Skobelef part 5

It was a great day for the horses, too. The mares under the ash trees lost their appetites and stood all the while arching their necks and trying to look like two-year-olds. Stallions and geldings had that day caught sight of a rival whose eyes flashed with arrogance. Do you suppose they would put up with that sort of thing! They pawed the ground furiously and shook the air with protests from all sides.

At last the bells rang again. The congregation came out, but the greater number had no thought of hitching up their own horses. The yard was jammed with people wanting to see Peter Lo lead Skobelef out of the stable.

The man himself approached. The eyes of all waiting upon him, he strolled along talking to the sexton as if he were an ordinary mortal.

Yet he had already acquired certain of the gestures that the parson was accustomed to make use of in the pulpit.

The people gradually drew back from the road. One circumspect man dragged his gig away from the middle of the yard. The women took refuge on the landings of the barns. It was just as well to be on the safe side, but everybody wanted to see what was going on.

Women shrieked

Peter Lo unlocked the stable door and disappeared from view. A seven-fold thunder of neighing sounded from within, the halter rattled, heavy hoofs drummed against the floor, and the next minute a black barrel of a body appeared on the threshold. Skobelef flung his battlecry to the four winds; Peter Lo was hurled aloft, but landed on his feet some distance out in the yard. Women shrieked. Old men jumped out of the way, hats flying right and left. Peter Lo and Skobelef started to dance around the yard.

Skobelef snorted and foamed so that his dark body was dappled with froth; he had no mind to be led toward the gig; he reared, pummeled the air with his hoofs, and plunged from side to side, while a pair of shining boots kept cutting strange capers through space. It was an apocalyptic vision, something to dream about. The yard was swept clean of vehicles and people in a trice. It had been changed into a ball-room for Peter Lo and Skobelef.

Peter Lo yelled at the stallion, and the stallion screamed at the universe and at Peter Lo. On went the dance. Finally Skobelef seemed bound to enter the parsonage and have a chat with the preacher`s wife; but Peter Lo got ahead of him and planted his splendid boots with a resounding thump against the steps, so that Skobelef succeeded only in tearing down the railing. Peter Lo grew red in the face. Skobelef`s whole body had become a mass of foam. The women gasped out shivering sighs, “Oh, oh!”

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Skobelef part 4

He came trotting along before the gig, a broad black hulk, his fetlocks dancing, his mane sweeping in billows down his neck, his eyes shooting fire two red prize ribbons waving at his ears. He raised his head and snuffed the breeze, monarch of all he surveyed; then he lifted up his voice and split the welkin—believe me, that was a trumpet call that fetched the echoes out of the mountains. In the gig sat Peter Lo, holding the reins relaxed, a veiy debonair man not over thirty-five, broad of shoulder, vigorous, smiling out of a.comer of his mouth above his chin-whiskers.

It was certainly too bad that his wife, sitting beside him, was so much older than he; her every feature drooped, her red cheeks drooped, her eyes drooped, the comers of her mouth drooped; she always spoke in whimpering tones. As for Peter Lo himself, he had a weakness for all things pretty, even for such as were not his own. As Skobelef neighed to his affinities, Peter Lo glanced at good friends of his own among the crowd and smiled. Skobelef came to a stop, but got a cut of the whip; he reared and got another stroke; then he bounded up the road toward the parsonage, the crowd in his wake, we boys flying ahead like birds on the wing.

Peter Lo maneuver Skobelef

It was a circus to watch Peter Lo maneuver Skobelef out from the shafts of the gig and over toward the stable door. Peter Lo for sure looked swell that day; the horse must have lent him a new dignity, his gray suit was so. well brushed and he wore a stiff hat just like the teacher`s. But every now and then his polished boots flew up in the air. The crowd stared for all they were worth. Too soon the magic horse disappeared behind the stable door; presently Peter Lo came out again brushing the horse hairs from his hands.

He picked his way carefully so as not to soil those shiny boots as he walked down to the church. The crowd trekked after him. Peter Lo mounted the steps to the hall and walked in. The congregation followed at his heels. Peter Lo sat down in one of the pews, opened a hymn book, and began to sing. The congregation did likewise, and the singing rose in volume.

But on this particular day we youngsters kept watch and ward outside the stable door. It was a mighty good thing it was locked; there was no telling what Skobelef would do if he got loose on his own account. The cold chills ran down our spines as we heard him rattling his halter and stamping on the floor. Now and again the walls shook with his neighing. Talk about thrills! We stood still, put our heads together, and spoke in whispers.

