Have you ever looked
inside a water mill my namesake?…
It is a thing worth
seeing… Inclined walls, small windows close to the ceiling, and a black roof
on thick rafters… And a great many wheels, huge stones, axes, dusty belts revolving
by leaps… And at a corner, sacks of grain one over another, full with wheat,
corn, rye, and various other grains. In the place opposite, flour filled into
Warm and fine particles
fly hither and thither in fumes beside the stones. But when you lift the small
cover on the floor, cold water drops come upwards in a mist and spread out on
What about those
sounds my namesake, those sounds emerging from each corner in separate tones
and then filling into ears all together as a great wave?… Water coming down
the wooden gutters above, howls like the winter winds blowing through the poplars;
the crying sounds of the stones at one time increasing and at another decreasing,
is mixed with the cracking of the belts like a slap… And the wheels that revolve
continuously, creak and creak…
Once upon a time
I have seen such a mill my namesake, but I don't want to see once more.
Do you know what
love is my namesake; did you ever fall in love?…
You say so many
times! Was your beloved beautiful then? May be, she was in love with you… And
I suppose you took her in your times so many times… At nights you would come
together and kiss her, not so? It is a nice thing to kiss a woman, and if the
man is young…
But may be your
beloved was not in love with you… Then what have you done? Did you cry at nights?…
You have waited in the roads she was to pass to show your pale face, wrote her
long and sad letters, didn't you?…
But I suppose it
was not so difficult for you to love another one. In the beginning one feels
ashamed of himself, but do you know, our most important talent is to get acquitted
by ourselves. Pangs of conscience, as they call it so, last one week the most.
And then, even the most vulgar murderer finds out excuses for his deed.
Well, and then
you loved a third, a fourth, and it goes on so.
All right, but
is it love my namesake, is to kiss, to want a woman the same with love?…
Can you run in
the streets of the city, naked?…
Are you able to
get a knife and stick it to your flesh, to your arms or legs, and then to jump
into a river and to swim?
Do you have the
courage to kill all the men of this city? Can you go up to a minaret and cry
out as loud as to make all hear you?
Can love have you
make all these? Then only I would say that you are in love…
What can you give
to your beloved? Your heart? Well, to the second? Once again your heart? And
the same to the third and the fourth?… Don't talk big my namesake, how many
hearts do you have?… Besides, do you know, these are empty words: your hearts
stays at its place and you give it to somebody. When you split your breast and
take that flesh out and put it before your beloved, then you really give your
You can't love
my namesake, you who live in the cities and live in the villages, you who obey
and who rule, you who are scared and who scare… You can't love. Only we know
loving… We, the Gypsies who wander as free as the western wind and don't believe
in any god other than ourselves…
Listen my namesake,
let me narrate you the love of a Gypsy…
One day, it was
the season when snow begins melting, we all the tent, consisting of almost thirty
women, men and children, and four horses and twice donkeys were moving to Edremit.
Following the winter,
which annoys and never conforms to us, the warming sun and the greening nature
had given us an odd joyfulness. The little children with only a white short
shirt over them were continually running, shouting and rolling in the ditches
at the side of the paved road.
Lads were walking
and playing violins and clarinets, and the lasses were singing songs with their
And I was looking
around so as to find a village, a farm, anywhere we could pitch our tents.
I saw light colored planes and poplars standing out among some black olive trees.
It was a small mill. A creek with abundant water after passing through some
small willows was entering into a narrow stone watercourse, and there it was
divided into four wooden sluices.
Old planes were
covering the black tiled roof of the old mill sunken into the hollow, and were
shading the wide area in front of the mill.
Frothy water issuing
out under the mill with a noise suppressing the rustles of the trees was passing
through two rows of poplars and then disappeared in the reed-bed ahead.
It was not at all
bad to pitch tents here. Owing to the peasants coming and going constantly with
their loaded donkeys it was understood that the mill was much frequented. And
a village with its white minaret was seen in a range of a bullet.
We have not pitched
the tents yet but Sparrow-hawk took his clarinet and drew near the large door
with one of its leaves open and began to play his clarinet.
The peasants inside,
hearing the sound, gathered up to listen him. The miller was among them; he
was smoothing his white beard and watching indifferently.
Did you know my
namesake; these peasants always have complaints about us saying that we steal
their chickens and kids, but still they like us.
They gathered about
a bushel of wheat among themselves and gave it to Sparrow-hawk. And the miller
added two pots of yogurt to it.
with this nice welcome we have pitched our tents among the olive trees ahead.
We were doing very
well. Our women did not meet with difficulties to sell the baskets made of fresh
willow branches in the nearby villages. And our players were invited for the
weddings even in the villages at a distance of half day.
called the first of course…
I'm sure you have
never met anyone like Sparrow-hawk.
He was an awesome
lad first of all: his swarthy skin, his black hair fallen over his face, and
his dark eyes…
And then his nose…
his long, pointed and aquiline nose.
That was why we
called him Sparrow-hawk…
His head stood
over his shoulders upright resembling an Arabian horse, and no Arabian horse
was more agile than him…
In all Gypsy tents
his courage, handsomeness and performance was narrated.
My namesake… he
was not playing like other Gypsies: first of all he had knowledge of notes.
He has attended school in town and was graduated: besides he was a sensitive
lad… you would suppose that he blows into his clarinet not from his lungs but
directly from his heart.
He would stay away
at nights and went under a tree. And we would lie face down in front of the
tents, lean our chins against the earth and listen to him.
He didn't have
any beloved. Neither the ruddy cheeked beauties in the Turkmen villages that
we passed by, nor the Gypsy girls with fine lips could success to capture his
looks over them more than a few seconds…
However, when he
was playing his clarinet we had witnessed that tears appeared in his large eyes
as if to put out the sparks there, and some small drops that wanted to run down
on his swarthy cheeks got dried as if met a fire.
He wouldn't talk
so much, and when he talked he wouldn't let us perceive his feelings. What would
he feel, what would he think? None of us knew it. Why was he playing so dolefully
and gloomily, as he was in love with someone, or as he couldn't love anyone?…
He would sometimes
disappear from sight for a long while, and it was rumored that he was with other
Gypsy groups, or went to towns and attended the companies of the notables.
The noblemen in towns would treat him equally; however, he would steal sheep
from the herds and play in the weddings with us.
Almost every evening
we were gathering in front of the mill and carousing. As we did not pinch anything
yet the miller was pleased. He was putting a mat at the bottom of the great
plane, sitting cross-legged and listening to us with her daughter.
And the miller's
daughter was a village beauty through and through.
She had a round
face, plump lips, and braided long hair down to her hips.
But her face was
always pale. She watched around steadily as if not interested in anything with
a fixed smile at the edge of her lips.
My namesake, this
girl was handicapped; when she was young, she has got her right arm caught in
the wheels of the mill.
Now, an empty sleeve
attached to the waist of her baggy trousers was swung in its place.
And it was separating
her from the people.
Can you grasp the
meaning of it; a beautiful girl lost her arm? She couldn't join in the young
girls bathing naked in the upper parts of the stream. She had always hidden,
and was obliged to hide her body and the handicap of it…
She couldn't join
the girls who convened every night at houses for revels as well, cause she could
neither play the tambourine nor play with wooden spoons between her fingers…
childhood has passed with an endless yearning; quite evidently, she has leaned
against a wall and with her eyes full of tears watched her peers climbing to
the branches of olive trees like squirrels, playing games rough and tumble,
and wetting each other together with the boys in front of the mill.
She was seemed
to get used to it now. She knew that she didn't have the right to do many things
that other people were doing, and she did not want anything.
She would sit on
the stone seat next to the door of the mill for hours; and she seemed so sad
looking at the chickens scratching up the ground or the stirring leaves of the
great plane that it would cause one to cry.
At nights she would
come with her father, kneel down beside him and watch us…
My namesake, I
will not go into unnecessary details; our proud and merciless Sparrow-hawk fell
in love with this handicapped daughter of the miller.
This bird of prey
that never deigned to look at peacocks and pheasants, became the prey of this
woodcock with a broken wing.
Alas, I became
aware of the affair too late. When I found out it, things have gotten out of
control… Otherwise, I would have my men convened and move to another place.
not talking to anyone, was not going to weddings, but playing under the olive
trees alone. However, at nights, he got thoroughly enthusiastic under the planes;
fixed his eyes on the girl, and blew into his clarinet continuously.
