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RAVISHED ARMENIA

On the third day Nazim, accompanied by his father, Ahmed, came to my room. Ahmed spoke with the same cruel gentleness. “What is past is gone, little one; it is time your thoughts should turn to the future. Nazim desires you. You are honored. He has punished you for your stubbornness, and he would forgive you and take you to his heart. That is as it must be. Your people are gone. There is none to give you mistaken counsel. You will now accept the favor of Allah and enter into a state of true righteousness.”

“I want to die—kill me! I will never listen to your son nor to your Allah,” I said.

They took me into another wing of the house, to a dungeon room, with just one iron-barred window looking out into the courtyard. There was no divan or cushions, just the floor and the walls. The window was high in the wall. I could not look out at anything but the sky—that same sky which covered so much of tragedy in my ravished Armenia.

Day after day, night after night, went by. Each day the alaiks came and brought me bread, berries and milk. And each day the hodja, a teacher-priest, came to ask me if I were ready to accept Islam. But each day God took me closer into His heart, for I kept up my courage by talking to Him.

And then one night, after so many days had passed I had lost count of them, God reached in through my dungeon window. I was awakened by a commotion