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Skobelef part 3

The long line of vehicles came rolling in from the valleys. It picked up reinforcements at every crossroad until it was like a regular bridal procession. That day we kept our eyes on the horses and estimated the people in the gigs according to their dumb, driven cattle.

A whole fated universe passed in review, animals fat and lean, jaded and fiery, old big-bellied nags with long necks and prominent backbones and heads sagging with each step toward the ground under the burden of unceasing tribulation; prosperous-looking brutes that gave manifest proof of good crops and bank deposits. Look at that brood-mare; she has weaned many a colt and therefore carries her head high and surveys the world with maternal eyes.


Here and there you can pick out fjord ponies with ragged haunches, stamping against the grade and sweating with the weight of the heavy gig, some of them so small that they make you think of mice. There comes a big old bay with huge watery eyes and quivering knees, looking about as if to ask why there is no Sabbath for the likes of him. Don`t miss the physiognomies of those virtuous, censorious fillies proclaiming the vanity of vanities, and just behind them wild young gallants neighing at the world in general.

Have a look at that bay gelding. Why is his belly all spattered with mud? That`s easy. He is from a mountain farm; early this morning he had to wade through heath and marsh, across brooks and rivers on the way to the parish below, where his master could borrow a cart. He has another tough time coming before he gets back home. Talk about long processions! But what has become of Peter Lo? Where is Skobelef?

At last, there someone comes driving behind all the others. He is still far away beyond the farmhouses. Never mind, he is gaining ground at a pretty smart pace. Hundreds of eyes are fixed in rapt attention.

The church bells rang out. Most of the horses had been unhitched and were tied to the big ash trees; there they stood with their heads buried in bags of hay, grinding at their dinners and gazing absently about. All of a sudden they jerked their heads up, and even the most raw-boned skates made shift to arch their necks as they stared down the road.

Enter Peter Lo. Enter Skobelef.

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Skobelef part 2

We boys used to stand outside the church and do as our elders did— size up the people that arrived after us. We judged by appearances, and they all knew it. The cripple made himself look smaller than ever so as to hide in the crowd; the dandies ran the gauntlet of both friendly and unfriendly eyes, and pretty women looked down and smiled. We youngsters searched the gathering throng for someone to admire, some heroic figure we should like to resemble when we ourselves one day should be grown up.

There was the new teacher, for instance, stalking along in his homespun with his coat buttoned tight, with a white necktie, top hat, and umbrella. He was at least one stage above the farmer. Not a doubt about it, we too were going to attend the normal school. §0 we thought, at any rate, until a butcher came up from the city, wearing a suit of blue duffle, a white waistcoat with a gold watch-chain, cuffs, a dazzling white collar, and a straw hat. He was a perfect revelation. With such an exemplar before us it was easy to decide that we were to become butcher`s apprentices as soon as we were old enough.

Day dreams

Many were the magnates that paraded through our day dreams. Still it was with no ordinary emotion that we laid eyes for the first time on a city lawyer. His was a truly royal presence. Even his nose had its appropriate ornament, a pair of gold eye-glasses. Our ambitions soared beyond all bounds. Whatever our hopes of higher education might be, most of us were bent on carrying our studies far enough to impair our vision and so to justify the use of gold-rimmed glasses.

Then came Skobelef. And Skobelef was a horse.

For weeks busy little feet had been bringing the tidings to all corners of the parish. Peter Lo had bought a registered stallion that was not simply a horse but a whole Arabian Nights` entertainment. It took six men to lead him ashore from the steamer. Only one man could have turned the trick alone, and that was Peter Lo himself. For the most part the horse walked on his hind legs. He kept whinnying even in his sleep. He was so fierce that he had already killed a number of men. His name was Skobelef. And what do you suppose they fed him? It was neither hay nor oats nor bran; not much! Skobelef`s fodder was nothing less than eggnog, made with whiskey, at that. It was common talk that Peter Lo and the stallion munched this provender together out of the same crib. They required stimulants, the two of them.

To return to that particular Sunday—we were standing at the church keeping an impatient lookout across the parish. Peter Lo was bound for the house of worship, driving none other than Skobelef himself.

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Skobelef part 1

Johan Bojer (1872—1959)

Born at Orkedalsovan, Bojer spent much of his early life in the rural districts of his country. He became interested in politics as a young man, and his first book was a satirical work with a political background. His most significant works (though he also wrote a few plays) are his novels and tales. Among the former the best known are The Great Hunger And The Power of A Lie. He travelled widely.

