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The Jackal

10/03/2019 | GM6 | No Comments

The Jackal (Anonymous: 14th Century A.D., or earlier)

Nothing is known of the author of the Hitopadesa, a manual of didac-tic fables composed—on the basis of the Panchatantra—before the year 1373 A.D.

The present story—which has no title in the original—is reprinted from Charles Wilkins’ translation, London, 1787.

The Jackal

From the Hitopadesa

A certain jackal, as he was roaming about the borders of a town, just as his inclinations led him, fell into a dyer’s vat; but being unable to get out, in the morning he feigned himself dead. At length, the master of the vat, which was filled with indigo, came, and seeing a jackal lying with his legs uppermost, his eyes closed, and his teeth bare, concluded that he was dead, and so, taking him out, he carried him a good way from the town, and there left him.

The sly animal instantly got up, and ran into the woods; when, observing that his coat was turned blue, he meditated in this manner: “I am now of the finest color! what great exaltation may I not bring about for myself?” Saying this, he called a number of jackals together, and addressed them in the following words: “Know that I have lately been sprinkled king of the forests, by the hands of the goddess herself who presides over these woods, with a water drawn from a variety of choice herbs. Observe my color, and henceforward let every business be transacted according to my orders.”

The rest of the jackals, seeing him of such a fine complexion, prostrated themselves before him, and said: “According as Your Highness commands!” By this step he made himself honored by his own relations, and so gained the supreme power over those of his own species, as well as all the other inhabitants of the forests. But after a while, finding himself surrounded by a levee of the first quality, such as the tiger and the like, he began to look down upon his relations; and, at length, he kept them at a distance.

Lion

A certain old jackal, perceiving that his brethren were very much cast down at this behavior, cried: “Do not despair! If it continue thus, this imprudent friend of ours will force us to be revenged. Let me alone to contrive his downfall. The lion, and the rest who pay him court, are taken by his outward appearance; and they obey him as their king, because they are not aware that he is nothing but a jackal: do something then by which he may be found out. Let this plan be pursued: Assemble all of you in a body about the close of the evening, and set up one general howl in his hearing; and I’ll warrant you, the natural disposition of his species will incline him to join in the cry for.

Whatever may be the natural propensity of anyone is very hard to be overcome. If a dog were made king, would he not gnaw his shoe straps?

And thus the tiger, discovering that he is nothing but a jackal, will presently put him to death.” The plan was executed, and the event was just as it had been foretold.

Rabbi Akiva

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The Talmud is a great collection of law, ritual, precept, and example, which was composed during the period extending from the First Century B.C. to the Fourth Century A.D. The work was the result of a vast amount of compilation begun, so far as the actual writing is concerned, in the year 219 A.D. by Rabbi Jehudah Hanassi. About the year 500 A.D. it was complete, having been combined with a good deal of material brought together since the first parts were written down. The colossal work is interspersed throughout with parables, like Rabbi Akiva and The Jewish Mother, all of which were used for purposes of illustration.
The texts of these stories are based, by the editors, upon two early translations. There are no titles to the stories in the original.

Rabbi Akiva

The Rabbis tell us that once the Roman Government made a decree forbidding Israel to study the law. Thereupon Pappus, son of Yehudah, one day found Rabbi Akiva teaching it openly to many whom he had gathered round him to hear it. “Akiva,” he said, “dost not thou fear the Government?” “Listen, was the reply, and I will tell thee how it is through a parable. It is the same with me as with the fishes which a fox, walking by a river s bank, saw darting distractedly to and fro in the stream; and, speaking to them, inquired, ‘From what, pray, are ye fleeing?’ ‘From the nets,’ they answered, ‘which the sons of men have set to snare us. Why, then, rejoined the fox, ‘not try the dry land with me, where we can live together, as our fathers managed to live before us?’

‘Surely,’ they exclaimed, thou art not he of whom we have heard as the most cunning of animals; for in this thing thou art not wise, but foolish. For if we have cause to fear where it is natural for us to live, how much more reason have we to do so where we must die!’ Exactly so,” continued Akiva, “is it with us who study the law, in which it is written, ‘He is thy life and the length of thy days; for if we suffer while studying the law, how much more shah we suffer if we neglect it?”

Not many days afterward it is related that Rabbi Akiva was arrested and thrown into prison. It so happened that they led him out for execution just at the time when Hear, O Israel was being repeated, and as they gashed his flesh Witfi currycombs, and as he was with longdrawn breath uttering the word One, his soul departed from him. Then there came forth a voice from heaven saying, “Blessed art thou, Rabbi Akiva, for thy soul and the word One left thy body together.”

Phineus And The Harpies

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Apollonius of Rhodes (3rd Century B.c.)

Although he was a late writer in the epic form, Apollonius treated ancient mythical material, but from the standpoint of a scholar and a literary stylist. He left his native land, Rhodes, and settled m Alexandria, then the centre of the cultured world. The tale of Phineus is not new, but the details which embellish it, and the verbal pyrotechnics which he lavished upon it, are highly characteristic of the decadent period in which it was written.

The present translation is that of R. C. Seaton, in the Loeb edition, William Heinemann, London, 1912. There is no title to the story in the original.

Phineus And The Harpies

There Phineus, son of Agenor, had his home by the sea, Phineus, who above all men endured most bitter woes because of the gift of prophecy which Leto’s son had granted him aforetime. And he reverenced not a whit even Zeus himself, for he foretold unerringly to men his sacred will. Wherefore Zeus sent upon him a lingering old age, and took from his eyes the pleasant light, and suffered him not to have joy of the dainties untold that the dwellers-around ever brought to his house when they came to inquire the will of heaven. But on a sudden, swooping through the clouds, the Harpies, with their crooked beaks, incessantly snatched the food away from his mouth and hands, and at times not a morsel of food was left, at others but a little, in order that he might live and be tormented. And they poured forth over all a loathsome stench; and no one dared not merely to carry food to his mouth, but even to stand at a distance, so foully reeked the remnants of the meal.

But straightway when he heard the voice and the tramp of the band he knew that they were the men passing by, at whose coming Zeus’s oracle had declared to him that he should have joy of his food. And he rose from his couch, like a lifeless dream, bowed over his staff, and crept to the door on his withered feet, feeling the walls; and as he moved, his limbs trembled for weakness and age; and his parched skin was caked with dirt, and naught but the skin held his bones together. And he came forth from the hall and sat on the threshold of the courtyard; and a dark stupor covered him, and it seemed that the earth reeled round beneath his feet, and he lay in a strength less trance, speechless. But when they saw him they gathered round and marveled, and he at last drew labored breath from the depths of his chest and spoke among them with prophetic utterance:

Son of Leto

“Listen, bravest of all the Hellenes, if it be truly ye, whom by a king’s ruthless command Jason is leading on the ship Argo in quest of the fleece. It is ye truly. Even yet my soul by its divinations knows everything. Thanks I render to thee, King, son of Leto, plunged in bitter affliction though I be. I beseech you by Zeus, the god of suppliants, the sternest foe to sinful men, and for the sake of Phoebus and Hera herself under whose especial care ye have come hither, help me, save an ill-fated man from misery, and depart not uncaring, and leaving me thus as ye see. For not only has the Fury set her foot on my eyes and I drag on to the end a weary old age, but besides my other woes a woe hangs over me, the bitterest of all.

