The day after losing the job which he had for ten years,
Halo the dustman who was a tiny and very wrinkled old man
appeared for the first time without his dust-car in the part
of the town where he used to work. With the cap which was a
part of his official uniform as a dustman pulled low over
his ears, with his ill-fitting loose coat, his ragged
trousers, his worn-out shoes, he stopped right in the middle
of the street.
Ten years, ten long years...This district where he came
every morning walking slowly alongside his horse had become
a part of his being and there was something of him in these
streets. He used to knock one by one at every door and as
"is there any garbage?" If there was anything to take he
would take it and if not he would not get angry with those
who made him wait and wait and then said "no, we have no
summer and many rainy, stormy, frosty winter he had seen in
this part of the town. During one of these winters his wife
had died and during another his three sons had left him in
the stable of the Municipality and gone forth to earn their
bread in foreign parts. They had left him in that ruined
stable and forgotten him. But he did not complain of his
fate. What terrible yearning he felt now for that stable
with its warm smell of horse-dung!
he had come to love as his own child had been born with his
help in that very stable and had grown up there curried by
him and under his care.
How he loved
like a human being. Stop you said to her and she stopped, go
on you said to her and she went on.Gümüþ’s
of these were as wonderful as
like a human being. When you called her by her name, she
stopped, turned and looked. The night of the day when she
had sprained her leg, how she had moaned, how the tears had
dropped from her beautiful black eyes!
like a human being.
Suddenly a dreadful idea occured
to him: “What if the man from
He frowned, he took off the cap
which was part of his official uniform.
“He’ll beat her!” he muttered to himself, “he'll surely beat
He looked with anger up and down the street. Why didn’t
these people wake up early? If only they could wake up, if
only they could know that Halo had been fired, if only they
could go all of them to the President of the Municipal Board
and say to him:
“What does the man from
about garbage? The man from
won’t even know how to handle a curry-comb. Halo has been
our dustman for ten years. He brought up
refuse to give our garbage to any one but him. It is
impossible that we should give our garbage to any one but
him. It will have to be Halo. We don't want any one else!”
only they could thus protest and if only the President of
the Municipal Board could summon up the Director of the
Cleaning Department and tell him:
“Why did you fire Halo? Halo has been the Dustman of this
quarter of the town for ten years. He brought up
won’t even know how to handle a currycomb. Get rid of the
take back Halo. Come on, do it at once!”
There was hope in his heart. His eyes began to shine. He
smiled with his wrinkled face.
Why should this be impossible? The people living in these
streets, the people with whose doors, door-knockers,
garbage-cans and even with whose cats and dogs he was so
familiar, might not, after all, give up Halo easily. There
were important people living in this quarter of the town, so
important that even the President of the Municipal Board
bowed down to them.
“You wait and see,” he muttered to himself, “if the man
from Bolu has influential
friends so do I!”
Right then the street-sweeper of the district appeared at
the opposite corner. With his long-handled broom he swept
the pavement in a cloud of dust. Halo went up to him.
“I hope you won’t get too tired,” he said.
“Thank you, Uncle Halo,”said the
street- sweeper. “Where is your dust-car?”
“They took it away from me.”
“They took it away from you? Do you mean
to say you have been fired?”
“I have been fired.”
“So you have been fired?”
“I have been fired.”
“And whom did they put in your place?”
“A good for nothing...but you wait and see.”
“So it is true...Our Ibo had told me about it, but I had not
believed him. O poor Uncle Halo!”
“So Ibo told you about it?”
“Yes...the poor old thing said Ibo... What a shame, what a
pity he said.”
“Ibo is a good boy, a brave boy.”
“What are you going to do now?”
“Are you asking me? Wait and see. God is great.”
He looked again at the street.
“The people who live here,” he said, “do you know the people
who live in this street? I swear they’ll never give their
garbage to the man from Bolu.
Do you ask me why?... He won’t
even know how to handle a curry-comb! And do you think the
people who live in this part of the town aren’t aware of it?
I know so many important people here...”
Somewhere near by, a door opened and closed.
“That’s our lawyer,” said Halo.
