A bright and distant future
Approximately a hundred or a hundred-and-fifty years from now, on a bright summer’s day, every church bell in the nation will ring out at the same time. Most people won’t give it a second thought, whereas the chiming of the church bells will herald in a new age.
The former royal castle at Visegrád will have been rebuilt by then,*its former splendor enhanced, its halls even larger, its hanging gardens greener. At the inauguration ceremony – this is why the church bells will be chiming – some old timers will burst into tears, little wonder, considering that that will be the moment, that great and glorious moment, when the thousand year old, relentless chain of our misfortunes will have come to an end.
Visegrád will once again be the royal seat not only of this tiny country, but of the Danubian Hungarian Republic, whose shores will be washed by four or five seas** he republic will be called Danubian in order to differentiate it from the Hungarian Republic of the Lower Rhine. The latter will not be inhabited by Hungarians though, not even then, just the people of the Lower Rhine in their threadbare clothes, who will have called themselves Magyar, hoping it would improve their luck.
If only I could describe what it will be like to be a Magyar in that bright and distant future! Let me just say that in a mere hundred-and-fifty years, the word ‘magyar’ will have become a verb which will have entered every language in the world – what’s more, with pleasant connotations, I might add. For instance, in French, “to magyar” will mean: I am giving myself a blow job. In Spanish: to find money on the street and reach down for it. In Catalan: I can bend down with the greatest of ease now that the pinched nerve in my back has been miraculously cured. And should someone in London say, “I am going to magyar,” it will mean: You see that gorgeous creature over there? Well, I’m going to go up to her straight away, put my arm through hers, take her home, and….” (Here a four letter word follows.)
Another example. In seven civilized languages (Norwegian, Greek, Bulgarian, Basque, etc.) “I magyar, you magyar, he/she/it magyars” (because the verb will be subject to proper conjugation) will mean: I am (you are, he/she/it is) eating crispy roast duck with fresh home-made cucumber salad while Yehudi Menuhin plays a csárdás in my ear.
Furthermore, in Lithuanian, “Mom, can I go to magyar?” “Sure, magyar, if you want to,” will mean that a little boy wants to go to the movies and after thinking it over, his mother gives her consent, even though the movie is not recommended for viewers under eighteen.
But never mind foreign nations! Even here at home, many things will be called by other names. For instance, ‘vanilla’, which is of foreign derivation, will have been replaced by ‘háború’ the Hungarian word for war, since it will have lost its original meaning by then. Thus, the sign above the ice cream counter at the pastry shop in Visegrád will read:
This is what our lives will be like. All we have to do now is survive the next hundred-and-fifty years as best we can.
* The royal castle of Visegrád, built around 1320, was celebrated for its beauty and grandeur. Its decline began in earnest when it fell to the Turks in 1543, which marked the beginning of Hungary’s „thousand year old, relentless chain of misfortunes.”
** Hungary, “in the heart of Europe”, is a landlocked country.