And we felt that
we were shivering; we wanted to shout, speak, or throw ourselves to the ground
In his playing
the clarinet, there was something resembling the shrieks and groans of the fire
worshippers shouting around a fire or the waves breaking on a ship that was
wings were dismayed, my namesake. He was growing pale and pale. When I saw him
sitting on the stone seat next to the door of the mill with the girl, and rubbing
his nails on the hard rock on his both sides as if to tear down his nails, I
understood that it wouldn't go on so…
One night I called
him; we went to the lower end of the stream, and sat down among the poplar saplings.
Except for the
sound of the water flowing among the pebbles in a hurry and a frog croaking
away, nothing was heard.
Sparrow-hawk was looking towards the ground; he didn't ask why I called him,
or what I was to tell him.
I put my hand on
his shoulder; he looked at me.
love!…" I said.
"What do you
As if to find the
answer of my question, he looked upwards, to the starry sky. He looked for a
long while, then suddenly:
"You are our
leader," he said, "you have traveled more than I did, your experiences
are greater, and your reason and comprehension is more than all Gypsies. I should
confide in you…" Without lowering his eyes, as if relating to the stars,
he said: "I love her, and I didn't consider about what to do. You know
how my love would be… I wouldn't notice those dames owning estates, who sent
their servants behind me. Even when, that notable ruling over seven villages
came and implored to me saying 'my daughter is bedridden because of your love…
I'll forget that you're a Gypsy and embrace you like my own son… just come,
come and save our daughter!' I didn't give an answer to him but went away; and
now I love this handicapped girl.
"I can't marry
her; I can't elope with her… whereas she is in love with me as well. She said
this to me with tears the previous day. Come now, I said, let's elope. She laughed
movingly; 'Your Grace,' she said, 'I've a defect; are you giving me alms?…'
I expressed my love to her. I said, 'you give me your heart in place of your
arm, is a heart less precious than an arm?'
to sob again. 'Certainly not! Just think, every time I stand facing you, I'll
feel ashamed, my eyes will be downcast; do you want to hold me in contempt,
in this way? Leave me, I wanna stay here with my father with my own devices;
and you, please never come here again. You have made me forget my handicap,
and I built castles in the air; I can never forget you for life, but don't try
to make me hope for the impossible; if you really love me, leave here right
now,' she said."
here for a breath and lowered his eyes.
should we come together it would really torment us. We will face an incomprehensible,
stifling state. What should I do if she doesn't have full trust in me, if she
can't show coyness to me and embrace to me as she desires to do, and if her
eyes mean to say 'why did you waste your youth in vain, isn't it a pity for
you?' She would be hurt by all my words and manners. Should I get angry with
her, this would upset her; should I get lost in thoughts, this would upset her;
should I caress her, she would think I feel compassion for her; should I embrace
her, she would feel an ache in the place of her absent arm, and it would go
what I plan to do or where shall things lead to me, I don't have any power left
over. No reason, no thought, only love… Like the bullet of a Mauser rifle, a
love that knocks to the ground… Your Sparrow-hawk has not any strength to move
his wings any more!…"
He stopped talking;
his last words were uttered in such a touching way that I couldn't ask any more
questions or console him; nothing could be said to him, and he wouldn't hear
I took him by the
arm and accompanied him to the tents.
Things had became
very complicated, my namesake. Sparrow-hawk's attitudes worried me. However,
there was nothing to do. I decided to let the matter take its course, and slept.
All night long, I saw Sparrow-hawk impatiently waiting below the great plane
with open arms, and the miller's daughter running towards him with a happiness
apparent in her lips and her pale cheeks turned into pink. However, just they
were to embrace each other, a strange creature with an indefinite shape was
stepping between them, revolving around and around like a wheel, growing up
and separating them.
Days were passing
one by one like some white clouds moved by a strong wind. And we felt that a
storm was to break as a result of these. All were as if afraid of an unpleasant
thing to occur. All Gypsies were worried.
The old and wise
Gypsy women were casting spells, and calling all good and evil spirits to come
to Sparrow-hawk's rescue. As he was wandering around with his sunken cheeks
and bewildered eyes, lads were looking downcast and lasses were looking behind
him with their pale faces and shivering lips.
