Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Is Half a Blanket Better than One?

Peter, Marash Girl's father, having been born in the neighborhood of Kumbet in Marash, Ottoman Empire, early in the 20th Century, and having survived the genocide perpetrated upon the Armenian people by the Ottomans, left Marash in the saddlebag of a donkey with the clothes on his back and his memories of his childhood in Marash.  Peter was a story teller and among his stories was this one, one which he told us often.

Upon marrying the love of his life, a young man brought his new wife, as tradition would have it, into the family home.  All went well for the first few years, but soon the wife, who was no longer new at being a wife, tired of the only member of the older generation left living in the house, her father-in-law.  The woman constantly badgered her husband about the inconvenience of taking care of the old man, no longer young, no longer strong, no longer healthy, until one day she insisted that the old man be ousted from the house.  "Either he leaves or I leave," she said.  Sad as he was, the young man (himself no longer so young), explained the situation to his father, and his father willingly parted, leaving the home on foot, walking into the desert.  

Soon after the old man left, the young man (himself no longer so young) said to his son, "Son, you must run after your grandfather and catch up with him.  He has gone into the desert with no blanket for protection from the cold.  Here, my son, take this blanket to him."  And so dutifully, the young man's (himself no longer so young) son hastened into the desert carrying the blanket to his grandfather.  Finally catching up to his grandfather, the boy said, "Here, Baba, take this blanket which Papa sent to keep you warm in the desert."  The grandfather hugged his grandson, took the blanket and tore it in half.  "What are you doing, Baba?  Why are you tearing the blanket in half?"  The grandfather answered, "Dghas, I'm giving half of this blanket to you.  Take it to your father and tell him that I return it so that he can use it when he grows old."

1 comment: