Pan Karajorg

Two Greek stories


A cold
day in November of 1947. The civil war in

Greece was
going on. At that time we took refuge in a village called Bakraina on the
slopes of

One day, my five-year-old sister and I were playing in an abandoned workshop
where we found a pair of brand new leather boots in a box. We took them home
and gave them to our grandfather, who hid them behind the door.

evening we were lying down to sleep on a mat on the ground. We had no bed with
a mattress, for that would have been a luxury in those days. I was nearly
asleep when I heard somebody knocking at the door. My mother opened it, and
there was a young woman in her twenties who had come from the town of

Larissa to visit
her aunt, our neighbour. The girl was standing at the door and, trembling
violently, asked for help: a place to hide. The Antartes (guerrilas) were
after her.

asleep, I heard my mother saying to her, “Go and hide under the blankets
between the children! I have no other place for you to hide.” Soon I felt a
cold, shivering human being between myself and my sister. I could feel her
heart beating. She started hugging both of us. She was short of breath. My
sister was fast asleep.

minutes later there came another knock at the door. This was a violent knock.
My grandfather, who was sitting by the fireplace, rose and went to open the
door. Then, as I peered with one eye over the edge of the heavy woollen
blanket, I saw a huge, fierce-looking man with a beard. He was armed and
heavily laden with cartridge straps criss-crossed around his body.

“Synagonisti !”
(comrade) he addressed my grandfather, “We are after a young woman; we want to
recruit her for our struggle. Is she here?”

grandfather stood up, put down the iron poker for the fireplace he had in his
hands, and answered, “Welcome, synagonisti
! I have no idea,” and went behind the door. He picked up the pair of boots
and, offering them to the man, said, “Here is a present for you, comrade! For
the needs of the struggle!”


The man
grabbed the shining boots and, without uttering a word, disappeared into the

The girl
did not move at all till morning when, through the window, she flew out like a

night, after the storm was over, I experienced the difference between my usual
hard pillow and the luxury of the softest pillow on which my head had been
resting: the luxury of the softest pillow upon which my head had ever rested:
the breasts of that young woman…




I have
visited the Acropolis of Athens several times. When I was still a student, I
climbed the “sacred rock” and admired, once again, one of the wonders of the
world. Before I started descending that afternoon I recalled Lord Byron’s
verses from his famous poem “The Curse of Minerva”:

Slow sinks, more lovely ere his race be run,

Along Morea’s hills the setting sun;

Not, as in northern climes, obscurely bright,

But one unclouded blaze of living light;

Crowds of
people from distant countries of the five continents started descending. They
were talking in their exotic languages. Half way down I stopped to have another
look at the “beauteous” sunset. In about twenty minutes the sun, like a huge
orange, was to touch “Morea’s hills”, the mountains of the
Peloponnese, and then the western and only
gate of the Acropolis would be closed until the following morning.

As I was
sitting on a flat, warm piece of marble watching, I saw a barefooted young
woman in her thirties hurriedly walk towards the gate. She paused for a moment
and asked me how far it was. I answered her question and added that the gate
would close at sunset. She thanked me and continued ascending. After about a
quarter of an hour, as I stood up to leave, I saw the woman coming down. She
had her shoes on this time. Extending her hand to me and introducing herself
she said, “I am Fariza Ungarsinova from Alma Ata.”

“Glad to
meet you,” I said, and introduced myself. She sat on the next marble stone and
continued: “When I was an elementary school student in my country,

Kazakhstan, I made
a vow to visit

one day and ascend to the Acropolis barefooted. I read and studied a lot about
Greek culture. My dream has been to visit the Acropolis like a pilgrim to the
Holy Land. Now I am happy I managed to do
it. I took off my shoes because I wanted my skin to come in contact with the
sacred ground of the Acropolis, the same way I would do as a pilgrim to an
Orthodox monastery in my country. I felt a kind of an ecstasy in doing it. It
is not an obsession but a belief. I feel such a relief and satisfaction that I
have fulfilled my vow.”


I looked
at her in amazement, without uttering a word. I was listening intently to that
lady from that distant country, and when her torrent of speech was over, I
suggested that we start moving towards Plaka to have a drink. She gladly
agreed. She had a glass of wine and I had a glass of “Fix” beer.


 She toasted, “To the health of the Hellenes
and their civilization!” I responded: “To your health and to your brave and
fine legs!”

                                                                                                                   Pan Karajorg


All rights belong to its author. It was published on by demand of Pan Karajorg.
Published on on 03/05/2008.


The author


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