Rhinocerology 1. The rhinoceros of the pope

Dürer, rhinoceros, engraving, 1515Message à Philippe De Jonckheere à propos de son rhinocéros: «Tu sais que Dürer avait fait à pied le chemin de Munich à Rome pour aller dessiner de visu le premier rhinocéros ramené en Europe, et que la gravure tirée de son dessin est probablement le premier best-seller de l’histoire de l’imprimerie? – et qu’on a ensuite rajouté le rhinocéros sur les réimpressions de Pline, qui se basait sur les récits des légionnaires revenus d’Afrique, et en avait conçu la licorne en mêlant un peu tout – mais pour ceux du 16ème siècle, si c’était chez Pline on pouvait ajouter, mais pas corriger: primauté du livre sur le réel – et la phrase de Rabelais: “Comme assez sçavez, que Africque aporte tousiours quelque chose de nouveau”, où Flaubert dit que chaque fois qu’il lit cette phrase, il voit des hippopotames et des girafes…» Oui mais voilà: ni Dürer ni le rhinocéros ne sont jamais allés à Rome, j’avais simplifié l’histoire. = My earlier message to Philippe De Jonckheere concerning his rhinoceros: Do you know that Dürer went from Munich to Rome on foot in order to see and draw the first rhinoceros ever brought to Europe, and that the engraving based on his drawing became the first bestseller of the history of printing? – and that this rhinoceros was then also included in the reprints of Pliny based on the reports of the Roman legionaries returning from Africa, which even led to the birth of the idea of the unicornis, thus mixing everything a little bit – but for the 16th century one could add things to Pliny, but not change things in it: voilà the priority of the book above the reality –, and the saying of Rabelais: “As you well know, there is always something new coming from Africa,” about which Flaubert says that whenever he reads it, he always sees hippos and giraffes…” Well, I was mistaken. Neither Dürer, nor the rhinoceros ever reached Rome. I have simplified the story.

Ernst Gombrich in his Art and illusion (1960) – that in my university years, when I still led a list of those ten books that influenced me the most, I included in it – says that the artist does not draw what he sees but what he knows. He unconsciously formulates the view with the help of the schemes he had learnt, and thus however realistic the representation might appear to his contemporaries, a later generation using different schemes will regard it rigid and schematic.

The same idea leads the pen of the Hungarian classical philologist of international renown János György Szilágyi in his Legbölcsebb az idő (Time is the wisest) (1978, 1987). In this overview of the centuries long history of the falsification of ancient vase paintings he points out that the fakers of a generation were exposed always when the visual schemes applied by them and regarded as self-evident by their generation became obviously conspicuous for the next one.

It is quite possible that Egyptians enjoyed as fresh and original representations of the nature those images which appear as rigid hieratic frescoes to us, for whom their schemes are obvious and archaic.

Drawing lesson in Egypt, by Alain, in Ernst Gombrich’s Art and illusion (1960)
Gombrich illustrates this argument with one of the earliest European drawings of which we know that it was explicitly made “after nature.” In the famous sketch book of the 13th-century French architect Villard de Honnecourt we read to the right of the lion below: “Voici 1 lion si com on le voit par devant. Et sacies bien qu’il fu contrefais al vif.” (Here you are a lion, frontally seen. And you must know that I drew it after nature.) We have no reason to doubt in the truthfulness of the renowned architect who toured all Europe, and had the possibility of seeing living lions in more than one princely court. Nevertheless to us his drawing resembles more those Gothic lion statues whose masters never saw a living lion than to the animal we know from the zoo or from photos and films.

Lion drawn “after nature” from the sketch book of Villard de Honnecourt (13th century)
Gombrich’s other example is the engraving Dürer made in 1515 on the rhinoceros of the pope.

The complex manoeuvres of power politics which led this rhinoceros from hand to hand from India to Italy were described in detail by Silvio Bedini, keeper of the rare books of the Smithsonian Institute in his brilliant The papal pachyderms (1981, Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society). The sultan of Cambay donated the animal to the Portuguese governor of Goa in order to sweeten the bitter pill, that is the refusal of the Portuguese territorial claims. The governor sent it further to Lisbon in order to allay the anger of King Manuel I on the failure of the mission. The king sent it to Pope Leo X to Rome in order to secure his benevolence as an arbiter concerning the border line between the Portuguese and Spanish expansion in South-Eastern Asia. Only the rhinoceros had no profit from all that. The ship with which he was carried in February 1516 to Italy, was caught by a storm, and the rhinoceros,

hanc inusitate feritatis belluam, quae in arena amphitheatri elephanto ad stupendum certamen committi debuerat, Neptunus Italiae invidit et rapuit, quum navigium, quo advehebatur, Ligusticis scopulis illisum, impotentis tempestatis turbine mersum periisset; eo graviore omnium dolore, quod bellua, Gangem et Indum altissimos terrae patriae fluvios tranare solita, in ipsum littus supra portum Veneris, vel arduis saxis asperrimum, enatare potuisse crederetur, nisi, compeditus cathenis ingentibus, nihil proficiente evadendi conatu, superbo maris Deo cessisset.

this animal of unusual ferocity, which would have confronted
even the elephant in a marvellous fight on the sand of the amphitheatre, was taken away out of envy by the Neptun of Italy when the ship carrying it bumped against a rock at the Ligurian shore and went down in the waves of the sea lashed into fury, to a great sorrow and pain of everyone who know that this beast is able to swim across the Ganges and the Indus, enormous rivers of his native land, and thus could have easily swimmed out to the seashore rocks above the haven of Venus, were not his feet linked by heavy chains; but so, having no use of his swimming knowledge, rendered itself to the arrogant god of the sea.

– writes in the Gallery of famous men (1548) Paolo Giovio, historian of the pope and author of the immortal History of Italy, who will play later an important role in keeping and forming the visual memory of the rhinoceros.

