Captain Corelli's Mandolin

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Summary of Captain Corelli's mandolin

Chapter 1 - August 1940: The doctor and his daughter

Dr Iannis is a Greek doctor who lives with is daughter in the isle of Cephallonia. That morning he had been called to Stamatis' house because he was suffering from earache, and the doctor using a hammer and a fishhook managed to take out of Stamatis' ear a pea. Dr Iannis was also writing 'the history of Cephallonia' and he wanted to dedicate that evening only to his book. Dr Iannis' daughter,the seventeen-year-old Pelagia, once had a mother who had died from a lung disease. He went outside and at his return he caught Pelagia's goat eating his writings, so he complained with Pelagia about her animal.
One day a man whose strength was impressing and named Megalo Velisarios, went to Pelagia's village to give a performance; in fact he could hold on his shoulders two men and on his head a little girl,Lemoni.Suddenly he put them down and lifted up Father Arsenios, the priest and Pelagia spoke directly to Velisarios and said that he wouldn't had done that. People brought stuff to Velisarios to make him do a cannon, but when the cannon exploded there was a cry of pain, fom a boy who had been shot right from the cannon. Because of the injury he was led to Dr Iannis' house when he first saw Pelagia and fell in love with her. From then, he went every day to Pelagia's house to bring her a fish, as he was a young fisherman, but also her father knew that it was just an excuse to flirt with her daughter. While Dr Iannis was at the kapheneion arrived Pelagia gesturing and calling him to tell that Mandras had fallen out of tree onto a pot. Once that Dr Iannis had arrived home, made Mandras lie on the table kitchen and removed the pieces of the pot from his back. In the meantime he asked Mandras what were his intention with his daughter. They had the news that the Italians had sunk a Greek's ship and shot in a crowed harbour during a holy day.

Chapter 2 – Pelagia and Mandras

Pelagia was resting during the afternoon and thinking about her love for Mandras, but also considering that he was not too serious and she wouldn't be able to talk about serious subjects with him.
Mandras was leaving the harbour in his boat and thinking about Pelagia and hoping he would manage to get another fish to eat with Pelagia, but he also feared that Pelagia thought about him he wasn't good enough, just a fool, nevertheless he knew that she liked him. He was worried about the fact he couldn't be himself with her, because he was serious and he followed politics, but he couldn't speak about this with Pelagia. He thought that he needed to do something important to feel like a man.Pelagia was at the village oven and she was thinking about Mandras again, wondering where he was.In the meantime Mandras is thinking about the letter he had received and it read that he had been asked to join the army, so he was going to ask Pelagia to marry him.
During the day of the feast of St. Geronimo Pelagia went to the church and was sitting on a bench, when someone tapped on her shoulder, it was Mandras, who asked Pelagia to marry him and she said she would. Mandras was drunk, so he didn't manage to speak to Pelagia's father about the marriage, but he slept in a pool of something disgusting, while Pelagia, trying to communicating with her father,gave it up, seeing him in a too drunken state.
The day after Mandras didn't went to pelagia house and she spoke with her father, who said that he wasn't the kind of man who was expected to marry Pelagia. The third day Mandras went to tell Pelagia that he would leave two days later and he had brought her some fish.

Chapter 3 – The homosexual

Carlo Guercio is writing his confession about what he calls 'a wicked sin'. He didn't tell it either to the priest or to the doctor, because both would give a different cure for his pain. He joined the army after reading Plato, who had said that if a army is made up of men who love each other, this is the strongest army in the world, because the soldiers are like lovers.
He admits that the reason why he joined the army was that the guys were beautiful and he could find someone to love though never touch. He fell in love with a boy called Francesco, who accepted him as his best friend, and Carlo was attracted to his face. War against Greeks was declared and they thought it would be easy, but when the weather turned against them things got worse and worse. On the 1 November a bomb was thrown among them and this make them understand that they had been trapped in a valley floor, so they were cut off from all help. Soldiers started dying due to the cold and snowstorms, with their legs becoming swollen and turning bright purple,deep blue,coal black. Francesco has gone mad and there had been 4 thousand men died due to the white death. One morning Francesco rolled up his trousers to show to Carlo the red stripes on his white flesh, said it was enough and took up his gun, leading himself towards the enemy lines, stopping to fire every five steps. Suddenly a bomb fell next to him and he disappeared under a shower of mud. Carlo reached his friend and took his murdered body back, but poor Francesco took two hours to die. Carlo reports that they lost the war and he didn't take part in the conquest of Greece because the day after he had buried his beloved friend Francesco he shot himself in the thigh.