The Harpies, swooping down from some unseen den of destruction, ever snatch the food from my mouth, and I have no device to aid me. But it were easier, when I long for a meal, to escape my own thoughts than them, so swiftly do they fly through the air. But if haply they do leave me a morsel of food, it reeks of decay and the stench is unendurable, nor could any mortal bear to draw near, even for a moment, no, not if his heart were wrought of adamant. But necessity, bitter and insatiate, compels me to abide, and abiding to put food into my accursed belly. These pests, the oracle declares, the sons of Boreas shall restrain, and no strangers are they that shall ward them off” if indeed I am Phineus who was once renowned among men for wealth and the gift of prophecy, and if I am the son of my father Agenor; and when I ruled among the Thracians, by my bridal gifts I brought home their sister Cleopatra to be my wife.”

So spake Agenor’s son, and deep sorrow seized each of the heroes, and especially the two sons of Boreas. And brushing away a tear, they drew nigh, and Zetes spake as follows, taking in his own the hand of the grief-worn sire:

“Unhappy one, none other of men is more wretched than thou, me- thinks. Why upon thee is laid the burden of so many sorrows? Hast thou with baneful folly sinned against the gods through thy skill in prophecy? For this are they greatly wroth with thee? Yet our spirit is dismayed within us for all our desire to aid thee, if indeed the god has granted this privilege to us two. For plain to discern to men of earth are the reproofs of the immortals. And we will never check the Harpies when they come, for all our desire, until thou hast sworn that for this we shall not lose the favor of heaven.”

Thus he spake; and towards him the aged sire opened his sightless eyes and lifted them up and replied with these words:

“Be silent, store not up such thoughts in thy heart, my child. Let the son of Leto be my witness, he who of his gracious will taught me the lore of prophecy, and be witness the ill-starred doom which possesses me, and this dark cloud upon my eyes, and the gods of the underworld —and may their curse be upon me if I die perjured thus—no wrath of heaven will fall upon you two for your help to me.”

Flash lightning

Then were those two eager to help him because of the oath. And quickly the younger heroes prepared a feast for the aged man, a last prey for the Harpies; and both stood near him, to smite with the sword those pests when they swooped down. Scarcely had the aged man touched the food when they forthwith, like bitter blasts or flashes of lightning, suddenly darted from the clouds, and swooped down with a yell, fiercely craving for food; and the heroes beheld them and shouted in the midst of their onrush. But they, at the cry, devoured everything and sped away over the sea afar, and an intolerable stench remained. And behind them the two sons of Boreas, raising their swords, rushed in pursuit.

For Zeus imparted to them tireless strength; but without Zeus they could not have followed, for the Harpies used ever to outstrip the blasts of the west wind when they came to Phineus, and when they left him. And, as when, upon the mountain-side, hounds, cunning in the chase, run in the track of horned goats or deer, and as they strain a little behind, gnash their teeth upon the edge of their teeth in vain; so Zetes and Calias rushing very near, just grazed the Harpies in vain with their fingertips.
And assuredly they would have torn them to pieces despite heaven’s will when they had overtaken them far off at the Floating Islands, had not swift Iris seen them and leaped down from the sky from heaven above and checked them with these words: “It is not lawful, O sons of Boreas, to strike with your swords the Harpies, the hounds of mighty Zeus; but I myself will give you a pledge, that hereafter they shall not draw near to Phineus.”

With these words she took an oath by the water of Styx, which to all the gods is most dread and most awful, that the Harpies would never thereafter again approach the home of Phineus, son of Agenor, for so it was fated. And the heroes, yielding to the oath, turned back their flight to the ship. And, on account of this, men called them the Islands of Turning, though aforetime they had called them the Floating Islands. And the Harpies and Iris parted. They entered their den in Minoan Crete; but she sped up to Olympus, soaring aloft on her swift wings.

Meantime the chiefs carefully cleansed the old man’s squalid skin, and, with due selection, sacrificed sheep which they had borne away from the spoil of Amycus. And when they had laid a huge supper in the hall, they sat down and feasted, and with them feasted Phineus ravenously, delighting his soul as in a dream. And there, when they had taken their fill of food and drink, they kept awake all night, waiting for the sons of Boreas. And the aged sire himself sat in the midst, near the hearth, telling of the end of their voyage and the completion of their journey.

The Kaddish part 2

02/03/2019 | GM6 | No Comments

The seven girls took alarm.

“That is for joy,” explained the “grandmother.” “I have known that happen before.”

“A boy… a boy!” sobbed Reb Selig, overcome with happiness, “a boy… a boy… a Kaddish!”

The little boy received the name of Jacob, but he was called, by way of a talisman, Alter.

Reb Selig was a learned man, and inclined to think lightly of such protective measures; he even laughed at his Cheike for believing in such foolishness; but, at heart, he was content to have it so. Who could tell what might not be in it, after all? Women sometimes know better than men.

By the time Alterke was three years old, Reb Selig’s cough had become worse, the sense of oppression on his chest more frequent. But he held himself morally erect, and looked death calmly in the face, as though he would say, “Now I can afford to laugh at you—I leave a Kaddish!”
“What do you think, Cheike,” he would say to his wife, after a fit of coughing, “would Alterke be able to say Kaddish if I were to die to-day or to-morrow?”

“Go along with you, crazy pate!” Cheike would exclaim in secret alarm. “You are going to live a long while! Is your cough anything new?”

Selig smiled, “Foolish woman, she supposes I am afraid to die. When one leaves a Kaddish, death is a trifle.”

Alterke was sitting playing with a prayer-book and imitating his father at prayer, “A num-num—a num-num.”

“Listen to him praying!” and Cheike turned delightedly to her husband. “His soul is piously inclined!”

Selig made no reply, he only gazed at his Kaddish with a beaming face. Then an idea came into his head: Alterke will be a Tzaddik, will help him out of all his difficulties in the other world.

“Marne, I want to eat!” wailed Alterke, suddenly.

He was given a piece of the white bread which was laid aside, for him only, every Sabbath.

Alterke began to eat.

“Who bringest forth! Who bringest forth!” called out Reb Selig.
“Tan’t!” answered the child.

“It is time you taught him to say grace,” observed Cheike.
And Reb Selig drew Alterke to him and began to repeat with him.

“Say: Boruch.”

“Bo’uch,” repeated the child after his fashion.

“Attoh.”

“Attoh.”

Selig saw Afterke

When Alterke had finished “Who bringest forth,” Cheike answered piously Amen and Reb Selig saw Afterke, in imagination, standing in the synagogue and repeating Kaddish, and heard the congregation answer Amen, and he felt as though he were already seated in the Garden of Eden.

