REPUBLIC OF TURKEY MINISTRY OF CULTURE AND TOURISM

THE KITE - Adnan ÇAKMAKÇIOĞLU

THE KITE

Selcuk had been preparing for days. During the festival there would be a contest with a prize for the children: a kite contest.

Selcuk heard of that from his friends. At first he had disdained it. But the prize amounting one hundred liras appealed to him. He would keep this a secret from his friends. He did so. He wanted nobody to see him buying colored papers from the market. Late in the afternoon he came home having secretly hid the papers in a file. Papers did not constitute the whole thing. He needed to ask those organizing the festival about the details.

The room in the entrance of the municipality was for the festival organizers. The door was open. He entered:

- Could you please give me some information about the kite contest?

- Why not?

A young girl was saying this. She was the secretary of the festival committee.

- Are you going to join the contest, too?

- Yes, I intend to.

- Have you got a kite? It has to be made by you. You can't join the contest with a ready-made kite.

I know about that. What I want to know is something else.
Let me know what it is.

Are dimensions for the kite set or can everyone contest with a kite in any size and with any color he wants to make.

The girl smiled:

- You can join the contest with a kit that is in any form, any color, and any size you want. However, you have to be ready on the dock half an hour before the contest time.

- At what time?

- Just at half past two p.m. On the dock. And your kite with you. Got it?

Selcuk had got what he wanted. He thanked her. The secretary called after him:

See kid, will you come for a moment?

Selcuk turned back from the door.

Stopped in front of the girl.

- I must write down your application. What is your name and surname?

- Selcuk Akca.

- Your address?

- Mehtap street, No 24.

- That's all. You can go now. Don't forget, at half past two p.m. on Thursday, on the dock.

- Ok.

Selcuk rushed through the market. Turned towards the dock. Stopped on this way paved with cement along the seashore. Here he was going to fly his kite. His heart began beating with excitement. He raised his head up to the sky. It was deep blue. The kite he was going to make with his own hands would rise just there. Above all the other kites and the most attractive of all.

Just at that moment a flock of crows flew past. Selcuk shouted suddenly:

- What have you done? You have torn my kite. Then he looked around. Fortunately there was no one around. He was talking to himself for the first time. What would he do if something like that actually happened during the contest? He should think about it thoroughly. May be a picture would be necessary to avert crows. What could it be? He got it, he thought of something: a picture of a cat. Why not? You should have watched crows facing a picture of a cat attacking them.

With this idea in his mind Selcuk came home. He sat at the table in the small room. Looked at his colored papers. There were all colors. Now all he lacked was lath. He could get this only from carpenters. There was one he knew. His father mentioned of him often. Uncle Servet. He could go to him and ask for some; he would pay after all, would he not? One summer his father had intended to send Selcuk to him as his apprentice. He rushed to his mother:

- Mummy can you give me some money?

- Money? How much? And you did not tell me what you are going to do with it?

- You know. There is a kite contest in the festival. I am going to join the contest. So I need to make a kite.

- So what?

- And to make a kite I need to buy lath. I bought colored papers with my money. Now I will buy lath and make a kite.

- Good, but do you know how to make a kite? Don't make a complete mess of it. You had better do it with your father.

- Mummy, what's the difference between buying it from the market and making it with your father? This contest is for children, not for fathers.

His mother smiled. Her son was right. She held out the one thousand lira she had taken out of her bag.

- Bargain, ok?

Selcuk rushed out of the house. Just as he was to turn around the corner, he met his father.

- Selcuk, nothing wrong, I hope? Where are you rushing to?

- Daddy I decided to compete in the kite contest. I am going to buy lath from Uncle Servet.

- Do you need my help?

- No, daddy. I must do it by myself. The father smiled:

- Then you have confidence in yourself. Say hello to Uncle Servet.

The father was glad that his son was involved in such an event. He had embarked on a job by himself. Could a better behavior be expected from a kid? He walked home.

