Page 8 - Vladimir Bartol ALAMUT
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10 Vladimir Bartol ALAMUTmake out individual voices. She felt as though a weight had been lifted from her heart. Perhaps nothing bad awaited her in a place where people were this happy.The boat pressed up against the shore. The man took her up in his arms and stepped out onto dry land. He carried her a few steps uphill and then set her down on her feet. A loud commotion surrounded them, and Halima heard the slap of many sandals approaching. The giant laughed and called out, “Here she is.”Then he returned to the boat and rowed it back.One of the girls approached Halima to take off her blindfold, while the rest spoke to each other.“Look how tiny she is,” one said.Another added, “And how young still. She’s a child.”“Look how thin she’s gotten,” a third observed. “The journey musthave done that to her.”“She’s as tall and slim as a cypress.”The blindfold slid from Halima’s eyes. She was astonished. Endlessgardens in the first bloom of spring extended as far as she could see. The girls surrounding her were more beautiful than houris. The most beautiful one of them all had removed her blindfold.“Where am I?” she asked in a timid voice.The girls laughed, as though amused by her timidity. She blushed. But the beauty who had removed her blindfold gently put an arm around her waist and said, “Don’t worry, dear child. You’re among good people.”Her voice was warm and protective. Halima pressed close to her while silly thoughts swam through her head. Maybe I’ve been brought to some prince, she mused to herself.They led her along a path that was strewn with white, round pebbles. To the right and left, flower beds were laid out symmetrically, filled with blossoming tulips and hyacinths of all sizes and colors. Some of the tu- lips were blazing yellow, others were bright red or violet, and still others were variegated or speckled. The hyacinths were white and pale pink, light and dark blue, pale violet and light yellow. Some of them were deli- cate and transparent, as though made of glass. Violets and primrose grew at the borders. Elsewhere irises and narcissuses were budding. Here and there a magnificent white lily opened its first flowers. The air was satu- rated with a delirious scent.

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