Only Yesterday

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

CHAPTER NINETEEN
End of the Tale

1

Before three weeks had passed, Isaac began feeling pain in his body in all the places where the dog had bitten him. His wounds began to swell up and turn red, and finally they opened by themselves and a stinking pus began bubbling out of them. His spirit turned bad, and he was so angry and afraid as if someone were pursuing him, that he grew restive and wanted to die. In those days, his swallowing apparatus contorted and his breathing apparatus shriveled and so did the muscles of his body and the muscles of his legs. He wanted to eat or drink and couldn't, as the membrane shriveled in his mouth. And now Isaac was no longer thinking of his wife or anything else in the world. But he complained about the chill in his body and about his breathing which was heavy and about his heart that oppressed him and about the pain in his guts. His pulse became irregular. Sometimes it was weak and sometimes it was erratic. Because of bad thoughts and bad dreams, his sleep was scrambled. All those days, he sweated and sweated some more, and thirst seared his throat. If he saw water or something liquid or heard the sound of water, he quivered and contorted, and even a candle and a mirror caused him torments, perhaps because the candle and the mirror resemble water. Finally, his voice grew hoarse and his saliva began dripping, and when he tried to swallow it, he couldn't. His face flushed and the pupils of his eyes became fixed. Finally, his contortions stopped and he seemed to be all right again and they could feed him. But because he was so weak, he couldn't eat. His melancholy and his depression kept increasing. Sometimes Reb Fayesh looked at him from his pillows and blankets, and he seemed to know why that man was living

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