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ISSN 1409-6900 | UDK 82+7     Blesok no. 30 | volume VI | January-February, 2003



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                     Peer-reviewed journal
Blesok no. 30January-February, 2003
Prose

The Time of the Goats

excerpt from the novel


/7
p. 1
Luan Starova

     Goat District was in agonies awaiting the death sentence on the goats. The streets were empty, the children sad, the goats hidden in the cellars. Fear reigned, as if before a war. The people laid in provisions – not much, but something to see them through hard times.
     Without the goats we were certain to go hungry. When it became known that the Party was preparing special measures against the goats, there was a fear among the people that old, nearly forgotten quarrels would break out.
     Fear settled on the lives of us children. Even though amongst the poor families fear entered through one door and left through the other, we were still terrified in advance that someone could take them from us, could kill our goats. So fear made a long stay with everyone who had goats. For days we didn't take them to pasture. The last drops of milk were squeezed from them. The town swiftly became deserted, its former white bustle vanished. The long wait began.
     'Census, census, census!' was called one morning through Goat District and through the town.
     The news reached our house too.
     'What kind of census now, for goodness' sake. Didn't they take the census last autumn?' my mother said to herself out loud, putting her knitting down beside her on the balcony. She was sitting beside my father, who was leafing through an old book. He slowly put down his book, took off his glasses and before he could reply to my mother's words, my Party-member brother hurried out onto the balcony calling from a distance, 'Census, a census of all the goats, order of the highest Party authorities. It's got to be organised right away.'
     My father was considered a pretty well-informed person. He listened almost all night to local and foreign broadcasts, western and eastern stations. Sometimes he would listen until early morning while he gathered together his own version of the truth. He was a calm man, he didn't easily allow himself to be taken in by enthusiasm, by optimism. He was so well-informed that he could never be an optimist. Only the ill-informed are optimists, he often used to say. He had no one, apart from Changa and the household, to share his thoughts with. It was as if the words from the radio compensated for this. He often commented on important news out loud, as if


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