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Ершов Петр Павлович - Pyotr Yershov. The little humpbacked horse, Страница 3

Ершов Петр Павлович - Pyotr Yershov. The little humpbacked horse

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="justify">  "God save you from every harm,"
  Cried the Tsar's groom in alarm.
  "Really, only in a dream
  Could I say such things, I deem.
  But no matter what you say
  You will not fool me this way!"
  Wrathfully, the Tsar's beard shook:
  "What-me argue with you?
  Look-If you do not bring to me
  That Tsar-Maid, 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.
  "Why, Ivanushka, so sad?
  What's the matter now, my lad?"
  Little humpbacked horse enquired;
  "Are you ill? or only tired?
  What's the trouble? Tell me who
  Has upset you? Tell me, do."
  And Ivan, in bitter tears,
  Kissed his little horse's ears
  Sobbing: "Oh, my humpback dear,
  I must bring the Tsar-Maid here.
  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;
  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 catch the Tsar-Maid, Sire,
  Two large cloths I shall require,
  And a tent of gold brocade,
  And a dinner-service, made
  All of gold, from overseas;
  Sweetmeats, too, her taste to please.'"
  So Ivan with fearless tread
  Went back to the Tsar, and said:
  "For the Tsar-Maid's capture, Sire,
  Two large cloths I will require,
  And a tent of gold brocade,
  And a dinner-service, made
  All of gold, from overseas;
  Sweetmeats, too, her taste to please."
  "Ah-at last you've found your head,"
  Yawned the Tsar, and from his bed
  Gave his lords most strict commands
  To fulfil Ivan's demands.
  Called Ivan a brave young man,
  Said: "God-speed to you, 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 tent of gold brocade,
  Took the dinner-service, made
  All of gold, from overseas,
  Sweetmeats, too, her taste to please.
  Took the cloths, and everything
  Tied up tightly with a string,
  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 the Tsar-Maid Fair.
  Seven days they rode, I swear;
  When the eighth day dawned, they stood
  In a dark and dense green wood,
  Here the humpback stopped, and said:
  "See-the ocean lies ahead-
  There it is, the whole year round,
  This Tsar-Maiden can be found;
  Only twice a year, not more,
  Does she spend the day on shore;
  And, tomorrow, I've a notion,
  We shall see her on the ocean."
  Then he galloped fast once more
  Till they reached the ocean shore;
  In the distance, they could see
  One white wave roll languidly.
  Then Ivan dismounted. "Here,"
  Said the humpback in his ear,
  "Pitch your tent of gold brocade,
  Lay the cloth, and service, made
  All of gold from overseas,
  And the sweets her taste to please.
  Hide behind the tent, and see
  That you don't act foolishly.
  Yonder-see, the boat is nearing,
  With the Tsar-Maid in it, steering.
  She'll walk in the tent-but you
  Let her be, what e'er you do;
  Let her walk inside the tent,
  Eat and drink to heart's content.
  When you hear her Gusli play,
  Rush inside without delay,
  Seize the Tsar-Maid-hold her tight,
  Shout for me with all your might.
  You won't need to call me twice-
  I'll be with you in a trice,
  And we'll go-but mind you keep
  All your wits awake-don't sleep;
  For if you but let her go,
  You'll be in for lots of woe.
  " Then he flew off, like the wind,
  Leaving our Ivan behind;
  And Ivan, as he was told,
  Hid behind the tent of gold,
  There he pierced the gold brocade,
  So that he could watch the Maid.
  As the noonday sun shone clear,
  To the shore the Maid drew near;
  Gusli in her hand, she went
  Straight inside the golden tent.
  "Hm! So that's the Tsar-Maid Fair,
  " Breathed the groom-"! do declare
  All those tales were simply lies
  When they praised her to the skies;
  She is not the least bit pretty-
  Pale and skinny, more's the pity;
  And her chicken legs, so thin!
  Why-it really is a sin!
  Let who wills, take her to wife-
  1 would not, to save my life."
  Here the Tsar-Maid plucked a string,
  And so sweetly did she sing
  That Ivan, quite unaware,
  Drooped his sleepy head right there,
  Closed his eyes in slumber deep,
  Lulled by her sweet voice to sleep.
  Slowly sank the sun from sight.
  Suddenly, he woke in fright;
  By him, furiously neighing,
  Stood his horse and kicked him, saying;
  "Sleep, my lad, sleep till tomorrow-
  Sleep, and wake to grief and sorrow-
  You will be impaled, not I!"
  Here Ivan began to cry,
  Sobbing on his horse's mane,
  Saying: "I won't sleep again-
  Pardon me this once, please do!"
