By Dodë Mëlyshi
– Dedicated to John the Beautiful Rooster…!-
Memorie.al / I can’t say the exact year, but he must have cried there around 1865, when on the day of the 12 Bajraks, a new girl like “Bukura e Deut” was born. This was Gjele Gjonja, no less than the daughter of Kapidani t Mirdita. The memory of her beauty has reached our days, at least to my generation. The beauty of girls over time was measured and compared to that of this one: “beautiful as Gjëlë Gjonja” – it was said, when talking about any young girl with special beauty. Never did the foothills of Oroshi and Fushat e Lugje ever tread a more beautiful creature. Centuries-old pine trees stretched out on spring mornings, the house was tucked behind Mount Shejti, on summer evenings. The Holy Mountain was even more deified. The waterfalls kept breathing, the snow became whiter, the flowers were more fragrant, the nightingales sang louder; in her step.
The young men of the day raced in the rifle marksmanship or in the couplet dance, to dream of the Princess and how much they deserved it!
The abbey was rejuvenated, it is said that the day would go well if I saw it once; the year would be good if I greeted it once. I know that it is a fairy; I know that, it was so wonderful…!
It is interesting the fact that, in our country, when the name of the parent was used for the last name of a woman, it was automatically changed to the feminine gender. John for John, Lekja for Lekja, Markja for Mark e, and so on. While it was the same as an adjective after a male name, it preserved the masculine gender; Marka ‘Gjoni’, the brother of Gjela – the word goes.
In any case, the name “Gjele” is a very beautiful and angelic name, similar to the name Angje, Angjelina and Gjelina and similar to the name Margjele, together with the names: Mara, Maria, Marta, Mrika and so on.
We Catholics have beautiful names, they were banned for political reasons at the time of the dictatorship, and since that time, we have to accept with great pride the complex of “de-mode” and we rarely use them even today. ! Sin!
In fact, before, we call our child “Mariangela” instead of “Margjela”, “Marco” instead of “Mark”, “Paolo” instead of “Pal”, etc.
We are at least comforted by the fact that today; the names that were ‘fashionable’ during the dictatorship are not used, as the saying goes: Svetlana, Yllka, Soveta, Flamurka, Marenglensta, Molotovska, etc. Anyway…!
Back to the story above.
Gjele Gjonja-the beauty of the earth, must have cried the dream of every young man at that time, so big was her name. In fact, the requests at the door of the Kapedan, are said to have been numerous and countless and exceeded the limits of the 12 Bajraks. Who didn’t want to be friends with the Princely Door, especially crying in the middle, a girl with such a name?!
And, they confess that Kapedani, who was the girl’s father, after he had answered all the requests one after the other, extended them to me, and set a date on which he would give them a yes or no answer.
He sets the date for them all at once.
It is said that on that date, all the contending friends gathered for dinner at Gjomarkaj’s, they must have cried more than 20 or 30 people.
Among them was Bardhok Dodë Mëlyshi, our grandfather’s grandfather. The special thing about Bardhok Doda was that, unlike all the others, he didn’t have a go-getter, a young man; he wanted the girl’s hand for himself.
It was not normal in Mirdi that the bridegroom himself would also be his own groom. A taboo was broken. Giving only the essence of the event and, not having many details, I can speak with conjectures and deductions (deductions from the moment they are such, are modifiable in the light of new facts, or deeper reasonings) sustainable).
For Bardhok Doda, it was about a second marriage, from the moment the first wife passed away…!
In traditional families, the rules of a head of the family, with sharp features, normally the oldest of the ‘Zjarmi’ (Tribe), who commands and gives mottos without objections, have functioned in parallel with the rules of young children who demand space, new codes, customs, rites, customs and jargons. At the end of the day, within the elite circles, at least ideas, few or many, were fermented, even in opposition of generations.
If not there, where else?!
I remember that in the letters of the 30s, in the correspondence that my grandfather-military career – from Tirana or Elbasan, where he was on duty, with our grandmother, he always started the text with: “E dashtun Bardhë”! Precisely at that time, when 99% of husbands not only did not address their wives as “beloved” but also by their proper name, these letters and this way of expressing themselves, take on a special meaning and importance.
Typical of the worms that precede the times and determine the codes of communication, as it is their duty. The love and respect between the mountaineer and the mountaineer, from the silent, invisible and, unintelligible, passed to the expressed, open and declared.
It is not known why Bardhok Doda was going for himself, we simply guess, maybe because his rebellious spirit had crossed the goal of the limit set by the Lord of the Spear, who thought that he should wait for a second bride it’s been a long time.
For a second bride, yes, but here we were talking about Gjëlë Gjonë, everyone’s dream, and in the mind of the young man, the time did not promise much…!
And so, don’t make it too long, let’s come to the final dinner.
John Marku, the girl’s father, had decided to ask for his daughter’s help for the selection (this was also an unheard of thing until that time, another taboo that was being broken, in a patriarchal world). So before dinner, he had an affair with his friends, he ordered his daughter to bring water with his hands, while under normal conditions; it would have been a daughter-in-law or another maid of honor who performed that task.
But by order of the Captain, the water for the hands would not be simply warm, but scalding. And so it happened. All the friends who were sitting waiting for dinner accepted without hesitation the water and the heat through their hands, thinking more about carelessness of the young girl, or of the old lady of the house, than about a row of the Captain. Until it was Bardhok Doda’s turn, who, precisely because of his age, was almost at the bottom of the table.
“Go back and kill the boy, because I didn’t come with my hands to Kapedani, for the beautiful face of a girl” – Bardhok Doda is said to have reacted instinctively. “The beautiful face”, I am writing, because it is confessed that the expression was very banal and harsh!
The captain reprimanded his daughter, saying that the idea was not his (coherent with the line) and coldly followed the boat. And so the dinner continued, long and friendly.
At the end of the dinner, the girl’s father comes out to a room with his two daughters to see who, according to her, was the most suitable for a friend!
“I asked myself, but that Bardhok Dodë Mëlyshi, was there a husband with me, because I’m sure he won’t accept it easily,” – the girl is said to have answered.
So said, so done!
Bardhok Doda and Gjëlë Gjonja, have long been remembered as the most beautiful couple of the time. They had one son and four daughters.
This, once a young “rebel” (for sure he was brave, because there was no mirditor who was not like that at that time), later it would be his turn to prove the other side of the coin – where responsibility, prudence maturity, was beaten even more and was not underestimated, but he became the heir to the leader of his own Fire, and at the same time the flag bearer of Bajrak…!
A princely man, in order to break a taboo, becomes the go-getter of himself to realize the dream that every one of his peers had, a princess of the Princely door, whose father, at the same time, breaks a taboo and somehow gives her right to self-determination. , and between them a kettle of boiling water, which will determine the fate of both, – a poetic and picturesque story in the mythical and mystical Mirdita, the first of more than a century and a half.
This story brings to mind novel characters of Nobel laureates. Sometimes I remember “Mehmet Imcaku” by J. Kemal, sometimes “Traces of your blood, on the snow”, by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, sometimes the endless characters of Isabell Allende, sometimes Scottish authors, sometimes the heroes of the Sol-levante samurai. The same topics, with similar characters, even though in different time and geographical contexts…!
(This is how the story of Gjele Gjona is told, and how she became the wife of Bardhok Dodë Mëlyshi, and this is how I passed it on. Anyone who knows more is welcome!) Memorie.al