بخش 42

کتاب: ملت عشق / فصل 42

بخش 42

توضیح مختصر

  • زمان مطالعه 10 دقیقه
  • سطح خیلی سخت

دانلود اپلیکیشن «زیبوک»

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متن انگلیسی فصل

Kimya

KONYA, DECEMBER 20, 1244

Born to simple peasants in a valley by the Taurus Mountains, I was twelve the year Rumi adopted me. My real parents were people who worked hard and aged before their time. We lived in a small house, and my sister and I shared the same room with the ghosts of our dead siblings, five children all lost to simple diseases. I was the only one in the house who could see the ghosts. It frightened my sister and made my mother cry each time I mentioned what the little spirits were doing. I tried to explain, to no avail, that they didn’t need to be frightened or worried, since none of my dead siblings looked scary or unhappy. This I could never make my family understand.

One day a hermit passed by our village. Seeing how exhausted he was, my father invited him to spend the night in our house. That evening, as we all sat by the fireplace and grilled goat cheese, the hermit told us enchanting stories from faraway lands. While his voice droned on, I closed my eyes, traveling with him to the deserts of Arabia, Bedouin tents in North Africa, and a sea of the bluest water, called the Mediterranean. I found a seashell there on the beach, big and coiled, and put it in my pocket. I was planning to walk the beach from one end to the other, but a sharp, repulsive smell stopped me midway.

When I opened my eyes, I found myself lying on the floor with everyone in the house around me, looking worried. My mother was holding my head with one hand, and in her other hand was half an onion, which she was forcing me to smell.

“She is back!” My sister clapped her hands with glee.

“Thank God!” My mother heaved a sigh. Then she turned to the hermit, explaining, “Ever since she was a little girl, Kimya has been having fainting spells. It happens all the time.” In the morning the hermit thanked us for our hospitality and bade us farewell.

Before he left, however, he said to my father, “Your daughter Kimya is an unusual child. She is very gifted. It would be a pity if such gifts went unappreciated. You should send her to a school—” “What would a girl need an education for?” my mother exclaimed. “Where did you hear such a thing? She should stay by my side and weave carpets until she gets married. She’s a talented carpet weaver, you know.” But the hermit didn’t waver. “Well, she could make an even better scholar someday. Obviously, God has not disfavored your daughter for being a girl and has bestowed many gifts upon her. Do you claim to know better than God?” he asked. “If there are no schools available, send her to a scholar to receive the education she deserves.” My mother shook her head. But I could see that my father was of a different mind. Knowing his love for education and knowledge, and his appreciation of my abilities, it didn’t surprise me to hear him ask, “We don’t know of any scholars. Where am I going to find one?” It was then that the hermit uttered the name that would change my life. He said, “I know a wonderful scholar in Konya named Mawlana Jalal ad-Din Rumi. He might be glad to teach a girl like Kimya. Take her to him. You won’t regret it.” When the hermit was gone, my mother threw her arms up. “I am pregnant. Soon there will be another mouth to feed in this house. I need help. A girl doesn’t need books. She needs to learn housework and child care.” I would have much preferred it if my mother had opposed my going away for other reasons. Had she said she would miss me and couldn’t bear to give me to another family, even if for a temporary period, I might have chosen to stay. But she said none of this. In any case, my father was convinced that the hermit had a point, and within a few days so was I.

Shortly after, my father and I traveled to Konya. We waited for Rumi outside the madrassa where he taught. When he walked out, I was too embarrassed to look up at him. Instead I looked at his hands. His fingers were long, supple, and slender, more like an artisan’s than a scholar’s. My father shoved me toward him.

“My daughter is very gifted. But I am a simple man, and so is my wife. We have been told you are the most learned man in the region. Would you be willing to teach her?”

Even without looking at his face, I could sense that Rumi wasn’t surprised. He must have been used to such requests. While he and my father engaged in a conversation, I walked toward the yard, where I saw several boys but no girls. But on the way back, I was pleasantly surprised when I spotted a young woman standing in a corner by herself, her round face still and white as if carved of marble. I waved at her. She looked stunned, but after a brief hesitation she returned my wave.

