The Armenians of Jerusalem have had their share of poets,troubadours and story-tellers, but although records or anthologies ofthe accomplishments of previous generations are non-existent, memoriesstill linger among their descendants, some of these very vivid. Among one of the most intriguing skills the old ones proudlypossessed, and displayed at the drop of a hat, was that of themanufacture of tall stories. Audiences even had a special appellation forthe practitioner of this kind of art: "Abu 'l Haul," the Arabic name forthe Sphinx at Giza in Egypt. The reference or connection is not clear -the word "Haul" (as in 'hole') literally signifies terror or greatdismay, and "abu" (literally, 'father') is an attributive constructcarrying the meaning "of", "owner of". Most of these accounts detailed exaggerated first person exploitsbut some were based on fairy tales whose origins are unknown. There wasthe story of the three friends each of whom had a unique talent,including invisibility, which enabled them to garner vast riches.Another, rated M, told of a man who complains to a rooster: "Isn't it ashame that your crowing at dawn wakes people up from their beautifulsleep?" and when the rooster concurs, he promptly wrings its neck. Stories of ghouls and other unclassified fiends and monstersabounded - including the bear that devoured every creature around him,but spared his mate. The songs were haunting melodies of love and nostalgia for theArmenian Quarter had tasted an inordinate slice of humanity's painfulwoes, one of the most tragic the death of the pretty stewardess, HoppigOhannessian, in a plane crash. Among the current crop of writers and philosophers, more attuned tothe nuances of perpetuity, poetry in the classic sense has been a more orless rare indulgence. Kevork Jinivizian, resident poet of the ArmenianQuarter over the past half century, the veteran subeditor of thePatriarchate's official organ, "Sion," and a lonely often misunderstoodman, has produced a handful of poems in Armenian. One of his anthologiesis called "Streams of tears." Although a healthy crop of teachers and educators was available tocater to the Armenian young, few have availed themselves of the academicopportunity to pen down their thoughts, dreams or stories. Novelists havetherefore remained an endangered species. Abraham Kankashian, auniversally popular and inspired teacher, would only produce one slimvolume of short stories, "An Armenian Medley." John Rose, whose motherwas a midwife serving in the Armenian Quarter, has penned a touchingreminiscence of life there. Journalism has attracted a number of Kaghakatsis. In recent days,Aram Belian attained to the post of editor of Israel TV's Arabic sectionafter working on the now-defunct "Jerusalem Times," while Johnny Zakarianfound his vocation on a local paper in the US. Haig Khatchadourian ranks among the most distinguished man ofletters and philosophers in the US and here in Jerusalem, AnoushNakashian continues to provide inspiration for aspiring poets inJerusalem. Kevork Hintlian and Albert Aghazarian are renowned for theirscholarship: their insight into the history of the Middle East region andanalytical acumen are without peer. Khatcho Khatchadourian was instrumental in launching oneEnglish-language newspaper, "The Daily News" in Kuwait, and also edited"The Jerusalem Times" and "The Kuwait Times" before his untimely deathduring the Lebanese civil war. In Australia, Chris Mirana, whose mother was a kaghakatsi and whosefather was Syriac, produced an Arabic translation of one ofKrishnamurti's books. But over and above all, it is the Armenian church that has producedsome of our nation's most eloquent writers: in recent years, the mostnoteworthy have been our patriarchs, Yeghivart (Yeghishe Derderian) andTAM (Torkom Manoogian).