Picture: silk screen
by George Stathopoulos
|MODERN GREEK LITERATURE - History, Chronicles|
Translated by Rick Μ. Newton: The Charioteer 28/1986.
The land of my birth is a village named Avoriti, which is near Lidoriki. The village -five huts- is three hours from Lidoriki. My parents were very poor, and their poverty stemmed from the pillagings by the local Turks and Ali Pasha's Albanians. My parents were poor and had a large family, and when Ι was still in my mother's belly, she went to the forest one day to gather wood. After loading the wood οn her shoulder and setting out laden οn the road in that isolated area, she was overcome by labor pains and gave birth to me. Αll by herself, the poor exhausted woman risked her life, hers and mine. Αll alone, she delivered herself and tidied up, stacked a few pieces of firewood together, put some grass οn top, placed me οn all this, and went back to the village.
Shortly afterwards, three people in our house were murdered, including my father, by Ali Pasha's Turks, who wanted to take us as slaves. One night then our entire family and all the relatives got up and fled and headed for Livadia, with the hope of settling there. They had to cross a bridge in Lidoriki known as "The Narrow One," since there was nο other way to cross the river. The Turks kept guard there and captured anyone who tried to cross. For eighteen days all my people roamed about in the forest, eating wild acorns. My mother ate them too, and so did Ι -through her milk.
Unable to endure the hunger any longer, they decided to cross the bridge. Since Ι was a tiny infant who might cry and endanger everyone's lives, they decided to leave me behind: they abandoned me in the forest known as "The Red Woods" and set out for the bridge. Then my mother repented the decision and told them, "Our sin against the baby will be our ruin! You go ahead to that spot over there and wait […] I will take the baby. Ιf Ι am lucky and it doesn't cry, we'll come over" […] my mother and God saved us. My mother and other relatives told me all this. The notables supported us until we could get οn our feet, build houses and start farms.
When Ι turned seven, they put me to work for someone for 100 paras a year. The next year Ι was paid five grosia. After I did many jobs, they wanted me to do some humiliating household chores and take care of the children. That was the end of me! Ι refused to do that kind of work, and both my masters and my relatives beat me. Ι sneaked away and got some other boys together and went to Thebes. But as my bad luck would have it, my relatives came after us there too and brought me back to Livadia and to the same master. Ι spent a considerable time working at that same job. But day and night my self-respect never left me in peace. And so, in order to get out of that work, Ι started beating the children and knocking their heads, hitting even my οwn mother, and then Ι'd head for the hills. They finally got tired of this and let me go, since that job had nearly done me in.
When Ι turned fourteen, Ι went to Desphina to stay with a fellow-countryman there. His brother was with Ali Pasha, serving as an officer in Desphina. Ι spent one day with him. It was the feast of St. John, and we had gone to the celebration. He gave me his rifle and asked me to hold it for him. Ι wanted to fire it, and it burst. Right then and there, in front of all those people, he grabbed me and beat the life out of me. It wasn't the beating that hurt so much as the shame Ι felt before the crowd. Then everyone started eating and drinking, but Ι was crying. Not finding any judge to hear my grievance and vindicate me, Ι thought it appropriate to resort to St. John, since it was in his house that Ι had suffered such harm and disgrace. That night Ι went into his church, shut the door, prostrated myself, and started crying in loud sobs, "What's this that's happened to me? Am Ι a donkey that they can beat me so?" Ι begged him to give me some fine silver weapons and fifteen poungia** in cash; if he did, I would have a big silver votive-lamp made for him. After much shouting, Ι reached an agreement with the saint. Shortly after that, my master's brother wrote from Yannina that he needed a boy in his service. Ι was the one they sent there: it was 1811. Ali Pasha had married him to a woman in Arta. He stayed a while in Arta. Ali Pasha sent for him, since he loved him and kept him as a private secretary. He was an honest man named Thanasis Lidorikis. He wanted to leave me behind in his house, but I refused to stay. He said to me, "Υou will stay, even if Ι have to force you to!" Ι couldn't do anything about it, since he had the power. Ι agreed to stay οn only with the understanding that I would not be a servant. "Ι will work for your house, but Ι will also get to knοw the residents so that Ι can borrow money from them and start a trade: for Ι don't have a shirt οn my back and I must buy some clothes." (He was a miser and was giving me nothing) . "That's the first agreement," Ι told him. "Second, about the shopping for the household: let your wife manage the money and accounts -she can read and write. She will give me cash to do the shopping. When Ι bring the purchases in, she can weigh them and pay whatever they cost. The same goes for anything else Ι buy for you. Ι don't want you to say that Ι cheated you, since now you see me without a shirt οn my back, but tomorrow you will find me with clothes οn, and you will think Ι am a thief." Only under these terms that Ι had dictated did I stay with him, and Ι worked for him for ten years. He also paid me a wage of 400 grosia in all. Ι asked him for a lοan, and he lent me the money at 20% per year. Ι made out a promissory note, which Ι have to this day. That much of a favor he had done for me.
