it hides – some of them known, others unknown. Not only your eyes will be wide open for the beauties of that small, ex-communist country but you will also have your hearts set on mystical Bulgaria tours again. In short, tour Bulgaria to explore it.

Mystical Bulgaria Tours – come for your holidays to Bulgaria and see for yourselves!

One of those miracles is Krustova Gora (Cross Forest) – the legend says people get cured on that holy place while sleeping. What monks there say is you only need to remember what you saw in your dream after you woke up the next morning. Then you let energy work for your cure. For years this place has been known for its healing power and the thousands of miracles that happen there.

Its official holiday is on 14 Sept. The night before (13 Sept), many people gather to attend a night-time liturgy. Many stay for the night and spend it praying. It is said that on that night the prayers of the women who cannot have a child are heard.  Krustova Gora is a place full of energy and mysticism… Many are the legends for the creation of the monastery there, complex `Holy Trinity – Krustova Gora`… It can be on your mystical- Bulgaria-tours list for your holiday and as one of Bulgarian destinations.

Mystical Bulgaria Tours

An unusual place, a source of energy, a true Bulgaria holiday

Or maybe you like to see and feel the place where a blind woman could prophecy… Vanga – the One, the Chosen, a woman of many virtues. Rupite is another place, just like Beglik Tash and many others actually, that can be part of mystical Bulgaria tours. Rupite is the place Vanga chose to build a temple there (the Church of St Petka) and spent almost 20 years of her life, before she died, to help all the people who needed it. She considered the place a source of energy and she collected her powers from it.

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

Read More about The Forty-Seven Ronins part 3