‘In the courtyard in front of him, he saw the old man crawling about on his hands and knees.’
Somewhere in the vast open spaces of Asia Minor, out on the Old Silk Road, there is a small town on a great plateau which stretches all the way to China. It is a flyblown little place and it owes its precarious existence to the old road which passes through it. For generations, the people of the town made a living by catering to the needs of the passing travellers, but now hardly anyone ever stopped. The traffic on the road had certainly changed. A hundred years ago the caravanserais were full of camel trains and merchants from all over the world. Now, the only traffic was in the form of huge articulated container trucks that thundered past on their way to and from China, honking their horns and raising great clouds of dust as they passed. The town continued to survive, but now the young sons of the townspeople no longer wanted to be innkeepers; they all wanted to be truck drivers or to emigrate to England or Germany.
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