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Ершов Петр Павлович - Pyotr Yershov. The little humpbacked horse, Страница 2

Ершов Петр Павлович - Pyotr Yershov. The little humpbacked horse

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bsp;Like a lord, I'll live in clover,
  Rule the Royal Stables over!
  I, a ploughboy, now will be
  Voivode to His Majesty!
  Well, I never! Your commission,
  I accept, Tsar, on condition-
  That you never treat me rough,
  Always let me sleep enough-
  Or you'll see no more of me!"
  Whistling to his horses, he
  Sauntered through the city, singing,
  Carelessly his mittens swinging,
  Followed by his steeds a-prancing
  And his humpbacked horse a-dancing
  To the rhythm of his song,
  And the marvel of the throng.
  As for his two brothers, they
  Stowed the silver safe away
  In their belts; then, in high feather,
  Had a drink or two together
  And rode home in glee; once there,
  Shared the money fair and square;
  Married, 'mid much joy and laughter,
  Lived and prospered ever after.
  And the rest of all their days
  Spoke of their Ivan with praise.
  Let us now forget those two
  And, good people, Christians true,
  I'll amuse you if I can
  With the deeds of our Ivan.
  How he ruled the stables over,
  Living like a lord in clover,
  And was taken for a sprite;
  How he lost his feather bright;
  How he laid the Fire-Bird's snare;
  How he stole the Tsar-Maid fair;
  How he found her ring for her,
  How he was her messenger;
  How the Sun, at his request,
  Gave the Monster Whale his rest;
  One more deed, but not the least,
  How he thirty ships released;
  How, when boiled in cauldrons, he
  Came out handsome as could be.
  In a word, how our young man
  Ended up as Tsar Ivan.


  Tales, you know, are quickly spun,
  Deeds are sooner said than done.
  Onсе again my tale proceeds
  Of Ivan and of his deeds,
  Of the tiny fallow bay
  Talking horse, so wise and gay.
  Goats are grazing on the seas,
  Hills are overgrown with trees;
  Golden bridle, loosely swinging,
  See the stallion sunward winging-
  Far below him, forests glide;
  Thunder-clouds, on every side,
  Race across the sky and dash,
  Hurling lightning as they crash.
  Wait-this is the prelude to
  What I shall be telling you.
  Have you heard of Buyan Island
  Floating on the ocean wild, and
  Of the maiden wondrous fair
  Sleeping in a casket there?
  Forest beasts with gentle tread
  Guard her grave, while overhead
  Nightingales their music pour.
  Wait, my friends, a little more-
  Now my prelude's said and done,
  And my story is begun.
  Well, good friends and Christians true,
  Fellow-countrymen-look you-
  Our young fellow made his way
  To the Palace that fine day.
  He is Master of the Horse
  And he doesn't pine, of course,
  For his brothers and his dad.
  And, indeed, why should our lad,
  Living in the Royal Court,
  Waste on them a single thought?
  He has garments gay in plenty
  And possesses five and twenty
  Chests, all full of caps and shoes
  Out of which to pick and choose.
  All he does is eat his fill,
  Slake his thirst, and sleep at will.
  Now, the chamberlain began,
  As weeks passed, to watch Ivan ...
  You should know, that he had been
  (Till Ivan came on the scene)
  Master of the Royal Horse-
  His was noble blood, of course-
  So, no wonder that he bore
  Malice towards Ivan, and swore
  That he'd die, but soon or late
  Drive the upstart from the gate.
  But the rogue, his good time biding
  And his double-dealing hiding,
  Feigned to be Ivan's best friend,
  Masked his feelings to this end,
  Thinking-"Wait, you dirty lout,
  Time will come, I'll turn you out."
  So, the chamberlain began
  As weeks passed, to watch Ivan;
  And he noticed that he never
  Fed or groomed those steeds, or ever
  Took them out for exercise;
  Yet those steeds, to his surprise,
  Always were, whene'er paraded,
  Brushed and burnished, manes a-braided.
  Tails, in flowing ringlets streaming,
  Glossy coats, like satin gleaming,
  Mangers-always full of wheat
  Which, it seemed, grew at their feet.
  And huge tubs, he could have sworn,
  Were fresh-filled with mead each morn.
