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Ivan Cankar: Hlapci – The Serfs, a temporary literal translation by Lesley Zore – 14.12.2020

Slovenian version: ISBN: 91-7301-038-3


As I noticed that the English translation of this important work has, insofar, been left out of creation, I’ve come to the conclusion to translate it… Takes a week or two anyways… How come no other serf was made to do this when it barely takes six days to do?

Observe that singular pronoun “they” is used casually. The reader may require to read parts of the play carefully to not miss-portray this pronoun as plural. It is intended as plural sometimes, though. From time to time, gendered singular pronouns are used to preserve the original style. Observe how I made god a “she” or even a “xe'' at times. In a similar way, god itself is always referred at with the non-capital initial g. Religion is death!

Content Warnings: a sincere Content Warning for racism, sexism, transphobia, xenophobia, classism, suicide, physical violence

Content Condemnations: The first third of the first act, ethno-racial slurs and certain similar stuff could be left out… I hope the condemnation of religion is clear enough. Other than that, perfect.


The purpose of artists has always been, 

is and, shall remain, to show nature so to say

a mirror of its soul: show of her beauty its true

greatness, show of her shame its true grief,

show of her centuries and bodily time its

truest picture.





JERMAN (teacher)

HOMAR (teacher)

HVASTJA (teacher)

LOJZKA (teacher)

GENI (teacher)

MINKA (teacher)




ANKA (mayor’s daughter)


KALENDAR (blacksmith)


PISEK (alcoholic)

NACE (peasant)



Peasants, laborers


Jerman: In a garden behind the mayor’s canteen. On the right side, there is a friendly-looking white house with a tiny balcony. In the background, there is a green stockade, behind which a road goes. On the left, there is a minor shed in the front. There are tables under the trees and on the balcony. Jerman and Anka stand in front of the shed. I barely came to know you and you are already in a hurry. I feel this love of yours as a humpback, or a goat-face, or be it a patched cloak. I dare not be too harsh with it… I will thus speak of weather.

Anka: You truly are so plain!

Jerman: I’m afraid those glorious days may come to an end once.

Anka: What do you want?

Jerman: And that every sunshine ends in thunder and hail.

Anka: It is a goodbye!

Jerman: Do tell me this goodbye stands for ever, do not fear to! To you, love is like a fresh blouse, or like a colorful ribbon on your straw. I, just another conservative farmer from the hills, thought it to be otherwise. Now I’m ashamed. Goodbye…!

Anka: Is love so sweet only when it howls? You stand against me for I laugh rather than weep, for I wear white rather than black, for I am young. Soon you will shame me for I am not yet humpbacked, and do not yet have a squint. Your preaches are terribly plain, Sir.

Jerman: Do not sin! Was I not struck unresponsive by your laughter, was I not confined whenever our eyes met – I, so hungry for happiness? I’ll clap and I will chant in satisfaction – as you like! But I’ll do it swiftly so the preach won’t be a long one.

Anka: Let it be a short one!

Jerman: The dance of a butterfly suits you well, though I am myself too awkward to contest it. My heart too is too heavy and pulls me to the floor. You did not once inquire why I do not giggle, and I did not, though I adore your laughter. You did not come to notice how noisy of a company I had been… Rest! I would rather ask you of hatred than of pity; I would rather swear than plead. I do not ask for comfort nor for pity, I simply wish for you to out a word of love.

Anka: What word? I have a dislike for plain wordings, plain thoughts. If love is such boredom, may god be with it! You truly are just another conservative farmer from the hills. One’s smile runs out as they come across you. Life, youth, spring, love and everything to you is elitism and highness. Look, I do not blame you – not even, if you go to sleep with your farmer boots foot-worn. To you, farmer’s boots and a straw bad, to me, heel shoes and a throne. You do not voice much laughter by me, I do not weep by you. Hand me your palms and let us shake a goodbye.

Jerman: Grabs their palms, is happy. Goodbye, Anka!

Anka: As Minka and Geni approach the two of them. Goodbye!

Jerman: Halt! Sends them the last kiss.

Anka: Turns around. Take down this ugly, plain top hat of yours. Do lower your black suit, farmer! Release the bible! Greetings! Enters their house.

Jerman: Watches their movements. Before you could’ve gained her, you’ve lost her… So to say – for me it is late evening, and the sun hasn’t risen yet. Slowly walks to the back door of the garden.

Minka: Do you not tremble, do you not hope, grieving Romeo?

Jerman: Surprised. Why tremble and why hope? I am no poet.

Minka: How come you do not tremble, as today they will… So to say… Conduct their sentencing of the whole Slovenian nation?

Geni: Jerman is a smart-head. I as well prefer a sweet ration to this funky comedy. Those tricks are barely any excuse for drinking and that only.

Jerman: Who is being sentenced? And by whom?

Minka: Did you not think of the election? 

Jerman: Ah, yes! Shall they elect only saints or only “gypsies”, my cloak will be no less patched together and my footwear no more compact.

Minka: This very playfulness and mindlessness digs an early grave to the nation of ours!

Jerman: Do not babble! The Nation shall judge for itself; the bow-person won’t and neither shall the priest do it for us! Gallantly steps to the garden door, nearly bumping into Lojzka. In the meantime, Minka and Geni find themselves on a bench below the balcony.

Lojzka: To Jerman. Nice to meet you. The two of them shake hands. Why don’t you await the word of who will rule our lands?

Jerman: I’ve come across enough introductory articles as of today. Leaves.

Geni: Only god knows what for so many are chanting on this sunny day. Conservatism is neat, progressiveness is neat, but the most wonderful thing of them all is a warm and fresh meal, a yummy one!

Minka: Such apathy!

Geni: And carelessness!

Minka: You would not move an inch to secure the nation of ours, shall they make us all priests and pious maidens. 

Geni: I would not move an inch! As pious maidens, we would be receiving a pay much higher than we now do.

Minka: I tremble by now. I did not lunch and neither will I dine. One more hour… Ah, half an hour ‘till it all comes to an end. What if the sunshine – freedom – shines no more? Or… Last night I dreamed of dining lobsters. What meaning does that carry?

Lojzka: A raise for sure!

Minka: Do you have no heart beating in your chest, no brain in your head, given how you laugh and smile as our nation falters… You declared yourself an intellectual, you smoke as much as other smart-heads. At this time, any intellectual would… Take a look at Komar! They’ve been drunk for three days now, they are on the verge of going nuts… Due to enthusiasm! There are not many people of such greatness out there.

Geni: Drunk for three days now? Turns to the bartender arriving from the balcony. A glass of beer shall do!

Minka: They’ve bet on ten liters of wine that the enemies of ours will be batted into the ground by force. The banner of free thought will… You know… What is your judgment?

Lojzka: I shall not judge it. My judgment would not have twisted the outcome. The turnout would not move for an inch in any direction.

Minka: Such apathy!

Geni: And carelessness!

Minka: I state my views – remember my words when the day of judgment arrives. I state our celebration will be sweet. Victory is imminent… I trust our people! Furthermore, shall darkness descent onto the homeland of ours… Then we will see who knows to handle it. Then we will see who will lower their subordinate pride and who will look ahead and fight to the end, freed through struggle!

Lojzka: Let it not descend on us, and let us not see who stands, who falls!

Geni: Neither do I like to sacrifice myself… It’s no use! Komar arrives by road and enters the garden.

Komar: We are victorious!

Minka: Stands up. Numbers?

Komar: Not yet! But victory is imminent, it was imminent days ago, a week ago, it’s been imminent for a year now! Do fill my glass with wine, Katarina! Sits down.

Minka: So you do not doubt it?

Komar: Who doubts? Who dares doubt it? To doubt it is to betray us all… I shall crush this glass into their skull!… As I approached this sweet garden, I met the cleric. They were so crushed and so degraded. They were as though they’ve been carrying rocks on their back, and on their head as well. I barely recognized them; had I not, I would have gifted them a dollar, to the poor man. “How are you doing, sir Komar,” he asked. “We are doing better day after day,” I replied. It drew a saddened smile on the face of his, while I laughed so harshly… Ha ha, my eyes are still wet with tears!

Lojzka: Tears of joy?

Komar: Comrade, you will pay, you will pay! You think I did not notice how silent you went in the last week? When a peasant fears hail, straw is secured swiftly. Look at her, this intellectual smokes no more. She will carry a bible one day, given this pace. You and Jerman… A neat couple! Idealism does little for you, huh? I know your sort, pigs! Jerman knows well, who will pay him the most. At the mayor’s, he has made himself lunch as never seen before. I do not blame them. They would kill one just to sell the clothing.

Geni: Are they not a friend of yours?

Komar: A friend must be told the truth always.

Geni: They’re absent.

Komar: He’ll come by sooner or later! - He has chosen quite a funky father-in-law! Do you see the mayor as a true progressive? I would not pay a penny for such progressiveness. He is red, he is purple of anger, given that we did not install him. Shall my friend be asked to help the mayor a little, he will proceed to host the whole Tsardom and to praise it. Hvastja arrives. Welcome, the most pious of all the pious people! Here, drink, eat, have an easy time going through your defeat. When clerics are beaten, Hvastja is beaten as much. It is hard having such a hard wife. Beating him. What could the innocent Hvastja have done to praise the clerical minds? Very little as he doesn’t even clean his nails, so they remain dirty once and for all!

Hvastja: Seats down surprisingly calmed. As of tonight, you shall pray the Rosary – all three chapters… 

Komar: What did you utter?

Hvastja: As of tonight, you shall pray the Rosary – all three chapters… 

Komar: Cleric, you shall expiate this line of yours! The mayor, the doctor, and the principal arrive from the balcony.

Komar: Stands up aggressively. What? How? Utter your words, voice them! What?

Mayor: In this municipality, progressives won by a single ballot!

Komar: Surprised. By a single vote?

Doctor: Always been that way! Six years ago they won by a difference of six votes!

Komar: What do you mean? “They” won? “We” is better. Only, where did so many insects come from? During the sunshine, one does not notice them. They came out of nowhere and nearly took over! Turns to Hvastja. What did you say, Hvastja?

Hvastja: Nothing, let me enjoy the moment, kindly. Mayor, doctor and principal sit on the balcony. Komar sits on the stair. Teachers and Kvasja sit under the balcony.

Principal: Do not fear! Our nation is conscious, healthy on the inside. Let’s trust this nation, let’s as well trust the overwhelming progress, which is a natural necessity and slows no-when and no-where.

Mayor: Our village does not conclude the election. It has been noted black since ever and it will remain black; as though it was cursed!