Another year went by, and Reb Selig was feeling very poorly. Spring had come, the snow had melted, and he found the wet weather more trying than ever before. He could just drag himself early to the synagogue, but going to the afternoon service had become a difficulty, and he used to recite the afternoon and later service at home, and spend the whole evening with Alterke.

It was late at night. All the houses were shut. Reb Selig sat at his little table, and was looking into the corner where Cheike’s bed stood, and where Alterke slept beside her. Selig had a feeling that he would die that night. He felt very tired and weak, and with an imploring look he crept up to Alterke’s crib, and began to wake him.

The child woke with a start.

“Alterke”—Reb Selig was stroking the little head—“come to me for a little!”

The child, who had had his first sleep out, sprang up, and went to his father. .

Reb Selig sat down in the chair which stood by the little table with the open Gemoreh, lifted Alterke onto the table, and looked into his eyes.

“Alterke!”

“What, Tate?”

“Would you like me to die?”

“Like,” answered the child, not knowing what “to die” meant, and thinking it must be something nice.

“Will you say Kaddish after me?” asked Reb Selig, in a strangled voice, and he was seized with a fit of coughing.

“Will say!” promised the child.

“Shall you know how?”

“Shall!”

“Well, now, say: Yisgaddal.”

“Yisdaddal,” repeated the child in his own way.

“Veyiskaddash.”

“Veyistaddash.”

And Reb Selig repeated the Kaddish with him several times.

The small lamp burnt low, and scarcely illuminated Reb Selig’s yellow, corpse-like face, or the little one of Alterke, who repeated wearily the difficult, and to him unintelligible, words of the Kaddish. And Alterke, all the while, gazed intently into the comer, where Tate’s shadow and his own had a most fantastic and frightening appearance.

The Kaddish part 1

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Abraham Raisin (187&—1953)

Raisin is another of the Yiddish group who came from Russia, though he lived for some time in the United States. He is equally well-known among Yiddish readers as a poet and as a writer of stories.

The technical virtues of this popular and influential artist are particularly well exemplified in The Kaddish.

This story is reprinted from the volume, Yiddish Tales, translated by Helena Frank, copyright, 1912, by the Jewish Publication Society of America, by whose permission it is here used.

The Kaddish

From behind the curtain came low moans, and low words of encouragement from the old and experienced Bobbe. In the room it was dismal to suffocation. The seven children, all girls, between twenty three and four years old, sat quietly each by herself, with drooping head, and waited for something dreadful.

At a little table near a great cupboard with books sat the “patriarch” Reb Selig Chanes, a tall, thin Jew, with a yellow, consumptive face. He was chanting in low, broken tones out of a big Gemoreh, and continually raising his head, giving a nervous glance at the curtain, and then, without inquiring what might be going on beyond the low moaning, taking up once again his sad, tremulous chant. He seemed to be suffering more than the woman in childbirth herself.

“Lord of the World!”—it was the eldest daughter who broke the stillness—“Let it be a boy for once! Help, Lord of the World, have pity!”

“Oi, thus might it be, Lord of the World!” chimed in the second.

And all the girls, little and big, with broken heart and prostrate spirit, prayed that there might be bom a boy.

Reb Selig raised his eyes from the Gemoreh, glanced at the curtain, then at the seven girls, gave vent to a deep-drawn Oi, made a gesture with his hand, and said with settled despair, “She will give you another sister!”

The seven girls looked at one another in desperation; their father’s conclusion quite crushed them, and they had no longer even the courage to pray.

Only the littlest, the four-year-old, in the tom frock, prayed softly:

“Oi, please God, there will be a little brother.”

“I shall die without a Kaddish!” groaned Reb Selig.

The time drags on, the moans behind the curtain grow louder, and Reb Selig and the elder girls feel that soon, very soon, the “grandmother” will call out in despair, “A little girl!” And Reb Selig feels that the words will strike home to his heart like a blow, and he resolves to run away.

He goes out into the yard, and looks up at the sky. It is midnight. The moon swims along so quietly and indifferently, the stars seem to frolic and rock themselves like little children, and still Reb Selig hears, in the “grandmother’s” husky voice, “A girl!”

“Well, there will be no Kaddish! Verfallen!” he says, crossing the yard again. “There’s no getting it by force!”

But his trying to calm himself is useless; the fear that it should be a girl only grows upon him. He loses patience, and goes back into the house.
But the house is in a turmoil.

“What is it, eh?”

“A little boy! Tate, a boy! Tatinke, as surely may I be well!” With this news the seven girls fall upon him with radiant faces.

“Eh, a little boy?” asked Reb Selig, as though bewildered, “eh? what?”
“A boy, Reb Selig, a Kaddish!” announced the “grandmother.” “As soon as I have bathed him, I will show him you!”.

“A boy… a boy…” stammered Reb Selig in the same bewilderment, and he leaned against the wall, and burst into tears like a woman.

Cyber war

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Are cyber wars at our doorstep?

In recent months the world has made the acquaintance of a new and perfectly designed computer worm with a specific purpose. Known as Stuxnet, this dangerous code targets industrial systems by using hitherto unknown security portals. Stuxnet is the first harbinger of a new era in which computer worms will be able to wreak damage beyond the abstract world on the concrete world around us.

Viruses like Stuxnet can, for example, damage the pumps on water, natural gas, and oil pipelines. They can cause overloads on electrical power distribution grids and transmission lines, causing them to malfunction, even explode. They can pave the way to the unanticipated collapse of systems such as mass transport, health, logistics and banking systems.

Given that the digital hardware and software produced by humans is not going to be flawless, it is very difficult right now to estimate where and how far this danger may go in the future. In the first instance we might fall prey to desperation and fear. Nuclear weapons on the other hand were posing a far greater threat to man. Nevertheless, the number of nuclear warheads in the world has been significantly reduced through international agreements.

If the international ambassadors of peace start working today, it might take some time but perhaps the ignorant and immoral attitude adopted by man when Cain killed Abel might some day be brought to an end, again by digital means.

The ten most destructive computer viruses in history

Xrb1 -jerusalem:

Caused damage to companies, universities and other institutions.

1rbb-m0rr!s:

Caused 96 million dollars’ worth of damage.

Xrrb -cih:

Damaged computers’ BIOS processors.

Xrrr – Melissa:

Caused 600 million dollars ‘worth of damage to the business world.

Edqx -code red:

Infected a million computers and caused 2.6 billion dollars ‘worth of damage.

2qd3 -sqljammer:

Within 10 minutes slowed all Internet traffic for a brief period.

Blaster:

Caused millions of computers to shut down automatically.

Eqqh -mydoom:

Spreading via e-mail, it slowed down Internet traffic by ten percent

Eddb -conficker:

Accessed upwards of 3.5 million computers through a backdoor.

– Stuxnet:

Caused the collapse of numerous physical systems, including a satellite.

