An Adventure (part 1)
by Luz Lancha de Bairacli Levy © 2007
The Silver Fox and other Stories - Table of Contents
We decided to go away, just Talma and I. We had both had enough —
her children, my husband — everyone seemed to be getting on
everyone else’s nerves. It was the heat. It had become unbearable!
One could no longer sleep because of the heat. People everywhere were
bad tempered because of this. Everything was blamed on the heat!
So, we booked a small house for a week in a mountain village. Every
winter our chosen destination transforms into an extremely crowded
ski-resort. Now we hoped that we would find it deserted.
“What are you going to do there this time of year?” my
sarcastic friends at work inquired.
“Breathe,” I replied, “Breathe lots of cool fresh
air.” Their envious faces sneered at me.
Just as we were about to set off on our journey, I received a phone
call. My friends, with whom I was to leave my dog, phoned to say that
they could not manage it.
“. . . because of the heat. We are so sorry. . . .”
So we ended up having to haul my large golden Afghan hound along.
Poor fellow, it would have been cruel to have left him behind in the
oppressive stuffy city while we were off to breathe clean invigorating
We set off in my friend’s car. It was early on a hot breathless
morning. We were in high spirits. Even the dog seemed to appreciate
the cool breeze coming in through the open windows. With the suffocating
city behind us, we at first drove along the coastline, then after
an hour or so, we branched off to the right, towards the mountains
of the north. As soon as we took the turn I gave out a long sigh.
“Anything wrong?” Talma asked me.
“On the contrary, I feel happy and free. I haven’t felt
this way in years!”
“Great! I feel the same way. We are going to have fun, fun,
fun!” Talma said, drumming her hands on the steering wheel.
We stopped at a roadside magazine stand to stretch our limbs. A young
man wearing an olive-green army uniform came up to us.
“What a lovely dog! Do you perhaps have a puppy for sale?”
he asked politely.
“No,” I replied. “He is a male.”
Talma caught my eyes and transmitted a “wait a minute”
sort of message to me, then she turned towards the young man. “Are
you really interested in a puppy? They are expensive you know; this
is a very special dog! He has papers and all that.”
Trust Talma — always looking out for a business deal. She continued
her sales pitch, “If you’re serious, give us your phone
number. We will let you know when there are puppies for sale,”
she said, smiling sweetly.
The young man shot me an icy glance. He then brought out from an elegant
leather wallet a fancy-looking business card. This he placed gently
into Talma’s hand and then he walked away.
Talma looked at the card and blushed. “You silly thing!”
she scolded me, laughing. She held out the card for me to see. Fine
gold lettering spelt out the name of one of the richest families in
“He could buy a pack of dogs like yours if he wanted to,”
“So what! He didn’t look like much!” I said in self-defense.
We got back into the car and began to maneuver along the narrow winding
mountain road. The air became gradually cooler, scented with wild
thyme and pine.
“Just think of what you’ve missed . . . all that money!”
Talma said in a dreamy voice.
“Come on, don’t say you didn’t notice the way he
looked at you!”
“Talma, leave me alone!” She was forever fond of teasing
me, and of course I didn’t take her words seriously, but nonetheless
they succeeded in carrying me to far-off lands, where people can afford
packs of Afghan hounds, and much more. . . .
The landscape became serene and the first few pine trees came into
view. We continued the slow pleasant climb which would eventually
deliver us to our destination.
We stopped the car as soon as we spotted the small village, to take
in the view from a distance. On the opposite side of the mountain,
red rooftops peeped out from amongst the deep green pine trees. A
light blue swimming pool glittered in the sun.
“Look!” Talma called out excitedly. “Like toys!”
I rested my eyes upon this quiet, green, simple village, but then
something else stole into my vision. The village appeared to be surrounded
by a high steel fence. Coiled barbed wire traveled along the top of
this unnatural barrier, and I saw a large open metal gate, what looked
like the only entrance into the community.
“Strange,” I commented.
“Don’t forget where we are!” Talma said.
“How could I?” I thought, eyeing the unnatural double-decked
fence. We were less than a mile from the much-feared Syrian border.
We drove down to the village. We arrived at the reception office after
passing through the security gate. There was no one in sight. The
air was clear and crisp, and scented with the lovely fragrance of
the many pine trees.
A young woman came up the path, accompanied by two huskies. I immediately
feared that a fight might break out amongst the dogs, but to my surprise
these hosts appeared to be instantly friendly towards their guest.
We were taken to our house: three small rooms with a lovely porch
overlooking the valley below. Lush green lawn completely surrounded
the house. The woman informed us that both a bar and a television
room would be available for our pleasure in the evenings if we wished.
In the afternoon, accompanied by the three dogs, we set out to explore
the area. The huskies turned out to be sweet-natured and playful,
so we welcomed their company on our stroll. We ambled along the road
circling the village, just outside the boundary fence. Beyond the
road, in the valley below, began the zone known as “no-man’s
land” — the area between the Israeli and Syrian borders.
“Imagine!” I exclaimed. “That is another country
just over there.” I pointed to the dark, forested hills immediately
across the valley from where we stood. “Those birds there are
abroad!” I added laughing. I turned to Talma and said, “We
live in such a small country, and we are completely surrounded by
hostile neighbors; this has great significance for us as a nation.”
Talma, however, was not one for politics, and she answered me, “It
feels like being in the Alps!” She breathed in deeply the cool
When evening came we went to the bar. After a while a group of soldiers
trundled in from a late-night patrol. They appeared very attractive
to us in their camouflaged uniforms, and they looked at us also with
interest. We were the only women there, except for the young woman
who had met us on our arrival.
One of the men especially attracted my attention. He was extremely
handsome, with jet-black hair and honey-colored eyes. To my surprise
he came up to me.
“They tell me that that strange looking dog outside belongs
to you,” he said in Hebrew, but with a slight accent.
I knew then, upon hearing him, that he was a Druse Arab. Men of that
mysterious tribe serve in the Israeli army; they are greatly esteemed
soldiers, known to be truly brave and highly honorable.
“Yes,” I replied, “he is my dog — any problem?”
“No, no, he is so unlike any other dog I have ever seen, he’s
almost like a mountain goat!” the man said smiling, then he
“My God!” Talma said quietly. “What a gorgeous looking
man! I am going to get a dog like yours as soon as I get back! Just
look at the success you have had in only one day!”
continue to part two....
by Luz Lancha de Bairacli Levy © 2007
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