  "Well, the Lord will pardon you,"
  Said his humpback in reply-
  "Maybe all's not lost; we'll try
  And perhaps we'll mend things yet-
  But-no sleeping-don't forget!
  For again, at break of day,
  That Fair Maid will steer this way;
  She will go into the tent,
  On your honeyed mead intent;
  Only-mind what I have said,
  Otherwise, you'll lose your head."
  Humpback disappeared once more,
  And Ivan searched on the shore
  For some flints and rusty nails
  From the wrecks of stranded sails,
  To arouse him, should once more
  He, by chance, begin to snore.
  It was early morning when
  That Tsar-Maiden came again,
  Beached her boat once more and sped,
  By the fragrant odours led,
  To the dainties which were laid
  In the tent of gold brocade ...
  And again she plucked a string,
  And so sweetly did she sing
  That Ivanushka once more
  Felt as sleepy as before.
  "No, you nasty little cheat,"
  Growled Ivan, upon his feet-
  "This time you won't get away
  You will not fool me today."
  And, unmoved by her sweet song,
  Seized her by her tresses long...
  "Help me, help me, Humpback dear,
  Hurry to me, do you hear!"
  In a flash, his horse stood there-
  Saying: "Well done, I declare!
  Mount me quickly, now, Ivan,
  Hold her tight as tight you can."
  At the Palace gates, at last
  They arrived; the Tsar ran fast
  To the Fair Tsar-Maiden and
  Led her by her lily hand
  'Neath a silken canopy
  To his royal throne; then he
  Fondly gazing in her eyes
  Said, with honeyed voice, and sighs:
  "Peerless, beautiful princess-
  Be my bride! Agree-say yes!
  When I first saw you, desire
  Burned within my breast like fire!
  Oh! Your lovely eyes so bright-
  They will haunt me day and night!
  They will torture me by day
  And at nights, drive sleep away!
  Say but one sweet word to me
  Everything is ready, see-
  And tomorrow, oh my life,
  We'll be wedded man and wife,
  And live happy as the May.'
  She, however, turned away
  From the Tsar, with scornful eye,
  And refused to make reply.
  But this only added fire
  To his passionate desire-
  Kneeling, he her fingers pressed,
  Tenderly her hands caressed,
  And repeated foolishly:
  "Say but one sweet word to me!
  Wherein have I grieved you, pray?
  Is my love so hateful, say?"
  "Lack-a-day, and woe is me,"
  Said the Tsar-Maid mournfully-
  "If you love me truly, bring
  Me in three days' time, my ring
  Lying in the ocean bed-
  Only then can we be wed."
  Eagerly the Tsar roared: "Hey!
  Fetch Ivan at once, I say!"
  And excited, almost ran
  Off himself to fetch Ivan!
  When Ivan appeared, the Tsar
  Turned to him and murmured: "Ah!
  Vanya-here's a job for you-
  Go down to the ocean blue;
  From its bottom, you must bring
  Me the Tsar-Maid's signet-ring.
  If you execute this task,
  I will give you all you ask."
  "But I've only just got back,
  And my joints are fit to crack;
  Now you've found another quest!
  Can't I even have a rest?"
  "Sirrah! dare you tell me tarry?
  Can't you see I want to marry?"
  Raged the Tsar, and with a roar
  Stamped his foot upon the floor.
  "No more arguments, I say-
  Now, be off without delay!"
  As Ivan turned round to go,
  The Tsarevna called out: "Oh,
  Listen-visit, on your way,
  My green mansions, and convey
  Greetings to my mother dear-
  Say, her daughter-do you hear-
  Asks, why she conceals her rays
  These three nights and these three days;
  Why my handsome brother shrouds
  His bright face in gloomy clouds,
  Never sending rays of love
  From the misty heights above?
  Don't forget my message, now."
  As Ivan made his last bow,
  "I will not forget," he said,
  "If it doesn't slip my head;
  But please tell me who's your brother?
  Also, tell me who's your mother?
  I don't know them, I confess."
  In reply, the fair princess
  Said: "The Moon-she is my mother,
  And the Sun-he is my brother."
  "See you're back in time, my man!"
  Called the bridegroom to Ivan,
  Who retired and made his way
  To his humpback in the hay.
  "Why, Ivanushka, so sad?
  What's the matter now, my lad?"
  Said his humpback with a neigh.
  "Help me, little humpback, pray,
  For the Tsar now wants to wed
  That there skinny girl, he said.
  And," Ivan said to his horse,
  "He must. send me off, of course,
  On a journey to the sea-
  Only gave three days to me-
  And some cursed signet-ring
  From the sea bed I must bring!
