The Magyars are a Hungarian people. Magyar means tall one. They are horse people. Masters of the six horse chariot. We payed a visit to Ishteban in Kanizsa last week in his farmstead on the outskirts of the village. Kanizsa, and the surrounding countryside, reaches out into the far distance. It is flat. You could walk in any direction and imagine getting to where you had to go, in a straight line. East to Turkey and further. West to Paris and Britanny.
Kanizsa is built on what was once the sea floor. There is water here underground that has healing qualities. Sulphurous water springs right beside the farm and is called miraculous by the local people.
Ishteban’s mustache brings attention to his laughing eyes. Bright blue…he is a Magyar. He was wearing white pants and shirt with a black waistcoat and black circular hat with feathers when we went to visit him. He embodies an image of east and west. He has white horses. He raises turkeys, goats, sheep, dogs, geese, rabbits and hens. The farmhouse is old and warm. The fireplace is fed from outside heating a cone shaped wall that radiates a glorious warmth at the heart of the house. He, his partner and his sister treated us to a feast of goose and home produced vegetables. The wine was also from the area and there was no shortage of it that day. They spoke no English and we spoke no Hungarian or Serb so we used German as a middle ground…the eyes did most of the talking anyway and we laughed a lot.
It was a wet day but we were warm in their company and enchanted as they described the sun as it rose in the east and set in the west. In a place so flat, this would be quite a powerful image. We were sitting in a temple to the sun. I imagined coming here on holiday to this flat country to listen for the traces of our human tapestry in their music. From east to west, cultures and traditions must have come and gone leaving echoes for the likes of us to discover and re-kindle.