East West

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An East – West Journalist Hasan Mert Kaya Caner

Her latest book, Begum, acclaimed writer describes journalist Kenize Murad describes life and the struggle of a woman of the eastern world caught in a triangle of love, power and social pressure. Making a splash with her much-talked-about novel, From Palace to Exile, Murad in this latest book takes up the story of the uprising led by Begum Hazret Mahal, who lived in Northern India’s powerful Awad Kingdom in the 19th century. We spoke with Murad about her career in journalism, the world of the east and her most recent work, Begum, in an interview for readers.

You have a long career in journalism that has taken you to some of the world’s most dangerous places. Do you love your work?

Yes, journalism is a job that is very important to me and that I have always loved to do. This profession has been a great adventure for me that 1 could never give up. I could easily have worked in France and French politics and been successful to boot. But being in the Middle East, in the place where civilization began, was a passion for me. I was in Iran during the revolution, for example, While everybody else was at home glued to the TV, munching on a snack while they watched events unfold on the screen, I was right in the thick of it. I witnessed everything in person, and that was very important to me.

You’ve been in other countries as well at critical moments…

Yes. I’ve gone to Pakistan, Bangladesh, Lebanon, Palestine and a whole slew of other places as a reporter and investigative journalist. These are places fraught with life’s great tragedies. Tragedy and hope are what give meaning to life in this region. You won’t find them in everyday life in the West. You live in an apartment, you go to work, you come home. Everything ticks along normally in the flow of life. You won’t easily be a witness here to the great events, the great turning points of life.

What have you seen?

What have I seen! I have seen human courage. I’ve seen that a human being can be more than himself. Every time I return to France from Lebanon and Palestine, I hear people grumble about this problem and that, and it makes me really angry. Complaints like that strike me as comical after the things I’ve seen in the places I’ve risked my life to go. But let me also point out to your readers that if I’d had a child, or been a journalist forced to take photos, I would never have taken those risks. You have to get up close to photograph events as they are happening. Coskun Aral, for example, is one of the most distinguished names in the field. I could never have taken the risks he has taken. And as far as I know, he also gave it up when he became a father.

Hope Egypt

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Hope for Egypt: Dream or Reality?

Don the theme, Dream or Reality? International Book Fair welcoming bibliophiles this month. And Egypt is the guest of honor.

Last year 5 guest of honor was Spain. By the end of the fair, which featured interviews with popular Spanish writers Julio Llamazares, Soledad Puertolas and Angelas Caso, we had learned so much about Spanish life and culture that we wondered all year long who the next guest country would be. Finally the day came and it was announced: Egypt. And we realized how little we know about this country we have been following closely in recent months, especially during the 18-day people’s movement.

When it comes to the literature of this sunny land that is striving to turn dream into reality, a single writer comes to mind: Naguib Mahfouz. Egyptian Ambassador to Turkey Abderahman Salaheldin summed it up perfectly when he said, “The situation is deplorable. Very few Egyptian writers have been translated into Turkish apart from Naguib Mahfouz. ”

But his talk concludes with a big ‘Inshallah’: “Many Egyptian writers are going to come to Istanbul in mid-November, and a public awareness of Egyptian literature is going to develop. Numerous Egyptian publishers have applies to the fair. And many intellectuals, most ‘Hz notably the Egyptian Culture Minister, are going to attend. We are expecting some positive steps to be taken when we meet with Egyptian publishers. In the years to come there is going to be great movement from Arabic to Turkish and Turkish to Arabic. Inshallah!”

Sneak Preview

Alaa Al Aswany

Born in 1957,Aswany studied dentistry in Chicago. Listed as one of the World’s 500 Most Influential Muslims on a list compiled by the Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Center, this writer’s ironic novel about modem Egyptian society has been translated into numerous languages including English, French, German, Italian, Spanish,

Finnish, Norwegian. Polish, Turkish and Greek. The novel was also made into a film in 2006.

Gamal Ghitani

Bom in May 1945, Ghitani was editor-in-chief of the prominent literary magazine Akhbar al-Adab until 2011. Starting to write as a boy, Ghitani published his first short story when he was 14. Trained in furniture design, Ghitani was deemed worthy of the Laure Bataillon, one of France most prestigious prizes, in 2005 for his work, Tjook of Illuminations.

Ibrahim Aslan

Born in 1937, Aslan published his first book of short stories, Evening Lake, in 1971. His first novel, Heron, published in Arabic in 1983, was the inspiration for director Daoud Abdel Sayed’s film, The Kit Kat. Aslan is currently cultural editor in the Cairo bureau of the London-based daily Al-Hayat.

Mohamed Salmawy

A leading Egyptian playwright and journalist, Salmawy is at the same time president of the Egyptian Writers Union. The writer, who studied in the Department of English Civilization and History of Birmingham University after graduating in English Language and Literature from the University of Cairo in 1966, is currently Editor-inChief of Al-Ahram Hebdo.

Youssef Ziedan

Born June 30,1958, Ziedan focused on the philosophical foundations of mysticism in his post-graduate studies following graduation from the University of Alexandria’s Department of Philosophy. Currently Director of the Museum and Manuscripts Center of Alexandria Library, he has authored more than 50 books.

Jamana Marmalade

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Let’s start the day sweetly

Jamana marmalade, the best way to preserve fruit and vegetables out of season, are an indispensable part of Turkish breakfast. How about adding a dash of color to winter tables with unfamiliar flavors like pistachios, tangerines, black mulberries and lemon peel jams and marmalades?

Making jam is one of the favorite ways to preserve fruits and certain vegetables before they go bad. Jams made from almost any fruit as well as vegetables such as aubergines, courgettes and olives, and from petals of flowers such as rose, is one of the indispensable additions to Turkish breakfasts. It’s easier than you think to make jams and marmalades, mixing in season fruit with sugar in the same pan and cooking it to just the right consistency.

Maria Ekmekgioglu, famous for her jams and marmalades, suggests giving your winter tables a touch of color with unfamiliar flavors like pistachios, tangerines, black mulberries and lemon peel.

Delights in the alleyways of bargain paradise

Making a name for itself as the heart of trade in Istanbul, Tahtakale is also known as t you can find all kinds of goods at budget prices. In this historical neighborhood that t open-air shopping center on Sundays, you can find anything you are looking for on this have compiled a list of addresses for when you need to take a break after a tiring day shopping in this historical neighborhood

Tahtakale, which has come to be known as the heart of trade in Istanbul, is one of the rare neighborhoods where the historical fabric of the streets has been preserved. Of course, this is not its sole quality; it is at the same time an open-air shopping center where you will find anything you can think of, from wedding sweets to nail clippers, tobacco and car accessories.

Enter Tahtakale either from opposite the Hasircilar Gate in the Spice Bazaar or through the back streets leading up from Sirkeci. If we consider the Rustem Pasa Mosque located at the heart of Tahtakale the center, there are three main avenues to cover Hasircilar, Uzungarsi and Marpuggular, as well as the narrow streets that intersect these.

