Friday, October 29, 2010

Karachay: Part 4

Tuesday, May 23rd 1967
Dear Isaak,
Pardon me for expressing my satisfaction in hearing of your troubles. Sometimes, I feel as though all the troubles in the world are seeking out me alone. We too have had the winds. I've advised the village folk to wear cloth about their faces when they go out. Though far less than perfect, this simple shield has kept many from succumbing, I'm sure. Those that do suffer have found their symptoms somewhat alleviated by willowbark tea. I'm sure any sort would aid, but willow’s curious restorative properties may provide additional benefit.
Five more have fallen to fatigue, a not one has yet recovered. The victim I wrote about a week ago was described to me as "shrieking and flailing in the night." He's wearing his wife to the bone, and I've prescribed them both opium from my personal supply to assist their slumbers.
The drought is surely natural, but it is doing untold damage. It has loosed the soil to the winds (have I mentioned how the lake sometimes resembles mud with such a film of dirt atop it?), starved the plants, and even shrinks the lake. The fisherman have caught only the smallest, most twisted fish this year, and proclaim a disgusting eight-legged frog they've found an omen. I place no stock in such rambling.
Perhaps by the time this letter reaches you, all will be recovered. Perhaps not. Either way, I send with it whatever strength I can afford to, and in return, I ask that you send me any opium you can spare. My stores will be depleted in the month.
I do wish you well, brother,

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