Blog Post by Murat Yaşar


Posted on Tuesday, December 01, 2009 9:51:26 PM and it has been read 765 times since then.


The Last Leaf

Somewhere, in the West of one country, there was a village. Approximately, all of them were painters.  They were living on one street in a small town.  There was an old building with three floors.  Two girls, who are friends, were living together at the top floor of the building.  The second floor, was being used by an old man who is working as a painter.

One day, one of the girls became ill with pneumonia.  She was looking outside one day, through the window in her bedroom, when she started counting. At the same time her friend was painting in the same room because their house was too small.  When her sick friend started to counting, she came near the window, and she started to look outside as well.  She was getting curious.  There was nothing to count, there was only a dreary, quite empty courtyard and one house made of bricks six or seven meters ahead.  Also, there was one grapevine which was extremely old and had started to decay.  It had climbed half way up the wall which was made of bricks. Those were the only things in sight - nothing else.

The girl went over to her sick friend's bed and she asked her, "What is wrong with you?" in astonishment. Her sick friend answered,  "They are falling of so fast now.  There were hundreds of leaves on that grapevine three days ago.  I was getting a headache when I tried to count them, but now, it's easy.  You see, one of them is falling now.  There are only five leaves left.  I believe that when the last leaf falls down, I will die.  I feel this." Her friend said to her, "Please, come off it.  Just eat this hot soup and it will be beneficial to you." The ill girl said, "You see, another one has just fallen now and there have been four leaves left.  I don't want to eat the soup, I want to see the last leaf fall before it gets dark.  I know I will die after the last leaf falls." After she fell asleep, her friend went downstairs to visit the old neighbor man, who is a painter.  She told him everything about her friend's illness and her behavior about counting the falling leaves.

The following day, the girl who is ill, asked for her friend to open the curtains so she could watch and count the falling  leaves.  They were surprised because there was still one leaf on the grapevine.  It had rained all night, and the wind was intense.  The leaf was staying on the grapevines' branch which is six or seven meters above the ground.  The leaf was staying there in spite of all the difficulties. The girl who is ill said, " I was thinking, it should have fallen last night, but it hasn't.  I heard the wind last night.  Anyway, I am sure it will fall today, and when it does, I will die." The day was passing slowly but the leaf still stayed in its place. The girl had been watching that leaf from her bed while she was lying there.  After all these things, she called to her friend and said, " I am sorry.  I was tactless.  It is a sin to say "`I will die"'.  Could you please give me a bowl of soup now?"

The Doctor came to their flat to examine her. The doctor said to them, " I am going to go downstairs now because the old man who is a painter, also has pneumonia.  He is hopeless, but he will be taken to the hospital.  We are thinking he may feel better in the hospital."

The next day, the doctor came again.  The girl who was ill, was congratulated by the doctor.  He said, "You have overcome pneumonia." The following days, she told the story about the neighbor to her friend who was ill.  She said, "The old man had died after two days of going into the hospital.  The morning when he had fallen ill, he had been found by the doorkeeper in a very bad state.  He was soaking wet, from head to toe.  No one could understand why he was wet like this at that time.  No one, could understand what he was doing outside in such tempestuous weather.

After all was said and done, a hurricane lamp, stepladder, palette and some paint brushes were found, and then it was known why the last leaf was staying right in it's place on the branch.  One leaf picture had been painted and pasted to that place by the old man in the night when the last leaf had fallen from the branch.
 
O. Henry
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Many thanks to my friends who helped me to translate this essay into
English.
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