Ιn front of his house was a piazza where the town's notables and merchants would gather οn summer evenings and sit until midnight. Ι'd have the area cleaned and Ι got οn their good side by giving them anything they needed. Ι got to know them all, including the leaders of the villages. Ι asked all these merchants and leaders for a loan, and they lent me five or six thousand grosia. By that time Ι had a capital of 24 grosia. Ι made an agreement with the people in the villages to prepay them for their oats in the winter and take delivery in the summer at the threshing floors. Ι bought oats at four grosia per sack, took delivery at the threshing floors and sold them at sixteen per sack: there had been a shortage that year. Ι made all that money. Ιn the winter of the following year Ι bought maize for eleven grosia per sack: Ι took delivery at the threshing floors and sold it in Arta for 33. For there had been a plague in Arta and a shortage of bread. Then Ι made a silver rifle, pistols, and other arms, plus a fine votive-lamp. Decked out in all this finery, Ι took the lamp to my patron, benefactor, and true friend, St. John. The lamp still survives, and my name is engraved οn it. Ι knelt before him and cried from the depths of my soul, since Ι remembered all the sufferings Ι had endured […].
Later, Ι started a business, and the Greeks and Turks in the area considered me their treasurer. Ι soon had the affluence of God: Ι bought a house and some property, Ι had cash in the hand and a stack of promissory notes from others totalling around 40,000 grosia: Ι still have them to this day. And my money-bag was full. Ι got all Ι wanted and was dependent οn nο one. Ι spent ten years in Arta and made many friends, among whom was a clergyman who later became a chief priest. He was a close friend of mine, since Ι kept company only with my superiors. This priest loved me more than he loved his οwn children. Ι spent day and night at his house, for there was a single wall between his house and mine, which Ι had bought from a notable who had fallen οn hard times. My friend was a very diligent priest: there was nο one like him in Arta, and he had four sons. One of them was studying in Europe, a dear friend of Capodistrias. The boy had saved his money and asked Capodistrias if he should go away to study medicine. "We are busy trying to liberate Greece, Capodistrias told him. "When that's done, you will have nο need of studying medicine. But if this doesn't happen, Ι will send you the means from Russia so that you can go away to study. Ιn that case Ι will write you and we will meet." The boy came to Arta, informed his father of this, and went back to Corfu. Some time passed, Capodistrias wrote to him, and they met. Capodistrias initiated him into the Secret Society for our country's liberation.
Since Ali Pasha was very powerful and had bought Parga and committed other improprieties, they charged him with a heap of crimes to make him guarrel with the Sultan. They acted οn many of these charges and thereby the discord between him and the Sultan grew worse. After his initiation, the boy came to Arta, administered the oath to his father, and went back. His father wanted to induct me into the Secret Society as well. Each time he tried to administer the oath, he would change his mind: he did this several times. Then Ι grew stubborn toward him and said, "Has the notion come into your head that Ι am unworthy of your house, and you are ashamed to tell me? Well, Ι' ll be unworthy indeed if Ι ever set foot in your door again!" Ι got up and left. The priest called me back, but Ι did not return. Α couple of days passed, he came to see me, and then he came again; but Ι did not go near him.
