Archive for Stephen Graham

Mystery

Posted in Caucasus, English, Poetry, Stories and Tales with tags , , on 2009-06-03 by candycactus

“Some have entirely forgotten the lost heritage and the mystery of their abandonment; their games absorbed them, they have become gamblers, they have theories of chance, their talk is all of Progress of one sort or another. They forget the great mystery of life. We tramps and wanderers remember.”

“The town is one large house of which all the little houses are rooms.
The streets are the stairs. Those who live always in the town are
never out of doors even if they do take the air in the streets.”

“Then the spirit drove me into the wilderness to my mountains and
valleys, by the side of the great sea and by the haunted forests. Once
more the vast dome of heaven became the roof of my house, and within
the house was rebuilded that which my soul called beautiful. There I
refound my God, and my being re-expressed itself to itself in terms of
eternal Mysteries. I vowed I should never again belong to the town.”

“I never knew in advance where I should make my night couch; for I was Nature’s guest
and my hostess kept her little secrets. Each night a new secret was
opened, and in the secret lay some pleasant mystery.”

from “A Tramp’s Sketches” by Stephen Graham, a guy who hunded years ago was a tramp in Caucasus. His writings are like medicine healing the sadness being once in a while back in what they call civilization. I am back in Tbilisi, suffocating of cars, dust and noise. Will escape soon. Mountains are close.

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Mr Adam

Posted in Caucasus, Stories and Tales, World Bike Trip with tags , , , , on 2007-02-19 by candycactus

sita pasaka radau tbilisio bibliotekoj. per tris ejimus tenais galejau pagaliau ja issikopijuoti, nes elektronınes versıjos nera. tada vezıaus ı turkıja. tada sıaıp ne taıp gavau ta savo klavıatura, kurıos laukıau kelıas savaıtes ır dabar aute naktı sukalıau. popıerıu ısmesıu dabar, taı kurpıne palenves.

o adomo ıstroja, kurıa tas stephen graham parase tınka tıek, kad man jı tapo vısıskaı mylımıausıa pasaka. o dargı esu dabar antıochıjoj senojoj. vısaı netolı nuo tarıamos adomo tevynes. yra teorıja, kad adomo, beı prımuju zmonıu cıa buta butent dabartınıam turkıjos hakkarı.

ilga ıstorıja, tai gal atsispausdykit geriau 

Stehen Graham ‘A Vagabond in Caucasus’ (1911) 

