Here’s how the story begins:
“ ‘No matter when I told about my soul’s transmigration, he called me crazy,’ he said.”
“These words of the man, spoken as soon as I saw him, without introducing himself, out of the blue, before even saying hello, really startled me.” P. 130.
Seems in each reincarnation, he is a critic of officials in the system as the source of evil and he is either condemned to exile or to execution by the officials in the government. He criticizes officials from lower to higher in the hierarchy of the system, from gendarmes to village headmen, reaching to the prime minister and the king.
The people who commiserate with him on the way to his exile or execution, don’t blame him for his criticism of some of the officials, but they do blame him for citing others in the hierarchy of the system. If the people don’t agree with him that certain officials are the source of evil, the people turn on him and kill him themselves. And then he is reincarnated again to begin his criticism at the next level of officials in the system.
Finally, now in the present, he tells the narrator that the real source of evil in the system is the system itself and the narrator kills him. The story doesn’t say if he is reincarnated again.
Rating: **** out of *****.
Comment: Clever idea. RayS.
About the Author: “Born in 1915 of village immigrants to Istanbul, Aziz Nesin is a prolific, international award-winning writer of humor and satire, with more than 60 published books. His stories have been translated into as many as 24 language.”
Short Story International #54. Ed. Sylvia Tankel. February 1986. Pp.130-139.