Komar: It will not remain! What do you mean, “will remain black,” you moron? That is half way to giving in to the clerical will! Steps to the desk, where teachers sit. Drinks a little and points his fingers at Hvastja. If we were to do as such clerics call for…

Hvastja: Will you do your praying I assigned, will you follow what I ordered you, sinner?

Minka: Truthfully, our village could be of another color. Our greatest sin is our apathy!

Geni: Such carelessness!

Doctor: I myself am so calm I did not cast my ballot. I know our people as not many others do. They visit churches and pilgrimages all lives long, preaches and prays… But all this is all out of habit! It is all a century-old and expired national tradition! Clerics are just the defenders of those traditions and habits… Let the politicians shatter some old facts and install some new benefits… Only then, will the people show their views. I was once honored by getting to know a priest who discussed canceling a single holiday… They nearly killed him. Ask a peasant on whether we shall cancel religion or the yearly fair. They will not be slow to respond. To them, the priest is no apostle's ancestors; to them, the priest is a defender of national holidays, traditions and parties. Thus, the peasant does respect the cleric, though for quite a different reasoning than one may think. 

Principal: Let us hope for education on a scientific basis…

Doctor: Better: material-scientific

Principal: ...on a material-scientific basis diverts sooner or later the people from those religious parties and their defenders. I dedicate our work to this sacred goal!

Doctor: As I have stated it. Our nation is conservative in regards to their habits and tradition, but it is intelligent and capable in its mind. It’s smarter than we imagine!

Mayor: Let it be so!

Komar: It will be so, we will see, before even the sun sets. Hvastja… Tonight you will pay for the final mass and for the clerical…

Hvastja: Will you do your praying I assigned, will you follow what I ordered you, sinner?

Komar: Points at Hvastja. Look at them! A human seats among us – a Jew among the apostles, a phoney among the sacred guards. Is it contrary to the possibility that others sold their souls to the Mephisto as well? It is not common, though it does happen indeed. I must know – was it through loafing or evil? If they are so lazy, may god pardon them. If they are so dark, so evil, may something higher pardon them, for they have trapped their own self.

Hvastja: Stands up very calmly. Friend, I did not come to make you confess nor avow… But so I did not come to avow myself to you.

Principal: Turns to the Komar. Your views truly are made out of intelligence and fairness, but there is no need for such rhetoric.

Doctor: If the thought is bitter, the word shall be sweet – medicine in sweetened water.

Komar: They did not come to us to avow; nor for us to do so. They did not come to eavesdrop or overhear the conversation we have going. Our phrases, barely spoken, are written down line to line – only god knows to whom we will confess them one day.

Hvastja: Drinks up and turns around. You will confess them to me, and you will ask me for a pardon, only when you plead for it, kneeling. Retreats to the exit and leaves the place.

Lojzka: There was no need to insult! 

Komar: This dark spying soul!… What? Honest people meet up at a fair time… At a celebratory time… Hearts filled with both hope and fear… with the word of liberty in their mouth. Out of no-where, this shadow-cleric in their long black suit appears. My dear, I myself am inflamed and I feel no shame. Let those insects drown in their cajolery and fawning paragraphs.

Milka: Certainly… The very presence of their black suit and their bible in this sacred moment…

Geni: I adore them, for they are ludicrous. 

Lojzka: Shall we say a word or two about freedom of religion, of belief?

Komar: What belief? Belief is one sad story… Let his wife command him to break one of his beliefs for breakfast, one for lunch and one for supper, and he shall!

Lojzka: Who said so?

Komar: It is written all over his face.

Geni: As jolly as they are, they are no caitiff.

Komar: Who says they are not a caitiff? Not a caitiff? If they are not a caitiff, then I am one!

Lojzka: Caitiff, caitiff, you are such a caitiff.

Komar: What? I plea to you, sir superintendent-principal.

Principal: Mx Lojzka, you have breached the limits of fair conversing.

Komar: Angered. Caitiff!

Lojzka: You insulted them, who was among us!

Komar: Caitiff!

Minka: To Lojzka. Have the two of you yet drunk the cup of friendship?

Lojzka: He has not yet offered me to cross the shift of beliefs… To you, he shall soon propose so. Before dawn, you will accept his request and no more be one of us.

Principal: How come you delay this betrayal? It’s clammy and hot in here… Would you mind checking in at the post office?

Mayor: The postperson said they would come themselves, carrying the results.

Doctor: It’s getting late. Yet it is clammy as though it was mid-day. Anka and a young student enter the balcony from within the house; they pass the garden joyfully, arriving at the shed. As they walk, Jerman enters the greenery through the grand entrance, receiving a salute from Anka.

Komar: To Jerman. They are leaving to recite… For the party.

Jerman: What party?

Komar: It’s a celebration of tonight’s victory. Jerman sits quietly. Postperson arrives at the garden entrance, waving both hands nervously. All parties of the gathering run towards him, yelling.

Postperson: Everyone! All of you! Everyone!

Everyone: What? Everyone is screaming.

Postperson: Black!

Everyone: Sit back, mute. Everyone is in despair. From here on until the end of the act, speech is milder, soft, unsure.

Principal: If we think it through and through again...

Mayor: If we make an exact judgment…

Komar: The will of the people… So to say sacred will…

Doctor: Finally… As things stand…

Principal: It would not be wise to judge for the nation has made a judgment.

Mayor: The nation is healthy and honest.

Komar: They know where truth and fairness lie.

Doctor: It did not choose us to judge… It watched its own steps…

Mayor: Its welfare… Its will as well…

Principal: It was asked, and it replied according to its own conscience…

Komar: I’m its child, I won’t resist its judgments…

Doctor: Progress is a neat word…

Komar: Liberty is a neat thing to have…

Geni: But the most beautiful things are cakes and muffins.

Anka: In the shed. You have raised the banner of liberty high into the air, you threw the enemy into the mouth of a chasm very deep… Laughs. Rough! Rough!

Komar: Swings in the general direction of the shed. No need!

Anka: From within the shed. No need?

Komar: No need for progress, enemy or a chasm!

Anka: No need?

Komar: Dance remains.

Anka: Thanks god. Pastor comes up – tall, well-fed, proud. Walks very slowly and gracefully ‘cross the platform onto the balcony. All hurry to meet them, all bow to them, though silenced. Only he answers pitifully, barely lowering his head in response to the bows; his eyes momentarily meet Jerman’s, who is standing calmly, safely distanced from the clergyman.


Komar: In the school library. The key exit is on the right side. In the background, unshut doors lead into the principal’s cabinet. There is a window on the left, in front of it a workbench and some chairs. The walls are covered with bookshelves. Standing in front of the workbench is Komar. If we erase all faithless books, and those guided by the devil themselves, only the New Testament remains.

Principal: From within the office. Do not stop filtering, even if only the Catechism remains. As this is discussed, Hvastja arrives from the right. 

Komar: Turns around, nearly jumping, grabs Hvastja’s palms. Comrade Hvastja, how do you do?

Hvastja: How do you think a “clerical”, a “caitiff”, a “black-suite” does?

Komar: Comrade, let’s not be like that! Let’s not plan and weigh every word we spit… Above us is that, which will weigh our thoughts and hearts when time is right. At the end of the day, what sinful sayings did I utter?

Hvastja: “Cleric,” “clergyman!”

Komar: Think about it… I was drunk! When drunken ones utter only gossip, they do not mind between the devil and a saint. Furthermore, Cleric is not a hot-blooded slur; the clergy can be honest and fair as well, for their work is sacred!

Hvastja: “Caitiff!”

Komar: What?

Hvastja: I told you to conduct penance for naming me a caitiff.

Komar: I am sorry, believe me, I am terribly sorry. “Caitiff” was meant in a different tone… Otherwise than the people most usually know this word. Drunken, I simply praised your silent and calm character using such an improper, unsuitable word…

Hvastja: For “the final mass and the clerical,” I ordered you to conduct penance.

Komar: If penance is a necessity per Your Excellence – respectfully – I ask you for a pardon. Challenge me with a penalty worth a man like myself, and I shall carry the trouble.

Hvastja: I declared you will kneel down and plead to me!

Komar: What nonsense do you order me? God herself would not issue such an order!

Hvastja: I told you to plead on your knees!

Komar: You uttered an order your heart does not voice. Issue me to only sheer one of my cheeks, to visit the Sunday mass bare-foot, to patch a more than obvious sign onto my cloak, order anything you like!

Hvastja: Kneeling, I issued.

Komar: You do not know what a man’s honor is! How am I to talk to you any longer, how am I to pass a mirror, how am I to ever enjoy my company and yet hold the truth for myself?

Hvastja: I issued.

Komar: Kneels on one knee. Here, your highness!

Hvastja: Points at the floor. Both!

Komar: Kneeling down on both knees. If god doesn’t have more pity than you do, we are all screwed. Stands up.

Hvastja: Calm as always. I have aged, married, I have a triplet of children. Yet, I have not kneeled before another. Komar turns around silently and takes a step to the workbench.

Principal: Yelling from their office. Has Jerman arrived yet?

Hvastja: I do not think them arriving is a possibility.

Principal: Enters the library and takes a step on the platform. Be welcome, sir Hvastja! We are filtering the library; one would not come to believe how resistant literary weed is and how fast and far it spreads. God knows how!

Komar: Had taken a seat before the Principal came to finish his greeting. Satan’s and Jerman’s work!

Principal: We struggled, we all struggled to see the light of day, dear Komar! It is in the nature of our people, to from the experience most griefful create…

Komar: Scourge ‘em! Scourge such…

Principal: Long story short, it is only graceful and bright to forget those days of unfortunate past – think of them as little as necessary to ever remind you of the dangers and your evils… For there is no book worth more than the novel of your very own suffering. Go, dear Hvastja! Go and call for Jerman to join us. You, Hvastja, are a man of brainstem, of truest heart and of wise wordings. Hvastja bows and leaves the scene.

Komar: Why bother? If they are to make trouble, let them do so. Shall we plead to them, kneeling, not to work on the Sabbath and not to pray to the Devil? 

Principal: Ah, dear Komar, think about this… Think about how the Father perceived and preserved his Prodigal son!

Komar: Father did greet his prodigal son, but did not search for the latter!

Principal: Dear Komar, you have always been so harsh and pitiless. It certainly fits a true Christian to pray for his brother who wanders blind through and through the whole of Hell. Lifts a notebook and studies it closely. I fear not much of this library will remain. As he takes a step to the bookshelf, Komar follows. You let Prešeren remain among the authors most sacred? 