Mr Adam

Tramps often bring blessings to men. They are very brotherly; they have given up the causes of quarrels. Perhaps sometimes they are a little divine. God’s grace comes down upon them. Certainly one day I met a noble tramp, an Eden tramp. He came upon me at dawn with a wood smile on his old face. He was one of the society of tramps, he knew all
Russia, its places and peoples, and he called himself Mr Adam. Why did he adopt that name? These were questions he was not in a hurry to answer. They involved story. Such a story! It sounded in my ears like a secret melody of the world. But first let me say how I met this most jovial wayfarer. I had slept one night by the side of the road among nettles and thistles. My pillow was a stone, my bed soft, dusty earth. I was so near to the rod hat the lumbersome, cracking ox-carts, that approached and passed in the night, seemed within arm’s reach – so near, that I felt the movement in the air as they passed.Horses snorted uneasily now and then, and once in the early morning a dog came snuffing among the herbage after me. It was a night of dew and dust. I do not suppose I slept more than three hours, but it did not seem a long night. The approach of dawn came as a surprise to me. I was glad to think it was dawn even if it should turn out to be an illusion. My bed was cold and fresh, my eyes seemed clammy and sticky, as if spun together with gossamer threads, my forehead was heavy as iron, my body seemed long and ponderous as that of a trold. Everything in me waited for the sun. A night on the mountains gives its peculiar refreshment, it nurses each limb in cold, dewy air, and transmits its influence in cold thrills into the very depths of one. I sat up and surveyed the scene in the half light and what was my surprise to see an apparently monstrous figure of a man coming toward me along the road. I almost feared him, but soon I saw his peculiar smile of geniality and my fears gave away. This was Mr. Adam. He came up to me as if he had known me from the cradle. The usual greeting and question passed, and then he pulled out of his ragged overcoat a chunk of bread and some hard white cheese, and sat down on a stone with the evident intention of breakfasting. I bade him wait whilst I filled my kettle. Whilst I went to get water he lit a fire. We had a very cheery meal. He cut his bread and cheese with a rusty dagger! He told me how he came to take the name of Adam, in memory of an old companion of the road who made a poor woman in Vladikavkaz very happy. This is the story. There was a man named Peter who died, leaving a widow and three children. The woman was very young and had a baby at her breast and was without money. When she had paid for priest and coffin there was little left her. Her husband ad been a writer in a railway office, he wrote envelopes and copied letters He only received forty rubles a month and as very improvident. Though perhaps it was not he, but Society, that was improvident, for his wife was a good woman and her children worthy. And when one is young one does not expect to die. Anna, for such was her name, had to leave the house where Peter had died. She had to step down in the world. She took one room in a little cottage, and lived there, and waited to starve. Neighbors helped her, but they were very poor, and her babes, like young birds in the nest, all stretched out their mouths to her and cried. It was a bare room. The family slept upon the floor. There was an old table that had been lent to them, and a stove and a box. In a corner the Ikon picture gleamed. The woman was little clothed, and the children showed their little bodies. So much had been sold to get a little money for food that even the samovar was not seen. Neighbors coming in held up their hands in pity for their poverty.But their fortune changed a little, for one day a strange chance befell. Anna had made a fire between some stones in the yard of the cottage, and was cooking a mixture in a pot when a ragged old man came up and begged a taste of the soup. She looked at him and thought how strange it was that anyone sod beg of her, and then she refused him, saying, “I am as poor as you, good man,, and my soup is bad, for it s what I have myself gathered. I took my pot to the market and begged. It is the first time, and it feels very strange. Everyone knew I did not beg for money, only for food. Some put in fruit, and some poured in milk, others threw in biscuits, near the butchers’ line I got a piece of eat, and by the vegetable stalls I picked up some cabbage leaves and an old cucumber. It is very well. I shall go every morning and we shall not starve. Only the soup is for us and it will not be good for others. The old man was tall and very hairy, one could scarcely see his face for hair, and through the rents of his ragged red shirt one saw his brown hairy chaste. His overcoat was of many colors and many cloths; he had evidently sewn into it whatever cloth he had picked up during many wanderings, and he had an it in many muds and soils, and the stains remained. His legs were tied up I in sack like trees protected for the winter, and his boots, which he had made himself without leather, were little bags of wool and shavings and grasses and dandelion down. He was not, however, the least ashamed. He did not reply to Anna’s refusal for some minutes, but he stood watching, fumbling among his rags, and she wished he would go away. But going away was not part f his intention. He slowly brought out a large iron spoon and, to the vexation of the woman, knelt down on the ground and peered into the pot. Then he gave his reply. “When Christ is near, water becomes wine,” and with that he skimmed the simmering liquid and lifted a spoonful to his mouth. “It’s tasty,” said he; “awfully tasty – really amazingly tasty.” Anna smiled and answered simply “I’m glad you like it, grandfather.” Grandfather took another spoonful and smacked his lips. “You know,” said he, “this is quite out of the way; it is very original; knew it was very good soup, it was speaking so well. I heard its voice far away. It called to me, it sang. What do you say to it, my dear, if I dine with you to-night?” Anna looked up at him appealingly. “No,’ said she, ‘pass by. We are very poor, and this is all we have to eat; it is too poor for any guest. Dear old man, go away.”
“Oh, no! I don ‘t think so. This sort of soup a king would be glad to eat. It is the sort kings can’t get. You might even make a great fortune if you sent a sealed tin of this to the Tsar. The Tsar’s cook is a great friend of mine; if you could get on the right side of him you’d never wan for a piece of eat to throw in the soup. But I advise you, don’t part with he recipe, it’s worth its weight in gold. And now, what do you say to having me as a boarder? Yes, surely as God rules over everything why shouldn’t I stay here? How much shall I pay? Well, never mind, you make this soup each day and then you can save al the money.” Anna now felt seriously troubled. An old ragged man could be no help to her; he could not pay her anything, and she would be poorer than before. She pinched up her pretty lips into a bunch, and frowned and shook her head violently; it would never do. “No grandfather, I couldn’t take you; we are very poor and you are even poorer than we are.” Thereupon the old an laughed exuberantly, and his eyes shone like those of Santa Claus. “I know, I know, I know,” said he. “What do you know, grandfather?”
