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ISSN 1409-6900 | UDK 82+7     Blesok no. 44 | volume VIII | September-October, 2005



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                     Peer-reviewed journal
Blesok no. 44September-October, 2005
Prose

Hastrman

(an excerpt from the novel)


/7
p. 1
Miloš Urban

I'm like water in a dam – on the surface the laughter of swimmers, underwater the silence of a submerged village. I came back, was set in my region once again. I didn't want things to turn out this way, but what must be, must be; no use objecting to it. I look around. I can't not see.
    I've never been here before. The path has been neglected; the former pheasantry looks like a jungle. The hunters' club uses it now. Further on, in some thickets on a rocky slope, a rococo summer palace crumbles away, encircled by a wretched wire fence, overgrown with thornbushes; the black remains of a bonfire can be seen between the corinthian columns and the white walls are covered with fungus. The same old path leads along the Waldstein alley to Nový Zámek, now a hotel for foreigners with a restaurant that has become famous. The stone bridge is still standing here, but I find only one statue on it – and it's mutilated, Saint Jan of Nepomuk is missing his head. My eyes find it at the bottom of the stream. Saint Catherine, who used to stand facing him, is missing altogether.
    The Nove Mlyny dam has swallowed up all the medieval lakes and fish ponds, along with the communicating canals, the dikes, the dug-out troughs, the alleys of alders and birch, the fish-hatcheries, the sluice gates, the millraces, the overflows, and the cottages belonging to those who looked after the the lakes. Under the dike, which used to be much lower and supported only the waters of the Dolansky lake, lies the large-capacity New Mill Ltd., an industrial complex connected to a small water-powered electric plant. At first, the mill wheels were powered by the canals between the fish ponds; but gradually, as the mills grew, they required more and more water and a steeper descent. It became a 'flour factory' shortly after WWI. The old Black Mill, also known as the Tower, disappeared when the the new brick buildings arose around it. Even the main building of the 'factory' was lost amidst them in later years, though it is said it still stands somewhere in the middle of the complex.
    Because of the expansion, a dam was built here after WWII. Supplying the people with provisions became such an issue that it grew into a whole industry. If the milling chamber was enough for the






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