Komar: Let them remain in God’s shade. Prešeren was baptized posthumously… Is that not right?

Principal: How come you kept Gregorčič?

Komar: They as well did convert. Quite a miraculous way!

Principal: Aškerc?

Komar: Execrate, exorcise and castigate this vilification in the fireplace! Launches their works on the floor, kicking. May their soul whine in ache!

Principal: God forgive. Tavčar?

Komar: I did not bother reading their creations… It is evident those texts aren’t pure Catechism. Throws his works on the ground aggressively.

Principal: You did not read it? Did you not supply the books?

Komar: Who? Me?

Principal: Who entered the library, yelling “long live Tavčar!” and in their mindlessness fell onto the floor, preserving their skull barely, having books collapse all over?

Komar: Who? Oh… Who was the one to preach on how we must preserve the literary worth of the author so…

Principal: Let us not awaken our memories of mistakes and sins long erased through penance and atonement! Oh, look, some Cankar’s works! Erase them from this sacred place!

Komar: Kick them out! Throws the books away, red-faced. Kicks them. This author is not even a liberal… But… Only god knows what he is!

Principal: Let us pray for their soul. Retrieves another book from the shelf, taking a closer look at it. Ha! What?

Komar: Takes a look at that very book. Ha! What is it?

Principal: “Tomaž Kempčan: Following Christ.” The principal and Komar scratched their heads in confusion. Dear Komar, you did not bring the book here, did you?

Komar: And neither did you, Superintendent Principal.

Principal: Deposit it at the workbench, Komar. Whoever brought it to this room contaminated by the Devil, had it right. Whoever brought it really was open-minded.

Komar: Unveils their weave on the floor and starts piling books onto it. Where to deposit all these sins?

Principal: Let’s leave it in my cabinet for the time being… Throw it beneath the table of mine and cover it so guests do not totter over it. Komar ties the weave up and carries it into the cabinet. The principal murmurs as he observes how Komar carries the literature. He would betray his very Brother, delate counter to his Father and drop the dime on his Mother.

Komar: Returns from the cabinet. The sin has been contained, Superintend.

Principal: Inspects the room. Tsar’s portrait is in place… That is all good… But this place lacks something holier!

Komar: It was present… It was hung under the Tsar’s shot, I recall… If I am not mistaken.

Principal: “If you are not mistaken,” you uttered. There truly was something, and would remain there, was it not in human nature to wander in darkness…

Komar: Wandering in darkness… Principal leaves. The principal murmurs as he observes how Principal leaves the place. He would betray his very Brother, delate counter to his Father and drop the dime on his Mother.

Principal: Returns to the scene, carrying a tiny crucifix. The screw holds on, though a little oxidized. Takes a step to the wall. And the hole remains as well. Sticks the crucifix into the wall. Many years have passed since we had come to the decision, blinded by the Devil, to…

Komar: Flutters with his arm. Forget it. 

Principal: Komar, you especially chanted as though you were an Anti-Christ!

Komar: And then you picked me up for dinner.

Principal: Flutters with his arm. Forget it. Lojzka and Geni arrive from the right. Both covered by tears of joy.

Geni: I am all for it, let us divulge our sins. I bought myself a bible!

Lojzka: And he who lowers their sight in redemption… Let us burn their sins away through ache and smother!

Principal: I do not condone how laughable you are in the epoch so serious.

Lojzka: I am not making fun out of it, I swear! They truly did warn us about an eternal fast, shall we not… Progress…

Geni: I am luckier. I bought myself a bible. It is first and foremost key for one to develop their image; remains of it all will sort themselves out.

Principal: With a kind look on his face. Ma’am, your words are funky and not thought through and through – yet they possess truth. There is the need for one’s outer self to avoid sinning through their image and their exertion. The inner self will only be judged by god herself.

Lojzka: How could one ever out this wiseness this more… Homely?

Principal: Think about how improper it is to misrender the disclosures of your relatives, how indelicate to distort all the declarations of your superintendents. Further grade my mouthings: for unbarricaded calm always transforms into distrust, I do not wish for my pity and admission for you to develop into sinful permittivity.

Lojzka: I thank you for this all-helpful preach.

Geni: Do your best to follow it, for the god to retrieve you from eternal fast and of penance in Montana.

Komar: Insofar he did not join the talk as he prefers his calm place behind the workbench. I think it is only careful and smart to weight our utters, insofar as personages sitting by us are not our comrades by heart, but by ear only.

Lojzka: Comrade, what is your intent?

Komar: You heard my words clear and fair.

Lojzka: Joyfully. In the name of all the saints and prophets! Your words and your looks out your past… How you kneeled at the altar… At the cleric!

Komar: Jumps, filled with fury and fear. Who kneeled? At whom?

Geni: With a smile. You kissed his palms as well.

Komar: Liar! I did not toss a kiss on his palms! Remembers. Had I kneeled in front of some random toll-collector and kissed his palms – who would blame such a Christian?

Geni: Keeps smiling. Do not blush! I as well have gotten myself a bible.

Principal: To Lojzka. I am sorry to have to remind you of the eternal principle to not enter schools as ideologues, especially not in a form to a common only permissible on Friday nights.

Lojzka: Bows silent.

Komar: Steps forward and begins with a preaching tone. Who is not with the people is against the people. How can a sinner be a guide to the youth? The people would dis-fellowship itself, had it had to have its children taught by a spiritless and faithless being. It would be… So to say… A cultural suicide.

Lojzka: You recite that well… I read it as so as well.

Geni: To Lojzka. Why force yourself, oh lost soul, wander into the rural of Athens?

Komar: Hvastja as well does so… One could not examine their inner self, not even with a dozen or more lenses of magnification.

Principal: They weigh their words and when met, always wear black.

Komar: That was on my mind! God knows whether his suit is truly black. Who crawls silently and builds through loneliness and privacy… Where will they crawl and what will they build? Hvastja enters from the right.

Principal: Dear Hvastja!

Komar: What did he say?

Hvastja: He said he would come.

Komar: He will come?

Hvastja: He said he would come to see which of you will finalize the crazier stunt.

Komar: What?

Hvastja: He explained such aerobics are widespread nowadays – cross and cross our sacred homeland.

Principal: What meaning do his chants carry? Is it a comedy or a congratulation?

Geni: With a smile. It’s envy. For they cannot stunt, they will blame all others.

Komar: Sets a finger on his own lips. Don’t you hear? Don’t you know the steps? All present go silent and enter a stand pose. Komar closes in to the door; that is followed by a brief pause. Komar opens the doors wide and conducts a deep bow. 

Pastor: Let us thank our Lord and Christ!

Everyone: For eternity, amen!

Principal: Senior Pastor, the cabinet of teachers greets you with pride: greets the representatives of the Church, the Church our youth was always trusted to.

Pastor: Y-yes…

Principal: For truth lies in collaborative cooperation between the Church and the School. Our future will thus brighten up – the future of our nation and of humanity as a whole. So to say, a new dawn will rise following the Reunification.

Pastor: S-sure… Comes closer.

Principal: It truly did happen – but show me one who never wanders in darkness… There were certain redemptive and disturbing incidents in our village, and yet…

Pastor: M-hmm. Sits down. I came by and hereby I came up with an invitation for a dinner.

Komar: Senior Pastor!

Pastor: Looks at Komar briefly. A dinner. There is no need to discuss unpleasant stories at what are obviously questionings. What happened, was not the most kind of you – but it has come to an end. The school department of this region has many duties; do not let it take over mine as well. At the semester conference you will not recite the Rosary, will you…

Komar: Senior Pastor…

Pastor: You will not recite the Rosary. Thus I think it is the wisest to have a fair talk. There were some among you who would… Closes their eyes and crosses themselves. …Who would continue converting the village to the Devil until the day of judgment arrives.

Komar: Senior Pastor!

Pastor: Drunk, they wandered between one bar and another… Everyone looks at Komar who bows again and again in his shame. ...And preached their litanies in sacred-most places, litanies of Hell. They did not show up for a penance, nor for the service. They were only known to be accompanied by women and to swing, deceiving all the faithful of the Church to do the same!

Komar: Senior Pastor… Doors open at once with Minka stepping through; her dress is black, her hair in a coiffure.

Minka: Speaks fast and gallantly. May we thank our Lord and Christ! Pardon me for I am late, Senior Pastor, pardon me. I was at the confession.

Pastor: Salutes gently. Not long ago, there were many deceivers among you women… Traitors to your sex and to your class…

Minka: Senior Pastor!

Pastor: That is how it was hitherto. It shall all diverge, your looks suggest. My heart beats in happiness and glory, seeing as you all’ve been enlightened – there was no need for blood and tears to pour… For whenever you are blinded and fail to decide by a ration, do not ask your heart but learn from experience.

Principal: The cabinet is aware of its duties in front of the god and the Nation.

Pastor: It must be aware… For I believe enlightenment does not only occur on one’s outer self, but as well resonates in the heart, thus no further preaching and experience of a sword is a necessity now. I must add: teacher shall remain a teacher and work from behind his barrier – the barrier set by the People and the Church. Thus, do not let them bother with matters they are not paid for. Had a landlord ordered their serf to grind the wheat and the wheat was inflamed instead of ground, the landlord will call for the troopers to chain the evil traitor. Such a serf is the teacher ordered to point their students to faith and god but ends up doing the opposite. The principal, Komar and Minka bow and look at the Pastor in fear. Who among you shows wrong-doers, drunkards and sinners their way into a faithless community and builds a base to faithlessness and to the Anti-Christ?

Principal: Softly. Senior Pastor…

Komar: Stands up. Jerman’s work… I saw him among such people… I saw him with my eyes. I know him… He apparently voiced chants and slurs no human being would understand by themselves.

Pastor: Looks at Komar and then turns around. He is absent.

Principal: Badly scared. I did not realize, Senior Pastor… Let us not discuss this sad incident… Et please…

Hvastja: Has just stood up. He said he would come. Goes to the window.

Komar: Follows Hvastja, takes a look through the window. He has been standing down there! With whom? With Kalander, the blacksmith… The one to coop his wife in the byre, for she wished to pilgrimage.

Minka: This person should long have been expelled from teaching! So to say, brother to drunkards, so to say… 

Geni: Truly, this apathy and carelessness… 

Pastor: Do not judge the sinner ‘till you do not name ‘em.

Jerman: Entering from the right. How do you all do!

Pastor: Stands up and shakes hands with Jerman. How do you do?