The old man laughed again and then pulled out a large volume, old and rusty-leaved. It as a Bible, and he opened it between the Old Testament and the New, and there were money notes for seven hundred roubles. “That’s what,” said he. “My wages for clearing the clouds of the sky for the Sultan of Turkey – for you twelve rubles amonth and you needn’t spend a penny of it, for we shall live on such soup as this.” Anna meekly bade him welcome, wondering who he might be in disguise. Some great man, surely, she thought for he seemed very highly connected. “What is your name, grandfather?” said she, as he stumped into her room and sat down on the box, and took little Foma on one knee and Mania and the other. “What is may name?” said he. “Ho, ho, ho,” and he laughed. “That’s a good joke. It is a long, long while since anyone asked me my name. I’ve heard so many names; they were so like mine that I got confused long ago, and it wasn’t worth while remembering. What do you think, little Fomitchka? And you’ll be asking where I come from. Really, I don’t know. How many provinces are there in
Russia? Thousands surely. One day I slipped out of my own province and lost myself and kept coming t new provinces, always new names, and the places just looked the same. You know it says in the Bible Adam was the first man; Mr Adam, then came Mr. Cain Adam and Mr. Abeol Adam, and Mr. Seth Adam. You call me Mr. Adam.”
“A-dam, grandpa,” said little Foma.
So the ragged old man with the money and the Bible and the spoon came and lived with them. They all lied together, slept in the same room, and ate from the same table. Every morning Anna went to the market with her pot and collected food, and ever evening she boiled soup on the stones, while grandfather dipped his finger or s spoon into the stew and tasted it approvingly. Every Sunday she received three rubles from him and put them by. It was strange; they lived as poorly now as they had done before. So poorly they lived that they only had tea once a week, and they led it in a saucepan and had I without sugar. Grandfather had produced a partly-used two-ounce packet of tea from his overcoat. Yet this tea-party was something glorious – a strange weekly happiness to be anticipated even six days ahead. Anna ceased to feel anxious, and the children grew rounder and happier, though it was difficult to see how had come to be. They were being fed by something more that soul; perhaps, as they scrambled abut grandfather’s knees and listened to his stores, they were enchanted a little. Anna looked at them and wondered. Grandfather has tramped through sun and rain, thought she – how dark and rich his hands are, like the black earth in the spring. Her little baby, that had done nothing but scream and look unhappy since it was born, had now begun to smile. It smiled at grandfather like a little evening gleam of sunshine after wet, wet days.
“Lizetchka,” her mother would exclaim. “Ah, Lizetchka! Little Lizetchka! My little angel!” then neighbors came in and they would have found fault and gossiped, but grandfather’s cheery way took their hearts b surprise. And the owner of the cottage, who was responsible, wanted to turn the old man out because he had no passport, and it was dangerous to harbour such a man; but he too, was won over; though he was mean, and had a wife meaner than himself, he contentedly took the risk. Sometimes his wife would urge him on against Anna and the old man, and he would go to them to say stern words; but when he came and saw the children, with their little finger tangled in grandfather’s hair, he would forget his message and laugh and say, “Oh, Mr Adam! Fancy you live here without a passport! It’s all right living so, eh?” So time went on, and no one disturbed the little menage of Anna and her three children and Mr Adam. Years passed and the old an ceased to be a surprise; nothing new happened; no one inquired after him; no one claimed him. He lived all the while in his rags, and read from the Bible and played with the children, and praised the soup, and made merry with the neighbors. Only once Anna has been sad. That was when she mended his torn shirt for him. She had often mended Peter’s clothes whilst he wore them on his body, and now and irresistible memory brought back the pathos of her loss. She wept a little and Adam comforted her, and as she looked through her tears at him she felt suddenly very grateful, and it seemed to her that perhaps Peter had sent this man to her to help her. Suddenly the thanks which had been mounting up in her heart overflowed, and as she finished sewing she put her arms round his neck and kissed him. The days of these years were strange days, the strangest of Anna’s life and in after years they seemed only few days, only a short, strange period of heavenly comfort. For the time came when she had Adam no more. He fell ill and died.
Mr Adam’s dead, said all the neighbors, and the felt very sad. “Mr Adam is dead,” said the owner’s wife. “Now you’ll see how foolish it is to have a man without a passport. What will the police say? You’ll have too put his dead body in a field for men to find, and then it will be said we murdered him.” “Grandpa dead,” said all the children and moped. But Anna felt very troubled. What was she to do with him, a man without a name, without family, without a village? A man who had over five hundred rubles in his bible! Poor Anna! Had she but had a little cunning she might have put by she five hundred rubles to be a little fortune for herself. Grandfather had died very suddenly or he would have told her to do so. Anna was simple enough to go and tell the police the story, and an official came, looked at the man, and took away the Bible saying he would have it examined. In the Bible lay the precious notes! Then Anna bought white robes and took off Adam’s rags, and washed his body, and laid him upon some clean boards, and bought a cheap coffin, and hired a man to dig a grave, and se went and buried him, and put a little Ikon on his breast, and held a lighted candle over his tomb, and sang the thrice-holy hymn, “Holy, holy, holy,’ and went home. Adam was no more; they were poor; the official never returned with the bible; no one asked about the missing passport. But what the greedy official had not guessed, and what Adam had never divulged, was that in his rags, in one of his man deep pockets, was secreted another sum of money, a thousand rubles. This Anna found, and was wiser than before, having leant from experience. To-day she keeps a little cookshop and is prosperous, and the peasants say that she, better than any of the wives in the village, knows how to make god soup.Such was the story the tramp td me. He liked telling it, and now, as I have repeated it, I find the same personality in the friend of the woman and in my acquaintance. Surely Adam did not really die, Adam never really dies.One other thing he said to e that remains; there are two Adams – he Adam before he tasted the fruit and the Adam after he had tasted. Most Russians retain their Eden happiness, but whenever one of the tastes of the tree of knowledge his old happiness is cursed; the time has come for him to leave Eden and seek the new happiness. Adam was the first modern man. The tramps have found the second Eden.

