The Commissioner’s Christmas part 6

“Guess we, too, have to turn into moor-hens ’and wade out,” said Ondra thoughtfully, “or else—”

“Oh, you idiot! Just wait till we get out of this! I’ll break every bone in your body! We’ll drown here like rats! You ass!”

“No, we won’t drown, Mr. Commissioner, we won’t drown, don’t be afraid. In this darkness anyone would miss the way. Just be calm,” said Ondra, and began to examine the harness. Then he proceeded to buckle and unbuckle various straps, swearing loudly, tying, untying, cursing incessantly. Finally he resumed his place on the driver’s seat, swung his whip and shouted, “Vyee, there! Go on!”

The horses pulled and went forward. Suddenly one of them slipped loose from the shaft and staggered ahead in the mire, free of the har-ness. The other horse stood still with the coach.

“Ho, you! What’s happened now?” shrieked the commissioner.

“Stop, you! Dorcha, Dorcha!” called Ondra to th

The Commissioner’s Christmas part 5

“Whip ’em up! Hurry up! You lazybones! We’ll freeze to death!” shrieked the furious commissioner.

Ondra indifferently shouted to the horses and drowsily swung his whip over their heads, but as before they wearily, inertly dragged on the coach as if they had heard nothing at all.

Ondra was thinking of the miserable Stanoycho whose rye the com-missioner was going to confiscate early next morning.

“It was you brought me this misfortune, Ondra,” Stanoycho would say to him, and when he’d be through blaming him, he’d ask Ondra, to join his family in their meal, and then he’d weep. Yes, he would surely weep. Stanoycho’s heart was soft. Ondra knew that.

He must help the poor fellow, contrive to tell him to hide his rye overnight and sweep the granary clean, or else all the coming year he’d be stretching his lean ears in hunger. Yes, he must do something!

Nothing was distinguishable but mud—-deep, thick mud. The road l

The Commissioner’s Christmas part 4

“Stop your silly chatter and get along. It’s getting dark, and I’ve got to get back to celebrate Christmas with my family. You charge too much, you imp! Three leu for twenty kilometers! You surely know how to skin us. Hurry up, will you: drive faster or those jades of yours will go to sleep!”

“Vyee, there! Vyee, sirs!” shouted Ondra, swinging his whip in the air.

“Sirs, you call them? Sirs! Better call them ‘brothers,’ ” commented the commissioner in a rage.

“They’d resent that, Mr. Commissioner! I’d insult ’em if I didn’t call ’em sirs. Why, they’re regular gentlemen! Their service is official: they run on a regular schedule. In the morning they get up; at a certain hour we water them and give them their feed. Then we harness them up, they go, you might say, to their offices: they pull till evening. Have supper at a regular hour, drink water, ‘read the news,’ so to speak, and —sleep. Regular official life!”

The Commissioner’s Christmas part 3

The small coach slowly wallowed through the deep soft mud, wading in, wading out, twisting and turning. A loose board on the side of it constantly, monotonously, dismally and senselessly rattled and banged mercilessly on the nerves of the corpulent gentleman in the fur coat. Finally, losing all patience, he opened his collar, thrust out his fat face, and shouted: “What is that horrible rattle? Devil take it!”

“It’s only a loose clapboard, sir. It bangs away like a learned man : no sense to its rattle at all!”

“You’re clever, Ondra, very clever! You know how to fool the young girls, I’ll bet. You fellows marry young and have pretty wives.”

The gentleman thrust back the tall collar of his fur coat in his attempt at jocularity.

“Say what you will, the married women are better! I know it! And you, sir, have an errand in our village, I take it?”

“I’m the court commissioner.”

Ondra turned round and ins

The Commissioner’s Christmas part 2

The country lad shouted once more to his horses, settled himself more comfortably on the box, slapped his wet cap on his thick cape and, in a carefree voice, started up a gay tune.

“What’s your name, boy?” inquired a fat man bundled up in a wolf-skin coat, who’ sat inside the coach.

The lad continued his song.

“Ho, boy!” cried the man in a loud, harsh voice.

“What?” The boy turned around.

“Name! Your name? What’s your name?”

“Ondra.”

“Ah, ah, Ondra. Clever lady, you are! All of you have become clever. Sly, you country bumpkins. You only know how to lie and deceive. And how you do put on! I watch ’em at court. Sheep—little lambkins—of innocence—but really regular wolves! They play with the judges!”

“We`re just simple folk, sir, and they only slander us. You just think so, but we’re really not bad like that. Our peasant people deceive only out of ignorance. Ign

The Commissioner’s Christmas part 1

Bulgaria

Introduction

Bulgarian literature is still in its infancy. The first Bulgarian grammar was published in 1835. This was the work of the monk Neophyt Rilski (1793—1881) who was responsible for the opening of some of the first schools in Bulgaria. Among the writers of this earlier period were George Rakowski (1818—1867), whose patriotic works stimulated the national zeal, Christo Boteff (1847—1876) and Petko Slaveikoff (died 1895), whose poems molded the modern poetical language and exercised a great influence over the people.

One of the most distinguished men of letters is Ivan Vazoff (born 1850), whose poetry and prose are distinguished for their literary finish. Dimitr Ivanov (born 1878) is one of the younger writers who has displayed rare qualities in several volumes of short stories. Under the penname of Elin-Pelin he is well known to all readers of the Bulgarian language. It is to Ivanov that especial credit is due for describing t