Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Afanasy Nikitin used to be an itinerant wrestler with a lovely wife Olga. Olga disappeared into the Russian tundra in questionable circumstances several years ago. Was she kidnapped by Tatars or Kaitaks? Did she go off on some spontaneous pilgrimage without telling anyone? Did she just run off with some rival wrestler??

Well, I'm not telling.

But that was the end of Fana's wrestling days. He just wandered the forests for a few months, calling her name and climbing trees for a better look around, until he befriended a bee colony and began his present career as a wax merchant/adventurer. Needless to say, he is not looking for love in another lady, and there is no hokey-pokey with Olga's sister Anna, who is nonetheless a stalwart companion and advisor.

The romantic angle is only complicated by his recurring dream vision of Parvati the Hindu love goddess. Of course he has no idea what this dream is, and has no knowledge of India or the lands where Parvati holds sway. He is only tormented by her languid lines and bewildered by the thought that this steamy tropical Valhalla may be where his beloved Olga has gone...