Beyaz Pantolon - The White Trousers By Yaşar Kemal (Tra.Thilda Kemal)

02/08/2010 16:06:58

The White Trousers by Yaşar Kemal

Here is a lovely story written by Yaşar Kemal. It is about a little boy who wants to have white trousers so much. Will he be able to wear the white trousers at the end? Let's read and see...

It was hot. Mustafa held the old shoe. He thought he would never be able to repair it. He looked at thecobbler who was repairing another shoe. "I can't do it," Mustafa said. "But you haven't started yet!" replied the cobbler.

 "But master, the shoe is so old..." 

The cobbler was silent. Mustafa was trying to repair the shoe again when Hasan Bey, awealthyfriend of the cobbler, came into the shop.

 "My friend," he said. "I need a boy to help fire mybrick-kiln. Can I have this one? Only for three days." 

 "Would you like to work at the brick-kiln, Mustafa?" asked the cobbler. "It's for three days and three nights, too." 

 "The pay is one and a half liras a day," said Hasan Bey. "Your job is to help Cumali. He's a good man and won't make you work too hard." Mustafa was delighted.

 "O.K. uncle Hasan." he said. "But I'll have to ask my mother..." 

 "Ask her, then and come to my orangegrovetomorrow. The kiln is next to it. You'll start work in the afternoon. I won't be there, but Cumali will." 

The cobbler paid Mustafa twenty-five kuruş a week. He had to work for a month for only one lira! It was July. and a pair of summer shoes cost two liras. A pair of white trousers three... but now, he would get four and a half liras for only three days. "Work! Fantastic! ... First, wash your hands... then take out the white, canvas shoes... your socks must be white, too. You must be very, very careful with the white trousers. They get dirty so quickly." Then go to the bridge where the other young people walk in the cool evenings...

 "Mother!" he cried, when he got home. "I'm going to fire Hasan Bey's kiln with Cumali!" 

 "Who says so? Certainly not."   "But, mother..."   "My child, the firing-kiln is very hard work. No sleep for three days and three nights."   "But. Mum..."   "You'll fall asleep."   "Look, Mum. You know Sami. Tevfik Bey's son?"   "Yes?"   "He has really good white trousers and white shoes. I've got a white shirt. Wouldn't I look good?" 

Mustafa knew his mother. She began to cry a little.

 "Wouldn't I look good in white trousers and shoes?"   "My darling, you'd look good in anything..."   "Oh. Mum. Say I can go" 

 "Well. I don't know..." she said slowly.

He knew she would say yes.

 "When I'm big..." he began.

 "You'll work very hard. You'll be just like your father. If he hadn't died. You would have gone to school and become a great man..." 

The next morning. Mustafa got up early and went to the kiln. It was twelve o'clock when Cumali arrived. He was a big man and walked slowly.

 "What are you doing here?" he shouted.

Mustafa was afraid. He felt like running away.

 "Hasan Bey sent me to help you." 

Cumali was angry.

 "What does Hasan Bey think he's doing sending me a child no bigger than his hand. Go back and tell him I want someone else." 

Mustafa walked away. Then he stopped. He was thinking about the white trousers. He wanted to cry.

 "Uncle Cumali," he said. "I'll work harder than a man." 

 "You're a child. Do you know how hard it is to fire a kiln?"   "Oh, yes." 

Then Mustafa said, "I can't go back. Hasan Bey paid mein advanceand I've spent the money," 

 "Go away."   "Oh, uncle Cumali. I'll work really hard. Please."   "Well, O.K...." 

Cumalilitthe kiln. He gave Mustafa some instructions and then went to sit under a tree.

Mustafa kept the fire burning in the kiln by adding lots of wood. His face was red from the heat of the sun and the heat of the kiln.

At the end of the afternoon Cumali called Mustafa to eat with him. He had been lying under the trees. Mustafa was very hungry and thirsty and when they had finished Cumali said, "I'm going to sleep now. Wake me up when you're tired." 

Mustafa continued to fire the kiln all night. Once, Cumali asked him if he was tired or wanted help but Mustafa replied.

 "Oh, no. uncle Cumali! I never get tired. You go back to sleep." 

The young boy worked hard all night. In the morning, when Cumali woke up, he told Mustafa to go and sleep. He was asleep when Hasan bey arrived.

 "How is the boy? Is he working well'?" 

 "He's too young." said Cumali.

 "Well, there's nothing I can do now. But I'll make it worth your while," said Hasan bey as he left.

When Mustafa woke up the sun was beating down again and his body felt so tired.

 "Uncle Cumali," he cried. "I'm sorry I slept so long." 

 "I told you, you couldn't do the job," said Cumali.

All the time he was working Mustafa thought of the white trousers. Now it was the last night. Cumali was asleep. Mustafa was very angry with him.

Suddenly, he felt sick.

 "Uncle Cumali!" he cried.

Then he fainted.

When Cumali woke up he saw the kiln was dark. He ran over to the boy, shouted at him and kicked him.

 "I'll be in trouble now, you stupid child," cried Cumali angrily.

But when he looked inside the kiln more carefully, he could just see a small light.

 "Uncle Cumali, really, I'm sorry. I didn't mean to...." 

 "Shut up!" said Cumali.

Mustafa sat sadly until the sun rose. Then he fell asleep.

A brick-kiln is large andspacious. When it is first lit the bricks are blue-grey in colour: the second day they turn black but on day three they are fiery red....

Mustafa woke up. He was afraid. The sun was a quarter high and Hasan was standing near the kiln. The bricks were bright red.

 "Well my boy," Hasan bey laughed. "So you came here to sleep, did you?" 

 "Uncle. I promise you. every night...." 

Cumali gave him a black look. He was too afraid to say any more.

They closed the kiln.

After Mustafa had been working again with the cobbler for a week. Hasan bey passed the shop. "Hasan, when are you going to pay the boy?" shouted the cobbler. Hasan stopped. He put down one lira and two twenty-five kuruş coins.

 "But that's not enough," said the cobbler. "He worked 3 days." 

 "He slept all the time so I gave the rest of the money to Cumali." 

 "Uncle, no. Every night...." began Mustafa but Hasan would not listen.

There was a long silence. Then the cobbler said.

 "Look. Mustafa. You repair shoes very well now. You are a good worker. From now on I'll pay you a lira a week." 

Mustafa's eyes were shining.

 "Here are five liras. Go and get your white trousers and white shoes. I'll take Hasan's money so you owe me only three and a half weeks' pay." 

Mustafa was overjoyed.

In those days the blue five-lira note had a picture of a wolf running in the wind with its tongue hanging out.

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