Although wholesalers are predominant in the area, shop owners say, ‘we can’t turn down customers who want to buy retail.’ You can spend as little as 75 kurus here and unless you need anything extra, you can do a lot of shopping by spending as little as 10-15 TL. If you want to avoid the crowds, it’s best to go on a weekday.

You will see Namli on your right, as you enter Hasircilar Avenue from the Spice Bazaar. You are mistaken if you think that you can only find delitassen products here. If you walk into the deli, which offers some 3,850 products, and climb the stairs in the furthest corner, you will reach a restaurant, which is almost like a hidden shelter. They have an extensive buffet.

Make sure to try the Antioch salad made with dried tomatoes, walnuts and zahter (a type thyme) which you will not find anywhere else. Breakfast is also offered all day long. Breakfast courses are 1 TL each, soups for 3 TL, sandwiches for 4.50 TL. The buffet, which offers different dishes every day, starts from 10 TL.

Tel: 0212 51163 93

Bubastis

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All will be ready there, and thou shalt have thy pleasure of me, and no one in the world shall know it, and I shall not have acted like a woman of the streets.’” When the page had returned to Setna, he repeated to him all the words that she had said without exception, and he said, “Lo, I am satisfied.” But all who were with Setna began to curse.

Setna caused a boat to be fetched; he embarked, and delayed not to arrive at Bubastis. He went to the west of the town, until he came to a house that was very high; it had a wall all round it, it had a garden on the north side, there was a flight of steps in front of it. Setna inquired saying. “Whose is this house?” They said to him, “It is the house of Tbubui.”

Setna entered the grounds, and he marveled at the pavilion situated in the garden while they told Tbubui; she came down, she took the hand of Setna, and she said to him, “By my life the journey to the house of the priest of Bastit, lady of Ankhutaui, at which thou art arrived, is very pleasant to me. Come up with me.” Setna went up by the stairway of the house with Tbubui. He found the upper story of the house sanded and powdered with sand and powder of real lapis lazuli and real turquoise.

Setna and Tbubui

There were several beds there, spread with stuffs of royal linen, and many cups of gold on a stand. They filled a golden cup with wine and placed it in the hand of Setna and Tbubui said to him, “Will it please thee to rest thyself?” He said to her, “That is not what I wish to do.” They put scented wood on the fire, they brought perfumes of the kind that are supplied to Pharaoh, and Setna made a nappy day with Tbubui. “Let us accomplish that for which we have come here.” She said to him, “Thou shalt arrive at thy house, that where thou art.

However, for me, I am a hierodule, I am no mean person. If thou desires to have thy pleasure of me, thou shalt make me a contract of sustenance, and a contract of money on all the things and all the goods that are thine.” He said to her, “Let the scribe of the school be brought.” He was brought immediately, and Setna caused to be made in favor of Tbubui a contract for maintenance, and he made her in writing a dowry of all the things, all the goods that were his. An hour passed, one came to say this to Setna, and “Thy children are below.” He Raid “Let them be brought up.” Tbubui arose; she put on a robe of fine linen and Setna beheld all her limbs through it, and his desire Increased yet more than before.

Temple Ptah

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Then Setna went to the King, and told him everything that had hap to him with the book. And the King said to Setna, “Take back the book to the grave of Na.nefer.ka.ptah, like a prudent man, or else he will make you bring it with a forked stick in your hand, and a firepan on your head.” However, Setna would not listen to him; and when Setna had unrolled the book, he did nothing on earth but read it to everybody.

After that it happened one day, when Setna was walking near the temple of Ptah, lie saw a woman of such beauty that another could not be found to equal her. On her there was much gold, and with her were fifty-two servants. From the time that Setna beheld her, he no longer knew the part of the world he lived in. He called his page, saying, “Do not delay going to the place where that woman is and finding out who she is.” The young page made no delay. He addressed the maidservant who walked behind her, and questioned her, “What person is that?” She said to him, “She is Tbubui, daughter of the prophet of Bastit, who now goes to make her prayer before Ptah.” When the young man had returned to Setna, he recounted all the words she had said to him without exception.

Setnakhamois

Setna said to the young man, “Go and say thus to the maidservant, ‘Setnakhamois, son of the Pharaoh Usimares it is who sends me, saying, “I will give thee ten pieces of gold that thou mays pass an hour with me. If there is necessity to have recourse to violence he will do it, and he will take thee to a hidden place, where no one in the world will find thee.’” ” When the young man had returned to the place where Tbubui was, he addressed the maidservant, and space with her, but she exclaimed against his words, as though it were an insult to speak them.

Tbubui said to the young man, “Cease to speak to that wretched girl; come and speak to me.” The young man approached the place where Tbubui was; he said to her, “I will give thee ten pieces of gold if thou wilt pass an hour with SetnaKhamois, the son of Pharaoh Usimares. If there is necessity to have recourse to violence, he will do so, and will take thee to a hidden place where no one in the world will find thee.” Tbubui said, “Go, say to Setna, ‘I am a hierodule, I am no mean person; if thou dost desire to have thy pleasure of me, and thou shalt come to Bubastis into my house.

North Koptos

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“He turned to the haven, and sailed down, and delayed not in the north of Koptos. When he was come to the place where we fell into the river, he said to his heart: ‘shall I not better turn back again to Koptos that I may lie by them? For, if not, when I go down to Memphis, and the King asks after his children, what shall I say to him? Can I tell him, “I have taken your children to the Thebaid, and killed them, while I remained alive, and I have come to Memphis still alive”?

Then he made them bring him a linen cloth of striped byssus; he made a band, bound the book firmly, and tied it upon him. Na.nefer.ka.ptah then went out of the awning of the royal boat and fell into the river. He cried on Ra; and all those who were on the bank made an outcry, saying: ‘Great woe! Sad woe! Is he lost, that good scribe and able man that has no equal?’

“The royal boat went on, without anyone on earth knowing where Na.nefer.ka.ptah was. It went on to Memphis, and they told all this to the King. Then the King went down to the royal boat in mourning, and all the soldiers and high priests of Ptah were in mourning, and all the officials and courtiers. And when he saw Na.nefer.ka.ptah, who was in the inner cabin of the royal boat—from his rank of high scribe—he lifted him up. And they saw the book by him; and the King said, ‘Let one hide this book that is with him.’

And the officers of the King, the priests of Ptah, and the high priest of Ptah, said to the King, ‘Our Lord, may the King live as long as the sun! Na.nefer.ka.ptah was a good scribe, and a very skillful man.’ In addition, the King had him laid in his Good House to the sixteenth day, and then had him wrapped to the thirty-fifth day, laid him out to the seventieth day, and then had him put in his grave in his resting place.

“I have now told you the sorrow which has come upon us because of this book for which you ask, saying, ‘Let it be given to me.’ You have no claim to it; and, indeed, for the sake of it, we have given up our life on earth.”

