Photographer's Note

Hi, there,
I know I should post something relating to Easter but fooling round my previous and other stored shot and idling my time while recovering on a sick-leave, I'm offering you this shot with a very interesting note to fit the title
Shibil's a character from a Yovkov's story bearing the same name
Who is Yovkov I've already mentioned but who is the character, read to understand.
YORDAN YOVKOV
(1880-1937)

Yordan Yovkov was born in Zheravna, a sheep-farming community in the eastern Balkan Range-the mountains known as the Stara Planina in Bulgaria. Despite moving away from Zheravna in his youth-he completed his education in Sofia before working as a schoolteacher in the Dobrudzha-he remained fascinated with the folk tales associated with the area, and ultimately compiled his own cycle of Zheravna-based stories Legends of the Stara Planina. His use of a colloquial rather than a literary style,made him a respected observer of the Bulgarian countryside and one of the most popular writers in the country.



SHIBIL
Radka was standing at the gates,
up came Mustafa
- Folk song


Shibil, the terrible brigand, sought by guards and watch neath tree and rock, was coming down from the mountains and going to give himself up. Tomorrow this piece of news would be heard everywhere; who would believe it! Shibil took little reckoning of that. He was in a hurry and was thinking of other things.
He was thinking how a month or two ago, from the high peaks of the BlueRocks, where, amidst the nests of the eagles, he too had his brigands nest, he saw women coming up along the road below. The molestation of women was not among brigands rules, nor was there room for women in the heart of a brigand. But Shibil had broken many laws, and no longer knew, or wanted to know, what was sin and what was not. Women here, amid the Dzhendem,*,* thought he to himself, thats good loot as well! And up he got, not in the least concerned as to where curiosity might lead him. The brigands set off after him, laughing and their teeth gleaming like those of hungry wolves.
They dropped down the mountain, traversed the wood, which was not yet in leaf, and came out to the road amid the Dzhendem. This was a very terrifying spot .Here the road dipped deep into the defile, twisted now to one side and now to the other, described two arcs, two hoops of a snare,in which many men had found their death. And, as they had done on other occasions, the brigands barred the road, standing there, frightening, bearded, dressed in black Albanian hooded cloaks, bristling with guns. The women appeared at the turning, and when they saw them, halted as id dumbfounded; then they made a rush, some upwards, some downwards, and began to flee. But their legs collapsed under them, and they only fluttered around in one place, like wounded birds. Sinking with fear, they felt to the ground and set to weeping.
The brigands were not touched. They didnt even look at the women. Their attention was elsewhere: still standing on the road was one woman, young and beautiful. And how she was dressed up! A blue taffeta dress, a jacket of scarlet satin, a bright apron from the Sepulchre, silver buckles. And at her throat heavy necklaces, a row of large gold pieces, a row of small gold coins and mahmuds.**Whither she had been going dressed up like this-to her wedding? Was this father crazy to let her out alone among these mountains?
Shibil took a pace forward. The girl looked at him calmly and straight into the eyes. A single plumbline had halted between the ribbons of her brows, her scarlet lips quivered. Well, she called, her gentle voice sounding oddly amid the weeping of the women. Be about your business, or else youll know about it. Are you not ashamed, what do you wish from a group of women?
At these words , the brigands, who had not taken their eyes off the coins on her neck, rushed towards her, reaching out their sinewy hands from afar. Shibil waved his arm and stopped them. Then he turned, drew himself up to his full height, and looked down on the girl, measuring her with his eyes. What a fair complexion! And slim in the waist, with wide skirts, like a doll. And what courage! His eyes gleamed merrily, he swelled with laughter. But the girl had laughed aloud before him. Her face shone, she became even more beautiful, and it could be seen that her eyes were blue and her teeth white. Shibil looked at her in amazement: what sort of devil was this?
