The War With the Salamanders

 

by: Karel Čapek

translated and adapted by: Sead Spužić 

 

Rat Protiv Daždevnjaka

napisao: Karel Čapek
adaptacija i prevod: Sead Spužić 

 

 

BOOK ONE: Andrias Sheuchzeri

 

1 - The Strange Behaviour of Captain Van Toch

 

If you looked up the little island of Tana Masa on the map you would find it just on the Equator, not far south of Sumatra; but if you were on the deck of the Kandong Bandoeng and asked its captain, J. van Toch, what he thought of this Tana Masa where you've just dropped anchor he would first curse for a short while and then he would tell you that it's the dirtiest hole all the Sunda Islands, even more loathsome than Tana Bala and easily as damnable as Pini or Banyak; that the only apology for a human being that lives there - not counting these louse-ridden Bataks, of course - is a drunken commercial agent, a cross between a Cuban and a Portuguese, and an even bigger thief, pagan and pig than the whole of Cuba and the whole of the white race put together; if there's anything in this world that's damnable then it's the damned life on this damned Tana Masa.  And then, you might cautiously ask him why it is that he's just dropped his damned anchor as if he wanted to spend three damned days here; at which he would snort in irritation and grumble something about not being so damned stupid as to sail all the way with Kandon Bandoeng just to get this damned copra or palm oil, and there's nothing else here, but I've got my   s****  orders, and you will please be so kind as to mind your own   **c***  business.  And he would carry on cursing as widely and as fully as you might expect from a sea captain who was no longer young but still lively for his age. 

KNJIGA PRVA: Andrias Sheuchzeri

 

1 - Čudnovato Ponašanje Kapetana Van Toha

 

Ako biste potražili ostrvce Tana Masa na mapi, našli biste ga na samom ekvatoru, malo južnije od Sumatre; ali ako biste bili na palubi ladje “Kandong Bandoeng“ pa pitali kapetana J. Van Toch-a šta on misli o toj Tana Masi pred kojom se baš usidrio, on bi prvo psovao neko vrijeme, a onda bi rekao da je to najprljavija rupa na svim Sundskim Ostrvima, još bjednija nago Tana Bala, i u najmanju ruku jednako prokleta kao Pini ili Banjak; da je jedini čovjek koji tamo živi – naravno, ne računajući tu one vašljive Batake – pijani trgovački agent, melez Kubanca i Portugalca, i još veći lopov, paganin i svinja nego svi Kubanci i cijela bijela rasa zajedno; ako na svijetu postoji nešto prokleto, onda je to prokleti život na prokletoj Tana Masi. Potom biste ga vjerovatno oprezno upitali kako to da je upravo tu bacio prokleto sidro, kao da tu namjerava provesti tri prokleta dana; na šta bi on razdraženo frknuo i promrmljao nešto u vezi toga da on nije toliko idiotski glup da preplovi čitav ovaj put sa "Kandon Bandoeng" samo zbog blentavih začina ili palminog ulja, a ovdje i nema ničeg drugog, ali ja imam svoja   po****naredjenja i molim vas gledajte svoja vlastita  *e***a   posla. I tako bi nastavio da psuje sočno i obilato kao što biste  očekivali od jednog pomorskog kapetana koji nije više tako mlad, ali se vrlo dobro drži za svoje godine.

 

