Spring was coming. The white wind licked with its warm little tongues the snow along Kainadina and looked for the meadows with a yellow primrose. The rumbling of the full river was getting clearer and louder to Salih Aga’s Konak.
Salih Aga, the person in power and judge at Paschmakli, riding his white horse, whose bridle and harness turned silvery in the distance from the spring sun, came through the half-open gate of the Konak. Short and stocky, girdled with knives and pistols at his waist, he was sitting as riveted in the polished saddle of silver and velvet. Salih Aga came back from the river mills that he had been to visit that morning.
The horses hoofs were striking on the dry cobblestone of the courtyard, where several seymens were going up and down. Aga swiftly jumped to the ground and pushed the reins into the hands of the bilukbashi Strahin.
„Did you bring Makrelata?“ He asked dryly.
“We took him, Salih Aga. What an awful gyaur! We could hardly tie his hands together”, Strahin said through his teeth.
Salih Aga pulled out his amber rosary, turned it uneasily into his hand, and headed to the corner. There Hadji Ivan from Chetak was sitting. As soon as Salih Aga came in, he got up, lowered his head obediently, and made a low bow. Aga responded to the greeting and sat down on the sofa, covered with colourful fleecy rug next to the Hadji.
“What’s wrong? Are there rebelions again?”, Salih asked worried, filling his long pipe with tobacco.
He looked for the eyes of Hadji Ivan, who had stood up and smiled kindly.
“No, Salih Aga. The villigers from Tical have claims for a hill”, the Hadji said, “so, come to Chetak, call old men from both sides to settle this quarrel.”
“Is that it, Hadji Ivan? It’s a minor concern. I must think how to settle the other quarrels. Someone is going to fly down the ravine to feed the eagles!” He raised his hand and cried furiously, “ the rayah has become disobedient, but if the sheep starts kicking, it must bleed!”
Hadji Ivan gave a puzzled look at the Aga.
“Don’t you know, Hadji, what trouble has Makrel’s son of Chokmanovo made?”
“He kidnapped Rada - the promised one for Tenyu Kehaya.”
“Are you saying Rada, Salih Aga?... Rada’s face glows like a moon, and if somebody hangs you on her blond plaits, you will be grateful“, Hadji said with a sigh.
“And I will hang him! No, I will throw Manol into the ravine as an example to the others”, the Aga threatened.
The power-loving Salih Aga was seying the truth. He ruled the region following justice on his own; for the slightest offenses he used to throw the guilty ones in the ravine, and for the bigger, he hanged on the sour plum tree in the yard or shot down.
“I’m leaving, not to bother you, Salih Aga”, Hadji Ivan said, and got up.
“OK, Hadji, OK. And for that trouble I will go to Cetak to fix it,” Aga said after the leaving Ha