THE WOMAN WITH THE GOLD HAIR By Elin Pelin
In a small quiet town with a river across it and old white houses hidden like boxes behind the high walls of yards full of roses , lived a widow named Smarayda – neither very young nor too old . In this town , indeed , lived many widows and the one we are talking about was not any special from the other ones .
Just like everyone else , she also wore a black silk dress , wide and long to her ankles , woolen coat with wide sleeves , had a smooth hairstyle with a black silk scarf ; and a white , innocent , pious face with shy eyes used to looking down . Smarayda lived with her old mother near the abandoned nunnery , and her walk like all women from this neighborhood was like the walk of a nun – that is , straight and slow . She lived on the income from a vineyard and on the work for strangers – she wove cotton fabrics and received a modest wage . She sat all day weaving in the sunny hall like a bird in a cage . Her mother , sitting by her side , was also helping her . The two women were silent . It was very quiet all around . In the garden bloomed some old large roses , which went over the fence and filled the empty street with blossoms , and their sweet smell filled everything and penetrated everywhere : in the hall , in the room , in the chests , and in the clothes . Even the flies drugged by this smell fell asleep and landed on the floor .
And that is how this honest widow spent the day at home , reconciled ; she didn ’ t want anything and she didn ’ t dream about anything , and didn ’ t go anywhere either .
Smarayda wasn ’ t ugly , and she wasn ’ t beautiful either . Men hardly noticed her and did not say anything about her . The city gossip never mentioned her name .
In the cafeteria opposite the bathroom where 2 times in the week women from the town bathed , and because of that the lustful and likely to cheat men gathered together , this widow ’ s name was never said again . It was not recorded on the list kept by these slaves of carnal desires , where were noted all the secrets and obvious charms possessed by every attractive woman in the city . This list was kept by a certain Pavel , called the Blessed , an old bachelor and a city joker . He had described in great detail , fine taste , skill , and knowledge the souls and