Saturday, 23 November 2013

The Poor

It’s a simple but a moving ceremony in the village square: Fregep, the richest man there, has decided to give away his goods, his furniture and property, his gardens, grazing land and his woods to the poor. Before distributing everything, it was necessary to make long inventories, study requests, ponder the merits and who were to be the new owners of everything. Now the poor have grown discontented: the only happy person is Fregep, who walks amongst his beneficiaries with the knowledge that he has carried out his duties asking each of them what they were given, how they intend to use it, even giving them advice on the best ways to cultivate their land, since he knows their land better than anyone else. The poor  look askance at him, fixing him with an angry glare. They would spit in his face if it weren’t for the fact that they are waiting for the registration of transfer deeds.

Fregep has no relatives: a few months have gone by and the poor, who inexplicably have remained poor, now send him away. Fregep has begun to sleep in the clefts of old walls or underneath bridges. He carries with him a dented soup-plate and asks for alms. He asks the rich because the poor have remained poor. He has a dog and when it’s cold they sleep huddled up together so as to keep warm.

Little by little, even Fregep is becoming a dog: his down covers his body and a large tail sprouts at the back. He no longer thinks of anything, at times he runs after a mangy bitch or steals the butcher's sausages. However, he has a clear sense of gratitude and loves licking the hand of the poor who kick him. Wagging his tail, he distributes with his tongue every sort of illness amongst the children of the poor. The children die and are carried to the cemetery in their poor man’s chests. Fregep and another dog, a friend of his, follow the cortege, at a distance.

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