Chapter 4 – The wild man

On 28 October was declared war between Greece and Italy and all the young men of the isle of Cephallonia had been called to join the army; also Dr Iannis tried to, but he was turned down because it was discovered that he had learned all his medical knowledge on ships, and he had no proper qualifications. People were comforted by the news of Greeks winning back territory that was their by right in Albania. Pelagia went through an unhealthy and painful anxiety, storms of tears because she sat in the garden waiting for her fiancй to arrive at the bend of the road; then she usually sat in her room with her hands motionless in her lap and she managed to calm down writing plenty of letters to Mandras. As day followed day Pelagia became aware that Mandras neither had written to her nor he would, and she feared he didn't love her anymore. Dr Iannis, worried about the state of her daughter always made her accompany him to medical visits and let her sleep longer, he also tried to make her smile and he managed to change his daughter's mood. But he was also conscious of the fact she was already engaged, and he feared that Pelagia would have to marry a man she no longer loved out of a sense of duty.
One day Pelagia was going back home with a jar of water, leading herself to the kitchen, when she saw a wild and horrible stranger seated at the kitchen table, whose hands trembled ceaselessly and whose head was hidden under a dirt mass of hair; he also had an enormous beard which hid the lower part of his face and his body was covered by rags. Pelagia thought he was there for her father so she referred that he was out but the stranger didn't care and observed she had been singing for happiness. Pelagia didn't recognize Mandras until her goat approached him and started tasting the stranger's rags. Pelagia immediately told him about the fact he had never written back to her letters and he answered he wasn't able either to write or read. This confession let Pelagia astonished,but Mandras said he had been thinking about her all the times he was fighting because he knew that he would have gone back to Pelagia, this had given him strength. But he was still sorry because she didn't recognize him as soon as she had seen him. Pelagia went to fetch his mother, whom helped the girl in washing Mandras, cutting his long hair and bending his wounds. When Dr Iannis arrived at home found a boy sleeping in his daughter's bed and Pelagia and another woman sleeping in his own, so he listened carefully to the girl's account.

Chapter 5 – 30 April 1941: Invasion

Mandras was aware of the change in Pelagia's attitude towards him, and the way she and his mother undressed him, talked about him as if he were not present. But just Mandras knew the horrors of that war, the periods of starvation and now he had to stay in bed unable to speak or move. He was the only survivor of his unit, his body had aged in a few months more than it could normally do in sixty years. Although Pelagia tried to love Mandras she felt towards him only coldness and also her father told her that Mandras probably thought that nobody wanted him. Pelagia knew she didn't want him anymore. By April the Royal Palace in Athens was occupied by Germans and on the 28th of the month, Italian army, claiming that the Ionian islands belonged to them by right, invaded the island of Corfu, and probably the next one would be Cephallonia. Everyone in the island was puzzled due to the situation and in this period Dr Iannis wrote the last part of his story, then he put all his writings in a secret hole in the floor, hidden under a carpet and a trapdoor, which had been made in 1849 in order to hide the island rebels. On the 30 April people saw Italin ships approachin the coast and everyone thought about an invasion, but the Italian army marched through the streets. One of those lines was led by Captain Antonio Corelli, with the mandolin he had named Antonia hanging on his back; as soon as he saw Pelagia he made her a compliment and every soldier started having the strangest behaviour she had never seen. One day the doctor found in his kitchen an Italian officer who said that he would receive accommodation from Dr Iannis, so they made a deal: the officer would receive accommodation and in return he would give Dr Iannis supplies of medicines. In the evening of that same day Captain Corelli arrived, driven by another soldier, Crlo Guercio. Carlo started kidding with Pelagia and presented himself, Carlo and his mandolin, Antonia. Then Corelli asked Pelagia's name but he recognized her as the girl which had received his compliment before. Dr Iannis came out, saw Corelli on his knees and called him to speak privately. They had dinner and everyone went to bed and the following morning Corelli woke up first and went into the kitchen, where Pelagia was sleeping, and he felt the desire to crawl beside her, instead he returned to the bedroom and started playing the mandolin. Pelagia was woken up by this beautiful melody so they started talking.
Carlo didn't go to pick up Captain Corelli because he had broken down some kilometers from the village, he kicked the car a number of times and set off on foot towards the village. During his way he bumped into Veliarios and both, looking each other in the eyes, discovered to be unique in peculiar way, they smoked a cigarette and they separated more happy than before. Carlo thought about Antonio and for the first time since the death of Francesco, he could love someone, and he found him in Captain Corelli. Carlo was fond of singing and he had organized a group called La Scala, among those of his men who were able to sing; there was also an unusual member of the group, Gunter Weber, a German soldier whose troop had accompanied the Italian one on their invasion of the island.