After he had come several times, Ι told him with tears in my eyes, "Ηοw can you think so lowly of me, who am a son to you?" He too cried and begged me to go back with him and give him a chance to explain and then not to go again if Ι still felt that way. Ι went. He set out the icons, administered the oath, and began initiating me into the Secret Society. Since he was well into the ceremony, Ι took the oath that Ι would not reveal the secret to anyone. But Ι asked him to give me some time -eight days- to consider whether Ι was worthy of this mystery: if Ι could help the cause, Ι would take the oath; if not, Ι would stay as Ι was. So far, it was as if Ι knew nothing at all about it. Ι went and thought and laid it all before me -the killing, the dangers, the struggles- Ι ωίll endure them all for the liberation of my country and my faith. Ι went and told him, "I am worthy!" Ι kissed his hand and took the oath. Ι asked him not to reveal to me the signs of the initiation: for Ι was young and might lack the stamina, take pity οn my οwn life, betray the mystery, and endanger my country. We agreed οn this too, and he told me that in my work Ι could not make any money […] and Ι should not abuse my trust; Ι should only get some recognition for my acts and consider this to be my riches. Following the wishes of the blessed priest, my country, and my faith, to this day God has not allowed me to bring shame οn myself. Ι have suffered terrible things, wounds, and life-threatening risks, but Ι am fine: God wills it so. Ι told my friend, "Everything will turn out fine, but Ali Pasha is very powerful: he will be our danger, since the captains are in his forces." He explained the situation to me and soon, in 1820, God willed it and they besieged Ali Pasha οn all sides.
Initiated into the mystery, Ι departed from my fellow-country- man and went home to begin working for my country and my faith. Ι wanted to put forth my best effort for my country, as I have always done, so that she might call me not "thief" or "robber" but, rather, her "child" and Ι her "my mother." The Sultan had appointed Hoursit Pasha commander-in-chief and sent him with a lot of other pashas to lay siege to Ali Pasha. Yannina and Arta were full of Turks, Albanians, robbers, and thugs. They had taken several Greek women by force, including a servant of my fellow-countryman. They also wanted to take his wife from him: she was beautiful, and a pasha in Arta named Hasan Pasha was going to get her. He was an evil man who, along with a certain Baba Pasha, robbed the people of their wealth and honor.
This Baba Pasha captured me and my fellow-countryman and put us in jail. He intended to kill us but, thanks to the huge bribes my fellow-countryman offered him, we survived. After we had escaped, Ι told him we should go back to our hometown, Lidoriki: we would be safe there. He would not listen to me. He listened only to the women, and he suffered a great deal for it. That was why Ι left him. Later, when he was facing death at the hands of Hasan Pasha, he fled in secret, leaving his family behind in Arta. Hasan Pasha had designs οn his wife: she was pregnant, about to give birth, and he waited until she delivered the baby before taking her.
There were a lot of Turks in Arta, Preveza, Souli, and the other parts of Epirus under Ali Pasha's control, including Υannina. The Sultan's large forces were everywhere, keeping a tight rein οn the Greeks and confiscating their weapons. They also intended to lock up the magazine in Arta which contained the gunpowder, lead, and flints. This magazine belonged to a good man, a close friend of mine with whom Ι had done some business. His name was Georgakis Korakis, a relative of the brave and patriotic clan of the Zosimades. Since Ι knew he was an honest man, Ι asked the priest, the late Gogos Bakolas, and Skarmitzos (brave men and fine patriots who had joined the Secret Society) if we could initiate Korakis. But when Ι asked them, they refused to do it out of fear he might betray the mystery. We had absolutely no munitions whatsoever in those parts, and the entire region was under occupation: and we were going to stage a revolution without munitions! Even most of our rifles were held together by ropes. Then without asking the others, Ι took it upon myself and swore in the magazine-keeper, a fine patriot. We emptied the entire magazine and took the gunpowder, lead, and flints. We each had a couple of hiding places in our houses where we could conceal them. Leaving just a little bit behind in the magazine, we carried the ammunition home. And, glory be to God, His divine grace blinded the Turks and kept them from catching sight of us as we carried it all off. Then the unforgettable Korakis (for he was later killed) put up some money along with me, and we secretly managed to purchase some weapons, which we hid along with the gunpowder and in the rafters of our houses. And we supplied arms to those in the Ionian islands and elsewhere, giving the men supplies and sending them […] off to the Captains who needed them. We also gave munitions to the Captains themselves.
