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Eestikeelsed artiklid



Mehis Heinsaar


Vilen Künnapu

Mathura (Margus Lattik)

Harry Pye

Udo Kultermann

Rael Artel



The Traveller’s Happiness

The traveller’s happiness came from Latvia. Who knows what kind of mood it was in when it came or who sent it on its way, but in any case, it came with a big southern wind. Together with late summer clouds it sailed over large forests and felled areas, over rivers and villages like a sparkling wind or vaporized water – without a sound, color, or scent – carrying further and further towards Estonia. Over Ruhja and Ungurini, over Lilli and Karksi, until the squall blew him into the mouth of a man in the middle of Halliste as he was yawning in his own yard. Happiness slid down his windpipe, straight to the exhausted stomach from various food and drinks, mixing there with glands and acids, carrying long exhausted rivers of nerves to the brain and the soul, received an imagine and thought for itself, eyes and hearing, finally understood that his name is now Aap Anderson and thought while rejoicing:

„Yes, yes, I am a 50 year-old man already, I have worked hard all my life and I have 3 healthy and strong children, 4 bank accounts, 2 houses, a wife whom I don’t love, though who loves me more than that, and also a lover in Haapsalu who keeps my soul young. I couldn’t want anything more from life!”
And the traveller’s happiness went into the room and made a fire in the fireplace, stuffed his pipe full of tobacco and poured himself 50 grams. Yes, it’s good to be alive!

Having drank his cognac and lit his pipe, happiness now remembered his former youth and first love, that beautiful and poor girl, whom he had left in the name of a better life, years of endless hard work on different farms, beautiful moments spent with friends fishing and in the mountains and now all this brought wistful tears to his eyes.

„Yes, yes, I have lived a difficult but interesting life,” he thought. „I have worked and seen poverty, amassed wealth, gained respect and despite an ulcer and kidney stones I am doing better and better.”
But then happiness became bored for some reason in this totally exhausted and wheezy body and left through the pipe smoke and breath from Aap Anderson, flying from the house through an open window and with a southern wind further towards Viljandi.

It was carried over yellow cornfields, green fir groves and low alder trees as scentless and colorless plankton, as a subtle flicker until one insect-catching swallow accidently bit it and swallowed it. The traveller’s happiness now became a swallow and glided up and down hunting insects, with lightening-quick dashes forwards and backwards, feeling enjoyment from the warm light around him and the sweet meat of the flies, though the bird cast him out of his backside at Mustla and happiness rained down straight as bird shit into the eye of a man laying down in the grass. He jumped up frightened, rubbed his eyes and thus pressed happiness ever deeper into his skull, intestines and nerves, until happiness finally fused with the man and understood that his name is now Venjamin the metal worker, that he is missing his left hand and his liver is worn out through drinking, though life is still beautiful and worth all that mi­sery. Happiness looked for a time more together with Venjamin between the nomadic clouds and swallows among of them, drank half a bottle of vodka lounging on the grass next to him, then, while smiling, tore a strap from his belt and went into the room whistling to beat his wife.

In the kitchen the busy wife understood immediately by watching that today he was somehow in a good mood and because of this adjusted her wide bottom quite happily in front of happy Venjamin. And when the hitting started, she whimpered indeed with enormous hate and pain and from her whole throat, though in this whimpering there was also a moderate amount of lust and amusement.

„Yes, I don’t have any property, it rains through the roof and the children were taken to a children’s home because we don’t have the money to raise them,” thought the traveller’s happiness at the same time, „and my whole life has gone to hell for the most part, but I have a wife I love and who is fun to beat. I get a pension from the state and I sleep as much as I want, no one comes to stop me from doing anything or boss me around – well!....life is good after all...”

And out of a great joy Venjamin the metal worker farted right where he was, which is how the traveller’s happiness again catapulted out of him and the mood of the metal worker became so strange once more that he didn’t feel like beating his wife anymore.

But the traveller’s happiness had nothing more to do with it, once again it joined the southern wind and flew as a tender twinkling further towards Viljandi.

The clouds came together, it began to rain and the traveller’s happiness rained down as hundreds of thousands of drops on the flesh of a young girl, into her blond hair, light eyebrows and clothes, soaking into the poors of the skin and between the lips, fusing with both her breathing and mind until it felt that it had become Mari-Ann, a young girl.

Stepping through the rain towards home, happiness now suddenly felt a special joy from her slim body, swinging hips and strong breasts, felt joy over her long and fair hair, her own affection and curiosity towards the world and that she without reason suddenly smiled at each passer-by. She felt joy over her glimmering eyes, innocence, the simple and clear thoughts in her head and the glances of men looking back at her lustfully on the street.

