The Rano

by Jakki Moore

It was only after I had had an alarm system installed in my little, pink cottage that I realised I needn’t have bothered, with a watchful neighbour like 97-year-old Baba Trepka to keep an eye on things. Like most of the other babas in the village, she took great pride in keeping a vigilant eye on her family, neighbours, and anything that happened to move within 20 metres of her home.

With only a few words of Bulgarian at my disposal, I had no idea what she was talking about as she clutched at my arm with fear in her eyes and warned me to ‘beware of the Rano.’

I tried my best to communicate to her that I was going for a walk after working in my garden for most of the day, but she continued to wave her stick and call after me as I turned the corner and headed down the path that led to the outskirts of the village.

As I passed two more babas sitting on a bench, they gestured to me to come over. With eyes as wide as saucers, they told me to return ‘because of the Rano.’  Again, I gestured that I was only going for a walk, and continued on my way.

What on earth was the Rano anyway, I wondered. Perhaps it was a bear or a wild dog? Maybe it was a pack of wild dogs… or wolves?

My thoughts were soon interrupted as I passed a shepherd and his goats, returning from the fields beyond. Shaking his head and pointing at his stick, he muttered something which included ‘the Rano,’  indicating that if I was foolish enough to face the Rano, I should at least have a big stick with me.

The sun was setting by the time I reached the edge of the village. My mind raced. Could the Rano be a snake? A venomous spider? A wild boar? A rabid bat? As dusk approached, I began to doubt whether or not I really needed a walk at all. Besides, I didn’t have a big stick… nor even a small one.

I decided to go for a walk the following morning instead.

Only when I was sitting and sipping coffee in the local café, safely in the sunshine, did I discover that ‘Rano’ was the colloquial word for ‘night.’

Perhaps there are rabid packs of crazed wolves roaming around the outskirts of the village after all?

One thought on “The Rano

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