Querido Wang Wei, me permitirás ahora una nota algo pedante. Tiene que ver con el azar, que junta mundos lejanos: a la vez estaba oyendo el parte meteorológico y leyendo un libro (hoy en día pueden hacerse estas dos cosas simultáneamente, créeme). El parte meteorológico decía que en Cataluña la sequía empieza a ser grave y que no parece que se vaya a solucionar en el futuro próximo. En el mismo instante, el libro ponía ante mis ojos:

... Inde Tarraco oppidum
et Barcilonum amoena sedes ditium,
nam pandit illic tuta portus brachia,
uuetque semper dulcibus tellus aquis.

[... Después, la ciudad de Tárraco y la amena sede de los ricos habitantes de Bárcilo, pues un puerto abre allí sus brazos seguros y la tierra está siempre empapada de aguas dulces.]

Así es como describe Barcelona Rufus Festus Avienus en su Ora maritima (vv. 519-522), a fines del siglo IV d. C. Su riqueza deriva del agua del mar y el agua dulce. Como sabes, querido Wang Wei, en este mar hay cada vez menos peces y los pescadores multiplican cada año sus horas para conseguir unos pocos. Y el agua dulce que bajaba por el Rubricatum (Llobregat) y el Baetul (Besós) es un recuerdo que ya no tienen ni los hombres más ancianos. Es por todo esto y porque vivo cerca de allí, en una isla sin ríos donde ya nos bebemos el agua del mar filtrada a través unos caros y complicados ingenios llamados desaladoras, que pienso con frecuencia en los problemas obvios que se nos vienen encima. Solo era una reflexión al caer la tarde. Descansa ahora de la dura jornada que yo intentaré hacer lo mismo.

Rufus Festus Avienus, Ora maritima, on Barcelona

Sant Antoni

In the popular tradition Saint Anthony is the patron of domestic animals, but he also protects people from erysipelas accompanied by high fever, painful eruptions and in the Middle Ages also by death. This disease, also called “fire of Saint Anthony” was caused by the fungus infection of corn called “ergot,” and the religious order of the Anthonites founded in honor of the saint made great efforts throughout the Middle Ages to fight it off by producing seed-grain cleaned from the infection and distributing it among peasants. According to the custom, the order received from the grateful families bell-bearing pigs that had the right of grazing wherever they pleased and that were then roasted and distributed among the poor on the day of the saint, January 17th.

santantoni-santantonio santantoni-santantonio santantoni-santantonio

In the feast of Saint Anthony in Sa Pobla of Mallorca, besides the blessing of the animals, the fire, the pig-roasting and the common banquet the demons come on the scene as well who, while the saint lived a life of hermit in the desert,

appeared in the form of various beasts, and with their claws and corns were cruelly tearing him. And when he implored for the help of Our Lord Jesus, immediately a great light shone upon him, and all the demons ran away.

It is late evening when we arrive to the village. In the road-crossing we walk round about huge stacks of wood. The fire is already blazing in front of the church, the brass band has just finished the festive concert. The figures of giants and monsters of the procession are still waiting at the gate of the churchyard. The ceremony starts, the sermon and the several strophes long songs all praise the merits of Saint Anthony. The lecture is about the column of fire that led the people in the desert.

santantoni santantoni santantoni santantoni santantoni santantoni santantoni santantoni

After the ceremony the column of fire indeed departs and leads the people to the main square in front of the town-hall. The demons appear too, with drums, clappers and torches. The singers of the village, accompanied by ximbomba, take turns at reciting the never ending song on the temptation of Saint Anthony that begins like this: Saint Anthony and the demons sat down to play cards.