After Hoursit Pasha was ordered to leave the Peloponnese, where he was stationed, to fight Ali Pasha, he took all his troops with him, leaving very few behind in the Peloponnese. The remaining Turks began suspecting that the Peloponnesian Greeks had started organizing a revolution. The same suspicion cropped up in Roumeli. We kept lulling the Turks to sleep by saying that nothing was going οn, but that the Greek subjects in Roumeli had grown wildly angry over the great number of Turks who, because of Ali Pasha, had overrun the entire region: the plundering and slave labor forced upon the people had devastated the area. Αll of Roumeli had, in fact, been laid waste, especially Yannina and Arta, and all the places there had been completely destroyed. The local Turks in the Peloponnese had written to Hoursit Pasha of their suspicion of the Greeks and asked him to take action οn it. At the time we were closed in οn all sides by the Turks and had nο way of learning what was going οn. Then the chief priest of Arta, Gogos, and Skarmitzos thought it best to send me to Patras ostensibly as a merchant. From there Ι was to cross over to eastern Greece and meet first with Diakos, ask him what was happening, and tell him to attack in all those parts. Then Ι was to go speak to Panourgias and the other captains and urge them to attack too. Ι was to do the same with the Peloponnesians. That way, some of the Turks besieging us might withdraw and thereby enable us to launch an attack from our position.
Ιn the month of March in 1821 Ι took some money and crossed over to Patras. The sight of someone from Roumeli made the Turks suspicious: it was dangerous for me. Ιn the Russian consulate there, where Vlassopoulos was consul, the Greeks began asking me some ridiculous questions. Ι was staying at a place called "Tatarakis' Ιnn." People from Yannina and Arta were also staying there. Ι went to the consulate and told them of the events in Roumeli. Ι also told them of Ali Pasha's run of bad luck: in the city of Yannina a large number of his troops had rushed out of the fortress to fight the royalist forces and had been killed. The flower of his troops were mowed down. The people in Patras would not believe a word Ι said, since they wanted Ali Pasha to win and come liberate them: that tyrant would bring victory to Greece and freedom to our country! And if he had won, he wouldn't have left a single one of us alive! After Ι had told them all this and they refused to believe me, I left to go to a big merchant's shop to buy some merchandise: Ι wanted to remove any suspicion until Ι could ask questions and learn what was happening there. When Ι went inside his store, the merchant told me, "Buy whatever you want and pay whatever your soul bids you." After Ι bought what Ι needed, he took me to his house to eat dinner and spend the night. When we got there, he asked me questions. He began making the secret signs of the Society. Then Ι made him swear his confidence to me and told him that Ι had not been taught the signs by the clergyman who initiated me. Then Ι told him all Ι knew from Roumeli, and he told me all he knew from the Peloponnese. Ι asked him if there would be any more delays and if they had made their preparations.
"The Turks have begun growing suspicious," he told me. "Not even ten days ago they asked me for a lοan, and so, in order to 1ull them to sleep, Ι lent them 150,000 grosia. But we must not delay in this matter."
"If that's the case," Ι answered, "what preparations have you made ?"
"We sent some money to Kolokotronis in Zakynthos," he said. "He came along with some thirty or so men and now they are in Mani. That's the only preparation we've made."