His short story, Skobelef translated by Sigurd B. Hustvedt, appeared originally in the American-Scandinavian Review, July, 1922, and is here reprinted by permission of the editor.


Skobelef was a horse.

This was in the days when the church bells of a Sunday morning sent out their summons, not over moribund highways and slumberous farmsteads, but over a parish waiting to be wakened into life by the sustained, solemn calling of those brazen tongues. The bells rang, rang, till the welkin rang again:

Come, come,

Old and young,

Old and young,

Rich man, poor man,

Dalesman, fisherman, man from the hills,

The forest, the fields,

The strand, the fells,

Mads from Fallin, and Anders from Berg,

And Ola from Rein,

And Mette from Naust,

And Mari and Kari from Densta-lea,

Lea, lea,

Come, come,

Come, come,


And so the roads grew black with people on their way to church, some walking and some riding. Old codgers wheezed past, stick in one hand, hat in the other, their coats under their arms, and their gray homespun trousers tucked into boots shiny with grease. The women trundled along carrying shawls and hymn-books, and scenting the breeze with their perfumed handkerchiefs.

Out on the lake, bordered with hills and farms, appeared row-boats driven over the water by sturdy oarsmen; from across the fjord swept the sail-boats; far up in the mountains it seemed as if the cattle even stopped grazing; and the boy who was watching them put the- goat-horn to his lips and blew a stout blast down toward the folks at home. In those times Sunday was both holy day and holiday.

Looking back after these many years, I have a vivid impression that all the world was sunshine and green forests on a day like that. The old church, brown with tar, standing amidst the crowns of mighty trees, seemed then to be more than just a building; there was something supernatural about it, as if it knew all there was to be known. Many hundreds of years had passed over it. It had seen the dead when they were still alive, when they went to church like ourselves.

The surrounding graveyard was a little village of wooden crosses and stone slabs; and the grass grew wild between the leaning monuments. We knew well enough that the sexton mowed it and fed it to his cows; so that when we got a drink of milk at his house we felt as if we were quaffing the very souls of the departed, a kind of angelic milk from which we drew transcendental virtues with every draft.

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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.

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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.

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Private Balkan trip

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.

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Our private Balkan trip travels around the Balkan countries and enjoys their most interesting, attractive and `have-great-stories-to-tell` places.

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Galgano part 4

No longer venturing to refuse, he sent a grateful answer back that he would very willingly attend. And having heard tidings of Messer Stricca`s departure for Perugia, he set out at a favorable hour in the evening, and speedily arrived at the the house of the lady to whom he had been so long and so vainly attached.

“Checking his steed in full career, he threw himself off, and the next moment found himself in her presence, falling at her feet and saluting her with the most respectful and graceful carriage. She took him joyously by the hand, bidding him a thousand tender welcomes, and setting before him the choicest fruits and refreshments of the season.

Then inviting him to be seated, he was served with the greatest variety and splendor; and more delicious than all, the bright lady herself presided there, no longer frowning and turning away when he began to breathe the story of his love and sufferings into her ear. Delighted .and surprised beyond his proudest hopes, Galgano was profuse in his expressions of gratitude and regard, though he could not quite conceal his wonder at this happy and unexpected change; entreating, at length, as a particular favor, that she would deign to acquaint him with its blessed cause. `That willl do soon,` replied the glowing beauty;

`I will tell you every word, and wherefore did I send for you`; and she looked into his face with a serene and pure yet somewhat mournful countenance. `Indeed,` returned her lover, a little perplexed, `words can never tell half of what I felt, dear lady, when I heard you had this morning sent for me, after having desired and followed you for so long a time in vain.` `Listen to me, and I will tell you, Galgano; but first sit a little nearer to me, for, alas!

My husband replied

I love you. A few days ago, you know, you passed near our house when hawking, and my husband told me that he saw you, and invited you in to supper, but you would not come. At that moment your hawk sprang and pursued its prey, when seeing the noble bird make such a gallant fight, I inquired to whom it belonged, and my husband replied, “To whom should it belong but to the most excellent young man in Siena”; and that it did well to resemble you, as he had never met a more pleasing and accomplished gentleman.