Walton Ford, Loss of the Lisbon Rhinoceros, 2008Walton Ford: Loss of the Lisbon Rhinoceros, 2008

However, to the good luck of the European visual tradition, during the Lisbon months a learned description, and even a sketch was made on the rhinoceros from the pen of the Moravian merchant Valentim Fernandes living in Portugal, to which we will return in a later post. The Italian translation of the description addressed to “the merchants of Nuremberg” is conserved in the Magliabechiana library of Florence. Of its original German text has only survived that part which Albrecht Dürer, who prepared his engraving of the rhinoceros – “the most influential European animal representation,” as T. H. Clarke writes in his The rhinoceros from Dürer to Stubbs, 1515-1799 (1986) – on the basis of this description and sketch, included at the upper edge of his work:

Nach Christiegeburt, 1513. Jar Adi 1. May hat man dem grossmechtigisten König Emanuel von Portugal, gen Lysabona aus India pracht, ain solch lebendig Thier. das nennen sie Rhinocerus, Das ist hie mit all seiner gestalt Abconterfect. Es hat ein farb wie ein gepsreckelte [sic] schildkrot, vnd ist von dicken schalen vberleget sehr fest, vnd ist in der gröss als der Heilffandt, aber niderichter von baynen vnd sehr wehrhafftig es hat ein scharffstarck Horn vorn auff der Nassen, das begundt es zu werzen wo es bey staynen ist, das da ein Sieg Thir ist, des Heilffandten Todtfeyndt. Der Heilffandt fürchts fast vbel, den wo es Ihn ankompt, so laufft Ihm das Thir mit dem kopff zwischen die fordern bayn, vnd reist den Heilffanten vnten am bauch auff, vnd er würget ihn, des mag er sich nicht erwehren. dann das Thier ist also gewapnet, das ihm der Jeilffandt [sic] nichts Thun kan, Sie sagen auch, das der Rhinocerus, Schnell, fraytig, vnd auch Lustig, sey.

In the year 1513 after Christ’s birth, on 1. May there was brought from India to Lisbon to the mighty King Emanuel of Portugal such a living animal, that they call rhinocerus. It is reproduced here in its complete form. Its color is like a speckled turtle, and it is covered very securely with thick scales, and in size it is like the elephant, but shorter in the legs and very much prepared for fighting. It has a sharp strong horn on the front of the nose, which it takes to whetting wherever there are stones. It is a triumphant animal, the elephants’ deadly enemy. The elephant fears it terribly, because when he comes upon it, the animal runs at him with the head between the front legs, and tears the elephant’s belly from beneath, and kills him, while this cannot defend himself. For the animal is so well armed, that the elephant can do nothing to him. They also say that the rhinocerus is a quick, glad-tempered, and even merry animal.

Dürer, The rhinoceros, 1515Dürer: The rhinoceros, 1515. This is the second edition of the engraving, made in the same year as the first one, with the only difference that the first edition published the text in five lines instead of six.

We do not know how detailed and true to life was the sketch sent to Nuremberg together with the letter of Fernandes. It must caution us anyway that the same or a similar sketch also arrived to Rome, where the Florentine physician Giovanni Giacomo Penni published a description in verse about the rhinoceros well in advance before it left Lisbon for the papal court. With the loss of the animal, however, this publication also lost its raison d’être, and its propagation stopped. It has survived in one single copy, today conserved in the Colombina library of Seville, whose special feature is that on its last page there was noted by the hand of Christopher Columbus himself: “Este libro costó en Roma medio quatrain por nouiembre de 1515 / Esta registrado 2260” (I purchased this book in Rome in November 1515 for half quatrain. This is copy number 2260).

Giovanni Giacomo Penni, Forma & Natura & Costumi de lo Rinocerothe, 1515Giovanni Giacomo Penni: The form, nature and customs of the
rhinoceros taken to Portugal by the captain of the
King’s fleet, as well as a lot of beautiful
things coming from the
newly found

If the sketch sent to Nuremberg was similar, then Durer had plenty to add to it from his own knowledge of zoology, anatomy and proportions, from the description, and – as Gombrich stresses it – from the contemporary pictorial tradition and dominant visual schemes. He perceived the skin of the rhinoceros folded in hard plates as a kind of a knight’s armor, like the one worn by contemporary war-horses, following Fernandes’s expression gewapnet ‘armed.’ He covered both the armor and the feet of the animal with the scales mentioned by Fernandes, like those of the dragons, and he also articulated “the armor’s side plate” with a pattern recalling the dragon’s wing. He inserted between its two shoulder-blades a small horn – it is not clear whether he misunderstood something on the sketch, or he simply had to find a proper place for the “second horn” mentioned by Pliny, to which we will return in a next post – which protrudes from the middle of a small knob like the thorn in the middle of the knight’s shield keeping away the enemy in a hand-to-hand combat. And finally he covered the whole surface of the animal with a finely chiselled decoration in the spirit of the contemporary German engraving tradition.

The image created in this way is, however, not only extremely compact, powerful and convincing, but it is also much closer to reality than what could have been expected in such circumstances. Was Fernandes’s sketch this much better than the drawing of Penni? Or there were some additional visual sources available to Dürer on the rhinoceros? In the next post we will examine such a possible source.

Rhinocerology, or the power of images

The rhinoceros of Dürer, composition by Bob Warren
or the image
of an image

(Miroslav Holub: Go and open the door)

1. The rhinoceros of the pope
2. Rhinoceros on the reverse
3. The first litter
4. The truth suppressed

We have borrowed the second part of our title from David Freedberg’s influential The power of images: Studies in the history and theory of response (1989) in which he writes about the influences exerted on our thinking, categories and values by the images around us, each having their own biography, a whole history of their ever changing meanings, effects and traditions.

In this series opened now and planned for a couple of more posts we invite our Readers to a zigzag excursion, let us call it Rhinoceros Memory Tour, in the course of which we will follow the path of one image, the picture of the rhinoceros, starting from the moment when this curious animal popped up at the horizon of the Europe of the discoveries and the first picture was made of it.

A special feature of this story is that the picture was not made of a living rhinoceros, but it was a reconstruction based on various pictorial and verbal morsels, and from the very beginning it lived a life independent of its model. The picture gave life to other pictures, these mated with other images, and established their own separate little pasture within the repertory of Renaissance images and other symbols. Occasionally a living rhinoceros also popped up. In such cases the pictures encircled the intruder with suspicion, puffed against him in a hostile manner, but in the meantime they secretly borrowed one or another detail of it, and then proclaimed in a loud voice the inexactness of all previous representations.

By the end of our excursion we will not know much more about the rhinoceros itself than at the beginning. Certainly not more than what the man of the Renaissance knew about it. But we will know a lot more about the secret life of the Renaissance images. A peculiar little jungle, this is. Mind the lianes.

The rhinoceros of Dürer, statuette by Michael Speaker

A propos of Švejk

After the door was closed behind him, his fellow prisoners flooded him with questions, and Švejk joyfully replied:

– I have just confessed that it was probably me who killed Prince Ferdinand.

Six men huddled themselves frightened under the lousy blanket, only the Bosnian replied to him:

- Dobro dosli.

The reply of the Bosnian left in Bosnian receives a footnote in the Hungarian translation of Hašek’s Švejk. The translator Ádám Réz – who, let it be said in his honor, had learned Czech only for translating Švejk – gives this translation in footnote number 9:

9 He deserved it.

Dobro došli / Dobrodošli / Добро дошли
Dobro došli / Dobrodošli / Добро дошли
Dobro došli / Dobrodošli / Добро дошли
Dobro došli / Dobrodošli / Добро дошли
I know that if Ádám Réz had the possibility to travel in the 50s, he probably would have not travelled to Yugoslavia, and even if he travelled to Yugoslavia, he probably would have not seen any of the Dobro došli inscriptions standing today at the border of every seaside village.