Principal: Apparently saddened. What have you done…

Jerman: Surprised. What have I done?

Principal: How come you forgot to take your honor and right in consideration?

Pastor: Y-yes. Do not counter a sinner with blame and threat, but a brotherly hug. Sir Jerman, we all feel badly insulted by you and your activities…

Jerman: Tell me what your excellence desires.

Pastor: … And because of your activities. You know well the times have changed and now Truth has come to light. The people have voiced their demands from their saviors from the judgment halls and their teachers...

Jerman: Ha ha! You have enlightened me a little now. Do tell me more! Sits.

Komar: Who do you talk to like such?

Jerman: What? You too, Rodomonte? I shall shave my cheeks and the sandals of mine shall dissolve!

Pastor: Sits down. … And their teachers. There are many who carry the opinion – we shall bury our beliefs or however you call such tones. Many have buried it and kept it silent.

Jerman: I would be glad to receive an order by now.

Pastor: Thus, I tell you how the people’s will does not give a damn for your ideology or however you title your policies of the interior. A true serf labors their ration as commanded upon – if ordered to step onto the field, they do not run into a jungle.

Jerman: Stands up. I do not understand. Who called for this sacred tribunal to gather?

Pastor: Stands up. It would please me greatly, had you come to avoid digging a trench between the two of us… For such a trench would only carry undesired troubles; carrying Sisyphus's rocks is uneasy even though one is responsible for their own penalty.

Jerman: With a serious expression. I understand now. Sits down.

Principal: As I foresaw – they wandered through darkness and Devil’s like many of us did; now they have been enlightened for once.

Geni: For progress is a natural necessity. Lojzka stands up, closes in to the window and looks at Jerman.

Pastor: Sits down very calmly. It’s been a long time since you arrived… Since you moved into our fancy village. I developed a liking for you quickly on, as you are a person who takes care to listen to an honest line; does not misrender nor break it apart in their heart. I am feeling bad aches seeing you on a path the Nation cannot stand behind. Say a drunkard… Say they yelled and swung: “such is my belief, who concurs, follow.” What would a mindful person do? One would turn around and go their path. Senior, if me or you behaved so disrespectfully, what would the Nation think of us? They would reply: “You are not worth of being my teacher and my example; join the drunkards and the sinners, preach to them who match you!”

Jerman: I yet do not know how to release my fury. What to point at, what to do?

Pastor: They let me know you help suspicious people do their part in some movement you declare “educational”.

Jerman: Honest people!

Pastor: Eh, it is only worse when they are honest! For when such a Christ becomes an Anti-Christ...

Jerman: I have read it… Stands up. Thus we have finished. I am thankful to you, excellencies, to Senior Pastor, for your fine words and wise teachings; though I do not blame you for sticking your fingers in others’ matters. We know there are people in this world who would search for a rock in a sand desert only to stumble over it.

Pastor: Stands up, serious and harsh. You heard me talk with kindness so fitting to a Christian… But it also fits the latter to be precise and strict in the defense of the Nation and of the faithful.

Jerman: I came to understand the threat before you came to voice a word, before I arrived at this tribunal of sorts. Why tourner autour du pot? wordings were lengthy, the order was sharp: “Doth a stunt! standeth on thy headeth, as conditions-et-weath'r hest!” Yet I stand firmly on my own feet!

Principal: Sir Jerman, the highness of your job as a teacher demands…

Jerman: Turns around. I know the gospel well. The highness of a teacher’s social value shall inquire for the teacher to one day come white, another day black, as the lord requires. Further it demands from the teacher to have one’s head on a willful leash, so it can bow in all directions at once. It demands for the knee to not be made of bone but of dough so the teacher may kneel in the midst of a road into a puddle of mud if such is the will of the lord! Finally, it requests the teacher has their mouth shut and locked; they key to this lock shall be hung on the school door! I know this gospel very gallantly.

Komar: Is it fair for judges to plead and not judge?

Minka: He judged for himself. 

Geni: Do not push into the mountains during the winter, Comrade!

Pastor: M-hmm… They told me you are well-educated and your future is bright; they as well told me you are very calm and a good care-keeper of your mother, so old and burdened.

Jerman: Jumps in fury. Do not name this saint with your dirty mouth! Lojzka approaches them.

Principal: Calmly, with care. I warn you not to cross the boundaries of acceptable social behavior.

Pastor: M-hmm… I hope you will think it all true and make up your mind once your heart is clear. Takes his hat and turns to the principal. Sir Principal, regarding other disputes… Turns to the whole room present. … We will discuss it at dinnerLeaves; principal follows; Komar opens the door to the two of them.

Jerman: Do open the window. Walks towards the window. Open it widely. Opens the window. For the smell to go away… Takes a step to the Komar, who had already retrieved his own hat from the stand. Halt, just a moment. Did you know I study the history of the Slovenian Nation?

Komar: Looks at him, baffled. Do not blame me…

Geni: You won’t be writing it down in the mountains.

Jerman: Await my words… You won’t miss the evening mass! Now I’m covering the history of Counter-reformation. At that time, they murdered half of all honest people of our lands; the other half went into exile. Only dirty animals remained… We are the ancestors of our forefathers. Turns towards the door; Komar steps away; Geni and Lojzka take on their hats, stepping towards the door.


Jerman: In the Jerman’s room. It has barely any inventory. Entrance is in the back, entry into his mother’s cabinet on the left, a window on the right and a desk by it. There are bookshelves by the bench; on its left another desk and some chairs. Behind it, we can see some settee and a tobacco bench. Jerman stands at the door on the left; Kalander is sitting on the chair by the desk, his palms on his legs. Jerman opens the door to his mother’s cabinet. Mother, bring us some coffee, and something to bite! Jerman picks up a notebook, counts with his pencil grabbed. Finally, Kalander, we are alone!

Kalander: It must be so, sir! Our lands have little fair men, even those are hardly present. In these lands, god first created women, cowards, then men. 

Jerman: How many lowered their heads?

Kalander: Pretty much everyone. One says they are too old, they can no more take care of politics, they only think of death now. Last year it was not so yet. Another dismisses it, trusting us to do it without them; they are busy. That’s all fine. I really hate those who concur with my stand but whisper how repealing struggle and fight is. I have less hatred for those who dismissed me on the go. They know no lie and no disassembly in their hearts. They told me fair and clear: “I’m a coward, what am I to do!”; “It is winter, what do you expect from me?”; “Ah, it’s over…”; “Please no, I still have a family!”; “I want to live in peace… And dreams…” One must have pity for such cravens!

Jerman: All Correct as things be. This crushing was necessary; now we know who is with us and who is against us. Whose foundation will remain afloat through this black flood?

Kalander: They all sank and mine as well came close to dunking. God has given me a tough wife, and they issued me a fast. On the Sundays I wait for her, I sit and wait, till noon – she does not arrive. She makes no lunch. As they return, I ask: what was on your mind you dirty woman? With fury she replies: Who gave you the preach shall give you a lunch! I replied – the soul of mine is lost, thus why fast on Sundays? Should I not prefer to eat fair and square in this world and enjoy it as well when I depart?

Jerman: Kalander, Kalander. The Devil is teasing you!

Kalander: As I came across that very thought, I ask all the insects to pardon me… For they push to where there are only flames and ache. I had nearly betrayed my intelligence high for a piece of bread… Why would I post blame those who betray all of their knowledge and belief for a piece of the pie? I judge the human’s role in this world is first and foremost to live. That bread would fit me well; how much did I help the world by letting it expire?

Jerman: It most certainly is so. You have made simple and clear academic chants of so many others. They have created a whole field of science out of this question. Your words are sharp: betrayed their knowledge and belief for a piece of the pie… An academic, on the contrary, goes on to stretch it out, explaining from the dawn until the sun sets… They build layers and layers of paragraphs, touching the sky and the Sun, wordings gathered from dozens of glossaries… At the end of the day you lose your consciousness… You kneel down and pray to them… You plea them and honor them and heil them… Not out of respect, but out of tiredness. They’ve written books upon books about the peace of pie you came to mention – and have proven your point: when there are ninety-nine reasons for betrayal, there is only one for one to be just. Jerman’s mother brings tea, bread and chilly meat; they place it on the left side of the desk. Jerman takes a step to them, but his mother turns around silently and vamooses the scene. Jerman grabs Kalander’s hand, pulling him. Sit, friend, for us to warm up.

Kalander: Joins Jerman and sits. To me it looks as though alienated hands of withdrawal and starch have brought us this meal. 

Jerman: Sluggish and pensive. Many future noshes of ours will be rotten and putrid; many nights to come shall be watchful; many times, walking this route, we will ask the devil to come save us, to end this suffering. With glad. We issued ourselves this meal, let us eat it up!

Kalander: Takes a drink. I am not afraid sir, and never was. That which I voiced is clear – I do not gather with adulterates by will; I ask god to divert me from such evils. The whole village is drunk. A drunkard has no carry for my mouthings! Preach to a bastard for an hour and longer. They will listen to you for the hour and more… At the end, they will take up their blades and shatter your skull. The lands of ours are drunk and it cannot be exorted by words. Be patient for the wine to mist.

Jerman: Now I declare: shall only bastards attend the gathering of ours, I shall come by and tell the bigots what bigots are to be elucidated. That wish of mine is not doggedly and is not crow. Only they threw me away, they pushed me on the floor, squeezed me badly; they ridiculed and spit at me… I need to stand up to them, I must spit at them, face to face… I must tell them how I am not floored nor spit. Slightly calmer. Don’t you think this drunkenness is external, is only their cloth, is barely what they word? Are they not human inside, created by god? Won’t they listen to a human being, though they do not follow them? Would not a fair word do them better than the book most-complex, more than the talk most-questionable? I have now voiced my thoughts and thus my hopes are high.

Kalander: Sir, I know them well.

Jerman: Neither am I an alien in the world - alienated.

Kalander: I know them perfectly well, especially women. Thus I ask you to wear your worn and dirty cloak as you stage by them… For they have already tossed rocks at you – in the midst of a shiny day.

Jerman: Those were such drunkards…

Kalander: They are all drunk! The whole village is drunk with wine! A farmer knocks on the door, opening it widely.

Jerman: Stands up. What do you want?

Peasant: What do I want? Aren’t you the Anti-Christ diverting our children from the Lord, diverting them to burgle, to raze, to loot?

Jerman: Mother.