Chapter 6 – The freedom fighter

Pelagia was doing some household tasks when Mandras arrived, and he was bringing fish for her with a sweet smile on his face, though Pelagia felt guilty whenever she saw him. He tapped her on the shoulder and she jumped making an effort to smile, he told her he would leave the following day to join the freedom fighters and also added that he wouldn't be able to write any letters to Pelagia. The girl made him promise to think about her every time he would have to do something terrible and not do it, for her; so he assured her that he would think about her anytime, he would remember her swinging in the tree and he would love her forever.
Mandras was forced to join a Communist group called ELAS. In fact he was lying in a small leafy shelter with his companions when suddenly a group of men surrounded them and made them choose among going back to their village, or fighting under his command, or being shot. Mandras obviously chose the second option and asked information about the captain of that group: he was named Hector, but this wasn't his real name. Hector led the group towards a tiny house and ordered that a man was led outside, and then handed Mandras a knotted rope and told him that he had to beat the latter, to demonstrate what he was made of. Mandras noticed that the poor man was old, so he tried not to hurt him too much but Hector ordered Mandras to strike him harder and harder, and soon Mandras discovered that it was pleasant because all you tensions went out of you, it was relaxing. Hector ordered to kill the man, who was screaming, lied on the ground and full of injuries; so Mandras understood he could be a God, decide for that man's life, so he knelt down and placed the gun against the man's head and shot. Hector made Mandras compliments and the boy asked the reason why there had been the necessity of killing that man and Hector answered he had stolen a bottle of whisky. Hector turned Mandras, a good and serious young man, into a killing machine.

Chapter 7 – A problem with eyes

Pelagia was annoyed by the calm and quiet behaviour of the Captain and he treated him as badly as she could, but he was still polite and this made her get much more angry than she was yet.One day he left his gun on the table so Pelagia decided to put the gun in a bowl full of water, just to damage it, but the Captain caught her lifting it, so she immediately dropped the gun back into the bowl. Pelagia tried to lie that she had washed it because it was dirty and oily, but the Captain understood it was a lie and one more time Pelagia was furious to discover he wasn't angry. So, overcome with emotion she struck him on the left cheek, he remained astonished for a moment and he put the gun down in the bowl again, and Pelagia rushed to the yard kicking everything was on her way. That strange behaviour made the Captain laugh.
As the months passed, Pelagia felt her anger leave her and she understood that the Captain had now
become a part of the house and she had got used to his presence. She thought that he had something that made her having glances at him continually, but he always did the same with her and it became a game. One day both were looking in the eyes of the other and no one among them wanted to be the the first one to look down. At a certain time though, she was forced to surrender because her eyes started watering, so he made strange faces and jumped to his feet shouting he had won.
One day both they passed through the door, she going out and he going in; it was then that Pelagia, without knowing why, raised a hand to his cheek and kissed him on the other one. When she reached the yard she gain control of herself and got conscious of what she had done,she felt imbarassed and she gave him the excuse that she had thought he was her father. After kidding for a short time he called her inside to show her something, so he gave her a kiss on her forehead and said that he thought she was the doctor, and then ran through the yard.