The women and men,
the young and old, none of us could decide what to do; we were just waiting.
A vagabond wind was as if sweeping away all thoughts from our minds, and leaving
us bewildered and despondent.
One day Sparrow-hawk
drew near to me.
I will play at the mill, I talked with the old man," he said.
It was drizzling.
A summer downpour was rather possible to occur tonight. I said this to him as
in the mill," he said.
works night and day; will you play in that noise?"
He laughed curiously.
he said, "I'll have you hear my clarinet in that noise as well. My breath
did not get so weak yet."
The rain really became heavier towards evening. One after another thunderbolts
were striking in the Valonia oak woods at the opposite hill, raindrops were
falling on the black leaves of the olive trees with weird patters.
We all crowded
into the mill. Two kerosene lamps swinging at the ceiling were partially illuminating
the mill, and the wheels, stones and dusty belts were revolving continuously.
The wild noise
made by all of them was mixed with the intermittent sobbing of the rain on the
low ceiling, and the claps of thunder one right after the other were complementing
this terrible melody.
The miller and
his daughter were sitting on the couch next to the wall. The swinging lamps
were casting curious shadows on her face.
Suddenly, a high-pitched
sound dominating all the noise was heard. Sparrow-hawk has begun playing his
clarinet at a dark corner of the mill.
My namesake, I
can't forget those that I listened that night even after my death.
The storm turned
to be more violent outdoors, and the wind was beating with its wet whip on the
adobe walls. Water was rising and overflowing from the wooden gutters and falling
to the ground with roars.
Inside the mill,
the stones grumbled with an endless enthusiasm; the belts revolving wildly resounded
cracks; and the cogs of the wooden wheels fitting into each other were creaking
as if weeping. And a crazy sound dominating all other noise was at one time
imploring, and at another enraging; and following a short silence it was heard
black and bright eyes were fixed on the young girl in the twilight; fixed on
her suffering eyes wide open…
My namesake, he
was playing such melodies that no words could be enough to express them…
Sometimes he was
the morning sun, caressing and warming… But right after he turned to be a desert
storm tearing our faces and blinding our eyes, and burning all around like the
red-hot sands scattered with the wind; or turned to be a dagger stabbed into
After a final and
sharp scream I saw Sparrow-hawk standing on his feet. He moved two-three steps
and threw his clarinet away.
Everyone was excited.
They were looking at him pityingly.
He threw back his black hair fallen over his face. Looked around with his sunken
eyes and then fixed them on the miller's daughter, he looked at her for a long
I can't forget
that moment for life, my namesake; the storm outdoors turned to be more violent,
the walls were shaken, and tiles were flying away. Ant the mill, resembling
a wild breast, was growling and revolving. And he, under the dim light of the
lamb, appeared greater, like a shadow. His eyes were fixed on the young girl.
His face was odd-looking due to an unbearable pain. One moment his eyes became
bloodshot by the red-hot blood circulating below his dark skin, and the next
moment even his lips, compressed between his teeth, were pure white. Those lips,
moved as if to say something, and puckered ready to cry.
This lasted for
only a moment. And then his eyelids closed slowly, and he swayed as though falling
to the ground. But immediately maintained his control. Once again looked around.
He seemed expecting somebody's help. A help to rescue him from this terrible,
destroying pains… Finally, he moaned as if hit on his head. He turned back and
threw himself to the other side of the mill, to the corner where wheels and
belts were wildly revolving.
We stayed still
for a moment of breath and then run after him crying like crazy…
Alas, my namesake,
it was too late. Sparrow-hawk was coming towards us with eyes bugged out, as
though saying, "it's too late."
His right arm was
not at its place, and blood was flowing out there in streams. After a few steps
he staggered and fell down before us…
Here, my namesake,
the story of a Gypsy in love…
In the season when
flowers bloom, it is nice to sit at the side of a stream with a girl leaned
against you, who smells like flowers, and to kiss her until get tired…
It is also nice
to pace up and down till morning at the door or under the light of a beautiful
woman, who turns her face heartlessly when she sees you, and to complain about
it in tears to your close friends.
But could not endure
carrying a part missing in a beloved body and to cut it off, here my namesake,
only this is love.