We did not enter Pristina, as it had been captured the day before, by the 3rd Army, but spent the night in Gracanica. This is an historic place, with a famous monastery named after King Milutin. When the soldiers entered the Plain of Kossovo they became very excited. I was even surprised at the way they reacted. Kossovo, Gracanica -- these names are handed down from generation to generation, repeated over and over in folksongs. The soldiers started to ask whether we should soon reach Bakarno Guvno -- that's near Prilep. Apparently, this was the farthest limit of the old Serbian kingdom: I must confess that I hadn't known that. But the soldiers were firmly convinced that, when they got to Guvno, that would mean our task was completed. I often felt ashamed before the soldiers at my ignorance of our national history. Being educated men, we don't listen to folksongs, and we aren't very diligent readers of our own history, either.

From Gracanica we were sent to Skoplje -- through Gnijilane and Karadagh. That's all mountains, 1,500 meters high. Our task was to form a link between the two armies, the 1st and the 3rd, and to put down the resistance of the Albanians in those areas. However, there was no resistance to put down. The villages along our route were either purely Albanian, or mixed, or purely Serb. But all the Albanians in the Kossovo area speak Serb, and all the Serbs speak Albanian, and there are villages where a sort of mixed Serbo-Albanian language is spoken. The Albanian villages are much better, much richer, than the Serbian ones, with a lot of livestock. Some of them have fifty or eighty horses and thousands of sheep. On one Turkish farm we found 10,000 sheep, and half a million kilograms of wheat in the barns. Their houses are finer, with two stories; and some of them, at Badrovtsi, for instance, near Skoplje, have modern farm implements. The Serbs don't keep a lot of livestock since they would only be carried off by the Albanian bandits. The Serbs, even the rich ones, don't build fine houses, either, in the villages where there are Albanians. If a Serb has a two-story house, he refrains from painting it, so that it shan't look better than the Albanians' houses. Later on, after the capture of Bitolj, I happened to spend the night at Resen, in the house of a Greek doctor. A splendid house, with every comfort, yet the outside was unplastered. Why? I asked. He didn't want this to be done, he said: if it had been, his house would be one of the best in town -- which, by the way, is the birthplace of Niazi Bey, the hero of the Turkish revolution.

["From the History of a Brigade", in: "The Balkan Wars (1912-13) -- The War Correspondence of Leon Trotsky", Pathfinder, 1981, pp. 122-123]