Jan Stoberski

Drawn by Janota

Jan Stoberski

Sadness Buster & Other Stories

Read by Piotr Czarnota, recorded by Radiofonia Association.
English translation: Aleksandra Toczyłowska

Many a time as a little boy I desired that I would never become rich, that no one would bequeath any grand possessions to me, and that I would not be perturbed by sundry problems with which men of means are so often burdened. Fate responded to my childhood dreams very kindly. They all came true, for which I owe Fate much gratefulness.

Besides, I have never wished for anyone to live in the lap of luxury, and I did not commiserate with a certain niggardly money-grubber when he lost his bulging wallet and kept lamenting over this inconceivable misfortune that befell him. And whenever some of my money got mislaid I would be concerned just for a little while, since very soon I would get amused thinking I ought to be glad I had only seen an insignificant material loss. Had I worried too much, I would then have to think of myself with pity, shame and derision.

Hardly ever have I tried to make my life easier and every now and then it even felt good to somewhat complicate things.

Neither have I avoided various daily troubles; oftentimes I derived great pleasure from trying to overcome and endure them. I did not bother to buy properly fitted shoes as I would get entertained by the possibility of them falling off my feet during quick march. Likewise, I was tickled when offered a wobbly chair from which I could tumble down any minute.

One day I wanted to make sure I was strong-willed and capable of overpowering my gluttony and lustfulness. And so I ate only one piece of cake, having bought three, and I drank only one glass of vodka in company of my friends, who scoffed at that restraint. Afterwards I did not go any further than give the slim and alluring Fryderyka a tight hug, which left her amazed or perhaps discontented. But late in the evening, when I reached for a stodgy novel, wanting to prove to myself that I would be able to resist the mighty drowsiness which overcame me after I read just a few pages, I had to give up and, having put the volume aside, I fell asleep.

English translation: Aleksandra Toczyłowska

Jan Stoberski

(1906 – 1997) lived like a Franciscan, ate little, went everywhere on foot, actually possessed nothing, lent most of the money he earned for the printing of his short stories. As he himself wrote, “he got drunk with happiness from the air”. He was addicted only to people. He walked the streets of Krakow every day, taking a strategically devised route, and visited the apartments of his acquaintances.
During such visits, he hardly talked, but listened eagerly instead, sometimes nodded off, after some time moved to another flat, to other people. He listened and dozed off again and again. He behaved as if he were not there, as if he had been wearing an invisible cap. After a careful round, he returned to his apartment in Paulińska Street and “made” literature of his remarks.
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