Only Yesterday

By S. Y. Agnon; Barbara Harshav | Go to book overview

CHAPTER SIXTEEN
Pioneers

1

Isaac and Orgelbrand got up in the morning to return to Jaffa and found the stagecoach filled to bursting. Because of the honor due to Mr. Orgelbrand, that many people need his services, the passengers agreed to huddle together and made room for him among them. Orgelbrand returned to Jaffa and Isaac had to wait until the next day, for in those days, the stagecoach went from Petach Tikva to Jaffa only once a day. Isaac could have gone back to Jaffa on foot, for from Petach Tikva to Jaffa a normal man can walk in three hours, and what is a walk of three hours to a fellow like Isaac, and he wasn't even afraid of Arabs, for the Arabs had learned by now that not every Jew is born to die. But Isaac decided to wait until the next day and to see Eyn Ganim in the meantime. That settlement of workers, founded in the bad days, at a time when many people were forced to leave the Land because they didn't find any work to do, is precious to us as a living and faithful testimony that our existence in the Land is possible.

Isaac picked himself up and left the boundaries of Petach Tikva and walked to Eyn Ganim. The red and black soil that used to produce thorns and briars, lizards and scorpions, now grows trees and vegetables, chickens and cattle, houses and sheds, men, women, and children. During the day the men work in Petach Tikva, some are hired by the month and some by the day, but at night they come back from their work and work hard for their own village.

How is it that a place that was desolate of any settler becomes a settled village? Yet in those days when it seemed to us that we had nothing to do in the Land, a small group of comrades who were devoted to the Land said, We shall not move from here. They gathered

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