And I even regard it only as a translator’s malpractice that he did not check the meaning of this Bosnian or Serbo-Croatian expression, but he rather boldly invented something that fitted in its place.

However, what I find peculiar is that he did not understand even this basic greeting in the language of a neighboring country. Exactly him, who in his native town Arad had abundant occasion to learn it from the local Serbian minority.

And I also find it peculiar that to most Hungarians it does not occur to learn this much or not much more in those languages which they must face when they drive more than one or two hours from the capital.

In the mental map of most Hungarians our linguistically isolated country is encircled by a terra incognita inhabited by unintelligible barbarian tribes, by an inarticulate world which is impossible and also not worth to know. The only way out from here leads to the West, towards the civilized countries speaking European languages.

In the mental map of a Slavic neighbor of us this same world is inhabited by nations speaking more or less intelligible languages, and the whole composes an articulate, well-arranged and knowable region. And in this region even the “strange” Hungary has a place. It was exactly Hašek to compose a book of travels on Hungary whose counterpart we have not seen from any Hungarian author about Bohemia, and the Czech review Respekt has just published such a detailed analysis on the effects of the economic crisis on the Hungarian forint which we will certainly not read about the Czech koruna in Hungarian.

From the three Gods, I believe in the fourth one, the God of the Hungarians, I only see a little piece of the globe, the Hungarian motherland, and I forget every language, knowing only one, the Hungarian language! – adds into the mouth of a Chauvinistic Lord Lieutenant the 19th-century satirical Hungarian author Kálmán Mikszáth in his novel The case of the Noszty boy with Mary Toth.

The results of Lord Lieutenant Kopereczky’s standpoint have been clearly displayed by the century we have just left behind us. However, Hungarians have not learned of it. Although if one understands the language of at least one neighboring Slavic people, then this world around us opens to him in a never expected way. And not only because he gets along easier or because he or she is more willingly accepted in the neighboring countries. But primarily because his view will change. He will regard this world as a world, as cosmos instead of chaos.

Švejk in Brno

Brno, Restaurant Švejk, curtain
The Chalice is already over, just like U Fleků and U Dvou Koček. In the suburb pub where the picture of the emperor used to be shitted on by the flies, now a liveried doorman welcomes the organized tourist groups from the West, the old varnished long tables have been substituted by a kitschy furnishing resembling the scenery of a variety theater, and if any member of a company does not want to consume for the triple prices, he (or even she!!!) will be made get up and asked to leave the room. If the war will be once really over, and the brave soldier Švejk and the old sapper Vodička will arrive, as they had agreed, to their meeting fixed “in the Chalice, at six o’clock after the war,” they will not be let in here.

Fortunately, the decline of the old Prague pubs coincided with the establishment of a whole restaurant chain all over the Czech Republic to cherish the memory of Švejk, Hašek and the innkeeper Palivec. And, actually, in quite a worthy way.

Brno, Restaurant Švejk, inn hall
The furnishing of the restaurants Švejk recalls the puritan tradition of the old Czech beer-houses, with a touch of the feeling of the Monarchy, without any exaggeration. The faithfully conserved atmosphere of the old Czech pubs also invites the local public. In the Švejk of Brno, around six o’clock in the evening there were only local guests, that well remembered and very pleasant public. The draught beer is good, and the kitchen… mmm…

Brno, Restaurant Švejk. A plate
Certainly, each Švejk keeps a different kitchen, and its quality must depend on the chef. But this one in Brno is definitely majestic. The crisp-fried duck leg with hand of pork and two colors of cabbage steamed exactly as required, is crowned with a rare superb piece of smoked sausage, accompanied with Pilsner Urquell 12º and black Kozel. The two of us had quite enough of one plate of it, for only six euros, beer included. It is obvious that the chef observes the Švejkian traditions proclaimed by the quotation from Hašek above the counter:

Brno, Restaurant Švejk, counter with Hašek’s quotation
Právě na kuchyni by měli dávat inteligentní lidi, kvůli kombinacím, neboť nezáleží na tom, jak se vaří, ale s jakou láskou se to dává dohromady.

Intelligent people should be sent to the kitchen indeed, for the combination’s sake, because the point is not how the dish is cooked, but with what love it is composed and served.

Brno, Restaurant Švejk, picture of Franz JosefThe emperor’s picture was shitted on by the flies already in the factory

Strangely enough, the information maps placed at various points of the city fail to indicate this restaurant among the other ones. We have made up for this negligence in the detail of the map below, at the upper edge of the old town, right at the first corner of the Česká street that broadens out like a square. Click on the detail for a view of the complete map of the old town. We hope that the little pictures indicating good restaurants will by the time multiply on it.

Brno, Restaurant Švejk, on the map of the old town

Your Russian primer

But you should not have an impression of superficiality at the sight of the resolute pragmatism of the German-Russian military dictionary. The German soldier was in fact willing to master a grammatically correct Russian speech when the prolongation of the Blitzkrieg offered occasion for that. And German book publishing provided him with a proper Russian primer. And they did it well, for the purpose of the study of the Russian language, as we know it from our childhood Russian primer, is the promotion of the friendship between nations.

Georg Thier, Dein erstes Russisches Buch, Твоя первая русская книга, Chapter 21: The Lager/Camp
В лагере живут пленные. Лагерь находится в деревне. Я вижу забор из проволоки. Пленные работают: первый колет топором дрова, второй и третий пилой пилят бревно, четвертый курит. Калитка открыта. * Солдат стоит у будки, он часовой и имеет ружье. Если пленные будут бежать, солдат будет стрелять. Пленных взяли в плен в пятницу. Они в лагере живут три месяца и пять дней. Сегодня двадцать пленных работают на фабрике, а десять в лесу. Пленные обедают в двенадцать часов. Где взяли в плен пленных? Я не знаю. Пленные говорят по-немецки? Нет, пленные не говорят по-немецки. Этот пленный больной? Да, он больной.
- Кто сегодня болен?
- Сегодня больны Никитин и Рубашкин, они лежат в бараке.
- Кто сегодня работает в кухне?
- В кухне сегодня работают десять человек: пять русских, четыре белорусса и один украинец.
- Десять человек сегодня должны работать в поле, двадцать пять человек должны работать на фабрике.

