August 2019

The Forty-Seven Ronins part 1

Japan

Introduction

In the Eighth Century A.D. (712) the annals of the chief families of Japan were collected in a work known as the Kojiki, or Record of Ancient Matters. This constituted the first writing of note in Japanese, but it was not until the appearance eight years later of the volume called JVihongi, or Chronicles of Japan, that Japanese literature can be said to have begun.

The Kojiki was in the language of old Japan, while the Nihongi was in the classical Chinese, which superseded the Japanese and was in use until the Seventeenth Century. In the Eighteenth Century Motoori composed a work of forty-four volumes devoted to the elucidation of the Kojiki called Exposition of the Record of Ancient Matters. This has been declared by Chamberlain to be “perhaps the most admirable work of which Japanese erudition can boast.”

In the first part of the Eleventh Century Murasaki-no-Shikibu, a lady of the great Fujiwara family, composed t

The Human Telegraph part 2

That evening the counselor was a caller at the home of Mr. Z —, whose entire life was passed in performing trifling services to such representatives of humanity as comprise Classes VII to III of the official hierarchy. In his desire to please, the counselor related to Mr. Z what the Countess had witnessed at the Orphanage and what she had heard from the representative of the religious sisterhood. He added his own contribution that—ah—yes—that—really, books ought to be provided for the orphans.

“Nothing is simpler!” cried Mr. Z. “To-morrow I am going to the office of the Courier and I`ll see to it that an announcement of the book needs of the Orphanage is published.”

The next day Mr. Z very excitedly rushed into the editorial rooms of the Courier, imploring in the name of all the saints that it print an appeal to the public to donate books to the orphans.

He arrived at an opportune moment, for the paper needed matter for a few sensati

The Human Telegraph part 1

Boleslav Prus (Alexander Glowacki) (1847-1912)

Alexander Glowacki, known and loved among his people under the pen-name Prus, was born near Lublin in Poland, in 1847. His first novel was published in 1872, and from that time until his death in 1912, his literary activities were uninterrupted. He was a very prolific writer.

“He believed in humanity, in civilization, in the creative power of good and light. He demanded national self-education… he yearned for the training of the will of the people, to whom he proclaimed that each man must find in himself the source of strength and energy.” Prus`s short stories are especially characteristic of the man`s nature and art.

This story is translated—for the first time into English—by Sarka B. Hrbkova, by whose permission it is here printed.

The Human Telegraph

On her visit to the Orphanage recently the Countess X witnessed an extraordinary scene. She beheld four boys wran

The Mysterious Picture part 5

“Verywell,” said the Landgrave, and at his command the aforesaid notabilitiesappeared. Ulenspiegel took his stand in front of the curtain, which was stillcarefully drawn.

“MyLord Landgrave,” he said “and you, Madame the Landgravine, and you, my Lord ofLuneburg, and you others, fine ladies and valiant captains, know that behindthis curtain have I portrayed to the best of my abilities, your faces, everyone warlike or gentle, as the case may be. It will be quite easy for each oneof you to recognize himself. And that you are anxious to see yourselves is onlynatural. But I pray you, have patience and suffer me to speak a word or twobefore the curtain is drawn. Know this, fair ladies and valiant captains: allyou that are of noble blood shall behold my paintings and rejoice. But if therebe any among you that is of low or humble birth, such an one will see nothingbut a blank wall. So there! And now, have the goodness to open wide your nobleeyes.”

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The Mysterious Picture part 4

Thelady went away, and now there appeared a young maid-of- honor, fair, fresh andcomely, only that she lacked three teeth under her upper lip.

“Sirpainter,” said she, “if you do not paint me smiling and showing through myparted lips a perfect set of teeth, I`ll have you chopped up into small piecesat the hands of my gallant. There he is, look at him.”

Andshe pointed to that captain of artillery who a while ago had been playing diceon the palace steps. And she went her way.

Theprocession continued until at last Ulenspiegel was left alone with theLandgrave. The Landgrave said to him, “My friend, let me warn you that if yourpainting has the misfortune to be inaccurate or false to all these variousphysiognomies by so much as a single feature, I will have your throat cut as ifyou were a chicken.”

“IfI am to have my head cut off,” thought Ulenspiegel, “if I am to be drawn andquartered, chopped up into small pieces a

The Mysterious Picture part 2

TheMysterious Picture is found in Section 33 of the First Book. Translated byGeoffrey Whitworth in the volume, The Legend of Tyl Ulenspiegel, published byChatto and Windus, by whose permission it is here used. There is no title inthe original.

The Mysterious Picture

Theretwo captains of artillery were playing dice upon the steps of the palace, andone of them, a red-haired man of gigantic stature, soon noticed Ulenspiegel ashe approached modestly upon his ass, gazing down upon them and their game.

“Whatdo you want?” said the captain, “you fellow, with your starved pilgrim`s face?”

“Iam extremely hungry,” answered Ulenspiegel, “and if I am a pilgrim, it isagainst my will.”

“Anyou are hungry,” replied the captain, “go, eat the next gallows- cord you cometo, for such cords are prepared for vagabonds like you.”

“SirCaptain,” answered Ulenspiegel, “only give me the f

The Mysterious Picture part 1

Belgium

Introduction

Itwas not until 1880 that the Belgians could claim to have established anindisputably original literature of their own. Before that time a few nationalwriters, like Henri Conscience, made a sporadic appearance, but either theyjoined the ranks of French writers in Paris or they remained more or lessisolated phenomena in their own country.

Midwaybetween the earlier period and the foundation of Max Waller`s epoch-makingmagazine, La Jeune Belgique, in 1880, stood Charles de Coster, whose Legend ofTyl Ulenspiegel is now regarded as one of the chief sources of inspiration tothe generations that followed. But De Coster died before the opening of theperiod that marks the birth of a genuine Belgian literature.

ModernBelgium is rich in prose fiction. Though Maeterlinck spe-cialized in the dramaand the essay, and Verhaeren was essentially a poet, the most significantproducts of the

Bulgarian Monasteries

Customized Tours Bulgaria Day 1

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Let your customized tours Bulgaria start. On that first day of tours Bulgaria we travel to the Rila Monastery. It is not far from the capital of Bulgaria, Sofia, which is 120 km away. (private guided Sofia tours)

As soon as we reach the monastery, we check in into a hotel in the region, dinner and overnight.

Customized Tours Bulgaria Day 2