Chapter 25

MOTHER WAS VERY PIOUS. WHEN IN THE STREET SHE heard some peasant curse she stuffed up her ears and whispered, "God forgive him, the poor man does not know what he is saying." She believed that her prayer would win the Lord's grace for the sinner.

In our home the word "devil" was strictly forbidden. Father would say the word because his temper would get the better of him, but mother always glanced at him reproachingly. So the next time he would say "the black one" and with a triumphant look in his eyes say to mother, "But you know what I mean."

The Romanian word for devil is dracul. This word had a great fascination for me, especially since I had no difficulty with the letter r, like teacher Vlad's wife, who said Maliana instead of Mariana. Yet I never dared repeat the word. I would say quietly, when alone, dra, dra, several times, tempted most terribly to add the rest of the letters. Then one day the thing happened.

Irina pushed me into a snowbank. I fell and scratched my nose and forehead. I was very angry. The scratches

-246-

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A Time to Keep
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Chapter 1 3
  • Chapter 2 7
  • Chapter 3 12
  • Chapter 4 22
  • Chapter 5 33
  • Chapter 6 43
  • Chapter 7 53
  • Chapter 8 65
  • Chapter 9 70
  • Chapter 10 81
  • Chapter 11 94
  • Chapter 12 104
  • Chapter 13 108
  • Chapter 14 114
  • Chapter 15 122
  • Chapter 16 135
  • Chapter 17 150
  • Chapter 18 160
  • Chapter 19 169
  • Chapter 20 181
  • Chapter 21 204
  • Chapter 22 218
  • Chapter 23 227
  • Chapter 24 234
  • Chapter 25 246
  • Chapter 26 257
  • Chapter 27 263
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