At the Well Part 5

The
same evening all the men were sitting around the table, for it was supper time.
Radoyka was the only woman among them. The other women had their supper in the
kitchen. Two or three women were serving at the table.

It
was Anoka’s turn to serve.

Two
other women walked in and out with dishes and food. Anoka leaned against the
door and made faces.

Grandpa
gave her a terrific look. All were speechless. Radoyka felt all the blood
rushing to her head. Anoka did not even notice it!

After
supper everybody made a sign of the cross, waiting for grand-pa’s sign for
leaving the room.

Crust of bread

But the old man pushed aside a crust of bread, the spoon, the knife, and the wooden dish. He rested his head on his palm, looked around and fixed his eyes on Anoka.

She
was on pins and needles, dropped her arms, stretched her strong and beautiful
body, and moved to leave the room.

“Wait,
my daughter,” said

At the Well Part 4

Anoka’s
fury grew day by day and she invented all kinds of tricks with which to tease
the people in the house. She would chase the dogs into the kitchen, and would
allow them to eat up the meat in the pot. She would open the faucets of the
kegs in the cellar, so the wine would flow out. The bread in the oven always
burned if she was to watch it. On working days, for instance, she would put on
holiday attire. It became worse and worse. The women couldn’t stand it any
longer. Once, when it was Anoka’s turn to be the redara (housekeeper) she left
home and went to the fair. Then the sisters-in-law gathered secretly.

“I
don’t know, dear sisters, what great wrong we have committed that we should
have to suffer so much.”

“Neither
do I know.”

“That’s
a great punishment and a great misfortune.”

“God
alone can help us.”

“No,
it cannot go on like this any more.”

“Let
us talk to grandma, and she will tak

At the Well Part 3

Grandfather’s
oldest son, Blagoye, Arsen’s father, is the third member of the home council.
The rest of the family listens and obeys. The three elders sometimes leave the
house intentionally, to give the children a chance to play to their heart’s
desire, the women to talk as much as they might please and the men to smoke
freely. The moment, however, one of the “big three” steps into the house, every
one becomes quiet and busy.

Grandpa,
being an old man, would frequently behave like a child. At times he would lose
his temper for the least trifle, then he would rage, scold, and, in his
excitement, strike at the nearest one. Again, he would be gentle, generous,
play with the youngsters, give them coppers. Then again, for no reason in the
world, he would begin to cry: “I am left alone in this world like a withered
tree on a mountain.”

Youth
has its frivolity, old age its senility.

The
day following Arsen’s adventure, Blagoye came to Radoyka

At the Well Part 2

That
evening Arsen came home in a melancholy mood. Contrary to his habit, he first
went into the wine cellar and took a stiff drink, the first time he had ever
done so. He returned to the yard, sat down on a block of wood where he remained
long after dark, absorbed by nocturnal sounds. In the kitchen on the hearth,
flaming tongues shot out and licked the iron cauldron suspended by chains from
the ceiling. A newly discovered fire was burning in Arsen’s heart. In the
surrounding darkness he discerned human forms, dogs crossing the yard, oxen
returning from pasture; he heard the trampling of horses in their stalls; he
recognized his brother Nenad returning from the city. A hen jumped from the
mulberry tree, looked round sleepily, and flew to another branch. Already a
mouse dared to nibble at the block on which Arsen was sitting.

He
felt dizzy, and became frightened at his heart beats. Suddenly he began to
laugh, stupidly, for no reason at all. As he laughed and cried interm

At the Well Part 1

Laza K. Lazarevich (1851-1890)

After
completing his law studies at Belgrade, Lazarevich received a government
fellowship in medicine, and in 1872 began studying in Berlin. Seven years
later, having received his degree, he returned to Belgrade, where he filled
important official positions in his capacity as physician. He died in Belgrade
in 1890, probably of tuberculosis. Lazarevich is one of the most gifted and
popular of Serbian writers. His literary works were many and varied. 

Of
his many stories of the life of his native land, At the Well (first published
in 1881) is considered one of the finest. It is here published for the first
time in English. The translation is by I. Altaraz, Ph.D., to whom thanks are
due for permission to use it.

At the Well

Taense clouds of flakes, like white ghosts, are driven by the howling wind and swept in all directions until they hang like tiny white crystals on man’s whiskers and horse’s mane.—Tha

Kazanlak – the town of the most beautiful among women, the rose

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Holidays Bulgaria – Kazanlak – the town of the most beautiful among women, the rose…

There is something in Kazanlak, which is not only the beautiful nature and the fascinating women. There is something which is in the air, something which is soaked in the soil… Something that explains the specific atmosphere and flavour Kazanlak has. Atmosphere of a place where time stands still but life doesn’t; where one can feel peaceful, calm and safe. And the flavour of the rose, the unique rose.

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