Chapter 8 – Snails

The doctor asked Lemoni when he could find lots of snails and asked her to go round and show them the place she was talking about. After hearing the conversation between the doctor and the young girl, the Captain get to know that they were going to fetch snails to eat and offered them his help. As soon as they started searching the snails, they realized that there were plenty of them and everyone started enjoying this task, but everyone was going far from the others of the group and soon Pelagia got conscious of this and started moaning and Captain Corelli heard her, so he could offer aid to her. At the end of the conversation they kissed each other and she immediately felt guilty for this, so she began crying and her father and Lemoni rushed towards the two lovers to get to know what was happening. After that kiss they continued loving each other, but they didn't show in public, their love was a secret, because none of both wanted the other one to risk his reputation, and Pelagia always shouted at him when she heard that he would have to go to war. One day the Captain invited her to have a ride with him in motorbike, which had been obtained by Gunter. Together, Antonio and Pelagia, went to deserted places, and also found a ruined hut, that they called Casa nostra, where they spread a blanket and lie, talking about what they would have done as soon as the war had finished.
One night Dr Iannis was woken up by a soft tapping on the window of his bedroom and saw a villager accompanying a fair-haired man, and they need Dr Iannis' help. Pelagia arrived into the room and was amazed by the presence of a stranger there, but they soon started talking and he received some clothes. His name was Bunny Warren, but everyone called him Bunnios, he was a spy and, using his huge radio, stayed in a hut on a hill and reported details to his British masters.
La Scala became accustomed to meet in the doctor's house and he told Corelli that Italian soldiers were thief of vegetables so the captain assured that he would have punished them if those voices had been true. Afterwards Corelli and Gunter started talking of their opinions about races and prejudices and they were completely different, so , at the end of the converation, weber wentto his car to take a record to sing a song of Marlene Dietrich.
One day Dr Iannis decided that it was time to talk about certain matters with his daughter, and so he did: it was the fact he knew about her relationships with the Captain and he warned her to be careful because she was already engaged with Mandras and a betrayal would mean that she would be treated like a cheater by the villagers, everyone would throw stones towards her. Besides, he was an enemy,and in case she would expect a baby and he would have to return to Italy, no one would want her. But her father didn't forbid anything and all she needed to know it was that she loved him and he loved her.The doctor talked also with the captain and he told that he couldn't had lived there if he would have desired to be a musician: he had to choose between being an artist and staying with Pelagia, because she couldn't live in Italy.

Chapter 9 – Autumn 1943: Betrayal

The Allies invaded Sicily and by this behaviour they betrayed Greeks, while the Germans were angered and disgusted by the lack of resistance to the Allies. Also Corelli felt that Weber seemed more distant and quiet during their meeting and they often discussed about the war situation. Pelagia went outside to call the Captain in, being her father away. Corelli spent less time with Pelagia because he had to train his men to fight and also stopped playing his beloved instrument, Antonia the mandolin. He also thought about Francesco and the horrors of Albania, and considering that the period he had just spent there in Cephallonia was as a holiday from a war that was going to destroy everything. In the evening of 8 September he heard at the radio that the Italians had formally surrendered to the Allies and everywhere in the island bells were ringing and there happiness in the air.That night warships in the harbour of the island sailed for home without carrying with them a single Italian soldier and, obviously, the Italians felt betrayed.
Carlo was realizing that Corelli's pessimistic predictions were right, so wrote to his captain a letter in which declared his love for him and his hope that the captain would find true love and happiness with Pelagia; at the end added his writings and brought everything to the doctor's house, with the request that they would be pulled into the hiding place and opened only in the event of his death.
Also Gunter Weber felt betrayed by his country's allies and met his friends much more less than before.
Carlo stopped his motorcycle under a tree and thought that he had no home in Italy because all his family was forced to move to Libya by Mussolini and everyone had died. His family was made up of his men and his mandolin, and now hi heart was in Greece. He also thought that Pelagia now looked ill, due to her white flesh.
In the meantime General Gandin, leader of the Italian troops in Cephallonia, was suffering about the indecision of the curse of action he should take. He was thinking of two possibility: the first one was to insist to make the Germans on the island surrender to the superior Italian forces, and the second one was about surrendering to the Germans, on condition that the latter gave written guarantees of safety for the Italian troops. Gandin was tempted to take the second route. Finally Gandin decided that the best choice was that the Italians would be allowed to keep their weapons, but would leave pacifically Cephallonia, but there were no ships.
In the afternoon bomb planes arrived and it was the evidence that Germans had betrayed their allies.
The planes attacked Argostoli, where most of the Italian troops were concentrated and Gandin made the fool mistake of leading the troops in the city, so that the Germans found it easier to cut them down. In the meantime Pelagia was crying desperately for Captain Corelli.