Peasant: Thank god I am not your mother. I have come to address you – hecatomb yours to Satan if you have any, do not sacrifice my children… You shall never come to see my children again, shall you send troopers or come yourself. Do you think I made them burglars, razers, looters? I would rather cut their veins than have them be taught by a Demon… You will as well cry for god’s assurance – when it is far too late! Shame! Spits at Jerman, retreats, slams the door and departs.

Kalander: I’ve told you: the whole village is drunk, especially women.

Jerman: I’ve been listening to many such guests… Such callers. I am heavily dissatisfied by how unified their wordings are; as though it would be one saying it over and over.

Kalander: Stands up. Be it as I said or be it not… Issue a command and we shall follow it. There will be three of us there.

Lojzka: Knocks on the door and opens. 

Jerman: Steps up to Lojzka. Be welcome! Have you… Turns to Kalander. In a week beyond this Sunday. 

Kalander: There will be three of us there. Greetings! Leaves.

Jerman: What did you bring?

Lojzka: Give me a moment to rest. Deposits the collar onto the table. I plead for you not to send me to inquire.

Jerman: Do you come with news of success or error? I have readied myself for any, now do with the unpleasant first.

Lojzka: Sits on the left of Jerman. I don’t have the mail. It seems as though I missed it. She was unsatisfied and thus spoke words of spite, not of heartiness.

Jerman: Stands in front of them. Tell me everything, every word of hers. Do not silence one message, misrender none. I will judge for myself, deriving those of red-faceness from those of intel. Sits down and grabs one of her hands.

Lojzka: Stands up. I cannot do this! A brief pause. As I have spoken, it cannot be told… Do you realize what I would have to tell?

Jerman: Lets her hand go. I knew as I commanded you to inquire. Such is an ill man, calling for the doctor to reaffirm their thoughts of death. It is the latent, shameful, undesired hope! Closes onto her. Yet I ask you to report. Out of intrigue. A human likes to open their wound and study it. Then they are disgusted and pain is suddenly lesser. Don’t you worry… I have never wept and never will. Sits back onto the sofa and buries their cheeks into their palms. Report!

Lojzka: Takes a seat, their look diverted from Jerman. She was cheered through and through.

Jerman: Cheered?

Lojzka: Nah… She spoke with a cheerful voice, like she usually does. She refused to come.

Jerman: How did they voice that, with what word?

Lojzka: They said they have little to do in the garden. She commands you to stay in your clan, accompanied by drunkards and beaters.

Jerman: Unmovable. Go on!

Lojzka: They said they would love to return all your mail, had they kept it… She did not as she burns such cards down in her fireplace.

Jerman: Did she laugh when she said so?

Lojzka: She did chuckle. They appended their call to not be disturbed again as well.

Jerman: What? “not be disturbed”? Stands up. If she commanded to not be disturbed again, everything is “as need be”. Listen up, Lojzka. I do not wonder how I lost so many, if I had them at all. I gained no pain. No pain, for what has happened had always been and remains my fate. It was bound to happen, though it is not at a fair timing. Not now! What would remain would be a neat memory, such as one of a tea party… Now what remains is yet another spit on my face. Lojzka continues to sit, leaning on the table, now looking at Jerman. And yet it happened… I hawhited nothing and I didn’t lose much; yet I will grieve about it.

Lojzka: Quietly. To me as well… It meant something…

Jerman: Steps over to her, grabbing her hand. I'm a weakling, a weepy child... Such I attempt to hero myself... I wouldn’t open up my sorrow heart to many… But your eyes are so clear… I am not ashamed before you… As though if one was to pass a mirror… The Sun has been setting as they were talking. I confess my sadness and carelessness to you and… Silently. … And I confess how suffering scares me…

Komar: Under the window, with the voice of a drunk man. Two little pigeons, let the Lord bless you! Jerman takes a swift step to the window; the doors open and drunk Komar shows up. What do my eyes report? Stretches his arms as though he was expecting a hug. You are into each other as I am into you both.

Jerman: Leave, drunkard, split from this place!

Komar: Do not resent – and goodbye! Limps to and through the door, turns back to Jerman, blocking the door. What would comrade Hvastja comment? You will conduct penance for this drunkard, true penance! Leaves.

Lojzka: It did seem as though I had an escort.

Jerman: Steps to the workbench, turning on the lamp. You think they are a straw-man, and in fact they are a genius. He has come to realize how the overlord no-when has redemption for their loyal, though unpleasant, serf. He could easily work in a church, preaching and pardoning.

Lojzka: Walks to the chair and puts their collar on. Do not blame me for I am only a messenger… 

Jerman: You delivered pure comfort. Thank you! Escorts her to the door-frame. It seems you are much closer to me now… It seems I can look you in the eyes now… I like this because we are lonely in this… Alone among living people! 

Lojzka: I thank you for this address.

Jerman: Good night!…

Lojzka: Good-night. Leaves.

Jerman: Steps over to the workbench. Opens the board and retrieves a picture; speaking very quietly and slowly. Where are you?… We barely meet, I may not recognize you further… You only offered me one greeting… It is pure thought which follows you… Door-knocks are heard. It is pure thought which follows you… Sets the picture on the bench, thoughtful and infested. 

Pastor: Uncloaks and opens the door. Evening! Jerman stands up awake. Not even the apostle halted, waiting for heretics to call for help.

Jerman: When he arrived, he was greeted with comfort and peace. Takes a lamp and carries it to the table. Take a seat… The pastor approaches the bench. Mother arrives from the right, addressing him, kissing his palm. She makes the table and removes the used dishes, carrying them away. She returns with a white blanket, which she uses to cover the table; then she leaves. Jerman takes a sit facing the pastor. 

Pastor: You are confused for I arrive in funky times. 

Jerman: It truly does confuse me.

Pastor: For you thought and still conclude you are now dealing with inquisitors, watching only to move you to the other world.

Jerman: I think so.

Pastor: Thus I have resolved to visit you; to talk to you unlike any other.

Mother: Brings tea and biscuits; delivers it on the table. It is not much, though I ask you to take it to heart. Pastor answers with a kind bow; mother leaves.

Pastor: I do not wish to arouse your memories; I said certain things… The mainframe was clear – pardon my comparison – let serf remain a serf and let them listen to the overlord.

Jerman: I came to accept your command as it suits us.

Pastor: The collation with the serf is neat, yet to the people of ours it may be too hot-blooded; they hear the wording, do not know the thought.

Jerman: The word is clear; turn it around and examine it as you wish; it remains the same. 

Pastor: Word is to human like a personal name – void. It may be a name of a saint, or of a heathen. It is as well like a coin by the street: riches to the wise one; temptation and sin to the wasteful.

Jerman: I pledge I did not touch such sciences. 

Pastor: When I named you a serf, you took it as an insult. You pictured my blackened cloak, the Rosary, processions and brotherhoods. You heard a command I did not voice. The comparison is clear: when the serf finishes their workday, they are free to roam to the pub; make sure only not to set the wheat they harvested ablaze.

Jerman: If I sense what is correct I would rather it was false.

Pastor: They named me a dictator and a brute who treads on all on all who block their way; who does not hear the cry of the disregarded. Many times I cannot toss gifts to the indigent. There are many who eat my bread, thus I have little of it left for myself. I’ve told you and I now tell you once more: I do not inspect those who eat my bread. I do not care if they crossed themselves before they took a bite. I do not ask them of their sins, I do not push them into the Church. One is an order nonetheless: when asked, who their lord is, point to me!

Jerman: Hence, it is obvious: serve and you will be well-fed and well-taught.

Pastor: Countless lords are not as understanding as I am. Somewhere in the hills – I think on Goličava – is a priest who waits for the blessing to take a look from the monstrance… Did the teacher kneel down? To him, the hatches of the tabernacle are a mirror, used to monitor whether the teacher crosses themselves while doing the sacrifice.

Jerman: It is an honor to host you – yet it is unclear why you cite those stories.

Pastor: You are unlike the ones who fell on their knees, as the floor shook. You are a man; you are fair. If I am to shake your hand as a friend, I will do so warmly – warmer than the hands of those who offer the shake themselves. Thus I’ve made my case clear: Not much is needed… For you… To… Overcome this trench in between us.

Jerman: Not much is needed but to betray what little reason I possess… What little pride I carry.

Pastor: Belief, orientation, dialectics, faith, and as many of such words one can list, are all nothing to me. I do not ask you of them. There is only one subject, so alive and known; reign. It has lived through the ages; it was the first of all words and will be the last to perish. Subdue; do not resist – that is the key commandment. Everything else is a kitschy detail and a sloppy filter. Whoever follows this commandment will have their sins pardoned; who breaks it shall have their neck broken… I have come to warn you before the sentence you call for is carried out. My soul has thus been extricated.

Jerman: I thank you from within my heart. Did you not name me an honest man? I am truly not born to serve. I like being fed and cared for; yet my ankles and my knees are rigid; though I command them. There was no need to declare what I had knowledge of. I do not have the strength to be a martyr; I do not have the gift to be a hero. Let the future bring its command. Stick feathers on a dog and it will be no pigeon. Let the pigeon turn around nine times – it won’t ever bark. I thank you. Stands up. You have shown me what my job is; transform serfs into human beings. Having hands and the mind of a single of them be unbound will be enough of a payment. 

Pastor: You have made your assessment. Puts their cup on the table to stand up. At that moment, the doors open. 

Pisek: Steps in limping awkwardly. Greetings! Viva! I have come! Let’s shake hands! Tauts his arm to Jerman and swings it. Flies, black, where are, are there black flies here? Damn black flies! Are you afraid of them? Are you a coward? You are a man – a man of pride and honor! Takes their hat off. Sir.. I… See… I ran out of food… It ran out for supper… Happens to anyone…

Jerman: Reaching for coppers in his pockets. Take it and go home; you must be drowsy.

Pisek: It could happen to any of us… Sees the pastor, takes a look, points at them with a hat. Ha, ha! Black suit; within it a black man! Am I to give him a lecture or two? This fubsy podgy roley-poley pork! Stretches arms aggressively. Ew!

Jerman: Grabs Pisek by the arm. Have a good night! Opens the door.

Pisek: Exiting through the door. Do not bother… Happens to anyone! Leaves.

Jerman: Returns to the pastor. Has any-one cleaned up for themselves?

Pastor: M-hmm… Stands up. You are gone converting serfs into human beings. This path is harsh and it is uneven; you will not come to finish it. Nobody has. 

Jerman: If I do not get till the end, I will have struggled square.

Pastor: When your fuel runs out and you will be taking a rest on the last rock by the road, remember how distorted I felt when we were voicing our goodbyes.