В школе сто мальчиков и сто девочек, всего двести вместе. Двести плюс сто будет триста. Триста километров плюс сто километров будет четыреста. Двести солдат плюс триста солдат будет пятьсот. Пятьсот марок плюс сто марок будет шестьсот марок. Восемьсот мину
с сто будет семьсот. Шестьсот коров плюс триста будет девятьсот. Девятьсот пленных плюс сто будет тысяча. На поле сто две лошади. В доме двести двадцать семь дверей. В деревне триста шестьдесят девять домов. На северном фронте тысяча семьсот пятьдесят два солдата, а на восточном фронте шесть тысяч четыреста двацать пять солдатю. В городе три миллиона жителей. Когда вы родились? Я родился в тысяча девятьсот двадцать первом году, а моя сестра родилась в девятьсот двадцать втором году. Который теперь год? Теперь идет тысяча девятьсот сорок второй год.

In the lager live prisoners. The lager is in the forest. I see the wire fence. The prisoners work: the first one is chopping wood with an axe, the second and the third are sawing a trunk with a saw, the fourth one is smoking. The door of the fence is open. * A soldier is standing at the fence. He is a guard and he has a weapon. If the prisoners will run away, the soldier will shoot. The prisoners were captured on Friday. They spend three months and five days in the lager. Today twenty prisoners work in the factory and ten in the forest. The prisoners have lunch at twelve o’clock. Where did they catch the prisoners? I don’t know. Do the prisoners speak German? No, the prisoners do not speak German. Is this prisoner sick? Yes, he is sick.
– Who is sick today?
– Nikitin and Rubashkin are sick today, they are lying in the barrack.
– Who is working in the kitchen today?
– Ten people are working in the kitchen today: five Russians, four Belorussians and an Ukrainian.
– Today ten people have to work in the field, and fifty-one people have to work in the factory.

In the school there are a hundred boys and a hundred girls, it is two hundred altogether. Two hundred and hundred is three hundred. Three hundred kilometer and hundred kilometer are four hundred. Two hundred soldiers and three hundred soldiers are five hundred. Five hundred stamps and hundred stamps are six hundred stamps. Eight hundred minus one hundred is seven hundred. Six hundred cows and three hundred are nine hundred. Nine hundred prisoners and a hundred are a thousand. On the field there are a hundred and two horses. In the house there are two hundred twenty seven doors. In the village there are three hundred sixty nine houses. On the Northern front there are a thousand seven hundred fifty two soldiers, and on the Eastern front there are six thousand four hundred twenty five soldiers. The city has three millions of inhabitants. When were you born? I was born in nineteen twenty one, and my sister was born in nineteen twenty two. What year is now? Now it is nineteen forty two.

Georg Thier, Dein erstes Russisches Buch, Твоя первая русская книга, cover

Simple means

The old cupboard of the twentieth century is creaking, the skeletons are falling out. After the Russian-Estonian and Russian-German phrasebooks, here you are the counterpart of this latter: a German-Russian dictionary established in the Wehrmacht.

Deutsch-Russisches Soldaten-Wörterbuch, Berlin 1942
In this booklet, however, conversation falls in the background, and after four pages of “Redensarten,” the most frequent idioms, it functions as a simple word list for seventy more pages. But even so it has several surprises in store for the practicing translator as well.

Deutsch-Russisches Soldaten-Wörterbuch, Berlin 1942
Deutsch-Russisches Soldaten-Wörterbuch, Berlin 1942
The internal front page offers a short ars poetica:

“The war has demonstrated by how simple means the German soldier can make himself understood at any place.”

We had absolutely no doubt about it.

“The suitable words, placed one after the other with no regard for grammar, are almost always sufficient.”

As linguistic pragmatism teaches it: “The communication is successful not when the listener understands the grammatical meaning, but when he deciphers the communicative meaning, that is, when he deduces the intention of the speaker. In this he is essentially supported by the context of the communication.”

Deutsch-Russisches Soldaten-Wörterbuch, Berlin 1942
The lack of the conversational part is most probably due to the fact that the first edition of this booklet was compiled for the purpose of a Blitzkrieg, and if everything went according to the plans, then by the time the soldiers would have mastered the necessary locutions, there would have been nobody left to practice with.

The protraction of the war made necessary the publication of a second edition in 1942. In this one the amount of vocabulary was doubled, four pages of expressions were added, and the example of declination introducing them which, in the interest of strategic deception, had been “до Львова – Nach Lemberg” was now openly changed for “до Москвы – nach Moskau”.

Deutsch-Russisches Soldaten-Wörterbuch, Berlin 1942
The editor of this pocket dictionary was the Mittler & Sohn publishing house, founded in 1796, which from the end of the 19th century gradually became one of the largest German military publishers. They started the compilation of military dictionaries as early as the end of WWI, still as “imperial editors,” and by 1939 they already possessed an up-to-date series in the languages of most of Germany’s allies and enemies. This period is covered by a benevolent darkness in the short historical overview of the publisher, but Mittler and his actual son still make good profit on the capital accumulated at those times: in their list of new publications (here I saved the list of today) eight out of sixteen items focus on WWII, beginning with the biographies of Hitler’s admirals.

Est! Est!! Est!!!

Vino di Montefiascone Est! Est!! Est!!!What kind of wine should you take to your classical philologist friend, to celebrate their moving into the beautiful new flat they had looked for so long and acquired with so many difficulties?

Anno MCXIº p. Chr. n. praesulem Johannem Defuc, Augusti Henrici V comitem, Romam contendisse in historiis legimus. Per longum iter, vini capacissimus ac peritus, Johannis Defuc suavissima vina exquirere in animo habuit. Eo consilio fidissimum ministrum suum Martinum praemisit ut, quodcumque locum ubi primae notae vinum reperisset, in cauponae fronte “EST” conscriberet vel potius “EST! EST!!” ubi praesertim illustrem invenisset. “Montefiascone” cum pervenisset peritus minister sic iucundum vinum invenit ut “EST… EST… EST!!!” merito conscribere statueret.

“We read in the chronicles that in the year of Christ of 1111, Bishop Johannes Defuc [that is, Johannes Fugger] set out to Rome as the legate of His Majesty, Emperor Henry V, and having both large experience and capacity of wine drinking, it was his firm intention to test the best wines along the long way. Therefore he sent ahead his faithful servant Martinus with the instruction that wherever he would find some first class wine, he should write EST (that is, IS) on the front of the inn, or EST! EST!! where he would find something really excellent. [According to the tradition, the first one was written by him in Montepulciano, while the second in Orvieto.] And as the experienced servant arrived to Montefiascone, there he found such a distinguished wine that he could deservedly write: “EST… EST… EST!!!”

