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Messiah: On Messiah's Pain
Messiah: On Original Sin
Messiah: Stray Dog
Stray Dog, by Sadegh Hedayat:

A few small shops ,a bakery , a butcher `s stall , a grocery , two tea houses and a barber shop contributed to the basic requisities of a rather primitive way of living in the rustic surroundings that made up the Varamin Square .

     The mercilessly glowing sun had almost half_broiled the round _ about and its inhabitants who anxiously waited for the first evening breeze and the cool shade of night .

The people ,the stores ,the trees and the animals were        allexhausted .

     A sultry heat burdened over their heads and the soft layer of dust that suspended  in the air, dimming the azure of the sky , thickened with the traffic of vehicles .

     On one side of the Square there was an old cycamore whose innards had rotted away , but with an amazing persistence had still clung  to life spreading its mis_ shapen rheumatic branches . Underneath the shades of its dust _ laden leaves , on a wide spacious platform , two street urchins with loud cries hawked their wares of rice _ pudding and pumpkin seeds. A dense miry water laboriously pushed its way through the gutter in front of the tea house . The only building that attracted the eyes was the well known Tower of Varamin with its cracked cylindrical body and its conical top. The sparrows had built   their nests in the crevices made by the fallen bricks.They were silent and slumbered because of  the intense heat . The only thing audible was the whimpering of a dog that on and off broke the silence .

    This was a Scottish setter with sooty nuzzle and black spots on its legs as if splashed with muddy water . He had hanging ears , pointed tail and wavy fur، but dirty and two intelligent eyes shone in his shaggy snout. In the depth of his eyes a kind and humane spirit was discernible . In his benighted life something eternal undulated that  manifested itself mainly in his eyes and had a message that could not be conveyed for it had been trapped just behind his pupils . It was neither the glimmer nor the colour , but some other unbelievable thing like what you would see in the eyes of a wounded gazelle . Not only there was a similarity between his eyes and the eyes of mankind but a sameness and equality . A pair of hazel eyes filled with pain and hopeful waiting that could only be seen in the mug of a lost and wandering dog .

       But it seemed that no one saw or discerned his painful beseeching looks ! The errand boy of the bakery beat him up when he found him in front of the shop. The butcher`s apprentice threw stones at him if he saw him near his stall . If he took refuge in the shade of a car the driver was sure to entertain him with a rough kick with his spiked boots  And when one and all tired of victimizing him , it was the turn of the urchin that sold rice pudding who seemed to take a special pleasure in torturing him .

      To each cry of pain that escaped  the dog , the rice _ pudding  vendor boy threw another stone which invariably hit him with devilish accuracy and brought out the     noisy laughter with cries of : “ you dirty cur !” It seemed that the other boys were his accomplices for they encouraged him in an underhanded and sly way and burst into laughter each time he hit  the poor dog.

   To all of them it was only natural to torture a “dirty” and “ unclean ” dog which their God and religion had set a curse on ; a creature that was believed to possess seven lives and it was permissible to torture     and even lynch it!

     At last the rice _ pudding vendor boy chased him so much that the animal was forced to run away through the narrow alley which led to the tower.In other words he pulled himself with difficulty on an empty stomach and took refuge in a water channel. Once there he lay his head on his pasterns , put out his tongue and in a state verging on wakefulness and dreaming watched the green fields that  waved in front of him . He was tired out and his nerves ached .

     In the damp laden air of the closed water channel a certain unnameable feeling of well being pervaded his whole being . Diverse smells of the dead and the living grass ; a discrded old damp shoe ; smells of the dead and the living things resuscitated in his muzzle , a confusion of far away memories.

      Whenever he fixed his eyes on the green fields, his instinctive urges were roused reviving old memories in his brain .

       But this time , the feeling was so strong that it seemed as if an unknown voice urged him to move ; to jump and frolic . He felt a great urge to run and jump about in the green fields around.

       This was a hereditary feeling for all his ancestors were bred in the open space of the vast Scottish meadows and green forests .

