National Geographic : 1928 Jul
UNSPOILED CYPRUS When my driver came to say that a pretty girl was waiting, the town rose as one man and followed us. During the trying moments that ensued I conceived a deep respect and liking for the twelve year-old Helene who bravely faced my camera while the curious crowd of her fellow-townsmen gazed and jabbered and laughed. It was too cruel a test. On the morrow, I suggested, I might try again. "To-morrow I have to work on the Cape Andreas road," Helene answered naively, "but if you want to take my pic ture, my mother will break rocks in my place." Not once did I capture the whole charm of that gentle little girl whose tasks are those of men. Her hands were horny with labor. Her large feet were cased in rude shoes. Her immature body skimped Mu rat's description as the cook's had over flowed it, but Helene won my gratitude for her help. When you look at her pic ture, it is a fine spirit that is speaking to you across the miles (see upper Color Plate IV and page 26). As we returned from the church of St. Andrew the Miracle Worker, dowered with grotesque ex voto offerings in bees wax-one of them presented by a man who then lay, slowly dying, on the floor there was Helene straddling a pile of rocks, "making little ones out of big ones" as industriously as any convict (page 16). REDISCOVERING BUFFAVENTO CASTLE One of the highest peaks in the Kyrenia chain acts as a perch for Buffavento Cas tle. It isn't much of a castle now, but its site is marvelous. In 1683 the Dutch traveler, Van Bruyn, visited it. "We had to climb with our hands as well as our feet, and whichever way we turned our gaze we saw only what made our hair stand on end" (see page 23). Rey, who made an admirable plan of the ruins, had to climb to them "flat on his belly." Kammerer, after three hours from Kythrea, had arrived only at the Monas tery of Chrysostomos and left Cyprus without making the climb to the castle, more than 3,000 feet above the sea. When we reached Kythrea, perennial oasis, the sun was already high. On foot we retraced a mile of the motor road, tak ing little consolation in the thought that the mile would still be there on our return, but that the motor would not. After an hour and a half we came to a village. The muleteer who was riding gestured, palm down, as an umpire does when a man is safe. That, in oriental, means "We're here !" He was bubbling with delight, his duty done. High above us, and miles away, there towered the peak on which I imagined the castle to be. "We're here, but Buffavento Castle is there," I said, my arm lifted toward the zenith. The plainsman went white. All his life he had lived at the foot of that puny range. But climb to the top? He called the village schoolmaster. "I speak very well English," said the village Ichabod, but when I inquired about the castle, he had never heard of such a thing. "Castle? What is it, a castle ?" THE MONASTERY PROVIDES A GUIDE Full of military architecture and battle ments and moats and bastions as I was after days in Famagusta, my lecture left him blank. He could only point up the slope toward a white monastery set among charming orchards and suggest that I in quire there. Because that brief climb was beyond the mental terminus of the mule teer, he made hard work of it. Being a Cypriote, his worry was not at being asked to do more than he had bar gained for. He was not shamming to swell the travel fund. That upreared mountain really oppressed him. The "pappa" at the Monastery of St. Chrysostomos made things sound simpler. Out of the welter of Italian, crusted over with Latin, I sorted out the idea that he would give me a "homo" to guide me to the top. Since the magnitude of our undertaking still had the muleteer gasping for breath, I decided to leave him behind with his mule. The "homo," a toothless woman, was no flapper, but her heelless slippers were. It was too much for my manhood to see that little woman shoulder my heavy cam era and start to scale that precipice in flapping slippers held on by personal mag netism. I would not stand it. So I called the muleteer and made him carry the camera.