A Letter from a friend…*

by Cristos Tsagkaris

The Dane was walking up and down the roads. Ten days have already passed since he arrived here as a visitor nevertheless he remains silent.

I saw a horseman this morning. He crossed the bridge, found the Dane, gave him a tiny paper and left our city. He read the paper without talking, without smiling, without giving any sign of disturbance and he threw it away. “Nobody understands my language in this town, no one is able to understand that letter”, he must have thought. A cold wind began to blow and some moments later this letter was in my hands, the hands of a young and curious author.

“Could it really be a letter from a friend?” I was asking myself curiously. I unrolled the tiny papyrus and read those lines:

Dear Hamlet,
I hope you’re fine. Unfortunately I have some bad news for you. Even if you’ve managed to save yourself from Guildenstern and Rosencrantz, Claudius is up against you again. Laertes has already returned from France and seeks revenge. He came here in order to kill the king. However, Claudius convinced him to search and kill you. They’re arranged a duel with swords between you and Laertes. Be careful! His blade is poisoned so as to kill anyone with just one scratch. And for God’s sake don’t drink or eat everything offered to you by them. Try to contact me without being noticed. You could wear some armor under your clothes or just surprise them by asking them to change the swords or trying to make Laertes harm himself.

I read again and again the letter without being able to realize what my hands were holding. Could it really be the handwriting of loyal Horatio, dear reader? I was really holding these lines—that even Shakespeare himself does not bother to mention in his play? What about prince Hamlet? Is this letter able to save him from his tragic fate?

But we all know that he won’t be glorious unless he encounters Laertes’s blade. Shakespeare knows it as well. And I’m sure that the Bard doesn’t act randomly. He wants to try Hamlet. He gives him a last chance to go away. He gives him the chance to escape his fate provided that he will sacrifice his glory. Yes, I’m sure. Shakespeare is trying his hero so as to prove that he (Hamlet) is a real hero!

And grace to those lines that came into my hand as rubbish I, an unknown author, can also be sure that Hamlet won’t escape! Now, the very moment that I’m writing those lines I can see him ready to return to Denmark, ready to encounter Fate and Glory!…

*(W. Shakespeare, “Hamlet”, Act IV: Horatio writes a short letter to Hamlet describing Claudius’s plan)

Cristos Tsagkaris

Christos Tsagkaris lives in Greece. He studies Medicine and enjoys reading and writing literature in his spare time. He has been awarded in several literary competitions both in Greece and abroad. Some of these competitions were held by the United Nations (“Un voeu pour la planet”), the “Poesie en Liberte” foundation, the University of Cyprus, the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki and the Greek Literary Union. Poems and fiction of his have also been included in literary anthologies or published in literary online magazines such as “Frear”, “Fractalart”, “tovivlio”,” Bookpress”, “Logotexnia21”, Diasporic Literature, “Literatology”and “101 Words”.


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