Saint Anthony and the demons (4'35")

In the meantime the demons form a circle, pattering and clattering here and there on their stilts, and menacing Saint Anthony who is turning in the middle of the circle. The dance is gradually joined by the other monsters and a number of other grotesque figures as well, like the clown, the pharmacist, the Turk, the Saracen.

dimoni dimoni dimoni dimoni dimoni dimoni dimoni dimoni

And then suddenly all hell breaks loose. The building of the town-hall starts rumbling, fire breaks out from the chimneys. The demons are raging with might and main, spending all their fury for having not been able to give a short shrift to Saint Anthony in this year either.

fireworks fireworks fireworks fireworks fireworks fireworks fireworks fireworks

As the smoke is subsiding, the crowd begins to disperse, everyone is heading to their own bonfire. In each road-crossing another company of neighbors or friends are roasting their dinner. The flats and garages are transformed into occasional inns: wherever the long red flag with the blue cross is put out, there guests are welcome. The singers on the main square platform still continue reciting for long hours the song of Saint Anthony: the story takes more and more improbable and profane turns, interweaving the cuckolded husbands and nasty stories of the village. The amplified singing echoes in all the village, and at the bonfires new, local versions are improvised on it. The troops of humiliated demons ramble all over the streets with loud drumming and shouting. At the end of the village they give a last, furious concert and then they go to have a dinner, too. When we set to home from the village before dawn, we have to find our way by driving in zigzag among the fire-blocked road-crossings until we get to the road leading to Palma.

Sa Pobla, máglya az útkereszteződésben

Satisfacción plena

La vida sonreía de oreja a oreja al autor de este dístico que se encuentra en la última página del ejemplar del Fasciculus temporum (1495) de la Biblioteca del Monasterio de la Real.

En unas pocas semanas entregaremos el catálogo de los incunables de esa biblioteca, que hemos realizado junto con las imágenes digitalizadas de los libros.
Life was smiling from ear to ear on the author of this couplet that can be read on the last page of the Fasciculus temporum (1495) preserved in the Biblioteca del Monasterio de la Real.

We will also feel like this within a few weeks, when we will deliver the digital catalog of the incunabula of the library, including the complete digitized images of the books.

A handwritten distichon in the codex Fasciculus temporum (1495) of the Biblioteca del Monasterio de la Real of Mallorca
Si la fortuna más tuviera: más me diera
Si más recibir pudiera: la fortuna más me diera

If Fortune had more, she would have given me more
If more I could receive, more would have Fortune given

¡Viva España!

This is how the proposed new text of the Spanish hymn begins, that was just rejected by the Spanish Olympic Committee when I arrived to Spain. Throughout its ephemeral life this text has caused much tempest that has even reached as far as to Hungary. Simultaneously, the leaders of the right-wing party decided not to enter in the approaching elections their last trustworthy face, the Mayor of Madrid Gallardón, but to nominate instead Manuel Pizarro, a businessman of a controversial past on the second place of their list. The web forum of readers of El País of which I also have the honor of being a member has immediately discovered, with a good nose, the subtle relationship between these changes and my travel to Spain. The East-European agent arrived to Spain for the subversion of the Right, and he has already hitched up to the job.

Caserna antigua en el centro de Palma de Mallorca / Old barrack in the downtown of Palma de Mallorca, Spain
My first step is to look for an internet spot to receive my instructions. The members of the readers’ forum had promised me to compose a list of the bars I should unconditionally visit in Madrid in those few days while working in the National Library. I get in touch with them in the quarter of Carabanchel, in an Ecuadorian internet locutorio that has established an exemplary internationalist brotherhood with the proletariat of a large number of the countries of the world. Half of the room is occupied by a Columbian food store in which the wares are not arranged by sort, but by countries of origin. They line up on the shelves under handwritten shelf-marks like in a good library, in order the guest worker should not browse for long: Ecuador, Argentina, Peru, Poland, Romania... The countries known by me are unequivocally represented by wares in lack of which the guest workers of that country are orphan kids: for example mineral water of Borsec and poteen of Braşov for the Romanian immigrants who are just illegally dismantling and selling as Francoist souvenir the iron grids of the once notorious, today abandoned prison of Carabanchel, thirty euros a piece of an ell. “Does it really sell?” I ask of the little round Columbian seller, with a hint to the water of Borsec. “Like hot cakes!” he answers with a large smile.

