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Full text of "Journeys In Persia And Kurdistan ( Vol.Ii)."

296                  JOUENETS IN KURDISTAN       LETTER xxix

" Seventeen years the oppressions have begun ; but it was ten
years ago when we could easily keep ourselves and raise our bread—

now we cannot. In ------, five years ago, all had plenty of

dress and bread, and every family kept two cows and two hundred
or more of sheep. But now, when I visited them, I would shame
to look at the female persons, so naked were they, and so did they
hide themselves for shame in the dark parts of their houses, for
their dress was all in pieces, so that their flesh was seen. I was
thirsty and asked for milk, and they made reply, ' Oh, we have not
a cow, or a sheep, or a goat: we forget the taste of milk !' And
most of their fine fields were gone out of their hands by oppressions,
for they could no longer find money wherewith to pay taxes, and
they sold them for a vile price.

"K------ was the best village in Sopana, and more wealthy

than any village of Kurds or Christians. There I went and asked
for some milk. They said, * Never a goat, or a sheep, or a cow
have we.7 I ask of all the families their condition, and they make
reply, with many tears, ' AH that we have has left our hands, and
we fear for our lives now. We were rich, now we have not bread

to eat from day to day.7 Seventeen years ago the village of B------

had fifty families of wealthy villagers, but now I only find twelve,
and those twelve could scarcely find bread. I had asked bread,
but I could not find it. By day their things were taken by
force out of their houses: at night their sheep and cattle were
driven off. They could keep nothing. Our wheat, our sheep, our
butter is not our own. The chief, Mohammed Bey, and his servants
ask of us, saying, * Give, or we will kill you.7"

9

This is a sample of innumerable tales to which I listen
daily. Some are probably grossly exaggerated, others,
and this among them, are probably true in all essential
particulars. Daily, from all quarters, men arrive with
their complaints of robbery and violence, and ask the
Patriarch to obtain redress for them, but he is powerless.

My favourite walk is down the fair green lawn out-
side the village, on which is a copse of poplars, with
foliage of reddening gold. Beside it, on the verge of the