Seeing and feeling all of this, happiness joyfully began to hum a tune, then slid out from between the red lips of the girl again, rose with the warm air streams up into the sky and carried further, going farther and farther north.

Between Tõravere and Koltsi the traveller’s happiness suddenly became a white cloud, hovered over a neglected meadow, stopped for a moment in the glance of a woman as old as the hills and then dispersed once again into an invisible and flickering substance.

Somewhere in Rapla the wind suddenly turned and began blowing from the southeast. The traveller’s happiness was now carried towards the sea, reached the Rooslepa beach, stuck itself there with dust fuzz on a sandwich a fair-haired boy was eating and was carried to the stomach by the esophagus, and in this way scattered through his whole body, feeling at last that his name was now Ilmar and that he was only 8 years old. With eyes full of confusion, happiness now stopped to watch the curved pine trees swinging in the shore wind, listened to the roar of the wavesand, looked at the flickering horizon in the distance. He felt the distant alluring omens emerging in himself all of a sudden, an uncertain quiver in his diaphragm tingling and the scent of great beginnings.

All of these feelings fulfilled the soul of the happy boy with sparkling restlessness, so much that he couldn’t do anything other but pierce through the long bank hooting and through this hooting, happiness once again flew out of him, rose twirling high into the air and was carried over the sunny sea in a northwesterly direction further.

Somewhere in the heart of Hiiumaa island, in the middle of the forests of Pihla-Kaibaldi, happiness suddenly got tangled up between a pine branch and a spiderweb and then fell down from above straight between someone’s foamy jaws, someone who didn’t know its own name and was chasing after others. And by sliding down the throat and melting in his bodily juices, the traveller’s happiness became one with his eyes filled with blood and his hunger – his frenzied hunt for a creature he was running after and whom he had to catch at any price. And despite the quick capture of the one running in front he came ever closer to his prey, springed and sinked his fangs into his neck. Something sweet and juicy, warm and nutritious the traveller’s happiness now felt together with the creature between its teeth, something, that filled its thin and hungry body with strength and energy once more, cleared its vision, injected wickedness and power into its vigour again and lust into its body. Ripping out big and thick pieces of meat from his prey and gobbling them down half intact, it felt the need to roll on his killed prey right there smearing himself from top to bottom with warm blood and feces, those smells made it crazy and filled him with a lust, so that right there he had to mark the closest tree with a scent – though happiness also flowed out together with the urine in which he had just been in, rose up again into the air with the warm steam and was carried with the help of the wind further towards the west.

He floated further over the lakes and tall pines on the dunes of Tihu – colorless, scentless and glittering – slipping to the very tip of the peninsula, on the side of Kalana, together with the murmur of the sea and cries of the seagulls, into a half-blind old man through the ear, who had stopped to listen to the elements. He slipped inside, scattered through the body that had become skinny, and in this way became the ancient Jaanus Laidmaa, who didn’t remember much from his life or rather didn’t want to remember anything. Happiness went with the old man into the room, sat down in front of the open mouth of the oven and watched the fire with his half-blind eyes, with only the warm glimmer of the lights to be discerned by his eyes worn out by life.

The traveller’s happiness now felt how some strange memories and words that had no connection with one another circulated in his head, just as if dark animals were appearing out of the fog and once again disappearing into the fog, who seemed unknown and strange to him and suddenly a strange pleasure was offered to happiness by the knowledge that something would happen in his soul which he didn’t understand anymore and which he didn’t care about anymore. This way, those old and strange memories which barely existed in him as ghosts, started suddenly joking so much that he left chewing on salt fish unfinished and started to giggle, then laugh over his laughter and fell into bigger and bigger fits of laughter until the giggling and whinnying became such a fit that old Jaanus Laidmaa couldn’t find any room for breathing anymore and began to choke because of so much laughter until he fell in front of that same mouth of the oven, almost dead, half a fish still in hand and a stiffening grin on the lips. He exhaled for the last time, and together with this last breath the traveller’s happiness left the old man as well, once again rising into the sky through the chimney and was brought to the sea with a cold eastern wind.

The sea, the warm autumn sea kept raging and roaring and single sunrays which crammed themselves between the clouds, made the dark surface sparkle and glitter in spots. But the traveller’s happiness was carried over all of this further and further, through clouds and birds, over waves and small islands, wherever the wind happened to take him. He had plenty of time on his hands.

Mehis Heinsaar

Mehis Heinsaar is a Tartu-based writer. He is the author of three books and a member of the literary movement “Erakkond”.

Drawing in the background: Soho Fond

Drawing by: Angelika Schneider