      But now his whole being was so exhausted and sore that he could not move . A painful feeling mixed with weakness and lethargy pervaded him . A whole pile of the forgotten and lost sensations were now excited in him .

      Formerly he had different checks and different requirements. He had bound himself  by the call of duty to be at the beck and call of his master ;to drive out stranger persons and dogs from his master `s premises ; to play with his master`s kid . He knew how to behave with the known and the authorised people and how to treat the strangers. He well knew when to expect food and when to expect fondling .

     But now all these checks were removed . Now his whole life had narrowed into a permanent quest for food which he got by fearfully rummaging the garbage pile , be beaten throughout the day and howl and whimper as  his sole means of defense.

      Once upon a time he had been brave, fearless, clean and full of life،but now he had become dirty , timid, and coward.He had become just a bag of nerves. If he heard a voice , or something near him moved , he would nearly jump out of his skin and shiver .

     He even dreaded his own voice . He had got used to dirt and refuse. His body itched and he did not have the guts to hunt out the lice nor any self respect to lick himself clean . He felt that he had become a part of the garbage . something in him had died ; had burnt out .

     Two winters passed since he had landed in this out_ of _the_way hell of a place and all this time he had not eaten a full stomach ,nor slept a happy comfortable sleep . His passions and feelings were strangled . No one pampered him . No one had looked into his eyes . Although the people here resembled his master in appearance , his master`s feelings and character were a whole world apart from these people . It was as if the people he knew before , were nearer to his world . They seemed to understand his pains and feelings better and did not deny him their sympathy and support.

     Of the smells that reached his nostrils and made him light headed there was the smell of the rice _pudding coming from the pot set in front of the street boy . The white liquid so much resembled his mother`s milk that brought his memories of pupyhood back to him .

    Suddenly he went numb , remembering when he was a tiny thing sucking that warm invigorating liquid from his mother`s breasts and all the while his mother licked him clean with her strong tongue . The strong smell that came from his mother`s bosom and his pup _brother , the poignant and the heavy smell of his mother and her milk revived in his nostrils . He reminisced the times when he was kind of drunk with warm milk. All his body became warm and relaxed.A liquid warmth ran through hs veins and arteries. His head would feel heavy and droppd from his mother`s breasts and a deep slumber followed filled with sensual sensations for the nearness of that fount of life ; so close and so full of abundance.

       His pup_brother`s downy body , his mother`s bark ،all these were treasured in his mind . He remembered his old wooden kernel . the games he used to play with his pup_brother in that small garden . He would bite the tips of his brother`s ears and they would both fall , get up again , and run . Then he found a new playmate . This was his master`s son . At the end of the garden he ran after him and barked and bit his clothes.

     He could never forget his master`s caresses , nor the lumps of sugar he used to give him with his own hands. Nonetheless,he loved his master`s son even more for he was his playmate and never beat him .

      Then after some time , suddenly he lost all traces of his mother and pup_brother. There remained only his master , the master`s son , the master`s wife and an old servant. How well he recognized their individual scents and could tell their footsteps from a distance!

      When lunch or dinner was served he would walk round the table smelling different dishes of food and sometimes his master`s wife would throw him a choice morsel despite strong protests of her husband . Then the old servant  would come and would call him “Pat, Pat” and pile his food in a special dish which lay near his wooden kernel.

     All Pat`s troubles started when his rut came on, for his master would not let him out of the house to run after bitches. As fate would have it. one day in the fall his master with two other people whom Pat knew well and who often came to their house got into a car and called Pat and made him sit next to them in the car. Pat had been in cars with his master before but this time he was in the claws of that special heat and was beset with a strong disturbing urge.

    After a few hours of driving, they got off at this very Square. His master with the other two men made their way through this same street that passes by the Tower،  but suddenly the scent of a bitch, the traces of the opposite sex`s scent that Pat was after, turned him mad. He sniffed and followed the scent and at last through a closed water ditch entered a garden.

