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ISSN 1409-6900 | UDK 82+7     Blesok no. 23 | volume IV | October-November, 2001



                     Peer-reviewed journal
Blesok no. 23October-November, 2001

The Death of the Gardener

p. 1
Živko Čingo

    Old Grulica rode a donkey early in the morning toward the gardens, smiling about something all the way. It was August, the most beautiful month of the year. It’s the time figs ripen in Paskvelija. There is really no month more beautiful than August, the old woman thought. But she also had a personal reason to think so.
    “Grul,” old Grulica said, “what a beautiful day!”
    “It’s August, girl,” old Grul said, winking with his big, bright eye.
    “It’s August,” old Grulica repeated, also winking.
    “When figs turn ripe,” Grul added. Then he took the donkey by its reins and went along the dry ditch toward the gardens.
    They went slowly along the ditch that took them to their garden, wondering why the soldiers were aiming their guns at their little fig trees. For a moment, Grulica was even afraid they would shoot. She called angrily: “Hey, are you drunk…”
    When they reached the fence the officer stopped them. The soldiers blocked their way.
    “Officer, what's with you this morning?” old Grul asked.
    The officer didn’t answer, and the others still held their guns as if they really wanted to shoot out the small, bright eyes of the figs.
    “These dogs are crazy,” old Grulica said.
    “No, really, soldiers, what's going on?” old Grul said, confused.
    The soldiers stood like statues.
    “You fuckers,” old Grulica swore. “Open your fucking mouths.”
    She leaned her head on her husband’s shoulder and in a cheerful voice said:
    “August is the most beautiful month in the year, officer… It’s when the figs get ripe… You want a fig, boy?”
    The officer stomped angrily as if he wanted to murder the ground under his feet.
    “I’m asking,” Grulica said calmly, pretending she wasn't understood properly. “I’m asking if you want a fig…”
    “Cut it out, you hag!” the officer said.
    She looked at him devilishly and smiled. Oh, how old Grulica knew how to put on an act. With a gentle smile she asked:
    “You really don’t want a fig?”
    “No,” said the soldier, swearing at old Grulica.
    “That's weird,” Grulica said, and she giggled. She could barely say:
    “Do you hear this, Grul?… A man who doesn’t want a fig…”
    The soldiers surely didn’t expect this. They showed their teeth and waved their guns. Finally the officer muttered:
    “That's the last time, you hag.”
    “She was just joking,” old Grul said. “Weren’t you?”
    “Of course, Grul,” the old woman said. “I always joke with men who don’t like figs. It’s damn funny…”
    Before she could finish, the other soldiers got her

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