Tradition also wants that Johannes Defuc, on his way back from Rome popped in the beloved Montefiascone inn again, where he spent so many days, weeks and months in the company of the sublime drink that finally it was here that he was overtook by death. He was buried in the local church of San Flaviano, where this inscription is written on his tombstone, obviously by the hand of Martinus: “Here lays my lord, as a result of the many Ests.” In his last will he left all his property to the town, on the condition that on the anniversaries of his death a barrel of muscat wine should be emptied at his grave. This is the origin of the six days long pageant of Montefiascone, organized at the beginning of every August in the town.

To this many times hallowed tradition I only want to add the pious wish that may that inevitable last visitor of all of us knock on the door the latest possible, and until then may much good wine be consumed in this flat which already EST!!! and fiat per tempora multa.


“Respect only what brings joy, energy and purpose into your life.
Then follow your way, the way of magic and dream.”

„Hypnotherapy and relaxation technics are attractive primarily to those clients
who are looking for trance experiences.”

(quotations from sites of psychologists recommended on pszichologia.lap.hu)

As a Christian psychologist, for a couple of years I have pursued a therapy which integrates the tradition of Christian spiritual guidance with the knowledge of modern psychology. In this September I have included a description of it (at the moment in Hungarian only) on my page, and on the 26th of September I have sent it as a recommended link to a dozen of pertinent psychological pages of the startlap.hu link portal.

When I had sent the links of my gardening pages to the respective subpages of the same portal, about 80% included them, while 20% refused them. The excuses of refusal were not very plausible, but well, not everyone must like my cheek and pages.

Now I expected more or less the same proportion. However, it turned to be quite different. A lot of page owners have not even replied, and among those eight who did, two included my link while the rest refused it.

First I did not understand the reason. And then I, like the vodka in the joke, decided to go out and check who is this Ivan Ivanovich who keeps refusing me.

I found the following:

Conflict management page:
“Dear Kata, thank you very much, I have included the link!”
1 esoteric link on the page – Both here and in the rest I only counted the explicitly esoteric links.
Parents page:
“Dear link recommender. Thank you for visiting my page and recommending your link. I have included it, but in terms of my editorial principles, I have placed it in a different box.”
5 - 10 esoteric links
Consultation page:
“Dear link recommender! The editor, in tems of the guideline concerning link recommendation, preferred not to include the link recommended by you.”
17 esoteric page and portal links
Health page:
“Dear link recommender! The content of the page recommended by you does not have the necessary amount or quality of information which would make it really useful for the users visiting the Health page. And as the Health page does not have in view to function as a complete and exhaustive link collection, therefore I am sorry to say that I cannot include your link between the already existing ones.”
16 esoteric page and portal links, with an emphasis on esotericism and homeopathy
Psychological aid page:
“Thank you for your recommendation, but the page proposed by you is no site, only a document (sic) which, in terms of the rules of our system, cannot be included in my page.”
50 esoteric page and portal links
Stress page:
“Dear link recommender! Thank you for your proposal. Although your web page is pleasant, however, I cannot accept it, because its topic does not match the page edited by me.”
58 esoteric page and portal links
Self-knowledge page:
“Dear link recommender! Thank you for your proposal. Although your web page is pleasant, however, I cannot accept it, because its topic does not match the page edited by me.”
66 esoteric page and portal links

All right. Now we already see who Ivan Ivanovich is. It is noteworthy that the better position he has, the more sneaky and insolent he is.

In the Consultation page he still clearly declares that he does not wish to include my page. I understand it well: if I opened a special section for esotericism, I would also not wish to include the link of a Christian on my page.

The editor of the Health page was impertinent enough to write about my exceptionally informative and well edited page (I can justifiably affirm this, after having visited the pages of several hundreds of psychologists) that it does not have the necessary amount and quality of information which would make it useful for the visitors of his page. Of course, if someone is looking for esotericism, the focus of his page, then he or she will certainly not find it on mine.

The editor of the Psychological aid page is more astute, and covers himself by referring to a never seen rule that stands above him. And he has all reason to cover himself, as he promotes oracle pages, horoscope and brain control as psychological aids. The one recommending all this is Imre Farkas, the president of the Győr-Sopron county branch of the Hungarian Psychological Aid by Phone for Children and Youth organization. Let us send oracles on the cell phones of every Hungarian children!

Krisztián Füredi, the editor of the Stress and Self-knowledge pages also edits the Hypnosis, Cognitive, NLP, Psychoanalysis, Psychodrama, Psychology, Psychotherapy, Personality and Social psychology pages. This means that he nailed more or less the complete field of psychology. Whoever is not included in his pages will not enter on the psychological web market which is increasingly covering the whole market.

So he does not strain himself to write that the topic of my site does not match that of the page edited by him. And the topic of his page is not what its title suggests, but what he likes. And he likes esotericism very much. This is not only indicated by the more than a hundred and twenty esoteric links on the Stress and Self-knowledge pages.

After having refused my link on the Psychology page with this excuse:

The content of the recommended page is relevant in every aspect, nevertheless I am sorry to say that I cannot accept it, as this topic is already completely covered by the other links on the page, so your link would not add extra information to the readers,

I thought, how great, if they completely cover it then I will easily find here all the other Christian psychologists. What I found, however, was the following:

About 20% of the psychologists linked by him exclusively follow some traditional clinical method, principally Freudian psychoanalysis. This is that 20% where the patient will suffer probably no injury, apart from eventually paying a lot of money for absolutely nothing. In any case, he or she will encounter a systematic, controlled and transparent method that does not intend to manipulate him or her, but to promote the evolution of his or her personality.

In the case of about 30% of the therapeutes on the page no information is given about their method. They only communicate to their future patient that if he or she will go to them then everything will be very good.

About 40% of the psychologists applies – either exclusively, or as a supplement – some manipulative technique, some sort of autogene training, relaxation, hypnose, katatim imaginative psychotherapy (KIP), neurolinguistic programming (NLP).

These manipulative techniques are usually recommended for a quickly relaxation to people suffering of stress. However, the relaxation basically works like a mild tranquillizer. It does not resolve the problem, only helps one in worrying less about it. If one continuously resorts to this solution, then the unresolved problem will look for another outlet. The patient will change symptoms, and from then on will go see the psychologist not about stress but about indigestion or computer addiction. If the psychologist manages to cure this on the level of symptoms again, then he can perfectly gain his living on a few patients until the end of his life.

The relaxation techniques are similar to mild tranquillizers also in that aspects that they are of no worth in the case of great stress. My psychologist friend who had learned autogene training, replied to me when I asked her why she did not use it in some really hard situation, that she could not relax when she was so nervous…

This is, however, the smaller problem. The bigger one is that what begins with the manipulation of the body, soon becomes the manipulation of the mind. The patient communicates with something – inner images, the subconscious, etc. – like with a person. However, our inner images and subconscious are no persons. There is nothing in your subconscious which was not put there by yourself. The contents of the subconscious can be uncovered, and this has therapic effect indeed. But you cannot communicate with it.

