فصل 02

مجموعه: کتاب های خیلی ساده / کتاب: طلای آپولو / فصل 2

کتاب های خیلی ساده

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فصل 02

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Chapter two

Gold

The boat for Sifnos left very early in the morning. Because it was April there were not many people on the boat. The deck was very quiet. I sat in one chair and put my feet on another chair. The sea was very blue and it was warm in the sun. I fell asleep.

When I woke up we were passing Serifos. It’s the island before Sifnos. Serifos is like Sifnos; the houses are all white and square like pieces of sugar. It’s very pretty. As the boat got close to the land I could smell the plants and see the purple of the mountains.

I was very happy. I love the Greek islands, but I didn’t know Sifnos. There are so many islands in Greece, you can only know a few of them. I took my guidebook out of my bag and began to read. I knew some of the history of the island already. ‘Lots of places to visit,’ I thought. I turned the page.

Sifnos was once very rich, the guidebook told me, because of its gold and mines. I knew that. I’ve seen the Treasury of Sifnos in Delphi. Many, many years ago, the Greeks thought that Delphi was the centre of the world.

‘Like Stavros,’ I thought. ‘He often says that Greece is the centre of the world.’

Many years ago the Greeks built a great temple to the sun god Apollo in Delphi. Every year everyone in Greece had to give something to Apollo’s temple in Delphi. They gave Apollo the best fruit and gold from the gold mines.

They always gave Apollo the best. The Treasury was where the people of Sifnos kept the gold which they gave to the Temple of Apollo in Delphi. They built it two thousand five hundred years ago.

But there was a story in my guidebook that I didn’t know. One year, the people of Sifnos said, ‘Why do we do this? We need the gold, too.’ And they made an egg and put gold only on the outside. ‘Apollo will never know,’ they said, and they went to Delphi with their egg which was only gold on the outside. But Apollo knew that the egg from Sifnos was not the same as a gold egg. He was very, very angry and he made the gold mines on Sifnos fall into the sea. And that is where they are today. And there is no more gold on Sifnos.

I liked the story. I didn’t know if you could still see the old gold mines. ‘I’ll ask Eleni,’ I thought.

Soon the boat arrived in Sifnos. In front of all the cars on the boat was a line of old ladies in black. They were all carrying big bags and stood waiting to get off. They looked like runners at the beginning of a marathon. Then the boat stopped and the old ladies ran forward. I laughed. It’s always the same on Greek boats. The grandmothers are the first to get off.

I didn’t run. I wasn’t in a hurry. The boat arrives at the little harbour of Kamares. I could see cafes and tavernas. It was lunchtime and I was hungry.

‘I’ll have lunch here,’ I thought, ‘and then go to Poulati.’

I walked along the harbour. There were lots of fishing boats but also one very big motor yacht. There were three men on it.

‘Hello, beautiful!’ one of the men called. I hate it when men call at me like that. I looked at him. He was dark with a black moustache. Beside him sat another man reading a newspaper. He didn’t look at me.

‘Hi!’ the first man called again. ‘Come and have lunch with us.’

There was a third man. He looked younger than the others. He looked about my age, twenty-seven. The other men looked about ten years older. The younger man was tall and slim and good-looking. But he didn’t smile at me.

‘Go away,’ he said. ‘We’re busy.’

‘Don’t listen to Takis,’ said the first man. ‘You can come here any time. We always like to see a pretty girl.’

‘Shut up, Mike,’ said the man called Takis. He turned away and went down the stairs inside the yacht.

I walked away. I didn’t like them and I didn’t want to go on their yacht. But the young man, Takis, made me angry. Why did he say ‘Go away’ to me like that? He didn’t have to speak to me like that. I wasn’t doing anything. But I soon forgot him because I loved Kamares.

There was just one road and lots of little tavenas beside the sea. I sat down and asked for a Greek salad and some fish. Near the taverna was a shop selling gold jewellery.

‘More gold,’ I thought. ‘Why does everyone want it so much? Why is gold so special and not silver? What is it about gold?’

I sat in the little restaurant and looked at the sea. I ate some fish and thought about gold. Who were the very first people who used gold? I asked myself. I knew that once, but I couldn’t remember.

A man once wrote that people prefer gold to life. Of course it’s not true. Everyone prefers life to anything else, but I understand what he meant. People will do anything for gold. Everyone wants gold. Many people have died for gold. Gold is dangerous.

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