Chapter 10 – The order to kill

Gunter Weber was discussing with his superior because he didn't want to fight against the Italians, he would feel like a criminal. Captain Corelli and the others started singing and Weber's hands and legs were trembling for the tiredness. Corelli thought of Pelagia and immediately saw her in his mind while the battle was starting. Suddenly a German shot them but Carlo placed himself in front of Captain Corelli, so the bullet crossed him and cause d his death, but he saved Corelli's life. In fact in the evening Velisarios came across the heap of the shot bodies and recognized the Carlo's one, he lifted it and placed against a wall and immediately saw Captain Corelli beneath. Velisarios realized that he was still alive and heard his mouth sighing the words Pelagia and doctor, so picked up the captain and led to the doctor's house. It was calculated that about four thousand Italians died in Cephallonia, but their bodies have never been found because the Germans had given them to the flames, turning a man into smoke and ash. Also father Arsenios was victim of the fires: he was wandering among the heap of the dead and flames when grief overcame him and he became beating the Germans with a stick. At first no one among them knew what to do, but finally a soldier went behind him and made his brain explode by shooting him.

Chapter 11 – An operation

As soon as Pelagia and his father heard the door kicked open they immediately thought about the Germans, but when Velisarios carrying Antonio appeared the felt amazed. At first she didn't recognize him, full of holes, and everyone thought he wouldn't survive; he was maken lay on the table and the poor girl greeted Velisarios for a such extraordinary favour. The doctor looked carefully at him and considered that it would be kinder to kill him, to make his pain stop, but Pelagia started beating his father on the back to convince him to cure her lover. They started cleaning his body and when they finished they could count six holes, so he had six bullets in his chest, but it was soon clear that none among them had crossed his body. The doctor was now sure that he would survive, so gave the Captain to drink some raki and started taking out the bullets, while Pelagia cared about cleaning the wounds. At the end they understood, by the report of Velisarios, that the Captain had been saved by Carlo, who had placed his big body in front of him, and had been shot and crossed by the bullets. Velisarios, seeing it was almost evening, went back to the battlefield, to see if it was still possible to find Carlo's body and to spare him the flames, so it could be possible to bury it. Just before dawn Carlo's body was buried and the doctor could make a speech and Velisarios put a cigarette into the mouth of the heroic man.
Due to the invasion of the Germans and their interests in loot, the doctor had to hide in the hiding place his valuables and the Captain, who was unable to move, so was carried into the hiding place once again by Velisarios. The doctor said that as soon as he had felt better, he would have been moved to the secret house, but few days later he got ill and came to a crisis, but he overcame this in less than five days. Pelagia remembered that time with Corelli as the beginning of her sorrows: her skin was transparent and stretched tightly over her bones, she had to be careful in chewing because she risked the loose of her teeth and also her rich black hair had thinned and lost their shine, and she could see the first grey hairs, which should not have appeared in at least another decade.
The captain often went to Pelagia's house, complaining about the cold hut, Casa nostra, so they lie together talking about the war and the girl said that Gunter had been a traditor and Corelli defended him, saying it was his duty and he was trying not to cry during the battle. At one night Bunnios informed Pelagia and Antonio that a ship would leave for Italy the next morning, so the two lovers spent the night together and told the doctor that if they had had a children they would have called him Iannis, so the doctor was glad about it, nevertheless was the minimum he had expected. As soon as Dr Iannis left them, they began crying and Antonio promised Pelagia he would go back again and not forget her. The following morning the departure was terrible, because both Pelagia and Antonio didn't want to separate when they were at the harbour.