  For that skinny Tsar-Maid,
  I Have to travel to the sky-
  Give her compliments and love
  To the Sun and Moon above.
  And besides, there are a few
  Questions I must ask them, too.
  " Said his horse: "Twixt you and me,
  This is easy as can be;
  Service, brother, lies ahead!
  Now, you just go off to bed.
  Early in the morning, we
  Will be travelling to the sea."
  In the morning, fresh from rest,
  Our Ivan, now warmly dressed,
  Put three onions in his pack,
  Climbed upon his horse's back
  And sped on his distant quest...
  Brothers-let me have a rest!


  Till yesterday, Makar used to follow the plough.
  But look at him today-he's a Voivode now!
  Ta-ra-n-ra, ta-ra-rai,
  All the horses ran away;
  But the peasants, at long last,
  Caught them all and bound them fast.
  Master Raven, croak, croak, croak,
  Blows his trumpet on an oak
  And amuses Christian true,
  Singing: "Now folks, listen, do-
  Once a peasant and his wife
  Led a very merry life.
  He was always blithe and gay,
  She was merry as the May;
  When he danced and when she sang,
  Then with mirth the village rang."
  This is but the prelude, friends,
  And my tale starts when it ends.
  Hark to what the house-fly's singing
  As upon our gates it's swinging:
  "What's the price for news today?
  News-fresh news-what will you pay?
  Have you heard? The new-wed wife
  Got the beating of her life
  From her husband's mother-who
  Tied her to the oven, too;
  Trussed her up, secure and neat,
  Took her shoes from off her feet.
  'Leave the lads alone,' she said,
  And at nights just stay in bed.'"
  Now my prelude's said and done,
  And my story is begun.
  Well, Ivan rode off to bring
  Back the Tsar-Maid's signet-ring;
  And his horse flew like the wind,
  Leaving miles and leagues behind-
  Twenty thousand leagues, ere night,
  Covered in a single flight.
  Near the sea, he loudly neighed
  Saying: "We will reach a glade
  In a minute, maybe more,
  Leading to the ocean shore,
  Where, with monster head and tail,
  Lies the Monster-Marvel Whale.
  These ten years he lies in pain,
  Ignorant of how to gain
  Pardon, to this very day.
  He will humbly beg and pray
  That you pardon for him gain
  When we reach the Sun's domain.
  Promise him, Ivan, and see
  That you do so faithfully!"
  When they reached the glade, they flew
  Straight towards the ocean blue;
  There, across it, lay the whale-
  Monster head and monster tail;
  He was all one mass of holes,
  From his ribs grew stakes and poles;
  On his tail-a forest black;
  And a village on his back;
  Peasants on his lip drove ploughs,
  Children danced between his brows;
  Oak-trees on his huge jaws grew,
  Maidens there sought mushrooms, too.
  Clatter, clatter, clatter, clack,
  Rode the humpback o'er his back,
  While the Monster-Marvel Whale
  Eyed them as he swished his tail,
  Opening his huge jaws wide
  As most bitterly he sighed:
  "May God speed you, gentles two-
  Whither bound, and whence are you?"
  "We're the Tsar-Maid's envoys, see-
  From the capital are we,"
  Little humpbacked horse replied-
  "Eastward, to the Sun, we ride,
  To his residence of gold."
  "Fathers, may I make so bold,"
  Said the whale, "to beg of you,
  When you reach the heavens blue,
  Ask the Sun, how long must I
  Suffer this disgrace, and why?
  For what sins, let him explain,
  Must I bear this grief and pain?"
  "Yes, yes, Monster Whale, all right,"
  Yelled Ivan with all his might,
  While the whale, with bitter cries,
  Begged Ivan, between his sighs:
  "Please have pity on poor me-
  These ten years I'm suffering, see-
  Do this favour for me, do,
  I will serve you some day too!"
  "Yes, yes, Monster Whale, all right!'
  Yelled Ivan with all his might.
  Then his horse, with one leap bore
  Vanya to the other shore,
  Leaving clouds of dust behind
  As he flew on like the wind.
  Near or far, or high or low,
  How they travelled, I don't know-
  Nor did anybody say
  If they saw them on the way;
  Tales, you know, are quickly spun,
  Deeds are sooner said than done;
  Only, brothers, I did hear
  (Indirectly, though, I fear)
  That the humpback came to where
  Earth meets sky; and it is there,
  Peasant maidens, spinning flax,
  Use the clouds as distaff racks.
  Bidding Mother Earth good-bye,
  Vanya rode up to the sky;
  Like a prince, he proudly flew
  Through the skies, his hat askew.