  "Now, whatever can this mean?"
  Sighed the chamberlain in spleen-
  "Can it be, a goblin sprite
  Comes and plays his pranks at night?
  Watch him-that's what I shall do.
  And it should be easy to
  Spin a story in a flash
  And to settle that fool's hash.
  I shall tell the Tsar, of course,
  That the Master of the Horse
  Is a wicked infidel,
  And a sorcerer as well;
  That Old Nick his soul has taken,
  That he has God's Church forsaken,
  Bows before the Cross of Rome,
  During Lent, eats meat at home."
  So, the former Chief of Horse
  (Yes, the chamberlain, of course)
  That same evening hid away
  In a stall, beneath some hay.
  Blackest midnight came at last,
  Pit-a-pat, his heart beat fast;
  Lying there, with bated breath,
  He peeped out, as still as death,
  Waiting for that sprite-when hark!
  Loud the door creaked in the dark,
  And the horses pawed the ground
  As the sprite, without a sound,
  Entered-though he looked, of course,
  Like the Master of the Horse;
  First he barred the door; then he
  Took his hat off carefully,
  And from it he slowly took
  Out his kerchief, which he shook
  Till the Fire-Bird's feather blazed;
  While the chamberlain, amazed,
  Nearly screamed there in the hay,
  Almost gave himself away.
  Unsuspectingly, the sprite
  In a corn-bin placed the light,
  After which, with tender care,
  He commenced to groom the pair;
  Braided their fine manes so long,
  While he sang a merry song;
  Meanwhile, crouching there and quivering,
  Hair all bristling, skin a-shivering,
  Stared the chamberlain in fright
  At the joker of the night.
  He could not believe his eyes-
  Sure the sprite was in disguise!
  It nor horns nor whiskers wore-
  Twas a handsome lad he saw!
  Hair with ribbons gaily dressed,
  Gold brocade upon his chest;
  Saffian boots right to his knees-
  This was Vanya, if you please!
  Now, what could this mean?
  Our spy Stared again and rubbed his eye
  And he growled out finally:
  "Oh, so that is it! I see!
  Very well! I'll tell the Tsar
  What a smart young man you are!
  Just you wait until tomorrow-
  You'll remember me with sorrow!"
  But Ivan, quite unaware
  Of the evil lurking there,
  Gaily sings his little song,
  As he braids those manes so long.
  After he had groomed each steed,
  Filled each tub with cooling mead,
  And the bins with choicest corn,
  He let out a sleepy yawn,
  Wrapped the feather up once more,
  Laid himself upon the floor;
  By his horses made his bed
  With his hat beneath his head.
  With the dawn, the chamberlain
  Stretched his limbs to ease the strain
  And, on hearing our Ivan
  Snoring loud as Yeruslan*,
  Rose, and on his tip-toes crept
  Cautiously to where he slept,
  Snatched the feather from his hat
  Then he vanished-just like that!
  As the Tsar woke with a snore,
  There he stood, right at the door;
  Bowing low, until his head
  Hit the floor, he whined and said:
  "To confess, 0 Majesty,
  I have dared to come to thee!
  Be not angry with thy slave-
  Suffer me to speak, I crave."
  "Speak, without exaggeration
  And without prevarication."
  Yawned the Tsar. "If you tell fibs,
  Know, the knout will count your ribs."
  Gathering his courage, he
  Said: "God bless Your Majesty!
  On the Holy Cross, forsooth,
  I am telling you the truth.
  All the Court knows it is true-
  That Ivan conceals from you
  That which can't be bought or sold
  Nor for silver, nor for gold-
  It's a Fire-Bird's feather, see,
  Which he hides, Your Majesty."
  "What! A Fire-Bird's!
  And he dare,
  Cursed varlet, such a rare ...
  Oh, the villain-wait and see
  What a whipping there will be!"
  "That's not all," the chamberlain
  Whispered, as he bowed again.
  (* Yeruslan-a valiant Knight,
  endowed with fabulous strength,
  and hero of Russian folklore)
  "Were it but the feather, he
  Might retain it, Majesty-
  But, he boasts, as I have heard,
  That, did you but say the word,
  He could bring the Bird of Fire
  To your Royal Chamber, Sire."