And Setna said to Ahura, “Give me the book which I see between you and Na.nefer.ka.ptah; for if you do not I will take it by force.” Then Na.nefer.ka.ptah rose from his seat and said: “Are you Setna, to whom my wife has told of all these blows of fate, which you have not suffered? Can you take this book by your skill as a good scribe? If, indeed, you can play games with me, let us play a game, then, of 52 points.” And Setna said, “I am ready,” and the board and its pieces were put before him. And Na.nefer.ka.ptah won a game from Setna; and he put the spell upon him, and defended himself with the game board that was before him, and sunk him into the ground above his feet.

An he hor eru

He did the same at the second game, and won it from Setna, and sunk him into the ground to his waist. He did the same at the third game, and made him sink into the ground up to his ears. Then Setna is ruck Na.nefer.ka.ptah a great blow with his hand. And Setna called hill brother An.he.hor.eru and said to him, “Make haste and go up upon earth, and tell the King all that has happened to me, and bring lair the talisman of my father Ptah, and my magic books.”

And he hurried up upon earth, and told the King all that had happened to Setna. The King said, “Bring him the talisman of his father and his magic books.” Moreover, An.he.hor.eru hurried down into the Lomb; he laid the talisman on Setna, and he sprang up again immediately. Then Setna reached out his hand for the book, and took it.

Thru as Setna went out from the tomb—there went a Light before llliu, und Darkness behind him. And Ahura wept at him, and she said: “Glory to the King of Darkness! Hail to the King of Light! All power R gone from the tomb.” However, Na.nefer.ka.ptah said to Ahura: “Do not t your heart be sad; I will make him bring back this book, with a red stick in his hand, and a firepan on his head.” In addition, Setna went me from the tomb, and it closed behind him as it was before.

Neighbor part 4

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Husband! He had never thought of that. Suddenly a cold sweat appeared on his brow. He went out and roamed until dawn around the quiet, moonlit lake, filled with the reflection of bright stars which resembled greenish sparkling fireflies.

He was just about to lie down, when a tap, tap, tap sounded on the window pane. His charming neighbor appeared, just like the dawn, golden and blushing, rose-like and white, in a lace morning gown, her lovely blue eyes still heavy with sleep. She held a little finger to her red, sinful lips, luscious and sanguine, as a sign of silence.

“I found no peace throughout the night,” he whispered, pale and weary.

“Do not fear. I understand you. Do not fear, Peter; I am true to you alone!”

And only the trembling of a flower from her breath remained, as Tkalac extended his hungry arms towards the quiet, blooming window, lit by the first rays of the sun, while from above was heard the unpleasant voice of a man, severely rolling his r’s.

This was repeated daily for two weeks.

Tkalac disappeared

Valentina was very much surprised when Tkalac disappeared with-out leaving a trace. She became ill from worry and torment. One rainy evening her husband told her in a puzzling way that he was awaiting a very important guest and that they would remain alone. She thought it would be some tiresome business matter, some tedious signing of papers; and while at supper, she almost fainted on hearing Peter’s steps on the upper floor. Notwithstanding all her questioning, her husband refused to explain this unexpected visit.

Like a thunderbolt from a clear sky, the servant announced that “Monsieur Kalak” sends his card and wishes to enter.

She did not recognize him at first; so emaciated had he become in the few days. Her husband arose, changed the expression on his bloated, otherwise quite pleasing face adorned with spectacles and a blond mustache, wiped his bald head and wheezed harshly, like one suffering from asthma. The visitor bowed courteously and in military fashion, kissed with visible embarrassment the hand of his hostess, sat down, and, after a brief, unpleasant silence, addressed his host.

“I am very glad Monsieur Colignon, that you received me so gallantly, and, as I see, you have not advised madame regarding my coming. If there still exists some knighthood these days, it consists in that honorable and sensible people eliminate every unpleasantness with as little trouble as possible.”

“Very well, very well,” broke in the host, breathing heavily. “I have thoroughly inquired and learned all about you to-day, and I know that your affairs are in good condition and that you have a glorious future before you, though, relatively, very difficult. As a man of affairs and business, I guess your intention and the cause for your presence. You have no acquaintance here nor any countrymen of yours; in your native country you have no reason, presumably, to look for help. Therefore, as your neighbor, you wish to turn to me, offering no more security than your energy and your indubitable honesty. You have begged me for the presence of my wife to show me that in such a delicate matter you fear not even such a—pardon!—embarrassing witness. I have, sir, no children from heaven, and although a man of means, I sympathize with everything young and fit for life.”

“But pardon me.”

“Allow me, allow me, my dear ‘Kalak.’ I am really not as wealthy as they say, but I will always have enough to help you in your eventual establishment. It is known to me that your institution prospers excellently, and I feel proud that you should, notwithstanding your great acquaintance with foreign, especially, Slavic, aristocracy, turn to me, an ordinary citizen and business man.”

“You are absolutely wrong, my dear neighbor,” the young man gasped with difficulty, and paled as though he were going to fall from his chair.

Deep, asthmatic breathing. The ticking of a clock mingled with the wild, loud throbbing of hearts. Valentina’s eyes became glassy.

“From your words, dear neighbor, I see that you are better than I ever dreamed, and my mission, therefore, is so much more painful and distressing. If I had known this, I never would have determined to undertake this step,” came from Tkalac as from a tomb, and Colignon began to look around fearfully, thinking that he must deal with a dangerous, gorilla-like lunatic.

“Well, what is it? What is it?” he breathed with great effort, meantime kicking his petrified wife under cover of the table to convey his alarm. She did not feel his nudges, so paralyzed was her moral and physical strength.

“No, sir, I have not come for money, but I came for her, for your wife, for Valentina, for my dear ”

“Are you sane?” sighed the host, rushing towards the window as if wanting to cry “Fire.” Tkalac almost brought him back to his chair with his burning, feverish gaze.

“Yes, sir, you have spoken correctly. I am an honest man, so honest that I am unable to lie, and I would kill and I would die before stealing another man’s wife, robbing the love that belongs to another, especially of such a sympathetic man as you. I love your wife, your wife loves me, and I came to-night to tell you this honestly and openly, and to take her with me,” continued Tkalac, placing a revolver on the table. “Here, sir, do not fear! I am not a lunatic, I am not a criminal, and you may, if you find no other exit, take this gun and shoot me here like an ordinary vagabond and burglar.”

And again there was a painful, grievous, fatal silence; difficult, asthmatic breathing, then the ticking of watches as of hearts, and the beating of hearts as of watches.

“Why, what do I hear? Is all this possible; tell me, tell me, Valentina? Why, it is not, it is not, it cannot be true; say it isn’t, Valentina, my dear little Valentina,” sobbed the husband.