But if, instead of asking all sorts of impertinent questions, you left Captain J. van Toch to grumble and curse by himself you might find out something more.  Surely it's obvious the man needs a rest?  Just leave him alone, he can sort out his foul mood by himself.  "Listen!" the captain said suddenly.  "Those damned  ****  back in Amsterdam, all they seem to think about is pearls.  Have a look around you; can you see any pearls?  They say the people are crazy all round for pearls and that sort of thing."  At this point the captain spat in anger.  "We know all about that, load up with pearls!  That's because you people always want to start a war or something.  All you're worried about is money.  And then you call it a crisis..."  For a short while, Captain J. van Toch considered whether he ought to start discussing political economics, considering that that's all they ever do talk about nowadays.  But it's too hot and languid to talk about that sort of thing here, anchored off Tana Masa; so the captain merely waved his hand and grumbled: "That's what they say, pearls!  In Ceylon they have wiped out all pearls from the sea bed for the next five years, on Formosa they've put a ban on gathering them - and so they say to me, Captain van Toch, go and see if you can find somewhere new to gather pearls.  Go on down to those damned little islands, you might find whole bays full of oysters down there ... "  The captain pulled out his light-blue handkerchief and blew his nose in contempt.  "Those rats in Europe, they think there's still something to find down here, something they don't already know about.  God, what a bunch of fools they are!  Next they'll be wanting me to look up the Bataks snouts to see if they don't have them full of pearls.  New pearl fisheries!  I know there's a new brothel in Padang, but new pearl fisheries?  I know these islands like my trousers, all the way from Ceylon down to that damned Clipperton Island, and if anyone thinks there's anything new still left to find there that they can make any money out of, well good luck to them.  Thirty years I've been sailing these waters, and now these fools think I'm going to discover something new!"  This was a task so insulting it made Captain van Toch gasp.  "Why can't they send some green kid to find something for them if they want to gape in astonishment; but instead they expect someone to do that who knows the area as well as Captain J. van Toch .. . Please try and understand this.  In Europe there might still be something left to discover; but here - people only come here to sniff out something they could eat, or rather not even to eat, to find something to buy and sell.  If in all these damned tropics there was still something they could double the price of there'd be three commercial agents standing there waving their snotty handkerchiefs at the ships of seven countries to stop for it.  That's how it is.  I know about these things better than the Foreign Office of Her Majesty the Queen, if you'll forgive me."  Captain van Toch made a great effort to overcome his righteous indignation, and after a prolonged period of exertion he was successful.  "D'you see those two contemptible layabouts down there?  They're pearl fishers from Ceylon, Sinhalese, God help us, just as the Lord made them; but what He made them for, I don't know.  I have them on board with me, and when we find any stretch of coast that doesn't have a sign up saying Agency or Bata or Customs Office down they go in the water to look for oysters.  That small bugger, he can dive down eighty meters deep; in the Princes Islands he went down to ninety meters to get the handle from a film projector.  But pearls?  Nothing!  Not a sniff of them!  Worthless rabble, these Sinhalese.  And that's the sort of worthless work I do.  Pretend to be buying palm oil and all the time looking for new pearl fisheries.  Next they'll be wanting me to find a new virgin continent for them.  This isn't a job for an honest captain in the merchant navy.  Captain J. van Toch isn't some cursed adventurer, no.  The sea is wide and the ocean of time has no limits; spit in the sea, my friend, and it will not rise its level, berate your destiny and you will never change it..." And so on through many preparations and circumstances until we finally arrive at the point when J. van Toch, captain of the Dutch vessel, Kandong Bandoeng, will sigh and climb down into the boat for the trip to Tana Masa where he will negotiate with the drunken half-cast of Cubanese and Portuguese extraction about certain business matters. 