You can only communicate with the psychologist to whom you delivered yourself and who, for example in the case of NLP, applies techniques to go round the conscious resistance of the patient and to bring him in a modified mental state where his subconscious opens to the suggestions of the psychologists. And in the so-called katatim imaginative psychotherapy (KIP) the psychologist moves the patient to directly deliver him- or herself to various spiritual forces.

This means that with about the 40% of the psychologists on the Psychology page you are lucky if you only pay a lot of money for techniques that you cannot use for anything and do not receive hard esotericism by right of “psychology”.

Finally, it is exactly hard esotericism that is offered by a bit more than 10% of the psychologists on the Psychology page. Esotericism in every form, astrology, tarot, gurus and masters.

Everything is clear. No Christian psychologist is necessary here,

as this topic is already completely covered by the other links on the page.”

Mani nella salsa

View of Istanbul from the window of Orhan PamukView of Istanbul from the window of Orhan Pamuk (El País)

In this year Turkey is the special guest of the Frankfurt Book Fair, and on this occasion Babelia, the literary supplement of El País has asked Nobel winner Orhan Pamuk to present his own Turkish library.

Con poco más de veinte años no compraba los libros como un coleccionista, sino como alguien inquieto que quisiera comprender lo antes posible, leyéndolo todo, el sentido del mundo: el motivo de la casa en los cuentos populares de Gümüshane; la trastienda de la rebelión de Ethem el circasiano contra Atatürk; un listado de asesinatos políticos en la época constitucional; la historia de la cacatúa de Abdülhamit, comprada por el embajador en Londres por encargo del sultán y enviada desde Inglaterra a Turquía; ejemplos de cartas de amor para tímidos; la historia de la introducción de las tejas de Marsella en Turquía; las memorías políticas del médico que fundó el primer hospital para tuberculosos; una Historia del Arte Occidental de ciento cincuenta páginas escrita en los años treinta; los apuntes de clase del comisario que enseñaba a los estudiantes de la escuela de policía las maneras de combatir a los pequeños delincuentes callejeros como carteristas, timadores y descuideros; los seis tomos de memorias de un antiguo presidente de la república, llenos de documentos; la influencia en la pequeña empresa moderna de la ética de los gremios otomanos; la historia, los secretos y la genealogía de los jeques de la cofradía de los cerrahi; las memorias del París de los años treinta de un pintor olvidado por todos; las intrigas de los comerciantes para elevar el preciod de las avellanas; las quinientas páginas de duras críticas de un movimiento marxista turco prosoviético a otro movimiento prochino y proalbanés; el cambio de la ciudad de Eregli tras la apertura de las fábricas de hierro y acero; el libro para niños titulado Cien turcos famosos, la historia del incendio de Aksaray; una selección de columnas de entreguerras de un periodista totalmente olvidado hacía treinta años; la historia bimilenaria comprimida en doscientas páginas de una pequeña ciudad de la Anatolia Central que no era capaz de localizar en el mapa de un primer vistazo; la afirmación de un maestro jubilado que pretendía, a pesar de no saber inglés, haber resuelto el misterio de quién era el asesino de Kennedy sólo leyendo la prensa turca.

Pamuk offers an unexpected explication for this eclectic interest. Although he was born in an upper middle class family, and both his father and grandfather had a considerable library – about which he writes with great affection in his Istanbul –, but this library, as he says, was rather a “museum” to him. In fact, in 1928 the Arabic alphabet was officially replaced with the Latin one, and for the generations educated after this date the complete previous literary production has become unaccessible. Even if the texts of the earlier authors were being gradually published in Romanized version, but in the lack of continuity the elevated and sophisticated language of the Ottoman literature had also become obsolete, so much that – at least in the case of more ancient authors – even a modern Turkish “translation” had to be added to the Romanized transcription of the original Osmanli text. The established canon has thus lost its validity, and Pamuk, just like his contemporaries, had to create a new one for himself out of whatever he found. Hence the impatience, the neglect of the hierarchies of genres, the joy of discovery and the liberty of heterogenity.

It is not accidental that the personal canon of Pamuk includes several authors from Istanbul who around and after the turn of the century produced a similarly “gathering” oeuvre, from Reşat Ekrem Koçu, the author of the Istanbul Encyclopedia which was published in monthly instalments and remained unfinished, to the late 19th-century journalist Ahmet Rasim, who in his “letters”

a lo largo de medio siglo, escribió sin parar sobre todo lo que se refiriera a Estambul: de los diversos tipos de borrachos a los vendedores ambulantes de los suburbios; de los dueños de los colmados a los malabaristas callejeros; de los músicos a los pordioseros; de la belleza de los barrios del Bósforo a las tabernas; de las noticias cotidianas a las de la Bolas; de los parques, plazas y lugares de diversión a los mercados semanales; de las bellezas individuales de cada estación del año a las muchedumbres; de los juegos con bolas de nieve y trineos a la historia de la prensa; de los cotilleos a los menús de los restaurantes. (Orhan Pamuk: Estambul)

Sébah and Joaillier, photographers of the sultan: Café in Istanbul, end of the 19th centurySébah and Joaillier, photographers of the sultan: Café in Istanbul, end of the 19th century

Something similar to this is reported by Arthur Rimbaud in The alchemy of the word about the canon losing its force and about the elevation of the appreciation of the genres hitherto confined to the lowest levels of hierarchy:

I thought the great figures of modern painting and poetry were laughable. What I liked were: absurd paintings, pictures over doorways, stage sets, carnival backdrops, billboards, bright-colored prints; old-fashioned literature, church Latin, erotic books full of misspellings, the kind of novels our grandmothers read, fairy tales, little children's books, old operas, silly old songs, the nave rhythms of country rimes. (Translation by Paul Schmidt)

And something similar comes to my memory as well if I recall how in my teenager age the various canons of the books at home, of the school readings and of the official book publishing of the last years of Communism became empty for me – that is, how I gradually lost my interest in what “one must read” –, and how I began to track down second-hand book shops, flea markets, book sellouts, Transylvanian, Slovakian and foreign language bookshops and then ancient libraries, in order to fish out of the debris and disorder, or at least of orders unknown to me, works that were important only to me, that I discovered for myself.

All that is over. Today, I know how to celebrate beauty. – finishes Rimbaud his relation. But he is only half right. Of course one gradually composes his own canon and also understands the values or at least the points of view of the other canons as well. But the joy and freedom of treasure-hunting, of exploring the obscurity, of discovering and personalizing the small and the forgotten will never be over if one has once felt it.