La cárcel de Carabanchel abandonada / Abandoned prison of Carabanchel (Madrid), Spain
The first program item is the visit of the Rastro scheduled to realize on Sunday morning. However, this flea market spreading over the steep southern streets of Madrid has lost much of its glamor, today it is rather a tourist spot and a market of cheap Chinese commodities. Nevertheless, the seafood bars coming in quick succession on the Ribera de Curtidores offer a generous compensation to the observer who arrives from a country without sea.

Bar de pescado, Ribera de Curtidores, Madrid / Seafood Bar, Ribera de Curtidores, Madrid (Spain)
In the evening we still go with Ana to the Bukowski Club run by their friend, the Argentinian writer Carlos Salem, but with this the thread is altogether broken. I will not get to the Cafe Comercial at the Bilbao metro station, neither to the antiquarian shop on Moyano, not even to the Pizzeria “El Trebol” at the Sol station, where I should greet Gerardo and Arturo in the name of Ariel. I come down with flu, and lay with fever throughout the two days I had dedicated for working in the library and exploring the city. Mission incomplete. It is a luck that with my last forces I had been able to drag myself to the National Library where I get to know that it has unexpectedly closed, because an Argentinian diplomat had been stealing books for several months and now as he’s got pinched they make inventory. Better so, at least I am not annoyed that much by the idleness forced upon me.

Ana and José, our friends whom we had known in Iran attend me with devotion. They cook tea for me, look for pills, and give me Orsón, the big plush St. Bernard dog as a bed-warmer. I ask them to bring me some Borsec mineral water from the Columbian shop, as this is also used as a medicine in the Carpathian Székely land from where it comes. With the poteen of Braşov I do not dare to make experiments.

On Wednesday morning I am roaming still dizzy with illness on Terminal 4 of the Madrid airport, looking for a plug for my notebook. On Spanish airports I always find a place where I can work some hours until departure. Here, however, I have no success with this either. In the cafés, the salad bars, and even in the always reliable McDonalds envious hands smoothed out the bottoms of the columns and the walls alongside the chairs.

I sit down at least for a coffee, with a book in the hand. In the meantime it is announced that the plane to Mallorca will leave with a delay of an hour. I am just reading about how hopelessly Kapuściński tries to find a plane in the middle of the revolution in Kongo, when someone next to me begins to hum a tune. I jerk up my head. A young woman is softly singing to herself at the next table above her coffee, still half sleeping, persistently. I cannot grasp the melody, the rhythm is also free. It sounds like flamenco, and then perhaps like a ballad. The throaty alto voice fills the café and makes it homely. Bienvenido a España.

Madrid, Terminal 4, flight departure

Alexander Csoma de Kőrös

In 2006, on the 222th anniversary of the birth of Alexander Csoma de Kőrös, the founder of Tibetan studies we have published on the internet in Hungarian, English and Spanish, in the collaboration of Studiolum and the Oriental Collection of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, the legacy of Csoma preserved in the Collection. This date is memorable in the history of Tibetan studies for another reason as well, since the Hungarian Ministry of Education in this year announced, with reference to the all-time high budget deficit, the suppression of several university departments, including that of Tibetan philology. Therefore on the frontispiece of our web publication we have also displayed, out of solidarity, together with the commemoration of Csoma’s anniversary that it was prepared “in memory of the Tibetan studies in Hungary, abolished in this year,” until the management of the collections made us cancel this reference in fear of retorsion. Accidentally, this happened in the weeks of the municipal elections in which the governing parties – the authors of the above deficit – led their campaign with the slogan “Budapest, the city of liberty and solidarity.”

