The Commissioner’s Christmas part 6

“Guess we, too, have to turn into moor-hens ’and wade out,” said Ondra thoughtfully, “or else—”

“Oh, you idiot! Just wait till we get out of this! I’ll break every bone in your body! We’ll drown here like rats! You ass!”

“No, we won’t drown, Mr. Commissioner, we won’t drown, don’t be afraid. In this darkness anyone would miss the way. Just be calm,” said Ondra, and began to examine the harness. Then he proceeded to buckle and unbuckle various straps, swearing loudly, tying, untying, cursing incessantly. Finally he resumed his place on the driver’s seat, swung his whip and shouted, “Vyee, there! Go on!”

The horses pulled and went forward. Suddenly one of them slipped loose from the shaft and staggered ahead in the mire, free of the har-ness. The other horse stood still with the coach.

“Ho, you! What’s happened now?” shrieked the commissioner.

“Stop, you! Dorcha, Dorcha!” called Ondra to th

The Commissioner’s Christmas part 5

“Whip ’em up! Hurry up! You lazybones! We’ll freeze to death!” shrieked the furious commissioner.

Ondra indifferently shouted to the horses and drowsily swung his whip over their heads, but as before they wearily, inertly dragged on the coach as if they had heard nothing at all.

Ondra was thinking of the miserable Stanoycho whose rye the com-missioner was going to confiscate early next morning.

“It was you brought me this misfortune, Ondra,” Stanoycho would say to him, and when he’d be through blaming him, he’d ask Ondra, to join his family in their meal, and then he’d weep. Yes, he would surely weep. Stanoycho’s heart was soft. Ondra knew that.

He must help the poor fellow, contrive to tell him to hide his rye overnight and sweep the granary clean, or else all the coming year he’d be stretching his lean ears in hunger. Yes, he must do something!

Nothing was distinguishable but mud—-deep, thick mud. The road l

The Commissioner’s Christmas part 4

“Stop your silly chatter and get along. It’s getting dark, and I’ve got to get back to celebrate Christmas with my family. You charge too much, you imp! Three leu for twenty kilometers! You surely know how to skin us. Hurry up, will you: drive faster or those jades of yours will go to sleep!”

“Vyee, there! Vyee, sirs!” shouted Ondra, swinging his whip in the air.

“Sirs, you call them? Sirs! Better call them ‘brothers,’ ” commented the commissioner in a rage.

“They’d resent that, Mr. Commissioner! I’d insult ’em if I didn’t call ’em sirs. Why, they’re regular gentlemen! Their service is official: they run on a regular schedule. In the morning they get up; at a certain hour we water them and give them their feed. Then we harness them up, they go, you might say, to their offices: they pull till evening. Have supper at a regular hour, drink water, ‘read the news,’ so to speak, and —sleep. Regular official life!”

The Commissioner’s Christmas part 3

The small coach slowly wallowed through the deep soft mud, wading in, wading out, twisting and turning. A loose board on the side of it constantly, monotonously, dismally and senselessly rattled and banged mercilessly on the nerves of the corpulent gentleman in the fur coat. Finally, losing all patience, he opened his collar, thrust out his fat face, and shouted: “What is that horrible rattle? Devil take it!”

“It’s only a loose clapboard, sir. It bangs away like a learned man : no sense to its rattle at all!”

“You’re clever, Ondra, very clever! You know how to fool the young girls, I’ll bet. You fellows marry young and have pretty wives.”

The gentleman thrust back the tall collar of his fur coat in his attempt at jocularity.

“Say what you will, the married women are better! I know it! And you, sir, have an errand in our village, I take it?”

“I’m the court commissioner.”

Ondra turned round and ins

The Commissioner’s Christmas part 2

The country lad shouted once more to his horses, settled himself more comfortably on the box, slapped his wet cap on his thick cape and, in a carefree voice, started up a gay tune.

“What’s your name, boy?” inquired a fat man bundled up in a wolf-skin coat, who’ sat inside the coach.

The lad continued his song.

“Ho, boy!” cried the man in a loud, harsh voice.

“What?” The boy turned around.

“Name! Your name? What’s your name?”

“Ondra.”

“Ah, ah, Ondra. Clever lady, you are! All of you have become clever. Sly, you country bumpkins. You only know how to lie and deceive. And how you do put on! I watch ’em at court. Sheep—little lambkins—of innocence—but really regular wolves! They play with the judges!”