Orhan Pamuk: Estambul (Istanbul), cover photo of the Spanish editionOrhan Pamuk: Estambul, cover photo of the Spanish edition

The past has begun

Statue of the Holy Crown of Hungary in front of the Dunakeszi railway station
The borders of our world are not in the distance, on the horizon or in the depths: they glimmer at the immedite vicinity, at the obscure edges of our intimate spaces. Somebody on a morning finds a wriggling sea star on the damp carpet of the living room, or a statuette of a god with an obstinate look in the eye, bird- and turtle-shaped mechanisms that sometimes hum and a red lamp is gleaming on the place of their eyes, or a book printed with unknown letters that include irised illustrations representing jungle temples and tigers. These things arrived to our shores only by mistakes, and then we enwrap them with some kind of substitutive meanings originating in our own experiences, on the basis of false similarities. We are guarded by the protective arm of the careful and perfidious god of the grammar that conceals from us the face of the monsters. (Michal Ajvaz: Druhé město (The other town), Brno 2005)

As the objects of the obscure, irrational and surreal “other town” hiding behind the usual and everyday Prague which sometimes penetrate by chance into our world and thus open the eyes of Michal Ajvaz to the existence of that one, are not what they appear to be, the sand container in Petřín is in the reality the lighting-window of the dome of an underground pagan cathedral, and the last door of the basement toilet of the Slavia café opens on an immense jungle cut across by a powerful river, in which the members of a tiger-adoring sect are massacring their own heretics; so the Hungarian crown standing in front of the railway station of Dunakeszi and slowly dribbling on the four Stonehenge dolmens supporting it like the clocks of Dalí, thus dissolving and invalidating the time, is not identical with the Hungarian crown that we have seen in the previous two posts, although it bears a striking resemblance to it. For the one we have seen in Iran and Austria, is the insignia of the Hungarian kings since the 12th century which, with its components coming from different countries, with the beautiful enamel images from 11th-century Limoges and 12th-century Byzantium, with the portrait of the Byzantine emperor Michael Dukas inserted on the place of a former icon of the Virgin Mary, with the cross standing obliquely but proudly on its top, and with its history full of vicissitudes is a true portrait of the thousand years old Hungarian statehood. The crown modeled in Dunakeszi, however, is a several thousand or ten thousands year old jewel of Hun or Sumerian origin – anyway, the both are the same –, a magic model of the cosmos, an energy center, sum of an infinite knowledge coming from outside the Earth or from the collective unconscious of mankind, the tabernacle of the religion of the highest order that has ever existed or that can be conceived. At least this is what the members of this esoteric Hungarian sect, unfortunately growing in number, preach of it.

Statue of the Holy Crown of Hungary in front of the Dunakeszi railway station
The priests and believers of this religion are among us, like the night high priest of the faith of Dargúz in Ajvaz’s novel who in the daytime is the waiter of the restaurant of Pohořelec. They are stubborn Calvinists holding in contempt all kind of Popist idolatry, but uttering with the utmost respect the name of the Holy Crown. Catholics taking Communion every day, but propagating the Gospel of the Holy Crown every week in the Tuesday prayer meeting with the devote support of the parish priest. Department leaders of the Hungarian National Library who open the halls of the library to the mission of this cult. Architects – a most important order of knighthood of this religion – of whom you hope statically reliable houses and you receive the pattern design of the lines of force of the Holy Crown embracing the universe. Goldsmiths, sculptors and applied artists who on the one hand guarantee with their name for the authenticity of the myth of origin of this cult object, and on the other hand fill with works of art inspired by the myth the cultural centers, public squares, institutions and publications. Their presence is more perceptible in the countryside where I live than in the city where – as Ajvaz puts – the arm of the careful and perfidious god of the grammar conceals from us their network and their communities, on whose regular gatherings the wandering prophets of this faith József Molnár V., Gábor Papp, Lajos Szántai and their disciples steadily provide with spiritual food the believers of this mistery religion.

Statue of the Holy Crown of Hungary in front of the Dunakeszi railway station
The crown in Dunakeszi refers to this still hiding world not only with its typical stylistic marks – its stiff, idol-like elaboration, its rustic dolmens and the burial hill heaped up under them –, but also with the fact that it visualizes an important article of faith of this cult: that the angle of inclination of the cross on the top of the crown is exactly identical with the angle of obliquity of the axis of the Earth. The sculptor, in order to emphasize this dogma, slipped the crown on the dolmens so that now everything is oblique on it, except for the only really oblique element, the cross, which thus stands erect perfectly vertically towards the sky, parallel with the axis of the Earth, looking exactly on the North Star like a small magic antenna.

Kacsintós Shakespeare / ravasz Sekszpir Viliam, Cseh Tamás - Bereményi Géza számának illusztrációja.....In order to make realistic
the implausible hunch on your back,
you must simply bend the back of the world
on the model of your hunch.

Tamás Cseh - Géza Bereményi:
Song about the Wily William Shakespeare

Still hiding world, I say. Because if the book of Michal Ajvaz mapped how an “other world” imperceptibly fills in the cavities of the usual everyday reality, another Czech author, Karel Čapek has described in his War with the salamanders what happens when the situation becomes unstable, and that other, dark and surreal world breaks with a great force into ours.

Statue of the Holy Crown of Hungary in front of the Dunakeszi railway station
May God save us of such eventuality.

Tale to size

write you the tale about the bear and the crown. let there be also the padishah of Madjaristan.
comment by Anna to the previous post (in the Hungarian version of the blog)

Illustration of Gennadiy Pavlishin to the Tales of the river Amur
Once upon a time there was a bear living in the middle of a big round forest. The crowns of the high trees of the forest leaned against each other like the vault of a church. Under them there was an eternal, pleasant half-light reigning, no rain poured and no wind raged ever. The bear loved the forest very much, he loved to go around in it and to have talks with the other animals about the things of the forest. And he thought it would be like this in all his life.

Illustration of Gennadiy Pavlishin to the Tales of the river AmurIllustrations of Gennadiy Pavlishin to the Tales of the river Amur

On a day, however, the bear somehow got to the edge of the forest, of which he had known only from hearsay before. He came out from between the trees, and caught sight of the blue sky with the sun shining on it brilliantly. Unknown flowers were blooming on the meadow and deers were grazing on it, whom the bear had never seen before – their huge antlers were too large for the thick forest. “My God, how beautiful is the world outside the forest!” – the bear thought in astonishment. From that time on he went day by day to the edge of the forest to have a look at that wonderful view, until on a day he said: “I go and see what else is there in the world over the meadow.” And he left the forest without looking back any more.