This little East-European absurd is, however, absolutely not alien to the path of life of Csoma. It was already a miracle that this boy who was born in the Carpathian frontier zone of Transylvania obtained exemption from the life-long service of border-warden, compulsory there at that time, and could go to learn at the academies of Nagyenyed (Ajud) and Göttingen instead. But it is even more characteristic that when learning there about the tentative theories of affinity between the Hungarian and Uyghur languages, he decided to verify them on the spot, by reaching on foot from Hungary as far as Uyghuristan in China. At this time the “Great Game” was developing between the Russians and the British in Central Asia, inciting bloody wars between every people living along the fault line running from Turkey to China – but in the middle of the wars and epidemics Csoma safely reached the Indian-Tibetan border. And here another miracle followed. For, in spite of his astounding talents – he perfectly spoke twenty languages – Csoma arrived too early. Comparative linguistics in these decades was just in the first phase of the elaboration of the scientific methodology of linguistic affinity, so Csoma’s comparative research was foredoomed to failure. However, by a special grace of God, on the road leading to Tibet he met a commissary of the British government who was just in need of such a person for the exploration of the Tibetan language, completely unknown to Europeans at that time, but indispensable to the expansion of the British. In the thereafter following fifteen years Csoma has completely accomplished this task. Living in the austere monasteries of Tibet, he mastered both the language and the religion, composed the first Tibetan dictionary and grammar (1834), and gave such detailed description of the Buddhist religion – only obscurely known in Europe – and of the Tibetan literary canon that nothing essential has been added to it since then. And Buddhists from Tibet to Japan venerate him as the only European boddhisatva. He nevertheless only regarded this as a detour, or in the best case a preliminary study to the research of the Uyghur. However, he never reached the Uyghur.

The list of Zsolt Sütő from the Transylvanian Marosvásárhely (Târgu Mureş) is the most complete collection of the information to be found about Csoma on the internet. We are on the distinguished fourth place on it. Zsolt himself has followed through the path of Csoma in India and Tibet, from where he brought home wonderful photos like this one above. He published them on his page with the title „Himalaya Blue” accompanied with his diary notes. In one of these notes he describes how difficult it is to explain to others what Csoma means to people grown up in this world of the absurd.

Today I went to Thiksey with an American couple, Farkas, with some Hungarian roots. It is extremely difficult, if not impossible, to recount the Csoma story in such a usual and superficial touristy conversation. I tell them that he had come here two hundred years ago, on foot. Ah, yeah, a traveler. Yes, but eventually he made the first good Tibetan-English Dictionay, among others. Ooh, yeah? I didn’t know that. And then still how far we are from his original purpose, from his Transylvanian and Göttingen years, from the Sanskrit-Tibetan-English dictionary... I’m more and more skeptical as far as it concerns the understanding of the essentials of the Hungarian raison d’être by foreigners. Not to speak about the Transylvanian raison d’être, which is not even understood by the Hungarians. The good God has imposed an interesting fable on our shoulders.

From a more fortunate place, let us say from America it is in fact difficult to understand what makes this story so remarkable. One accomplishes the respective academic studies, goes to a given place, and with the respective methodology and institutional support he composes the dictionary of the given language. A large number of American anthropologists are indeed doing so all over the world, and Franz Boas has even established a special school for this purpose. In our part of the world, however, in the eternal lack of background, institutions, network and support, and even accompanied by the suspicion, jealousy and hostility of the political and scientific potentates it is a must that a talent should either be lost or raise an outstanding achievement by a heroic effort and in solitude. Like Ryszard Kapuściński, Bohumil Hrabal and Csoma did – or even the clematis breeders mentioned in the previous two posts.

This is why it is a special joy if someone nevertheless grasps something from this. On ‘flickr’ we have come across the photo gallery “chambre-noire” by summergreen from the UK who has published this photo montage with the portrait of Alexander Csoma de Kőrös and a leaf of his Tibetan manuscripts, referring to the English version of our biography of Csoma as a source of the original images. Our gratitude for it.

Clematis Sociology 2. Uno Kivistik, Estonia; Mihail Ivanovich Orlov, Ukraine

I continue.

