I am not the autor of this story, i found this many years ago in some old google groups.
That summer, I was walking through the hills of northern Greece from Ioannina towards a place called Frankista, where a metalled road began. It’s a lonely and hilly bit of country, traversed only by rough tracks leading from village to village. I could usually find somewhere to sleep, and to replenish my food and water, but I was always prepared to sleep out if I had to. It’s something like seventy miles, and I’d been lucky, so far.
I’d climbed over a pass, and was studying the land in front of me, and cursing the map I’d got from the Tourist Office, which didn’t seem to match the terrain at all. Still, there was a track, of sorts, and it ought to lead to somewhere. I walked on, through the hot sun and the barren and stony landscape. At least I was going downhill now.
I rounded a corner, to see another track joining mine some way off. In the distance, there was a white figure moving towards the junction. It seemed to me that we should arrive together. I’d be able to find out just where I was, with luck. While my Greek isn’t marvellous, I can get by.
As we approached each other, more details became apparent. The white blob turned into the figure of a young woman in a brief white dress. Her legs and feet, as far as I could tell, were bare, but, for all that, she strode confidently along the stony track, her carriage upright and proud. I adjusted my pace to be sure that we met.
I waved to her as we neared our meeting.
“Good day!” I said in my halting Greek.
She gave me a smile.
“I think you are English,” she said, in English far better than my Greek. “We see few strangers here, let alone foreigners. Where are you going to?”
“I’m heading towards Frankista,” I said. “The map I have suggests that there’s a village called Granitsa somewhere along this track, but I don’t trust it very far.”
“Granitsa is twenty kilometres further on. You will not reach it by nightfall. But my village is only seven kilometres. You will be welcome to stay for the night.”
“Thank you. I was prepared to sleep out, but a roof is always better.”
“If you follow me, I will take you there. Then, tomorrow, I will show you the track to Granitsa.”
She set off along the track, and I followed. For the first time, I saw that her dress was completely backless, revealing a smooth and well-tanned expanse of skin. Since it stopped mid-thigh, and we were walking up hill again, I could also see that her underwear was non-existent. Greece is a hot country.
Two hours later, we arrived in the village, if you can give that name to four houses and two barns. There wasn’t even a church. A man came out of one of the houses.
“That is my father, Janni,” she said. “My name is Koré.”
“That is a good Greek name.”
They spoke together for a few moments, and then he went back indoors. He returned with a platter, on which there was a piece of bread and some salt. He dipped the bread in the salt and offered it to me. I’d met this ritual before, and took it, and ate it. I was now his guest-friend, and he would give his life for me. Koré translated his words.
“You are welcome. We see few strangers here. You shall share our meal, but I fear that you will have to sleep in a barn. The straw is clean.”
“I thank you. It will be more comfortable than sleeping on the rocks under the stars.”
While the evening meal was being prepared, Koré and I strolled round the village. I asked her how she came to speak such good English.
“I was at school in Ioannina,” she said. “We were taught English there. Then, I worked for an English family in Igoumenitsa for a time, before I came home to help my father. Perhaps, also, I have a good ear.”
“You surely do,” I said. “I certainly can’t speak Greek half as well. What does your father do?”
“In a village like this, what is there to do? He grows a few grapes, a few olives, a little wheat. I should not have chosen it as my work, but it is my duty. He is the headman of the village. Life can be hard, here. The winters are cold.”
“Forgive me, but do you always wear so few clothes?”
“Not in winter. But my body likes to be free. In the ancient times, the younger women were usually bare to the waist. So am I, sometimes, in the fields or the vineyard. My father did not like it at first, until I told him that it was a very old custom. He is a great traditionalist.”
A call from Janni told us that our meal was ready.
We ate a rather anonymous stew, with bread and a very rough red wine. Afterwards, Janni and I sat in the gathering dusk, drinking ouzo, while Koré cleared up. Conversation was difficult, given my rudimentary Greek and his accent, but we persevered. Eventually, when it was fully dark, he showed me the barn where I was to sleep, and headed back to his house. I spread out my sleeping bag, and stood in the doorway looking at the village in the bright moonlight. I thought the village probably hadn’t changed much since Homer’s days. Then I took off my clothes, lay down, and pulled a fold of the bag over me for modesty. It was a hot night.
I didn’t go to sleep immediately, which is why, about half an hour later, I saw a slim female figure coming cautiously into the barn. It was Koré, stark naked. She knelt over me.
“You can guess why I am here,” she whispered. “All the men here are old, and tired. I am a woman, young and hot. Please give me what I need.”
I didn’t need a lot of encouragement: I’d had the makings of an erection ever since I’d met her.
In the morning, I surfaced slowly. Between the ouzo and Koré, I still felt rather tired. She’d brought me off five times. I dressed, and made to go out. A burly villager stopped me, and I understood him to have said, “Wait.” When he let me past, I saw Koré standing beside her father and two other men, dressed as she had been yesterday. It’s a silly thing to say in a no-horse village in Greece, but they had the air of a court of justice. Her father came to me.