  And the spy, with servile tread,
  On all fours approached the bed,
  Dropped the treasure-and once more
  Banged his head upon the floor.
  Long the Tsar, enchanted, gazed,
  Chortled, stroked his beard, amazed;
  Bit the feather's tip, then he
  Placed it under lock and key,
  houted in impatience and,
  As confirming his command,
  Waved his sceptre in the air:
  "Hey! You! Fetch me that fool there!"
  All the lords-in-waiting ran
  Instantly to fetch Ivan;
  But, colliding near the door,
  Fell and sprawled upon the floor,
  While the Tsar in huge delight
  Roared with laugher at the sight;
  So his lords, all quick to see
  What so pleased His Majesty,
  Winks exchanged as they once more
  Threw themselves upon the floor.
  Whereupon, amused thereat,
  He gave each a brand-new hat,
  After which they once more ran
  Hurrying, to fetch Ivan;
  And without an accident
  This time, on their mission went.
  When they reached the stables, they
  Rushed inside without delay,
  Fell upon our poor fool there,
  Kicked him, punched him, pulled his hair,
  Fully half an hour, or more-
  All Ivan did, was to snore,
  Finally, a stable groom
  Woke him with a stable broom.
  Jumping up, Ivan bawled out:
  "Varlets-what are you about?
  I shall teach you not to worry
  Me, you villains, in a hurry,
  When I'm sleeping in my bed."
  But the lords-in-waiting said:
  "Up! The Tsar sent us to say
  That you come without delay!"
  "Oh, the Tsar? Ah, well, then, wait-
  I will dress and go there straight,"
  Yawning answered our Ivan.
  So he put on his kaftan,
  Tied his girdle in its place,
  Combed his hair and washed his face;
  And strode forth in pompous pride,
  Horse whip dangling by his side.
  When he reached His Majesty,
  Our Ivan bowed low, then he
  Hummed and hawed and puffed his chest,
  Said: "Why did you spoil my rest?"
  Here, the Tsar jumped up in bed,
  Left eye squinting, seeing red.
  "Silence," wrathfully roared he-
  "It is you must answer me!
  By what law and what decree
  Have you from Our Majesty
  Hidden what is ours by right?
  Yes-the Fire-Bird's feather bright?
  Am I not your lawful Tsar?
  Answer, heathen that you are!"
  But Ivan made answer bold-
  Waved his hand and shouted:
  "Hold! When did I give you my hat?
  How could you discover that?
  What-have you got second sight?
  You can lock me up, all right,
  You can have me beaten flat-
  I've no feather, and that's that!"
  "You'll be flogged! Now answer me!"
  "But I'm speaking plainly-see,
  I've no feather-and, how, pray,
  Could such wonders come my way?"
  Here the Tsar sprang to the floor,
  Shook the feather with a roar-
  "What is this? Now will you dare
  Stand and contradict me there?"
  Here Ivan gave just one look,
  Like a storm-tossed leaf he shook,
  Dropped his hat in sheer dismay.
  "Ah, you don't know what to say,"
  Said the Tsar. "But wait, my man ..."
  "Mercy, mercy," cried Ivan,
  Grovelling upon the floor,
  At the Tsar's feet, sobbing sore-
  "Pardon me this once, please do
  And I'll lie no more to you."
  "You'll be pardoned for the nonce,
  Seeing you have sinned but once,"
  Said the Tsar. "But bear in mind
  I'll not always be so kind.
  Gracious, when I'm angry-why,
  I make hairs and heads to fly!
  That's what I am like, my man,
  So, let's not waste words, Ivan.
  You have boasted, as I've heard,
  That, did I but say the word,
  You could bring the Bird of Fire
  To the Chamber of your Sire.
  Now, do not say 'No' to me-
  Do your best and bring one, see?"
  Up Ivan bounced like a ball:
  "Nothing of the sort at all,"
  Shouted he, and wiped his eye;
  "I that feather don't deny-
  But the talk about the bird
  Is as false as it's absurd."
  Wrathfully, the Tsar's beard shook:
  "What-me argue with you? Look!
  If you do not bring to me
  That Fire-Bird, in sennights three,
  To my Royal Chamber, now,
  By my Royal Beard I vow,
  Hide yourself where e'er you please-
  Under ground, or under seas-
  I'll have you impaled, my man!
