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Basil II part 1

Basil II 976 – 1025

1. The circumstances in which the emperor John Tzimisces met his death have already been described (in the history of Leo Diaconus).**1 Basil and Constantine, the sons of Romanus,**2 were now the legitimate heirs to an Empire which through the efforts of their predecessor had won many triumphs and greatly increased its power.

2. Both princes had seen the last of their boyhood days, but their interests lay far apart, for whereas Basil, the elder of the two, always gave an impression of alertness, intelligence, and thoughtfulness, his brother was to all appearances apathetic, passing a lazy existence, and devoted to a life of luxury. It was natural, therefore, that they should abandon the idea of a diarchy. By mutual consent all real power was vested in Basil, and Constantine was associated with him as emperor in name only.

It was a wise decision, for if the Empire was to be well governed it was essential that the older and more ex

The Priest’s Tale part 8

I josep time in going up to his room, and fortunately found him in one of his intervals of quiet. He was sitting on the floor with his elbows on his knees and his head in his hands. The furniture was all in dis- order, and broken dishes were lying about. I admit I was a little frightened. It was rash to go in alone, but I could not turn back even if I had wished; so I went up to him, and laying my hand on his head repeated a prayer.

‘When I was done he made the sign of the cross, and kissed my hand. ‘You are not very comfortable here, my dear Christos,’ said I. Come, let us go to your uncle’s; the house is empty, and you’ll be better there. Won’t you come?’

“He rose without a word, and then said quietly: ‘I don’t want anybody to see me; please ask them to stay away.’

“I opened the door, and although there was no one there, I cried

“‘Go away, all of you; go home!—There, Christos, the street is empty; let us go.’<

The Priest’s Tale part 7

These causes of themselves often produce tetanus, and hydrophobia and tetanus have many points of resemblance. This is what the doctors tell us. But what good does that do, it they cannot give us at the same time some means of controlling or getting rid of this secret fear? I am waiting to hear from our medical friends on this point. But I beg your pardon, father, for interrupting.

Without ever having read anything of the kind,” replied the priest, “I have often thought of that.

“Meanwhile the weeks passed by, and the peasants were beginning to forget what had happened, or at least had stopped talking about it, when suddenly one morning toward the end of September the boy’s father came to tell me that Christos was not well.

‘ ‘What’s the matter with him?’

“ ‘I don’t know; he’s feverish, and has no appetite.’

Little milk

“I went to see him without delay, and found him lying on the floor wPh his

The Priest’s Tale part 6

“With great difficulty I managed to persuade Christos and the men or rather women—who surrounded him, and it was at last decided to take him to Athens. He wanted to put off going until the next day; but I insisted, and finally prevailed upon him to start at once, by offering to go with him. So we mounted our donkeys and set out. The neighbors’ wives showered good wishes upon us, but it was easy to see that they thought medical skill a poor substitute for the virtues of the mad plant.

“We reached Athens very late; I left Christos at the hospital, and returned to my parsonage in the middle of the night.

“As I said before, all this happened on Monday. Thursday Christos came home, still suffering from the cauterization, but he seemed well otherwise, and in a few days the burns were quite healed.

“But the peasants had no confidence in hospital treatment. Their fears arose not from the delay in cauterizing the wounds, but from the failure to apply

The Priest’s Tale part 5

Would you believe that in all the villages of this district there is not a single doctor, or even a pharmacy! I do not know if anything of the kind has been printed at Athens, but certainly we have never had here any book or pamphlet giving directions how to avoid or cure the commonest diseases—I do not mean hydrophobia, but the simple ailments of which our little children die. But never mind that now; those things will come in time.

“When Christos came home leaning on the old man’s shoulder, wounded and bloody, with his clothes torn, the whole village was in commotion. I was told at once of what had happened, and went to see him. He lived with his father in that little house in the street by the church. On the ground-floor there is a storeroom and an oil-press, while above there are two small chambers, which are reached by a stairway built on the outside facing the road.”

“Where the schoolmaster lives now?” asked Andrew.

“Yes, that’s th

The Priest’s Tale part 4

“Of all the young men of the village, Christos was the tallest; he was strong and fearless—a true pallicare; and, as we all know, danger often makes even the coward brave. Suddenly he dropped his right arm and tightly squeezed the wolf’s neck under his armpit, while with his left he clutched her head and tried to strangle her.

“The struggle was frightful. The teeth .and claws of the mad beast dug into the poor fellow’s side; he could not use his knife, because to draw it from his girdle he would have had to let go the wolf’s neck, which he still held with his left hand. He could not move his right arm without loosening his vise-like grasp upon her, and he dared not call for help, for he knew too well that he had no strength to waste in shouting.

“At last they fell to the ground, clasped in a horrible embrace. Christos was on the top, but the wolf had her head free against his breast, and she tore it savagely, in her efforts to release herself.

