From: (LYNGOS 2)
Newsgroups: soc.culture.greek
Subject: FR:  LYNGOS    RE:  A MISTAKE
Date: 19 Jan 1998 20:34:01 GMT
Lines: 254
Message-ID: <>

Good morning to all.

Today I am continuing with my 6th translation of one of Modis Makedonian Stories.As with the other ones, in this one, the reader can almost ""taste "" the reality of the Makedonian land those days .Again this translation is done entirely by Lyngos ,sorry for the mistakes and enjoy it .This one, by the title "A Mistake", is taken  from the book "Krypsanes" ( Hiding places ) and is published (Or at least it was) by John Vrakas Zoodoxou Pigis 38 Athens, tel. 3
629 671.

                                               A  Mistake

PERIKLES  Xatzistefanou (Pakias) was one of the first boys of the <<Executive>> of Monastiri.He was from a very good family ,still he became much too early a "Bohemian".

The <<Internal Organization>> which was established in  1904 with initiative by Spiros Doumas big businessman, ST.Nalis surgeon, Konstantine Michael medical doctor, better known by the name <<Monaxos>> maybe because he had special preferences toward the German beer ,made in Monaxo  where he studied, Filippos Kapetanopoulos pharmacist, Theodoros Modis, timber merchant and many more, made the decision to organize all of our population for thestruggleagainst the Bulgars. Someone already initiated, was meeting a relative or a friend, and was talking to him about the slaughter and the blackmail by the Bulgars in the villages,and the need for them to be faced,into the Organization, and in the end he was inviting him to take an oath of blind belief and  obedience to the Organization. He was taking the oath with satisfaction and enthuasiasm. Somebody else later was telling him that he had topay eachmonth, for the Organization a certain amount, and to obey to someone, who was appointed Chief of the Neighborhood,or of the same Trade-Union.In such a way everybody, poor and rich, old and young, found themselves very soon, to be  disciplinated and well connected soldiers.

The Organization at the same time considered it neccesary to establish an armed section in order to infuse terror to the enemies and discipline to the members.They named it <<Executive>>. Among the first to be recruited was Pakias. Like him , without work were the rest of them, bullies,  knife using assasins, drunks. The oath was  adninistrated to them, during the nights in the church of ST.Demetrius, in front of the Royal Doors, on top of apistoland a knife, and under the light of few flickering candles, by Father -Angelis who was telling them: <<Swear that your hand is not going to be shaking when you are going to shoot an enemy and that you will choose to commit suicide rather than double -cross the Organization or a collaborator of yours>>. They were paying them a twenty-franks coin a month for their expences. Pakias, Stefos, also a big and strong man who later becameOplarxigos(chieftain), Misias who was going now by the name Patsareas,because he beat-up a Rumanian by that name, Kittos the Tserkezis, Tasios, Pantos, and others, all of them a crazy company,were going around challenging in small and poor Bulgarian cafes , singing  with dissonance, the <<< The flea-itching of Bulgarism can not contaminate the Makedonians>> and other similar songs.

They were calling each other names, fighting with their hands and sometimes with their knifes.They were speaking very often Bulgarian among them. But they were the fiercests persecutors of Bulgarism.They were self-baptized <<Tasiak Esnaf>>, meaning in Turkish : <<Union of the strong ones>>  (with balls). We were seeing them and we were proud of them. In the high-school, the children, we were jealous of them. How could they be any better in front of these handsome and veteran fighters, the people of the <<Komitato >>?!

But in September the 4th 1904, was assasinated inside his timber dealing store the leader of the <<Executive>> Theodoros Modis. Only one bullet of a pistol was shot from afar, that after hitting the door of the office bounced and hit him next to the heart. The strange and incredible was that two prudent,quiet,adolescent children working as servants in the next store had taken the shot. Never, anyone, could have imagine that they were going tobecomeassasins.For sure they had to be trained somewhere.

The same evening, Stefos, Pakias, and Misias attacked with the knifes a Bulgarian owner of an Inn,for revenge,and left him dead, swiming in his own blood.But ten days later,the dead man was back walking !!

     Another attempt of the couragious  against <<Tasian Esnaf>>had the same ending.

     The systemic and  unproclaimed  Greek-Bulgarian war at this point started inside the city. The Bulgars had the upper hand.Our people were the ones painting with their blood the square little rocks that were covering the streets. The <<Sheep-people>> of the Komitato, debutantes and acting for the first time, proved to be formidable. They were hitting bull's-eye with their revolvers Nagan holding seven bullets.

