«- Every man on earth has problems in his life. That’s the way it is. There are so many people on earth. There isn’t one family without problems. I don’t know your problem. Otherwise I could explain better. When you go to see a doctor, you tell him where it hurts. Excuse me, you’re not Turkish, are you? Here’s a joke. Don’t feel offended. A Turk goes to see a doctor. He tells him: “When I touch my body with my finger, it hurts. When I touch my head, it hurts, my legs, it hurts. My belly, my hand, it hurts”. The doctor examines him and then tells him: “Your body’s fine, but your finger’s broken!”. My dear man, your mind is ill, but there’s nothing wrong with you. Change your outlook. (…) The world isn’t the way you see it. You have to change your outlook and change the world. Be optimistic. Look at things positively. You’re in your prime! Because of some minor problem, you want to commit suicide. For one single problem. Life is like a train that keeps on moving forward, and then reaches the end of the line, the terminus. And death waits at the terminus. Of course, death is a solution, but not at first, not during your youth. Forgive me for dragging you off along this rocky road. You think something is good, then realize you’re wrong. The main thing is to think hard. You believe what you do is right, but then you realize that you’re wrong. Talk, say something to give me a breather. I’ve talked too much, I’ve said everything. I’ve given a whole speech. Just say something! Turn left here, please. In any case, if you don’t talk, I’ll talk some more. If you don’t talk, I will. Have you lost all hope? Have you ever looked at the sky when you wake in the morning? At dawn, don’t you want to see the sun rise? The red and yellow of the sun at sunset, don’t you want to see that anymore? Have you seen the moon? Don’t you want to see the stars? The night of the full moon, don’t you want to see it again? You want to close your eyes? Please, take the right fork! The people on the other side would like to take a look here and you want to rush over there! Don’t you ever want to drink water from a spring again? Or wash your face in that water? Turn right! If you look at the four seasons, each season brings fruit. In summer, there’s fruit, in autumn, too. Winter brings different fruit, and spring, too. No mother can fill her fridge with such a variety of fruit for her children, no mother can do as much for her children as God does for His creatures. You want to refuse all that? You want to give it all up? You want to give up the taste of the mulberries? Don’t. I’m your friend, I’m begging you! Turn right. Turn right, this is the main road. Turn left, please. Before I get out, I’m going to sing you a song in Turkish. It means: “My love, I’m flying off, come to me. I’m hounded from my friend’s garden, come to me. From happy days before, I’ve fallen on hard times, come to me”. Tell me, we barely know each other. You go, I’m your friend. You stay, I’m your friend. In any case, I’m your friend. You stay, I’m your friend. You go, I’ll be your friend, too. Good-bye.
– Do you work here? Wait. Tell me what you do.
– I told you, I work here at the Natural History Museum.
– No, I mean tomorrow morning.
– Tomorrow, I come at dawn. I call twice: “Mister… Mister…”
– Badii, and you reply. Then I take your hand to help you out.
– And if I don’t reply?
– You will reply! Inch’Allah, I know what you’ll say.
– But what if I don’t reply?
– I’ll do what you asked me to do, don’t worry!
– Say it to put my mind at ease.
– Some things are easier to do than to say.
– In any case, you’ll do it
– If it wasn’t for my child, I wouldn’t. Believe me, it’s hard. It’s a deal. I come and I cover you with earth.
– You take your money and you leave.
– What a relief for you! I must go, the kids are waiting.
– May this money help to cure your child. Keep your promise, or you won’t be blessed.
– I hope you’ll be all right.
– Take this now. You’ll get the rest tomorrow.
– Thanks for bringing me back here. Thanks again!
– I’ll see you at six tomorrow. Or rather, you’ll see me at six.
– God willing, you’ll see me too.
– Take it, take the money.
– Thank you but no. After I do the job. (…)
– Sir, please, could you take our photo? It’s all set, just press the button. Thank you.
– Hey, what’s wrong? Are you in a hurry to die?! He’s crazy, man!
– Sir, I want to see the man who just came in.
– Many men come in.
– He had a blue jacket.
– His name?
– He works here. He was carrying a bag.
– Many men work here.
– He had a bag full of quails for the students. To stuff them.
– What’s his name?
– I don’t know. He has a sick child, with anemia.
– Oh, you mean the old man who works in the workshop. Mr. Bagheri…
– Yes, Mr. Bagheri. Could you call him?
– We can’t do that.
– Can I go in?
– You need a ticket.
– Please! How much is it?
– 100 tomans.
– Where do I go now?
– Follow the path, turn right. Behind the main building, you’ll find “Taxidermy”.
– Four, please.
– Thanks, Mr. Bagheri. More partridges!
– Just as good! What you get is a matter of luck. Please, girls. A partridge or a quail. [Uma perdiz ou uma codorniz.]
– We were supposed to study quails!
– Birds don’t fall into the net to make you happy.
– Mr. Bagheri, someone for you.
– First, you have to lie them on their backs and wet the thorax feathers with a sponge. Then slit them open with a scalpel along the whole length of the body. Don’t cut too deeply or the innards will spill out.
– Mr. Bagheri come and sit with me.
– No, thank you. I’m busy.
– Mr. Bagheri, are you well?
– Yes, thank you.
– That white coat suits you.
– Thank you very much.
– What were you doing? What birds have you handed out?
– Quails? Did you kill them?
– Yes. For work.
– You’re well then? I have something to tell you.
– Go on.
– When you come in the morning, bring two small stones and throw them at me. I might just be asleep, but still alive!
– Two stones aren’t enough. I’ll use three.
– Shake my shoulders too! Perhaps I’ll be alive.
– You promised me!
– Even if they behead me, I’ll keep my word.
– You promised. Don’t forget, don’t let me down.
– Can you hear me? Tell your men to stay near the tree to rest. The shoot is over. We’re here for a sound take.»
– Abbas Kiarostami, “The Taste of the Mulberry” (1997).
Papageno & Papagena duet (from W. A. Mozart’s opera) in “The Magic Flute” (1975), by Ingmar Bergman.
The mulberry thorax of Artemis of Ephesus, 1st century AD.