  Off, you scum!" In tears, Ivan
  To the hayloft made his way
  Where his little humpback lay.
  Hearing him, his humpback ran
  Full of glee to meet Ivan;
  But on seeing him in tears,
  Almost sobbed, and drooped his ears:
  "Why, Ivanushka, so sad?
  Tell me what's the matter, lad,"
  Said he, fawning round his knees.
  "Put your mind, Ivan, at ease,
  Tell me what has happened, please-
  Just confide in me, Ivan,
  I will help you if I can.
  Are you ill? If not, then who
  Has upset you? Tell me, do."
  And Ivan, in bitter tears,
  As he kissed his humpback's ears,
  Said: "The Tsar-Oh, have you heard?
  Bids me bring a Fire-Bird!
  Oh, whatever shall I do?"
  In reply, his horse said: "True,
  Your misfortune's great, I know.
  But I'll help you in your woe.
  You rejected my advice-
  Now, you have to pay the price;
  For remember, when you found
  That bird's feather on the ground,
  I told you, for your own sake,
  Not to touch it; in its wake
  Many sorrows, many woes
  Follow everywhere it goes.
  Now, Ivan, you see that I,
  When I warned you, told no lie.
  But, Ivan, 'twixt you and me-
  This is easy as can be;
  Service lies ahead, my man.
  Now, go to the Tsar, Ivan,
  Say to him in language plain:
  'Tsar, I need the best of grain,
  And two troughs; then, if you please,
  Wine-brought in from overseas;
  Tell them that they must make haste,
  For I have no time to waste-
  I'll be off at dawn of day.'"
  So Ivan went straightaway,
  Told the Tsar in language plain:
  "Tsar, I need the best of grain,
  And two troughs; then, if you please,
  Wine-brought in from overseas;
  Tell them, too, they must make haste-
  For I have no time to waste-
  With the early dawn of day
  I'll be going on my way."
  So the Tsar gave strict commands
  To fulfil Ivan's demands;
  Called Ivan a brave young man,
  Said: "God speed you" to Ivan.
  Dawn had scarce begun to peep,
  Humpback roused Ivan from sleep:
  "Hey, my lad-stop snoring, do,
  Up! your duty's calling you!"
  So Ivan got up and dressed
  Warmly for his royal quest;
  Took the grain and took the wine,
  Tightly tied the troughs with twine,
  Put it all into a sack,
  Climbed upon his horse's back,
  Chewing on a piece of bread,
  To the rising sun he sped,
  Off to seek that Fire-Bird.
  Seven days they rode, I heard;
  When the eighth day dawned, they stood
  In a dark and dense green wood.
  Here the humpback tossed his head:
  "You will see a glade," he said;
  "In the middle of this glade
  Stands a hill, of silver made.
  There it is that every morn
  Fire-Birds flock before the dawn,
  Water from the stream to drink.
  We will catch them there, I think."
  With these words, he swiftly ran
  To the glade, with our Ivan.
  What a meadow met their sight-
  Blades of grass, like emeralds bright!
  And the breezes, as they blew,
  Scattered sparkles through the dew;
  Flowers sweet of beauty rare
  Blossomed in the meadow there.
  In the middle of this glade
  Rose a hill, of silver made,
  Like an airy tower bright,
  With its summit hid from sight.
  And the sun, with gentle blaze,
  Gilds it with its summer rays
  Till the peak in splendour bright
  Flashes like a beacon light.
  Up the hill the humpback flew,
  And he climbed a mile or two-
  Then he stopped and tossed his head,
  Flapping both his ears, and said:
  "Look-it's getting dark, Ivan,
  You must watch as best you can;
  Mix some wine and grain-enough,
  But not more, to fill one trough;
  And to hide yourself from sight,
  'Neath the other trough sit tight.
  Make no sound, and mind you keep
  Eyes and ears alert-don't sleep-
  You will see, at dawn of day,
  Flocks of Fire-Birds come this way.
  They will peck your grain, and chatter
  In their language-but no matter-
  Seize the nearest one, Ivan,
  Hold it fast as fast you can;
  When you have that Fire-Bird tight,
  Shout for me with all your might;
  I shall come without delay."
