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BULGARIA: Rampant Lion

2 minute read

Few pedagogues can fix a broken-down automobile. Last week, on a lonely stretch of road 30 miles from Sofia, Bulgarian capital, two professors from the American College at Samakov tinkered for three hours over a balky motor car, became greasy, then filthy and finally exhausted, lackadaisical.

So dispirited were they that when another motor drew up alongside, neither pedagogue noted anything familiar or remarkable in .the appearance of the driver, a slim young man with an ineffectual black mustache which inspired no confidence.

Queried he: “Can I help you?”

“We are afraid,” said the greasier pedagogue courteously, “that you won’t be able to much. We’ve worked for three hours ourselves.”

Briskly, young Black Mustache stepped from his car, peeled off coat, rolled up sleeves, fiddled with the carburetor of the stalled car, and within ten minutes had its motor briskly humming. Only then did the torpid professors recover sufficient alertness to note upon the motor car of their Samaritan the royal arms and rampant lion of Bulgaria. Figuratively rubbing greasy eyes, the pedagogues stared hard at Black Mustache, and recognized at last His Majesty Tsar Boris III of Bulgaria, 34 and still the most eligible of Balkan bachelors.

News of Little Tsar Boris’s act of ordinary courtesy created no stir in Sofia, where his devoted subjects remember that not so long ago he heroically sprang from the running board of an automobile driven by his chauffeur and seized the bridles of two terrified horses which were running away with a farm wagon full of children (TIME, Sept. 21, 1925). A few months previous the intrepid Motorist Tsar stopped his car when fired upon by roadside assassins, opened fire with his own revolver and sent the plug-uglies flying for their lives (TIME, April 27, 1925).

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