Jerman: I shall remember. 

Pastor: Remember how I warned you; tomorrow will come soon.

Jerman: Let it be as it has been called for.

Pastor: Let it be so! They both bow slightly. Jerman stands calmly as the priest leaves.

Mother: From the right; stands on Jerman’s right side. Speaks quietly. Franc!

Jerman: What do you command, mother?

Mati: Steps closer to Jerman. Look Jerman – my child… Not long, until… Till the sacred Christmas… Then… I will be tolled for… It will be the very last path I will take… Pity my heart, grace your soul… Look, I kneel down to you… Kneels down; very tired and unsure. Do not desert god!

Jerman: Hunching to raise their parent. Mother!


Jerman: A canteen. A door on the left leads to the road. There is a window on either side. In the back, there are doors that lead into a special hall. The door on the right is an entrance into the innkeeper’s chamber. The space is full of tables and chairs respectively. There is a sideboard on the right. Kalander and two workers are seated on the right. Jerman comes in from the left, covered by a cloak… With a sincerely serious, nearly melancholic look. Yells to the door behind him. Bring me some water! Disposes their hat on the stand. How’s it going?

Kalander: It is looking bad! Three women spit at me on my way here – a bad omen.

Worker: They gathered behind the church… There was dribbling and slabber as though it was the Great Friday. 

Bartender: Brings water. Let me tell you something, excellence – do not blame me for this – for I did promise you a place, I will not break my word… However, next time I ask you to gather elsewhere… See, I dislike trouble… I'm an innkeeper… An innkeeper for all honest people… I do not deprive anyone… Be welcome! I only dislike trouble… It must be this way, do not blame me! Starts to leave.

Jerman: Has poured themselves some water, now they spill it on the floor. In this case… I would prefer some wine! The bartender tosses them a bottle and leaves.

Another worker: He has already been given a lesson, poor man.

Jerman: Isn’t the air a little clammy?

Kalander: It is a neat autumn day; not many are couthy like this one.

Jerman: It may be just me… I had a bad sleep; my head has been heavy since the sunrise. The bartender brings some wine; sets it on the table quietly; leaves. Shall we remain in solitude, this gathering will be short and to the point. Let’s discuss quietly and alone; how stringent the times we live are, how much more swingeing the hamlets we have domiciled are… Let’s further discuss how we cannot remold the times nor the hamlets. One cannot impede hail nor deaden spree into fructuous soil… I have discerned them on my way before I entered this inn: they were gone to do litanies, to heil Christ, Mary and other saints. Yet there was so much mud in their eyes one would avoid them by a kilometer or so. Saint Francis taught the cattle to have love for one another; these hybrids cannot learn.

Kalander: Sir, do not preach like so. Tell the bastard they’re a bastard; they will take their blade and slash your skull in two, saying: “One thing I am not is a bastard!” The mayor appears in the background, wearing their cloak loosely and a hat on their head, hands behind their back. The mayor stands before the door, laughing quietly.

Jerman: Be welcome, Mayor!

Mayor: Laughing, speaking slowly. There are plenty of you, brothers! Turns around and exits.

Kalander: There was no need to welcome this rat… Chubby swine who occluded their windows when the purposeful procession went by!

Jerman: My cords failed me… Even my cords are finer than their heart and thought.

Worker: It seems we won’t be alone! From the right side – three peasants holding their Bibles – arrive. They sit down in the corner.

Kalander: God bless, neighbors! The farmers do not reply. Be mute if you wish to, though you are not deaf. 

Worker: Like three darkened glooms… Hanging over there in silence. Lojzka approaches from the left, Jerman stands up to meet her.

Jerman: Where do you come from? This is not a place for you.

Lojzka: Coming closer, they both sit at the center of the scene. Set sail! Take up your suit and retreat! Leave everything as it is… Let them finish alone… Or leave it unfinished. Let them talk… Go!

Jerman: What? Have you lost your mind on your way here?

Lojzka: I by chance intercepted their discussions… They were standing by the church, already drunk… 

Jerman: What were they spitting about? I must hear the voice of the people, them – religious people.

Lojzka: Do not postpone your departure!… Excuse yourself, for you are sick… And you truly are ailing… Your eyes are the eyes of an ill man…

Jerman: What were their words? 

Lojzka: They will to get you packing, one said. The other said they shall do so with no need for signatures. Far away, the third replied; they all had a laugh then.

Jerman: They said it well. Sits behind a desk in the front of the scene. Listen up – you needn’t have announced such ancient news to me. I think I may have as well heard that very comparison about packing already… In the morning my head became leaden; my legs were so weighty one would think I'd climbed Everest. This is a bad omen for one who was not born to be a hero, and yet has to present themselves as such, for this is how the world rotates… 

Lojzka: Why bother, why delay, why wait for them? You recognize how unbalanced you feel today, how sick you feel! Prepares to stand up.

Jerman: Thus I have come and await them – I can out this to you for you share our views – thus I wait… For they declared they would move me far away… Lojzka stands up. No! Do not conjecture unalike I do… Jerman stands up. I do not tremble, not of fear nor of pain; what is it we name pain? It is lassitude and lassitude only… Odium great enough to cover my heart and all of my chest. If only I could cut it through a swift move… Think about it: such kindred one to the hero, who is said to have sacrificed his blood, his life standing for belief! The two subconsciously reach out to each other’s hand; they steadily trudge leftwards. 

Lojzka: Your hands are shaky.

Worker: Take a look at the window!

Kalander: “Gypsy” faces! Hey, whoever is staring at us from over there, let them come in; they will hear a preach like never before!

Jerman: Do not be this harsh. Had the dark thought reached your mind, let it go. By the evening – when we’re healthful and sole – we both shall smile. A young farmer steps into the room, sitting firmly by a bar-bench, knocking on the table. The innkeeper arrives; the latter and the housekeeper keep coming and leaving.

Lojzka: You proclaim we shall smile, and yet you have not reduced your whimpers, your tears of horror.

Jerman: Do leave! You do not fit into the presented company!

Lojzka: There is an inquiry I carry for you.

Jerman: Do question me!

Lojzka: Is it foolish to pray?

Jerman: It is little but a kind thought… Arriving at where it is titled. The two shake hands. Lojzka leaves. Jerman turns around to return to the tables. At the backside, Komar appears. They come without a hat; their hands rest in their pockets. Stands easily and smiles.

Komar: As Jerman goes by. So you have really tied the tie?

Jerman: Turns around by the table. Tie what? Tie Whom?

Komar: Similes. Tied your pouches… We’ve got a hundred and sixty-three by now!

Jerman: …Of what?

Komar: We’ve got 163 signatures… I quacked against it; let us wait. Why would we? Not much can be done. The people call for their voice to be heard, they do not like waiting for the recipient. It must be so! I judge we will have three hundred of them or more by tomorrow. 

Jerman: Three hundred of what?

Komar: Signatures… Probably not banknotes!

Jerman: Who is signing people up?

Komar: They told me to do it… So I do! The people are furious; badly provoked. Who would rebel against the people? My heart is sorry for you… I pity you, truly! It would not be sweet to march up there, into the hills… 

Jerman: Into the mountains? On Goličava, wherever the clergy abducts the hatches of the tabernacle for a mirror, used to monitor whether the teacher crosses themselves while doing the sacrifice. There? Takes a step towards the Komar.

Komar: It seems one has informed you by now… You must have readied your cases by now, poor Jerman. Whoever takes a turn to Goličava does not return – as of now, not one has. They forget you, that’s it! The people request a parole for a year, two, three… Then they finally grow tired of it. The final of them had died years ago; only last year they had noticed this tragedy! If only I could offer you a helping hand… If only! What am I to do? The people command; I am only – so to say – an executor of the command of my supervisors! Lastly, question your own will. Have you not caused yourself a fraction of this pain?

Jerman: How dare you! You have gotten so naturalized to the servants? Since ever you’ve been a smart-head!… Take care to preserve your tears and preaches for later; I have little need for such goods – I carry tons of it by now. Farewell! Turns around.

Komar: Laughing. Farewell? We shall utter so, comrade, it is us who shall voice you a good bye!

Kalander: To the Komar. Why don’t you come into our room? You stand by the door, staring, as though you were an officer! Komar turns away and exits the scene. In the meantime, numerous people – young and old – have gathered. Pisek arrives from the right; heading towards the Jerman’s table.

Pisek: Pisek is drunk. Pisek has arrived, sir! People’s command, is it not? We’ll show them, brownshirts, who is boss, won’t we? How many arrived? Where do they sit? Turns to the people. Today is the judgment day…

A young peasant: Who will you show who the boss is; who?

Kalander: To Pisek. Do not shout, drunken fly!

Pisek: Turning. Drunken? Who is drunk? Who do you proclaim a drunkard?

Worker: You are drunk like a cow, get out of here!

Pisek: Takes a step back, taking his coat off. Oh, your excellence, do not take offense! Bows, speaking unclearly. Pardon me, have I guaranteed myself the liberty to so to say… Judge for myself… Turns away from the people. Do not bother this excellent gathering! The lords ask to be let some solitude! We are all naughts and poors, we stink like muck! Taking a look at Jerman. Who are you? We take care of you, we feed you; you remain a rebel and stare at us as though we were uncivilized bastards. Do we require some calm-less soul here? Let me clear the waters: do not bother with the flame; for you will bake your skin and pain will never come to reduce! Turns back to the people. Such will, huh? Jerman wants to give you a lesson, huh? Continues to speak; from time to time, their voice can be heard: “Excellence,” “needy,” “Peasants,” “What?”… The room is nearly filled.

Kalander’s wife: From the left; speaking softly and is hardly heard. Have they arrived? They have come! They’re sitting among the faithless and the Anti-Christs, muddying their soul, drawing shame to themselves, their wife and their children!

Kalander: I knew she would come on time! God bless, do take a drink, old lady.

Kalander’s wife: Drink by yourself! Are you not smart and aged sufficiently not to gather with people left behind by any Christian? Not to gather with the people who back-stab their faith and their goddess, who shall be met by the darkened devil as they pass?

Kaladner: She is such, and there is not much one can do! That is little compared to her blunders at home, where her preaches are only tougher!

Kalander’s wife: Don’t you think about it? You half-father and a pastor to your children! Don’t you think how god will not strike only you – whereas you deserve it – but will as well strike your household; god will ass well commence thunder by my side, as I take care of you every Sunday… You worthless rat, headed to hell! Do laugh – the time shall soon come for you not to laugh – you will voice your cries to god, and to me as well! We will not reach out to you, god won’t and neither will I! Should they beat you, as they crucify you, I will not come to pray for you; I will not be your savior. I will not even bother to open the door as they bring your body!

