Only Yesterday

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

CHAPTER FIFTEEN
Changing Places

1

And so he went inside the Wall and stood between Jaffa Gate and the Austrian Post Office. At that time, everyone was eager for letters coming from Outside the Land and didn't notice the dog. And he didn't notice them either because he was eager to find his way. After he looked this way and that way he took himself off to the upper market, and from there to the vegetable market in front of the street of the Jews, where there was a cool wind, because it is roofed with stones. How many things did he see, and what didn't he see! The things that dog saw in passing writers of travel books never see. From the vegetable market he went to the Aladdin market and from there he sneaked into the serpentine street. And he passed through and over obstacles and hurdles, and jumped and leaped through a multitude of paths, bent and blocked, curving and contorted, pocked and putrid, perpendicular and precipitate. And he marched proudly among garbage and manure, among houses of the Ishmaelites, mournful and gloomy, like their owners who came from Morocco the land of Mughreb, and in their lairs they lodged like animals in ambush. He sniffed a bit here and a bit there, and went to the Hamidan Market and from Hamidan Market to the homeless shelters. And when he came to the shelters, he wanted shelter for his bones, and not only did he not find shelter, but whatever bones of his that had emerged intact from Meah Shearim were about to be broken. For in those days, the city was full of Heders and Yeshivas, that produced mighty geniuses, who still live amongst us here to this day, and even in their early childhood they could read and write. And when they saw the dog and everything that was written on him, they surrounded

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