Published Works

Critical Views




"In the Danube fields, a few years before World War II, it seemed that time was very patient with people; life was going on here without major conflicts.

It was the beginning of summer.

The Morometii had just returned from the fields. When they arrived, Paraschiv, the eldest of the sons, got off the cart, and, leaving the others to unharness the horses and take the tools off the cart, he laid an old coat down on the porch and lay down on it groaning. Nilă, the second son, did the same; he entered the house, and after jumping in bed, he started groaning too, but louder than his brother, as if he felt ill. The third son, Achim, sneaked into the stable, lay down into the manger so that nobody would find him, and the two girls, Tita and Ilinca, left quickly to the stream to bathe.

Left alone in the middle of the yard, Moromete, the father, took the cart under the shadow of the two acacias near the gate of the garden and then he went out to the road with the cigarette in his mouth. It was understandable that only the mother had stayed in the house to ensure that the day would end well.

Moromete was sitting and looking over the road. He was sitting in vain, he wasn't looking at something in particular, but one could see on his face that he wouldn't have mind if somebody had gone by... But people were busy in the yards, it was no time to go out now. From his hand, the smoke of his cigarette was rising right upwards, with no rush and with no purpose."

[Excerpt from Part One, Chapter I]

"The villages from the fields have been deserted for a few weeks now. The heat would begin right after the sun had risen, and, if it some clouds happened to cover the sky, these clouds would disappear in the morning. Right now, when the animals dig the earth looking for coolness, or run desperately for shadow, people's lives leave the village and move under the terrible sun of the fields. The carts start exiting the village before daybreak. People head for the fields, crossing the common on different roads and paths.

The morning is whitish and one can still hear the songs of the roosters in the village. The man wakes up, wakes the children, harnesses the horses, and walks to and fro in the yard. There is nothing to do, the first day of harvest seems to be a usual thing, and though, the cart with the horses seem to be staying in the yard for too long; the man and the children are ready; the sickles and the the rest are in the cart; the food, prepared last night, is, too; nobody knows why the cart is still staying in the yard, and for so long; the man turns around, looks into the garde, goes through the yard, enters the house and yells to the woman without a reason, asking her whether she has put the food in the cart; the woman gets angry and answers that she has, long ago, but the man doesn't listen, doesn't hear, goes outside with a serious look, very hurried and very worried. It seems that something has happened, something has been left out. The man goes to the cart, looks at the sickles, counts them; puts everything aside and looks at the food; he covers it quickly, as if unsatisfied of the fact that everything is all right, and goes to the horses. The animals are waiting quietly, and when the man gets near them, it happens that one of them sighs deeply; the man looks at the harnesses. Then the woman, getting out of the house, shouts angrily: ' What are you waiting for? Hey, you! Go on, leave!'

But, still, the cart does not start. Something has been left out. Yes! ' The little one, he should go harvesting too.' says the man, with an unexpectedly serious voice, heading for the porch. There is a five or six years old child. The loud noises didn't even wake him. He is sleeping breathing rarely, as if melted in his deep sleep. 'Hey, you, wake up. You are coming with us!' The woman starts yelling: the kid should be left alone. She needs him to help her around the house. The man does not mind her. He answers her that she should do those things alone, the child has to go to the fields, to help there. The woman tries to convince the man, but he doesn't mind her. He takes the child in his arms and puts him in the cart. The boy wakes up, and falls asleep again. 'All right! We are leaving!' the man shouts. The cart finally starts going."

[Excerpt from Part Three, Chapter I]

Translated from Preda, Marin (1979). Morometii. Bucuresti: Ed. Albatros 

All texts translated by © Gustav Demeter