Ali ako biste, umjesto postavljanja svih tih neumjesnih pitanja, ostavili kapetana J. van Toch-a da gundja i proklinje za svoj račun, mogli biste saznati nešto više. Zar nije očigledno da mu treba da se olakša. Jednostavno ga pustite na miru, on će se sam povratiti iz svog lošeg raspoloženja. "Slušajte" kaže kapetan iznenada. "Oni prokleti **r****i  tamo u Amsterdamu, jedino o čemu razmišljaju su biseri. Pogledajte okolo; vidite li ikakve bisere? Oni kažu da su ljudi posvuda ludi za biserima i sličnim stvarima." Tu kapetan ogorčeno pljunu. "Znamo već sve o tome, zamjeni sve u bisere! To vam je ljudi zato što stalno hoćete da raspirujete ratove i tome slično. Jedino o čemu se brinete su pare. A onda to nazovete Kriza..." Kapetan J. van je Toch malo oklijevao da li da se upusti u diskusiju o političkoj ekonomiji, jer svi danas govore samo o tome. Ali isuviše je toplo i sparno da bi se razgovaralo o takvim stvarima ovdje, usidren kraj Tana Mase; tako da  kapetan samo odmahnu rukom i nastavi da gundja: "Lako je to reći, biseri! Na Cejlonu su istrijebili sve bisere sa morskog dna za narednih pet godina, na Formozi je lov na bisere zabranjen - i tako sad kažu, kapetane van Toch hajde u potragu za novim nalazištima. Kreni do onih prokletih ostrvčića, tmo možeš naći čitave zalive pune ostriga..." Kapetan izvuče svijetlo-plavu maramicu i ušmrknu se prezirivo. "Oni pacovi u Evropi misle da se ovdje još uvijek može otkriti nešto o čemu oni već nisu znali. Bože, kakva gomila budala! Sad'će još tražiti od mene i da zagledam Batacima u gubice da im nisu pune bisera. Nova lovišta bisera! Znam da je u Padongu otvoren novi bordel, ali nova nalazišta perli? Poznajem ta ostrva kao svoj djep, od Cejlona do *s****h Klipertonovih ostrva, i ako neko još misli da tamo ima nešto od čega se mogu napraviti ikakve pare, neka mu je sretno. Ja plovim već trideset godina po ovim vodama, a oni kreteni misle da ću sad otkriti nešto novo!" Taj zadatak je bio toliko uvredljiv da kapetan van Toch uzdahnu. "Zašto ne mogu poslati nekog žutokljunca ako žele da da zinu od oduševljenja; naravno, mjesto toga oni šalju nekog ko poznaje ovu oblast tako dobro kao kapetan J. van Toch...
Molim vas pokušajte da to shvatite. U Evropi bi se možda i dalo štagod pronaći; ali ovdje - pa ovamo ljudi i dolaze sam da njuškaju za nečim što se može pojesti, ili još radije nešto što nije čak ni jestivo ali se može kupiti i prodati. Da je išta preostalo, u cijelom tropskom pojasu, čemu bi se mogla udvostručiti cijena, tu bi se već našla tri trgovačka agenta koji bi mahali musavim maramicama prema ladjama vodećih sedam država da se tu zaustave. Tako je to. Znam ja o tim stvarima više nego Ministarstvo Inostranih Poslova Njezinog Kraljevskog Veličanstva, sa oproštenjem." Kapetan van Toch je ulagao velike napore da savlada opravdani gnijev, što mu je nakon dužeg naprezanja pošlo za rukom. "Vidite li tamo dole onu dvoj'cu ljenština? To su Singalezi, lovci bisera sa Cejlona, goli kao od majke rodjeni, bože mi pomozi; ali zašto ih Bog stvori, ja ne znam. Držim ih na palubi, i ako naidjemo na neki komadić obale gdje ne stoji oznaka "Agencija" ili "McDonald" ili "Carinarnica", puštam ih u vodu da traže ostrige. Ona manja bitanga može zaroniti osamdeset metara; kod Prinčevih ostrva izvadio je digitalnu kameru sa dubine od devedeset metara. Ali bisere? Ništa! Ni pomena od njih. Ti Singalezi su odvratna djubrad. Eto to su jalova posla kojim se ja bavim. Pretvaram se da kupjem palmovo ulje a svo vrijeme tražim nalazišta perli. Slijedeće što će tražiti od mene bi'će da otkrijem novi kontinent za njih. To nije posao za za jednog čestitog kapetana u trgovačkoj mornarici. Ne,  kapetan van Toch nije neki *e**** avanturista. More je široko a okean i vrijeme bezgranični; pljuni u more, moj prijatelju, ono neće porasti, kuni svoju sudbinu i nećeš ju promjeniti..." I tako, nakon dugotrajnih pripremanja i okolišenja, konačno smo došli do tačke gdje je J. van Toch, kapetan Holandskog broda "Kandong Bandoeng", uzdahnuo i spustio se u čamac da ode do Tana Mase, gdje će pregovarati sa pijanim Kubansko-Portugalskim melezom o obavljanju izvjesnih poslovnih transakcija.