Raymond J. Evison, one of the most renowned clematis breeders. This picture was shot on the 2005 Chelsea Flower Show. (Accidentally, I was also there.) The background is therefore just as kitschy as it can be expected. You should disregard it. (By the way Evison has beautiful plants. By that time he had already created his series ‘The Prairie,’ composed of four ethereal Clematis integrifolia.) This is how one imagines a world famous flower breeder.

And by no means like this. This picture below represents Uno and Aili Kivistik in 1992, when the International Clematis Society visited their farm.

Uno Kivistik was born in 1932 in Estonia, in a medium landowner family who run their farm renownedly well. After the Soviet occupation, in 1949 they, just like everyone else, were deprived of their estates which were turned into Soviet-type kolkhozes. Due to ignorance, inresponsability and conscious destruction, the kolkhozes in a few years destroyed the values accumulated in the course of several generations. The former peasants in a large number undertook even the most inhuman works in the cities – as a result of forced Socialist industrialization, there was plenty of such work – just in order to escape from the village. Uno Kivistik stayed at home, and after work – I cannot say that in his free time, for such a thing was only known to the neo-proletariat collected in the concrete housing projects of the cities and deprived of all their roots and traditions, while everyone else just started a “second shift” after work – he experimented with flower breeding in their garden. In such circumstances he achieved such results that even several complete institutions in more fortunate places cannot boast with. His name is connected with more than twenty new apple breeds and fifty rose hybrids. In 1974 he started clematis breeding together with his wife Aili. They wanted to produce plants that give a safe and rich crop even in the cold Estonian climate. As a result, they have created more than 140 such clematis hybrids. In 1990, when the country achieved its independence from the Soviet Union, they regained their estates. There they established the Roogoja Farm which is active even today. Uno Kivistik died in 1998, at the age of sixty-six.

I know well the faces like his one, too. These faces completely miss those signs of well-being, safety and consciousness that make immediately recognizable the face of a Western intellectual. On the contrary, they are marked by those signs of poverty, lack of safety and oppression that in the West can be only discovered on the faces of the poorest classes.

In the Soviet Union a considerable part of intellectuals had such a face. I will never forget the commotion and bewilderment that I felt when I saw this at the first time. At the end of the seventies I met a group of highly qualified intellectuals who were guided in Budapest by a friend of mine. The face of these people missed all those traces of education that were customary at us, while they were strongly marked by intimidation, poverty and humiliation.

This face of the Soviet intellectuals, thanks to God, did not exist to the west of the Soviet border. However, they had another face as well which was also typical at us.

Mihail Ivanovich Orlov. This face was my childhood. This picture could have been equally that of a village butcher (albeit with an obligatory small moustache – however, I guess that the twenties in the Soviet Union were not survivable with such a moustache) or of a little town shoemaker, of the president of the local industrial co-operative or of the chief accountant of the Red Star Kolkhoz, of the director of the town’s secondary school, of the leader of the district library, or of Dr. X., candidate in historical studies.

Mihail Ivanovich was born in 1918. He graduated at the Academy of Forestry in Leningrad, and obtained his doctoral degree in 1963. He worked in the Central Botanic Garden of Kiev on the breeding of clematis cultivars resistant to wilt. His name is connected with more than forty scientific publications and the same number of clematis hybrids. He died in 2000.

Shortly before going to pension he was visited in the Botanic Garden of Kiev by an Estonian colleague to whom he gave the clematis on this picture which was bred by him. The colleague successfully propagated the plant at home, and when Orlov returned his visit they agreed that it would bear the name of Kiev. And so it happened. Since then Kiev has become the star plant of the most exclusive Western nurseries.

The face and the clematis do not match. It is possible that the face was only a mask. And it is also possible that the faces of all the other people were masks as well. That in spite of every appearance, all the others too kept such a flower hidden in their garden or in their heart. And that they wore that mask in order the barbarians and scoundrels in power for the moment would not trample their flower underfoot.

Clematis Sociology 1. Stefan Franczak S.J., Poland

In memoriam László Lukács S.J.