Batai su pasaka

Posted in Lietuviškai, Stories and Tales, World Bike Trip with tags , , , , on 2007-01-17 by candycactus

batai suplyso. batsiuvys, seneliukstis armenas, saldytuvo dydzio dirbtuvej taise, o as basa koja jo juoku klausiau. jis sake, kad vistiek jau naujus reiks pirkti. man vis dar sunku patiketi, nejaugi. as per daug prie ju pripratau. jis sako, zinai, poros nelaiko astuoniu metu, tai manai, kad batai atlaikys? nu ka gi, tiesa sako. bet sirijai ir jordanijai ir gruzijai pesciom gal uzteks vistik. tada jau vel bus vasara, kam tie batai.

seslus gyvenimas isiurbia, kad ji kur. tai net ir dabar sunku issiruost, visus galus uzraisiot, dantu sepetuka susirinkt. dvirati pastatau pas draugus ir tada jau raunu i pietus.

uztai su pasisaldejimu jau isivaizduoju, kaip grizus lankysiu cia savo visas pakiemiu bobutes ir batsiuvius ir kaip sunys mane cia atpazine apsokines. ir jau bus pavasaris su griaustiniais. planas yra cia vasara apeit viska pesciom, svanetija, adzarija, ir tada rugpjuti raut per centrine azija i kinija. paspaudus gaza.  

namai yra ten kur gera grizti gal. as jau visai gruzine, taip iseina. arba eskime. nes man ju pasakos patinka. va cia jum eskimu pasaka tokia.

THE TWO FRIENDS WHO SET OFF TO TRAVEL ROUND THE WORLD

ONCE there were two men who desired to travel round the world, that they might tell others what was the manner of it. This was in the days when men were still many on the earth, and there were people in all the lands. Now we grow fewer and fewer. Evil and sickness have come upon men. See how I, who tell this story, drag my life along, unable to stand upon my feet.

The two men who were setting out had each newly taken a wife, and had as yet no children. They made themselves cups of musk-ox horn, each making a cup for himself from one side of the same beast’s head. And they set out, each going away from the other, that they might go by different ways and meet again some day. They travelled with sledges, and chose land to stay and live upon each summer.

It took them a long time to get round the world; they had children, and they grew old, and then their children also grew old, until at last the parents were so old that they could not walk, but the children led them. And at last one day, they met—and of their drinking horns there was but the handle left, so many times had they drunk water by the way, scraping the horn against the ground as they filled them.

“The world is great indeed,” they said when they met.They had been young at their starting, and now they were old men, led by their children.

———–

va tokios yra tos eskimu pasakos. daugiau http://www.sacred-texts.com/nam/inu/eft/eft04.htm; o gal as ne eskime vistik. gal many gyvena