  "Won't they burn my fingers, say?"
  To his horse exclaimed Ivan
  As he spread out his kaftan.
  "Mittens I shall have to wear,
  They might be too hot to bear."
  Here, from sight his humpback swept;
  With a grund, Ivan then crept
  Underneath a trough, where he
  Lay as still as still could be.
  Suddenly, at dead of night,
  All the hill-side blazed with light,
  And it seemed as though 'twere day-
  Twas a flock of Fire-Birds-they
  Swooped upon the wine-soaked wheat,
  Screamed and hopped on drunken feet.
  While Ivan, from them well hidden
  In his trough, as he was bidden,
  Gazed on them in wonder and,
  Waving wildly with his hand,
  Murmured: "goodness gracious me!
  What strange creatures do I see!
  Now, if I could catch them all,
  It would make a lovely haul!
  Quite a half a hundred there!
  They are beauties, I declare!
  Feet all red, upon my word!
  But their tails-they're just absurd!
  Surely chickens never had
  Tails like that, Ivan my lad!
  Then again-this blinding light!
  Father's stove is not so bright!"
  Our Ivan his long speech ended
  And his heavy trough up-ended,
  Grunting softly from the strain,
  Crawled until he reached the grain.
  Then the nearest bird he seized
  By its shining tail-and sneezed;
  "Oh, my little humpback dear,
  Hurry fast-come, do you hear!
  I have caught a Fire-Bird-see,"
  Roared our fool most lustily.
  Lo, the humpback stood beside him,
  Saying: "Good-now quickly hide him
  In your sack, and hold on tight,
  For we haven't got all night."
  But Ivan the Fool said: "Oh,
  Let me scare them ere we go.
  Look-they've had so much to eat
  That they can't stand on their feet!"
  Said Ivan, and then and there
  With his sack he beat the air.
  In a blinding blaze of light
  Started up the flock in fright,
  Wheeling in a ring of fire,
  Soaring to the clouds, and higher.
  While Ivan, with crazy laughter,
  Waved his mittens, running after,
  Yelling madly, just as though
  He had swallowed soap, you know.
  When the birds had gone from view,
  Our Ivan, without ado,
  Made the royal treasure fast
  And set off for home at last.
  Finally, they reached the Court,
  And the Tsar cried: "Have you brought
  Me the Fire-Bird? "-while he eyed
  His attendant by his side,
  Who (the chamberlain, I mean)
  Stood and bit his nails in spleen.
  "Yes, of course," replied Ivan.
  "Then, where is it, my young man?"
  "Wait a minute, and you'll see!
  Bid them first, Your Majesty,
  Shut the chamber casement tight,
  Draw the shades, keep out the light."
  All the lords-in-waiting ran,
  Closed the casement for Ivan.
  Flinging down his sack with pride,
  "Ups-a-daisy, dear," he cried.
  Blinded by the flood of light,
  They all screened their eyes in fright,
  And the Tsar, in accents dire,
  Shouted: "Gracious! We're on fire!
  Water-call the fire brigade!
  What a fire this fool has made!"
  Tears a-streaming from his eyes,
  Our bird-catcher, laughing, cries:
  "No, no-this is not a fire-
  It is but your Fire-Bird, Sire.
  It's a lovely plaything, see,
  That I've brought Your Majesty!"
  Said the Tsar for all to hear:
  "Vanya, friend, I love you, dear,
  And, in token of my joy,
  Be my Royal Groom, my boy!"
  Then the former Chief of Horse-
  (Yes, the chamberlain, of course)
  Muttered to himself in hate:
  "No, you ill-bred milksop-wait!
  You won't always prosper so,
  Have such foolish luck-oh no!
  I'll get you in trouble, yet!
  Yes, I will, my little pet!"
  Now, one evening, three weeks after,
  Loud the kitchen rang with laughter,
  Palace cooks and servants sat
  Round the table for a chat,
  Passing round the golden mead,
  While one "Yeruslan" did read;
  "You should see," another said,
  "What a lovely book I read-
  I just borrowed it today-
  Why, it takes your breath away!
  Actually, it's pretty small-
  Only has five tales in all,
  But I'm sure that you have never
  Heard of tales so strange and clever."
  In one voice, they cried aloud:
  "Tell us, brother, don't be proud."
