He was born for this kind of duty. Yes, Georgi Okhrana had travelled over 2,000 miles to protect the security of his masters quarters. Life for him was defending his surroundings from any incoming threats, and he did so with the kind of loyalty and determination that would make any parent proud. Important as it was to him to remain faithful to his own country, he remained dressed in his traditional Bulgarian clothing. One singular red rose adorning the right side of his hat.
During the hours or days that his master would spend away from his quarters, Georgi still remained vigilant, but would begin to remember what it was he had left. He thought of the food, of the people and most of all of his parents. Some days he felt lonely, and on those days he would draw little patterns on the wood of the desk he now called home. He wondered if his master would ever come home and discover these patterns and smile, knowing it was he who had put them there. But he never did, he continued to work, sleep, cry and laugh, occasionally glancing over at Georgi with a curious and indecipherable smile.
Then one day Georgi set about his work, with a chipper mood about him, there was something in the air of the day that felt familiar. He could not place it. As he looked over at his master, sleeping silently in his bed, he wondered if it had something to do with him. An anniversary? His birthday? But none seemed to make sense. Then as the rising rings of his masters alarm rang out, he woke from his slumber. He woke and as if in a flash, was up and looking at Georgi.
“Good Morning, Georgi. Do you know what today is?”
Georgi could not, of course, respond so he merely stood there waiting to see if his master would explain all his confusion.
“It’s the 1st March, Georgi. Happy Baba Marta Day”.
Baba Marta. What was more familiar in the air of the day than that of Baba Marta? Nothing. The beginning of the month of March was no normal start for Georgi. It meant change and unity. Little red and white bracelets called Martenitsa’s would be gifted to friends and loved ones for good health and prosperity. The very fact that his master knew anything of the day filled with him with a homely joy. Yet what was more extraordinary was his following actions.
“Thank you for your duty, soldier” His master praised him.
Following his appraisal, his master fumbled through his pockets to retrieve a small and carefully made Martenitsa bracelet. The bracelet, looking even smaller in his masters hands, made it’s way to Georgi. His master placed his Martenitsa over his head and rested it on his neck, like a pendant.
“See you later, Georgi” His master called out to him as he readied himself for work and left for the day.
Georgi briefly let his guard down for a moment. He needed to process this. Such a small gesture had left a great impact on him. Of all these days looking after his master, so far away from home, living a dream he had always imagined, this was perhaps the best. This smile he had always worn seemed to hold an even brighter quality now. The distance, the loneliness, the change, it was always for something better; something that gave him purpose. Now here he stood, dressed in his traditional clothing, wearing a pendant-like Martenitsa that reminded him, though he was far from home, he was also far from lonely.
Okay, so saying ‘explanation’ is a slight deception, there’s not much to explain. I’ve been doing a lot of writing recently, for my own benefit, for University, for competitions and sometimes it gets a little stressful! So I thought I’d write something a little sillier with hopefully something nice about it, this was a mixture of myself being given a Martenitsa from one of my friends and also the existence of a little Bulgarian doll that lives on my desk. That doll, which I call Georgi, has been there since just before (maybe after?) Christmas and was given to me by the same friend, and as a man who is endlessly fascinated by culture, its quite precious to me. So I thought, while looking at it, why not make a little story about him! This is that story… silly I know but why the hell not.
One thought on “The Tale of Georgi Borislav Okhrana and The Martenitsa”
Silly or not, it’s nice to see something inspired by Baba Marta other than the usual packaged martenitza sold on the street. Thanks for putting something of yourself into it. Честита Баба Марта (Chestita Baba Marta).