D A D´S     S T O R I E S

Narration of his father Francis Ullmann (* 1901), gardener in Konice, abbreviated Vojtech Ullmann enrolled in 1967    

How I shot a hare at night
I went out late one winter to look outside. I look from the yard towards the forest and in it I see a hare running along the back dam, stopping at a bent apple tree, running up the trunk up into the crown and starting to eat the bark. I
hurried home for a rifle.
It was freezing, the moon was shining, it was light as day. I propped the barrel between the bars of the fence, aimed it nicely, and
fired! It was a good 150 meters, but the hare fell like a pear and rolled down the slope of the dam. The bullet still hit the frozen shore and sent a spray of clay to the snow.
And then, damn it, chief of police Miller came out of the road from behind the dams. He stopped, looking around. I crouched behind the fence, waiting to see what would happen. When I fired, he was still behind the dikes, so the wound somehow dampened and he didn't know where it came from. He stood looking arround for a moment, then hid behind a strong strain of pears (for dams had been such a strong pear) and waited. He didn't see the hare and the stamped clay. He waited behind the tree for about half an hour, but it was could, he walked slowly up the road.
I was already
coold too, so I crouched down so he wouldn't see me, he went home. And right to the window to see if the gendarme was leaving. But he, cunning, climbed behind the hornbeam at the house "slaughterhpose" (a thick hornbeam grew there at the time) and waited there for another hour. But as nothing happened, he walked slowly to Konice. I waited a while longer and then I went for the hare.
But I could have died there! A deep snowdrift was inflated under the dam where the hare fell. I got stuck there and thought I wouldn't get out of here. Everyone slept at home, nobody knew anything. But then I still managed to scramble out. I
covered with the snow the clay stamped and went home with the hare.

How we went to the castle garden for nuts
During our school years, there were many large walnut trees in the manor garden, mainly around the stream. Then, as the ripe nuts fell, the water took them and carried them underground under the school through the large canal (a tunnel lined with stones) to the "pit" - the mouth of the stream under the school garden. There we often pulled them out of the water. Brother Lojzek and I once said that we would go for nuts directly to the manor garden. We went through
a stream and the big tunnel, at the end we bounced off three poles and started to take nuts under the nearest tree.
In that, however, we see a gardener running at us. We quickly flew back into the tunnel and behind the
corner we looked to see what would happen. The gardener came to the entrance to the canal, pressed his face to the sticks, and saw if he could see anyone. At that moment, Lojzek peeled a piece of chipping plaster from the wall of the tunnel and threw it at the gardener. The plaster scatered on the rods and flew into the garner's face. He roared and fell into the creek. He began to roar and swear, rubbing his eyes full of sand. We didn't wait for anything, they hurried through the tunnel and everyone ran to a different side under the school. Me to "Sheep pharm" and Lojzek to "Old Town". We were then afraid to go home, but nobody saw us, so nothing happened.

How we went to the forest at night for wood
One evening Lojzek and I went to the forest - to Bor - to the "dry tree". We cut the dry tree, took it on our shoulders (it was really heavy) and went down with in towards the forest path. In the meantime, the forest was already as dark as in a sack. We just got down on the forest path (it was somewhere in the places like the bench now), when I see a red light of a cigarette not far from us. But it was already with me, I shouted "hey rup!" and both at the same time we threw the log to the ground. And to the gendarme returning from the meeting from "Šištót", fell right on his feet.
The gendarme roared and fell to the ground, we scattered and hid behind the trees. The gendarme pulled out a flashlight, shining in the woods, but he couldn't see us. Then he examined his leg, moaning and cursing. It was a miracle he didn't br
oken it. Then he limped home slowly, to Konice. We waited and watched him reach the road, then took the dry tree and took him home.
We cut and hid the
dry three in the shed right away - we were afraid that the gendarmes would come the next day, but no one came...