     The Executive at this point started recruiting wise and working boys.One of them right away in January, stopped at the central street the <<Large>> a giant Bulgar ( Naoum Xristof ) and emptied in his sternum the whole pistol. But the bullets went thru only his coat ! They were old -worthless, our pistols. But the Bulgar left his business and moved to Sofia.Another one wounded seriously on the central street, the notable Daniel Rizof.

The Bulgars started to bury their own dead.And because they didn't have a <<Philharmonic>>  like us, the boys from the high-school-boarding -house were chanting, not religious chants of course......

     And from the beginning of 1906 we outdid them.

     A day in May,  three very important Bulgars were killed in the middle of the day,in central crossroads and a fourth in a neighborhood, even with all the draconian measures of the police and military. And all of them, as like many more Bulgars, they had body-guards, that proved themselves useless. By the time it took, to take out of their large belt the big <<Black-mountain>> revolver, the job was done,and the sudden assasin was entering thefirstdoor in front of him and from back-yard to back-yard was gone. The Turks ordered to be locked all the internal doors, but always there was something, rocks, woods, sometimes the backs of people, and the assasins were jumping over the between walls, from back-yard to back-yard. Xilmis Pasha went with two of his <<Counselors>> the Russian and the Austrian , to Monastiri. He ordered general and tighter measures against the <<Urum>> (Greeks).

     One of his orders was saying, to be displaced in Bogradets of Albania the leaders of the Greek troublemakers, to be put in jail the young suspected assasins, and to be sentenced to death by hanging, even in case of only wounding someone.

     The Order was read in the Turkish parliament by the deputy of Monastiri Traianos Nalis, the spring of 1906,during the debate of a new law regarding the dispensation to the Bulgars of the Greek Churces.

     Responsible Secretary was Xilmis Pasha ,and Nalis was proving, that he was in love with the Bulgars since the old days.

    Pakias like the other ones, were displaced by those terrific, without moustache, and wise boys.Only  Stefos killed a Bulgar and he went in the mountains, became Oplarxigos (chieftain) and in March of 1943 found death together with his son, from the knifes and the clubs of the Communists. Pakias was doing the easy jobs. He was going with the respective receipt, to someone who was petulant to pay his montly contribution or the fine that was giventohim. Just his presence,with his big stature, and ever bigger his fame, were plenty to have the receipt paid-off by the peevish !!!! He was going also  to remind someone that he shouldn't buy from his friently Bulgarian butcher or from his friendly Jewish store. A  full boycott was in force,  against the Jewish stores, even after the Jewish community offered to pay 2,000 golden coins a year for its lift-off.

     Still Pakias  was in and out of the jail. He was an easy target for the police, and they were arresting him for other peoples crimes. When Stavros Tsavis, short and without moustache,servant in the tailor's store of Kyriakos, killed the Bulgarian principal of the High-School, in a very central street, in the middle of the day, the police re-arrested him.     They introduced him, together with another tall one, to the widow. But she wastoldalready, and she start crying right away that those two were the criminals. But already had given a deposition the Turkish-Albanian body-guard, two policemen, one officer, one gendarm, the widow herself, that the assasin was a short, skinny , without moustache boy, who entered the first door, shut it behind him, and from back-yard to back-yard disappeared .

     He went back to the tailor's store where his boss after long time found out. The witnesses were arguing only about the color of his jacket. The district attorney and the interrogator didn't have a choice but to let him go free after few weeks.

      August of 1907, his company received order to eliminate a villager (Kitso) from the village in the plain, the Igri. The <<second class sergeant >> and leader told him :

------- Pakia of mine, this job is for you. It is easy. The villager doesn't take any precautions.
-------As you order. I am also available for the more difficult jobs.

     He was feeling indignation, him the old-fighter, they were considering him good only to collect taxes and fines, and now for the assasination of an unsuspecting villager.

------I know you.You worth a lot to others, but you are me.......And then now are the young ones.........Without moustache yet......Why do we have them ? Let them do the heavier work.
-------I am thinking not to kill him in the city, and be in troubles with the police again.

Out in the plains is going to be better.
-------As you wish, you take care of it.  Just, eliminate this buffoon.

     Someone took him to an Inn with stables,and showed Kitsos to him. He sucked down a 25der.(Size of a bottle with ouzo or raki usually).

     In each of our Inns with stables, it was obligatory for the villagers of certain villages to sleep in there. They were not allowed to sleep in other Inns and more in particularly Bulgarian.

     The Bulgars were the ones that started this unfair practice and now they were paying for it. Few of their Inns were shut-down.The Organization opened , new, ours.

     Became owner of one of those Inns in Monastiri, a Cretean, with good stature (!),Manolis (!) ,who was spending his money faster tham making them, and in  the end he ended-up in the mountains as Antartis in order not to go to prison!

