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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.

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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.

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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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The Legend of Pygmalion Part 6

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VI. The Melody of Grief

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

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

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

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

And he was like a man weeping over a ruin.

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The Legend of Pygmalion Part 5

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V. Fever

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

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

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

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

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The Legend of Pygmalion Part 4

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IV. Weariness

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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The Legend of Pygmalion Part 3

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III. The Initiation

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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The Legend of Pygmalion Part 2

03/06/2019 | GM6 | No Comments

II. The Miracle

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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The Legend of Pygmalion Part 1

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Ventura Garcia-Calderon (1890—1956)

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

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

The Legend of Pygmalion

I. The Artist

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

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

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

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

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

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The Eclipse part 1

31/05/2019 | GM6 | No Comments

Selma Lagerlof (1858-1940)

Selma Lagerlof came of a family of landowners, from that part of rural Sweden which she described in many of her most delightful books, particularly in Gosta Berling`s Saga. In her youth she taught for a little, making time to write occasionally, until public recognition and material success enabled her to devote all her energy to literary work. Her books, which include novels, travel sketches, plays, and stories, reveal a personality deeply conscious of its environment. In 1909 Selma Lagerlof received the Nobel Prize for literature.

The Eclipse is translated by Velma Swanston Howard. It originally appeared in the American-Scandinavian Review, December, 1922. For permission to reprint, thanks are due to the editor and the translator.

The Eclipse

There were Stina of Ridgecote and Lina of Birdsong and Kajsa of Littlemarsh and Maja of Skypeak and Beda of Finn-darkness and Elin, the new wife on the old soldier`s place, and two or three other peasant women besides—all of them lived at the far end of the parish, below Storhojden, in a region so wild and rocky none of the big farm owners had bothered to lay hands on it.

One had her cabin set up on a shelf of rock, another had hers put up at the edge of a bog, while a third had one that stood at the crest of a hill so steep it was a toilsome climb getting to it. If by chance any of the others had a cottage built on more favorable ground, you may be sure it lay so close to the mountain as to shut out the sun from autumn fair time clear up to Annunciation Day.

They each cultivated a little potato patch close by the cabin, though under serious difficulties. To be sure, there were many kinds of soil there at the foot of the mountain, but it was hard work to make the patches of land yield anything.

In some places they had to clear away so much stone from their fields, it would have built a cow-house on a manorial estate; in some they had dug ditches as deep as graves, and in others they had brought their earth in sacks and spread it on the bare rocks. Where the soil was not so poor, they were forever fighting the tough thistle and pigweed which sprang up in such profusion you would have thought the whole potato land had been prepared for their benefit.

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The `Pearl of the Black Sea` is impatient to see you enjoying your Bulgaria vacation

Bulgaria vacation in Nessebar– the scent of the sea and of journey through times long since passed

Often referred to as the `Pearl of the Black Sea` and `Bulgaria`s Dubrovnik`, Nessebar is more like a magical and timeless feeling than a resort. Windmills, ancient fortresses and sea depths that keep ancient secrets… This is not a fairytale for times long since passed but the decor of a modern and contemporary town – Nessebar, perfect for a great Bulgaria vacation and private tour Bulgaria.

bulgaria vacation

Nessebar is a town with ancient and rich history. İt is in the central part of the Bulgarian Black Sea coast, about 30 km away from Burgas. The ancient part of the town is situated on a peninsula connected to the mainland by a narrow man-made isthmus. Variety of different civilizations, that occupied the place, left their marks. As a result, in 1983 UNESCO included Nessebar in its list of World Heritage Sites. This is due to the abundance of historic buildings in the town. Thus it made the town a desired place for a memorable holiday in Bulgaria.

Enjoy the `multi-coloured` Bulgaria tourism in Nessebar

The hard task is for the tourists now – how to capture all the beauty of Nessebar!? With a camera, through knowledge or experience, or simply by touching an ancient stone… Or why not use all of these and plunge into the adventure of living Nessebar.

This article is copied from www.enmarbg.com. For more information, you can click on Bulgaria vacation.

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Private Balkan trip

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Wake your senses up with private Balkan trip

A private Balkan trip in the Balkan countries means a good possibility to sink into the history of the region and put the pieces of the jigsaw puzzle together.What is a better way to tease and wake your senses up than travelling? They say that travelling is the key to happiness. Do you believe it? I do. Join us and let`s find out together.The countries on the Balkan Peninsula are all different and at the same time they share this `similar difference`. (Balkan tours 2019 ) For example, `The coffee we had tastes like the Turkish coffee but they call it Greek. Or, ` Isn`t that dish the same as the one we had in the place, etc.` These kinds of conversations probably look familiar to you. I am sure most of you experienced them and enjoyed them really much.Our private Balkan trip travels around the Balkan countries and enjoys their most interesting, attractive and `have-great-stories-to-tell` places.The whole text can be seen on link private Balkan trip.

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