  "What a wonder-Oh, I say,"
  Mused Ivan aloud, as they
  Rode the cloudy meadows blue-
  "Though our country's pretty, too,
  But compared with this blue sky,
  It's not worth a button-why,
  Our old Earth down there is so
  Black and muddy, as you know;
  Here, the soil is bright and blue,
  And how brilliant it is, too!
  But, my horse, what can that be
  In the East, up yonder, see-
  Gleaming like the dawn up there ?
  That must be, I do declare,
  Nothing but the sun's chief city,
  But-how high up, more's the pity!"
  "That's the Tsar-Maid's tower you see,
  Our Tsaritsa's that's to be,"
  Neighed the humpback in his ear:
  "Every night the Sun sleeps here,
  And, here every day, the Moon
  Comes to take her rest at noon."
  Palace portals met their sight,
  Crowned in crystal, gleaming bright;
  All its pillars made of gold,
  Twisted cunningly, and scrolled
  On each pillar shone a star;
  Round the palace, near and far,
  Fragrant gardens, fair to see,
  Spread in verdant brilliancy.
  Birds of paradise were singing
  In their golden cages, swinging
  'Mong the silver branches there.
  Mansions rose there, tall and fair.
  Stars upon the palace spire,
  Burning with a holy fire,
  Formed a Christian Cross, whose rays
  Set the heavens all ablaze.
  Through the portals then they rode
  And Ivan, dismounting, strode
  To the palace, with bare head.
  There he saw the Moon, and said:
  "Greetings, gracious Moon Moonovich,
  I'm Ivanushka Petrovich
  And from countries far away
  Greetings I bring you today."
  "Take a seat, Ivan Petrovich,"
  Murmured gracious Moon Moonovich,
  "Tell me now, and let me know,
  Why you left the Earth below
  For our realms so bright and blue;
  From what people, land are you?
  How you found your way, confess-
  Tell me all the truth, no less!"
  "From a land on Earth I come,
  From a realm of Christiandom,"
  Sitting down, Ivan replied.
  "I have crossed the ocean wide
  My Tsaritsa's will to do-
  In your palace, bow to you-
  Then repeat these words-now hear:
  Tell my darling mother dear
  That her daughter down below,
  On the Earth, desires to know
  Why, for these three nights and days,
  She conceals from her her rays;
  Why my handsome brother shrouds
  His bright face in gloomy clouds,
  Never sending rays of love
  From his misty heights above?-'
  This is all-I think-though young,
  She has got a silver tongue.
  It's not easy to recall
  Every word that she let fall."
  "Which Tsaritsa-who is she?"
  "Why, the Tsar-Maid, don't you see?"
  "What-our Tsar-Maid ?-you don't say
  It was you stole her away?"
  With a gasp cried Moon Moonovich.
  And Ivanushka Petrovich
  Answered: "Why, yes-surely Ma'am-
  I'm the Royal Groom, I am.
  And our Tsar gave me just three
  Weeks to find and fetch her, see?
  Otherwise, you see, he said,
  I would lose my curly head."
  Here the Moon in glad surprise
  Hugged Ivan and dried her eyes.
  "Okh, Ivanushka Petrovich,"
  Murmured gracious Moon Moonovich,
  "You have brought such news today
  That I don't know what to say;
  When we lost our dear Princess,
  How we mourned, you'll never guess;
  That's the reason why, you see,
  I've been grieving bitterly
  These three nights and these three days,
  In dark clouds concealed my rays;
  All this time I mourned and wept,
  Never ate a crumb, nor slept-
  This is why her brother shrouds
  His bright face in gloomy clouds;
  Why he sends no warming rays
  Down to Earth these many days,
  Shedding many a bitter tear,
  Mourning for his sister dear.
  Let me know, though-is she well-
  Is she homesick for us, tell?"
  "She'd be pretty, I would say,
  But she's wasting right away;
  She's as skinny as can be
  Only skin and bones, you see-
  When she's married, though, no doubt
  She'll improve and get quite stout,
  For the Tsar will wed her soon."
  "What? The villain!" screamed the Moon-
  "Why-he's eighty, if a day,
  And he wants to wed with May!
  I declare, upon my life,
  She will never be his wife;
  See what that old nasty toad
  Wants-to reap, who never sowed.
  Why, he's greedy as he's vain!"
  Here Ivan spoke up again:
  "Please do not deny this boon
  For the whale, 0 gracious Moon-
  O'er the ocean down below
  Lies a Monster Whale, you know-
  He is all one mass of holes,
  From his ribs stick stakes and poles
  And, poor thing, he begged me to
  Speak for him when I saw you-
  Why has he deserved this pain,
  And how can he pardon gain?
