The Injured Hawk, by Zacharias Papantoniou
The Injured Hawk, by Zacharias Papantoniou
The Injured Hawk by Zacharias Papantoniou
The chickens of Mrs. Logadi, when they sensed the hawk up high, they made horrible shouts, warning the society and the authority. Their voice they echoed the neighboring chickens and their own voz the more distant ones, in a way that in all that countryside was heard the lament of the hen, desperate like the one of the woman. You could think that it came the end of the world. But while the chickens were crying, the hawk high up continued unperturbed his flight. It was confident that the law of the stronger was not going to be abolished. It had positioned itself right above the white favourite rooster of Mrs. Logadi. When he ran and burrowed, the hawk made his rounds over another yard, looking for the victim that belongs to it. The sky bathed its peaceful flight with the most tender blue light and the unruffled sword of its wings so much harmonized with the divine peace that the universe had, that the outcry of the chicken was an annoying noise in such a silent symphony. The desperate cry prompted the gardener to run outside with his double shotgun. He aimed at the bird in the air with his unmistaking eye and shot it. He was an experienced shooter. The hawk fall. But it didn't treason its history. It fell with impetus with the beak toward the earth, like when attacking the victim. One of its wings and its abdomen were painted with blood. The gardener lifted it and took it to Mrs. Logadi, who, in this way, found in her tranquil life one adventure. For the first time it happened that she was confronted with a wild and rare animal!
This paradox made her feel, after the first startle, great tenderness and brought to her the proud thought of taking care of the enemy of her property, in order to keep him alive. He ran and brought balm for his wound. The gardener pushed the falcon inside a great empty cage for partridge. -Caution! cried the lady full of affection. Don't torture it! They closed the cage. The falcon was leaning to one side and remained still. -How must be suffering, alas! She said, putting slightly her hand inside the cage. But as she stretched to pet it, the falcon turned and gave her a strong pinch in her fat finger, near that bright ring of the wedding. Frightened, she pulled her hand out. After a while that she tried again the same, the bird turned again its beak and showed her with its attitude that will not allow nor that they caress it, nor that they cure it, nor that they touch it. The tender then devotion of hers would be wasted? She is Vice Chair of the female charity association of the city 'The Saint Panteleimon'. Sha has benefited many. She hospitalized poor patients. She spent money. She sympathized. For the first time she saw wounded to despise the caress and the balm of her white hand! They closed the cage. They threw through the wires food, water; and left there the falcon all night long, with the idea that in the morning they would find it calmer. In the morning they found everything as they had left them. The falcon was in the same position. Its food in the same. From the water was not missing a single drop. It didn't touch anything, it owned nothing to the humans. It only kept the anger and the loneliness, that were its own. Any conciliation with its enemy it refused and it threw him on the face the clemency. Motionless in its position, the same as it was yesterday, enduring its pain, in order not to fall to the class of those who complain and for nobody to feel sorry about it, it kept in its clean round eyes and in its steel claw the dominating greatness of the birds that bring the doom. And while it remained this way, it came from its body the odore of the wound that starts to putrefy.
Returning at noon from the charity association Mrs. Logadi, she met on the road the oldest judge of the first instance court. The oldest judge, with many wrinkles, much knowledge, great whimpering and deep mercy toward the ones that he is condemning, was going to his regular walk on the countryside, in order to meet the great persons of the land, as he used to say, trees, hills and stones. From the evening gathering of Mrs. Logadi he was absent, projecting with great delicacy as an excuse his envelopes and his neuralgias. He talked little and he responded often, as amazed, with his usual 'Ahh!'. -You don't know what happened to me yesterday, Mrs. Logadi said to him. I have a falcon alive. -Ahh! did the judge. -But its wounded. Its in the cage. It won't live. -Ahh! did again the judge. -It doesn't receive food. Nor remedies. It wants to die! -Ahh! What a pessimist! -It doesn't accept anything. I am really frustrated. I can't do anything for it. -Ahh! There is nothing you can do for it? A philanthropist Lady? I can't believe it! -But I am telling you that it doesn't accept anything, anything. What can I do for it? -Kill it. -Don't tell me that! -The strong beings, my lady, this charity they're waiting from us. -And you are telling me that? How can I do this? -The sugar is for the canaries, my lady. The shot is fit for the strong beings. But is it the first time that you get to know with strong beings? These they don't know reconciliations. They win or die. He bid her goodbye and went on to continue his cura.