Chapter 12 – 1943-9: The years of terror

The Germans kept on beating people without a valid reason, and also Pelagia and her father were beaten at different times for no apparent cause. Drosula had cigarettes burned on her skin just for frowning at an officer. The doctor's medical equipment, gathered together over twenty years of poverty, broken in his presence. In November 1944 the German troops were ordered to withdraw, so Gunter Weber left his record player and the cassette of Marlene Dietrich at Pelagia's door, so she could put it into the hiding place. The Germans had left but immediately arrived the ELAS, with their horrible prison camps. They also kidnapped children to turn into Communists, the doctor was dragged away by three men who thought that since he was a doctor that would become a Communist. Pelagia did know nothing about him, but she was aware of her penniless and she thought for a long time about the idea of killing herself to make that sorrow end. She also hoped that Antonio was still alive and would have gone back to her as soon as he had been able to do. The Italians seemed to had been the only ones who had never beat them. Fortunately Drosula treated Pelagia like a daughter, they lived in Pelagia's house and they always made plans about how get food supplies; the poor woman also felt no bitterness about the fact Pelagia had finished loving Mandras and was waiting for an Italian and this made Pelagia glad. One day Drosula was out and Pelagia heard a noise coming from the hall and thought about Drosula, but it was Mandras who had gone in without knocking and was determined to take revenge of the woman he had not seen for years. Both were amazed as they saw each other, changed and altered by the war, and Pelagia recognized Mandras, admitting that she thought he was dead, and he asked her a kiss. She obeyed and he caught both her wrists, Pelagia started talking about the Communists and he told that he had discovered she was going to marry an Italian, a Fascist. Pelagia was stunned as he took out of a pocket her letters and was surprised to discover he had learnt reading. He struck her on a cheek and made her fall down, then he kicked her on the stomach and picked her and threw her on the bed so he started tearing her clothes, but she fought against his uncontrollable rape. Finally he sat next to her and tried to pull up her skirt, unaware of his gun fallen near Pelagia's head, so she shot him on his shoulder and when Drosula heard the crack and went in, saw the unthinkable, told Mandras she would never considerate him as a son, instead she had a daughter and she pointed at Pelagia, bleeding due to his violence. He felt suddenly guilty and understood that the war had deeply changed him, so he led towards the sea and thought about the old times when he caught fish for Pelagia and decided he had to clean himself wit the sea water.

Chapter 13 - Antonia

One day the two women found a packet out of the door and they found a child, who was named Antonia. Pelagia and Drosula had suffered so much that they took care of that child as she was their daughter; but Antonia would never ask about her father and also when Dr Iannis went back home he didn't ask anything. He trembled for the horrors of the war and he remembered what he had gone through while he had been far from home, Antonia often stayed on his knees and she sucked he thumb, a habit she would never loose. Pelagia tried to make her father write something else about the History, so she took out his writings but he managed to produce just a short paragraph in a whole week, due to his shaky handwriting. Pelagia became sure of the reality of ghosts when one afternoon she was sitting in the garden with Antonia and suddenly saw a black-worn man standing in front of her and she was sure he was Antonio, so she ran shouting his name but her voice faded in the air. This happened for several years at roughly the same time and now Pelagia was almost conscious of Antonio's death and was looking forward to dying so she would see him once again.

