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Foreign News: Dreams in Issari

2 minute read

Dreams in Issari were made of flour. Small Greek boys dreamed of bread loaves piled high on the bare kitchen table. News had come from Peiraeus that a cargo from the U.S. had arrived on a Swedish ship. During the day the people who slumped exhausted in the square whispered of the day the food might reach Issari. There was speculation and argument: This or that might delay the food; what if this or that road were used? perhaps it would not come at all.

For three weeks all-important theories about the flour were discussed and examined from every angle. Then the crier, walking slowly on bare feet, shouted in a loud, thin voice: “Tomorrow. At the Church of Saint Nicholas.” Those who were about to die tried to live another day.

From every side the emaciated shuffled toward the church. The skin stretched tight over their cheekbones. Spidery fingers clutched and dragged at bags and baskets. Then each waited, telling his neighbor how only through a miracle was he or she still alive. The sun cleared the mountains and spread over the village of Arcadia. A child suddenly called out: “Here they come! Here they come!”

The cart was heavy with flour sacks. A Red Cross man helped to unload the food, began the distribution at once. By late afternoon all had received a portion of flour. The bake ovens were fired and bread was soon piled on the kitchen tables. For a few days the children of Issari could see the loaves with their own eyes.

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