From that moment the philanthropist lady lost her peace! By listening the words of the judge, she remembered the eyes of the bird that were looking at her without entreaty. And while she was returning home, she received on the road uninvited visitors. There came into her mind some calumnies against her... Old calumnies. They were not even calumnies. They were nonsense. They would fall in the first blow. She laughed when she heard about those and he forgot them. But today they came again! And they won't go away! It is strange how our mind works, what it retrieves from its depths. Why is she remembering these? It is unknown who and why once said that the lady mostly likes instead of the patients α new consultant of the association... And another said: 'But really did she ever work in the association? She only makes noise! From the association she is making money!' She laughed when these words reached her ears. She knew little of the world! It is known that she has given from her own pocket, from the pocket of her husband, big amounts and that personal interests she does not have in this world at least -maybe she has such (interests) in the future life, because, in the star that she would go after death, she wishes, really, her soul to receive the interests of these capitals. Nevertheless, remembering now the nonsense that had been said, she bit herself till the depths of her soul. She stopped. She changed street. It occurred to her, to run, to search, that very moment, to discover the unknown poisoner, and throw him on the face her work..., her openhandedness..., her losses..., her reputation..., her contempt... To shut her house... To cease every contact with the society! Its impossible to recognize herself today. 'What is wrong with me?' she thinks. What? Ain't herself the happiest lady of the province? The one married with the richest skinner of the region? With beautiful begonias? With the private pew in the church? With the donations in the school for women? With the swift little coach that goes to the plantations? Isn't she' the worldly lady, that in her open salon the employees of the land have killed the monster of the peasant night, by playing the virtuous games of the ring and of the secret telling game? 'What wrong with me?' she thought. And went on again toward the house.
But the temptation made her pass in front of the mundane pastry shop -and then other visitors, other shadows, other bites, came to her to this mystery, that is called soul and corresponds with all inanimate things. Immediately she thought the big oven baked sweet, that they take after the walk here the mundane ladies of the land, one quarter of an hour before lunch, and the infinite slander talking that follows its chewing. She recalled how they gossip not out of wickedness, but by inaction, whatever is not theirs and does not become their game, forms, souls, temperaments, love affairs, whatever is work of god and of destiny, whatever is not insignificant; And, within these, they gossip her evening gathering -where they were invited-, her dress, her daughter, her charity, her husband, her crockery, while that very moment, if she enters herself, they will lift and will hug her with enthusiasm. In that very moment she met with society, with vanity, with zero! Then she turned and saw the city desperately small. She looked again at the square with the upturned lecterns of the husky Philharmonic, the roofs, the landscape. She felt the time to be infinite. And it seemed to her that all hatreds, all that she had depressed all this time in the christian depths, were inside her. They were not deleted. They want to live. They are blood of her blood, soul of her soul! Silent loans, but immortals, like those of the good usurers, today they complained. The falcon! Its eyes! Always looking at her. Ahh! How much difficult kindness is, how much impossible love is! And she, that was filled always by the fear of dying and worried for her fate in the next life, she departed right now toward the doubts. And asks herself: 'Isn't it better for the human to throw away with fury his life, like the falcon, instead of begging the estimation of the others and not getting it?' She thought of the cypresses of the cemetery (she knows them one by one), upright and dense. She saw her grave years later... Three letters remain from the inscription... Full of grass... All forgotten... A grasshopper hit there and flew... The sun, the same sun that saw everything and shall see everything, shines in this catastrophe, as in the joys... A little bit of gossiping y then oblivion... Ahh! Why should she become unrecognizable today!
Instead of moving on to the house, she went to the bishop. -Eminence... -Mrs. Logadi here? For the association you must be coming... -Νο, Lord. -Then? -I don't know... Something I will ask you. But it is related to the Christian religion... I don't know how to say them, I have sometimes queries... Must we, your Eminence, forgive our enemies? All our enemies? -You wonder! said the bishop. Let me answer you. The good deserves keep us occupied. The evil no. The evil is nothing. Even the biggest evil doesn't exist. Its the evil. The evil can do anyone. Even a scorpio. And a cat. And a stone. Well it never matters. And the thing that does not matter, nobody cares about. And our enemies, that make every effort to make such insignificant thing, is not possible to take them seriously. Therefore out of pity we love them! There. The rest I will tell in my sermon of Thursday. Do you agree? You don't seem to agree! But what the matter? -Don't take me wrong! Thank you... she said and kissed his hand.
When she got out, she was going somewhat disappointed. She began to regret for her bizarre alteration. Besides she was hoping... She expected that something different she would find, when she arrives. She expected that the destroyer of her christian psychology, the falcon, would accept to domesticate itself and be caressed, so that the order of things would not change to the least... She was wrong. A good animal will damage the others! But it will not betray its race. And this is how it happened. At arriving the philanthropist lady at the house, she asked outside of it the gardener: -How is it? -The same! She approached. The falcon was looking at her always with the two all round beads of its eyes, bloody, angry, hungry and motionless. END