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A.O. Kime Articles:

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Two Septembers
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The first chapter of "The Oracle of Rasputin"

The Oracle of Rasputin
(translated into English by Paolo Benassi)

A True Story in a Veil of Legend

Riccione (Romagna, Italy), September 1952.
The long hot summer that steamed the magnificent Adriatic beach was
ending, and it was enchanting to relax in this quiet and serene

The well-known beach resort was going through its usual end-of-season
closing activities. The families that had made the beach so alive just a
few weeks before had returned to their homes, and the variegated sound
of Italian dialects was replaced by the Germanic and Scandinavian
accents of the vacationers from these countries who used to come to
Riccione at the very beginning or the very end of the season.

The beach lifeguards, with their wives and children, were beginning to
disassemble the sun cabanas and tents, and to remove the parasols and
deck chairs, commenting on the financial results of the season in their
typical Romagna dialect.

The coastline now looked undressed from all the summer colorful
furniture, stiff and formal, but at the same time very peaceful. Among
the very few vacationers enjoying the last days of the season, was a
well-known and respected chiromancer (palmist), who - during the
summer - moved his office to Riccione, from his home town.

That was a very busy summer for him, with many clients, and many
palms to read and study. Yes, study, because "Manteia", this was the
pseudonym of the chiromancer, had a very professional working
approach, which made him very much admired in the resort of Riccione.
During these last days of the season, Manteia was trying to get his well-deserved

Chiromancy, the way he performed it, was a strenuous and stressful job.
His efforts to remain alone were not really successful though, as friends,
clients or simply neighborhood hotel and restaurant keepers wanted to
see him, with the excuse of congratulating him, but in reality because
they all needed some extra help, a special "response" maybe, or simply
advice regarding business or family matters.

One of those evenings, Manteia reluctantly accepted the invitation from a
group of clients/friends to have dinner in a local restaurant. At
appetizers, nine persons were seated at the dinner table, but by coffee
time a small crowd of local acquaintances was gathering around the
dinner table. Dinners usually end up with conversations, and Italians like
to discuss a variety of matters, mixing jokes with more serious issues,
where all participants have something to say.

Because of the presence of Manteia, the favorite discussion of the
evening was "occultism and divination", and the crowd was split between
the people who just want to know more and those that consider them
selves "logical and rational" and are in fact basically skeptical.

At the moment attention was focused on a controversial and complex
issue: should one consider "true" or "false" the innate powers of
divination typical of "supernatural" individuals? The discussion became
very emotional and disparate and divergent opinions were expressed.
Several historic and legendary personalities were mentioned: Apollonius,
King Solomon, Paracelsus, the Admirable doctor Bacon, Pico della
Mirandola, Joan of Arc, Nostradamus, the count of Cagliostro...and
suddenly another famous name was mentioned, Rasputin, the Russian
monk. Some of the most argumentative skeptics among the crowd
indicated Rasputin as a strange individual, a swindling mind, a diabolic

This superficial analysis provoked the reaction of Manteia who -
passionately - defended the mysterious and obscure Russian starets (a
spiritual adviser in the Eastern Orthodox Church). The quiet chiromancer,
who during dinner rarely spoke and was the unintentional cause of the
dispute, was suddenly shaken by the argument and spoke out with
unexpected energy. Showing an in-depth knowledge of the legendary
Russian, Manteia described his life and works from an historical point of
view as well as from the angle of a divination scholar that sympathizes
with a fellow human. It was a passionate defense and an analytical
honest review of Rasputin's personality.

He outlined the good and bad of the paradoxical Siberian, within the
scenario of the decline of the Romanoff's empire. Manteia's reaction
seemed to end the dispute, when someone, one the most skeptics and
aggressive, ironically said: "You future-tellers are very smart people. You
can talk about the past and predict the future of your clients, because
you know in advance certain details related to their life and personality".
"We are not future-tellers." - replied Manteia - "We read and study
according to the scientific method of chiromancy the lines of the hands
and then give the interpretations written in those lines since birth".

"Yes, but also the appearance of the person can help you", - insisted the
skeptic - "For instance it is easy to say, for example, that Peter has
always been a waiter." He emphatically indicated one of the waiters in
the restaurant. Everyone looked in that direction and somebody laughed
for what was considered a good joke. Peter, an aged waiter, very
serious and polite, stopped for a minute, surprised at becoming the
center of the attention. Then, in a very humble and respectful way,
came closer to the table, whispering in a low tone of voice, "May I?".