Today I finally made my order of clematis. An order like this is always preceded by a huge work. As the plants I order usually can be seen live the nearest five hundred kilometers to here, I try to get to establish via internet how they might look in the reality. The data of the same plant are often surprisingly different on the pages of different nurseries, thus one has to work usually quite much to have a realistic image.

Search and you shall find. Although not necessarily what you were looking for. In the eighties, on a traineeship in a small village in Western Hungary as an undergraduate of sociology I and a friend received the task to find out what and how was produced there at the beginning of the forties. The people we questioned started to count back, that before the war... but before which war... when the militiamen came... or when Anti was taken away... or else... And then they started to tell us about the militiamen and about who and how took away Anti and the rest. We never got to know what had been produced there, but in two days we knew everything about the past decades.

Later I made a lot of other interviews as well, and I experienced that at this part of the world any question you put, within five minutes you’ll be at the point of before which war... or when he was taken away...

I’m browsing among the clematis. One is more beautiful than the other.

After a while I discover that the most beautiful ones usually come from Poland, Estonia or Ukraine. And then I find the breeders as well.

Stefan Franczak S. J. from Poland.

How well I know this kind of face. This is the face of my Communist grandfather who, while we lived crowded in seven in a tiny flat of one room and one kitchen, refused the building land offered to him for an extremely low price, saying that “a Communist owns no land.”

The face of our neighbor Uncle Jani who, with his foot smashed to pieces at the Don river (of the two hundred thousand men sent there well if a tenth came back) even at the age of ninety cultivated their one hectare large garden in a way that there was not a single weed left in it.

The face of Lukács. In the Jesuit convent of Rome he galloped ahead on the long corridor like a big kangaroo, while I was following him at a brisk pace like a little rabbit to the lift, to go up to the fathers’ cafeteria on the fifth floor where he provided me and Tamás with coffee as a reward for the good job done in the library on that day. The Jesuit fathers – who either never knew or in the Roman comfort already forgot what was poverty like, that there is such a thing that one does not have money either for a coffee – did not cease to murmur. Lukács, however, was unperturbed. He was a conscious Socialist. Before the war — which one... the one in which the foot of Uncle Jani was smashed — his duty was to minister the small ranches on the plain around Szeged. He did know what poverty was.

After the war, at the command of his superiors, he escaped over the border. He was placed in the Historical Institute of the Jesuit order in Rome. In the morning he sat at his table, and there he worked until late night – apart from prayer and some afternoon nap he got accustomed to in Rome. Each day. For fifty years. He did not walk around in the city, he lived no social life. Although he could have done so. Others did so. He, however, only wanted to serve God by keeping alive the memory of the ancient Hungarian Jesuits. He collected every data about each Hungarian Jesuit from the 1500’s on. His results published in book mounted up to almost one running meter.

Then the times changed in Hungary, he was awarded several prizes, they wanted to make an idol out of him. But he was not touched by this. Before we left, we went up to his room. I was shocked to see the poverty in which he lived. A bed, a chair, a table with a computer on it – above eighty he learned how to use it, because with the help of it he could work quicker, on the greater glory of God –, a bookshelf and nothing else. By some miracle he nevertheless found a little medal so that he could give me a gift.

Before his death he came back home to Budapest for a short visit. He still could come out to see us in the garden.

Stefan Franczak is an internationally renowned clematis breeder. His name is connected with more than eighty breeds of clematis, many of which are awarded with international prizes. He published in several American, Canadian, British and Swiss reviews, and since the eighties there is no textbook that would not mention his work.

He was born in 1917. After studying and then teaching in various schools of agriculture, in 1948 he entered the Jesuit order as a simple helping brother. In Warsaw he was entrusted with the care of the one and half hectares large garden of the Jesuit college. As in the fifties the Communists preferred to expropriate the estates of the church upon the pretext of turning them for communitarian purposes, the Jesuits, in order to prevent this, converted their vegetable garden in a park and opened it to the public. This task was entrusted to him, too.