`Did he—did he say that?` interrupted her lover. `He did indeed, and much more, praising you to me over and over; until hearing it, and knowing the tenderness you have long borne me, I could not resist the temptation of sending for you hither`; and, half blushes, half tears, she confessed that she was no longer indifferent to him, and that such was the occasion of it. `Can the whole of this be true?` exclaimed Galgano. `Alas! too true,` she replied. `I know not how it is, but I wish he had not praised you so.` After struggling with himself a few moments, the unhappy lover withdrew his hand from hers, saying, `Now God forbid that I should do the least wrong to one who has so nobly expressed himself, and who has ever shown so much kindness and courtesy to me.`

Then suddenly rising, as with an effort, from his seat, he took a gentle farewell of the lady, not without some tears shed on both sides; both loving, yet respecting each other. Never afterwards did this noble youth allude to the affair in the slightest way, but always treated Messer Stricca with the utmost regard and reverence during his acquaintance with the family.”

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Galgano part 3

The moment the latter had turned his back, our poor lover began to upbraid himself bitterly for not availing himself of the invitation, exclaiming, `What a wretch am I not to accept such an offer as this! I should at least have seen her—her whom from my soul I cannot help loving beyond all else in the world.`

“As he thus went, meditating upon the same subject along his solitary way, it chanced that he sprung a large jay, on which he instantly gave his hawk the wing, which pursuing its quarry into Messer Stricca`s gardens and there striking true, the ensuing struggle took place. Hearing the hawk`s cry, both he and his lady ran towards the garden balcony, in time to see, and were surprised at the skill and boldness of the bird in seizing and bringing down its game. Not in the least aware of the truth, the lady inquired of her husband to whom the bird belonged.

Messer Stricca

`Mark the hawk,` replied Messer Stricca; `it does its work well; it resembles its master, who is one of the handsomest and most accomplished young men in Siena, and a very excellent young fellow, too; —yes, it does well.` `And who may that be?` said his wife, with a careless- air. `Who,` returned he, `but the noble Galgano—the same, love, who just now passed by. I wish he had come in to sup with us, but he would not. He is certainly one of the finest and best-tempered men I ever saw.` And so saying, he rose from the window, and they went to supper. Galgano, in the meanwhile, having given his hawk the call, quietly pursued his way; but the praises lavished upon him by her husband made an impression upon the lady`s mind such as the whole of his previous solicitations had failed to produce.

However strange, she dwelt upon them long and tenderly. It happened that about this very time, Messer Stricca was chosen ambassador from the Sienese to the people of Perugia, and setting out in all haste, he was compelled to take a sudden leave of his lady. I am sorry to have to observe that the moment the cavalcade was gone by, recalling the idea of her noble lover, the lady likewise’ despatched an embassy to our young friend, entreating him, after the example of her husband, to favor her with his company in the evening.

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Galgano part 2

A prey to the excessive cruelty and indifference of one dearer to him than his own life, who neither noticed nor listened to him, he still followed her like her shadow, contriving to be near her at every party, whether a bridal or a christening, a funeral or a play. Long and vainly, with love-messages after love-messages, and presents after presents, did he sue; but never would the noble lady deign to receive or listen to them for a moment, ever bearing herself more reserved and harshly as he more earnestly pressed the ardor of his suit.

Unhappily dwelling

“It was thus his fate to remain subject to this very irksome and over-whelming passion until, wearied out, at length he would break into words of grief and bitterness against his `bosom`s lord`. `Alas! dread master of my destiny,` he would say, `O Love! can you behold me thus wasting my very soul away, ever loving but never beloved again? See to it, dread lord, that you are not, in so doing, offending against your own laws!` And so, unhappily dwelling upon the lady`s cruelty, he seemed fast verging upon despair; then again humbly resigning himself to the yoke he bore, he resolved to await some interval of grace, watching, however vainly, for some occasion of rendering himself more pleasing to the object he adored.

“Now it happened that Messer Stricca and his consort went to pass some days at their country seat near Siena; and it was not long before the lovesick Galgano was observed to cross their route, to hang upon their skirts, and to pass along the same way, always with the hawk upon his hand, as if violently set upon bird-hunting.

Often, indeed, he passed so close to the villa where the lady dwelt, that one day being seen by Messer Stricca, who recognized him, he was very familiarly entreated to afford them the pleasure of his company; `and I hope`, added Messer Stricca, `that you will stay the evening with us.` Thanking his friend very kindly for the invitation, Galgano, strange to say, at the same time begged to be held excused, pleading another appointment, which he believed—he was sorry—he was obliged to keep. `Then,` added Messer Stricca, `at least step in and take some little refreshment`: to which the only reply returned was, `A thousand thanks, and farewell, Messer Stricca, for I am in haste.`

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