How all came about that happened later, Shibil himself could not understand. The women came to, and though still as timid as deer, thronged towards him. The mountains seemed to cheer up, the river roared below, a small bird called from the wood. Shibil himself had sat on a rock, smiling and listening to the girls chatter. What was she saying? God alone knew-words which meant nothing, words which are forgotten. But how her eyes shone, and how pleasant it was for a man to look at her! At one side, the brigands, tamed as by a miracle, had sat down calmly smoking.
So, you are Veliko The Criers daughter, Shibil was saying. Rada you are called. But how did your father come to let you loose on your own? And dressed up with gold coins and these strings of mahmuds. I shall take them!
You just try! Come on, give me some more, because I havent got enough! Look now, she called pointing, look how youve torn your sleeve. Wait a minute, Ill sew it up for you.
Shibil looked at his arm, lying on the stock of his musket; the red cloth was indeed torn. And before he could realize whether she was joking or no, he saw her right in front of him-he was looking at the down on her white face, at her red lips, and, as she looked at him, her eyes bathed him in a soft, gentle light. She was smiling and looking at him mischievously, gathering the torn edges of the sleeve, and holding needle and thread between her lips.
Dont move, she scolded him, Im starting. And put something in your mouth, or Ill sew up your mind too. At least if you have one!
They all laughed.
Listen, went on Rada, you ought to get married, to have somebody to do your sewing for you. Not to go about torn like.
Like what?
Like a gipsy!
Shibil frowned. The women looked at each other fearfully.
To get married, said Shibil, but the girls dont want me.
But of course theyll want you. A bachelor like you!
All righ then, you have me yourself!
Who,me! He flees through the glen, typing up his boots Who is he? A brigand! No, hes no use to me. I dont want a brigand.
Shibil frowned again. Rada met the pleading eyes of the women and quickly decided to correct herself.
Maybe, maybe.. I might have you. Only you have to ask Veliko the Crier.
And when she had paused a little, she added:
And Murad Bey the Watch..Thats done. Look how Ive sewn it up for you., she said, and put down the sleeve. Wear it in life and in health, to remember me by.
Shibil looked at her and laughed. They chatted a little longer, and then the women went along on their way, and Shibil accompanied them to where the wood ended and the fileds began.
It was spring when it all happened. Just here and there in the valleys had the new beech-leaves shown green, and there were only buds on the other trees. Shibil was going back to the mountains and was still smiling. The brigands followed after him, looked at the ground and stayed silent. A black raven flew over them and croaked-a bad sign! Shibil did not notice, but the brigands gathered in a group and whispered something. A woman had barred their path, a beautiful woman, and all this boded no good.
A little time passed, it grew warmer. The wild plums blossomed, the pears came into leaf, and, one day, in the warm air in the sun, the cuckoo was heard. As was the custom, Shibil began to count how many years he would live, but then he fell to thinking about his age, and he felt he was old. He remembered Rada and he smiled :What an odd mixture, he reflected, of a woman, a child and a devil! And how everything she did was right; she said something, and it was sensible, she did something and it was good! And he saw her as he had seen her when she was holding the needle and thread in her lips, looking at him and smiling. Not a needle, thought Shibil again, and sighed, but a knife she could have been holding like that, in her lips, and on that knife a man would willingly have died!
Just at that time some merchants were going by, and the brigands stopped them. Terrified, turning yellow as jasmine, they could scarce hold on to their saddles and waited to hear what Shibil should say. But Shibil did not compel them to open their saddle-bags, nor did he seek what there was in their money-belts. From a distance, he started a conversation about this and that, mentioned Veliko the Crier, and finally began to speak of Rada. The brigands looked at the ground and burned with shame. Shibil let the merchants go their way, accompanied them so far, and loudly ordered them to give his best wishes to Rada.
The brigands no longer spoke to Shibil nor dared to look him into the eyes. And when, at evening, they got back to the mountain, at the top of the Blue Rocks, amid the eagles nests and Shibil had lain down and gone to sleep, they stayed around the fire and talked. The mountain was the same one, their refuge was safe. And yet they were restless, and kept looking around fearfully. A fox barked somewhere-and they thought that somebody was coming. And they bent closer to each other, whispered, and watched Shibil twisting in his sleep, groaning and saying something. Then they rose and prepared to set off on their way. They did not kill him, but they fled from him as from the plague.
