It was a hot, humid evening, the trees in the

garden were wrapped in a damp vapor, and the stars

seemed immersed in dirty cotton wool.  Esther Dehpour was sitting

on the wooden veranda with her old grandfather in Lavasan.

Mr. Dehpour said: “Everyone is a stranger to one another.

Even the stars in heaven are alien to one another.”

Moths and mosquitoes congregated around the light on the veranda.

In the distance, from the direction of the hills, orchards

and vineyards, a desperate jackal howled.  Crickets, frogs and sprinklers

chirped agreeably as if in response to the distant jackal.

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Paraphrases from the novel Scenes from Village Life by Amos Oz.

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