Kalander: Is it like so? Shall I be beaten? What other nonsense are you to make up?

Peasant: Shouts. We have heard one preach, now issue us another!

Kalander: Sir… Tell them abruptly – do not insult them. They are waiting for the word most barbaric, much like a dog waits for a bone!

Another peasant: Who wills to say something, do open your mouth wide, do begin to mouth your wordings! 

Nace: Is an old farmer, wearing a white hood. Their backwardness is written all over their face. Having been standing on the left, they take a step closer to the centre. You say we are to face a preach? God’s wordings are sacred in the church; but so they are by the pathways or by the roundabout. I too, beloved Christians, head to show you how we shall stand in the valley of Jozafat!

Peasant: It is not your turn, Nace!

Another peasant: Let them talk, let Nace talk! Their talk will be sweet – sweeter than the teacher’s for that matter!

Nace: Dear Christians, when we stand in the valley of Jozefat… 

Kalander: Shut it, coward!

Jerman: Takes a stand. Companions!

Voices: Companions? Who here is a companion of yours?

Jerman: Begins to talk; initially calmly and slowly. Comrades! I see your eyes voice how you came to listen to and take a look at a comedy. You have commenced with a divergent thought – and you are honest enough not to hide it. You have gathered to finish the comedy, and predominantly to conclude the play by spitting at and removing the joker; kick him out of the world. You are righteous to shine, smiling in the dark times which surround us… When the riches are burning and the taxes…

Some random: What do you make fun of us?

Jerman: Yet I did not summon you – not to exercise this grief and not to conduct comedy. We did not gather to overthrow god; not to insurrect counter to the crown. Our thought is calm and I am fairly certain we shall conduct it smiling. As you were thought, god gives everything, which grows on this Earth…

Some feminine voice: What for do they mouth about god?

Jerman: Everything is made and set by god, except for foolishness. What we conduct to counter this foolishness is the god’s will and is thus holy as the all-knowing had sent it and insofar it has remained the all-loving work. I stated all this for you have named me an Anti-Christ before I have voiced a chord. 

Some feminine voice: They declared themselves to…

Jerman: There certainly are some among you who desire knowledge – I call them to accompany me. They will be enlightened and will come to understand how Catechism is not the start nor the end of the Library of Alexandria; the time has come to lower the wall set to the human being by both holy and secular hawks and birds of prey. Some in the country of ours, many of them, would not come to a hold, had god sent all four great and minor preachers after them. 

Peasant: Has he not just declared us brain-less?

Jerman: I will not attempt to enlighten such cavemen; let them rot! How simple a battle against such thought would have been – souls of theirs are hungry; they are thirsty enough to themselves near the source of knowledge… Had stupidity only been stupidity; had it not been stuffed with riches… So its relatives came to chain it in its room and told it: “Do not bother traveling the roads, for you better not lose your immortal soul! Remain by your fireplace; cry in hunger, thus your soul will be granted timeless gold!” - Poor stupidity remains by the fireplace and whimpers in hunger, as its sacred keepers cheer and are being fed through her ounces and her rubles. Thus it is our need to uncover such keepers and show their honest hearts to the people: “Take a look at the shepherd above you!”

A voice: Who did they talk of?

Another voice: Of the priest, you moron!

Third voice: Let the priest be, coward!

Komar: Shows up at the door. Your cases are packed! Thus you have signed your leave a thousand times.

Jerman: The one to have voiced their anger is among them; among the worthless keepers, serving stupidity and licking its boots, to eat its bread! The one to have voiced their anger is not the only to have come – there are a thousand, there are seventy and seven more thousand of them – bowing their heads, preaching for pity! They sold their enlightenment, their sense, for a warm lunch – holiness exchanged for potatoes!

Anka: Had been standing by the door; by now she has stepped to the chair by Komar; she leans on them. Let me take a look… At the preacher! Hello, mister prophet!

Jerman: Nearly silently. I am saying… As I’ve told you…

Komar: What interruption broke your sentences apart, mister prophet?

Jerman: Listen – a human being nowadays lacks honesty to their closest relatives. One cannot trust their brother nor their friend; not even themselves. One cannot trust their knowledge, their nature… Who would trust such a people, who naively believes that their eyes see, what their ears hear? Think about it: it’s been half a year since we sowed and now we harvest… The people, countless, have by now entrenched their brains and have thrown their conscience into the most handy trash bin by their way to their daily bread. Those who made fun of god kneel in front of his worthless serfs – first sinning, then praying – the wordings are empty, for their hearts are empty. This was ongoing from the time of sowing ‘till we cropped. Shall the climate turn on its head tonight, those who are now praying will soon have begun to sin once again. A new truth has shadowed this world; an experienced human being conveyed its exactness: “Serve, so they will be well-fed and worth-full; do not question who your lord is and what his order be!” Serfs, who have willingly sold their souls, are dounter than their lords are. When the overlord crosses themselves, the Serf prays the Rosary. When the overlord prays Our Father, the Serf prays the Nine Days’ Pray. Stupidity has no better keepers than those lowest Serfs; day and night they guard her doors, so not a word from the outside may approach her, so that no word may bother her faithful heart…

Kalander’s wife: They’re insulting Religion!

Kalander: Silence, “woman”!

Women: They’re insulting Religion! They’re insulting Religion! Noise.

Jerman: Shocked. I did not discuss religion… 

Worker: They were all given a sign! Points at the entrance gate. There they were given the go-ahead!

Jerman: Friends…

Voices: Silence, teacher! Feminine voices. Anti-Christ!

Feminine voice: As everyone calms down for a moment, this person starts speaking very clearly. His… Mother is dying!… At that time he comes to insult our Lord! From this point on, the whole scene speeds up; words are fast and sharp.

Voices: End it, teacher!

Nace: Dear Christians, do not be such…

Jerman: Having stood in place for some time, surprised, begins to chant. What was the word you uttered? What did you invent to harm me harshly? - SERFS! BORN AS SERFS; GROWN AS SERFS, MADE TO SERVE! MANY TIMES A NEW OVERLORD COMES, YET THE WHIP REMAINS, FOR YOUR BACK IS UNEVEN, USED TO, AND WISHING FOR, WHIPPINGS! 

A voice: From the window. Are you true men; will you listen to this?

Voices: Order is lost. Everyone is screaming. Complete disarray. Bust! - You will to insult us? - Leave for the road! - Blast, hit!

Jerman: Steps onto the chair with one leg, onto the table with the other. SERFS! “CHRIST” WOULD NOT APPROACH YOU, HANDING A WORD, BUT A WHIP! The madman, who made me unlock this mind of yours, cursed through and through…

Voices: We’ve had enough! Who’s a serf here? Feminine voices. Are you men or are you cowards? Shouldn’t we bruise ‘em? Men have stood up by then; glasses tremble; a desk collapses. 

Delavec: Stones! Shut the windows!

Kalander: Sir, stop it!

Voices: A Serf – who? Hit!


Voices: Who? Glasses tremble and ring, some throw their glassware into Jerman; in the midst of this, he shields his head and falls onto the floor.

Nace: Do not sin, Christians, do not sin! No blood! Peasants push Nace away and run towards Jerman.

Voices: From the back of the crowd. Kill him!

Worker: Wounded!

Pastor: Stands at the door, tall, widely covering the entrance. Vade in pace… 

Kalander: Has taken hold of Jerman and pushed him through the door on the right; grabs a chair. I am Kalander, the blacksmith… Who asks to know more? The people back off.


Geni: Jerman’s room. Evening. On the left table, there is a candle, on the workbench there is a torch. Lojzka is standing by and making tea; Geni is sitting by the workbench, Jerman is sitting on her left. A lot of dust has been on the papers we see here insofar...

Jerman: It shall remain. Is there a need for the writings to be extended? There the history of the Slovenian nation has come to a close.

Geni: Reading. “into exile. Only dirty animals remained… We are the ancestors of our forefathers.”

Jerman: The writing hand has shown us some truth and truth only, before the heart was given the opportunity to sense its bitterness. The dirty animals left behind are good servants and are never late for their duties… I have barely opened my mouth to insult it, and it has already headed for revenge.

Geni: Stands up. When are you taking the path?

Jerman: By the time the Sun rises I’ll be gone.

Lojzka: The path to where are you to undertake?

Jerman: It is my will to not delay… What else is there to do? Sit by a mirror and watch myself cry, pitying myself? If I am to take on the journey, let me grab the walking stick; then I shall voice a goodbye to you – though I shall not cry it out. Thus the journey will be short and very little of a challenge. I had been growing fearful of it – since this day has come closer I’ve nearly grown crazy for it. 

Lojzka: Tonight you’re leaving for Goličava?

Jerman: Where?

Geni: Certainly not to paradise! By midnight he’s packing; yet he questions where to. He would not get far through leaving as of tonight.

Jerman: Who says I’m going to Goličava?

Lojzka: Take a drink and wake up… It’s been some time since you last slept.

Geni: Neither would I be having a sweet sleep, had they pushed me into mountains for Christmas. Sits and drinks. Bless me, given I’ve been made to work this sacred labor only for all other jobs are boredom and tiredness. Do you remember how we were scripting an essay on the holiness and highness of the teacher’s workplace? I was applauded for having made the sweetest-most lie. Not a word on the hills and people from such places; not on the scrapped blouses; not on broken hill-shoes; not on the potatoes so deliciously shaped; not on big mouths; not on the conservative superintendent… That essay was truly useful; for now its purpose shines through: whoever failed to learn lies early on, will suffer lies until becoming the definitive lair… I’ve grown upset with this. 

Lojzka: You’ve grown upset with it for you’ve got a stay. We shouldn’t have. Happy you – you will step under a warm roof, shall you come to rule the path of life too and the weather all too stormy. We will fight on; at that end, we will be forbidden from sighing when wearied.

Jerman: Death is not disallowed.

Lojzka: A swift death only. What is an overlord to do with their sick Serfs? 

Jerman: They’ve shaped it smartly – a swift death is a special gift by the god. How much ‘till Christmas?

Lojzka: By the time three more days pass, it will be the Eve.

Jerman: Already? Time is an orderly servant; there is little need to call for it. One is always ready – but when the time comes – the time is not right.

Geni: When you are paying off the owes, do not forget to come by once or twice. 

Jerman: Thank you, truly. However, I shall not spend on this journey. Doctor from the left. Jerman approaches them. 