  "Well then, make your choice," said he.
  "There are five-so let us see-
  First, we have 'The Beaver Beast'"
  Then-'The Lady from the East';
  Next-God help me-here you are-
  Yes, the third's about a Tsar;
  'Prince Bobyl' is number four
  Then, you know, there's just one more,
  Number five-the last of all...
  Which I simply can't recall."
  "Never mind, then"-"Wait a minute-"
  "Has it got a beauty in it?"
  "So it has. The fifth, I swear,
  Tells about the Tsar-Maid Fair.
  So, my friends, just choose and say
  Which one shall I read today?"
  "Of the Tsar-Maid," they replied,
  "We are tired of tsars," they cried.
  So the servant, then and there,
  Started with a solemn air:
  "In a distant clime, my brothers,
  Flows an ocean, like no others;
  And it washes foreign shores,
  And it's sailed by blackamoors;
  From true Christian soil, however,
  Noblemen, nor peasants, never
  Sailed those pagan waters-though
  Merchants who have sailed, and know,
  Tell about a maiden fair
  Living on that ocean there.
  She's no common maiden, see-
  Daughter to the moon is she,
  And she's sister to the sun;
  This fair maid, the stories run,
  In a scarlet dress arrayed,
  Sails a boat-of gold it's made;
  And she wields a silver oar,
  Steers that boat from shore to shore;
  Gusli in her hand, she sings
  As she plucks its silver strings."
  At these words, the chamberlain
  Bounded up, as if insane;
  To the Royal Chamber sped,
  Where he found the Tsar in bed;
  Bowed his head, and with a bang
  Hit the floor, and whining sang:
  "To confess, 0 Majesty,
  I have dared to come to thee!
  Be not angry with thy slave-
  Suffer me to speak, I crave!"
  "Speak up," was the Tsar's reply,
  "But be sure you do not lie."
  And the crafty chamberlain
  Murmured, as he bowed again:
  "We sat round the kitchen fire,
  Drinking to your health, 0 Sire;
  And we heard a story there
  Of the wondrous Tsar-Maid Fair.
  And your groom got up and said,
  Swearing by your Royal Head,
  That he knew this birdie-yes-
  So he called her, I confess;
  And, 0 Sire, it's also true
  That he bragged to catch her, too."
  And the chamberlain once more
  Banged his head upon the floor.
  "Hey! my groom at once to me!"
  Roared the Tsar impatiently.
  Satisfied, the chamberlain
  Raised himself erect again,
  While the lords-in-waiting ran -
  Hastily to fetch Ivan.
  In his nightshirt, straight from bed,
  To the Tsar Ivan was led.
  "Listen," thus the Tsar began,
  "I have been informed, Ivan,
  That just now, my lad, you said,
  Swearing by my Royal Head,
  That, did I but say the word,
  You could bring another bird
  For your Monarch-you did swear
  You could catch the Tsar-Maid Fair."

Другие авторы
  • Спейт Томас Уилкинсон
  • Энгельгардт Михаил Александрович
  • Бибиков Виктор Иванович
  • Клаудиус Маттиас
  • Энквист Анна Александровна
  • Клейст Генрих Фон
  • Иваненко Дмитрий Алексеевич
  • Кантемир Антиох Дмитриевич
  • Стурдза Александр Скарлатович
  • Бакст Леон Николаевич
  • Другие произведения
  • Короленко Владимир Галактионович - В. Г. Короленко — критик Достоевского
  • Толстой Лев Николаевич - Соединение и перевод четырех Евангелий
  • Д-Эрвильи Эрнст - Акулина Комова
  • Доде Альфонс - Фотограф
  • Вяземский Петр Андреевич - Сперанский
  • Наседкин Василий Федорович - Последний год Есенина
  • Чернышевский Николай Гаврилович - Стихотворения Н. Огарева
  • Бычков Афанасий Федорович - В сумерках. Рассказы и очерки Н. Чехова. Спб., 1887 г.
  • Островский Александр Николаевич - Лакшин В. Я. Александр Николаевич Островский
  • Аксаков Сергей Тимофеевич - Воспоминание об Александре Семеновиче Шишкове
  • Категория: Книги | Добавил: Armush (28.11.2012)
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