SONY DSCIt is not hard to guess that in every corner of the world created by our Lord God, even in the desert or the bottom of the ocean, the creatures that He created are immeasurably similar in the way they act. In one moment, an ant, upon discovering the body of a fellow ant, circles the corpse, studying it in an effort to discern the reasons for its early demise. The ant becomes emotional about the corpse lying by my feet, which may well have been its relative, then drags the other ant’s body away to serve as food for the winter. In the bottom of the ocean, one not very hungry fish discovers a careless little fish caught in the throes of death and reluctantly devours its wiggling body, ending its agony.
At the same hour and minute, a solder was ignoring the pain caused by the bullet shot into his wrist a little while ago and was trying to carry his friend’s heavy body, already drained of its blood, and with his bleary mind to discern which path to take so he does not fall into an enemy’s trap.
At the same hour and minute, three hundred workers who were digging for gold lined up, standing parallel with the flow of the river, and performed the same action: passing from one hand to another the slimy bags containing gold. They decided not to dream about the moment of receiving pay until sundown, after which they were allowed to shower and, with a peaceful spirit and tired muscles, sit on the iron chairs of an eatery, chew the meat in their foodslowly, and drink their broth, sucking it inwith their teeth, to provide the next day’s main energy supply. All of them, three hundred people, were thinking the same thing: not to think about anything.
At the same time and minute, after one month of combat training, becoming more skilled in the same mechanical movements, the soldier’s group was repeating the same thing, wanting to believe that tomorrow’s fight will not be any different than today’s training.
At the same time in the world, millions of captains of ships, humming the same song year after year, each with a look of determination, as if trying to possess all the earth’s territories,were following the same paths and thinking about the same ladies and mistresses, who were each becoming much older at every one of their trysts.
In the same millennium’s same decade, on the same day, at the same time, and in the very same minute in Siberia, Mamikon was sawing the same endless forest’s 1001st treewith Ivan, and his mechanical movement was adding to the tiny natural movement he was trying to make in his boots, so that collected sweat, steam, and mold didn’t turn to ice, and he was smiling under his nose. In his and Ivan’s brains, not by their own choice, someone or something had made the decision to not think about anything.
While in Brazil the half-slave gold-diggers were waiting until sundown to have happy thoughts of daily wages, Mamikon and Ivan were waiting until sunrise to leave the nightshift without having even a remote thought of a daily wage. The biggest expectation that they had was to find mushrooms here and there on the way back that they could boil with pieces of potatoes and to smell the heavenly aroma spreading around them, making sweet the thought of sending such a repast to their stomachs.
Mamikon’s smile was not for mushrooms, not for his birthplace on the shore of Lake Sevan’s infertile land–he was not there for 15 years and was not going to be there for another 90–and not even for the vision of his relatives on his mind. Again and again in his mind he was repeating lady Asinula’s name, whom he met on the way to his lifelong prison’s place in a faraway village in Russia. But the smile was not for the lady’s gorgeous breasts, not for her white neck, not even for her beautiful, shiny eyes, because she did not inherit any of those blessings. But, my God! What a name! He never heard in his life such an odd name as Asinula. What is her nationality? Where did they take her? Mamikon did not even touch with his finger the knee that was so close to him; he did not even say anything sweet to her as a prologue of getting acquainted with her sad story. He only asked her name, and she said, “Asinula,” with her languorous voice.
Ivan and he were half way done with sawing the huge tree’s trunk. Ivan was not turning his gaze away–which resembled that of a wild cat–for even a second from the saw that was getting deeper into the tree trunk to see Mamikon’s smile. Mamikon was freely and calmly smiling and wondering, “What a name! Asinula!”
At the same moment, out of all 300 of the gold-diggers, Khorkhe took the 1001st slimy bag filled with gold from the hand on his left and passed it to the hand on his right and smiled. In his mind, into which he had prohibited any thought to enter, suddenly appeared the word “apricot.” He was not imagining his Armenian teacher, whom his mother with wild determination hired to teach her son her ancestor’s language. He was not even imagining their house, which was on Surinam’s coast, in a fishing village on the Pacific Ocean, where twice a week his teacher appeared in her old car. He did not even remember her name. The reason for Khorkhe’s smile was the word “apricot.” The teacher corrected Khorkhe many times until he learned how to pronounce the name of the fruit that he had never seen. “Not ‘zrran,’it is ‘tsiran.’ ‘Zrran’ means baying like a donkey. It is not ‘Siran,’but ‘tsiran.’ ‘Siran’ is an Armenian woman’s name. It is not ‘cirran,’which reminds me of a not nice word in Armenian. It is not ‘dziran,’ but ‘tsiran.’ In Armenian there are ts, dz, and c. Tsiran.” Khorkhe was smiling for the word “tsiran” and passing the slimy bags, which were sometimes light and sometimes heavy. And the smile did not leave his face, or the word “tsiran” from his mind.
