HISTORIAN SPRINKLES PM WITH 'MIRACULOUS' WATER

by Stamen Manolov

For many years now Bulgaria has risked becoming a boring place in August if it were not for historian Bozhidar Dimitrov, the flamboyant manager of the National History Museum in Sofia, who ingenuously finds increasingly eccentric ways to cheer up the holidaying Bulgarians by feeding them news snippets about what he alleges to be historical feats.

The latest of these came earlier in August when a team investigating what little remains of Pliska, Bulgaria's capital in the 8th-9th centuries suddenly discovered a functioning water well inside Pliska's Large Basilica. Bozhidar Dimitrov immediately seized the news, remembered how Vanga, Bulgaria's top clairvoyant, had told him that when water sprang out of Pliska Bulgaria would start on a new course to prosperity, and declared the water "healing" and "miraculous." Newspaper reporters closed in on the site, generating stories about a lame woman who came and went away carrying her crotches on her back and how menial workers walking in the mud suddenly stopped quarrelling with their wives.

Prime Minister Boyko Borisov and his retinue were quick to go and show themselves inspecting the site whereat Bozhidar Dimitrov sprinkled the PM with the "same water used to baptise King Boris," the man who brought Christianity to Bulgaria.

In turn, Boyko Borisov sprinkled with the miraculous liquid his Finance and Transportation Ministers Vladislav Goranov and Ivaylo Moskovski. Borisov added that Bulgarians would now be given the "rare opportunity" to get married and baptised in the first Bulgarian church.

A few days later, however, the Health Ministry ordered a probe of the wondrous liquid which established that it was in fact dangerous to humans. The official version said it contained too much nitrates, but local reports indicated it had been contaminated with fecal matter.

The health hazard did not stop Bozhidar Dimitrov who contacted a newspaper to give away thousands of tiny bottles with the miraculous drink to readers who bothered to show up to collect them.

In a typical happy ending, the prime minister made another of his characteristic appearances of being severe but just. He banned all archaeologists and others to make money on the holy stuff, threatening to terminate any government funding for them.

The local elections are scheduled for the end of October.

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