 

"Sorry, Captain," the half-cast of Cubanese and Portuguese extraction finally said, "but here on Tana Masa there aren't any shells.  These filthy Bataks," he would inform him with boundless disgust, "have eaten it all. They will even eat the jellyfish; there are more of them in the water than on the land, the women here smell of fish, you cannot imagine what it is like - what was I saying?  Ah, yes, you were asking about women..."
"And is there not even any stretch of coastline round here," the captain asked, "where these Bataks don't go in the water?" 
The half-cast of Cubanese and Portuguese shook his head.
 
"There is not.  Unless you count Devil Bay, but that would not interest you."
"Why not?"
"Because .. . no-one is allowed to go there.  Another drink, Captain?"
"Yes, thanks.  Are there sharks there?"
"Sharks and everything else besides," the half-cast mumbled.  "Is a bad place, Captain.  The Bataks would not like to see anyone going down there."
"Why not?"
"There are demons there, Captain.  Sea demons."
"What is that, a sea demon?  A kind of fish?"
"Not a fish," the half-cast took a while to empty his coup.  "Simply demons, Captain.  Underwater demons.  The Bataks call them tapa.  Tapa.  They say that that's where they have their city, these demons.  Another drink?"
"Yes, thanks. And what do they look like, these sea demons?" 
The half cast of Cubanese and Portuguese shrugged his shoulders.
 
"Like a demon, Captain.  I once saw one of them .. . or just its head, at least.  I was coming back in a boat from Cape Haarlem... and suddenly, in front of me, a kind of head stuck up out of the water."
"And what did it look like?"
"It was a head .. . like a Batak, Captain, but entirely without hair."
"Sure it wasn't a real Batak?"
"Not a Batak, Captain.  In this place no Batak would ever go into the water.  And then  the thing blinked at me with an eyelid from beneath its eye."  The half-cast shuddered with the horror of it.  "An eyelid from beneath its eye, which reached up to cover the whole eye.  That was a tapa." 
Captain J. van Toch turned his glass of palm wine around between his chubby fingers.
 
"And you hadn't been drinking, had you?  You weren't drunk?"
"I was drunk, Captain.  How else would I ever had rowed into that place.  The Bataks don't like it when anyone .. . anyone disturbs these demons." 
Captain van Toch shook his head. 
"Listen, demons don't exist. And if they did exist they would look like Europeans. That must have been some kind of fish you saw or something."
"A fish!" the half-cast of Cubanese and Portuguese spluttered. "A fish does not have hands, Captain.  I am not some Batak Captain, I went to school in Badyoeng .. . I might even still know all ten commandments and other scientifically proven facts; and an educated man will know the difference between a demon and an animal.  Ask the Bataks, Captain."
"All   **c***   superstitions," the captain declared with the visionary confidence of an educated man.  "This is scientific nonsense.  A demon can't live in water anyway. What would he be doing in the sea?  You shouldn't listen to all the nonsense talked by the natives, lad.  Somebody gave the place the name Devil Bay and ever since then the Bataks have been afraid of it.  That's all there is to it," the captain declared, and threw his chubby hand down on the table.  "There's nothing there, lad, that is scientifically obvious."
"As you say, Captain," nodded the half-cast who had been to school in   Badyoeng.  "But no sensible person has any business going to Devil Bay." 
Captain J. van Toch turned red.
"What's that?" he shouted. "You slobbery Cuban, you think I'm afraid of these demons? We'll see about that," he said as he stood up with all the mass of his honest two hundred pounds.  "I'm not going to waste my time with you here, not when I've got business to attend to. But just remember this; the Dutch colonies don't have any demons in them; even if there are in the French.   There, there might well be.  And now call the mayor of this ****** Kampong over to speak to me."