Something stirred in him, a hope, a brilliant light...
The Lawyer was a man who had a kind and smiling face and who
always spoke softly and pleasantly. In the
Bayrams he used to tip people
generously. On one occasion he had even offered Halo a
“Take a good look at that lawyer,” said Halo; “that lawyer
speaks in such a wonderful way that even your President of
the Municipal Board, like a well trained dog, respectfully
stands on his hind-legs while listening to him.”
“Is that so, Uncle Halo?” asked the street-sweeper; “how do
these important people learn to speak in such a wonderful
Halo’s eyes shone brightly.
“In the school for commanders,” he said. Then he took off
his cap and like a soldier on parade, he stood stiffly at
attention on the sidewalk.
The tall, large-shouldered lawyer,
was hard and shining like a fres
apple. He walked slowly past the dustman and the
street-sweeper, he nodded them
slightly, but did not ask them what they wanted.
Halo amazed, stood looking after him.
“How his shoes creaked!” said the street-sweeper.
Halo gave no answer. After all this
lawyer was not the only man in this part of the town.
Right then another door, opened.
Halo waited hopefully for the big fat cotton merchant who
came out of it. He again took off his cap and like a soldier
on parade, stood stiffly at attention the side-walk. But the
merchant too walked past them like the lawyer, without
saying anything. He didn’t even look at them.
The doors were opened and closed, people went to their
business, school-children passed by, but nobody took any
notice of Halo.
At last, when the street-sweeper said “don’t
wory, let’s hope everything will
be all right,” and walked away too, Halo lost all hope. For
a long time he looked around him with empty eyes, then he
sat wearily on the side-walk and took his head between his
The sun was high up by now. The windows facing the east were
all red. Out of one of the narrow streets appeared a
hunch-backed old woman. She had a huge basket in her hand.
As she walked on talking to herself, she happened to glance
“What’s that?” she muttered, “what
has the man done with his dust-car?”
She went close to him:
“Where is your dust-car?”
Halo looked up at the old woman.
“I don't have a dust-car, mother,” he said, “I no longer
have a dust-car!”
“Why? What happened?”
“They took it away from me, they have fired me.”
“Why did they fire you ?”
“In order to give my job to the man who is protected by the
Director of the Cleaning Department.”
He looked at the old woman with a last glimmer of hope in
The old woman squatted on the pavement opposite him.
“Yes,” she said, “the whole
trouble lies in this question of
favouritism. Haven’t they fired my poor
Sedat in order to give his job
to a slut with painted lips? Don’t think that I am praising
him because he is my grandson, but where can they find a
nice intelligent boy like my Sedat
nowadays? He doesn’t drink, he doesn't smoke, he doesn't go
to bad places...And it happened just as my darling boy was
expecting a raise in his poor little salary. And I was
thinking that as soon as we get the raise we should buy two
sacks of coal and keep them for the winter. I guess we’ll
have very bad weather this coming winter. You know those
terribly cold winter days when the wind begins to blow...
“Don’t I know them,” said Halo; “my
born in one of these cold days... You remember,
year when they said the telephone wires broke and the earth
cracked... But the stable was so warm...If you ask me why,
it is because I don’t remove the horse-dung. Let it remain
where it is.. It keeps the stable
at midnight. The mother I mean
mother of my
wisdom of God cannot be questioned... Mares, too,moan
like a woman in labour. When I
woke up the whole stable was moaning. Outside the snow was
knee-high. The storm shook the stable. But the stable was so
last the head of
appeared. But you ask poor
she went through. Her black eyes were wet with tears and so
sad, so sad...”
He again took his head between his fists. He seemed even
smaller, shrunk in his wide loose uniform.
like a human being,” he said, shaking his head; “stop you
said to her and she stopped, go on you said to her and she
like a human being. When you spoke to her she understood
you. When you called her by her name, she turned
looked at you.
wept, she moaned, she laughed.Gümüþ
like a human being...O
He was not even aware that the old woman had gone. Leaning
against the side-walk, he got up. All wrinkled, tiny,
slowly walked away from this quarter of the town.
Bead, Coral, Willow
A town in Anatolia