Chapter 14 – Earthquake

The thirteenth of August,1953 was a fine day but strange things had become happening: there were no animals around, either in the undergrowth or on the hillsides and there were also no birds flying in the sky. Drosula suddenly rushed him sweating and shaking and told Pelagia she had a pain in her heart, so the girl prepared her a medicine and Antonia was running outside when a great roar came from the earth and made their hearts exploding in chests and Drosula had a heart attack, with her hands on the stomach and staring. Dr Iannis came out of Pelagia's room speaking for the first time and crying that there was an earthquake and they had to save themselves. But immediately afterwards he was thrown sideways by a violent earth tremor. Pelagia and Drosula managed to rech the door crawling on the floor, and outside it was the hell: the ground was shaking and making waves and there was a stream of water that suddenly rose to a height of twelve metres and disappeared as if it had never been. Also the priest rushed outside, knelt down and, with his arms raised towards the sky started cursing God and beating the earth with his fists. At the end of the earthquake everything had been destroyed and also the body of the poor doctor was under the ruins of his house, while he had planned his last words for years and now he hadn't been able to say them.
Plenty of ships from every country arrived to give aid, built houses, bring medicines and so on. In Cephallonia few people died in the disaster, because of the wide streets and one-storeyed-houses, but the ones who had lost some relatives reacted as Pelagia who felt guilty for her father's death, remembering how she had thought of saving her own life instead of helping her father. Velisarios became the leader of the population of Cephallonia and helped Pelagia taking out the ruins her father's body, because he knew that after decay arrives disease and afterwards gathered all the people and ordered them into different groups and gave them tasks. Velisarios was loved by the people much more than the teacher or the priest and when the Italians arrived found this big man as a leader of the community. The Italians helped the islanders to rebuild houses and everything they needed. That earthquake changed lives so greatly that people consider it right as an important topic of conversation still nowadays, also the war seems unimportant by comparison. Pelagia, Drosula and Antonia moved to another house and Pelagia felt rotten as she thought she had had a part in her father's death and spent whole days standing at his grave, chewing her lips until they bled, she seemed to live somewhere else, far from the other two womens who were by now fed up with her behaviour. In fact they decided to think of a solution for the matter and they found one. One morning, while they were sitting at the kitchen table and were having breakfast, Drosula and Antonia started talking about a dream they had had the previous night, and it was about Dr Iannis: in fact he had told them that he was glad of having died because now he could stay with Pelagia's mother and he had also added that he would have been happier if Pelagia had written the History which had been lost during the earthquake. Pelagia knew that the story of the dream was nonsense, but was aware of the fact that probably, rewriting the History of Cephallonia would indeed be a way to keep her father's spirit alive, so she went to Argostoli where she bought a pen and a thick pad of paper. She found it very easy to rewrite the story because she had heard it plenty of times and she became almost as her father, holding in her mouth his pipe, without lighting it, and staying at the kitchen table leaving all the household to the women. She also sent letters to universities and discovered that all around the world there were people who where fond of knowledge and spent their own life making enquiries on her behalf. Finally, in 1961, she put all her writings in a thick file and placed it on her shelf, because she had known that that kind of books would have no market, otherwise she could give it to an university. By this time Antonia had grown and was seventeen; she and Pelagia liked to spend evenings talking about philosophy and topics like this, while Antonia kept saying that she would never become as old as Pelagia (who was 25) because she was sure that old people made mistakes which had to be fixed by the young ones.

Chapter 15 – Alexi

Strange cards started arriving from the four corners of the world and they were for Pelagia, who was able to think just about Antonio, however saying to herself he had died. Pelagia lied all the cards together and put them with her book. Antonia kept telling her she had a secret boyfriend, but Drosula and Pelagia knew that was right Antonia the one who had a boyfriend. In fact Antonia liked a man who went everyday to the bar where she worked as a waitress and it was on the plaza, which was noisy and people had to speak straight in her ear to order. There was this man, a lawyer, who went exactly at the same table every day and Antonia brought him the coffee eagerly; one day she was putting the coffee on the table when he took her hand and said her to marry him. Pelagia and Drosula didn't like him for his phisical appearance and Pelagia forbade the wedding but Antonia did it anyway, and it was great. Alexi, this was the name of the groom, promised Pelagia he would buy a house there in Cephallonia, with her permission and this made her fond of him. Drosula got involved in work: she had started a kind of a cheap restaurant near the harbour , where once there had been her house, and she called it taverna. She earned enough in summer to stay without working during the winter, and Lemoni, who was married with two children, gave her a hand with the serving and also Pelagia went there, taking the opportunity to practice her Italian, due to the Italian soldiers who went there. Pelagia kept telling Antonia that she was the right age to have a child because she wanted to become Grandma, but Antonia replied she had the right of deciding what she wanted to do with her body. Time passed and Drosula died and Pelagia realized she was now truly alone, so she kept running the taverna. Alexi, among other things, acquired a Citroen car and in 1979 Antonia became pregnant and she and her husband started making lists of possible names. Pelagia, thinking it would be a girl, kept saying that they would have named Drosula but Antonia didn't approve, and Pelagia started saying she was an old woman and it might be her last will before dying. But when the child appeared and it was a boy Pelagia started call him Iannis and so was named because he blew bubbles if you called him Iannis. Meanwhile the postcards kept arriving form all over the world.