     Pakias took the road outside the city toward the plains. He sat under the shade of a willow tree.  It was hot.  He saw Kitsos coming, stood-up and started walking.

-----For the Good time!  Where are you going ?  told him in the local dialect the one condemned to die.
-------At  Igri.
-------At  Igri ? What for ?
-------I have business.
-------Myself, I am from Igri also. What kind of business ?
-------My aunt Mia, she has some land in there.
-------Mrs Mia, she is your aunt ? Poor you, you should have waited till the day after tomorrow to come, when there is market and there are going to be many villagers.You were going also to find a horse to jump on it.You'll get tired walking under this heat.  Our village is not close.

     Pakias looked at him with attention.He seems to be a good man, and he was feeling sorry for having to kill him.

-------Oh well.......That's the way this world is made, he said making the
decision, answering to his inside thoughts and added:
-------I am not an old man after all.  And I do carry my medicine.  He took out of his jacket a bottle with raki.  He had a shot and gave it to the villager. But he refused and told him:

-------With this kind of heat i don't want raki.  Once in the village..........He noticed that the man walking with him, under his jacket he had a double-blade knife!  What for ?!   He was going to defend himself from the Komitatzides and the other criminals with that ?!  He was torturing his brains to understand what kind of a man was this stranger, that showed-up suddenly in the road and what he wanted?  Mia's land was a clear excuse. There wasnothing to be done this time of the year  .A good villager, was cultivating them <<half and half>> and the woman already had collected her share from the harvesting.  And was he going really to Igri ?!.......

     And how come didn't leave in the morning when is cool, if  he was going to walk ?

     He became suspicious. They walked for long time. In a place where to the right and to the left, were tall corn plants and nobody else, Pakias decided that it was the right and ideal place.  He took out the little bottle, got another shot, and tried to take out the double-blade knife. Somehow he was hesitating. For which reason this villager needed to be killed, after all to him, he was appearing as a good and faithful.?  But still he decidedwith<<Half of a heart>>, to obey the order coming from above.

     But the villager was faster, and with the thick stick struck him on his right hand, and the knife fell-out, on the ground.  He struck him again  and again with power on his arms, in his back, on his neck, till he became dizzy and numb. The villager was proving himself very strong and able.

-------With this stick, I saved my life from a Turk who wanted to rob me, and from a Bulgar who wanted to kill me.  But how come you wanted to kill me ?

     Pakias was silent.

--------Why ? asked again Kitsos ? Speak-up because......because,  I am going to kill you now.
-------Kill me. What am i going to do with my life now !.......

     He had suffered  an unheard failure and a deadly offence.

-------Is easy to kill you.  But how come you wanted to maltreat me ?
-------Kill me.
-------Just give me an explanation. I saw you in the Inn, and that means that you are not a Bulgar. So, how come you wanted to kill me ?!

     Pakias opened his eyes with perplexity, and continued to be silent.

-------Well, we are going to talk again in the village. Start walking in front and don't move because you are dead.

     In the village, the President of the Comittee, knew Pakias and he asked him with perplexity:

-------What happened to you ?  Did you have an order to hit Kitsos from Igri ?

     Pakias moved his head  in an affermative way .

-------Poor You, not this Kitsos. He is my brother.  Another Kitsos you were suppost to eliminate and in case of success I was to make offerings to you myself.

     Pakias opened his eyes with relief and said to him :

-------They pointed -out  to me this one, and I kept telling  myself: he looks to me like a good man. And one of our own people..........How and why to kill him ?  Maybe a mistake has been made ?  And my hand was shaking and it didn't want to work with the knife.

     Kitsos stood-up happy and said:

-------I couldn't find an explanation.  How could I imagine that such a big mistake was done. Give me your hand  Pakia  and we'll be friends from now on.  But next time better carry a pistol on you. And be more carefull.

     Some more villagers came around and they were laughing about  the mistake and they were drinking. That night they entertained Pakia and next morning sent him with a horse to the city.

     The president of the Comittee told him:

-------Come the day after when it is market-day, in the Inn, to find that wretch that made the mistake.

     The village by now was ours, but the Antartes -corps were not going in there that often.  It was too low.  In the heart of the plains. Sometimes the Komitatzides were entering.

      Kitsos, the other one, was their main collaborator.

      Once he learned about the incident, he became disturbed, and scared. He realized that he was in danger also in the city where he thought that he was safe.

He was alive because of a mistake.  But mistakes do not repeat.  He decided to interrupt the contacts and collaboration with the Komitatzides and he renounced them.

     That way Pakias attempt was not for nothing.
Regards to all...............L.
George Sofoklis Tsapanos

Regards to all.......L

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