The Three Fotevski Brothers
Summer 1947. It was a hot summer day; the rocks were cracking in the
heat. The green grass in the Rudarci meadows was as high as the waist.
Rudarci villagers - like the other villagers of Prespa - were cutting
the grass. They were gathering the hay, one of the most important foods
for the livestock in winter. In "Gradenata Livada" near the
street was the meadow belonging to the deceased Simo Fotevski. His two
fatherless boys Joshe and Spiro, who had known the struggle for a crust
from a young age, were cutting the grass there.
The first son of baba Simojca - Joshe, born in 1918 was dark, with
dark eyes, tall, with broad shoulders, a fit and well-developed man.
He firmly held the blade in his calloused hands and, a little bent over,
cut the grass and did not stand until he had finished. After him went
his younger brother Spiro. He rushed to try and reach his brother. Spiro
was a thin, tall and wiry boy, quick witted and shrewd. He always wanted
things to be done well and on time.
From time to time they lifted their heads and carefully listened. From
Vigla and Vich thunder could be heard.
"A terrible battle is being fought," said Joshe, "As
you can see, our side is putting in a great effort."
"Yes!" answered Spiro and continuing, told his brother that
that night more Rudarci villagers had left to join the partisans. "When
will we go?"
Next to the village in the locality "Lajshta" was their brother
Fote with the sheep. He was the third brother in line, born in 1925.
He was shorter, rounder, fat, with a red shepherd's face. Fote sat on
a rock with his bag over his shoulder and whistled one of his favourite
old Macedonian songs:
Old grandpa is herding sheep
Herding sheep, playing the kaval flute
Playing the kaval flute and speaking
Where is Dame, Where is Goce
Where are the old freedom fighters?
* * *
Around him are the sheep that are peacefully grazing. Near him, a bit
to the side, sits his loyal helper Sharko.
Along the wide road "Sv. Nikola" which leads to the wide
meadows there hurried a woman with a baking tray on her head with a
wooden buckle on her shoulder and with a distaff at her waistband. She
was wearing a wide Prespa-style shegun ("sleeveless coat")
and as she hurried she was sweating and redening from the great heat.
She was hurrying to get the warm zelnik [large pie with vegetable filling]
as soon as possible to her sons who were tired from the heavy work.
The embittered mother arrived. Exhausted from her hurried walk - over
half an hour - she went straight to the shade of a walnut tree where
she left the things for the grass cutters. Even before she sat she called
to them with motherly gentleness: "Come on sons, come on and have
a bit of lunch; I have brought you some warm zelnik and fresh water."
The two brothers joined her, smiling and wiping the sweat from their
faces with a colourful hankie. They sat down to rest and eat under the
walnut tree's shade. They ate and spoke for a while with their mother.
They spoke about the noise that was coming from Vich, about the partisans,
Once they finished eating and rested, they stood and continued their
work. The meadow was big and they had to come back another day. But
another job waited for them the next day... That is why they rushed
and worked until late into the night and finished the whole meadow.
They cut the grass, they said goodbye to the meadow and set off for
The next day they did not go to the meadow to gather the hay. They
left for Vich, the place from where the noise reached them.
All three brothers - Joshe, Spiro and Fote - joined the ranks of DAG.
They fought bravely and all three fell on the altar of liberation -
Fotevski, the three sons of baba Simojca, the dear old mother from Prespa.
With thousands of pains and suffering that bitter widow raised them
and when the time came for them to help her in her old years, she gave
them up to the great mother - the land of our birth.
From: For Sacred National Freedom: Portraits Of Fallen Freedom
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For Sacred National Freedom: Portraits Of Fallen Freedom Fighters