“Peter Tkalac, peer of Zvesaj castle, is poor, has no more a uniform, but he remains an officer and never tells lies!” The young man, with his chest expanded, spoke energetically, as if commanding his troops. Valentina’s glassy eyes revived; slowly, as if awakening, she arose and stepped toward Peter and said, looking at him from head to foot:

“Whether you are an Austrian, Hungarian, Slovak, or what not, you should know that I am a Frenchwoman, and that in France it is not customary for lovers to denounce their sweethearts to their husbands. Monsieur Colignon, I have in fact liked his type, although I have not given myself to him; but from now on I hate him deeply and let that foreigner consider himself slapped. Good-bye, gentlemen!”— And she swept from the room.

“Noble sir, Monsieur ‘Kalak,’ do you need any help? I am at your service,” said Colignon to the young man, who staggered out of the room as though he were drunk and feeling like a whipped cur.

The servant ran after him into the hallway.

“Pardon, sir, you have forgotten your revolver!”

Neighbor part 3

06/02/2019 | GM6 | No Comments

“Be righteous, Pero, not being successful as a soldier. Even be a laborer, but remain honest as all your ancestors. Here is a revolver which may be of use to you, even for yourself, in case of any shame you may commit, to yourself or to me. It is better to die honorably than to live in disgrace.”

And Tkalac found, in the disorder of his luggage, which was like that of a gipsy’s, a photograph, and although it was quite dark, a lady, somewhat gray-haired, stepped out of the picture—she was still of a girlish build, pale, attractive, dark-eyed, with a permanent, sad smile—and this foreigner, after two years of dissipation, pressed this dear, lifeless relic to his lips, weeping like a child before going to sleep, great big tears; and consoled by the shadow of his dead mother, he fell asleep without so much as removing his clothes.

He was abruptly awakened by a tapping on the window. Knowing every emotion except fear, he was greatly surprised and thought he was suffering from hallucination. The tapping on the window was repeated, once, twice, three times. He rose, approached, and noticed a key dangling from a string which had been lowered from the floor above. Fastened to the key was a gingerbread heart bought at a fair. It was then near midnight. Silence reigned everywhere with the exception of the sound of a passing automobile on the street and the singing, accompanied by a mandolin, of some Italian laborers in the distance.

Outskirts of France

“We were to a fair on the outskirts of France, and remembering that you were alone, I brought you this present. This is not my home. I am a Frenchwoman who considers loneliness a misfortune and really believe that you are very unhappy alone there in the darkness of your gloomy, empty rooms.”

“Thank you, thank you,” he said, untying the gift, and still under the sway of the memories that had lulled him to sleep. His voice trembled with restrained sobs. Leaning back over the window sill and untying the string, he looked up to her, transformed in the soft and tepid light of the gentle full moon.

“Oh, how beautiful you are, my charming neighbor! If you could only realize what a gift you have made and what happiness you have brought to me by this cake, you would, perhaps, have reconsidered your act, because, in holding this dry heart, I feel as though I had a part of your heart and your soul.”

“Ah, speak quietly, lest the neighbors should hear.”

“Do not fear! Below live people who are always travelling.”

Black Yard

Tkalac then leaped up and with the hand of a gymnast, took hold of the ledge of the outer window, hanging with his back and his whole body over the deep, dark, and black yard as over an abyss.

“Ah, for God’s sake! What are you doing, you maniac? Should this old rotted wood give, you would break your neck. I beg you, as a brother, a son, a god, I implore you, enter your room! Have mercy!” Suddenly she began weeping and his grasp loosening, he almost fell from the window. He felt a warm moisture upon his forehead, like a tear.

“Oh, my dear, charming, kind neighbor, were I not afraid of grieving you, I would this instant dive into the abyss as into a pool of water, because something fell on my forehead like a dewdrop, from that beautiful, refreshing heaven of yours.”

“Mercy, mercy! Have mercy on me and yourself, you madman,” she proceeded to beg, hardly able, out of great fear and sympathy, to utter a sound. “I will allow you everything, everything, you understand, if you will enter your room and be sensible.”

As the wood of the window creaked and broke, she uttered a sup-pressed screech, while he, with one great swing, fell into his room with a loud and cheerful laugh.

Between life and death

“Until now I hung between you and darkness, between life and death, and now life and happiness look upon me from your moonlit window, my dear beautiful neighbor!”

As before, he lay on the window sill, looking at her, her shadow, interwoven in the moonlight, surrounded by warm and luminous stars, and she silently observed this new, unusual man. They conversed in silence, with their eyes, for a long time, until finally she said:

“I like you because you have not insisted upon my word and do not ask anything of me. Good night; it is necessary to save those minutes. Good night and thank you, my neighbor!”

“Ah, stay a little longer! Tell me, at least, how I should call you?” “My Christian name is Valentina.”

“Beautiful name! Once upon a time, if I remember correctly, a beautiful princess was thus called.”

“Yes, Valentina of Milan. And what is your name?”

“Peter, vulgar Peter.”

“Good night, dear Mr. Peter, and ‘au revoir.’ Soon my husband will come.”

“Who?”

“My husband!”

“Eh! Good night!”

Travel Bulgaria

31/01/2019 | GM6 | No Comments

A temptation to travel Bulgaria to see the Monastery and its unique architecture

Travel Bulgaria – The Rila Monastery – unity of spirituality, culture and nature…

travel bulgaria rila monestery

The Monastery has a unique architecture and takes about 8800 sq.m. When one looks from outside, it resembles a fortress. Due to its 24-metre stone walls, the Monastery has the shape of an irregular pentagon. Once the visitor travel Bulgaria is in, though, they are impressed by its architecture. Impressive arches and colonnades, covered wooden stairs and carved verandas…

St. Ivan of Rila

The hermit St. Ivan of Rila founded the monastery during the rule of Tsar Peter I. It is normal that the monastery bears the hermit’s name. Actually the hermit lived in a cave without any material possessions not far from the monastery’s location.

The long history of the buildings in the Rila Monastery goes back to late 10th century. Then the monastic community that the Rila hermit had founded, put up the first buildings. They were not far from the cave which he occupied. Normal as it is, St. Ivan Rilski’s death was the beginning of his legendary fame. The fame of a protector of the Bulgarian people.

Monastic Community

Eventually, in the XIV century, after changing its settlement several times, the monastic community settled in the fortress of Hrelyo. He was a feudal lord under Serbian suzerainty. The oldest building in the complex, the Tower of Hrelyo, date from this period, 1334–1335. It was the monastery’s fortress. Also the place where monks lived in times of trouble. There was a small church built next to Hrelyo’s Tower as well. Gradually, the influence of the Monastery grows bigger (travellers to Bulgaria can still feel it). Due to that, its fame spreaded far away from the borders of Bulgaria. People built new buildings to meet the needs of the already big enough monastic community.

However, the arrival of the Ottomans in the end of the 14th century was followed by numerous raids. As a result of that, a destruction of the monastery in the middle of the 15th century followed as well. Thanks to donations, the Rila Monastery was rebuilt in the end of the 15th century by three brothers.

The article above has been taken from www.enmarbg.com. To learn extra, please click on the next hyperlink travel Bulgaria.