“We`re just simple folk, sir, and they only slander us. You just think so, but we’re really not bad like that. Our peasant people deceive only out of ignorance. Ign

The Commissioner’s Christmas part 1

Bulgaria

Introduction

Bulgarian literature is still in its infancy. The first Bulgarian grammar was published in 1835. This was the work of the monk Neophyt Rilski (1793—1881) who was responsible for the opening of some of the first schools in Bulgaria. Among the writers of this earlier period were George Rakowski (1818—1867), whose patriotic works stimulated the national zeal, Christo Boteff (1847—1876) and Petko Slaveikoff (died 1895), whose poems molded the modern poetical language and exercised a great influence over the people.

One of the most distinguished men of letters is Ivan Vazoff (born 1850), whose poetry and prose are distinguished for their literary finish. Dimitr Ivanov (born 1878) is one of the younger writers who has displayed rare qualities in several volumes of short stories. Under the penname of Elin-Pelin he is well known to all readers of the Bulgarian language. It is to Ivanov that especial credit is due for describing t

Jamshid and Zuhak part 9

I fear some secret bond between fortune and him, but it is better to fling ourselves into battle than to delay here.” Thus he spoke, and, giving rein to his spirited horse, he raised his club and rushed like a flame past the wardens of the gate and into the palace. He dashed to the ground a talisman which Zuhak had set up against him, and struck ‘down all that offered resistance; he placed his foot upon the throne of Zuhak, seized the royal crown, and took his place.

A servant of Zuhak saw what had happened, and mounting a swift horse brought the tale to his master: “O king of a proud people, there are tokens that portend the fall of your fortunes. Three heroes have come from a strange land with an army. The youngest remains always between the two elder, his stature is that of a prince, his face that of a king. He carries a mighty club like a great rock, and he has seated himself upon the throne.”

Zuhak, in great haste, prepared to return with an army of

Jamshid and Zuhak part 8

Give me back this one, my only son; think how my heart will burn with grief, the whole length of my life. What crime have I committed? Even tyranny must have a pretext, and I am an innocent man, a blacksmith. You must render count to me for what you have done, and the world will be astonished thereby. It will see, by the account you will render to me, what my lot on earth has been, and how I have been compelled to give my sons to feed your serpents.”

The king looked harshly upon him on hearing these words, gave back the man’s son, and strove to soothe him with words. Lastly he asked Kawa to sign the declaration of the nobles, but he, trembling with rage, tore and trampled on it and emerged shouting with a mighty anger.

The crowd in the market-place gathered round him, and to them and the whole world he appealed to aid him in obtaining justice. He took off the apron which blacksmiths wear, tied it to a lance and marched through the bazaars crying: “Illustri

Jamshid and Zuhak part 7

“What reason has he for hating me?” cried out the impure Zuhak.

“Because his father will die at your hands.”

The king heard and thought on this, fell from his throne, and swooned away. When his senses returned to him, he mounted again upon his throne and sent out searchers, both secret and public, to seek for traces of Faridun. He sought no rest or sleep or food, and bright day became gloomy to him.

Thus passed a long space of time, while the serpent-man remained prey to his terror. Faridun was born, and the lot of the whole world was thereby destined to change. The youth grew up like a cypress, and he was resplendent with all the glory of majesty. He was like the shining sun, as needful to the world as rain, ah adornment to the mind like knowledge. Zuhak filled the earth with sound and fury, searching everywhere for Faridun son of Abtin. The earth became straitened for Abtin, who fled and struggled; but he was finally caught in the lion’s net

Jamshid and Zuhak part 6

“Perhaps, if you reveal it,” said Arnawaz, “we may find a remedy, for no ill exists that has not its remedy.” The king was persuaded by this, and told what he had seen in his dream. “This is not a matter that you may neglect,” exclaimed the queen on hearing it. “Summon from every country the sages that can read the stars, examine all sources, and seek thus to learn the secret. Discover what he is whose hand threatens you; man, div, or peri; and when you know, then immediately apply your remedy.” And the king approved the counsel of this silver swan.

The world, plunged in night, was black as a raven’s wing; suddenly light dawned upon the mountains as though the sun had scattered rubies upon the azure of the firmament. Wherever there were wise counselors the king sought them out and assembled them in his palace, where he told the whole company of his trouble, and sought their advice.

Hesitating for three days

The lips of the noblemen