|Monologue of old woman Nica|
Excerpt from Kadare's Gjenerali i ushtrisė sė vdekur
(General of the dead army).
The General is one of the best
works of the author.
For these people a wedding is a sacred ceremony, the general
thought, or else they would not travel all night to be present
in such an event, no matter how important. It is raining a lot.
In a night like this it is impossible to dig trenches, because
they quickly fill with water.
They say that you are gathering the dead of your country.
You've found many of them, you'll find many more, but you
should know that you'll never ever be able to find one of them,
just like I'll never ever be able to find my daughter and my husband.
I wish I could tell you about the one that you'll never find,
but I won't do that, because I don't want to bring back memories of
the war to the wedding guests. It rained a lot that night, more than
tonight. There was water everywhere. It was impossible to dig the
hole because it quickly filled with water, a dirty black water,
it was almost as if it flowed from the night. But I was able to
do it. I won't say anything though because I don't want to
break the party, even if you are in it, God damn you.
The general lit a cigarette and strangely, to him his cigarette seemed
too small and impotent compared with the big and long
black pipes that the old men were carrying with their wrinkled
hands, smoking them between the words, as if trying to maintain
the rhythm of the conversation with them.
The owner of the house, the old man that had welcomed him in the hall,
came and sat down close to the general, with a pipe in his hand like
everybody else; a yellow medal kept swinging back and forth. He knew
these yellow medals that he had seen on villagers' chests and it seemed to him
that behind each one was the pale face of one of his army's dead soldiers.