Photis Ionatos: Ithaca, poem by Kavafis. From the CD “Ithaque”

Κωνσταντίνος Π. Καβάφης:

Σα βγεις στον πηγαιμό για την Ιθάκη,
να εύχεσαι νάναι μακρύς ο δρόμος,
γεμάτος περιπέτειες, γεμάτος γνώσεις.
Τους Λαιστρυγόνας και τους Κύκλωπας,
τον θυμωμένο Ποσειδώνα μη φοβάσαι,
τέτοια στον δρόμο σου ποτέ σου δεν θα βρεις,
αν μεν' η σκέψις σου υψηλή, αν εκλεκτή
συγκίνησις το πνεύμα και το σώμα σου αγγίζει.
Τους Λαιστρυγόνας και τους Κύκλωπας,
τον άγριο Ποσειδώνα δεν θα συναντήσεις,
αν δεν τους κουβανείς μες στην ψυχή σου,
αν η ψυχή σου δεν τους στήνει εμπρός σου.

Να εύχεσαι νάναι μακρύς ο δρόμος.
Πολλά τα καλοκαιρινά πρωϊά να είναι
που με τι ευχαρίστησι, με τι χαρά
θα μπαίνεις σε λιμένας πρωτοειδωμένους,
να σταματήσεις σ' εμπορεία Φοινικικά,
και τες καλές πραγμάτειες ν' αποκτήσεις,
σεντέφια και κοράλλια, κεχριμπάρια κ' έβενους,
και ηδονικά μυρωδικά κάθε λογής,
όσο μπορείς πιο άφθονα ηδονικά μυρωδικά,
σε πόλεις Αιγυπτιακές πολλές να πας,
να μάθεις και να μάθεις απ' τους σπουδασμένους.

Πάντα στον νου σου νάχεις την Ιθάκη.
Το φθάσιμον εκεί ειν' ο προορισμός σου.
Αλλά μη βιάζεις το ταξείδι διόλου.
Καλλίτερα χρόνια πολλά να διαρκέσει
και γέρος πια ν' αράξεις στο νησί,
πλούσιος με όσα κέρδισες στο δρόμο,
μη προσδοκώντας πλούτη να σε δώσει η Ιθάκη.
Η Ιθάκη σ'έδωσε τ' ωραίο ταξείδι.
Χωρίς αυτήν δεν θάβγαινες στον δρόμο.
Άλλα δεν έχει να σε δώσει πια.

Κι αν πτωχική την βρεις, η Ιθάκη δε σε γέλασε.
Έτσι σοφός που έγινες, με τόση πείρα,
ήδη θα το κατάλαβες οι Ιθάκες τι σημαίνουν.
....Konstantinos P. Kavafis:

As you set out for Ithaca
hope your road is a long one,
full of adventure, full of discovery.
Laistrygonians, Cyclops,
angry Poseidon - don't be afraid of them:
you' ll never find things like that on your way
as long as you keep your thoughts raised high,
as long as a rare excitement
stirs your spirit and your body.
Laistrygonians, Cyclops,
wild Poseidon - you won't encounter them
unless you bring them along inside your soul,
unless your soul sets them up in front of you.

Hope your road is a long one.
May there be many summer mornings when,
with what pleasure, what joy,
you enter harbours you're seeing for the first time;
may you stop at Phoenician trading stations
to buy fine things,
mother of pearl and coral, amber and ebony,
sensual perfume of every kind -
as many sensual perfumes as you can;
and may you visit many Egyptian cities
to learn and go on learning from their scholars.

Keep Ithaca always in your mind.
Arriving there is what you're destined for.
But don't hurry the journey at all.
Better if it lasts for years,
so you're old by the time you reach the island,
wealthy with all you've gained on the way,
not expecting Ithaca to make you rich.
Ithaca gave you the marvelous journey.
Without her you wouldn't have set out.
She has nothing left to give you now.

And if you find her poor, Ithaca won't have fooled you.
Wise as you will have become, so full of experience,
you'll have understood by then what these Ithakas mean.

During his long journey he met many strange creatures,

saw and heard a lot of strange things,

learned a lot,

made acquaintance with the forgotten streets and backyards of the cities,

some times he got in trouble, but he always managed to fight out of it.

Finally on a day he happened to get to the land of the padishah of Madjaristan.

The padishah of Madjaristan, the terrible tyrant was just struggling with problems of succession out of his own fault.

He thus announced that his beautiful daughter came to an age to marry and was waiting for suitors. And the suitors started to arrive from the direction of the four winds, all kinds of princes and counts and selected Gypsy lads. The princess, however, did not want any of them, because long time before she had seen in a dream that none else but a flying bear would be her choice, arriving to her from a faraway land.

Cheburashka from the modern lubok series by Andrej KuznetsovCheburashka from the modern lubok series by Andrej Kuznetsov

She was sitting day and night on the highest point of the castle and watching whether there is a bear nearing who looks like a small black cloud.

Savina Yannatou and the Primavera en Salonico: Ya salió de la mar la galana (The lady has already come out of the sea), a Sephardic song from Thessaloniki, from the CD “Primavera en Salonico” (Spring in Saloniki)

Muchachicha está en el baño
vestida de colorado.
Échate a la mar.
Échate a la mar y alcanza
– échate a la mar.

A la mar yo bien me echava,
si la suegra licencia me dava.
Échate a la mar.
Échate a la mar y alcanza
– échate a la mar.

Ya salió de la mar la galana
con un vestido al y blanco
ya salió de la mar.

Entre la mar y el río
mos creció un árbol de bembrillo
ya salió de la mar.

La novia ya salió del baño,
el novio ya la está esperando
ya salió de la mar.

Entre la mar y la arena
mos creció un árbol de almendra
ya salió de la mar.
................The girl is in the bath
vested in red.
Swim into the sea.
Swim into the sea and come back
– swim into the sea.

I would happily swim into the sea
if my mother-in-law gave permission.
Swim into the sea.
Swim into the sea and come back
– swim into the sea.

The lady has already come out of the sea
in a red and white vest
she has come out of the sea.

Between the sea and the river
a tree of quince has grown
she has come out of the sea.

The bride has already come out of the bath,
the bridegroom is waiting for her
she has come out of the sea.

Between the sea and the sand
an almond tree has grown
she has come out of the sea.

As soon as she caught sight of him, she immediately recognized him: no doubt, this was the bear she had seen in her dream. She has immediately led him to her father who gave them his blessing together with his crown and half of his kingdom.

And they threw a big wedding party, made merry, the dishes and drinks covered all place from Hencida to as far as Bonchida, and it would have spread even further, but the road over the mountain from Bonchida to Szék was not yet made and even the musicians from Szék had to come to the wedding over Szamosújvár. I was also there, dancing till morning, eating and drinking, seeing and hearing everything, just like I have told it now to you.

Let them live happily until they die and a thousand times more.