Feathers / Plumoj & Esperanto (3)

Beʾer, Haim. Feathers [Notsot]; translated from the Hebrew by Hillel Halkin. Waltham, MA: Brandeis University Press; Hanover: University Press of New England, 2004. xiii, 235 pp.

Another excerpt / Jen plua cerpaĵo el la anglalingva traduko (p. 133-5):

Leder Enthused about Esperanto & Vegetarianism
(Leder entuziasmas pri Esperanto & Vegetarismo)

The meeting with Havkin marked a turning point in the annals of the Lynkean movement.

When we left the vegetarian discussion club, Leder was back in fighting spirits. Though our movement, he confessed, had fallen on hard times, indeed had sunk into lethargy, we were about to make a fresh start.

“Esperanto opens undreamed-of horizons for us," he nearly shouted, affirming that we must translate into it at once The Necessity for General Nutrition.

“We'll break through the narrow barriers of national boundaries,” he went on, “and comb the civilized world for those chosen few who would rather make do with a kerosene burner and an ice chest than have the luxury of a gas stove and a frigidaire.”

As usual, he became engrossed at once in the fine points of his plan; the first thing in the morning, he announced, he was going to Ludwig Maier’s bookstore to buy some Esperanto texts. Within a few weeks he would be ready to begin translating Popper-Lynkeus’ great work into the international language of the future.

That Saturday afternoon we set out on foot for Havkin’s farm in Giv’at Sha’ul.

Leder lost no time on the way and occupied himself with memorizing Esperanto sentences from a primer on whose cover was a white, six-sided star of David with a green, five-sided star inside it.

Mi lernas Esperanton, vi lernas Esperanton, li lernas Esperanton,” he recited as we left the city behind. “Esperanto, Esperanto, Esperanto,” echoed the hills rising above us. On the terrace of the mental hospital overlooking the road in which he was soon to be locked up himself, the inmates ceased their antics for a moment, grasped the bars like monkeys, and stared at the odd pedestrian shouting meaningless phrases at the brutal sun while a hypnotized child strode beside him.

Havkin was sitting in the shade of a grape vine on his front porch, his face in an open book. So absorbed was he in his reading that he failed to notice the two strangers disturbing the Sabbath peace of the sleepy dirt path leading up to his house. Leder scrutinized the jacket of the book, his lips slowly spelling out its title. Our vegetarian acquaintance, he whispered to me, was presently in the bedroom of an incurably ill Ivan Ilyitch, helping the dying man’s faithful servant to prop up his swollen feet against the pain.

“Bonan Sabaton!” called Leder, leaning against the fence. “But it still isn’t your death, sinjoro Havkin," he added, quoting Tolstoy’s unforgettable line.

What, what?” cried out Havkin, the book slipping front his shaking hands, amazed to find the printed words take flight from the page and double back to him from the street.

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