Following the outbreak of WW2, which closely followed the signing of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, the Red Army occupied eastern Poland, including the city of Lvov. And following that, a lot of people started getting arrested.
Thus it came to be that a Polish intellectual found himself in a Lvov prison cell filled beyond capacity with Ukrainians, mostly nationalists and simple criminals. The first thing that happened to him was that he was robbed of his middle-class clothes. The second thing that happened was that he was approached by the leader of the Ukrainians who, pointing out to his compatriots who were fighting among themselves, said that the fighting would only get worse unless the Pole would tell them a story.
The Pole thought for a moment and then started on a tale of “events of long ago, when ataman (Ukrainian military leader) Odys, left his island of Ithaka and went to fight a war against a mighty enemy city in Turkey called Troy.”
The tale lasted for a few days and kept peace in the cell. When it ended, the Ukrainians’ leader consulted with his group and approached the Pole again. He was to tell his tale again but this time without mistakes. In particular, in the second telling, it should be made clear that ataman Odys was Ukrainian all along, and also, that there should be included some thieving Russians among the suitors who were trying to fuck Penelope. The Pole complied without qualms.
|The Brigidki Prison in Lvov (a former nunnery)|