The Priest’s Tale part 3

“Thirteen years have passed since then—it was about the middle of August. For several days it had been rumored that a wolf was prowling near the village. Old Mitros,.who had built his little cottage that same year close by ‘The Eyrie,’ told how he had been awakened one night by the barking of his dog, and opening his window had seen an enormous wolf outside his garden wall. He had snatched his gun and fired, but failed to kill the beast, and saw it reeling away in the moonlight with its tail down. He was too frightened to reload and fire a second time. The shepherds told of a similar encounter, so that the village was full of rumors that we had a dangerous wolf in the neighborhood, and the peasants slept with one eye open, always thinking of their flocks.

“The danger was even greater than they knew, for it was not a mere hungry wolf that they had to deal with, but a she-wolf—-and mad.

Monday Christos

“One afternoon—-it was a Monday—C

The Priest’s Tale part 2

Perceiving this, my brother-in-law sent him out of the room, in spite of his master’s ill-concealed discontent.

Quiet was once more restored, and conversation began again with renewed activity. Naturally we spoke of the exile and his various qualities—of his breed in particular and of dogs generally. One thing led to another, and the subject of hydrophobia finally came up. Andrew showed a lively interest in the matter, and asked the village priest, who was one of the guests, if he had known of many mad dogs in the country.

“No, not many, but they are by no means unknown, replied it ather Seraphim; and among others he told us of a fine dog he had been obliged to kill because he believed it to be mad.

Andrew kept interrupting the priest with questions; how did Father Seraphim know that the dog was mad? how had it become mad? what had it done? how did he kill it?

The boy’s inquiries and the father’s courteous replies gave me no little i

The Priest’s Tale part 1

Modern Greece

Introduction

Seventeen or at last two centuries there has been a continuous and at times A brilliant literary activity in the land of Sophocles, and the work of the Nineteenth Century, both in quantity and quality, compares favorably with that of the other Balkan states. But even the Greeks themselves admit that it is scarcely possible to regard the modern writers without thinking of the ancient past, and that this past is in many respects a serious handicap to the development of a wholly new and original tradition.

The Nineteenth Century Greeks have taken the short story and made it the chief vehicle of their life and thought. This may be accounted for by the fact that the form is primarily a modern product, little used by the ancients, and consequently offered a free field to the writer who sought to express himself with more or less originality.

Most of the Greek story writers are chiefly concerned with the life of their o

The Story of Saidjah part 12

An old woman led him to her cottage. She would take care of the piteous fool. His laugh gradually became less horrible, but he still spoke no word. During the night the inmates of the hut were frightened by the sound of his voice. He sang out monotonously: “I don’t know where I shall die!”

Some of the natives collected a little money in order to offer a sacrifice to the crocodile of the Tji-Udjiung, in order to cure Saidjah, whom they thought insane. But he was not insane, for on a certain night when the moon was extraordinarily clear, he rose from his couch and quietly left the hut, and sought out the place where Adinda’s house had stood. It was not easy to find it, for many houses had fallen down. But he recognized the spot by looking at the rays of moonlight that filtered down through the trees, as sailors measure their positions by lighthouses and mountain-tops.

That was the spot. There had Adinda lived!

Stumbling over half-decayed bamboos a

The Story of Saidjah part 11

He would wait. …

But what if she were ill—dead?

Like a wounded stag he flew along the pathway toward the village. He saw nothing and heard nothing. Normally he would have heard, fiir there were men standing in the road at the entrance to the village, Who cried out, “Saidjah, Saidjah!”

Was it his eagerness, or what, that prevented his finding Adinda’s house? He had already run to the end of the village, and as if mad, he turned back, beating his head in despair to think that he had passed her house. But he soon found himself back at the entrance of the village, and—was it a dream! Again he had missed the house. Once more he flew back and suddenly stood still, and took his head in both hands to press out the madness that stunned him.

“Drunk, drunk!” he exclaimed. “I am drunk!”

The women of Badoer came out of their houses and saw with sorrow poor Saidjah standing there, for they knew that he had been looking for

The Story of Saidjah part 10

Saidjah had never learned to pray, and it would have been a pity to teach him: a more devout prayer and a more fervent expression of gratitude than his would have been impossible. He would not to go Badoer: actually to see her again was not so wonderful as to await her coming. He sat down at the foot of the Ketapan, and his eyes wandered over the landscape. Nature smiled at him, and seemed to welcome him like a mother.

Saidjah was overjoyed at seeing again so many spots that reminded him of his earlier life. Though his eyes and thoughts wandered, his longing always reverted to the path which leads from Badoer to the Ketapan tree. His senses were wholly alive to Adinda.

He saw the abyss to the left, where the earth was yellow, the spot where once a young buffalo had sunk down to the depths: they had all descended there with strong rattan cords, and Adinda’s father had been the bravest of the rescue party.