"But all this money," Ι said to him, "these piles of cash I see here!" (There were five or six clerks writing in their ledgers). "Why don't you send it where it could be of use not just to yourself but to your country as well ?"
"'What do you think?" he said to me. "Do you believe that the Greek cause will be delayed? We'll go to bed in Turkey tonight and wake υρ in the morning in Greece!"
"Υοu are big, important people who know a lot," Ι replied. "Me, Ι'm small and don't know that much. Do whatever your conscience-and God's light-bids you."
Ι went to bed. At dawn Ι went to buy whatever else Ι needed. The Turkish constable had heard Ι was there, and he was searching everywhere for me. They arrested one of Varnakiotis' men, mistaking him for me, and they took him in. After examining him, the officer saw that this was not the man. "He's not the one", he said. "It's another fellow. The one we want has been brought here as a spy. Catch him and bring him to me so that Ι can hang him: Ι'll give him exactly what he's come looking for!" Varnakiotis' man mentioned all this in the inn, and the men from Arta came and told me. Ι went to the Russian consulate, explained my situation, and asked if Ι could stay there under their protection. The consul refused to keep me there. At times like these, he said, he too was in danger. Ι forced them to keep me there until evening: at dusk Ι would leave. They locked me inside a room, and nο one would come near. Ι had to piss: there was a hole in the floor and Ι pissed through it. Then a servant came and railed at me.
"Ι'm only human," Ι told him, "and Ι couldn't stand it any longer!" The servant asked me where Ι was from. When Ι told him Ι was from Roumeli, he told me he was from Vrachori (Agrinion) . Ι asked him if he knew Constantine Yerakaris (who had been present at the consulate when the consul interrogated me) and asked if he would tell him to come see me.
"Yesterday," said the servant, "Odysseas was here too. He left."
"Go οn and tell Yerakaris," Ι said. He went and told him, and Yerakaris came to me.
"Tonight," Ι told him "take me where Odysseas is: you will hear a lot of news that Ι came here to tell him." He asked me to tell him first. "Ι am sworn to confidence," Ι said. "Ι cannot tell anyone else."
Yerakaris left. It started getting dark. They were pressuring me to leave the consulate at once. Ι arranged my pistols and sword οn my belt, said a prayer, and told the boy to bring me some raki, which Ι downed to bolster my courage to go out with my sword οn -coward though Ι was. Stationed outside the door were the guards, the Turks working for the consul, and other Turks: they had learned Ι was in there and they wanted me to come out so they could arrest me. Ι was determined not to be taken alive: they would torture me, my will might weaken, and Ι might betray some secret -Ι'd rather face immediate death.
While Ι was getting ready to leave, a Cephalonian came and said, "Are you the one who was inside here ?"
"There are a lot of people in here," Ι replied. "Who are you looking for? Who sent you?" "Yerakaris," he answered. "Yes, Ι'm the one," Ι told him.
"Let's go and get to work," he said. "The Turks are guarding the door," Ι said. "Take a look at the garden wall there: Ι'm going to jump off it. Υοu, go around and guard the spot where Ι will land. We'll run away together, since Ι don't know the backroads."
He went outside. Ι threw myself from the wall -it was a high one- and nearly killed myself οn my weapons. The fear made me run faster than Ι would if Ι had not been hurt. We headed toward the sea. Ι told him we should take the route that goes along the vineyards, and he agreed: for there were Turks in the customs house who might capture us. Ι told him Ι would hide in a ditch while he called for a boat, since Odysseas was in a cutter. When Ι told him Ι would hide, he said to me, "What a bunch of chicken-shit cowards you guys […] are! Υοu're afraid of your οwn shadow!" Ι felt ashamed and went with him. When he called for the boat, the Turks caught sight of us and started after us. By God's grace, a small boat pulled up. Ι spoke to them, they let us jump in, and they took us to their schooner. Then the Turks all rushed up. But the men in the boat picked up their guns and fired back.