“Hello, little girl, can you see me?” she asked.

When I nodded, the woman broke into a smile, clapping her hands. “That’s wonderful! No one else can.”

We walked back toward my father and Rumi. I thought they would stop talking when they noticed her, but she was right—they couldn’t see her.

“Come here, Kimya,” said Rumi. “Your father informs me you love to study. Tell me, what is it in books that you like so much?”

I swallowed hard, unable to answer, paralyzed.

“Come on, sweetheart,” my father said, sounding disappointed.

I wanted to answer correctly, with a response that would make my father proud of me, except I didn’t know what that was. In my anxiety the only sound that came out of my mouth was a desperate gasp.

My father and I would have gone back to our village empty-handed had the young woman not intervened then. She held my hand and said, “Just tell the truth about yourself. It’s going to be fine, I promise.” Feeling better, I turned to Rumi and said, “I’d be honored to study the Qur’an with you, Master. I’m not afraid of hard work.”

Rumi’s face brightened up. “That’s very good,” he said, yet then he paused as if he had just remembered a nasty detail. “But you are a girl. Even if we study intensely and make good progress, you’ll soon get married and have children. Years of education will be of no use.” Now I didn’t know what to say and felt disheartened, almost guilty. My father, too, seemed troubled, suddenly inspecting his shoes. Once again it was the young woman who came to my help. “Tell him his wife always wanted to have a little girl and now she would be happy to see him educate one.” Rumi laughed when I conveyed the message. “So I see you have visited my house and talked to my wife. But let me assure you, Kerra doesn’t get involved in my teaching responsibilities.” Slowly, forlornly, the young woman shook her head and whispered in my ear, “Tell him you were not talking about Kerra, his second wife. You were talking about Gevher, the mother of his two sons.” “I was talking about Gevher,” I said, pronouncing the name carefully. “The mother of your sons.”

Rumi’s face turned pale. “Gevher is dead, my child,” he said dryly. “But what do you know about my late wife? Is this a tasteless joke?”

My father stepped in. “I’m sure she didn’t mean ill, Master. I can assure you Kimya is a serious child. She never disrespects her elders.”

I realized I had to tell the truth. “Your late wife is here. She is holding my hand and encouraging me to speak. She has dark brown almond eyes, pretty freckles, and she wears a long yellow robe.… ” I paused as I noticed the young woman gesture to her slippers. “She wants me to tell you about her slippers. They are made of bright orange silk and embroidered with small red flowers. They are very pretty.” “I brought her those slippers from Damascus,” Rumi said, his eyes filling with tears. “She loved them.”

Upon saying that, the scholar lapsed into silence, scratching his beard, his expression solemn and distant. But when he spoke again, his voice was gentle and friendly, without a trace of gloom.

“Now I understand why everyone thinks your daughter is gifted,” Rumi said to my father. “Let’s go to my house. We can talk about her future over dinner. I’m sure she’ll make an excellent student. Better than many boys.” Rumi then turned to me and asked, “Will you tell this to Gevher?”

“There is no need, Master. She has heard you,” I said. “She says she needs to go now. But she is always watching you with love.”

Rumi smiled warmly. So did my father. There was now an easiness hanging in the air that hadn’t been there before. At that moment, I knew my encounter with Rumi was going to have far-reaching consequences. I had never been close to my mother, but as if to compensate for her lack, God was giving me two fathers, my real father and my adopted father.

That is how I arrived in Rumi’s house eight years ago, a timid child hungry for knowledge. Kerra was loving and compassionate, more so than my own mother, and Rumi’s sons were welcoming, especially his elder son, who in time became a big brother to me.

In the end the hermit was right. As much as I missed my father and siblings, there hasn’t been a single moment when I regretted coming to Konya and joining Rumi’s family. I spent many happy days under this roof.

That is, until Shams of Tabriz came. His presence changed everything.

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