More fragile than Adinda

How Ad

The Story of Saidjah part 9

Who would now be living in her father’s house? Then he thought of his childhood, and his mother, and how the buffalo had saved him from the tiger, of what would have become of Adinda if the buffalo had not been so faithful. He watched the sinking of the stars, and as each disappeared, he calculated how much nearer he was to Adinda. For she would certainly come at the first beam—at daybreak she would be there. Why had she not come the day before?

He was hurt that she had not anticipated the supreme moment that had lighted his soul for three years with indescribable brightness; unjust as he was in his selfishness, it seemed to him that Adinda ought to have been waiting for him. He complained unjustly, for the sun had not yet risen. But the stars were growing pale, and strange colors floated over the mountain tops, which appeared darker as they contrasted sharply with places elsewhere illuminated.

Here and there something glowed in the east—arrows of gold and

The Story of Saidjah part 8

No, he had sublime visions in his mind’s eye. He looked for the Ketapan tree in the clouds when he was still far from Badoer. He caught at the air as if to embrace the form that was to meet him under the tree.

He pictured to himself the face of Adinda, her head, her shoulders, saw the heavy chignon, black and glossy, confined in a net, hanging down her back; her large eyes glistening in dark reflection, the nostrils raised so proudly as a child (was it possible?), when he had vexed her; and the corner of her lips, when she smiled; and finally, her breasts, now doubtless swelling under her shawl.

He could imagine her saying to him, “Welcome, Saidjah! I have thought of you as I was spinning and weaving and ‘ stamping the rice on the floor which shows three times twelve lines cut by my hand. And I am under the Ketapan the first day of the new moon. Welcome, Saidjah! I will be your wife.”

That was the music that resounded in his ears and preve

The Story of Saidjah part 7

He arrived at Batavia, and asked a certain gentleman to take him into his service, which the gentleman did, because Saidjah spoke no Malay—an advantage there, for servants who do not understand that language are not so corrupt as the others, who have been longer in touch with the Europeans. But Saidjah soon learned Malay, though he behaved well, for he always remembered the two buffaloes he was going to buy. He grew tall and strong, because he ate every day—not always the case at Badoer.

In the stable he was liked, and would certainly not have been rejected if he had asked the hand of the coachman’s daughter. His master liked him so much that he soon promoted him to be a house servant, increased his wages, and continually made him presents, to show how pleased he was.

Saidjah’s mistress had read Sue’s novel, so popular for a short while, and always thought of Prince Djalma when she saw Saidjah, and the young girls, too, understood better than before w

The Story of Saidjah part 6

Neither on the first nor the second day had he realized how lonely he was, because he was captivated by the grand idea of earning money enough to buy two buffaloes, whereas his lather had never had more than one, and was too excited over the prospect of seeing Adinda again to grieve over his departure. He had left her in anxious hope. The prospect of seeing her again so occupied his heart that on leaving Badoer and passing the tree, he felt something akin to joy, as if the thirty-six moons were already past.

It had seemed that he had only to turn round to see Adinda waiting for him. But the further he went, the more did he realize the length of the period before him. There was something in his soul, that made him walk more slowly—he felt an affliction in his knees, and though it was not dejection that overcame him it was a mournful sadness. He thought of returning, but what would Adinda think of his want of courage?

Recapture that calmness

Therefo

The Story of Saidjah part 5

“I will gladly marry you, Saidjah, when you come back. I will spin and weave sarongs and slendangs, and be very diligent all the while.” “Oh, I believe you, Adinda, but—if I find you already married?” “Saidjah, you know very well I will marry nobody but you. My father promised me to your father.”

“And you yourself—?”

“I shall marry you, you may be sure of that.”

“When I come back, I will call from afar off.”

“Who will hear it, if we are stamping rice in the village?”

“That is true, but Adinda—oh, yes, this is better: wait for me in the wood, under the Ketapan, where you gave me the Melatti flowers.” “But, Saidjah, how am I to know when I am to go to the Ketapan?” Saidjah considered a moment and said: “Count the moons. I shall stay away three times twelve moons, not counting this moon. See, Adinda, at every new moon cut a notch in your rice block on the floor. When you have cut three times t

The Story of Saidjah part 4

Afterwards she hoped that the buffalo understood her, for he must have known why she wept when he was taken away, and that it was not Saidjah’s mother who caused him to be slaughtered. Some days afterward, Saidjah’s father fled out of the country, for he was afraid of being punished for not paying his taxes, and he had no other heirlooms to sell with which to buy another buffalo.

His parents had left him but few things. However, he went on for some years after the loss of his last buffalo by working with hired animals: but that is a very unre- munerative labor, and moreover sad for one who has had buffaloes of his own.

Saidjah’s mother died of grief, and his father, irt a moment of dejection, left Bantam to find work in the Buitenzorg district. But he was punished with stripes because he had left Lebak without a passport, and brought back by the police to Badoer. There he was put in prison, because he was supposed to be mad, which I can well believe, and i