    Near the evening twice he heard his master calling him “Pat, Pat!”, Was it really his master`s voice or an echo of it? He could not be sure, for he did not want to. His master`s voice had always a strange effect on him for it was a reminder of what he knew were his duties, but a force over and above other forces had made him oblivious and forced him to be with the bitch. So much so that he felt he had turned deaf to all external sounds. He felt an intense sensation and the bitch`s scent was so strong, heavy, and poignant that he felt light_headed.

    His nerves, his muscles and senses were no longer at his command. In the face of this new and unique experience he was powerless ،but his delectation was short lived for the owner of the garden and his men soon assailed him with clubs and spade handles and routed him through the water_ditch.

       Once out, Pat, confused and tired, but light and relieved, jolted himself into reality and began to look for his master.

       In some back alleys he could smell thin traces of his master`s scent which he inspected elaborately, leaving his own scent at regular intervals.

       He even explored the ruins outside the village. Then returned for he was sure his master had returned to the Square, but there in the round _about his master`s thin scent got lost in other scents.

       Was it possible that his master had gone and left him there!?… He felt a sensational anxiety mixed with fear.

       How could he live without his master; without his god; for his master was a god to him, but he was sure his master would come and seek him out.

      Panicked, he ran in several roads in different directions, but all in vain!

      Night came and tired out and disappointed, returned to the Square . There was no trace of his master!

          He rounded up the village a few more times and at last went to the water ditch which led to the bitch, but they had obstructed the way with heavy stones.

       He set to digging the ground with gusto to open a hole to the garden, but it proved to be impossible .

      When he saw that it was hopeless, he napped there.

       In the middle of the night the sound of his own wailing in his dreams woke him up. Panicked, he was soon on his feet, went through several alleys,sniffed the walls, and strayed here and there.

       He felt starved. Returning to the Square, the smell of various foods reached his nostrils. The smell of the left_over meat, the fresh bread and yogurt.All of them had been mixed together.

      But at the same time he felt that he was at fault trespassing into other people`s proprety . He must beg his food from these people who looked like his master and if  lucky enough to have no rival to drive him out, perhaps one of these creatures who held food in possession would take care of him.

      Cautiously and with much foreboding, he went towards the bakery which  had just opened.

      The strong smell of baked dough pervaded the air. Someone who held some bread under his arm called to him “Come…Come…”.

      How strange this voice echoed in his ears!..The stranger threw him a piece of the warm bread . After a little hesitation Pat ate the bread and shook his tail for him.

      The stranger put his bread on the shop`s platform, and then timidly and with much caution caressed Pat`s head and using his two hands opened his collar. How relieved he felt.

      It was as if all responsibilities, checks and duties were lifted off his neck. But when again he shook his tail and neared the owner of the bakery shop, a heavy kick shot into his groin . Whimpering, he ran away.

      The owner of the shop, religiously dipped his hands in the gutter water three times to wash off the ill effects of having touched the “unclean”dog.

       Pat still recognized his neck band which hung in front of the shop.

       Since that day, save kicks, stones and a good taste of the club, Pat had not received any thing else from these people.

       It was as if they were all his sworn enemies and took pleasure in tormenting him.

       Pat felt that he had entered into a new world which was not his. Nor any one there cared to find out about his sentiments and idiosyncracies.

      The first few days passed with much difficulty, but by and by he got used to the new conditions.In addition to this, he had found a place at the bend of the alley on the right hand side, where people emptied refuse cans and he could find some tasty morsels in the garbage such as bones, fat,skin,fishheads and many other foods that he could not recognize.

      The rest of the day he spent in front of the bakery and the butcher`s stall.

       His eyes were fixed on the hands of the butcher, but he received more beatings than delicious pieces. Altogether،he had compromized with his new mode of life.Of his past life there remained only a hotch botch of ambiguous and erased traces and only some distant scents.When he had it hard, he would find       a sort of refuge and solace in this lost paradise and would        automatically give himself up to the memories of those bygone days.

       But the thing  that tortured him more than anything, was his craving need for fondling .

       He was like a kid who had been constantly treated     roughly and been forever sworn at, but still his tender feelings remained.