At the same hour and minute, Lili was denuding the third cherry tree of its fruit. That was her job. She decided to pick the cherries from her aunt’s garden near Salonik, and her sister Mary had decided to pick apricots. Asinula, who was crippled and whose one hand was lame–just hanging from her left shoulder–was picking strawberries. From on top of cherry tree, Lili was following her sister’s movements and loving her even more. Because Asinula was so tiny and weak, she was doing everything not to fall behind her sisters with her work and happiness. She had already collected three big baskets of strawberries one by one with her right hand. Asinula was smiling. Wonder why she is smiling? Is she happy that she did so much work? No, six-year-old Asinula was smiling at the name “Mamikon.” Mamikon is a new neighbor whose family suddenly appeared in the village from far-away Armenia. In the morning, Mamikon had caressed Asinula’s head. “What is your name?” blue-eyed Asinula asked the giant man. He said, “Mamikon.” Asinula collected three big baskets full of strawberries from the garden. She would collect everything, if not today, then tomorrow. She will sit a little just like this, and repeat name Mamikon a couple more times. “Mamikon, Mamikon, Mamikon!” “What are you saying?” asked Lili from the top of the cherry tree. “I am saying Mamikon,” answered Asinula, still sitting by the strawberry plants, her legs stretched out in front of her. “I am telling you the truth. Sit a little, relax, and then continue,” said Lili. She did not hear what Asinula said. From the highest branch of the apricot tree, Mary threw a very beautiful apricot into Asinula’s lap.
At the same time, Khorkhe passed a slimy bag full of gold to the nameless man next to him. He was seeing the “tsiran,” that juicy, shiny, aromatic fruit, so clearly that he could almost touch it. He did not receive from the man on his left a slimy bag; he received an apricot and passed along not a bag of slime, a bag of apricots.
This year in Armenia, plenty of apricots grew. The orchard owners took care of them, sold some, gave some away to close and distant relatives. In the morning, the breeze was stirring the aromas of fresh, golden apricots and the preserves boiling in big pots. The housewives were promising that, as soon as the influx of apricots stopped, they were each going to sacrifice a sheep to their patron saints. Men were digging the ground and mixing the soil with the big piles of spoiled apricots, which they did not have time to collect, take care of, make vodka out of, sell, or give away. No one was prepared for such a surplus.
At the same time in England, where apricots are as expensive as gold, Stan Jefferson, who was a father in a working-class family, one evening after work purchased four apricots for his four sons. It was for his youngest son’s, Joe’s, birthday. In the north of England that day, there was a holocaust for sheep. From all of ranches to Yorkshire’s open fields, thousands, if not tens of thousands, of sheep were driven. After many days and weeks, all the ranch owners nearby would get disgusted from the smell of burning wool, leather, intestines, and meat.
And we remember that, in the book “Ghevtians,” how detailed and invidiously described was the burning of a live human being and the collecting of every part of the body and its belongings. “And the priest who officiates at the cremation should receive that burned body’s skin.” After everything was described in order, it says, “These are aromatic Masses for Jehova.” And in England thousands of sheep will be victims, not for Jehova or another god, but for one lamb that people thought was sick, but which wanted to jump around happily with its brothers and sisters in a lush valley.
At the same time, in Nigeria, little Muputu the 15th, who really liked playing with children his own age, is dying from hungeralong with thousands of his sisters and brothers. A little piece of lamb’s meat, even that one which people thought was sick, would give him the power he needed to continue living.
At the same time, in the capital of Armenia’s Nork ward, in a hospital founded by Eshli Minas, Muputu the 15th‘s older sister Flora, born in India, is saving one little boy’s tooth, which had a cavity. His name could have been Mamikon, Khorkhe, or Muputu.

Translated by Dr. Lusine Mueller
Edited by Dr. Alfred Mueller

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