Look Inside: Sample Story from Daily Bread —April 2015

Elias, King of the Sheepers

A summer evening in Kato Pedina, Zagori. I meet friends at Panos and Evangalia’s taverna in the village: Stella, her niece, and Phanis, who runs a large chicken farm in the valley. We speak English, Greek, and eat and drink as the full moon rises over the village behind us.

Then, the “King of Sheepers” arrives. Elias, a solid man blackened by the sun, handsome, hands thick as blocks from years of milking. He speaks fast and Stella says, “You don’t understand him? Don’t worry, I don’t either. And anyway, Elias is a big storyteller.”

That morning, he had driven 800 sheep by foot from Kalapaki, a drive by car of 1 hour, on foot, half a day. After, he sheared the entire herd with the help of a friend. All this in one day. Now he slumps in a heap on the table and mumbles stories stitched with fact and fiction. He looks at me now and in slow but perfect English says, “I love my sheep.” I suspect he memorized these words for the American photographer. Rumor is he left his wife down in the valley and lives now in a small cottage, a close neighbor to his 800 sheep.

July 2009 Kato Pedina, Greece