November 23, 2006


Of course we dislike strangers.

Someone shows up at a farm or a village: they entertain everyone with their jokes and their stories of the outside world for a couple of days, and then they move on. And a pie is missing from the window sill where it was cooling. A chicken has gone, maybe taken by a fox, but you never find the feathers. A month later a young man, who has never stopped talking about the stranger, runs away to the city or the sea. Another month or two, and it turns out your daughter is pregnant.

If, in another couple of months, crops fail or the weather is particularly harsh, it merely confirms the power and the malice of strangers.

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