It did not take long to find the aforementioned dignitary; he was squatting down beside the half-casts shop chewing sugar cane. He was an elderly man, naked, but a lot thinner than mayors usually are in Europe. Some way behind him, keeping the appropriate distance, the entire village was also squatting, complete with women and children.  They were clearly expecting to be filmed.  

"Žalim, Kapetane" reče najzad kubansko-portugalski melez "ali ovdje na Tana Masi ne rastu nikakve školjke. Ti prljavi Bataki " saopštio je sa neizmjernim zgražanjem" su ih sve pojeli. Oni jedu čak i meduze; više su u vodi nego na suvom, žene ovdje bazde na ribu, ne možete ni zamisliti na šta to liči - šta sam ono htjeo reći? Aha, vi ste me pitali za žene..."
"A ima li tu negdje neki komadić obale" raspitivao se kapetan "gdje ti Bataki ne ulaze u vodu?"
Kubansko-portugalski melez zavrtje odrečno glavom. "Nema. Izuzev Djavoljeg zaliva, ali to vas ne interesuje."
"Zašto?"
"Zato što... niko tamo ne smije da ide. Još jedno piće, Kapetane?"
"Da, hvala. Jel' tamo ima ajkula?"
"Ajkula i svašta drugo," mumljao je melez. "Gadno mjesto, Kapetane. Batakima se ne bi svidjelo da vide da je iko išao tamo."
"Zašto ne?"
"Tamo su djavoli, Kapetane. Morski djavoli."
"Šta su to morski djavoli? Neka vrsta ribe?"
"Nije riba," melez je zastao da iskapi svoju čašu. "Jednostavno djavoli, Kapetane. Podvodni djavoli. Bataki ih zovu Tapa. Tapa. Kažu da oni tamo imaju svoj grad, ti djavoli. Još jedno piće?"
"Da, hvala. I kako izgledaju ti morski djavoli?"
Kubansko-portugalski melez sleže ramenima.
"Kao djavoli, Kapetane. Ja sam vidjeo jednoga... to jest bar njegovu glavu. Vraćao sam se čamcem sa rta Haarlem-a... i najednom, preda me izroni iz vode nekakva glava."
"No, pa? Na šta liči?"
"Glava je ista kao kod Bataka, ali sasvim ćelava."
"Da nije to bio ustvari Batak?"
"Nije bio Batak, Kapetane. Na tom mjestu nijedan Batak nikad ne bi ušao u vodu. A onda je ta stvar žmirnula na mene donjim kapcima." Melez se stresao od jeze. "Donjim kapcima, koji se podižu dok ne pokriju cijelo oko. To je bio tapa."
Kapetan van Toch okretao je debelim prstima čašu sa palmovim vinom.
"Da nisi ti možda pio prije toga? Jesi bio naljoskan?"
"Bio sam, Kapetane. Inače ne bih tamo veslao. Bataki ne vole da neko... iko uznemirava te djavole."
Kapetan van Toch zavrti glavom. "Slušaj, djavoli ne postoje. A ako bi i postojali, izgledali bi kao Evropljani. To mora da je bila neka riba ili nešto."
"Riba!" poskoči uzbudjeno kubansko-portugalski melez. "Riba nema ruke, Kapetane. Nisam ja nekakav Batak Kapetane, ja sam išao u školu u Badyoeng-u... ja se čak mogu vjerovatno sjetiti svih deset svetih zapovijedi i drugih naučno dokazanih činjenica; jedan obrazovan čovjek zna razliku izmedju djavola i životinje. Pitajte Batake, Kapetane."
"Sve su to  *e****  predrasude," proglasi kapetan sa dalekovidnom samouvjerenošću. Djavo ne može živjeti u vodi. Šta bi on radio u moru? Mladiću ne bi trebalo da slušaš sve te urodjeničke brbljarije. Neko je nazvao to mjesto Djavolji zaliv, i odtada ga se Bataki boje. To je sve," reče kapetan i udari debelim dlanom o sto. "Nema tamo ništa, momče, to je naučno jasno."
"Kako vi kažete, Kapetane," klimnuo je melez koji je pohadjao školu u Badyoeng-u. "Ali niko pametan nema šta da traži u Djavolovom zalivu."
Kapetan van Toch je počeo da crveni. "Šta to treba da znači?" poče da viče. "Balavi Kubanče, misliš da se ja bojim tih djavola? To ćemo još vidjeti," reče ustajući u ponoj veličini njegovih dobranih 90 kilograma. "Neću više da gubim svoje vrijeme s' tobom, kad treba da mislim o poslu. Ali ovo zapamti: u Holandskim kolonijama nema nikakvih djavola; čak i ako postoje u Francuskim. Tamo ih može biti. A sada zovi ovamo starješinu ovog  ********  kamponga da razgovaram sa njim."