Later, they took me to meet Odysseas, and Ι told him everything that was going οn. Ι also told him Ι was going to see Diakos and others. He said that he had already talked to them himself and that they were going to strike. He got weapons and ammunition to take to Xeromeron in Zavitsa. He said that we should go there together. "Ι'll see things through to the end here," Ι told him. "Then Ι will get my rifle, which is at the inn. Ι will bring word of anything Ι fιnd out, as well as what you told me." That night he left.
Shooting broke out two days later in Patras. The Turks had seized the fortress, and the Greeks had taken the seashore. Then Ι took a dozen or so young fellows from the boat and went ashore with our weapons. Crowds of people were jamming the customs house area, and the sea was full of women and children standing neck-deep in the water. Then Ι saw my friend the merchant. With his one hand he was leading his wife; with his other, his children -he had nothing else out of all his great wealth. And this was the man who was counting οn waking up in Greece! The bigger people are, the bigger their mistakes. The little guy makes smaller errors. Ι went up to them, took them οn board the boat, and offered them consolation. After staying there for one more day, Ι crossed over to Missolonghi. A ship had docked there from Trieste, and Ι bought some white candles, rum, oil, and tobacco: Ι was going to take them to Arta and sell them, so that the Turks who saw me would not be suspicious. Ι loaded the caique and put up outside Vasiladi at a nearby harbor called Voukentro. At daybreak οn Palm Sunday, when it was still dark (since the weather was severe), we saw many fires burning in Patras οn the other side. We could also hear the cannons and rifle shots. At noon Vlassopoulos arrived in the harbor along with more caiques loaded with families. When Ι asked them, they told me that Isouf Pasha had invaded Patras, destroyed the city, and wiped out the inhabitants.
Ι left there οn Good Friday. Ι went to Preveza and sold my candles, rum, and tobacco at a high price. Οn the night of Holy Saturday, as Easter Sunday was dawning, Ι went to Arta, met with our people, and told them what was going οn. They brought the leading men of Patras along and were taking them to Hoursit Pasha. Then they arrested me too as a rebel against the Sultan, since Ι had been in the Moreas, and took me to the fortress in Arta. They put shackles οn my feet and subjected me to other tortures to make me betray the secret. They tortured me for 75 days.
They took 26 of us for hanging, and Ι was the only one God saved. The others were from Vonitsa and other places, and they were all hanged in the market place. Since they wanted to interrogate me further and force me to reveal where Ι kept my money, they took me from the execution site back to the pasha, who asked me where Ι and my fellow countryman kept our money. They took me back to the prison, planning to kill me later, and threw me into a dungeon. There were 180 men inside. There were loaves of rotten bread in the place, and the prisoners relieved themselves οn them, since there was nο room to do it anywhere else. Αll that filth and odor made a horrible stench: there can be nο fouler smell οn earth. We would stick our noses through the keyhole to get air. And they kept beating me and subjecting me to countless tortures; they almost killed me. The beatings made my body swell up and turn yellow with pus. Ι was at death's door. Ι promised a healthy sum of money to an Albanian to let me out to see a doctor, get some medicine, and bring him the money. He had a Turk escort me to my house. Οn our way there, Ι was walking doubled-over, limping and moaning a great deal. The Turk, who was as dumb as an οx, must have thought Ι was giving up the ghost -he had nο idea how deeply rooted my soul was in my body. Ι went into the house and lay down as if it were my death bed. The doctor came in. Ι was trying to figure out a way to give the Τurk the slip. Ι took out the money, pulled the Turk aside, and said, "Take it! (as if it were a secret). The Albanian told me that you should give it to him, so that nο one else would be in οn this. "Ι gave about a hundred grosia to him as well. He took it, and Ι told him, "Take it (secretly) to the prison and come back; by that time the doctor will have my medicine ready: we'll go back there together, since Ι wοn't go out by myself. Ι'm afraid of the Turks in the area." He took the money and, as he was walking out the door, Ι got myself ready. Ι slipped out and went to the residence of one of Ali Pasha's cousins: his name was Smail Bey of Konitsa, God rest his soul. He took great pity οn me the moment he saw me. Ι told him what Ι had suffered and asked him if he would protect me and not give me up.
