The Pink Pajamas

Three fresh Americans one time came all the way from Constantinople to Bardezag to experience the "thrills" of the interior. They got a little of the interior getting through the customs at Nicomedia and crossing the Gulf of Q______ and riding up to Bardezag on native pack saddles. They were keen to take the trip which I outlined, namely: to ride over the mountains back of Bardezag; through some Laz villages and past Mount Olympus (Asia Minor edition of the Greek mountain); down to the plains of Nicea, reminiscent of the Nicene Creed; then on to old Busa which was the capitol of the Kingdom of Turkey before they took Constantinople; then East along the Valley which was traversed by the Crusaders; then to Yeni Sheir on the railroad where, in case any of the party tired out, one could take a train back to Constantinople. Then from there striking northwest through some rugged mountain passes and back to Bardezag.

We started forth the next morning a goodly company of eight with horses, four of which were ridden by our horsemen who carried what little luggage we took with us for a three weeks' trip. We were armed with shot-guns for there was a chance of game, and a really modern revolver which one of the Americans in the party insisted upon bringing. We took a footpath straight up back of the village over the peak of Surpiminas where we passed a chapel deep in the woods. This chapel was once occupied by a Greek hermit years and years ago. The hermit so discountenanced the devil by refusing him entrance that the devil in a rage stamped his foot on a rock in front of the chapel and the hoofed footprint can be seen there to this very day.

Our horseman had our full confidence and they took us through devious pathways which led through secret tobacco fields on small clearings hidden away in the forest where tobacco was grown unknown to the Government and smokes sold to smokers. The path frequently dipped down precipitous slopes where the horses did wondrous feats in maintaining their footholds across torrential streams and up into the depths of the forest, along high cliffs until we reached the village of Memenshe. There we enjoyed the hospitality of our good friend, the Priest. Our travelers were busy all day packing their cameras but when they suddenly came upon the village, they vowed by everything sacred that they would not leave the next morning until they had taken pictures of the village from every angle possible. The pictures being taken, and accompanied by the Priest who insisted upon riding with us for half of the next day, we started down the mountain and along an entrancing valley where we bagged three quail. At noon, we stopped by a Holy Spring around which Hawthorn bushes were bedecked with hundreds of variegated colored rags, - aged and time-worn, - mementoes of pious travelers who had gone before. After a luncheon repast of fresh quail, we bade good-bye to out hospitable host who started on his journey back to his home, while we rode forth down the foothills of the plain and along the shores of a lake to the modern village of N________. Here we put up for the night in an old Turkish Inn. After the horses had been stabled close-by, it was too late to visit the ruins but we sauntered along the narrow streets and listened to the clacking of innumerable storks for every house top had at least one to one half dozen storks' nests all occupied as the birds were roosting for the night.

The stork goes through an elaborate ceremony before it retires. The female settles herself on the nest while the male stands erect close-by and first he raises his head and opens his bill and then lowers his head. He does this repeatedly - opens and closes his bill with a loud clacking sound until his beak comes against his breast. Then the female goes through the same performance and the two birds keep this unintelligible conversation up for a long time. The noise is rather deafening to strange ears but curiously enough it is distinctly soothing and very, very different from the ordinary city noises which disturb one so frequently.

In the Laz village we each had our own bedroom, for the Priest knowing the idiosyncrasies of Americans had insisted on clearing out enough space in his house and in two other houses close-by to give us accommodations. However our sleeping quarters at N_______ were very different. Our luggage was brought into a dark and dingy room that boasted an earthen floor. When the time for retiring came, we opened up our luggage and my fellow travelers prepared themselves for the night. I had gone outside to see the horses and when I returned I noticed a bright spot in the gloomy darkness of the room. This bright spot consisted of one of the Americans clad in pajamas of the brightest pink. He had slept in his clothes the night before and there was nothing for it but that he should be comfortable that night as he fondly hoped to be in nothing but pajamas. The preparations the rest of us made for the night were simply to remove our boots and loosen our collars. Just before going to sleep I remembered, however, to button up my neck band and tie the strings around my sleeves at my wrists. As a consequence of taking this precaution, I fared much better than the others in having the least amount of exposed flesh for the meals of the nightly denizens.

The man in the pink pajamas, after tossing about for a long time, bitterly repented his folly and was able to secure sleep only by clothing himself again with more clothes.

Before another night had passed we furnished ourselves with Keating's powder which we obtained at Busa and with which we copiously sprinkled ourselves every day for the rest of our trip. A part of that memorable night was spent around a candle light with Professor L_________ who regaled us with cleverly written rhymes on the experiences of pink pajamas in a Turkish Inn.

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