Shibil was left alone. And then the moneys of which he had robbed the royal treasury, the rings taken from the hands of the living and of the dead, the gold and silver from churches and monasteries-all the treasure he had accumulated and hidden in caves and hollow trees, all this flowed into the house of Veliko the Crier, all as gifts to Rada. Rich gifts in exchange for every good wish from her. But then, lo!, he received tidings which astounded him: Rada summoned him to come down to the village; her father gave them his blessing. Murad Bey pardoned him. And as a sign that his word was true,the Watch was sending him a rosary of amber, from the Sepulchre.
For long Shibil pondered whether these were a trap. Everything he possessed he had given. And the whole wood was green now, grown heavy and dark, the glades were covered with tall grass, the peonies had flowered, the dittany blossomed, flower of the fairies. The scent of lilac and of lime wafted through the valleys. And when the roar of the stag echoed through the dark recesses, and the crested dove began to call in the Old Wood-the rock upon which Shibil laid his head at evening seemed hard, and his musket seemed heavy. He could endure no more, and set off for the village.
When he set off from the Blue Rocks it was already noon; when he got down to the road and looked back, the peaks of the mountains and the crags along them had turned pink from the set of the sun. But the eagles were still wheeling before the white scree and the rocky walls of the precipices. Those eagles, which had grown accustomed to carrion and which often , perched on some cliff, tore at human flesh. It was growing dusk, bluish mist was dropping into the valley, long shadows were creeping over the hill-sides. The mountain had concealed itself calm, lost in thought, as though it was looking at Shibil as he went, and asking : whither? Shibil felt sad, doubt gnawed at his heart like a worm. He sat down on a rock and thought.
And he passed everything through his mind, thought over everything. When he raised his eyes, the moon had begun to shine. Shibil saw another world in front of him, and the mountain had also become other-spread out wide, blurred, smoothed like a blue wall, wrapped in a white veil. The woods were hidden in black shadows, a chill was coming from the meadows and white mist crawled among them and wound like a serpent. Somewhere in the dark a firefly glowed, writing out its fiery line some sign or other, some secret word, and then died out. And deep in the gorge something was singing-was it a river perhaps?-singing so peacefully, so beautifully.
Shibil was looking before him and thinking of his eyes the rays of the moon seemed broken into short, yellow silvers, sparkled and wove themselves into some kind of confused image, which now appeared and now vanished. But Shibil clearly saw two eyes which looked at him, a smile which enticed him. He arose, set off towards those eyes and that smile, and no more looked back.
Three cautious knocks, a cautious whisper: Its me, Mustafa, the door opened and he entered his parents house. A fire burned in the hearth, shadows played on the walls. Reflections shone on the hilts of Shibils pistols,on his pouches and on the tassles of his knapsack. Tall and well built, he made the house seem small for him. He met his mothers eyes and understood all the alarm which troubled her.
Mustafa,: said she, why did you come? Will you go there?
Ill go.
Youll go! When?
Tomorrow.
The old woman knew her son well, and knew that it was useless to insist, to reason with him. She sat by the fire, held her knees with her arms, sank her eyes in the ground, and lamented
Mustafa, for three days the Watchmans men have been pouring leaden bullets and sharpening their knives; they try them with their fingers to see if they are sharp, so that if they drop a hair on them they will cut the hair. And they twist their moustaches and look towards us.Mustafa, something evil is going to happen.
Shibil turned and looked at her, but his look was such that she did not know whether he had heard her and whether he had understood her. She felt silent and said nothing more.
And Shibill took off his belt, took off the pistols with the goldchased butts, the knives with the Kulah* handles, the pouches worked in silver-everything which for him was now a heavy and useless burden.