Chapter 16 – An unexpected lesson

At five years old Iannis spent a lot of time in the taverna because his father was building new apartments and tennis courts and Antonia had opened a little shop of souvenirs, while Pelagia insisted on making Iannis learn Italian. Pelagia had also hired a bozouki player who entertained the guests of the taverna, his name was Spiridon and Iannis admired him mostly because women threw red roses to him; Pelagia too loved him because he reminded her of the Italian captain who had dead during the war. Finally Iannis asked Spiridon to teach him how to play that instrument but he said that his arms weren't long enough and he had to start with a mandolin, so the young boy asked his parents to buy one when they would have go to Athens, but they forgot. Pelagia told him that there was a mandolin under a trapdoor in the kitchen of her old house, but now the house was a heap of rubble and also related Iannis about Antonio, the Italian captain. Iannis dragged Spiro up the hill and showed him his Grandma's house, telling Spiro about the Doctor, and then they went in. As they saw all the rubbish in the house they scratched their heads and started working hard, so the following day they managed to find the trapdoor but thy weren't able to open it. As they saw a black shape behind them they feared but it was just Velisarios who, frightened about the idea there were looters in the house, had gone to have a look and recognized young Iannis and helped them to open the hiding place. In it the two boys found everything Pelagia had put in the old days and as she saw the mandolin, started for her a whole week of tears. In October 1993 Iannis was fourteen and had gone up to the hill to play the mandolin, not to make Grandma cry again, and was biting his lip with the effort when an old man placed himself behind him and began listening at Iannis carefully, in fact the boy jumped as the man told him that he had some trouble with that piece and gave him some advice to improve his way of playing. As he was holding the mandolin, recognized it was Antonia and called it by using its name, so Iannis asked him why he knew that it was the name of the mandolin and Antonio started asking him about Pelagia and, finally, sighed it was time for him he saw her again.

Chapter 17 – The return

Antonio was in the kitchen of the taverna, trying to protect himself from the frying pans that Pelagia was throwing at him, saying that he had been alive for all those years and she had suffered a lot, so he had broken the promise of going back to her again. He revealed her that he had gone to see her since 1946 and she was holding a baby, that made him think she was happily married, and he felt so bitter that he desired not to see her again. He also told her that he had been going to her house for ten years and he always had jumped the wall to hid, due to the bitterness he felt. So they decided to speak somewhere else because the customers of the taverna were looking at them. Antonio related about what he had done in those years far from her, and she got to know that he had finally moved to Athens, but before he had become a very popular musician, known all over the world and he had composed his first big piece of music for her and called it 'Pelagia's March', probably she felt deeply glad as he told her that he had never married and thought she was still the Pelagia of the old times, just with a bad temper, because he had seen her becoming old. Pelagia also told him about her previous fiancи and his attempt of violence towards her and that she had shot him, so she understood that Antonio was jealous and changed the topic of the conversation: Carlo's paper. Antonio read them while he was eating a snails dish at the taverna and, at the end of the reading, he felt strange, shocked; then he also asked Pelagia the permission of rebuilding the old house and she didn't give it to him but he told her that he would go to see her again with surprise. And he did so. In fact he went with a motorbike he had hired for two days and by this they went to see Casa Nostra as they did in the old times, she held his waist like she did in the old times and he was pleased of it like he had been in the old times.

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