My hero's name was Bartek Sowik; but owing to his habit of staring when spoken to, the neighbours called him 'Bartek Goggle-Eyes.' Indeed, he had little in common with nightingales, and his intellectual qualities and truly childishnaïveté won him the further nickname of 'Bartek the Blockhead.' This last was the most popular, in fact, the only one handed down to history, though Bartek bore yet a fourth,an officialname. Since the Polish words 'man' and 'nightingale' present no difference to a German ear, and the Germans love to translate Barbarian Proper names into a more cultured language in the cause of civilization, the following conversation took place when he was being entered as a recruit. 'What is your name?' the officer asked Bartek. 'Szloik Ach, ja, gut.' And the officer wrote down 'Man.' Bartek came from the village of Pognbin, a name given to a great many villages in the Province of Posen and in other parts of Poland. First of all there was he himself, not to mention his land, his cottage and two cows, his own piebald horse, and his wife, Magda. Thanks to this combination of circumstances he was able to live comfortably, and according to the maxim contained in the verse: To him whom God would bless He gives, of course, A wife called Magda and a piebald horse. In fact, all his life he had taken whatever Providence sent without troubling about it. But just now Providence had ordained war, and Bartek was not a little upset at this. For news had come that the Reserves would be called up, and that it would be necessary to leave his cottage and land, and entrust it all to his wife's care. People at Pognbin were poor enough already. Bartek usually worked at the factory in the winter and helped his household on in this way;but what would happen now? Who could know when the war with the French would end? Magda, when she had read through the papers, began to swear: 'May they be damned and die themselves! May they be blinded!Though you are a foolyet I am sorry for you. The French give no quarter; they will chop off your head, I dare say.' Bartek felt that his wife spoke the truth. He feared the French like fire, and was sorry for himself on this account. What had the French done to him? What was he going after there,why was he going to that horrible strange land where not a single friendly soul was to be found? He knew what life at Pognbin was like,well, it was neither easy nor difficult, but just such as it was. But now he was being told to go away, although he knew that it was better to be here than anywhere else. Still, there was no help for it;such is fate. Bartek embraced his wife, and the ten-year old Franek; spat, crossed himself, and went out of the cottage, Magda following him. They did not take very tender leave of one another. They both sobbed, he repeating, 'Come, come, hush!' and went out into the road. There they realized that the same thing which had happened to them had happened to all Pognbin, for the whole village was astir, and the road was obstructed by traffic.