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THE ORDEAL

THE REFUGEE

Translated by: Росица Шопска

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re looking down into the ground, her mind was thinking of the worst. She did not want to die with poison, with it one cannot die quickly and peacefully. He jumped in the yard and peered at the nearby rocks. A devilish voice seemed to whisper to her, “Do not waste time. Do it right away while Staiko is out.”

She headed for the sharp rocks, where the pines stuck their tops in the blue sky. She walked away from the road without anyone seeing her. Petra climbed to the top of the rock. She bent over the high abyss and felt dizzy. She threw herself and flew down. The wind blew her red headscarf. There was only a long cry, and then everything was quiet. ”What evil happened?”, the people who worked nearby and ran up to the rocks were timidly asking. As soon as they reached them, under the high rock they saw the body of the dead Petra.

While they were lamenting loudly that she brought down her youth and beauty, Stayko appeared coming back from the water-mill. As he approached the village, he heard screams and uproar. She saw people running in front of his house. His children had doubled up with fear in the yard. The eldest one ran to him, and, sobbing, said, “Mum had thrown herself down the high rock!” It darkened in front of his eyes. Stayko waved his hand to drive away the tears. Did he diserve that bad fate?

He buried Petra and a new sadness lay on him. His children were orphans again. A lot of grief he collected in his soul. He became silent and thoughtful. He did not feel like getting with any work. He sold out fields and meadows. He drowned his grief in drinking.

One day he took the children with the mules, and without saying goodbye to the villagers of Gorovo, he set off on the stone road to the village of Dereke. Stayko crossed the deserted mountain. There was no border anymore. The old Roman road was deserted. From time to time, birds flew over it, a roe knocked with its hoof on the cobblestone and sank again into the woods. In the distance, over the hills coloured by the autumn, fogs were lying along the rocky peaks.

Once he stepped into the thick and silent forest, Staiko, started plying his bagpipe and began the song, “Black-eyed black-haired, handsome, this world is deceitful”. There was no shoulder to cry on about all his grief. Only the echo of the silent gullies answered him by repeating the words of the song and sending them to the opposite hills until the bagpipe was silent.

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