Selcuk, running, came to the door of Uncle Servet. He looked in:

- Hello Uncle Servet.

The master who was adjusting a piece of lumber in his machine, turned his head:

- Ah Selcuk! It's you. Come in.

Selcuk entered smiling.

- Say, what on earth brought you here?

Selcuk told him what he was planning.

- I ask you to give me some lath.

The master looked around:

- Is one meter enough?

Selcuk did not say anything. He could not predict how long one meter was.

- How long is it compared to my height?

The master looked at him:

- It will be a little above your waist. Enough?

- You know Uncle Servet.

The master chose three of the laths leaning against the wall. Laid them one on the other. Measured them with a meter. By means of a saw he cut three of them at the same time along the line he had marked with a pen.

- Here you are.

Selcuk held out the money in his hand:

- How much am I to pay Uncle Servet?

The master smiled. He fondled Selcuk's hair:

- No need for money or anything else. Come first, that will be enough.

Selcuk happily took the laths.

Master Servet suddenly felt happy. Having made a child happy made him happy, too.

- If you wish, I will mark them right on the middle. You know a kite must be well-balanced.

He determined the middle of one of the laths. He marked the other laths as well:

- These marks are to match.

- Ok uncle Servet. Thank you very much.

- Say hello to your father.

- It's ok.

Selcuk returned home through the back streets. The staff was complete. A roll of string for kite was in the house. His father had bought it in the past. He sat at the table. He laid the lathes one on the other in a way that their middles would match each other. He drew them aside with equal distances. He tied them. Then he cut notches near their edges. The string mustn't have moved. Tying them on those points he ensured that laths remained in the same distance. Then he suspended them tying a string on the middle. The lath was parallel to the ground.

- Ok.

Selcuk got excided. Now he was he going to arrange the colored papers. But first of all he needed to prepare the paste he would use as adhesive.

- Now see how kite is made.

He was talking to himself.

After a while the kite was ready. Now it was time for the picture of a cat whose mouth is open. He drew it with charcoal on a white drawing paper. Then he glued it on the front side of the kite. The cat was really frightening. The kite was ready. He gathered it and its very long tail up. He laid it on top of the cupboard. But he must have flown it before the contest. He should not rely on his luck. Now where would he fly it? He suddenly thought of the green slope at the back. At these times it was remote.

He looked out of the window. Yes, it would be allright to test the kite there. He opened the door. He ran to the area with the kite in his hand. When he had climbed to the slope there was nobody around. He tested the kite in his hands. Suddenly the kite caught the wind. It raised higher and higher as the spring was freed. It was floating in the air without lurching. Selcuk had succeeded. He had made a correctly balanced kite. And the cat looked so frightening...

Immediately he rolled the string. He carefully gathered the approaching kite. He came home.

Selcuk spent that night sleeping comfortably. He got up pretty early on the day of the contest. He was looking forward to noon. Time past so slowly. His parents were excited as well. When the three came on the dock together it was one o'clock. No one had arrived yet.

- Look, Selcuk start to fly your kite if you wish to. You will fly it in any case, won't you?

His mother interrupted:

- But do they allow it?

Why shouldn't they? What they wanted was the kite to fly, wasn't it?

Selcuk thought it was ok. He wanted to send his kite up to the sky as son as possible. He wanted them to see. See how a kite flies. He untied the string and forwarded. The kite rose at once. It rose higher and higher. Now it was in the sky, floating. Those coming on the dock were pointing out it with admiration.

Right at that time a great many crows came out of hell. They flew directly to the kite. They started to peach the kite actually the cat picture on it.

It turned out the way Selcuk had feared.

- No! Daddy, look at them. They are punching my kite.

His father was looking bewildered. Suddenly the kite fell upside down. It rapidly came down on the sea. Selcuk pulled the string desperately. At that moment the sound of a pipe was heard. The head of the jury was inviting the kids to the contest.

Adnan ÇAKMAKÇOĞLU