  Will he get his freedom soon?"
  In reply, the lustrous Moon Said:
  "He bears this punishment,
  For, without the Lord's consent,
  Thirty ships, one day, he swallowed
  As their ocean course they followed.
  If he sets them free again
  God will take away his pain,
  All his wounds
  He will assuage
  And reward him with old age."
  Here Ivan rose from his chair,
  Said: "Farewell" with courtly air,
  Thrice he kissed the bright Moon's face,
  Clasping her in warm embrace.
  "Well, Ivanushka Petrovich,"
  Murmured gracious Moon Moonovich,
  "Many, many thanks to you
  From my son and from me, too;
  Put my daughter's mind at ease
  With my blessing, Vanya, please;
  Tell my daughter that I say:
  'Mother's with you night and day-
  Cease from grieving-sigh no more-
  Soon will end your sorrow sore,
  For you'll never never wed
  Any greybeard, toothless head,
  But a young and handsome man.'
  God be with you, now, Ivan."
  Bowing low as best he knew,
  Vanya climbed his humpback true,
  Whistled like a noble knight
  Then rode back with all his might.
  Next day, our Ivan once more
  Came up to the ocean shore;
  Clatter, clatter, clatter, clack
  Rode he over that whale's back,
  While the Monster-Marvel Whale
  Sighed and slowly waved his tail,
  Saying: "Sires-about my boon?
  Will I get my freedom soon?"
  But the humpback merely said:
  "Wait, 0 Whale," and ran ahead
  To the village market-place
  Where he called the populace;
  Tossed his coal-black mane and head,
  Snorted thrice, and loudly said:
  "Heed my words, 0 Christians true-
  Mark what I am telling you-
  If you wish to keep away
  From a briny grave today,
  Get you gone this minute, now;
  Wonders will take place, I vow,
  For the Monster Whale will turn
  And the sea will seethe and churn."
  Here the peasants, great and small,
  Christians true-they one and all
  Hurried off to home and farm,
  Crying out in wild alarm;
  Gathered all their carts, and placed
  All their goods on them in haste
  And, with many a woeful wail,
  Fled from off that Monster Whale;
  And, by noon, you could not find
  Anybody left behind.
  Twas as though Mamai's fierce horde
  Had swept the land with fire and sword.
  O'er its tail the humpback sped,
  Reached and bent down to its head,
  Shouted loud as loud could be:
  "Listen, Monster Whale, to me!
  All this is your punishment-
  For, without the Lord's consent,
  Thirty ships, one day, you swallowed
  As their ocean course they followed;
  If you set them free again
  He will take away your pain,
  All your wounds he will assuage,
  And reward you with old age."
  And, when his long speech was said,
  Bit his bridle, tossed his head,
  Gave one leap-and lo, once more
  Stood upon the distant shore.
  Then the Monster Whale turned round,
  Like a mighty heaving mound;
  Threshed the ocean with his tail,
  And a fleet of thirty sail
  One by one cast from his jaws,
  Sails and sailors, boats and oars.
  Such a din here rent the deep
  That the Sea-King woke from sleep.
  Brazen guns in broadsides flashed,
  Trumpets blared and cymbals crashed,
  And the chaplain with his choir
  Held a Mass amid the fire.
  White sails were unfurled at last,
  Flags flew gaily from each mast;
  And the sailors sang this song
  As they rowed their ships along:
  "O'er the billows, o'er the sea,
  O'er the ocean wide and free,
  At the bottom of the world,
  Fly our ships with sails unfurled."
  All the ships sailed out of view,
  Hidden by the billows blue,
  While the Monster-Marvel Whale
  Threshed the waters with his tail,
  Opened up his jaws so wide,
  Lifted up his voice, and cried:
  "Tell me, friends, what can I do
  In return, or give to you?
  Coloured sea-shells, do you wish?
  Would you care for golden fish?
  Lovely pearls? Oh-anything
  You may ask for, I will bring."
  "No, 0 Whale-fish," said Ivan-
  "We don't need them; if you can,
  We would rather have you bring
  Us the Tsar-Maid's signet-ring
  From the bottom of the sea,
  For our Tsar's bride that's to be."
  "Certainly-for friends like you
  There is nothing I won't do;
  Ere the sun sets, I will bring
  You the lovely Maiden's ring,"
  Said the whale, and sank like lead
  To the very ocean bed.
  There, the Monster-Marvel Whale

Категория: Книги | Добавил: Armush (28.11.2012)
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