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ISSN 1409-6900 | UDK 82+7     Blesok no. 46 | volume IX | January-February, 2006



                     Peer-reviewed journal
Blesok no. 46January-February, 2006

Walnut Castles

(excerpt from the novel)

p. 1
Miljenko Jergović

    In the following months he was building the house of the walnut wood from dawn to dusk, and his back never hurt, his joints never swelled up; he felt that same strength in his arms and hands that he used to feel a long time ago, in Bosnia, when he would have raised a trunk of a hundred years old walnut-tree from the ground. He built the construction quickly, in seven or eight days. He did not need any more time to construct the partitions for the rooms and to make the inner staircase, but the real work started with the room doors, the furniture and the household appliances. First he had to use needles, razor blades and nail scissors to make the tools that he was going to use, for instance, to carve a bathtub not bigger than a thumb or a kneading trough smaller than a fingernail. He worked on that kneading trough for two days and he took more trouble with that than with ten heads of Prince Marko. But in the end they looked like the real thing. It was even more difficult to execute the ornaments on the period furniture, to put the knobs on the doors, to make the set of the miniature kitchen knives. The longer he worked the more things necessary to any household he noticed to be missing. He went by the rule that nothing could be so tiny that it could not be made. He made kitchen cloths out of the pieces of silk and carpets out of Matilda's formal gown. Every Saturday he visited the future grandfather, sat with him in front of the house and waited for sunset. He watched Kata's belly and face swelling and he listened to the future father's fingers snapping while he was trying to say who knows what. With these people he shared peace that he had never before experienced. He declared the toy was a secret that was going to be a surprise and he would not concede at any cost and reveal what he was doing. Kata would pester and press him to disclose the secret; she would nag him and pull his coat. She would touch August and if there was something that he could not stand it was people touching him, taking an invisible hair from his shoulder, slapping him merrily on the back or grabbing his forearm when

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