About a snake under a stone
I went from Otínsko once in the afternoon
from to mowing hay. I shortened my path through the forest - "Rock forest", picked up a few mushrooms and under the forest I sat on a large rock to rest. I took off my "backpack", drank black coffee, and I wanted to get up and continue down to Konice.
But then I noticed that there was a bigger hole under the stone, "
smoothed" at the edges, as if something often crawled in and out. It just occurred to me to put my wand in that hole. But I immediately pulled it out, because there was a threatening hiss from inside. I jumped, but then a large snake came out, hissed and wanted to pounce on me. I didn't wait, he threw a wand at him and ran down the path. I just heard the snake jump after me,
I have never seen such a large snake before or since (perhaps only in a circus or recently in a zoo, but they are exotic snakes) - he was perhaps 2 meters long, he was afraid of him, although I do not know if he was poisonous. He must have had a nest under the boulder. I avoided the place for a while.

Collecting mushrooms in the forest
In my young years, the forests around Konice were deeper and taller than now, when they are cut down a lot, although they are also planted a lot and the cuttings of young trees also have their charm and mushrooms grow in them. But what was much more then were blueberries and mushrooms! It was said that he could go to mushrooms with a scythe and a grass basket, but it's a bit exaggerated, even then it was necessary to know "his places". And I knew you well, I was at home in the woods!
Here behind our garden on the
Pine forest, "chickens" (brown foxes), porcini mushrooms, mushrooms, crutches grew. We did not collect dry mushrooms, bucks, pigeons and similar "calabs" at that time, there were enough real mushrooms. In Bell forest in the Otín region, a lot of "blues" grew, in Rock forest, above "Šištót" (Střelnice) and above Jílovec, cossacks and large real mushrooms with black heads. I sometimes found nice cossacks along the way to Šištót.
When I was walking from a haymaker from the Otín region, I first went to the Bell forest for blue jeans, then I went through the whole
Rock forest and collected a full "backpack" of mushrooms (backpack made of green-brown coarse cloth), I often had to take off my shirt and tie my sleeves to beautiful porcini mushrooms. At home, all vacancies in the chamber, in the shed and in the attic were occupied by scarves, sieves, crates or just papers with a lot of sliced mushrooms to dry. There was a beautiful mushroom smell everywhere!

About bottomless wells and swamps
For decades I have been going to Otínsko, where we have a meadow, a small field and a piece of young grove. It is about 5 kilometers from Konice, quite a remote place, only the road to Skripov leads around. In the upper part of the Otín region, just below the
"Bell" forest, below the border is a small well with crystal clear and cold water, which is a real blessing for mowing and women who dry hay on the surrounding meadows in the hot summer. I also refreshed myself with water from it, when I cut the grass all day, sometimes I even had a small bootle with plum brandy cooled there.
From this well, which never dries, a small stream leads down through a meadow, then continues to cross the
"Rock forest", around "Devil's rock" and in Jílovec it flows into the main stream Jesenka. The lower part of Otínské luky is formed by a small but treacherous swamp, where reeds and sedges grow, around which there are wild willow bushes. No one dares to step there! It is said that the swamp is bottomless and has an old legend, as well as the forest "Zvoňák" ("Bell") :
Once upon a time, many hundreds of years ago, the village of Otín was in these places, which became rich thanks to the trade route, and the inhabitants therefore became greedy, envious, extravagant and selfish. A blind pilgrim once came to Otín, but the evil people drove him away and did not provide him with accommodation. The wayfarer turned behind the village and said a curse, "I wish you greedy people would fall
under the earth, if you had no compassion for the poor!". And the old man's words came true, the village disappeared, including the bells, it is said that it fell into the ground. When the ear is pressed to the ground in the noon silence, it is said to hear the bells ringing underground! A bell was actually dug up in those places about 100 years ago ... The forest was called "Bell forest" and the fields and meadows below it are still called Otínsko.