Doctor: I have done my part; the rest falls onto the Pastor and god. Intelligentsia has little role where nature has played out its role. 

Jerman: Thus it truly is the time to pack?

Doctor: What do you mean?

Jerman: I don’t know, senior doctor, how to pay off all of your blessings. I don’t think I’ll ever…

Doctor: I wasn’t writing them down. Grabs Jerman’s hand, shaking it. Why argue with god? You need no pity for you are used to grief.

Geni: Used for real; they would’ve caught a cold, having stepped from a thunder’s rain into a warmed house. 

Doctor: It was not alright… Wasn’t alright… You mistreated… 

Jerman: Grabs doctor’s hand. Elaborate… How did I treat... How should’ve I treated them? To Lojzka. Make them some tea!… Do elaborate! For… My chest is stuffed with worries… A bad thought, sir! One worth dying for. I must hear you utter it. Offers the doctor some tea.

Doctor: You are unhealthy… This cup makes your hands shake… This common and unclean lifestyle has broken into your soul and damaged it badly… For you fail to live, you cannot live! A human being is a human only: wine and bread come first, all the rest is just a shadow. Belief and so on are just a coat; not even a coat – barely an umbrella! I am a doctor as well, you know – it helps one’s health, especially digestion, to convert every year or two… So to say, to refresh one’s own belief; much like blood must change. 

Jerman: This wisdom is naught!… It is not what I ask for. Do tell me, doctor; I plead. Say I treated them another way… Do you understand?

Doctor: Let’s assume a different treatment by you…

Jerman: Could you pledge, can you write me a paper: I would have prolonged my mother’s life by a day; at least by an hour?

Lojzka: Stands up. Not a word! Don’t you dare utter…

Zdravnik: What do I know… If I think it all through…

Jerman: At least for an hour? For a moment?

Doctor: There is a certain possibility.

Jerman: Thank you! Accompanies the doctor on their way to the door, showing them the way out. After they say goodbye by the door, Jerman returns; takes on a coat. I'm leaving for the Pastor. Lojzka, stand here as a guard.

Geni: Stands up. I’ll accompany you to the parish. 

Jerman: Accompany me – a faithless man – by the dark?

Geni: Onto a christian route.

Lojzka: Goes to the workbench; grabbing some paper. Talks softly. My dear, greetings! It is you, the farewell from the Under-earth! The tear has barely dried out… Hvastja comes in from the back, holding a pack. Lojzka speaks to him, sitting. Where do you come from, arriving in these hills of darkness?

Hvastja: Comes closer, sets the pack onto the chair. I came to think how those who roam may value a word of calm above any coins; thus I arrive.

Lojzka: To comfort… Do not resent, poor soul, for we have killed you!

Hvastja: Those who have a wife and a triplet of children never commit the sin of murder.

Lojzka: Stands up. Hence you have brought us a beating heart in the cloaked pack you carry?

Hvastja: Sits down on the left. It was so… I think… The heart and belief and such – that which suits the youth. Let the young party! I have since aged; I have married and I now have three children. For me, belief is like a cherry: where am I to put it when there is no cake?

Lojzka: It is thus better for one to refrain from the cherry – because of the cake.

Hvastja: Truly. At first it feels sinful, later questionable; finally, it becomes natural. When one is married and has three children, they are struck, erudite… Any wording, be it seemingly fancy and excellent, is always a metaphor for bread.đ

Lojzka: Truly, The Evangelism of Willful Servitude is bitter. Why live?

Hvastja: You ask a lonely tree in the midst of a desert: why grow? Grows, stands, dies off, rots. Ask god as though why it was made grow there. Jerman and the Pastor arrive from the back side. The pastor passes the room silently and leaves to the left.

Jerman:You are early if you come to besprinkle her with holy water…

Hvastja: I came to say a goodbye. The journey will be bitter, I’d take on a third for you… Only a third, for I am old, weakened and burdened. 

Jerman: I thank you gladly for the third… Though the way is one and indivisible, much like god is and much like death is.

Hvastja: I thought you would come across tiredness and hunger on the way… Thus I have brought you sausages – barn sausages – sausages made by one who is married and has three children in total.

Jerman: I thank you from within my chest for the sausages; I am as well thankful for the warm wishes of yours… However, this route, as bitter as it may sound, will require no sausages and no empathy. Pardon me for having insulted you; much like others have – insulted yourself and your “black suit”… I was young; I questioned people’s beliefs and judged them by their wordings… Now I know tasty wine requires no watermark. Grabs Hvastja’s hand to shake it.

Hvastja: However, as for the sausages…

Jerman: They are nothing to me, friend…

Hvastja: ...As for the sausages, I’d say one does not know when they will desire food the most. God has implanted a dark thought in you; it’s shining through your eyes; god will retract it at the right moment. The two of them go further back. Hvastja leaves.

Jerman: Now, Lojzka, hand me your palm, hand me both of them. 

Lojzka: I am in no hurry to voice a good bye… I do not want to be alone, I am fearful in the dark.

Jerman: Lock yourself into a room… Think of me at the evening prayer; our thoughts will meet half-way.

Lojzka: I believe souls can talk and thoughts can hail. Last night, a little before midnight, I heard you whisper.

Jerman: Your soul then thought of going for a walk.

Lojzka: And returned to sleep.

Jerman: It was the time when I sat down to write you a lengthy and bitter farewell. As soon as I greeted you, my heart was struck by ease and glad. This is how I was healed by the clean thought of you…

Lojzka: You called for me out of shame; though when you meet me, your thoughts hide. You seal your grief like golden riches… Unlock it for the loyal eyes! 

Jerman: It is long gone… I barely know it. As though I was freed of a stone… I do not feel that weight anymore. I was young some time ago; it feels like a millennia ago now. I once had a mother; I had friends; I even had a lady. Some time ago, the road to life stood wide open in front of me. When did it all pass? Only god knows. As though wind had come to blow away the feathers I’ve been picking up… Feathers are now gone. The memory of it is gone as well, the grief is gone; my heart is so plain and so worn it refuses to sigh. It is tired… The sleep one has when the desired dreams are approached as soon as one loses it is sweet, is it not? I want to leave and dream. Let’s shake hands!

Lojzka: You are taking a farewell as though you were to never come back…

Jerman: One never knows when their sleep will be the final one… Answer when you hear my greetings!

Lojzka: Tonight I’ll have the lights turned on; I’ll await your address!

Jerman: Shakes her a goodbye. Go… May god and glad be with you! Kalander knocks on the door and enters the room.

Kalander: Do not blame me, Sir, but in the daytime, one would stare at a person.

Jerman: What is it that you mean to tell me?

Kalander: Two things. I picked up the one who wounded you… How should they pay for their sins?

Jerman: Hvastja was right as he brought me sausages. Here, deliver them some ham and croissants; make sure they’re calmed after they missed so badly.

Kaladner: That’s the first point. Furthermore: I think we should organize a gathering on the Holidays.

Jerman: What?

Kalander: A gathering. Last time, three of us came. Now we’ve assembled seven Anti-Christs in total. 

Jerman: I will not gather anymore. I do not want to call for a horrid farewell. Listen, I am ready to go… Do hand me your hand! Takes a look at the Kalander’s palm. Twice as big as mine! This hand will create the new world… I will not gather anymore. You, packed with youth and power, do gather! Life shall lean on the pillar – that pillar being you. I’m old and tired… 

Kaladner: If you ever desire a friend, do not forget me.

Jerman: Let them in! By the door. Give me your hand once more, Lojzka. Await so that our eyes may meet… To sign this sad goodbye… Go, and have a sweet journey! Lojzka and Komar leave.

Jerman: Slowly moves to the worktable and takes out the light. I’d rather have a strong wind take me out when I was still flameful… It is so sad to burn out all by yourself… Burn out into the void, a torch lacking any oil… The Pastor approaches from the left; both talk quietly.

Jerman: God bless. Pardon me for I have insulted you badly.

Pastor: Do you know to pray to Our Father?

Jerman: I’d do so indeed.

Pastor: Do so tonight.

Jerman: You know about such things, you judge them according to the divine right, the unmistakable judge… Had I cut one’s life short… Was it a sin?

Pastor: It was.

Jerman: It may have been a moment or it might have been a thousand years… Regardless?

Pastor: It was.

Jerman: This person being especially dear to me… Say it was my mother…

Pastor: Kneel down tonight, pray… God is like a wanderer. She desires a warm word and answers honest greetings.

Jerman: Tell me further, senior, tell me: had I bowed now and prayed…

Pastor: If you do so, you will have been pardoned by tomorrow morning.

Jerman: Would that moment return? 

Pastor: God knows to forgive…

Jerman: Had the mouth voiced which the heart does not intend; had the chest known no pray, no sorrow?

Pastor: You wouldn’t’ve been pardoned. 

Jerman: God is though and just; desires the heart, not the voice. They both walk towards the back side.

Pastor: Farewell! Have a safe journey… Let this word ease you: Speaks slowly. You have done like I, the worthless serf of God, would. The Pastor leaves.

Jerman: Even god is merciful, as just as xe is. Takes a step to the left; a candle shines from behind the curtain. Jerman enters the small room on the left. Mother! Look at me once more, mother! Say one more word, show one more smile! A pause. I kneel before you; look, mother! One word, one greeting! A pause. Mother! I did as my heart commands; you taught me not to lie – my heart is of your heart; my thought and my words come from my heart. Mother! Command me to pray – I shall. Command me to fast – I shall. Do not command me to swap my beating heart for a silent stone!… A pause. Mother, I hold your hand, though it is cooled and does not tremble. You were merciful whenever I sinned; now you are though for I am sorrowful of foreign sin! Mother, I now take a look at you – not a word; a smile would satisfy me. It would be a blessing… Oh, Mother – I wish for blessing and love like never before… I’m sickened and weak, should you not bless me. A pause. Your mouth is firm, your eyes are silent… Stand up, traveler – no farewell for you! Takes a candle from the left, carrying it to the workbench; there they take a look at the wall where a crucifix is. You are there? I haven’t come to see you insofar. Nice to meet you, the DEVIL OF NAZARETH! Now I know you – and your heart! Uncloaks the table drawer and takes out a revolver. Who to say farewell to? Who will answer once I call for them?

Mother’s voice: From within the chamber: Franc!

Lojzka’s voice: From outside: Franc! Lojzka enters from the back.

Jerman: You heard my calls! Dear soul! Let it bless us!… Bless us for a renowned life! The two of them exit on the left.