Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Orhan Pamuk


I'm reading The Black Book by the Turkish novelist, Orhan Pamuk, which is an intriguing tale set in Istanbul. There are stories within the story. One is about an executioner who is instructed to kill a Pasha. He has to travel a long distance to perform this act and worries along the way that he may be killed by the Pasha's henchmen when he arrives. His instructions are to return with the head of the Pasha preserved in honey as proof that the deed was done. The Pasha hears the writ of complaint and agrees to the execution, weeping as he kneels before the axe. The executioner preserves the head, puts it in a sack and embarks upon his return journey. As he rides through the countryside, day and night, he hears the head weeping inside the sack. Unable to stand this any longer, he takes it out of the sack and with his knife, distorts the mouth into a smile and opens its eyes. He then replaces it into the honey and sets off again. There is no more weeping. When he arrives at his destination, he removes the head from the sack, only to be told, "That is not the head of the Pasha! He has never smiled in his life! You have not performed your task, therefore you must be executed!"

4 Comments:

Blogger kinglear said...

And the moral of the story is never to be nice to anyone, as itwill almost certainly come back and bite yer bum

12:58 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

oh dear... does it make good bedtime reading? bisou darling

6:45 am  
Blogger Winchester whisperer said...

I'm not sure that violating the "dead" head was "nice", KL.

It certainly enlivens one's dreams, Anon x

9:52 am  
Blogger Welshcakes Limoncello said...

I'd like to read that.

12:30 am  

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