He then opened his palms searching for the eyes of Manteia, in the
characteristic gesture of one who wants the chiromancer to read them.
Suddenly the room was silent and filled with anticipation. Manteia looked
with great attention at these open palms, in his own personal manner,
studying their lines in detail. Then, calmly and professionally he started
to speak. "The form and the lines of these hands clearly tells that
appearances can be misleading. Here we have a classic case. Form and
lines of these hands show that this person has excellent breeding, and
has an above average education. According to the chiromantic
interpretation we are in front of a person who has a college degree,
possibly a Ph.D., and has taught in University Colleges many years ago,
in a far away country. Unfortunate events have caused this person to
change what was the natural way of his life..." Slowly Peter closed his
hands and very politely said: "Thank you, you are correct, ... please
stop" Those present were astonished. Somebody tried to convince Peter
to say more, but he excused himself and discreetly moved back to the
service area. People were kept until late night with the most diverse
comments. Each of those present was giving his own opinion and
personal impression of what he saw. The aggressive skeptical guy, who
had provoked the scene, remained speechless.

The sun was rising when the participants to that unusual dinner started
to separate and return to their homes.

A few days later, Manteia was resting on a deck chair in front of the
beach. It was a beautiful sunny day with a clear sky and he was enjoying
it all. Suddenly, he felt a light touch on his shoulder. It was Peter, the
waiter. "Excuse me, sir, can I have a word with you?" And, without
waiting for the reply, Peter started to talk, slowly at first, and then at an
increasing tempo, with a sort of unusual tone of voice. Manteia
understood immediately that he needed to get rid of an interior and
personal revilement, and was not surprised of the confidence Peter had
in him, as this was normal in his daily working routine. Still, he
understood that he was going to listen to an extraordinary story. Peter,
the enigmatic waiter, told the story of his life. He often burst out with
emotional and variegate details. He was in reality a Ph.D. in Linguistics
and Physics. In extremely humble words he stated he had been a
Professor at the University of an important College city in Russia, in
1917. Unfortunately it was for only two years, while the tragic
circumstances of those days ravaged and destroyed his family.

He was only 28 when he witnessed the distress and affliction caused by
the Bolshevik revolution to his native land. He escaped to France where
he met the daughter of Italian immigrants and married her. He worked
all sorts of manual jobs, and never tried to go back to his professional
career, that he hated. For him it was the cause of his misfortune, misery
and bitterness. He and his wife moved to Italy, where he naturalized and
worked as a waiter. Already aged, he was accepting seasonal jobs and
was working in Riccione thanks to his fluency in foreign languages. Now
that the season was over, he hoped to get other employment on the
French Riviera.

Peter was a tired and hopeless human being, waiting for death to end his
sufferings, but continuing with dignity to face his daily task. He
confessed to Manteia, who was listening with attention and
understanding, his emotion on hearing the passionate defense of the
Russian monk, Grigori Rasputin. Peter met Rasputin in 1916, the year of
his death, when he was still the "omnipotent Rasputin", a few months
before being killed by jealous courtesans.

Peter, moved by gratitude for the words that Manteia spent in defense of
Rasputin, wanted to show him the generosity of the authentic son of
Russia, by sharing with him secrets kept for more than 35 years. He told
Manteia that his father Yosif was one of the last secretaries of Rasputin.
The Russian starets had great esteem and consideration for Yosef and
this proved fatal to him. Three days after Rasputin's death, Yosif was
found hanged in a wood. Peter's mother, destroyed by pain and terror,
joined her husband two months later.

Now the old man was silent. The story was told and the excitement over.
His eyes were light-less and somber. Manteia was now looking at the
"real" Peter, a piece of refuse, crushed by desperate memories. He
vigorously shook the cold hands of Peter, his new friend, in an
overpowering and simple gesture of brotherly love. Peter remained silent
a few minutes more then, slowly and solemnly, drew from his jacket a
voluminous manuscript scroll. "Keep it", said Peter, "You deserve it,
because you respect and admire our Grigori. So keep it. This is the
manuscript of an Oracle that Rasputin dictated to my father... to be
printed in intelligible form. The Oracle was supposed to be a present for
our Czarina Alexandra. Make use of it in a way you think more
appropriate". Manteia, now moved and astonished, whispered "Thank
you..." Peter, handing him the scroll, said "Addio, A Dieu", then walked
slowly along the waterfront, waving his right hand indefinably.

Manteia could not say anymore.

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Last modified: 10/25/13