Pomenutog dostojanstvenika nije trebalo dugo tražiti. Čučao je kraj melezovog dućana i žvakao šećernu trsku. Bio je to nag stariji gospodin, mnogo mršaviji nego što bivaju gradonačelnici u Evropi. Malo dalje iza njega, na pristojnoj distanci, čučalo je cijelo selo sa ženama i djecom. Očigledno su se nadali da će ih fotografisati.

"Now listen to this, son," Captain van Toch said to the village chief in Malay (he could just as well have spoken to him in Dutch as the honourable old Batak knew not a word of Malay, and everything said by the captain had to be interpreted into Batak by the half-cast of Cubanese and Portuguese, but for some reason the captain felt Malay would be more appropriate).  "Now listen to me, son, I need a few big, strong, brave lads to go out on a fishing trip with me.  Understand what I mean?  Out on a fishing trip."  The half-cast translated this and the mayor nodded his head to show he understood; then he turned round to face the wider audience and said something to them, clearly meeting with great success. 
"Their chief says," translated the half-cast, "that the whole village will go out with the Kaptain wherever the captain might wish."
"Very well.  So tell him were going to fish for clams in Devil Bay." The half-cast translated, which was followed about two minutes of loud and animated discussion with the whole village taking part, especially the old women. 
T
he half-cast turned to the captain.  "They say rey don't want to go fishing to Devil Bay, Captain."  The captain began to turn red. "And why not?"  The half-cast shrugged his shoulders.
 
"Because there are the tapa-tapa there, Captain".  The captain's colour began to rise to purple.
"Tell to the mayor then, that if they don't go... I'll knock all his teeth out ...  and that I'll burn down his entire flea-ridden village. Understand?"
The half-cast dutifully translated what the captain had said, at which there was an extended and more-or-less constructive discussion, dominated again by rhe old women.  The half-cast finally turned to the captain.  "They say they intend to make a complaint to the police in Padang, Captain, because you've threatened them.  This is against the international treaty which protects the minority nations. The mayor says he can't allow that sort of thing in his village." 
Captain J. van Toch began to turn blue.
"Tell him, then," he snarled, "that he is a ..." and he shouted without pausing for breath for a good eleven minutes. 
The half-cast translated as far as his vocabulary was able; and then he once again translated the Bataks long, but objective and tactful, response back to the captain.  "They say they might be willing to relinquish taking you to court, Captain, if you pay a fine into the hands of the local authorities.  They suggest," here he hesitated, "two hundred rupees, Captain; but I would offer them five."  Captain van Toch's complexion began to break out in purple blotches.  First he offered to extinguish the Bataks, then the offer went down to stuffing the mayor and putting him on display in the museum in Amsterdam; for their part, the Bataks went down from two hundred rupees to an iron pump with a wheel, and finally insisted on no more than that the captain give the mayor his petrol cigarette lighter as a token. 
("Give it to him, Captain," begged the translator, "I've got three cigarette lighters in my store, even if the wicks have to be purchased separately.")  Thus, peace was restored on Tana Masa; but Captain J. van Toch now knew that the dignity of the white race was at stake.