The lower part of Otínské meadows with a "bottomless" swamp Straw puddle under Bell forest near Šubířov

This is not the only swamp in those places houded in legends. Another is on the other side of Bell forest not far from here in a place where just before the village of Šubířov the road has a bend. On the left side there is a small pond called "Straw Puddle". There is a legend about that a young farmer from Konice once drove by with a horse-drawn carriage loaded with straw, perhaps he allegedly recently got married in Šubířov and did not know it well there yet. The cariage sped down the hill too fast, the farmer could not brake, and the car with straw flew into the swamp. The horses were towed and rescued, but the wagon with straw disappeared into the swamp. The straw then floated on the surface for a long time, and hence the name "Straw Puddle" or "Straw".
When you go from there to the right down through the forest towards Jesenec, you will come to Sládek's rock - an old flooded quarry. There is deep cold water, bigger children go swimming there. But it is dangerous, in
1917 the 18-year-old girl Milada Mackerlová, who stayed in Konice on vacation, drowned there…

An incident with a ram
went as a 20-year-old youngster, still single, to do various jobs in the courtyard of a manor. In addition to threshing grain, repairing tools and other minor work, I sometimes took care of sheep. Once I was carrying a bucket of water for a sheep, when an old ram ran from behind, picked me up with horns and knocked me to the ground, the water spilled. I decided not to "give it" to him. I found a fairly large stone and threw it at the ram. At that time, I knew how to throw like few others, I threw the whole pond over the stone to the other side and knocked down a crow high in a tree. I hit the ram with a stone right in the middle of my forehead. The ram fell as if cut and remained lying down.
I was startled, I didn't want to kill a ram, even though it was an old ram known for its angry nature. Moreover, he was a favorite of
Mr. administrator, a grumpy man of a similar nature. So it would be bad, the manager would be furious! I hurried to the well, pumped cold water and poured the whole bucked on the ram. He woke up slowly, still tangled for a while, but the next day he was fine. But he never allowed himself to me again, he was afraid of me and arched around me.

Stories with redhead Vašek
I often met on various occasions
one of my peers and a "friend", Václav Havelka, whom everyone called "rusty Vašek", because of her light red hair. He was a rascal in which there was nothing good, later a notorious thief and kleptomaniac known throughout the district - he was also punished 50 times for various petty thefts!
At that time, however, we were both young and for a while we were friends. One winter I chopped ice on a pond in Střelnice. He was then transported by whole carriages to the "ice house" in the cellar of the brewery, where he lasted until the summer. I chopped more pieces of ice and pulled them out of the water with rakes, when someone grabbed my legs from behind and pushed me into the ice water and under the ice. I almost drowned, but I managed to get under the ice and scramble up on the ice. I
saw a rusty Vašek running away and giggling. I was so angry that I decided not to "donate" it to him! I ran home frozen (it's more than a kilometer, through the forest), changed, but I still got a cold from that ice bath.
The opportunity to retaliate came in early spring. Opposite across the pond at the "slaughter", a large pit was dug in the back of the yard, where lime was extinguished. The lime was already extinguished, the pit full and the
rusty Vašek was still mixing the white steaming mass with the rakes. I approached from behind and shoved the pure Vašek into the lime! I knew that the lime was no longer boiling, but Vašek roared terribly, tore off his clothes and flew naked into the pond. It cooled there, but for several days it was as red as a crayfish and its skin peeled - both by scalding and by lime etching. So we were even. He then did not allow himself any willful, except for petty thefts, in which he became more and more enjoyed.
He often came to me and cheaply offered various things (household tools, rabbits, wire mesh, scrap and various other materials), but I never bought anything from him, I knew it was stolen. Once (and it's actually recently), one of my acquaintances, L
adislav, installed an electric pump by a stream and a garden watering hose from it. Readhead Vašek came to him and told him that "to be you, I wouldn't leave the pump there, someone could steal it". Ladislav just laughed and said that he didn't believe it, that no one would afford it and what he should do it for. And by morning the pump was gone! - of course they found it at the redhead Vašek, he hasn't had time to sell it yet ...

These very simple stories from the life of a modest country man certainly cannot interest today's readers in any way, accustomed to dramatic and even tense ecstatic situations (albeit fictional). But perhaps it will help someone to think about how drastically the lifestyle has changed since then, historically not so old.
These stories of my father are loosely followed by my own
Memories from Konice .

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