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Page:Ravished Armenia.djvu/255

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Vartabed, who had told them I was the daughter of his one-time master in the Mamuret-ul-Aziz. They expected me, and were very kind.

When I thought of Old Vartabed going back to his sheep, and to the mercy of Ahmed Bey, I cried. The shepherd Kurd's wife and daughters were sorry, and the Kurd himself went down toward the plain in which Ahmed’s house stood, to learn if Old Vartabed still tended his sheep. That night he came back in great distress. He had learned of Old Vartabed’s fate. None but the shepherd could have helped me escape, Ahmed Bey had been sure. He had summoned Old Vartabed before him and the shepherd had confessed, as there was no other way. Ahmed Bey sent for his zaptiehs. Old Vartabed was led out to where his flock was waiting to be taken to the pasture. There was a shot, and he had paid with his life for his kindness to the little daughter of his one-time master.

The Kurd was much alarmed for me. Ahmed Bey had sent zaptiehs to search in the plains and hills. Perhaps they would soon be at the hut.

They would not send me away, but I knew that I must go. The hut was too close to the house of Ahmed, and the zaptiehs might come when least expected. So they gave me woolen stockings, the best they had, a great loaf of winter bread, a jug in which to carry water, and a blanket to wrap about me at night. Then I went out into the hills.