Page 14 - Vladimir Bartol catalogue, 2019
P. 14

14interrogated all the servants.  ey discovered Mohammed’s letter, and my husband Moses had a stroke, the pain and humiliation were so great. Both families immediately took up arms, mounted their horses, and set out in pursuit. We had gotten quite a ways out into the desert when we caught sight of the band of riders on the horizon. Mohammed only had seven men with him.  ey called out for him to drop me so that his horse could gallop faster. But he just brushed them o . We changed horses, but even so our pursuers kept getting closer and closer.  en Mohammed called on his friends to turn their horses around and charge at our pursuers. He set me down on the ground and, saber in hand, led the seven in their charge.  e groups of horsemen collided, and superior numbers prevailed. One of my half brothers was killed, but so was Mohammed. When I sawthat I howled in agony and started to run.  ey caught me right away and bound me to the saddle, and they tied Mohammed’s dead body to the horse’s tail.”“Horrible, horrible,” Halima moaned, covering her face in her hands.“I can’t tell you what I felt then. My heart became hard as stone and stayed open to one passion alone— e passion for revenge. I still had no inkling of the humiliation and shame that awaited me. When we arrived back in Aleppo I found my husband dying. Still, when he saw me, his eyes came to life. At that moment he seemed like a demon to me. His son tied me to the deathbed and lashed me with a whip. I gritted my teeth and kept silent. When Moses died I felt relieved. It was as though the  rst part of the revenge had been ful lled.“I’ll only brie y describe what they did with me then. When they felt they’d tortured me enough, they took me to Basra and sold me there as a slave.  at’s how I became the property of Our Master. And he promised to take revenge for me on the Jews and the Christians.”Halima was silent a long time. In her eyes Miriam had grown to the stature of a demigod, and she felt that through their friendship she had also gained immeasurably.Finally she asked, “Is it true that Christians and Jews eat little children?”Miriam, still lost in her terrible memories, suddenly shook loose from them and laughed aloud.“It’s not out of the question,” she said. “ ey’re heartless enough.” “How lucky that we’re among true believers!

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