|Shopps are Bulgarians who come from the areas around Sofia and Dupnitza|
Frankly speaking, Bulgarians from the country’s other parts love their Shopps and even when they call them names, they do it in terms of defense rather than in terms of offensive. The point is that the “normal Bulgarian” is an open, sociable person, ready to share even some quite intimate details with a stranger. It is hard for him to apprehend the chitinous cuticle of the Shopp - most often an uncommunicative, reserved, stiff guy, hiding his true feelings behind a stinging humour. The Shopp would not sit at the table in a pub “in the Bulgarian way” - to have a drink, to enjoy himself, to have a chat with other people. He would rather take them by surprise, catch them drunk and weigh up their brains. Or he would convince himself that he is the “true Bulgarian”.
On the face of it, despite his peasant origin, associated with collectivism, the Shopp has always seemed to be an incorrigible individualist: even his songs, smoothed out to perfection by the past centuries, are marked with the spirit of disharmony; even when playing his horos, originally group dances, he does it as if unrelated to the others, in a kind of inner self-absorption. On top of all, this same Shopp knows how to examine the world around him and surprise it with his pungent, sometimes annihilating witticisms. And are there many people on this earth who could bear being ridiculed by someone’s jokes?
From his parents the Shopp has learnt a universal truth of life - man comes into the world, matures, works, produces offspring, grows old and dies. This is the way it goes both in the poor man’s shack and in the king’s palace - all the rest boils down to nuances. Resting on this bequest, he could hardly be driven to losing his balance. Come what may, the Shopp would not budge an inch from his maxim: “Why should I get angry, when I’ll get over it”. At work, in the tram or in the shop, in the company of friends or may be even in his sleep - a Shopp is always prepared to squeeze out of any situation by making a joke the meaning of which is often so deep, that it turns the logic of things and the world upside down.
A wooden Shopp, taken by surprise to dig his plot of land sitting on the ground, would get out of the confusion by saying: “Well, I tried it in the lying way, but it wouldn’t do”.
A Shopp soldier, guarding a station, was blamed by some jokers passing by of not even knowing its name. “Why, I’m on guard of the station, and not of its name” - the young man would not surrender.
A young woman, while kneading bread, had lifted her bottom up so high, that her father-in-law, closely supervising, could not stand it and warned her with a suspicious straightforwardness: “You shouldn’t do that, my daughter-in-law, because that thing of yours will eat up the dough!” The young wife, however, kept perfectly cool: “Don’t take it to heart, dad, it cares for meat only!”
So, when thinking about the flashes of wisdom which the Shopp keeps generously scattering over those around him, one begins wondering: after all, isn’t a sensitive, and why not a vulnerable soul hiding behind his seeming roughness and chitinous impenetrability, a soul that has its joys and suffers like any other person.
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