     Specially now in his new pain_ridden life, more than ever before, he felt the need for kindness and attention.

     His eyes begged such a treatment and he was prepared to give up his life for the first person who would be kind to him or caress his head.

     He was in dire need to show his sincerity to someone and sacrifice his life for that someone.

     He greatly desired to show someone his adoration and fidelity, but it seemed that no one cared two straws for him.The eyes he looked into had nothing in them save enmity and evil designs, and any movement that he made to attract the attention of these people was as if he helped to increase their rage and anger.

     When Pat was having his forty winks inside the water ditch, he moaned and this wakened him up several times as if he was beset by nightmares.

      He felt a great hunger, there was the smell of grilled mutton meat in the air.A cruel hunger tortured his insides, so much so that he forgot his weakness and other pains. With difficulty he got to his feet and warily set out towards the Square.





     Now at this time ، one of these noisy cars followed by a whirlwind of dust drove into the Varamin Square.

      A man got off, went to Pat and patted his head. He was not his master . He had not been deceived, for he knew his master`s scent very well.

      But why did he pat him?Pat shook his tail and threw the man a suspicious look.

      Wasn`t he being deceived ?.. But no, for he no longer had a collar round his neck, so that he would pat him for it !.

       The man turned and again carressed him.Pat followed the man. His surprise increased for the man entered a room that Pat knew very well where always smell of foods came out from.

        The man sat on a bench near the wall.They brought him fresh bread, yogurt, eggs and other foods.

        The man dipped bits and pieces of bread in yogurt and threw them in front of him.

        At first Pat gulped these in a hurry but then ate them at his leisure.

      At the same time his soulful hazel eyes, beautiful and full of supplication  and gratitude, were fixed on the face of the man and all the while he shook his tail.

      Was he dreaming or he was awake?Unbelievable ! He had eaten a full stomach without having his meal interrupted by severe punishments !.

      Was it possible that he had found a new master.Despise the heat, the man got up, went towards the alley leading  to the Tower.

       Once there, he hesitated a little. Then crossed several labyrinthine winding alleys.

       Pat was following . The man went to the ruins that had some walls. His master had gone there.

       Perhaps these men also were after picking up the scent of females of their own species? Pat waited for him in the shade of a wall.

       After a while through another way they returned to the Square.

       There again the man patted him and after taking a short walk round the Square,the man went and sat in one of the cars that Pat knew.

       Pat did not dare to climb in. He sat near the car and looked at the man.

       Suddenly, the car in a burst of dust started and Pat without any hesitation began to run after it.

       No, he had learned his lesson, he did not want to lose his benefactor again. Notwithstanding the pain he felt throughout his body his tongue was out and he ran in leaps and bounds after the car.

       The car had left the village and was crossing a desert.

       Two or three times Pat overtook the car but again lagged behind.

       Despair made him summon all his power and burst into sudden leaps, but the car was faster.

       He was mistaken for not only he could not reach the car, but the run had greatly weakened and broken him.

      He felt a strange weakness at the pit of his stomach and all at once he felt that his limbs did not obey his commands and could not make the slightest movement.

      All his efforts were pointless. He knew not why he had run nor where he was going.

     He could neither go ahead nor back. He stopped, short of breath his tongue hanging from his mouth.

     His eyes had darkened . With bent head and with much labour he pulled himself out of the middle of the road and went and lay his belly on wet and hot sand near a ditch on the edge of a field.

     By means of his instinct that had never lied to him, he felt that he would never be able to move from that place.

    His thoughts and feelings had become obscure and obliterated.

    He felt an intense pain in his belly and a sick light glowed in his eyes .

    In the throes of his convulsions , little by little his hands and legs lost their senses .

    A cold sweat descendsd on him. This was a pleasant and tender coolness.





Near the evening, three hungry crows were flying over Pat`s head for they had picked up his scent from afar.

     One of them cautiously came and sat near him and carefully looked, When it made sure that Pat was not yet dead it flew away. These three crows had come to take out

his hazel eyes ! ..



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