Translated into English by Natalia Bukia-Peters and Victoria Field
It was December. It was cold. From time to time, sparse snowflakes fell and then stopped again. The water froze in the puddles, and in some places, a thin layer of snow covered the slush which had frozen as hard as stone, and the fallen leaves. Vana and I were sitting in silence next to the stove. Neighbours came in silently too. Some of them brought chick-peas; some of them brought boiled potatoes and ham, as they usually do during as they would if paying their respects when someone has died. And as for Vana he just sat, not saying anything, his huge wrists on his knees, looking stupefied as he watched the burning coals going out. He didn’t greet anyone. Nor did any visitors bother to speak. They stood by the wall for a couple of minutes, then they shook their heads, silently placed the gifts on the table and left. People were afraid. I never get tired of yacking, as you can see very well. And back in those days, the devil possessed me completely; I felt so much like speaking to somebody. But how could I dare to natter in the presence of my grandfather, I forcibly held back the words that had come to my mouth... (See PDF)
Translated into German by Natia Mikeladze-Bakhsoliani
Kennt ihr den Witz von dem Mann aus Kametschaantkari , der am Alasani-Ufer liegt, den Eseln zuschaut, die dort über die verschlammten Ufersteine laufen, und immerzu für sich wiederholt: „Na klar, s‘ist wie in Sotschi, was denn sonst?“
Na? Kennt ihr den Witz noch?! Wieso eigentlich der aus Kametschaantkari und nicht einfach aus Kachetien ? Das sag ich euch gleich. Fangen wir damit an: Welches andere Dorf hat denn noch so viele Esel, dass man sie frei am Ufer weiden lässt? Seit der Benzin- und Dieselpreis gestiegen ist, hab ich, mein Lieber, in keinem anderen Dorf in Kachetien einen Esel ohne Gespann oder Karre gesehen. Dafür aber Gott weiß wie viele untätige und unbekümmert vor sich hindösende Männer! Denkt ihr vielleicht, ich meine Wochenenden und Feiertage? Nein, nein! Unsereins trifft den lieben langen Tag auf Schnarcher, denen vom Liegen schon die Glieder eingeschlafen sind und die sich überall aufs Ohr legen: am Weinberg, im Kornfeld, im Hof, hinter einer Amtsstube, im Schatten eines Baggers, ganz zu schweigen von Heuhaufen, Schattenplätzen unter Nussbäumen oder Liegen auf Balkonen!... (See PDF)
Suddenly, one by one, these strange words floated to the surface of the exhausted woman’s mind like some pagan incantation. How many times had those same words come to her during her darkest hours as she stood, exhausted, on the sandy shores of despair?
“Arepsta, Pshegisha, Atsetuki.” The clock struck half past something. The woman cast her eyes around her. In the ashtray in front of her a thin column of smoke rose from the nub of an abandoned cigarette and all around her everything – the soft armchair, the tapestry, those corner cupboards from Bohemia or God-knows-where filled with crockery and books, the expensive glass chandelier – everything was caked in a thin, indifferent layer of dust. Everything in this house had been bought by her father. Apart from the books... (See PDF)
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