The church of the little Ruthenians was crowded. The little and the great of the whole Long Lonka, all there in the ship, were full of people, even among the passers-by, on the benches. The air was heavy from the breath of the crowded man, from the scent of rosemary, the incense, and the smell of the boots. Not only were there hips in the church, but among the local gray cubes there were also foreign black cubes who came from Dolna-Keresztur. They came across the Safranics mia a little spiked and made a huge crow in front of the evil forester’s evil house in the big sunny square, as no grass had yet grown on the tomb of Tonkanecz. Well, now both the aliens and the aliens were safe. The winged door of the church was well nailed and only a low little guest door opened in the church, which the forester with the horn would not have been able to fit into. Then Safranics never even got close to a church, so everyone felt safe here from him here in this holy place. The faces shone with satisfaction.
No wonder such a multitude gathered, since now the wedding of the clerk’s daughter, the little Borbálka, was taking place, now she had sworn allegiance to the now finalized assistant teacher.
The sacred icostasis, which was completely and completely upholstered with beautiful oil-printed images, a bearded Greek saint, a black blessed woman, stood the priest, the good parish priest. Huge, stiff-171-pluviale hugged his already chunky stature and this cloak was very, very beautiful, for though it was only made of printed cardboard, ten steps away one would have sworn that it was made of expensive silk. The priest painted in it very well, for his face was as red and round as the peonies on the hardened cardboard mantle. There the two ministerial children knelt there, they were also in full ornament, adorned with such pure white shirts that their noses were only dared to wipe into a whisper.
The young couple knelt at the priest’s feet. In a nice little white dress, sleeveless, with knitted gloves on his hand, Borbálka, modestly and gently, with the teacher kneeling beside him, but with a protruding breast, so as not to wrinkle the new black jacket, , although it was a bit plentiful. Witnesses, including the director, II. Macchiavelli, whom the teacher invited, “just because” and who came “just because”. The Borbálka family was also there.
The clerk was terribly moved, so much so that without any system, he wiped his nose, his eyes, his thick blonde mustache back and forth, because the agitation had seeped into him as well. The old girl sisters stood by her side with a yellow but calm nobility.
They kept the answers. Although Barbálka said, as befits, she answered nicely: do you like it? I love him, but he just whispered as if he were talking in a dream, his word could hardly be heard. Bezzeg is the groom-172-his voice touched every nook and cranny of the church, giving the answer to the good parish priest so ore. It was heard in his voice that this man is, but from head to toe, a man who can protect the weak man in all perils, man, brave, determined and wise, who knows what he is doing, tender, if need be, but valiant and strong, if it has time, it is not afraid of anyone, not even the devil. In the last row, even the oldest women nodded approvingly, he said so well.
The priest was just about to utter the liturgical saying in his mouth, I add you up and raised his right in a lubricating gesture as a terrible bang cut into his word. The priest had the words in his throat, his hands stiffened and he sat back so that he held only the large hardened cloak without cutting. Everyone looked where the parishioner’s frightened eyes were, toward the door, to the scooter noise. All, both turned to the groom, the father, the elders, witnesses, only Borbálka did not, the whole community of faith all turned to.
No wonder there was such an alarm because someone shook it from the outside, knocking on the heavy church gate.
Something that had never happened before, neither before nor after.
The heavy gate crackled open, crunching open, unfolding in both dark frames and the dark frame of the door, a long, lean figure appearing black in the gleaming background of the sunny market like a shadow, – Safranics.-173-
There was a terrible confusion in the crowd, everyone fled, people, women frightened into the benches out of the way of the Safranics. The whole people vomited the cross, the organ stalled, the bell fell silent, and in the great silence in which only the sighing of the crowded people was heard, a bitter, sharp roar was heard in the temple from the square where the raven of the Safranics remained.
A few moments passed and Safranics started. He approached slowly, straight on the freeway. It was even fainter than usual, perhaps from the candlelight. He approached irresistibly.
In that awful minute, in which everyone was prepared for something terrifying (the assistant teacher shivered in the new coat like a poplar leaf), one of the ministers dropped the incense in fright. Maybe he was lucky, because as he rolled away, a great incense smoke emanated from the vibration, which completely captured the young party, and Safranics stopped. He stopped just at the edge of the dedicated column of smoke.
Barber closed his eyes. Though he didn’t look back, he still knew that Safranics had come in, that he was standing behind him. He was prepared for something terrible, he felt that now the church was coming together, the whole church would be devoured, everything and everyone, maybe the whole village would be swallowed up by the earth. Borbálka smiled secretly.
When Borbálka opened her eyes, the priest was just saying the liturgical words, albeit in a trembling voice. The church did not tilt-174-together, nothing went wrong. The covenant was tied.
The clerk collapsed to Borbálka. He hugged him, kissed him, his thick teared mustache crouching on his face like a wet sponge. Barber also burst into tears, which is natural when swearing.
Now Safranics spoke:
“I came, though,” he said with a half-hearted rather than a mocking smile, “I owe you that, little Beard.”
Safranics was definitely very pale.
Poor Borbálka could barely hear what he was saying, but the assistant teacher cracked with greeting. He kept fluttering: thank you, thank you, though there was nothing to thank him for, unless he was scared in vain. But he was all grateful for scurrying, almost obedient humility, and held out his hand. What became of this was that the terrifying forester paralyzed him so that he could not use his right hand for a week, and later, when the time changed, this hand always hurt the husband of the Barber.
After this, Safranics turned and, as he came, between the double sleds of the congested people, carrying his pointed bald head high, walked slowly, straight out of the church.
That’s when Safranics was last seen.
The next day, the gendarmes searched for some judicial subpoena, but they knocked on Safranics’ window in vain. He didn’t open it. The gate was locked from the inside as usual. They broke in. Cementek. The garden was also empty, -175-the house too. There was no sign of the forester anywhere. In fact, the apartment was as if no human being was living in it, as if it had always been abandoned, there was not even furniture in it. Large cobwebs gripped the doors, windows and the door locks only opened with great effort, they were rusted in. Nothing was found in the garden, none of the animals that had been so rumored about in the village. It covered a thick bush and buried the abandoned orchard, but there was not a living creature there. Not even a trace.
They never saw Safranics again.
Borbálka moved to her husband Dolna-Keresztur.
Superstition does not seem to have materialized because the teacher beat him as early as the first week and every second or third thereafter. And Barbara cried a lot.
Everyone can see from this that it is not good to trust superstition. What this can be a testament to is a simple story.