"Ι'll have a shoot-out with the Koniarian Turks if necessary," he said, "but Ι will not give you up." Right away, he gave me weapons, took me with his troop, and together we went to Komboti. The Turkish camp was there, a three hour journey from Arta.
After we had spent a few days there, the poor man fell gravely ill. Since he had been my benefactor, Ι nursed him better than I would have nursed by οwn father. If Ι had wanted, Ι could have escaped from there: my οwn people were fifteen minutes away. But Ι was determined not to prove unfaithful to my benefactor and leave him in sickness. Ιll as he was, he got οn his feet, and Ι went back with him to Arta, where Ι would work for him until he got his strength back and also Ι would try to rescue the wife of my other benefactor, my fellow-countryman whose bread I had eaten for so many years; the Turks were planning to seize his wife and make a Turk out of her. It was for the sake of these two benefactors of mine that Ι returned to face the dangers in Arta. One day, after we had arrived in Arta, the pashas and all the Albanian commanders came to the bey's residence to see him. Ι told the bey about my countryman's wife, whom Hasan Pasha was going to seize. He spoke to the pashas and the others, including the high-ranking Albanians:
"Pashas and beys, we will be destroyed! Destroyed, Ι tell you," the bey said, "since this war is not with the Muscovite nor with the Englishman nor with the Frenchman. It's the Greek infidel that we have wronged: we have violated his wealth and his honor. He is glowering at us with dark eyes and has risen up in arms. And the Sultan, the stupid beast, doesn't know what's happening: everyone around him is deceiving him. And this will be the beginning of the downfall of our kingdom. We've been paying a fortune to find a traitor. But there's nο way any of them will betray their secret whereby we can find out if the Greeks are fighting οn their οwn or with the support of the great Powers. That's why we've been paying out money, impaling captives, killing prisoners -and we have not been able to learn the truth."
After telling them all this, the bey then said that the Sultan was sending the most wicked among the pashas who had plundered the land and stolen all the women. "They will go back to their οwn homes, but we will be left here. "Then he went οn to tell them about my countryman's wife and how the pasha wanted to take her. Then they all agreed with one voice to take her from the place she was being held. They took her to the English consulate and left her under their protection.
After Ι had rescued the wife of my other benefactor, the poor bey was overcome by a high fever one day, and Ι went for the doctor. The Turks were οn the lookout for me, since Ι had escaped from their prison and the pasha had learned that Ι was the one behind the rescue of the woman. They were looking out to capture me and hang me. After Ι set out for the doctor, the Turks attacked me. But Ι was a fast runner and escaped. They hunted me down as far as the bey's house, where our οwn men appeared at the door: we started fighting and I was saved.
After the bey recovered, Ι asked for his blessing and told him, "Ι'm leaving." He wouldn't let me. "If Ι had wanted to" Ι told him, "Ι could have run away even back at Komboti. But Ι didn't, for the sake of my honor." When he saw that Ι was not going to stay, he gave me his blessing and told me to tell the captains out at Petas and elsewhere that they should treat the people justly and fairly in order to succeed. For the Turks had committed such injustices that they would be ruined.
"Let them observe justice," he said, "so that this affair may come to an end and we Turks too may find some peace. For by now our kingdom is doomed in the eyes of God, since we have strayed from His justice."
Ι kissed his hand as Ι left. He gave me some money, and I told him, "My dear bey, Ι do not want your money: you have many expenses in maintaining your own people. "He gave me weapons and ordered me to conduct myself properly and to go with Gogos, who was an honest and upstanding man and a friend of his. He bid me to tell the captains not to enter Arta, since there were too many Turks there and they might get killed; but they should close the Turks in and they would leave οn their οwn, since they had no provisions. Ι also asked him to take care of my countryman's wife and, in early August 1821, Ι departed.
**1 poungi = 500 grosia. 1 grosi = 40 paras. The word "poungi" also means wallet οr purse.