"Slušaj ovo, sine," kapetan van Toch reče starješini sela na Malajskom jeziku (mogao ga je isto tako osloviti na Holandskom pošto uvaženi stari Batak nije znao ni riječi Malajski i sve što je kapetan rekao moralo je biti prevedeno na jezik Bataka od strane Kubansko-Portugalskog meleza, ali kapetan je nekako osjećao da je Malajski prikladniji). "Dakle, slušaj me, sine, meni treba nekoliko velikih, jakih, hrabrih momaka da idu na ribarenje samnom. Da'l me razumiješ? Idemo na ribarenje." Melez je to preveo a starješina je klimao glavom u znak razumijevanja; zatim se okrenuo širem auditorijumu i održao im govor koji je imao očevidan uspjeh.
"Njihov starješina kaže," prevodio je melez, "da će cijelo selo poći sa Kapetanom gdje god on želi da ribari."
"Vrlo dobro. Onda mu reci da ćemo poći u Djavolji zaliv da lovimo školjke."
Melez to prevede, što je izazvalo otprilike dvo-minutnu bučnu diskusiju i gestikuliranja u kojem je uzelo učešće cijelo selo, naročito starije žene.
Melez se okrenuo kapetanu. "Kapetane, kažu da ne žele da idu u ribarenje u Djavolji zaliv." Kapetan je počeo da crveni. "A što ne?"
Melez je slegnuo ramenima.
"Zato što su tamo tapa-tapa, Kapetane." Kapetanovo lice je poprimilo tamno-crvenu boju.
"Reci onda starješini da ako ne podju... izbiću mu sve zube... i spaliću cijelo njegovo vašljivo selo. Razumiješ?" Melez je to revnosno preveo na šta je nastala poduža manje-više konstruktiva diskusija u kojoj su takodje dominirale starije žene. Konačno melez se okrenu kapetanu.
"Kapetane, kažu da namjeravaju da idu da se žale policiji u Padangu, zato što ste im prijetili. To se protivi medjunarodnim konvencijama o pravima manjinskih nacija. Starješina kaže da ne može dozvoliti takve stvari o ovom selu."
Kapetan J. van Toch je počeo da plāvi.
"Onda mu reci," zaurla, "da je on jedna..."  i nastavio je vikati bez predaha dobrih jedanaest minuta.
Melez je prevodio u okvirima mogućnosti riječnika jezika Bataka; zatim je opet prevodio kapetanu odgovor Bataka, koji je doduše bio opširan ali zato objektivan i taktičan. "Kapetane, kažu da bi bili spremni da odustanu od sudske žalbe ako ste voljni da platite globu u ruke mjesne administracije. Predlažu," ovdje je malo okljevao, "dvjesta rupija, Kapetane; ali ja bi im ponudio pet rupija." Imidž kapetana van Toch-a je počeo da se prepliće ljubičastim mrljama. Prvo je predložio da istrijebi Batake, zatim je spustio ponudu na to da preparira i ispuni starješinu i izloži ga u muzeju u Amsterdamu; sa njihove strane, Bataki su snizili zahtjev sa dvjesta rupija na metalnu pumpu sa točkom, i konačno su jedino insistirali na tome da kapetan pokloni starješini njegov upaljač kao zalog. ("Dajte im ga, Kapetane," molio je prevodioc, "imam tri upaljača u mom skladištu, mada se fitilji moraju kupiti posebno.")

I tako, mir je ponovo uspostavljen na Tana Masi; ali kapetan J. van Toch je znao da je ugled bijele rase stavljen na kocku.

 

To obtain the rest of the novel, contact Sead.Spuzic@unisa.edu.au 

 

Da biste dobili nastavak, kontaktirajte Sead.Spuzic@unisa.edu.au 

 

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