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An Old Sheet

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Rating: PG-13

It is as if much has been neglected in the defense of our fatherland. So far we have not taken care of it and have gone about our work; the events but we are worried recently.

I have a shoemaker's workshop on the square in front of the imperial palace. As soon as I open my shop at dawn, I see the entrances of all the alleys that come in here, occupied by armed men. But they are not our soldiers, but apparently nomads from the north. In a way that I cannot understand, they reached the capital, which is very far from the border.In any case, they are there; it seems that they are getting more every morning.

According to their nature, they are stored in the open air, because they abhor residential buildings. They are engaged in sharpening swords, sharpening arrows and doing exercises on horseback. They made a real stable out of this quiet, always fearfully pure place. Sometimes we try to run out of our business and at least the worst To clear away rubbish, but it happens less and less because the effort is useless and also puts us in danger of getting caught in the wild horses or being injured by the whips.

You can't talk to the nomads. They don't know our language, they hardly have one of their own. They communicate with each other like jackdaws. Again and again you can hear this scream of jackdaws. Our way of life, our facilities are theirsas incomprehensible as it is indifferent. As a result, they are also hostile to any sign language. You may dislocate your jaws and twist your hands out of your joints, but they haven't understood you and will never understand you. Often they make faces; then the white of their eyes turns and foam swells from their mouths, but they do not mean to say anything or to be frightened; they do it because it is their way. What you need,take. It cannot be said that they use violence. Before their access you step aside and leave everything to them.

They also took some good chunks of my supplies. But I can't complain about it when, for example, I watch how the butcher is doing. As soon as he brings in his goods, everything is snatched away from him and is devoured by the nomads. Their horses also eat meat; often a rider lies next to his horse andboth feed on the same piece of meat, each on one end. The butcher is scared and doesn't dare to stop delivering meat. We understand that, however, we raise money and support him. If the nomads did not get meat, who knows what they could think of to do; who knows what will happen to them, even if they get meat every day.

Lately the butcher thought that he could at least save himself the trouble of slaughtering,and in the morning brought a live ox. He mustn't repeat that again. I was lying flat on the floor in the back of my workshop for an hour and I had piled up all my clothes, blankets and pillows on top of me, just so as not to hear the roar of the ox, which the nomads were jumping at from all sides with their teeth Tearing pieces from his warm flesh. It had been quiet a long time before I dared to go out; like drinkers around a wine barrel they lay wearily around the remains of the ox.

Just then I thought I had seen the emperor himself in a window of the palace; otherwise he never comes into these outer rooms, he only ever lives in the innermost garden; but this time he was standing, or so it seemed to me, at one of the windows and looking with bowed head at the goings-on in front of his castle.

"How will it be?" We all ask ourselves. “How long will we endure this burden and torment?The imperial palace has attracted the nomads, but does not know how to drive them out again. The gate remains locked; the guard, who used to march in and out in a festive way, stayed behind barred windows. The salvation of the fatherland is entrusted to us craftsmen and businessmen; but we are not up to such a task; have never boasted that we are capable of it. It is a misunderstanding and we perish from it."