What would the astrologer have been like had he not left his village?

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William Delaney | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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If the astrologer had not left his village he would have been a humble peasant. According to the text:

He had left his village without any previous thought or plan. If he had continued there he would have carried on the work of his forefathers, namely, tilling the land, living, marrying, and ripening in his cornfield and ancestral home. But that was not to be. He had to leave home without telling anyone, and he could not rest till he left it behind a couple of hundred miles. 

It does not become clear until much later in the story why the protagonist had to leave his village and why he could not rest until he had covered a couple of hundred miles. We learn that he thought he had committed a murder. The astrologer seems to be an exceptionally intelligent and adaptable man for an uneducated peasant who had never had to survive in the outer world. He is fully aware that he really knows nothing about foretelling the future. But he understands how to tell his customers what they want to hear. It is somewhat ironic that the astrologer was not able to foresee his own future; otherwise he would not have come to work at his usual place that day. By the purest coincidence one of his customers turns out to be the man he thought he had killed. The title of the story, "An Astrologer's Day," as well as the opening, gives the impression that this is only going to be an ordinary day for a man who ekes out a living as a fortune teller in a public park. But this day turns out to be both harrowing and exceptionally profitable. His wife is delighted with all the coins he brings home that evening.

After dinner, sitting on the pyol, he told her: "Do you know a great load is gone from me today? I thought I had the blood of a man on my hands all these years. That was the reason why I ran away from home, settled here, and married you. He is alive."

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