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By Friedebert Tuglas

Estonian literature in its written shape is little greater than a century previous. As Estonia used to be a part of the Russian Empire, then of the Soviet Union, it's anything of a miracle that the strong presence of the Baltic Germans, the classes of Russification, and different extra refined sorts of cultural strain, haven't eliminated Estonian as a significant literary language. one of many principal figures to credits for this used to be Friedebert Tuglas. The 9 tales, and the essay, featured the following have been written in the course of the international battle One, or within the first years of Estonian independence within the early Twenties. They mirror the spirit of the days, yet convey the impact of a big variety of writers, starting from O. Wilde and M. Gorky, to F. Nietzsche and Edgar Allan Poe. the subject material of Tuglas' tales represented the following levels from a ravenous prisoner, through a luckless pharmacist's hallucinations from early life, a wandering soldier who encounters bizarre spirits, to a tender guy sitting in a park, accosted by way of a devilish lunatic who desires to introduce a brand new model of satan worship to the area.

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Example text

He lay where he was for a long while. Then he felt a breath of air, coming from the smoke vent. He thought that this might be an indication of the end of the passage. He used his last strength to crawl a few feet further. The passage widened and suddenly he saw, just beyond a small turn and through thick bars, a patch of the city dawn. For a long time Rannus did not move. All he did was look at the light at the end of the passage without turn11 Friedebert Tuglas ing away his eyes. It was the sky, a waft of mist, which seemed pink in the light of the electric street lamps, a point of boundless space after the phantoms of the blackness underground!

Were they the masters of the world? No, they were machines, they were slaves, driven on by a thirst for life, urged on by hunger to climb the walls. All they wanted to do was exist, to stay alive. There was no collective effort like that which urges birds to fly to warmer climes. No creative ideal in the whole of their being. Who knows why people need to suffer, struggle, die? Who is guiding the great building site of this world? Is there something up there that is unknown, unknowable, perhaps even non-existent?

Then he saw a peasant stop. He was wearing a grey jerkin, had burning eyes and a beard, and knee-length boots. He stopped his framed wagon in front of a shop, on whose door a shiny scythe was affixed. He knocked the dust off his clothes and entered the shop, staying a good while. The horse scraped restlessly at the side of the road, froth coming from its mouth. What a stupid man, thought Rannus, going in there and leaving his horse 14 Freedom and Death unattended. Were there only so few thieves in town!

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