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HEDAYAT, Sadegh



The Blind Owl

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The sun, like a golden knife, was steadily paring away the edge of the shade beside the walls.The streets were enclosed between old, whitewashed walls. Everywhere were peace and stillness, as though all the elements were obeying the sacred law of calm and silence imposed by the blazing heat. It seemed as though mystery was everywhere and my lungs hardly dared to inhale the air.

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Life as it proceeds reveals, cooly and dispassionately, what lies behind the mask that each man wears. It would seem that everyone possesses several faces. Some people use only one all the time, and it then, naturally, becomes soiled and wrinkled. These are the thrifty sort. Others look after their masks in the hope of passing them on to their descendants. Others again are constantly changing their faces. But all of them, when they reach old age, realise one day that the mask they are wearing is their last and that it will soon be worn out, and then, from behind the last mask, the real face appears.
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From the bottom of my heart I desired to surrender myself to the sleep of oblivion. If only oblivion were attainable, if it could last forever, if my eyes as they closed could gently transcend sleep and dissolve into non-being and I should lose consciousness of my existence for all time to come, if it were possible for my being to dissolve in one drop of ink, in one bar of music, in one ray of colored light, and then these waves and forms were to grow and grow to such infinite size that in the end they faded and disappeared—then I should have attained my desire.

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