Life Around the Old Fountain Greek

Life around the old fountaiThe fountain of Alea, of Argos, had acted for the longest time as the place where the life of its citizens revolved around. Its water comes out of the earth in the rocky mountain of Trahi above this beautiful village, at a height 1500 meters above sea level near the country chapel Agia Paraskevi. The water rolls down from the above spring to the fountain through an aqueduct erected by the industrious citizens of the village, and arrives at the fountain without losing its freshness and good quality.

If you could have stayed by the fountain for an entire day you would have been able to feel the life and been able to evaluate the size of the activity of these mountain people. Women would feel up their wooden barrels with fresh water from one of its four large rocky points[gournes] and put them on their backs or on their shoulders, hurrying up to return to their homes. Others of them were busy to rinse their laundry, at the end of the basins, beating it gently with wooden pestles. Some others would wash the wheat or corn carefully and bring it to the roof of the fountain in order to dry it and get it ready for the mill. You would see women washing their white and black wool to weave their woolen clothes and sleeping items at the loom. This very often after long and hard work both outside and inside their homes.

Men and women, boys and girls sitting on the pack saddles of their donkeys or mules would lead them to the basins of the fountain two and three times a day so that they might satisfy their daily needs. No one was surprised at the site of housewives holding in their hands their knitting or their distaff while sitting on their mules. Hissing and voices, laughs and songs filled the atmosphere. Young lovers, on the other hand, would not lose the opportunity to gaze in each others eyes. During those times of the year when the amount of work decreased, older ladies would even find a little time for light gossip. It must be said here that until the beginning of the 20th century the villagers used cows to cultivate their farms. These disappeared though as time passed on.

Although nobody in the winter was really interested in the vastness of the water after it left the fountain's facilities, in the summer months though things changed. All the water had to be driven to the gardens of the village in order to contribute to the production of the delicious fresh summer vegetables and fruits that were necessary for the feeding of the citizens. A water guard, working day and night, was selected and paid by the community to ensure the good and proper use of this water. During the winter months, when there was plenty of water to go around, a large part of it was directed to the mil of the village, before arriving at the fountain, in order to move its heavy mill rocks and convert the wheat and corn to flour. Early in the cold morning the mill man would play his loud turbeta[mouth horn] in order to inform the citizens that he was at his post and waiting for his clients.

After the Second World War and the years of the communist uprising many things changed in the life of the village. For the first time in the long history of the village people began to leave the village seeking a better way of life in other countries beyond the oceans (ie. USA, Canada, Australia) that opened their boundaries to accept them. The water high at Agia Paraskevi began to decrease. This decrease gave way to bad passage. The few people who chose to remain at the village, without obviously estimating the cultural and historical value of the fountain monument, allowed the day when bulldozers knocked it over and pushed it out of existence. On this rocky pavement of the fountain, where not too long ago the villagers shared so comfortably its water with their friendly animals, now move about the vehicles of the village. Those of us who have had the privilege to taste the way of life described above share these few words with the new generations who would like to seek their roots, their ancestors, and an understanding of the life of the village, and especially the life around the old fountain that was located just west of the Saint Ioannis church .

Sot. P.Kougiouris, San Fransisco Jan 1997.


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