In a very short time he created an extensive ornamental garden composed of more than nine hundred plants, mostly breeds of clematis, iris and daylilies. Soon the whole country came to admire it, and specialists from all the world regularly made pilgrimage to it.

This picture, displaying a detail from the garden as it was in the seventies, could be published even today in any English garden review. But what it meant at that time is only understood by those who remember that, when crossing the border eastward, immediately everything was filthy, ugly, colorless and abandoned – deliberately and on purpose. The beauty of this garden, created in the middle of state-supported destruction, was a constant protest against the barbarism of the regime.

But barbarians are everywhere. With the change of regime the Jesuits received permission to build a new church, and by 1996 they erected one, by thus reducing their garden to a third of its size. And this was not enough. In 2003 the rector of the Jesuit college decided to transfer the 86 years old Brother Stefan to another convent and to liquidate the garden, the result of the whole life of an internationally renowned flower breeder. He received more than sixty protest letters from all over the world. They did not count much. Albeit he has not transfered the old Jesuit, nevertheless by remaining there, he has to observe while the rector continuously and systematically destroys the rest of his garden.

Saint Teresa of Avila in 1572 or 1573 made the pledge below in a playful form, but with a very serious content. She presumably made it to the benefit of Jerónimo Gracián, who at that time accomplished his novitiate in Pastrana. After the death of Teresa and John of the Cross this very talented and devout priest was the only one who faithfully represented Teresa’s line of direction. And within some years those very superiors mentioned by Teresa below expelled him from the order, by employing even the most disgusting means. I do not know where these people are now, although we know the circumstances of the death of the biggest scoundrel – the superior general of the order of that time –, and those do not promise anything good. The canonization of Gracián, however, was recently begun by the Church. And Teresa already a long time ago stepped over to there where there are no barbarians and no scoundrels, where there is no pain and no destruction. And I think that by this her pledge too has turned timeless.

“Teresa de Jesús dice que da a cualquier cavallero de la Virgen que hiciere un acto solo cada día muy determinado a sufrir toda su vida un perlado muy necio y vicioso y comedor y mal acondicionado, el día que le hiciere la da la mitad de lo que mereciere aquel día, ansí en la comunión como en hartos dolores, que trai; en fin, en todo, que será harto poco, ha de considerar la humildad con que estuvo el Señor delante de los jueces y cómo fue obediente hasta muerte de cruz.”

(“Teresa of Jesus makes the pledge that to any knight of the Virgin who each day renews his intention to suffer throughout his whole life the power of a wicked, stupid, voracious and rude prelate, I hand over half of what I have merited on that day either in the community with God or in the hard sufferances taken by me. And in all this he has to consider that humility with which the Lord stood in front of his judges and how He was obedient until His death on the cross.”)


Las posesiones europeas de Wang Wei son extensas. Van desde el Mediterráneo Occidental, tocando las costas de la península de Hispania, hasta las colinas de Transilvania, en las estribaciones de los Cárpatos. Es natural que las gentes que pueblan un territorio así sean muchas y diversas. Las hay tímidas y extrovertidas, holgazanas y laboriosas, malhechoras y santas, y algunas tienen la emotividad impulsiva y vehemente, cosa que hace concebir esperanzas sobre el futuro.

Es el caso que, durante una inspección rutinaria del barrio de Nuestra Señora del Carmen, en la zona occidental de los terrenos europeos de Wang Wei, el primer día de 2008 vimos que alguien había tendido, de lado a lado de la calle principal, esta felicitación de cumpleaños que es a la vez una declaración de amor y un grito de añoranza. Como no nos pareció conveniente empezar a preguntar para salir de dudas, nos quedamos con el interrogante de si Flor es el nombre de la mujer deseada o bien la firma de la autora de la pancarta. En cualquiera de los dos casos, les deseamos a ambos un próspero año 2008 en el que acaben consolidando un feliz reencuentro.

Barrio del Carmen