Bulgaria private tours Kazanlak

29/01/2019 | GM6 | No Comments

Bulgaria private tours Kazanlak – Twelve happy and lovely Dutch people (six couples and twelve friends) left The Netherlands to visit my beautiful and friendly country, Bulgaria.

rose garden bulgaria, private tour Bulgaria, private tours bulgarai, bulgaria private tours, bulgaria private tour, private tour in bulgaria

So, we met on Friday, 20.05, the day of their customized guided tour, private tour Bulgaria Kazanlak. They travelled from Plovdiv and I was waiting for them in the village of Tarnichane, at the rose distillery. Then, some rose picking (well, it wasn’t as early as 5 am – the usual time to start the picking up); good and detailed information about the different oleaginous roses, the process of distilling and making rose oil and rose water, etc. Definitely, everything was fine but we missed the usual 10:30 coffee break. Back to our vehicle and off to Kazanlak. We had our coffee in the centre of the town of Kazanlak, in the Valley of Roses and the Valley of Thracian Kings. A nice break under the shining sun which was so generous that day (unlike the previous and following days).

Private tour Bulgaria Kazanlak – Lion Tzar’s Fountain

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Certainly the roses we had in our bags refreshed and inspired us. And not only there but in our pockets and hands as well. We carried on with our Bulgaria private tours Kazanlak. Then we visited one of the symbols of the town – the Lion or the Tzar’s Fountain. I think you, my guests, want to come back to Kazanlak, to Bulgaria and you drank water from the fountain. The guide told you the story of the fountain and the legend that goes with it. Although it’s not a legend of too many words, it’s interesting. ‘If you like to come back to this lovely place on Earth, Kazanlak, you have to drink water from the fountain’.

The article above is available on www.enmarbg. com. If you are looking for more information, please visit bulgaria private tours kazanlak.

Neighbor part 2

29/01/2019 | GM6 | No Comments

From the huge yard, transformed into a garden, was wafted an agreeable breeze. A canary was heard singing from a nearby window, and elsewhere a sweetly grieving strain from a Chopin ballad was audible. Tkalac followed the curling smoke of his cigarette, dreaming, with eyes open, like a savage. Suddenly he winced. On his bare, perspiring neck, he felt some drops. He wiped them off with his hand-kerchief, but, alas, rain again, and from a clear June sky. The young man turned his head, and above, from the upper window among the flower-pots and blossoms, there blushed a beautiful woman who lacked words to excuse herself and was powerless to turn her eyes from his confused countenance.

Foreign French

“Along with your beautiful flowers, you are also watering nettle, madame,” he finally said in his foreign French which, reminding them so much of a child’s prattle, caused him to be well liked by the ladies.

“I am too far away to be hurt,” she retorted, continuing to observe him with childish surprise.

“But there is also nettle without thorns.”

“I am quite poor in botany, but I am willing to accept what you say.”

“Please do not go, madame; it is wonderful to look up to heaven and you in that blue sky surrounded by those beautiful flowers.”

“You are a foreigner, I gather, from your accent and manner of speech.”

“I am, to my sorrow. I am an army officer who has failed and, as you doubtless know, I teach fencing and boxing.”

“Yes, I have read about you in the newspapers. You are on the path one do? A man must work. Should my plans succeed, I shall go to Paris and, besides, teach horseback-riding. I am a passionate equestrian, and you cannot understand how I feel here without my horse. At the sight of a fine horse I become as sad as a Bedouin. We horsemen alone know that a horse and a horseman may become one; not a horse’s soul in a human body—naturally!”

“You are a survival of extinct centaurs! And have you found an Amazon?”

Siren-like giggle

Tkalac noticed how suddenly she paled and then blushed, and his eyes, darkening, filled with a surprising moisture, which confused her. He wanted to reply with warmth and great affection, but among the flowers there remained only a short greeting and a suppressed and siren-like giggle.

Thus they became acquainted.

In the evening, Tkalac did not wish to go to the city for dinner. He felt ashamed about something. The presence of a stranger embarrassed him. In the evening, in the dark room, lying on a leather sofa which served also as a bed, he felt utterly unhappy and alone. He thought of his dead mother who had spoiled him—her only child; even as a cadet he had had to go to her bed every morning before she arose.

His memories turned to his father, a colonel, the real “bruder Jovo, red of face with a white mustache, hard as a provost’s stick, wearing his civilian clothes as though they were on a hanger, and those red, dilapidated morning slippers. Even as an officer he dared not light a cigarette in the presence of his father without first asking for permission. He remembered, when taking his departure, the sudden burst of tears which flowed like molten iron, the burning of which he still felt on his cheeks.

Neighbor part 1

29/01/2019 | GM6 | No Comments

Croatian

Antun Gustav Matos – (1873-1914)

Antun Gustav Matos was the son of a village schoolmaster. Shortly after his birth he was taken to Zagreb, where he received his early education. Later he went to Vienna and studied veterinary medicine, but as that failed to interest him he went to Prague. Being without a degree, he was drafted into the army as a private. He was sent to prison for violating some military rule, but escaped to Belgrade, where he played in the orchestra of the Royal Theatre. After many wanderings through Europe, he was pardoned and returned to Zagreb, where he worked as a journalist and teacher. There he did a great deal of miscellaneous writing. He died of cancer in 1914. Matos was a literary radical and a “Realist.” As critic, teacher, and novelist, he did more than any other prose writer to develop a native Croatian literature.

The Neighbor is one of his most vivid short stories. It is here published for the first time in English. The translation is by Ivan Mladineo, to whom thanks are due for permission to use it.

The Neighbor

He was very tired. While cooling himself at a window of his apartment on the second floor, his thoughts wandered afar. He had had to leave his country on account of debts. His family had turned him away, not without giving him the necessary expenses for his journey to America. He stopped off at Geneva and began gambling, winning at poker from the Slavic, especially the Bulgarian, students. When one of the students committed suicide, because of his losses, by drowning himself in the lake, Tkalac stopped gambling and conceived a happy thought: he would rent a larger apartment, buy a few mats and start giving lessons in fencing and later on in boxing (having learned this latter sport from a Parisian expert). 

By means of the sword he made his way into the highest social circles, securing excellent recommendations, especially for Russia. After the wonderful match which placed him among the world champions, he made preparations to move to Paris. For the first time in his life he had managed to save money. The young, eccentric, cosmopolitan ladies, in particular, were paying him in a princely fashion.

He started paying off his debts in his native country. Everyone was won over by his behavior, which was undeniably good, being a heritage from a long line of heroic borderland officers, noblemen of Laudon s time. Like most of our frivolous men, he remained good at heart a childish, almost girlish, soul shining from his yellowish, eagle-like eyes; and a black, manly beard accentuated his rapacious profile, as it does in all our mountaineer descendants of hajduks and uskoks. Though he loved much, not a single woman did he really like, because at bottom he remained somewhat of a Don Quixote, dreaming of the ideal woman like all men who are brought up on the ideals of chivalry.