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Is The Problem Solved?

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Is The Problem Solved?

 

It was a beautiful starry evening.

 

I had my supper in my tent and, like every other evening, I went out to see if I could come near the Master. The big telescope was set in front of the Hall and the Master with a group of brothers and sisters observed the world of the stars.

 

I joined the group. The Master was explaining what beings live on the different planets and what the distance is between the stars-things extremely interesting, unheard of till then, but... so faraway.

 

"People without any cares! They talk about life on the stars and I cannot cope with life on earth," care-ridden I said to myself. Two days later was the date of payment of the bill at the pawnbroker's. I had to pay 500 leva. I had pawned my mother's entire jewelry for 5000 leva and if I didn't pay the interest it would all be lost like the two typewriters and a lot of other things before ... I needed 500 leva, that was life, and the stars . . . faraway stories . . . "Master, tell me something actual. Tell me how I can find the 500 leva that I need so badly, give a solution to an everyday problem." And while I was thinking of the 500 leva which I had to find from somewhere, the rest listened with attention to the very interesting explanations about the stars.

 

I did not wait for the starry talk to come to an end. I went to my tent but could not go to sleep. Sometime in the night the image of brother S. came to my mind. He was a rich man but I was not acquainted with him. I had never spoken to him. How could I ask money from him! We saluted each other when we rarely met, as people of the same views do, but I had never heard his voice, nor he, mine. How could he believe that I would repay the money if I asked him for it? The dog, my keeper, growled in its sleep and this reminded me that I had to go to sleep, too. It was late and the quietness of the night lulled me to sleep.


In the morning I got up early, prepared myself and started through the forest to the playground where the children awaited me. Just before I entered the forest I met brother S. from whom I thought the night before to ask a loan. I had not the courage to speak to him, and saluting each other we each went his own way.

 

That same evening I went to the store to buy something for my supper. I was startled when I saw the same brother S. in the store. "That now is not a mere coincidence," I said to myself, "if I meet him once more I shall ask a loan from him; after all, we are from one and the same Brotherhood! ..." I persuaded myself, "and besides, I have no other way out. To meet him twice in a day, which never happened before, may be is not a coincidence but a sign," I thought reassuringly.

 

The next morning on my way to the playground I stopped at the home of brother Tahchev to ask something. As I entered his home, immediately after me brother S. came in, also having to ask something. Then I gathered up all my courage and said:

 

"Brother S., I would like to speak with you, can we walk together through the forest?"

 

"Yes, I am also going to pass that way," he replied, and we went out together.

 

The first moment I wished that the trees might bend down their branches and hide my face - I felt so embarrassed.

 

"Eh, come on, what is it you would like to talk with me about, sister?" he asked.

 

I had no choice, I had to speak.

 

"My father was a jeweler in Varna. Several years ago in a deal with England he lost heavily. He brought several suits against the English firm with no results and we lost everything. We have come to live in Sofia with my grandmother. Seven of us are living only on my salary. Father is old and downcast . . . We often pawn things at the pawnbroker's with very big interest. Sometimes we manage to get our things back and sometimes we don't. Now I have pawned all my mother's jewelry for 5,000 leva and pay a monthly interest of 500 leva. This month I cannot pay the interest. Would you loan me these 500 for some weeks? I risk to lose all those jewels which in fact cost ten times that much."

 

When I finished I was out of breath.

 

"Yes, of course, sister, I will lend you the money. When is the interest to be paid?" His words were spoken quietly and calmly. I felt as if I was dreaming.

 

"The payment date is today."

 

"Then we shall meet at five in the afternoon. Where is that pawnbroker?"

 

"We might meet at St. Nedelja's Square, near the big clock. The store is near by."

 

We continued through the forest. The branches of the trees touched and made a green vault above the path. I looked around. It was bright and sunny. I had not noticed it until that moment. Such a big burden fell off my shoulders.

 

In the afternoon I asked a collegue to take over my last two hours with the children so that I could be punctual at the meeting with brother S. We went to the pawnbroker and asked for my account.

 

I was startled when I saw that brother S. began counting off so much money.

 

"The interest is only 500 leva," I whispered.

 

"Why should you pay such a ridiculous interest? I shall pay off everything and you will pay it back to me little by little when you have money. You can take your time."

 

Thus he counted out 5,500 leva and the man gave us back all the jewels.

 

This was wonderful. I had no words to express my gratitude and I had a hard time to make him retain the jewelry, for my own peace of mind, up to the time I could repay him the amount.

 

But the most interesting part of the whole story is to follow.

 

Two days after the settling of my debt in this wonderful way, a group of brothers and sisters were to go with the Master to the Rila Mountains. During the whole night the big lamps in front of the Hall were lighted, persons were bustling around, preparing the luggage and the food to be taken. The group going up the mountain with the Master was usually the most numerous.

 

At dawn, about three A.M., everyone at Izgrev was out in the yard. Some were starting off and others were seeing them off. The Master put out the light in his room and came down happy and smilling, all in white, and with a walking stick in one hand. We all began singing "Brotherhood —Unity. Then everyone passed by to bid farewell to him, kissing his hand. My turn came.

 

"Is the everyday problem solved?" whispered the Master jokingly.

 

"Yes, Master, and I thank you very much!" I took his hand with both of mine and kissed it with gratitude.

 

Nobody noticed or heard what we said. I understood that he who spoke about the stars in heaven, did not forget the souls on earth.

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