“My daughter was seen visiting you, last night,” he said, in rather clearer Greek than usual. “She has admitted this, and will now be punished. You will watch.”
Koré spoke to him, briefly, and then came to me.
“Do not concern yourself,” she said. “I knew what I was doing. I make you innocent of any crime. As for the punishment, it is nothing. Two days of discomfort, that is all. It was worth it.”
Janni spoke again.
“My brothers and I have judged that she will receive a ‘falanga’ of twenty strokes. Let her be made ready.”
Koré lay on her back, and clasped her hands behind her head. Janni bound her ankles to a wooden pole about six feet long, and tied her big toes together with a leather thong. He also bound her knees. While all this was happening, Koré lay there, relaxed, with a faint smile in her face. Janni and another man lifted the pole, and held it firmly against their thighs. Her brief skirt fell back, leaving her body naked from the waist down. A third man came up with a whip. This was of braided rawhide, about two feet long, nine inches or so being the handle. It tapered from the thickness of my thumb to that of my little finger. He stood to Koré’s right, raised the whip, and brought it down across her bare soles.
It made a sound like a pistol shot when it landed. From where I stood, I could see her face, which still carried a faint smile. She lay there, quite calm and relaxed, as though she were taking her ease on a beach. Her soles were dark, and, remembering the way she had been striding over the rough track yesterday, I thought they would be very hard and tough. He struck again, with the same lack of reaction.
After five strokes, I could see scarlet stripes on the softer arches, but she was still half smiling and relaxed. I could scarcely believe it. The man with the whip was striking with his full force, as witness the loud cracks as it struck. But for all the effect it seemed to be having, he might as well have been using a feather duster.
When the tenth blow had fallen, he paused for a rest. Koré’s feet were lowered to the ground, and she sat up and stretched, lazily, and smiled at me.
“I told you, Andrew,” she said. “I have been beaten like this before. My feet are very hard, and it doesn’t hurt much. I shall be sore for two days, perhaps three, but that is all.”
The man with the whip said something, and she lay down again, calm and still smiling.
Janni and his partner lifted the pole higher, this time, and the man with the whip stood more directly behind her. His stroke fell along the length of her left foot, this time, and her smile looked a little strained. I supposed that, as it had crossed all the previous marks, it had hurt her more. But she quickly recovered, and stayed relaxed for the next four strokes, all of which fell along her left foot. I wiped my forehead: I was sweating as though I lay there myself, under the whip.
Koré’s right foot received the same treatment, and then it was over. Tough though they were, I could see that each sole carried a chequerwork pattern of welts, that would surely hurt for days. They freed her from her bonds, and she just lay there for a few moments, wriggling her toes. Then she sat up, and lifted each foot in turn to a thigh, to inspect the damage, stroking her soles gently. After that, to my great surprise, she calmly stood up, smoothed her scanty dress down her thighs, and walked steadily over too me. After a look at her father, she embraced me.
“We are happy to have had you as our guest,” she said. “Now, you need to find the way to Granitsa.”
“I will show Andrew that,” Janni said. “You should rest for a while.”
Obediently, she went into the house, winking at me.
He pointed out the track. It led along a ridge for four kilometres or so, and there I should find a cairn of stones. This marked the easiest way down the side of the ridge into the valley below. From there, the track led south to Granitsa. I thanked him for his hospitality, shouldered my rucksack, and set off through the blinding sunlight along the steep, rough path.
After a kilometre or so it levelled out to follow a winding route along the mountainside, below the ridge itself. I sat on a rock to recover my breath: climbing steep hills in the hot sun is a wearing activity. I studied the landscape. Most rock in Greece is pale in colour, and under the bright sun gives a washed-out look to the scenery. The village was out of sight, and I seemed to be alone in a desert After ten minutes, I rose to continue my journey. Then suddenly, Koré came into sight, running up the path I had followed. Running, yet, half an hour after her feet had been soundly whipped!
She threw herself into my arms, and I fondled her bare back. She wasn’t even breathing hard, after an uphill kilometre.
“I hoped that I should catch up with you,” she said. “You must not leave believing that we are barbarians. I saw your face while they were whipping me. Truly, it hurt me only a little.”
“Since you’ve just run up the hill, I believe you. But your feet must be like leather.”
“Feel,” she said, lifting one up.
I felt. My girl-friend has shoes with softer soles.
“We have strong traditions, in this part of our country. Some of our own, and some from the Turks. I knew, when we made love, that I should probably get my feet whipped. It does not matter to me. What does, is that I should be made love to. We are out of sight of the village. What are you waiting for?”
I dropped my rucksack. It didn’t matter if I got into Granitsa rather late.
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