On the rough road, I tried to think over what I lost so far. But soon I realized how impossible it was. I did not know from where to start. I thought back as much as possible. My father had a farm and wide lands. Then things started to go wrong. My father had to sell off what he had. Then I remembered him mending shoes in his small shop. Now he was a poor man without a land. He still had two houses in the town and one hundred acre land by the river and these could have made him a rich man. But still he was a poor man. Poor inside.
This is nonsense, I told myself and bowed down my head to the dry, brown earth where a cloud of dust rose up until my waist and let my eyes rest from the sunshine. I had gone to the farthest back in memories, yet, was still unable to find the beginning. What was that if not nonsense?
The worst of it was that I knew it was not nonsense. Maybe mine was a shortcut but all the signs showed I had little knowledge of this part of my life. I must have been too busy all through those long years when I failed to keep my records right. In fact, I had not ever taken a record as to anything and my friends knew this very well.
I lived in a country where a man strolling on a road that goes along a billowy land was not executed for having these kinds of thoughts. A country that people think what they had from it is no bigger than what they sacrificed. I guess it was my turn. Now I should take a little rest and put what I tangled for long into an order.
This is related to self-respect, I murmured. None in this world can ask me to list what I lost. I ask this myself. I have always abhorred thinking that I was a weak person. This is a showdown. Maybe there will be a time when I will leave this behind. No, I will sure leave this behind. Now I must tackle it.
I smiled into myself and looked up at the sun shedding its light on me. This lasted maybe for one second and helped me see many things. And I saw the man, fifty yards away, at the point where the road was lazy to climb over a small hill and, instead, went around it, and who were doing something, crouching.
I went towards him. To walk the fifty yards did take me less than two minutes and I did think nothing in the meantime.
The man who I thought was doing something by the road was a villager who set out at the dusk to find his lost goat, and who could not find his animal thus far, and who felt hungry and sit down to eat cheese, olive, tomato and a single cluster of grapes with bread from the town, and who was over forty. It took me five minutes to learn these.
“So you have had your goat escape, huh?” I asked again. “When did you first notice this?”
“He was absent in last evening’s count.”
I thought. Then “A lost goat," I concluded. "Ah, you are such a lucky man.”
The man bounced to his feet, startled. “What do you mean?”
“You are lucky, indeed,” I said. “You knew what you lost. This means you still have the chance to find it. You are a lucky man.”
That I was talking to him enigmatically had bothered him. He was already nervous because of his lost goat. He was ready to get angry and I was too blind to notice this at that time.
“I know what I lost,” he said in a tense voice. “But this ain't making me any less unhappy. I don’t know if I ever have the chance to find him.”
“But you know what you lost, don’t you?” I went further. “If you hadn't, this discontent of yours could have lasted for years.”
“Well, good,” he said and shook his head in a deep understanding peculiar to simple men. Then he lifted his left and hit me in the jaw – a perfect, well thought over blow. “Maybe this helps you get over that philosophical nonsense.”
“I was just at the beginning,” I said.
“I am a villager and I can see you are a freshman. But this left of mine helps you more than that nonsense stuff of yours.”
I was a little relieved now. No matter how aching it felt, it was a good and quick start. Thinking that there were people that had to wait for one hundred years to give some nonsense an end, I could count myself lucky.