Hermes Kitap
"All the birds have fleed away from my branches / Their abandoned nests are drying out like Tears / On the cheeks." Aragon

[Story]"Magpie" | Sultan Yavuz

Magpie | Genco Demirer


To him it was weird that every time he looked out of the window, he saw magpies more than any other birds. Why didn't they leave there and why were they so many? As if when you look out of the window – if it's not the seaside or a different climate – you should mostly see sparrows or pigeons. Even as if you should look at the magpies you rarely see and say "Oh, a magpie!"

Of course he sometimes saw sparrows and pigeons as well. As a matter of fact, the city was full of pigeons. But through his window, he saw magpies the most.

I don't know if magpies irritated everyone. But this man was really furious. He was always saying "Here come the magpies again!" And he was always complaining "One more… One more! Damn birds, it's like they are doing it on purpose! They say that the ones you don't like always look at you in the face!"

He lost his temper completely when one day, more to their flights around and squealing, two magpies came and nested onto the poplar tree in front of his window. "I can't believe this! You have gone too far now! I even prefer crows to you, you vile creatures!"

He was out of patience. For him, the magpies were quite deceitful and sneaky. It was as if they were backbiters. Female ones were cunning, male ones were bummers. There they were, building a nest right next to his window on purpose, just to drive him mad!

Days were passing by. Sometimes, on windy days, he became very hopeful. When the thin poplar branches were shaking fiercely, he felt so full of joy thinking "This time this nest is going to fall, come on, fall down!" But the nest never fell down. "What a work they did there, did you glue that thing, huh?"

If he could climb the tree –if the branches were thick enough to carry him- or if he could reach the nest through the window, he would be very happy to destroy it with his own hands. Sometimes, when he was having breakfast right next to the window, he couldn't control his anger and threw forks or sugar cubes. Even one night, when he was quite drunk, he threw his raki glass to the nest. But what's the use of doing it? Besides not having hit the nest, things he threw brought the neighbor downstairs to complain: "We're tired of you throwing things out of the window! I wonder if you are going to throw the TV out soon. What if they hit someone that was passing by the street in the head? Don't you ever think? I don't understand why you keep throwing stuff out anyway!"

The man was too embarrassed to answer. He could only say stuttering in a low voice: "Mag…pie…" He apologized and promised the neighbor that he won't throw his stuff out again. The neighbor, who went downstairs shaking his head angrily as before, must have been convinced, because he never came back again. For, on the following days, the man threw two more tea spoons out. The nest didn't fall down. The neighbor didn't come. And the magpies kept singing.

It was as if the magpies were responsible for everything. The bad weather, meals without salt, expensive bills, the man slipping and falling down in the bathroom, economical crisis and even global warming… The magpies were evil, they were bad eyed. What should he do with them? How should he send them away? What if these vile creatures stayed there as long as he lived in that apartment? As if there was nowhere else to go? Like they had to stay there! They could have nested on the trees across the street, maybe then the man would be less furious. He was scared. The magpies could lead to some worse troubles some day. And not only for the man, but for the whole world… He imagined them surrounding the world. Thousands, millions of magpies and that noise! Everywhere…

Sometimes his fury subdued, he was just staring at the magpies with empty eyes and weeks went by.

One morning, as he was having breakfast next to the window, he felt weird. There was something missing. Olives, tomatoes, cheese, tea, bread, jam and omelet, they were all there. And also the show on the TV… Then what was missing? The magpies weren't there! But how? His eyes grew bigger; no, the nest was still there. But the magpies… They were probably out to find some food. "Damn things will probably be back soon."

Hours passed, the tea and the omelet got cold. The news kept going on the TV. Today it is silent. "They didn't come back, but why? Where the hell are those damn magpies?" They didn't come back that evening, and then a last hope? They didn't come the day after either. He understood that they weren't ever coming back. He looked at the nest, and burst into tears.

Sayı: 32, Yayın tarihi: 22/11/2008

» You can read the story in Turkish from
Translation published on 06/04/2009
Translated by
Gülbeste Öçal

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