Above, at the caf by the church, by the open window, sat Murad Bey the Watch and Veliko The Crier. The Bey was frowning, silent, and pensively sucking his long pipe. But Veliko was jolly, he walked about the room, sweeping the floor with his bottoms of his wide trousers, again and again took out of his brightly coloured silk sash a watch as big as a ball, looked at it and put it back again. Then he rubbed his hands and said:
Everything is organized, Bey Effendi; dont worry, the wolf is in the trap.
On the table before the Watch were placed two kerchiefs: a white and a red. These were for the signals for the men hidden in the ambush. If the Bey waved the white kerchief from the window, it meant mercy, if he waved the red, it meant death. And they waited and peeped at the street. Nobody was to be seen. Neither had Rada gone out to the gate, nor had Mustafa been seen approaching. Veliko the Crier could not rerstrain himself and made a dash for home.
Well? asked the Bey when he returned.
Everything is in order. She has dressed in her finest clothes, a scarlet satin jacket and a blue taffeta dress. Just the same as she dressed herself when we sent her into the mountains. And shes a woman-looking at herself in the mirror, penciling her brows and laughing.
What has she to laugh at, said the Bey crossly, doesnt she know whats going to happen?
She knows, how could she not know?
Did you tell her everything?
Mmm. I didnt tell her everything, how could I? Oh, no! As a matter of fact,I did tell her everything. Effendi, dont look for worries. Its all fixed up.
Another hour passed. Nobody came. Veliko the Crier ran back home again, stayed there longer this time, and finally came back.
Well? asked the Bey.
To cap it all, now theres something else. Shes crying. She says that old witch of a mother of his came. If I caught her, Id teach her a lesson. She came, Effendi, and who knows what she babbled to her. Now shes wringing her hands and crying. I wont allow a hair of his head to be hurt, she shouts. Ill elope with him. Ill run away to the mountains with him.
Oh, women, women! Thats what they are like. Never mind. I put her in order. Shell come out. Youll see her at the gate any minute now
The Watch stroked his beard and stayed silent. Blue smoke rings folded and twisted round his head.
But there, Rada was standing at the gate, and Mustafa was coming up the road. The Watch and Veliko the Crier ran towards the window, hid behind the curtain, and watched with bated breath.
Mustafa was walking up the middle of the street. On roofs, on fruit trees the sun was shining. Far away at the bottom of the street could be seen the mountains where Mustafa was king. He was not armed. But how he was dressed! His clothes were of blue Brashov* cloth, embroidered in gold. Slim and tall, a little emaciated, a little dark, but handsome and dashing. In his hands were an amber rosary and a single red carnation from Rada, looking at her and smiling.
The Bey crumpled his beard and said:
What gallant fellow! How handsome!
The kerchief,Bey Effendi, the kerchief! called Veliko the Crier.
What a gallant fellow, repeated the Bey,entranced, how handsome!
Veliko the Crier grabbed the red kerchief and ran to the window. The Bey caught his arm.
No, squire, such a man should not die!
But my girl! My honour! shouted Veliko the Crier, broke free, went to the window and waved the red kerchief.
Muskets cracked. The panes of the windows rattled, the houses rocked, something like a black shadow fell over the earth. Shibil halted, terrifying, handsome. He broke the rosary, but he did not cast aside the carnation, crossed his arms on his chest and waited. A moment or two enough for the men to re-load their muskets. A sharp scream rose from the direction of the lower ward. Shibil did not quiver. Another scream from the gate of Veliko the Crier. Shibil turned. It was Rada. She was running towards him and holding out her arms as if to protect him; he unfold his arms, as though to embrace her. The muskets cracked again. Shibil fell at first on his face, and then turned on his back.By him fell Rada also.
And everything fell silent. The sun warmed the cobbles of the roadway. Like a spot of blood, between the two bodies, the carnation glowed red.
From the caf by the church, from the window, somebody was desperately waving a white kerchief.

TRANSLATED BY JOHN BURNIP
I'd like to thank John Burnip who had done this bulky translating work for me for the Bulgaria pocket rough guide.

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Additional Photos by Valeria Zapryanova (Valerka) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1074 W: 51 N: 947] (8171)
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