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He left behind a very undistinguished education, getting thrown out of posh boarding schools, to walk at the tender age of 18 from Rotterdam to Istanbul, sleeping in castles and hayricks en route, and ending up living with a Byzantine princess, twelve years his senior, in Moldavia until the war separated them.
Everywhere women were hard at work, hanging out washing, harvesting, shelling walnuts, building hayricks or even making mud bricks to bake in the sun while the men stood about chatting languidly in every village or squatted together at the roadside wearing their traditional tall Kyrgyz hats of embroidered felt, the ak kalpak, or the ornate pillbox hats of the Uzbeks.
In previous centuries, numbers of insane people, whose homicidal or destructive mania had not been detected, tramped up and down the country, committing mysterious murders, setting hayricks or houses on fire and maiming cattle.
Their neighbors, the Noyes, for reasons undetermined, burned Bijah's fences and hayricks.
To the left, newly-mown meadows, with rows of huge hayricks, stretched endlessly till they were lost in the distance; to the right extended the smooth surface of a vast mighty river, till it too was lost in the distance.
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